Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Aftermath

It's Wed, back to work, company gone.. NOW I'm tired!  It has been a REALLY fast week, kind of a blur! I can't believe how quickly everything went.  I also can't believe I haven't really sat down/rested since about Thursday last week.

Reflecting back, I'm sad I missed much of the pre-race AM.  I didn't really hang/chat with anyone as I was a bit frantic with the ambulance, but I thanked my brother for taking my 'issue' of the day away. I also told him if he didn't want to see me race, there were other ways out of it. He made it to the finish line though.

After the race was great.  It was so awesome to have my friends there and honestly being last I had what was left of the finish line to myself.  That was pretty cool, even though the shoot with all the ironman logos and the photo area was gone, WHO CARES!? right?

I didn't feel that fatigued after the race.  My body is fine with the exception of a couple EDS related pains.  Quads, Hamstrings, Arms, all GREAT!  I ran MY race and I didn't push to limits that would bonk, or just make me a pile of mush.  My foot and hip still hurt though.  They are both out of place and I will see the chiropractor to put them back today. I do believe if my foot was in the right place I would have been 20min or so faster on the run,  but OH WELL :).

I also have a nasty blister on my little toe.  I had a picture but I'll spare you.  It really looks like someone scalped my toe, 100% of the skin is gone from about 50% of the toe.  

But that's it!.. really!  I feel great!  I love the support from all of you, it was super awesome!

Of course though, there had to be one buzzkill, right? I thought "do I write about it or not?" well I am, partly because this woman is inconsiderate, partly because I want people to think about things before they post them publicly (yea I know this blog is public).

A woman complained about me on the Amica 70.3 facebook page.  Well not me, but she was mad that I posted my awesome finish photo over there.  Seriously though, cool picture if I do say so myself.

She complained that they arbitrarily pulled people from the course and she shouldn't have been pulled since I wasn't. This is from her: 

"....And if you say there are sbr cutoff times than that should be for everybody. Anybody who doesn't make the cutoff should be pulled. Especially the part at the athlete meeting when it was said 81/2 hours is the official cutoff time. So hmmmm how can someone finish in 10:05? Why didnt anybody say there was an unifficial cutoff and as long as you cross the finish line whenever you still get your time posted AND a medal?? I mean good for the woman who crossed last. But that also could have been me. . But I DNF BECAUSE I FOLLOWED THE RULES"

She said on her personal page "On the ironman face pages it clearly shows a woman who took ten hours to complete the much for cutting her off at the time cutoffs. "

Well, I have a few things to say about this.  First of all, 10 hrs is the CLOCK time, not my finish time.  I finished in 9:31.  Since the last wave went off at 7am,  I was :31 min over the cutoff. NOT TWO HOURS LADY!  

Second I made EVERY SINGLE CUTOFF except the FINISH.  It is very clear in the rules that you WILL be pulled if you do not meet the cutoffs for swim, bike, and loop 1 of the run.  I called and made sure, I said  "will you stop me from walking the streets of Providence if I don't make the final by 8 hrs 30 min after the last swim wave?" I was told, no but your chip will be pulled and you will have to sign a waiver.   Fine with me!

I did everything I could to make my cutoffs and did it just fine!  8:15AM was the swim cutoff, I was outta there by 7:25AM.  12:30 was the bike cutoff, I was outta there by 11:40PM.  1:55PM was the first loop of the run cutoff, I was outta there by 1:45.  

Now the lady that thinks she was treated unfairly and that I didn't follow the rules:  She started at 6:05, and took 1hr 25 min for the swim with a 10 min transition time to get to her bike!   Getting her out of the swim area at 7:40.  She got to mile 47 and was pulled at approximately 12:30.  This means she was pacing to  take 5 hrs 30 min on the bike!  Last month She posted on the Amica facebook page that the "bike wasn't bad" and the "run hills were ok."  She also posted "I had a PR on my Providence half marathon: 3:06"  I have a question on this, how did she expect to not get pulled with times like that?  If she were my workout buddy I would have said "get it in gear sister, know your times."  Now if she could pull off another 3:06 (which she wouldn't compare like doing a standalone run), she would have had about 10:40 to finish.  A full HOUR behind me, and 100 minutes after the cutoff! 

I would normally be super encouraging to people that struggle, but she didn't have issues (her wall is PUBLIC), and she wanted to blame me. The only issue she thinks she has is that "that woman had 10 hrs to finish".  She had an extra 50 minutes to get to that run cutoff!  That's a TON of extra time. If anything lady, you were given a huge benefit over me. 

I have a problem with her demeaning my finish.  She did write back to me that "I should be happy I got to cross the finish line... and she didn't mean anything mean."   Well, I worked for it, knew EXACTLY what I had to do to make it happen, and I DID!!

