I diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid it! OMG – I REALLY REALLY diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid it and if you couldn’t tell, I am just a tad bit excited. I should really be sleeping right now, but I can’t! I have such a mixed emotion of feelings running through my head, I didn’t know was possible. I am excited! I want to scream, I want to laugh, I want to cry, I want to hug Jorge (my coach) – I really hope he is reading this because he is going to have to brace himself for probably the biggest hug EVER, I am super stoked about what lies ahead, and it would be a lie if I didn’t say that I am just a little bit “scared”. Of course I can’t forget to thank to all those around me that make my dream come true – my family/friends – this is for ALL of you too! Let’s ALL go to KONA baby!
I am honestly still not quite sure it has all sunk in yet, but I know that 109 days from todayI will be toeing the line of my FIRST EVER full ironman and there is NO turning back now! What better way to lose my ironman virginity than in Kailua- Kona Hawaii, right? Somebody PINCH me now!
And here comes my weekend recap. You better grab a drink and a snack, because this may be a long one! I would like to say, I had a perfect race, but I didn’t. I am very proud for overcoming the adversity that I was faced with, and obviously I am ecstatic about the final outcome. Now without further adieu, here comes the recap of my adventure to Lubbock, TX and the Buffalo Springs 70.3.
I arrived in Lubbock, TX on Thursday early afternoon. I have received multiple warnings about what I was about to see, but I was still quite in shock when I got off the tiny little plane (I may have smacked my head once or twice trying to get my carry on bag into the overhead space), and hopped in my little red companion for the next few days. Lubbock isn’t exactly a lively town, and the highway surroundings – well there really aren’t many. I went to check in to the host hotel, but because my room wasn’t ready yet, I explored the surrounding area, and found Barnes & Noble, and couple of quality reads!
The rest of the Thursday was quite uneventful minus the trip to Super Walmart for some groceries, and Sunday really couldn’t come fast enough.
I got a great night sleep, and set out to check out the venue! And quite the venue it was. I decided to drive the course first, just because at that time I thought it would be a GREAT idea to do my EZ 35 min run with a few pick ups right around the time that I would be running during the race to really see what kind of heat I’ll feel on race day. Did I mention yet that Texas is hot? So I am driving, and driving, and driving and the scenery is NOT changing – well there really was NO scenery. Below are a few shots I snapped while driving the 56 mile bike course, and parts of the run course.
Run course pics: The entrance into the energy lab II road and the "beautiful" view :)
The Not So scenic bike course pics in no particular order:
The only friends I saw along the way:
They were actually quite amused that I was taking pics of them
Better make that turn right here or else it will end in dirt!
Aaaand the never changing scenery:
Different spot, same view:
From the top of the hill (who knew there were hills in Texas!)
One of the U- turns
The MAIN road scenery and more friends :)
During the 56 miles, I may have seen one other car, many more gigantic tractors and other machines that I had no idea what those were called. The race director was already out there marking the course and the few potholes that were there all while also riding a weird looking “machine”, I later realized he was sweeping the roads for us! The course wasn't beautiful, but the organization was top notch! The course had a few (7 to be exact) hills in it but nothing to really be worried about. It was really going to be the heat, and strong headwinds that were going to play the major factor for me.
After that I went for a quick swim in the Buffalo Springs Lake.
I think it took me longer to put my wetsuit on than I swam for, and in the process I managed to “poke” a hole in my TYR Hurricane. Aaaaaaaaaargh – I swear that wetsuit is so hard to get on, and so easily “ripped”. The lake was warm, and super dirty – like you couldn’t even see your arm in front of you dirty. Note to self – try NOT to swallow water during the swim which is easier said than done.
Swim was followed by a 5 mile run on the run course without any water in the heat of the day! NOT exactly one of my smartest decisions to date. It was HOT, I was cooking, and I didn’t even run hard – all I could think about was HOW am I going to run 13.1 in this heat? Flashbacks from my awful run from Vegas last September were starting to creep in – Nooooooooooo.
I was all done for the day by lunch time, and because there isn’t exactly that much to do around here, I actually kept my feet up for the rest of the day except for when I had to pick up my “Fireball” – he made the trip with TriBike transport unharmed! Thank you TriBike! I also had a great dinner with Pat Dwyer (BTT friend) and his wife (thanks guys for letting me tag along), and for finding a good dinner spot!
Saturday was here before I knew it, and I got another great night sleep. Pat and I went for a 10 mile spin on our bikes. We pretty much rode the run course and boy was it windy! We were both riding discs, and we were both questioning the call, but it turned out to be a good one. “Fireball” was ready to go J and my legs felt great!
