Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How long is too long?

Theoretically speaking how long is too long to still be wearing you IM participant bracelet?
  • 1 day post race?
  • 1 week post race?
  • 1 month post race?
  • 6 months post race?
  • The organisers of the following years IM cut it off?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

IM Florida Part 4

This year I knew I was in much better shape coming out of T1, I ran the first mile and mentally I was thinking just get to the first aid station and see how I feel. At about 0.9 cramps in my thighs started and I wondered if this was to be where it all went to pieces again. I made it into the aid station before it flared up though.

Downed 2 gatorades, and a gel and the walking cleared the cramps, and I started running again,
each time just before the aid station the cramps would start to return but the gatorade seemed to be working and after about 5 miles the cramps stopped coming.

Mentally I was thinking, wow I'm five miles in, I was 15mins ahead after the bike, and I'm still running, therefore even if I walk from here I'm beating last years time. I just kept going from aid station to aid station and it felt great, no cramps and my legs felt great. Saw Gemma and the girls motivation sign and felt really positive. Finally saw Gemma at around 10 miles and gave Caitlyn a big sweaty kiss and kept going (Emma was asleep). Yep I was hurting but pain I can deal with, its cramps that stop me and so far the cramps had not set in so I was taking every mile as it came. Through half way in 2hr 17mins and I knew I was on for a good time. Wasn't sure of my actual time overall as I had reset my garmin at the start of the run.

Headed back out onto the second loop saw Gemma and the girls again and this time Emma got a kiss! Before I knew it I was through 15miles and I knew there was no way I was walking the marathon now. By this point I was passing tons of people and actually enjoying the race. At 19 miles the blisters burst, but nothing was stopping me now.

The final turn around came and I saw the clock and knew a sub 1hr 40
for the last 6 miles would mean a sub 13hr IM and that would be fantastic. As before I just kept going (taking on gels, gatorade, broth and coke as needed) averaging 11min miles
I was still not exactly sure of my final time, but felt great through mile 25 aid station so I didn't stop. Started to seed myself with the other runners around me to get the finishers straight to myself. Wasn't really conscious of my time and enjoyed every minute of the finishers shute (couple of fist pumps etc). Realised my time after crossing the line and over the moon did not even come close, I was estatic!

Marathon time of 4hrs 45.

Its an amazing feeling when you set what you think is a lofty goal (to beat last years time) and you blow that goal away! I PR'ed by almost 2 hours.

I am now sat here reminising about my perfect day, and enjoying the feeling of stiffness in my legs.

The future..
I have prompised Gemma no Ironman next year, though I need goals in my life or I get lazy! So next year will be the Chicago Marathon (I want to go sub 4hrs), plus maybe a 70.3 (plus the usual local tris), and maybe an Ultra Marathon?

Next IM..
Depends where we are living..
If we are back in the UK then IM Austria or UK.
If we are still in the US then maybe IM Wisconsin, I certainly feel more confident about the distance now and I could do Wisconsin alot more easily as it is just up to road.

IM Florida - Part 3

Because I didn't go through the tent in T1 I forgot to get sun block for the ride! doh! realised this about 5 miles in. There was no way I was going 112 miles in florida sun without the block and luckily the aid stations had some.

The bike went well and I stayed easily within my limits (average heart rate 130bpm). The bike has been something I have suffered on, up until my last century ride I had always finished feeling shattered. At IM florida last year I ended up walking the marathon as I felt terrible (cramps etc). Now I knew I had to drink drink and keep drinking. This time I drank 7 bottles of Nuun over 5 hours, and then for the last hour switched to a bottle of gatorade, on top of that I had 7 powergels, 2 bananas, 2 powerbars and 3 PB&J uncrustables, plus 18 salt tablets.

As you can see I pretty much ate and drank continuously. But it worked!
I knew I was well hydrated, last year.. zero pees over the 6hr 30mins, this year 3 big pees (zero stops ;-) )

As ever though you never quite know how well you will feel when you leave T2.
Time 6hrs 16mins, 15 mins faster than last year.
Max speed 34.4mph, with an average of 18mph.

I entered T2 feeling great, changed my clothes and ran out of T2, last year this is where the death march started! I was about to find out if the same thing was going to happen.

