10/13/07

Night before Ironman World Championships




Bike check-in was exciting! The line went quickly but you had to go through so many people in order to actually make it in the transition area. First there was the helmet check, then the bag check (bike and run bags), then the bar ends, brakes and anything else. It was so cool to have spectators around for the bike check. There was a white fence surrounding the athletes from the crowd and before we got into the transition area there were "counters" for all the websites to see who has the official bike count for the Ironman. I had a couple pics of my bike (she's worthy of it!) and I was proud to be accompanying seduza into the transition area. After I got into transition, I ran into my parents and my mom walked me to my rack. I'm so lucky to have a blood-related volunteer. Hehe. After placing my rear back tire into the wooden rack I dropped off my bags. My bike placement is in the very back of the transition area but that's ok. We all have to go the same way. I re-rehearsed the swim to bike and bike to run since the changing tents are after you grab your bags from the rack. Once it was time to leave I felt more anxious to get things going. Not sure how my hip will hold up but I'm not feeling any pain. Just a bit uncomfortable. So I guess after I survive the bike (which will be incredibly hard) I will have to gather enough mental strength to get over the big hill on palani to start my 26.2 mile run.
I just finished dinner (a little later than I planned cause I just wasn't hungry) and I had my normal sweet potato and bread (outback replica). I added in a couple egg whites and tomato and I am ready for bed! The alarm is set for 3:45am and I will be heading to the race at 4:40am. Race starts at 7am and I'm sure I will enjoy the body marking with the stamps. Not sure who will be featured on the live video aside from the pro's but for those who are watching for me I will be wearing a white Zoot top (w/ Zoot in light green across the front) and black shorts with a light green strip on the sides. My lucky pink helmet for the bike and you can't miss the sexy Seduza that I will riding. Race number #1787 and I'm in the 25-29 age group.Check Ironman.com for all the race details. Remember the 6 hour earlier time change. I have no expected finishing time but to simpy finish. I feel like I can have a strong swim under 1:10 but I am not sure how hard I will be kicked during the swim and how many times I will get ran over by the men (and fast women) that I will be starting with in the front of the pack. As far as the bike, I would hope that I will be around 5:45 (since I was training for 5:30) but the winds and climbs will be tough. I don't think my hip will hurt me for the bike but the heat will also be another factor. AS far as the run, I hope to run. No goal time just a nice and comfortable pace that I can hold for the marathon. Can't wait to finish and eat a yummy piece of pizza! Oh and ice cream. And pancakes on sunday morning!!!
I want to thank everyone for putting up with my through my entire Ironman Training season and especially during the last month with my injury. I want to give a special thanks to Matt Hess, Hunter Orr, the Swim Fit Palm Harbor swim team, my YMCA spin class, the Gearlink cycling team, Mike Baleno, Carlos Salinas, my Beginner Triathlete friends, Ron (BT), Celia Dubey, Christi Cranford, Roberta Klar, Ray Reinders, Angela B. (BT) and my graduate school friends (meag, Kori, Meri). I also want to give a very VERY special thanks to my family (mom, dad and aaron) for putting up with me and my crazy habits and routines. For never doubting my ambitions and for always believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself. I thank my family for encouraging me to pursue my goals even though many of my goals seem like dreams to most people. I appreciate their support, enthusiasm and I don't know how they put up with me with all my ups and downs during my Ironman training. I've completely dedicated my life to this race over the past year and my family, grandparents, relatives and friends have supported me and encouraged me to work towards my dream. My dream is finally here and I will be living out this fantasy tomorrow. October 13th, 2007 will be a day I will never forget and I can't wait to get to the finish line and say that I did it. That finish line means more to me than anything I have ever done.
And if you thought I forgot...KAREL!!! What would I do without Karel. Not only does he put up with me day after day (some days seem longer than he would like with me :) but he supports me. He lets me be me and I love him so much for that. He makes me laugh, he understands what I go through with my training and racing and he encourages me to reach my dreams. Not sure if he gets the vegetarian thing but I know he secretly enjoys the veggie meat in the fridge! I met Karel before I was an Ironman and I was so worried that he wouldn't understand my passion for triathlons. Not only does he understand my love for triathlons (well, kinda- hehe) but he supports my drive and ambitions for swimming, cycling and running. I would not be the cyclist I am now without him and my bike wouldn't look so gosh darn sexy without him. I would not have met all my friends on the Gearlink cycling team and because of him I appreciate cycling so much. I think he is an amazing cyclist and I love him because of his drive, ambition and passion for cycling.
Well-I better get off to bed. Time to settle down, rehearse the race course and mentally prepare myself for the hardest endurance event in triathlons. Can't wait to give the race report!
Thanks everyone for the emails! Very encouraging and I appreciate the time for thinking of me. Enjoy the race coverage on Ironman.com. and I can't wait to hear who wins!