I then hopped in for a quick swim in my TYR Torque speedsuit this time, and water felt so nice. Nice enough that I figured race wouldn’t be wetsuit legal, and if it was, staying cool would be a bit of a problem. Bike/swim was followed by a HUGE breakfast! My favorite pre-race meal – and I ate like a champ! Bowl of oatmeal with fruit, 2 gigantic pancakes, 3 egg whites, hash browns and orange juice to wash it all down. YUM! Rest of the day again, was spent mostly in my hotel room, just relaxing. I even took a nap. J Then it was time to eat dinner, and try to fall asleep as 3:15 alarm was going to be here before I knew it.
And now, let’s finally get to one of the most exciting days of my young triathlon life.
My alarm went off way too early but I was ready! For once actually awake, and ready to get this party started. I almost ate my entire bagel with pbj, and a banana and drove over to the site. Due to the early start most of morning was pitch black, but the sun rose as we were ready to get started. I walked through the transition at least 10 times so that I didn’t forget where my bike was and so that I could be in and out of there FAST! (Now let’s remember this comment later). I visited the PP many times, and before I knew it, I was putting on my wetsuit. In the process, of course I managed to put ANOTHER freaking hole in it! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh what is wrong with me! I warmed up quickly, and it was time to line up for the start of the race.
The Swim: (36:11)
This was the HARDEST and MOST PHYSICAL swim of my life! I was in the 2nd wave after the pro’s and all females were together. I have no idea how many of us were together, but most of the swim was a boxing match. As a matter of fact the whole first half of the swim was insane. I kept getting punched from left, and right, getting pulled and pushed down from behind, and I was giving away my fair share of the same – there was literally just NOWHERE to go. I have been working pretty hard on my swim, and so I have made a deal with myself. No more, old lady like sighting and braking my rhythm to pop my head up, no more sighting every 4 strokes because honestly, I don’t go very far with my 4 strokes. I was going to count to 15 – 20, trust my line and only then look up. It takes me anywhere from 18-20 strokes to swim 25 yards so even if I didn’t swim straight how far of the course could I really be, right? Well that went out the window fast because honestly I just kept bumping into people, and getting bumped. After the half way point, I finally found some clear water, and did just what I set out to do, and I think it is what helped me to my new swim PR of 36:11. Now just imagine if the boxing match could have been avoided, I know I would have swam sub 35, and that makes me super happy. I know I still have long ways to go, but have no doubt I WILL get to that 30 min mark. I didn’t swim with a watch so I had no idea of my time, but the girl whose bike was next to mine shared her swim time with mine, so I was excited to get on with the bike – good swim – CZECH! Now let the (excuse my French) shit show begin.
Transition 1: (2:08)
Earlier, I made sure to “remember” where my bike was racked, right? In those 36 minutes, I somehow forgot and took the wrong turn down the wrong row. I actually went one row too far and when I got roughly to the middle of it, my bike wasn’t there. Now imagine the panic, with my wetsuit hanging off my hips when I couldn’t see “Fireball” and the numbers I was reading weren’t anywhere near mine. Panic has set in and I finally realized I was in the wrong row! Crap! I ducked under the set of bars, hoped over to the correct row and finally spotted “Fireball”, but it felt like it took an hour! I am actually pretty sure it was quite comical! OMG – I really couldn’t believe it! My transitions are usually super fast, and now this, not now. I was so frustrated with myself and it didn’t help that there was literally a traffic jam trying to get out of the transition area through to the “Bike Out”. I had to stop – this is a race people – move and get out of the way please - every second counts in my mind!