I'm not particularly worried about me, I finished.. and other than my swim which I'm a little mad at, I'm very happy with my race.  That 10 min extra on the swim wouldn't have made a difference.  My bike was exactly where I thought it would be, actually about 20 min faster.   My run could have been better but I had a collapsed ankle and a hip out of place, so that's what it is!

She shouldn't have brought me into her excuse for 'not finishing.'  ESPECIALLY publicly. Well guess what lady, now you're public too!  Ironman did exactly what they said they would.  I would never blame someone else for my  race! It is MY RACE, I KNEW what I needed to do..


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Monday, July 9, 2012

I finished a 70.3!

Yup, I finished the Providence Half Ironman! and YUP that's off the bucket list!  This week has been crazy, the weather has been nuts which in turn flairs up the EDS.  I thought going in I was going to be screwed.  I decided I DIDN'T CARE, I was going to ignore any pain.   I dedicated this race to Abby, my friend's 3 year old fighting brain cancer.  The caption says "Courageous 3 year old fighting cancer. Today my pain is nothing.. 4 Abby"  Any time I would have a hard time,  I just started singing "I run for life " from Melissa Etherdge! It was also an experience like the PMC, so many people commenting and cheering "for Abby."

Pre Race:
My family is here, mom, dad, brother and my mom's friend came up from Pittsburgh.  I was SUPPOSED to have Fri/Mon/Tue off from work, but someone left the team and I had to pick up some work.  To add insult to injury, not only did I have to do things DURING hours, but also after and again SATURDAY AM!  UGH!  So add that as stress #1.

I went to race pickup on Friday afternoon.  I was hoping to get ahead of the game.  Boy was I wrong!  It took me forever to get everything then it was completely stressful packing for a point to point transition!  You have to pack everything needed for the RUN in one bag, and everything needed for your bike in another.  Once you place your run bag in transition you don't see it AGAIN until it's time to run.  I had things in and out of that bag about 30x, as I went through the race in my head "oh I'll need that after swim..."

I woke up Sat, with intention on taking it easy.   I packed and went to the dropoffs, man that was a LONG day!?!  Everything is so far apart and annoying.

This is the run transition.  It is "CLEAN" transition too, so NOTHING can be out of your bag unless you're standing next to it.

The rack spaces were SOO close together! They told you that you 'had' to rack by the seat, but my bike is so tiny and it dangles if I do that.  I have to hang by handlebars or I will mess up my bike AND the ones on the side of me as it blows like a flag!

We got back so late on Sat, I just had time to eat and go to bed.  Of course I woke up at 1AM instead of 2:30!  And of all things, a MIGRAINE!  I started to feel one on Sat and thought "no frickin way, you CANNOT have me today."  I took some drugs and ignored it. (see above Abby pic).

Race Day:
We loaded EVERYONE in the van at 3:30AM: my mom her friend, my dad, brother, John and TWO DOGS!  I got to transition with my mom's "golden ticket" as we joked.  Her handicapped sticker let us park 3 feet from transition.  It was nice because they just went down to the water and had a GREAT front row bench seat for the race.

I went into transition to begin my day. I pumped my tires and then my whole plan was shot. This is what happened next:

John came to find me "I have to take your brother to the hospital." well, his pain was so intense we opted for the AMBULANCE.  I spent the next 45 min standing there, making sure he's ok and of course taking pictures :).  Turns out he had a kidney stone, but I wouldn't know anything for several hours as I was going out to race!

So with that, they were closing transition and I had to give John my phone and get my rear end to the beach.  I hadn't done ANY of my pre-race things.  I didn't recheck my bike, tape on my feet, nothing.   Luckily I got down to the water and got in. Once there I realized my tape on my foot was loose. GREAT just GREAT! I ran back to see if anyone had any scissors to see if I could trim it.  Then I hear the national anthem.  UGH another thing I missed!  I was quite disheveled at this point.

A few min to go and my wave was off!  The water was SOO hot, I was actually sweating.  No wetsuit, and no tempo trainer too.   This made me slower, but the water was so thick and it really felt like it was a mile longer than it should have been.  I don't mind swimming and can swim for days, but this ws just LOOOONNNG!   A few men tried to climb into me and I swim on the OUTSIDE.  No need my friends, no need. One dude was swimming next/on to me, and kept hitting me so I had a few wide strokes with my fingers extended and he went away.  Other than that the swim was mostly uneventful.