10/12/07

Day before Ironman World Championships




Well, the time has come. It is now time to officially start freaking out!!! The energy is buiding on this island and you can tell people are getting into a zone. Thursday morning was the underpants run and since i am a virgin to this race, I caught just the end of the run. however, I did get a pic with Sarah Reinstein who is such an inspiration. I cried when I saw her finish the Ironman in 2005 as a single leg above the knee amputee. This year I will be cheering on Scott Rigsby who is a double below the knee amputee. MY parents have been volunteering like crazy and I hardly see them. Maybe they are trying to avoid me and my stressing-out episodes but they are really enjoying being part of the action! Not only are my parents my #1 fans but they really enjoy being at triathons. Of course my mom thinks this race is a little too big for her. She likes races with around 100 people. I guess 1800 athletes, 5000 volunteers and over 20,000 spectators is a bit much for her. The carbo dinner was amazing and the videos, Hawaii island performances, speaches, jokes by Mike Riley and huge athlete turnout really got me excited. By the next morning, the excitement turned to nervousness. I rode the in-town bike course once again and I feel good on the bike. Excited to swim hard and I just want to get this going. I am not so much nervous for the distance as I am nervous for the unexpected. How will my body handle everything with my past injury, how will I handle the 12 mile climb to Havi in wind gusts of 30-60 mph and how will I run a marathon after everything I've been through on the course. So much unknown but I guess that is what makes the Ironman. I will take my time and I will try to run slow rather than walk. Since I'm not in pain anymore, I just need to deal with the up and downs of the run course and the ups and downs of not feeling comfortable when I run. I'm hoping for a good dosage of endorphins as I am running and I hope that I can really enjoy myself as much as possible. I do know that when I am getting towards the finish line (not finishing is not an option!), regardless of the time (12 hours or 16+ hours), I will fully soak in the excitement of running down Ali with thousands of people cheering for me and all the other athletes. I will enjoy that moment and for the 1/4 mile I am running on Ali Drive I will think about everything I have been through, everyone who has supported me and everything about myself that I doubted before I started this race. I will be writing another blog later today in order to give out my thanks and shoutouts to all those who have supported me during my Ironman training. I'm just finishing going through my list of stuff for the race in about an hour I will be heading down to transition to drop of Seduza and to hang my bags.
I can't believe I am counting down the hours to the Ironman World Championships. This is just amazing and I can't believe I am here!

10/10/07

Meet my Ironman friends!





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You may have heard of some of my friends....Natasha Badman, Dave Scott, Kate Major, Michelle Jones and Sister Madonna. I had such a great time at the parade tonight. It all started when I ran into Natasha in the host hotel. I was heading to the bathroom and there she was. All the pro's are so nice! I also saw Sarah Reinstein but I didn't get a pic with her. The parade was lots of fun and i will post a link to those pics soon. The athlete village was open and it was just jammed packed with vendors, partners and other sponsors. It was then when I was getting picture happy. Of course it is so much better when you just bump into the pros and you don't have to wait in line.


More pics! http://www.flickr.com/photos/11883136@N03/sets/72157602348874954

10/9/07

Good morning from Kona!