Let the shit show continue. I finally hopped on my bike, more than ready to work my way through the field. I climbed the first hill, which is followed by a screaming downhill that finishes by going over a bridge. I must have been going pretty close to 40 mph when I hit the bridge and heard a loud noise. Oh oh. I look down and my 2 weeks old joule bike computer is GONE! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, OMG! No, no, no, no – this CAN’T be happening right now! This thing was far too expensive to leave behind, but so was getting here, and I came too far to stop during a race. I wanted this Kona slot BAD! My heart sunk, and my brain made the decision for to me. I slammed on my brakes turned around, and went back to look for it. I looked around for couple minutes and just didn’t see it L. I couldn’t waste anymore time. There were couple of volunteers on the golf cart collecting water bottles and whatever else fell of people’s bikes so I told them if the find it to give it to Lost & Found. (so far it hasn’t been returned L) . So computer less, powerless, timeless, distance less, just simply BLIND, I set out on my way. UGH! I never ride without my computer, how am I am going to know when to eat, drink, pop salt caps – I wasn’t exactly in the happiest places of all, but it was time to GO GO GO , if I wanted that slot! I quickly remembered that since the aid stations were every 10 miles, and I knew roughly what time I should be able to ride, I could figure out how long I have been on the course. I also asked couple of times when going uphill by people how long into the ride and how far they were. I did get a couple of weird looks, but when I mentioned I lost my computer, they at least didn’t think I was totally crazy! I kept working my way through the field, and I was feeling good. I kept hydrating and pouring an entire bottle all over myself at ever aid station – definitely worth the slow down. I wasn’t hot, and I kept moving. The headwind got pretty stiff for the last 15 miles, but I love my aero position, and I really believed it actually played to my advantage. I kept passing people the entire 56 miles and I rode aero even on most uphills hiding from the wind. I am very happy with my final time, and really would like to see my power file if I could, but we will never know. I felt great getting off the bike, and I rode right around the time Jorge said I would, so I am again happy with my bike time though if I didn’t stop at all, I could have broken 2:30 which would have been sweet!
Transition 2: (1:20)
A lot faster than the first one! Phew! I found my running shoes in no time J, and I only saw one bike racked so I assumed there was one girl in front of me. Time to go get her. In reality there were two but somehow I missed Ashley.
Guess what – my GARMIN worked and I didn’t lose my watch!!!!!!!! J And yes – it was HOT! Like 95+ hot and there really wasn’t anywhere to hide. The plan was to take it out relatively EZ, make it up the hills EZ, survive the energy lab, and then push the last 6.5 miles to the finish. I started out controlled, and my pace was GREAT! I didn’t feel like I was pushing it, and my legs felt awesome. I passed the girl whose bike I saw racked very close to mine in the first mile, and I thought I could be in first at that time, but because nobody had their ages on the calf you really didn’t k now. I kept taking ice at every water stop and half the cup went down my pants and other half I held on to in my hands. That strategy worked for good 8 miles and the ice in my hands really kept me cool from aid station to aid station. I won’t bore you with my splits, but I did actually negative split the energy lab and felt really good until the last hill between miles 9 and 10. I wasn’t able to grab ice there because it was too crowded and I chose not to stop. Maybe that was a mistake, but I was never quite able to get the mojo back after that, and the last 3 miles lasted FOREVER. I kept trying to pick it up, once I grabbed some ice at mile 10, but I was so hot at that point, that the ice cubes that would last me a mile before, would seriously evaporate from my hands in less than a minute. I could feel the heat rising from the palms of my hands. I kept trying to pick it up, and I was running scared – I had no idea who was behind me, but there was no way I was getting beat in the last 3 miles of the run. I was sooooo glad to be done! Not exactly my fastest run by far, but I felt much better than I did in Vegas back in September in similar heat, and I think I can figure this whole heat thing up and get faster in it. I am definitely not as “intimidated” by it as I was 24 hours ago. Proper cooling sure goes a long way.
Final Time: 4:55:13 (2nd AG, behind Ashley Johnson who had an awesome race). Great, super nice girl, and I am looking forward to seeing her in Vegas! It was very nice to meet you Ashley!
So here you have it. I came to Lubbock, Texas this weekend with one goal in mind and that was to qualify for KONA! I knew it was going to take a great race, and I knew I had to most likely win my AG. I didn’t have a perfect race, but I am very happy with the way I overcame adversity I faced today. It was my lucky day when Ashley decided to not take her Kona slot and told me right after the race so I didn’t have to wait till awards that night to find out we actually had 2 Kona slots anyways! I wanted it, and I wanted it bad. I had raced 2 tough races in the last 6 or so weeks, so I felt like all I have been doing was tapering and recovering, but all the work that went into this throughout the year (s) had paid off! It’s now 24 hours later, and I am still NOT sure I quite comprehend what happened yesterday.
I am going to KONA to compete in my first EVER full ironman! Holy Shit! It is for REAL and not just a dream anymore.
I say it every time, and he always says it’s all my hard work, BUT I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today, if it wasn’t for my coach Jorge Martinez (www.e3ts.com) (@coachJorgeM) He is much more than a great coach, and I think he deserves to come to Hawaii with me. What do you think?
Thanks to all for reading, and you can now follow my journey to Vegas and Kona! Why not do the double, right? J