Can I just skip through 2017 and and forget it never happened lol? I mean seriously though I cannot seem to catch a break this year in terms of racing. My training is going well for the most part and for some reason I cannot put a race together this year to save my life. However not all was lost of IM Santa Rosa but it most definitely did not go as planned. We will start from the beginning….
First a little backstory….
So I had talked on instagram that I had ALOT going on here and there outside my little square box. Hence why blogging and instagram have kind of taken the backseat lately just because I don’t have time. Well anyways ALOT going on consisted of coaching 15-20 clients, working FT in the ED, relocating from Ohio to Florida, Buying a House, Finding a new job, getting a new state license while having to do the normal day to day stuff that just seems to somehow fill up all the hours in the day. Anyways all of that came to a head leading into Ironman Santa Rosa Taper. We closed on our house 2 weeks prior to race day which also resulted in the movers coming to pack up my stuff and get out of our rental the 2 days prior to me leaving for the race and me also having to take off 3 days unpaid because these movers dont come on weekends. All of this resulted in a few GI ulcers which I ended up getting on medication for, but basically I was just a hot mess. This just touches the surface of what was going on but basically it was non stop with training, work, everyday life, and all of the above pilled on top that I just well pulling my hair out. I figured you needed to know such things at least Ashley felt I should tell you lol.
Well in light of my life being a complete cluster and no race going right this year, this one started off no different. I woke up and got dressed and thought I had plenty of time to get to the airport – NOPE! I double checked my flight in the car and it was re-scheduled for 9:00 instead of 9:45 – WHAT?! I most definitenly did not buffer that much time into my flight window and then it was storming and Cincinatti is undergoing construction I was not aware of so basically I was going to miss my flight and be up a creek without a paddle – INSERT STRESS TEARS. Anyways I sped and weaved and finally got to the airport and parked in the parking garage. I was gone for a week so basically that was a hefty parking bill to my already thousands of dollar bills from doing an ironman in napa california lol. Anyways I parked my car ran through the airport and made it to the gate right before final boarding call – phew! When I told Ash the story my only statement was well things are going great but they can’t be any worse than gashing my head open prior to race day – refer to Gulf Coast Recap. I ended arriving to SFO Early and went to the USO to relax while I waited on my mom however I was unaware that instead of waiting the entire hour I should have known that it would also take me an hour to get from the terminal to the rental car locationand to get the rental car so basically I could have done that during my brief nap on the recliner in the USO lounge but hey I had arrived, my mom arrived and things were going fine. We got out car drove to Napa and arrived at our AirBnB. Our AirBnB was perfect and only 2 blocks from the expo and finish line in Downtown Santa Rosa and also on the race course it was perfect. After we headed to the expo for packet pickup and to meet up with Ash (@ahappypace) and Heather (@TriandRunGirl) to chat and meet up with our sponsors @RudyProject, @Zealios, @RapidReboot. After I headed out to my shakeout ride while heather headed back to her hotel to get ready for her meeting for Quest for Kona. After her meeting we did our shakeout run and then changed and headed to dinner. It was so fun to have a family dinner with all three of us and our families it was so comforting having your best friends with you and racing with you. The next morning my mom and I woke up, went to breakfast and then we headed to T1 at Lake Sonoma for swim shakeout and bike check. At this point I just was not feeling well. I had a horrible migraine and I was having horrible stomach pain and nausea but I figured I was just dehydrated or hungry so I hydrated and ate and I thought that resolved it but not so much. We went to drive the 1st half of the course which included the hills but I couldn’t even make it through 15 miles due to how crappy I was feeling. Thank goodness my mom had Zofran and I had packed my Gastritis meds with me so I popped those and tried to nap thinking that would help. It helped slightly we got dinner and then headed back to the room. I got all my things together for the morning and went to bed early thinking I just needed to sleep it off and I would feel 100% better on race day morning.
Race Day Morning
Well I woke up race day morning and I was still feeling less than ideal. I popped my Gastritis medications and then we packed up my food and headed to the start. I drank my normal coffee, powerade combo on the way there and ate my Bagel (it was a 30 min drive). Once we arrived I checked my bike tires, topped them off and then we all met up at the VIP area as Heather’s husband Trevor and my mom had passes and utilized the VIP potties for the pre-race ritutals. We chatted and ate our pre-race essentials I tried putting more food in my stomach but definitely wasn’t going down as well as I had hoped. I popped a Zofran and settled for that and then had my mom help me into my wetsuit. If you have never put on a wetsuit that is an Ironman in itself – ITS SO FREAKING HARD and takes SO LONG to get it “right”. After we took the 0.5 mile walk down to the start down the 8% grade boat ramp – #FunTimes and lined up for the start. I said my goodbyes to my momma and Ash hugged me and told it was my time and to do my best and then they left us to secure their viewing location and heather, matt and I headed to the swim start.