Just a couple shots from outside my condo this morning. Slept-in until 5am and felt refreshed after 9 hours of sleeping. Still a little off from Kona time but I've got a couple more days to get adjusted to the 6 hours.
Last night I did nothing and yesterday afternoon I did nothing. It was great! Just watch TV, iced and heated and played around on the computer. Cooked a nice dinner before a litte more tv watching and called it a night. It was really good to just veg out and forget about the race. I woke up this morning and my leg was just a bit sore. It is not getting any worse and each day it gets better. It actually feels a lot better when I have my cycling shorts on (compression helps) and running shoes on. I think my leg just wants to run! No pain pills since Sat after the flight so I am happy that the celebrex is doing its job. I know I keep talking about the "pain" that I am in, but I am such a wuss when it comes to pain. I don't hurt when I train (a big difference from muscles being sore and just pain), I don't feel uncomfortable when I race and recover quick. This injury has taught me that there are so many people out there who just pull through when times get tough. I won't hurt myself any more than I already have (inflammation) but I know I will be sore afterwards. I know come sat. I will be filled with adrenaline and ready to get this thing going. I hope to enjoy my day and just think that this is the day I've been waiting for all year! In a couple hours I will head to the pier to pick up my packet at the host hotel. How exciting! I'm sure I will have lots of pics after today.
Thanks everyone for the emails..I keep all of them and re-read them everyday!

10/8/07

Pictures!

Enjoy!
http://www.flickr.com/gp/11883136@N03/g9KX6J

Kona Day 1

I'm officially here. I'm unpacked, I've had a taste of the water and I've riden the Queen K. I kinda ran (yep-I can kinda run, more like a shuffle) around our parking lot and shopped along Ali drive. Yes-I know I am an Ironman athlete but I look like everyone else. Pro's I saw today- Norman Stadler at the pier before my swim this morning and I think I saw Michelle biking and Kate Major running. This morning my dad ran the PATH fun run. Well, it was supposed to be fun but he thought it was a bit competitive to be fun. In order for my dad to say he raced in kona, he decided to push it for a 5K. Congrats to my dad-what a runner he is!!! With a fast time of 27 minutes and a 2nd place age group finish, my dad walked away with a hand-made medal and Kona coffee as an award. I'm so proud of my dad!!! My mom did her share of walking since she accompanied me to the pier so I could drop off my gear as I swam and she walked back to the race to watch my dad start. The swim was just great! I love open water swimming and I could just clear my head as I swam for 25 minutes in the ocean. The water was a little cool as I started and didn't really get warm the entire swim. That is a great thing cause I don't like swimming in warm water. I will try out my zoot speedsuit tomorrow. After 15 minutes of swimming I decided to push it on the way back and I was in great company with a gazillion other triathlets. The water is so clear you can see right to the Kona floor. I was also in great company with all the fishes in the water and I remembered why I love triathlons so much. With this injury I really lost my drive and passion for triathlons and I even questioned my dream of racing as a pro. But today in the water I realized why I love it so much. It isn't for the competition (well-maybe a little), it is because I really enjoy swimming, cycling and running. After I swam I headed back to the condo with my parents and rested for a bit as I ate breakfast. About 2 hours later I was on the bike heading along Ali drive, to Palani to the Queen K. Wow-my first ride on the queen K. I felt good on the bike but I can't really push too hard cause of the hip. On race day, I give it my all. Today I wanted to see the course and enjoy the scenery. As I biked past the entrance to the Natural Energy Lab where we run, I really felt like there was nothing that would stop me come race day. The lava on my right was unreal and the white rocks which spell out the names of athletes was just like what I see on TV. On my left was the water and as I passed the airport the wind was clearly at my back. The lava was on both sides of me and I was heading up and down some rollers. Had a coulple light drizzles from some clouds and I knew that anything is possible on this island. Who knows what the Kona gods will bring to the athletes come race day! There were lots of people riding on the Queen K and it wasn't soon after I hit 32 mph going downhill that I looked at my mileage and I was already at 16 miles. I decided to turn around and face those winds that were graciously pushing me and seduza up and down the hills. I felt ok with the side winds but it is funny how the winds change every couple miles. At one point I was going on what I thought was downhill and I had to shift up to a lighter gear in order to pick up my 18 mph speed. Funny how you can struggle going downhill in kona. Once I arrived back on Ali drive I found myself relaxed and enjoying the moment. Again-athletes everywhere! The next couple of hours went by fast before we headed down to town for some shopping and dinner.
I want to congratulate Karel for his last race of the year! With a great finish yesterday in the Pro 1,2 race, he showed his "ironman" strength and completed two races this morning. With around 130 miles completed this morning and a 5th place finish in the 30+ division and 19th in the Pro 1,2 race I am always impressed with karel. With the thought of not even racing today because yesterdays (sat) race was so hot and exhausting, he comes back and races two races. What an inspiration. I am always inspired by people who make no excuses when they race or train. Of course we all have excuses but it is truely a test of the soul to push hard when the mind, body or both want to quit. Through every person that I have met (and not met) in my life, who has showed determination and strength to reach their goals, I will be thinking of YOU on saturday as I try to do the same.