IM Florida Part 2 - The Swim

The Swim..
I seeded myself closer into the bouy line this year and it certainly was a more physical swim (the usual kicked, punched, swam on etc).
Don't know whether it was me but no one seemed to be swimming a straight line, only had a few periods on the outbound leg where I had any clear periods where I could concentrate on my swimming.

First turn was clogged, people shouting to stop kicking and only use arms.
Return leg again was clogged and this time my nose clip was knocked off and disappeared forever into the gulf.

I hate swimming without my nose clip, last time I lost it was the Chicago tri and I suffered for the rest of the race.
Though my mental attitude was stronger today and the first thought was "sh&t" and then it was well not much I can do about it.
So swam on, yes the missing nose clip frustrated me but physically I was fine.

First loop was completed in 35mins, same as last year. My mood was certainly lifted at this point. Having been concerned about my swim I realised my swim fitness had not dropped too much.

Second lap was a bit more open, I was one of the few that went outside the first buoy. The instructions before the start weren't particularly clear on this, and I only remembered as I heard Mike Reilly's voice reminding everyone to go outside the first green buoy.
A large number chose to ignore this reminder!

Far turn and my goggles got knocked off my eyes on but stayed on my head thankfully, other than the salt in my nose I was doing fine.
Swim completed in 1hr 17, only 2 mins slower than last year.

Wetsuit stripped off slowly.. wheres Tac when you need him! Also saw Di and Bigun and got a big cheer from them :-).

Last year I did a complete change in the tent and had a really slow time, this year I wore my cycle shorts under the wetsuit to try and speed up my T1, didn't even go into the tent. I was going to wear my cycle jersey as well, but with temps low I decided to go with a dry top. Out of T1 in 6mins (and most of that was me having to go collect and unrack my bike :-( ). Certainly faster overall than last year though.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

IM Florida - My perfect Race Part 1

Over the past 6 months I have, swum less, biked a bit more in the past few months but less overall for the year, run far less, due to a niggling injury that I haven't wanted to inflame, with my longest run being 15 miles. I also missed most of September training while we were all in Europe.I certainly didn't feel prepared and was hoping my training from last year was still partially there, and my experience would make a big difference (nutrition especially).

Pre Race everything was rushed, travelling with the girls is hard work, and we arrived on site Thursday PM. Managed to get one 10 min ride on the Friday and a 10 min swim.

Morning of the race nerves were definitely there, I really had no expectation of how the race would go. In my mind I had hopes, but I really had no idea if they were widely unreasonable. Expectations, were to finish and I would be over the moon to just beat last years time.

Things didn't go well from the start, walking down to transition at 5am I realised I had left all my water bottles in the fridge (that was one of my pre-race nightmares!) Gemma ran back and got them for me and whereas in my dream it was a disaster, now it was only a minor hicup.

Standing on the beach, I started to get mentally prepared, quick swim as the sun came up. The sea had calmed from the previous few days, not as smooth as last year, but still very flat.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tomorrows the big day

Not much to say really..

Nerves have well and truely set in, just about to try and get a few hours sleep.

My race number is #316.

You should be able to track me via www.ironman.com.

Good luck to the other bloggers out there..
Ryan #515
Michelle #2322
Lana #2139
Ian #811

Plus anyone else I have missed.
Hope you all have a good race.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Update at long last

Wow what a busy month. Its been over a month since I last blogged and so much has happened on some fronts and so little has happened on others!

The positives
Lakeshore Century ride - Total cycle time of 5hr 30 ish (PR for me). However actual time was closer to 6hrs after 2 punctures, and only carrying 1 spare didn't help. But a nice passerby passed on her spare. The fist tyre went at about mile 20, so I knew it was going to be a long ride! The second went at mile 85. I had taken out my second spare to make room for more nutrition and in all my outdoor riding I had never had a puncture. Well that ride sure made up for it! It did give me practise at changing a tyre in race conditions which was great. I can get stressed when I am really hurrying!

Finished very dehrydrated, and really need to drink more on the bike. This was my failing last year and I just don't seem able to take on enough water. I think i need to be drinking a sports bottle every 30 mins as well as taking on more carbs on the bike. NUUN is great for the salt, but I miss out on the carbs.
Looking at the tyres it doesn't look like a puncture but more of a burst valve.

