Sunday, June 14, 2009

Liberty Tri Race Report...and Great Gatsby party!

So this weekend was my first half IM. It wasnt an official 70.3 by IM standards but from what i hear that just means that i dont have to pay as much entry fee and I dont get as many fancy toys/trinkets. Someday i will do one but for my first I wanted to sleep in my own bed.

I know that the video below should be at the end of the blog post but since i was too afraid i would lose it here it is. Thanks to fantastic Verve Teammate Sheryl and her hubby and kids for ( scaring me!) I mean chasing after me in the last 2 miles of the race! And editing this great clip:
And wow, i look a little hunched over there, but small steps are good. Very good!

I was pretty nervous about this race. The week of my taper I had some SI pains that I can trace to a few things, but the point wasnt how it happened but how to avoid going into my A race with pain. I sure wanted to be 100% physically bc Lord knows mentally I felt like a wet blanket!
When i had a few pep talks with coach Jen and all my supportive friends from FB, Blogland and real life ( ha ha..I do have friends i see off the internet!) I just kept up with the TRUST mantra.
Trust the training, trust that my body will be ok that day, trust that i wont get a flat, trust that If I stick to the plan ( nutrition, etc) I will be just fine. I sent coach Jen an email saying "Um so lets talk about panic attacks in the water. I mean it has been sooo cold here that I have been scared to swim for too long since i get so cold. Even with a wet suit." Jen emails me back..a one liner:
Julia, have you EVER had a panic attack in open water?
Um. No. Ok. MIND SHUT up.

So the week before I did all the stuff i know to do for the SIJ. It turns out i had a left upslip meaning my left Ilium was a tad higher on the left, so i had it adjusted and was sore. Sore but better. Went back on thursday and i was better. But i had been having pain with standing and with the pedal downstroke on the bike, not to mention some pain with running. So nervous i was..but the tune up went ok, not 100% still. gulp.

Race day dawns and I had my list of things in my head that kept me calm:

1) 1.2 miles is only 4 laps plus a bit on the track. Seems alot easier to visualize swimming that.
Why i dont know.

2) The water IS NOT going to be as cold as Square Lake where i swim. That is spring fed and one of the coldest lakes in the metro/outskirts.

3) Once you are on the bike you LOVE the hills and you love those courses. 2 laps and then it is just the TNT course add on. It will be mentally fine.

4) IF you get a flat..oops sorry. This was a positive list, but i did tape some of that Hutchinson Fast air to my Bottle carrier. Not that i really knew how to use it but i would have tried.

5) Once done with the bike then just stick to the plan. Run and keep moving forward.

So here we go...
Swim: It was fine. Nice. water was about 65 i think they said. I sighted well and had to work hard to get around those that had fallen off their waves. It was hard but I didnt feel EXHAUSTED and once i got into a groove I was actually enjoying it. I came out 2nd in my wave just behind that lady in yellow, who had better luck getting her wetsuit off than i did. Neck is sore so i must have sighted well.
Time 33:xx something or another. fine.
T1: Ok someone must have nearly clawed my time chip off my leg bc it was dangling there. And i have skinny ankles so i had to make sure to tuck it IN my socks. bike shoes on. Helmet on. Off I go. 2:20 ? Fine.

Here I am lifting my leg ...I mean mounting after i nearly got on too soon. this is the poster child for how NOT to do a flying mount. Coach, can we work on these at camp next year?

Bike: I mean what can i say..I was stressed about wearing arm warmers and I was SO glad i didnt have them on. My lower body/butt was cold to start. For the first 10 miles I really felt like my legs and my left glute ( dangerously close to that SIJ) were SO TIGHT. I was trying to spin it out a bit not lose focus or get down but when you are doing 56 miles and your legs/main movers ie GLUTES are not wanting to push and you see mile signs saying MILE 4..that is a bit depressing.
Finally around mile 12 I started to have some juice. It was like things just opened up. ( or maybe it was the green apple power gel..this is important to T2, stay tuned) but it was go go go from there. The course was lined with friends and family and Rich was there just hitting every spot on cue. He knew exactly where i was on the bike. So great.