The day prior the swim was borderline wetsuit legal so we weren’t sure if it was going to be a swim skin or wetsuit kinda day but it ended up being Wetsuit legal at 76.1 I am not so sure about that but hey Ill take it. So all was well initially. I had a goal of being around 1:05-1:06 as I swam a 1:06 at Louisville with the current assist and I was swimming faster this year so I figured I would match it without a current. The course looked promising a nice calm lake and such but it was nothing of the sort. First, it was 2 loops and you had to get of the water step of the timing mat and get back in (added time) and then the swim course was more turney than Louisville with about 4 turns per loop where louisville only has 1 turn for the out and back.
Loop 1 went pretty well. The 1st 500 yds were the best as I was near the front with serious swimmer not much of a crowd and clear conditions however as the loop progressed a dense fog started to roll in making siting less than ideal and basically I couldnt really geat a sense for the bouys. I had a couple people do the kick, nudge punch thing but nothing to serious and it went as well as could be expected but I figured Loop 2 could be better as I already had a sense of the course. I came out of Loop 1 around 33 and change and thought that was good I would be around 1:06-1:07 which was great. However Loops 2 was utter chaos as I was entering the water for Loop 2 they had just gotten all of the swimmers in the water which means Sub 1:10 swimmers mixed with 2:20 swimmers – back strokers, breast strokers, mass crowding – you basically couldn’t move without getting punched or kicked and were constantly weaving around humans while trying to spot the bouys. Not to mention the fog has now cleared and was replaced by blinding sun – yep awesome! Anyways I finally finished I think I counted about 4 kicks to the face and about 10 punches some where or another. I had also swallowed at least a quart or so of water which was awesome for my already nauseaus stomach. I exited the water and looked at my watch and realized it was already on biking – “great”. I figured maybe it “autolapped” during the lap 1 and 2 or possibly someone kicked it in the about 15 times I got hit/kicked. So I literally had no clue my time but I figured it wasn’t fantastmic but I had to move on – more work to do.
- Time: 1:12:28 // Pace: 1:52/100m (6 Min Slower than Lousiville)
- Placing: Division – 9th // Female: 22nd // Overall 300th
Transition 1 (T1): Swim to Bike
T1 was approximately a 0.5 Mile long – excessive don’t ya think to get to a changing tent and your bike but no add in the extra boost of having to climb the 0.3 mile 8% grade boat ramp in a wetsuit to the list of fun things to do when your already diorientated coming of the water. If you havent done a triathlon think of the diorietation as the feeling when you played Pinata and they spun you an then you had to hit the pinata thats how it feels when you come out of the water. Regardless I am the most proud of this transition I improved so much from Lousiville. I completed T1 in 6:50 including the climb up the boat ramp changing and grabbing my bike and at lousiville it took me 10:30 without all the “extra” of Santa Rosa. This was a HUGE deal b/c Ash and Matt had to like baby me through how to accomplish transition like a serious athlete. The key – minimalism!
So you load the bike and immediately go over this tall bridge over Lake Sonoma have a small climb then a major no-aero bar descent. It was awesome to get the descent in the beginning to loosen up your legs and body but I just couldnt seem to get a rhythm. My cadence was in the high 70s when it is usually in the high 80s. I tried downshifting spinning up and gearing up but I just couldnt get it to turn over. After the downhill you turn to the start of the climbing with the biggest hill in those initial 10 miles after the turn. Somewhere around mile 10 on one of the small hills where it flattens out I went to shift rigs from small to big and my chain dropped. Which meant stopping and time off the bike. I had fixed it before so I thought no big deal however when I got off the chain was not only dropped by jammed and it took me a solid 5 minutes to get it off not to mention the time lost stopping and starting back off. At being only 10 miles into a 112 mile bike with a techical, crappy swim, and feeling overall crappy I was just so over this race already. I comtemplated for the next 20-30 miles just dropping out but I kept pushing on and putting a smile on my face. My pace had come from close to 19 to around 15 during the technical so I had a lot of time to make up and time I just didn’t have on my side. I kept trying to get down the fuel. I did 2 bottle of liquid nutrition of 500+ calories each and thank goodness for that because I was barely able to get that down as I kept puking it back up in my mouth. Fun Times. Around Mile 40 I took the Zofran my mom had given me in my bag and hoped that would help get me through the remainder of the bike. I was still fighting for dear life to hold a rhythm and I just could feel my lack of experience on the hills especially the non-rolling kind kick me in the face and I was just dying mentally and physically during the race. Not to mention the roads were less than ideal so you were dealing with that factor which attributes alot in terms of speed on the bike. At around Mile 60 you hit town and you do 2.5 loops on flatter terrain but the road conditions were horrible and with every loop it got more and more crowded with more and more unexperienced cyclists. This meant having to be extra cautious on the bike because you had to ensure they were doing everything correct b/c this race also didn’t give you much room to negotiate as they left almost all the roads open to traffic. I made up quite a bit of time about 0.5 mph on average during the 2.5 loops and finished strong on the bike and was more than thrilled to hand it over to the bike catcher and move forward to the marathon portion.
- Time: 6:08 (10 Min Improvement from Louisville) // Pace: 18.2 mph
- Place: Division: 10th, Female: 84, Overall: 655
Transition 2 (T2): Bike to Run
This was another LONG transition about 0.3 Miles of running of a very narrow path to the tent and back it was about the size of a bike lane on a highway to give you perspective for 2 way runner traffic lol. I grabbed my bag headed into the tent changed and went potty and headed out on the run. I should have realized at that point I was dehyrated because I barely urinated at all and I had not gone to the bathroom all day but of course thats overlooked until you are finished. I ran out saw my momma and then started booking it.