Babies - Both are growing and getting their personalities. We are at the smiling, and squeaking (talking) stage. They did really well in the UK, and they were great on the plane.. slept pretty much the whole flight there and back which was a big relief. They got to meet all the friends and family as they were karted around the country and passed from person to person and they handled it really well. Also think we have the sleeping through the night bit sorted, to bed at 10.30 and they sleep through to 6am - 7am.

The negatives
Up to the beginning of the month training had been going really well, I had completed 90% of the IM plan to date and I was feeling happy about myself. The century ride confirmed that I am stronger this year on the bike and that had been my primary goal.
However... the first week of Sept was spent packing and getting ready to travel so much of that week was lost to training, then I spent a week in Poland with meetings from 7.30am through to dinner meetings until midnight and I only managed a 4 mile run that week. Then the next week I was in the UK and spent most of that week racing around the country visiting friends and family and only got a 2 hour mountain bike ride (hill rides).

So I am back at the point of being fearful about Florida, I had a nightmare the other day about how I finished the swim in 1hr 40 (25mins slower than last year) and was relieved to have made the cutoff, ran up to T1 and then remembered I'd only done 1 lap of the swim, I sat there knowing I could not run back and complete the second lap (amazed I even contemplated it) and not knowing what to do. Woke at that point so not sure what I would have done!!
I know I have not done enough training and with only 1-2 weeks of real training left, I am in survival mode. I have not let my fitness drop too much from last year so I still have some of that in my legs. I reverted back to the IM plan the moment we got back, completed a 2.4mile swim in the pool on Monday (1hr 25) and finished feeling pretty good, so hopefully the swim is still there. Biked a hard 1 hour on Tuesday (19.5 miles) and felt pretty good. The key marker for my biking will be the century ride at the weekend in Ottawa IL. Ran 7 miles last night and felt fresh, so I keep telling myself I am not heading for a DNF on the 1st. Not looking for confidence building comments just focusing my own thoughts. As with last year there will be no time goals (well bar the big one) I just want to finish and I would like this year without the trip to the med tent at the end.

Other news
Having now travelled with the babies we have decided there is no way we can fly with the babies, all their stuff, my bike and all my tri stuff. When flying to the UK we had 3 large suitcases plus a bike box with the stroller in it. The hire car in the UK was packed solid!
After a long discussion it has been decided my bike will get shipped down to Florida. So that has now been booked and my bike will go via tribike transport (please no horror stories). I can also ship my tristuff in a separate bag with my bike. Meaning we do not have to get a massive hire car to put it all in.

Flights, hotel etc are all booked, and bar the nightmares and fears I am really looking forward to IM. Only 30 days to go!

Monday, September 1, 2008

My update, trips to europe and florida

Work is sending me to Poland for a week, so I am taking the opportunity to take the girls (including Gemma) back to their other home land (UK), I will spend a week in Krakow, and then spend a week in the UK with the girls. Apologies in advance to anyone on the same flight as us, Emma likes to talk a lot and her internal volume is not quite dialed in!
So because of this we had to get them passports.
Their US passports arrived and they can now come travelling. We have this trip to the UK in Sept, then Florida in Nov, and then back to the UK for Christmas. so they will be doing lots of flying. Also planning a new year marathon so somewhere else for them to go.

I just have to sort how I will balance my training while I am away (any advice?), swimming and running should be fine but biking could be more difficult.

Tac boy gave me some advice on my training for Florida, I am not like Lana who goes to Bigun, a 1x Ironman I seek out the real expert Tac Boy, he has 100% more experience! So on his advice I have focused on my long bikes, and really racked up some mileage in the past two weeks.. 450 miles on the bike this month, with 250 coming in the last 10 days. I also have my first century scheduled for next week.

We have also sorted our accomodation for Florida. Thanks to everyone for all their tips. We have decided to stay at The Inn as its close to the start and on the run course so Gemma can take the babies back during the day. Ian thanks for this suggestion.

Now it is just a case of sorting the hire car, and working out how we are going to be able to pack all this stuff. They have almost as much "stuff" as I do with all my tri kit.

We are then spending a second week in Venice after IM to relax and recover.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Florida Accomodation??