The first one is coming up a short but steep hill. CY and JH and some Loud cheering was going down there. What a party! Thanks everyone. And the 2nd one was me chasing down some dude..looks like i was drafting but i wasnt.

As my butt pain eased and my legs came open It took alot of energy to have to work around the riders. I am not used to this, in bike racing and in TT's especially, we make a lot of effort to announce ourselves. I had ONE, yes ONE person, a male say "on your left" on hunter road. The rest of the people kinda snuck by as if I wasnt there. Now granted I keep a good line. I stay to the right as best i can, and there were more men passing me which was fine. But the ones that kinda started to annoy me were the women that I was back and forth with. I guess ANNOY isnt the word, but it was frustrating that some of them would brake and brake HARD at all the intersections and on any descent they would brake too. So i was constantly going by people on descents ( ha ha ha, that is a joke. remember I descend like a flower) I guess that is just triathlon and i need to get used to it. But it is more a comment on "Hey lady, you are losing ALOT of speed braking so much.." So into T2 I roll and...

T2: Rack the bike and shoes off, helmet off, belt in hand, gels..gels...gels???


ha ha, please take your shoes off and go thru the gel detector.
So who knows, but they were gone. I started rummaging in my bag and thought "oh heck," grabbed a raspberry and an apple HAMMER gel from the girl and ran on my way.
1:21 for all that messing around.

Run: So as i run out thinking "great, lets try something new on race day!" I just figured it would be fine. Raspberry was fine. it wasnt like it was a double caffeinated coffee gel. And as for the hammer gels, I have had 'em. I was prepared for the jelly thickness or pureed whole fruit all mushed into a plastic wrapper. Not my faves. They are supposed to be better for you or something? I mean sugar is sugar for the most part I think..last time i checked my chemistry notes.
Mile 1 was fine. My legs were there from the get go and that was a super great feeling.
I wont bore you with the mile by mile but I kept it together with the HR zones till mile 7 and then i was scared to let it rip. I didnt want to die a slow death having seen the girls behind me that of course i figured would catch me. So i just kept at it, figuring as my plan was, to run my run and if they got me, they deserved it.

One woman ( see 47 on her leg) went by me fast and confidently around mile 9. That kinda bummed me out, but i was able to keep her in my sight and i closed in on her a bit so i knew that i was getting faster or she was getting slower, but the point was I was not slowing down.
Also around mile 9 was the dreaded Hammer Gel. I took 1/2 of it and figured that was it.

So at mile 12 I hear someone yelling "is that julia?" at that point i am in the "GET THIS DONE" mode. Pharmie, Speedo Steve's wife had already startled me with a high five yell as she was coming out on the run and i was at about mile 11. I was not looking up and i was really visualizing my long runs and so I kinda jumped away from her.

Same thing with Sheryl and her kids at mile 12. I heard all these steps and thought "aw shoot, that little blonde lady is scurrying by me." nope it was Sheryl and Robert's kids. YELLING SO LOUD...And running behind me till I heard Robert and Sheryl say "She is dropping us!" Then they got to me on the downhill wood chip path before the turn to the finish and the kids ran right alongside me and I heard Sheryl say "dont trip in front of her..."
All i could think of was those crazy TDF people running alongside the bikes! Thanks kids, you were great, even if i couldnt/didnt look like i was enjoying you!
So finish i did. 5:08.01.
This was about completion and I wanted to be under 6 hours. I am not sure why that time, but i purposely wanted to just see if i like this race. I did. But it was HARD. And there is no way I want to do a full IM right toes are a mess. I wont post pics of them bc You would lose your:

And what does a girl do who has had 7 gels in a day, bruised toenails and two blisters the size of a quarter and likely cant get up too easily when she sits down:

She goes home, ice bathes, then puts on great grandmothers dress and goes to a Great Gatsby party in celebration of cupcakes and bootlegs. I mean in celebration of my brother's 40th!Ok that head band makes me look like a 60's druggie, not a 20's flapper but it was worth a try.


Beth said...