10/7/07

I'm in KONA!!!!




This is just crazy. I mean, absolutely crazy!! Just in case you were wondering about the hip, I feel better and I can kinda run. Actually, running slow is a lot easier than walking due to the shortening of my gait if I "run". So, looks like I will have to dig really deep to finish this race with my "healing" injury...or, just don't walk!

Ok-now to the exciting stuff. Who cares about the hip when I am in Kona! Let me talk about my long trip here. The flight left early (7:40am) so therefore, my family, luggage and bike needed to get to the airport super early. I was up at 4:40 am and we were heading to the airport and I just couldn't believe that 12 hours earlier I was packing up my bike for a last minute decision to go to Kona. I saw a couple Ironman people on my first flight to Arizona but it wasn't until I arrived in Phoenix that I was overwhelmed and just amazed by the number of athletes. I felt sorry for the vacationers on the Kona flight cause with all those triathletes, I'm sure the plane was a little heavy with bike cases. Well, then again, I think triathletes with less than 10% body fat easily make up that weight difference!!! There were m-dots, ironman schwag and lots of shaved legs. In addition to a starbucks coffee cup in a hand, it is really easy to spot out the triathletes on the airplane. I talked with a couple people but I mostly kept to myself and listened to others. I felt like the Ironman Kona virgin that I am and I was just honored that I could be on the plane with everyone. It is funny how you can feel so good about your body, health and fitness on an airplane full of semi-active and sedentary people as you proudly wear a race t-shirt after a race or some type of schwag from a race that you did earlier this year, but it isn't until you get on a plane full of Ironman World Championship triathletes that you feel completely out of shape!!! This is so freakin' crazy!!! It was so amazing flying over the big island. First you see the dry part of the island and then the rainforest and then comes the lava. So cool looking!! Once we landed it really hit me that I was here and boy was I living it up! Pictures every five seconds and once my luggage and bike came, it all became so exciting. We headed to the condo in our rental car and even with 1 week until the race, there were athletes everywhere!!! People riding w/ aero helmets and race wheels on the Queen K and Ali drive was filled with runners (boo hoo!!!). That's ok-I'll be running (with no other choice and an incentive to run) plenty come October 13th! Our condo is about 1.5 miles from the athlete village and about 2 miles from the pier. This is just crazy! It was never a dream for me to do an Ironman. It was just something I wanted to do. The dream was to do Kona! I remember watching Ironman DVD's for the first time in 2005 before my first half ironman and just thinking how cool it was...the Ironman World Championship! So much history and fame on that island and it is where the best Ironman triathletes compete. I was just getting into triathlons at that time and I knew that I wanted to race in Kona. I didn't know when I would get there but I was super excited to work my way to get to that island. I just can't express how honored I am that I am here. And now that I am here, forget the injury! I am so super excited to be here...and be one of them. I don't feel any more special than the other athletes but I just feel special that I can be one of the athletes. The condo is just beautiful and we have a great view of the ocean. We got a couple grocery's at Wal-Mart and had a light dinner. I tried to staying up as late as i could last night but it wasn't that hard after we arrived and I was super psyched to be here. I went to bed around 7:30 pm kona time and woke up around 5:30am Kona time. 10 hours of sleep isn't so bad, considering I've lost a lot of hours of sleep due to all the stress the last couple of weeks.
So-that's about it. Of course I'm writing this blog after a morning of swimming by the pier but I will save that blog until later. I'll watch a little of Ironman USA on versus right now (10am Kona time) to get my adrenaline pumping (all Ironman races get me excited) and then I'm off to ride my bike. Taking it easy today and riding on the flat parts of the Queen K. I plan on doing around 30 miles by myself but I'm sure I'll be in company with lots of other triathletes.