I was feeling strong but that slowly faded once I hit the “trail” portion of the marathon. I had thought the trail was going to be like packed dirt like in Arizona but it was more packed rocks and it did not agree with me. I am not a trail runner and I have never ran on anything but pavement except maybe 5 times so this was uncharted territory and my body was not in favor. Additionally it was supposed to be a “downhill” grade out and a “uphill grade” back nothing serious but around 1-2% grade but the “downhill” on the trail side was almost non-existant. The run also included alot of turn and twists to go over and under the bridges to avoid traffic – it was a mess. The run consisted of 3 loops. Loop 1 went pretty well and I was averaging 8:30s with walk breaks but it slowly declined on Loop 2 and by Loop 3 I knew I was serious trouble. I was cramping so bad despite trying everthing – water, gatorade, coke, hot shot, salt, fruit at every single aid station and I just felt super light headed and nauseus and off. I wanted to quit after loop 2. I really didn’t know if I could finish the 3rd loop but I knew I could walk and run as much as I could. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty and I am sure all of you tracking just assuming I gave up but I really was just in a really bad place physically and mentally at that point. There is a video Ash has on her phone when I saw her going into Loop 3 and I said something like “I am having a really bad day”. I really meant it I was on the verge of tears. I had trained so hard and I was literally tanking and knew I was barely going to pull out a PR if I did at all at that point. So here we are on loop 3 basically dying a painful Ironman death march and I remember stepping on this HUGE rock when I was actually running lol and rolling my foot. The next day I tried putting on my tennis shoes and it hurt so bad and I noticed a bruise and thinking oh that is from the rock no big deal – well here we are 4 weeks later – its a BIG DEAL as that rock caused me to have a posterior tibial tendon partial tear. Things are just getting better and better haha. Well I finally started nearing the finish line and dying and they ended up adding an extra 0.2+ miles at the end of the course around the portapotties – fun times – as if there wasn’t enough added mileage on the course already with the extra long transitions. But I was there I was at the finish line
- Time: 4:18:51 // Pace: 9:52 min/mi (9 min slower than lousiville)
- Place: Division: 10th, Gender: 60, Overall: 325
After my extra long amazing tour of the portapotties and the santa rosa downtown parking garage I finally made it to the finish line in 11:51:21 basically dead on from Ironman Louisville in 10th in 25-29, 53rd Female and 350th Overall. I crossed the finish grabbed my gear (Tshirt and hat), took my photo and looked at my mom and pointed to the med tent. The stupid nurse looks at me and is like “you’re fine” and I was like I am about to pass out in this chair and she got smart and is like “is the room spinning” and I was like look can I just lay down on one of your 10 open cots and you can take my vitals and then determine if I am fine. So she did and she thought immediately after completing an ironman vitals of 100/60 and 60 bpm are “normal” and at that point I just said skrew it and left and told my mom I would walk to the room in which I spent the next hour sick in the bathroom – fun times not even realizing that Matt and Ash were waiting at the finish line even after Matt came back from the hospital after his crash. Talk about feeling horrible I am still so so sorry for that. However I was just not in a great place physically and was sick not thanks to any help of the ironman medical tent lol.
Post Race Feelings/Thoughts
Well I am sure from reading this recap you can get the gist of my thoughts haha – it did not go well. However I did buy myself a finisher’s jacket b/c I was damn proud of myself for not giving up when I knew I wasn’t going to get my goal or when I was feeling sick or when my bike broke – I just kept pushing despite all the odds. As Ash put it I should be so proud that my best day just 9 months ago is now my worst day on a much harder course however it doesn’t make the blow any easier. However I am proud of myself I took 17th in my AG in Lousiville and 10th in Santa Rosa and that is an improvement. I know that every race teaches you lessons and not every race can be a PR, especially in a race that is 12 hours long – you just don’t know what is gonna happen. However I know I am stronger and faster than an 11:51 and I will prove it to myself and give myself another shot. I am not going to say I am not sad and disappointed because I 100% am. I put countless hours into training, thousands of dollars into the race, and pushed other PRs to the side to make Santa Rosa a priority all for it to end no where close to where I had imagined. So theres the appreviated as I can short and honest recap of the race. I am kinda sorry I cant write something similar to 2016 recaps where I was so happy and proud to be honest I wish I could write something like that for you guys too – hopefully sometime soon
I want to say a special thanks to Ash and Matt for being my best friends and side coaches throughout this entire experience and their unwavering support. My momma for being the best sherpa ever and never missing a race no matter the vacation days or the cost. Additionally I want to thank my sponsors Hyperthreads for their amazing kit, Newton for shoes, Procompression for socks, Rapid Reboot for recovery, Zealios for Sunscreen, Rudy for Helmet and Glasses, and JayBird for Music to Train. Without you all I would not be where I am at so thank you!
With love and racing