Julia!!! I am so happy for you - you totally nailed it and on your first one!! Congrats on a great race from start to finish. And seriously - WHO TOOK YOUR GELS??? I think we need a full investigation on this one. Lock down/gel detector in T2 - had me laughing out loud!!! You handled it just fine though. YIPPPEEEEE!!!! And it's just the start! :)

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! That is an awesome time for your first half IM - way to go !!! Nice work out there - you are TOTALLY a kick-butt triathlete now! :) Sorry about the gels - but you still made it work :) yeah, I'm partial to the green apple ones... YUM!. Great flapper/hippie look - nice job! I'm just so stoked for you - I really am.... :)

Maggs said...

Congrats! What a great first HIM. And a great idea for the a party!

runningyankee said...

holy crap you raced great! congrats on a fantastic day :) loved reading your report. and the gatsby outfit... the BEST part. hope you had fun.

Pharmie said...

Congrats again on a GREAT race. Sorry for freaking you out. I'll behave myself next time around! Yeah, those foot pics that Steve has are TOUGH! I think they would most definitely fall off in a full IM.

Soul Rider said...
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Soul Rider said...
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Soul Rider said...

Congratulations Julia! Looks and sounds like you kicked butt at your first race and had some fun doing it!

Okay, who stole Julia's gels? Not nice! Lockdown the transfer area!

Can I run beside [cheering you on] at your next race?

Molly said...

Is THAT why my neck is sore? Good sighting? Good to know! :)

WOW, amazing job on your first 1/2 IM!!! Sounds like a wonderful day - you worked hard for that. Congratulations!!!! :)

MB said...

Yay! Congrats woman! You did awesome! Per the sore neck, I always get it from being in my aerobars. You must have done lots of sighting! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the experience...especially at the party afterwards! ;)

Jennifer Cunnane said...

You rocked on your first half! That is a great time! I love all the side commentary about the spectathletes watching you and cheering you on. Sometimes its so appreciated but when all you want to do is finish hard to be friendly! Hope you enjoyed your party!

Charisa said...

What an awesome race for your first one - very sweet! :)

Anonymous said...

Nice race report...but seriously?? Dead bodies? One thing that irks me to no end about more seasoned triathletes is they soooo forget what it was like to be a newbie... Besides, maybe those "dead bodies" in the water have a goal in mind, such as FINISHING a race after an injury, or some other reason for being slower than you. Watch your words try to be a bit more gracious to fellow racers.

GoBigGreen said...

Dear Anonymous,
I apologize for using those words to describe someone who has fallen out of their wave. I had no intention to offend anyone.
I am not however, a seasoned triathlete by any means, and appreciate the hard work that all participants put into working towards a goal.
And if you knew me I think you would agree that other than a slip in word use on MY blog I am quite a gracious and supportive teammate, racer, sister, the list goes on.
Thanks for your comments.

Kim said...

congratulations on a fantastic race! you kicked butt out there!!!! totally sucks about the gels, but you made do!

totally digging the GG outfit!!

Angela and David Kidd said...

Wow! Great race. You crushed your goal time. Now I am hungry for cupcakes.

Jennifer Harrison said...

ROCK ON JULIA! My jaw hit the floor when I got your note about your 1/2IM on Saturday! I KNEW you were ready, but a 5:0x is amazing for your first one! CONGRATS again and keep things on the down low this week! KEEP eating cupcakes! I am eating cake right now! ENJOY your success!

Darcy Franklin said...

Great job at the 1/2! I hope to hit one of those next year. As you know, I am having a difficult time finding time to bike....kinda got to do that when training for a 1/2!

Rebecca DeWire said...

Thank you so much for your comment on my blog. Hearing from someone who had a similar injury and knowing that they are racing again and kicking butt (great job in your first half IM)is so reassuring. I was wondering how long it took for you to heal and really start racing again? I am terrified of this happening again. I am also starting to wonder if it is time for a coach since perhaps an outside perspective would help prevent injury. If you ever have free time and want to share more details and your thoughts on this injury, please email me at Your blog comment REALLY helped me yesterday since I got right after we arrived in CDA. Thanks again!