Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ironman Arizona Race Report

Travel down to Arizona for this year's race was uneventful. It was actually quite relaxing to get down there a few days early and have relatively nothing to do except do some short little tune-up workouts (all engines need them!), meet up with peeps, and SHOP!

There were no pre-race panic attacks or major problems...except for forgetting my timing chip back at the hotel for the practice swim.  I may or may not have become hysterical/frazzled/stressed out, but Super Sherpa Husband Extraordinaire and my Number One Fan literally raced to the hotel and back, and I got my chip just in time to allow 20 minutes in the water. I wanted to get in the water and feel it.

It could have been colder. I have been working on this the entire year... envisioning a place or situation that could be worse. No matter how bad something seems, you can always tell yourself that it could be worse and then put your head down and get 'er done. Or that you are not going to die. That one had to be my favorite this year from Michelle: This will not kill you. Go. Do it. Like a machine.

It is sometimes a major battle in my head what I can and cannot accomplish in this sport. A little insight into my past: Many people have doubted whether I could be an competitive Ironman contender and told me that I would never achieve the time goals I wanted to achieve. But there are also many people who believed I can do whatever I set my mind to and have supported me, trained with me, and encouraged me. Take a guess who I call  my friends.

The day before the race, there are certain checks I like to make in the boxes. Water- fine. Pre race setup-check. Weather- couldn't be better.

Nothing was going to come between me and my day.

I woke up Sunday morning after two WHOLE hours of sleep. I am the world's best sleeper (after Suzy) except for the night before Ironman! It might have been due to the fact that our neighbors down the hall were partying all night, but mostly just nerves.

Nerves. Nerves are a good thing. They mean your body is ready to fight.

I quickly got dressed and forced breakfast down. Today was not going to be about bad choices, like not eating enough.  Breakfast- check.

I was nervous about being so far *away* from town but we found our trusty parking spot. No big deal! I remember walking towards transition and thinking to myself that the next time I saw my car I would be an Ironman. It doesn't matter how many times you do these things, the excitement of race morning it is always just like the first time. 

Run through transition- check. Drop special needs bags off- check. Have Super Sherpa check the bike from over the fence- check. I remember looking up at the sky and it just seemed as if it was going to be a great day. Kind of surreal and strangely calm. All systems go.

The swim was horrible. I normally am calm at the swim start, but today was different. For starters, there were some BIG men around me. I started far right and was close to the edge.  Bill caught the first ten minutes on his phone.  Ten minutes of me literally getting the shit kicked out of me. In those first ten minutes of the swim I lost my goggles three times.

I kept telling myself it could be worse. You can do this. But man was I battling in my head. Big time. It felt like it took forever to get to the turn, and the swim back was pretty uneventful. With how hard I worked in the pool this year and how much my swim has improved, I know I could have gone faster. I am making a pledge here and now to get over this swim start thing and swim to my potential. Anyone interested in doing this with me anytime soon? I am serious. But disappointment aside, I got out and saw the clock and moved on. My day was far from over. The fun was just about to start.

Oh, the bike. How I love thee! Ask Michelle about my biking at the beginning of the year. (It sucked.) But I stayed at it and put the work in day in and day out. Chasing power. Chasing cadence. Watching my heart rate. At 4am. At 6pm. At noon on Saturday. On my bike. By myself. If I was on the trainer, it was a few hours in silence for mental toughness. At Kona Camp I got called some choice words and got some confidence.

My goal for the bike was to keep it even the first lap. There was a slight headwind on the way out the first lap and a beautiful tail wind back. The second lap there was wind but I am not sure in what direction. I just know the third and final lap there was a headwind the whole way back home. Pressure on the pedals. Eat all your food. Keep drinking. Check. Check. Check. Stay on top of everything. You know what you need to do.  My goal was a 5:50.  I went under my goal and netted myself a bike PR. I didn't even know this coming off the bike. I had a watch on but couldn't do math at that point. I just took risks and Just. Kept. Pedaling. Imagine that! I pedaled! The whole damn time! Oh yeah! I felt good, like super good. Like a machine.

Heading out to the run I was feeling good. I truly felt like a machine out there. I really wanted to finish in the daylight.  Finishing in the daylight is tough in November, but was going to get there. Stay smooth. One foot in front of the other. Dig. My feel-good feeling lasted until about mile 18, and then started I walking through the aid stations and drinking Coke.  It is amazing how good Coke tastes during those last miles. I was running and hanging on and trying not to slow down too much. (It's not about how fast you go but about how much you don't slow down!)  On the third lap, I saw Bill and got the extra push from Michelle via Bill on the phone. That I had the fitness to do this. I have done it before. Do your thing.

Finish time 11:46.

 A 30 min PR. You betcha I am fired up.

The 12's are a thing of the past. But there is more in me. This I know. This I believe.

Thank you Team BSC for the great year and especially to Michelle. I have really enjoyed this past year and cannot wait for the next.

Now is a little rest, a few holidays. Some fuel for the fire. I feel my best years are yet to come. Next year Ironman Arizona 2013 will be different. That is for sure. Super Sherpa Husband Extraordinaire got inspired and signed up, too.

Yesterday he was talking about finishing together. That my friends, will not be happening.


  1. Like a machine! Classic. Love it!

    Congrats, sounds like you had a blast. Next year doing it with your hubby should be even more fun.

  2. I am so proud of you and happy for you! And ya, love the husband / wife rivalry! :)))

  3. Hahahaha! If Bill thinks he has even a fighting chance of keeping up with you, he better lay off the sweets :-D Love LOVE LOVE the report! Love LOVE LOVE the website (and pics) and LOVE LOVE LOVE the PR! ROCK.STAR.

  4. I'm so so so happy for you! Can't wait for the BSC party in AZ next year. It will be EPIC

  5. YES!!! I knew you could do it!!! :)

  6. Congratulations!!!! Great PR! You will have to fit in some training with Nigel too since he also signed up :)

  7. AWESOME PR and race - great to see you in AZ - ENJOY this success and your off season!!!

  8. Great race report Mary!!