About 1/4 mile in that tape on my foot was flapping with my kick!  I knew I had to take it off or I'd get a blister later.  I also knew I NEEDED the tape to keep my foot together for the run, ugh choices!  I reached back and pulled the tape off, stuck it down my shirt so I didn't litter the pond.  When I got out, I couldn't find it in my 'girl pocket' so I figured I just lost it. **note when taking a shower later Sunday I found the tape.. stuck to the outside of my chest!!!!**

Got out of the swim and onto the bike!  I wasn't happy with my swim time but I was racing "my race" and that's what my body wanted to do yesterday!

The bike was from hell, but doable.  I KNEW we had to climb for the first 45 miles.  I drove the course AND part of it crosses roads I ride often.  Long rolling hills and one MISERABLE hill at mile 28.  Sun was in your face, no shade, and it was LONG!  I was dripping sweat into my sunglasses and my eyeballs and there was nothing I could do about it as I needed to keep climbing.  Once I got to the top of that, I didn't have a dry spot on me to clean the glasses so I had to take them off!  

The last bit of the course was downhill but crappy roads.  You had to zigzag all over the place and cross about 3 or 4 railroad tracks.  I would have loved to FLY, but I just couldn't safely do that!

Overall I was pretty happy with my bike. I anticipated with those hills I would be between 4-4:30, I was expecting 4:30 actually.  4:10 is just fine!   I felt good getting off the bike too, (does that mean I didn't work hard enough?) Actually I don't care, I ran "my race."

Then to the stupid run.  Man I hate running, yet I can't understand why I have done now 4 half marathons this year!  Although what I did wasn't "RUN" but it's not called the "WALK" portion.  

I made the first loop with people still around.  I was desperate to get to the first loop by 1:55 as this was the cutoff for removal from the course. I made it, but not much time to spare.  That missing tape on my foot was a disaster. My ankle was collapsed by mile 1.  Fun!  Then I had a blister that looked like someone scalped my toe!  The entire top of the toe was split off.. also FUN!

As I was coming around the corner to get to loop 1 finish, a cop stops me "are you Laura?" -- I of course think it's about my brother.  He said "someone was looking for you."  um ok?  I kept going, next cop said the same thing.  um ok?  I finally get up around the corner and see John.  He didn't call the police on me.  Then I see my friend Pauline.. it was her LOL!

Loop 2 she decided to come with me, she brought a cowbell and chased me with it..... for six miles! Love her :).  I also had a police escort!

 My swim coach and friend Stacey joined us for the last 2 miles too.  She tried to get me to run HAHAHA!

I'm not sure where this pic was taken but I'm guessing it's about the time that they took my chip and made me sign a waiver that I wouldn't get run over, but then another police officer said "you know they're waiting for you, they are holding the finish line until you get there."

I can't believe they held it for me.  All the workers stopped what they were doing to come to the finish and cheer me on.  Thanks to my coach Hollie, without your guidance this would not be possible. Thank you to everyone of my friends  & family that stayed too!  It makes a difference..

Also thanks to John I couldn't have done this with you!

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Race Day Anticipation

The week is here! I'm a weird combo of stressed and excited.  My coach Hollie  has been super encouraging and so have my friends.  A few of us keep going back and fourth of being freaked out ourselves, then  we suddenly switch gears to the "you can do it" song and dance as soon as we hear a comrade freaking out!

I THINK I can, for real though I KNOW my numbers, I know what I can do and the gap is TOO close to call!    Hollie has been great.  She talked me off a ledge yesterday.  I really am worried about my times.   I know my times for each sport.  I am ahead of many in my training and 'mental' preparedness, however my stupid EDS puts me behind in many physical respects.  I have done the distance in each sport, MANY times. Some people going into a Half may not have done this many miles until race day!  My brain knows what to expect, I just need my body to cooperate.

I did an open water, no wetsuit swim on Tue, 1.2 miles in 40 min.  I think I'll be faster than that on race day. My swim wave starts at  6:30AM so that puts the time around 7:20-7:25AM to start the bike.

The 56 mile course is very hilly. You pretty much climb the first 45 miles, then when you come into Providence the roads are a mess, you cross several railroad tracks and just have to hang on.  I will do well on the bike If I have room to descend.  It sounds stupid but I can descend and hit the flats like a speed demon, but if there's no room to pass on those opportunities I may be screwed. I am an absolute terrible climber, so I have to hope I have room on those downhills!  I should be between 4-4:30 on the bike.  That puts me into T2 by noon and off to the RUN!  

I thought I might like running by now.. NOPE I don't!  But to get this off my bucket-list, I have to run my 4th half marathon for the year!  I'm a 15 min miler and I'm not afraid to admit it.  I'll actually be pretty darn happy if I can pull 15's for the whole 13.1 miles!  I should get to loop 1 of the 2 loop run course by 1:45 (1:55 is the cutoff).  I can crawl for a little bit, then I HOPE to get back to the finish line by 3:30!  

