9/6/14

IMWI - One more sleep!


After our morning swim and checking in at the race venue on Friday, I spent a little time on Friday afternoon packing my bags. My homestay has a pool table which made for a great height for laying out my gear for my bags. 
I will wait until race morning to top my bottles with water so I prepared all my bottles with powder (only) and then laid out all my gear for race day. 


Morning Clothes (also swim gear):
Sweatshirt and yoga pants (not pictured, I will wear over my Trimarni kit)
Trimarni tri top
Trimarni tri bottoms
Brooks Running sport bra
Sunscreen
Hair ties (4)
Body Glide
Chip w/ strap
Cap
Speedo Vanquisher goggles (tinted and clear)
Garmin 910XT

Bike Special Needs (to turn in race morning outside Starbucks)
3 bottles, each filled with 300 calories of INFINIT custom drink (no protein, I will fill with water on race morning)

Run Special needs (to turn in race morning outside Starbucks)
2 flasks, each filled with 2 ounce NAPALM (100 calories each - I will also grab nutrition as needed/tolerated on course)


Bike Gear
Giro attack helmet (no shield)
Oakley Women Commit shades
110% Play Harder compression socks
Garmin Edge 500 (will place on bike on race morning)
3 bottles each with 300 calories INFINIT (for first 56 miles of bike)
Bontrager shoes
Small hand towel 

Run Gear
Race belt (safety pins attached) w/ bib number
Brooks pure flow running shoes
2 flasks (each filled with 2 ounces NAPALM)
My dad's favorite hat

(ribbons attached to all bags)

After bags were packed, I did a little work on the computer and then we went out for dinner around 5:30 with our homestay friends, Ed and Judy. 

We went to Benvenuto's, just down the road which is a delicious Italian Grill restaurant. Pasta and pizza is our typical 2 nights before a race meal so we were excited to keep our IM tradition alive here in Madison. 



We first enjoyed a delicious salad w/ Focaccia bread and olive oil with fresh herbs and then it was time to yum over dinner...


Ed and I shared a super large veggie pizza (leftovers will come in handy in the middle of the night after the IM) and for our toppings: artichoke, red onions, spinach, pineapple and mushrooms. 

Karel and I were pretty tired so by 9:30pm we were out and enjoyed 9 restful hours of sleep and once again woke up without an alarm. 


After our pre workout snack (the usual, rice cake w/ banana slices, PB and cinnamon for me, waffles w/ almond butter and jam for Karel) and coffee/water, we did a 1 hour spin on the race course (leaving from Ed's house which is a few miles from the "stick" section of this lollipop like course) with the course dictating our intervals to wake up our legs. Even though Karel and I were riding together, we each did our own thing on the bike. We always do a short warm-up the day before the race to not only wake up the body but also to test out race gear just one last time. It was good that we did this because my Garmin Edge told me my power meter battery was low so I told Karel so that he could change it when we got back. Karel also charged our bikes on Friday night so they were ready to go for Sat drop off. 

Although it was a little windy (not as bad as Thursday's 3 hour afternoon ride) the weather was amazing around 60 degrees!

After our bike we each went out for a short run, Karel did around 15-20 minutes and I did about 10 minutes. My legs felt good which was a great feeling since my last run was on Wednesday. 


After our pre race warm-up, we cleaned up and had a recovery drink and then I got busy in the kitchen to make some yummy fruit and nut pancakes from scratch. We all enjoyed them, even Ed and Judy. 


Around 12:30pm we double checked our bike and run bags (even though we can access them on race morning) and Ed drove us to the race venue to check in our gear. 


Check-in was 10am-3pm so we arrived around 1pm and there was no line and everything went really smoothly. 


The IMWI transition area is on the top of a parking garage and because it is very narrow it is extremely long. Combine this with running up the parking garage helix, going inside the Monona Terrace to grab our bags and enter the changing tents and then to get our bikes, this makes for a long transition time. 
Although my bike is wedged tightly between bikes in the middle of our bike rack, Karel has a prime spot in the front of his rack. 


We then dropped off our bags and mentally focused on where everything was located as the brain can get a bit turned around in a triathlon.




After we walked ourselves through the swim to bike, bike to run routine just one more time, we walked through the Ironman Village and checked out the finish line area and then headed home to rest for the rest of the day. 