So its time to start thinking about accommodation for florida, where is everyone else staying? Any recommendations? Last year was the ant infested Days Inn (not staying there again)!
Looking at vrbo, but can't remember where the condos are.

I want to be within a mile of the start so Gemma can easily take the babies back to the hotel room. Also would be nice to be near other bloggers.

My training is going well, the past week (and so is next week) has been tough though managed to get a confidence building 2.5 hour run yesterday and a 3000m swim earlier on in the week and have managed 5 hours cycling since saturday plus some other smaller bits. Tomorrow is a brick session of a 2 hour bike and an hour run. Not massive numbers compared to other people but with the twins demanding time when I would like to be sleeping its been tough! I think my fitness is comparable to last year so hopefully I am doing enough training.

Raced 2 weeks ago in the Chicago distance classic with my training buddy, had a really nice race and got him through in a PR which was fantastic. Though I'm sure we should have been faster as my Garmin measured it at 13.6 miles.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Review of what I use

I thought it was about time I reviewed some of my kit.

Anti Friction Products
My first marathon (London) was back in 1997 and I went with the plasters option for my nipples... yeah that worked for all of about 14 miles and by the end I had 2 little red targets on my chest! And then pain for about 2 weeks afterwards (plus sores in lots of other bodily places (lets just say I struggled to walk and sit and it wasn't because of blisters).

My second London marathon was in 1999 and this time I decided I'd go with vaseline. It worked and I didn't get the bleeding nipples as in 97 however I found it stained my clothes and was messy on my hands. So when I got back into endurance sport in 2006 I was introduced to Body Glide.

Since then I have used it at the Chicago Marathon in 2007, and the Florida Ironman in 2008 (plus all my other events) and it has served me well (through all 14 hours of my IM!).

I find it stops blisters on the feet, wetsuit burn on the neck, nipple rub, and wherever else I can get the stick to stop the rub, without the mess of vaseline, via deodarant stick and without staining my clothes.

Body Glide were kind enough to send me some new sun screen body glide to try out and I have been using this for the bike (lower back, and neck) as I find sunscreen rubs off whereas body glide stays on even when I've swam before. On the rides I have done this year it has worked perfectly, though forgetting to put sunscreen elsewhere has meant burns!

Oh and I love it when I tell people I need to get more body glide.. their faces are pictures as I explain exactly what body glide is.


Received my new Rudy helmet from BfitBday and it fits like a glove. When I first saw it I questioned whether I would over heat in it. Especially as if you slide up the visor it covers the vents.

Having worn it on a couple of rides including a 56 miler I can confirm it does not keep my head too hot even with the visor up covering the vents. It fits snuggly and does not move around on my head. Oh and I feel fast!!

The one minor complaint.. Not sure whether I have big ears or I ride with my head to an angle but the sides of the helmet grip the side of the face, and theres a really small bit of plastic that rubs the top of my left ear. For future rides I plan on either trimming the soft plastic or rubbing some body glide on there to stop it rubbing.

I have been using gels as part of my training for the past 3 years, and have mainly used Power gels and Gu's. Gus were my first choice and suited me well however I would find them a bit thick for my palate when I was slightly dehydrated. Last year half way through IM training and on the advise of Roman I switched to power gels (specifically the ones with extra sodium) and found they are far more runny than the Gus and go down more easily while exercising. This year I have switched to the apple flavour and love them. I can really feel the effect when I take them.

Nuun and Gatorade all the way. I am a really big fan of Nuun (Kona Cola), I find it really works for me, without the bloating I get from other drinks. I tend to avoid Gatorade on the bike as I bloat on it, but I love it on the run and find it really refreshing.
For a post exercise recovery drink you can't beat a glass or pint of chocolate milk.

My Newtons were my new purchase for this year and its taken me some time to get used to them. To begin with I suffered immensely from blisters on the ball of my foot (behind the big toe). Runners High and Tri where I brought the shoes worked with me and replaced the shoes and switched me to a slightly different version of the newtons. I still have suffered slightly with blisters however I think some of this is just my foot getting used to running on the balls of my feet rather than my heel strike. The past few runs of an hour plus with the aid of Body glide have seen no blisters at all, so hopefully my feet have finally got used to them.