I hate how close my times are to the cutoffs!

I sit here and dwell on this whole thing, and another thing that is so irksome.  I don't expect people to understand what goes into training for a Half Ironman.  Only those that DO it (or the tri-widows) would get it, but I want to walk away from some people in just disgust.  They think its like going for a little hike over the weekend.  I was basically asked to not take PTO from work, or to 'reschedule' the race. - UM NOT!   Luckily my direct boss gets it!

Another of my favorites is "good luck in your Marathon."-- Um, no.. I don't wish to run 26 miles, but this is 70.3!  I bet half the people that do 'marathons only' couldn't workout HARD for 5 hours BEFORE They started their 'run.'  Yea Bring it on One sport only people :).

Now that I've said what some of you are thinking... onto a different subject:

It's  pretty funny to see people that are freaking out that are SOOO much faster than I am!  They are a good 5-7 min /mile faster than me on the run and are still freaking out.  Hey it is what it is now. 

The training is done!
The race is Sunday!  
We just have to bring our game face and attitude that WE CAN DO IT!

Because you know what? we WILL do it!

I know I WILL because I am dedicating this to Abby!  

You will see me with her picture on my back.

"Courageous 3 year old Abby fighting cancer, My pain today is nothing."

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Mental Cluster F

I know I should be writing LOTS more, especially since I'm almost ready to start my Half Ironman.  The irony is that I am getting so close to my goal, and DON'T HAVE TIME to write!  If I could dictate while running or riding I would have 387 more posts!

The last month or so has been interesting, well really a mental and physical cluster f.  Trying to schedule in a full time job, partime training (yes you need as much time as a parttime job), and just life's little chaos's! 

I don't want to complain, but apparently everyone that get to this stage does.  They go through fear, anxiety, confidence, back to fear, disgust, 'what the hell did I do that for?"  rinse and repeat!

I've completed a ton of races this year, including 3 half marathons!  Seriously? that alone is insane for me!  in Feb I could not run for 10 min without WALKING!  I'm not fast, but I get the job done.  I'm super slow, but I don't think I will ever be 'faster.'  I blame the Ehlers Danlos!  

I've become a better biker through this process, although I still can't climb for crap!  This could be a problem on Sunday.  The last month has sent me through so many emotions.  "I'm ready"  to "SH!T there is no way I can do this."  I even called and asked about the disability wave.  I really never considered myself disabled with the Ehlers Danlos but it can REALLY slap me in the face! (and legs, and arms, and head, and hips.....). I don't know how I feel about things like EDS not being part of the 'disability' category.  I certainly am not there with the people who are missing limbs, are BLIND, or other more severe disabilities than mine.  I do feel bad for others who have EDS, or other invisible illnesses - there are no breaks. But  I have to think, should I there be? Not really.

Last week, I felt that my legs could NOT carry me through the run.  The Fairfield Half Marathon was a disaster.  The weather was uncooperative and my EDS was aflame!  My hips were super out of place, I had a migraine, and my stomach stopped working.  I managed to get to mile 10 before lying on the side of the road and throwing up!  I just thought to myself, "WTF??? HOW AM I GOING TO DO THE 70.3???"

Ericka was there with me, encouraging and stayed with my pathetic pace.  I eventually got back up and finished.  We did not make the cutoff, but we FINISHED!  I was so deflated, I figured that's exactly how next Sunday would be.  Unless they drag me off the course, I will wander to the finish line at some point.

A couple days later I tried to ride the official bike course.  It was 95 degrees out and HILLY!  I lasted 6 miles before I turned around.  I spent 4 days doing NOTHING, just sitting around eating!  The mental stress of 'not finishing' is pretty unbearable.  You sit there and think "I've spent 10-14 hrs a week for 7 months, countless $$ on coaching, gear, entry fees,etc" and I'm going to throw it away?

My brain says "you can do it." my body says "are you CRAZY?"  But this apparently is normal.

I think about the swim, mostly no problem except there's a big unknown of the wetsuits.  I am faster in a wetsuit, and I could use that extra 10-15 min!  I hope to finish that in 45-50 min!  The bike is a big unknown, I was planning on finishing that in about 4 hrs, but  it is super hilly and if it's 95 degrees, well it may take me 5HRS!  Then there's the run! I will be 3:15, unless I have a run like the Fairfield Half!  I just hope my legs work.  That is such an odd thing to need to 'hope' for, but that's part of who I am.  If I have an EDSey day, I  am like a rubber band and my joints don't work properly!

So, I've done the training, I have my gear.  I need mother nature to cooperate and I really just have to hope for the best! I will give what I can and we'll see if I make it to the State House (on time).

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