It was around 2pm when we arrived back home so we enjoyed a late lunch (we were snacking all morning and staying hydrated on OSMO hydration) and Karel had some leftover pasta and bread and I made myself some grilled tofu and basmati rice w/ tomato soup (from the can) and some pita chips on the side. 


Thank you everyone for all your support, nice words and excitement for our race. We will absolutely take all that positive energy with us on race day and we both hope to have a safe, fun 140.6 mile journey tomorrow (with everyone else out on the ourse). 

If you are interested in tracking us on race day:

Ironman.com

Athlete tracker
Marni - bib 729 (30-34 age group)
Karel - bib 401 (35-39 age group)


Also, our favorite mobile app for tracking:


And good luck to everyone else who is racing this weekend!!! Be safe, thank your body and enjoy the race day journey!

9/5/14

IMWI - Day 1 and 2


We are looking at perfect conditions on race day. However, during our ride it was warm but nothing we were use to living in the South. Race day should be at least 15 degrees cooler and hopefully the winds will not be as gusty as they were when we were riding. The winds were so strong, even Karel was getting blown around. 
We find it so helpful to not only wake up the legs with a "long"-er workout on the 4 days out from race day but to also put our bodies in real world conditions before the race. Knowing the course is extremely important when it comes to pacing but also for knowing what gear to use for race day. 

Since I have raced IMWI and Karel has been on the course, we know there is very little time to settle into a rhythm on this challenging course (which I believe is the hardest course I have raced in 8 Ironman races ) which has a little of everything that can make for a tough bike ride - hills, bumps, winds, climbs, turns. 
We will be wearing our GIRO helmets (and not the standard "aero" helmets) because our bodies do a lot of moving on this course. We will not be aero through the entire race and unlikely that there will be more than 20 minutes of the race that we will not be sitting up or out of the saddle. Also, as for wheels, the "best" race wheels for race day is determined by the course and the rider. A disc wheel does not benefit me as a light, small rider who can not ride at top speeds (21-22+ mph) on these courses. Also, I tried Karel's deeper dish wheels in training and I found them much harder for me to climb with them as they were a bit heavier than the wheels I typical use as my race wheels. Climbing requires a light bike and this is why you do not see Tour riders using dish wheels during the climbs. Therefore, when it comes to selecting gear for your races, it is much more important to think about what is fast in your race day environment than on a flat course or wind tunnel. 
The IMWI course will have wind and it is incredibly hilly, with much more climbing than descending. Therefore, the right helmet and wheel selection is critical. 
                           

With 3 bottles (for each of us) and INFINIT nutrition in each of those bottles, we set out for 1 loop of the race course (lollipop like course with ~91 turns total in the entire 112 mile ride) leaving from our homestay (which is a few miles from the race course). 

It was warm and windy but we were really happy to be on our bikes and to check out the course. 

Not only from a mental standpoint is it good to see/be on the course but it is also good to check out a course ahead of time to be prepared. 

We know that the IM crew will do their best to clean-up the course before the race but we encountered a few obstacles while we were riding and gravel on the roads was the easy part. 



Practicing my cyclocross. 


The course was marked with orange arrows but Karel also had the course programmed in his Garmin 810 Edge bike computer from Map My Ride (but we always seem to have a course downloaded that doesn't always match correctly). 


Well, this picture (above) pretty much sums up what it feels like to ride on the IMWI course. 


And this picture (above) pretty much sums up what it looks like when riding on the IMWI course (insert smells as well - love farm life!) 
And yes, I will talk to my animal friends on race day and will moo and neigh. 
That's just what I do. :)

In 3 hours, we covered around 51 miles with just a few steady efforts. We had an elevation gain of 2800 and for every climb you get very little downhill to recover. It's kinda like you are in between gears the entire ride with no good time to get your rhythm. Oh, and the course is bumpy so secure water bottle cages and the right tire selection/pressure is key.
For anyone racing, my Trimarni tip is DO NOT fall behind on your nutrition on challenging courses. Start early and be consistent. Repeat in your head "The bike portion is where I have to fuel for the run!"

So if you like challenging courses like us, IMWI is YOUR course. 

Here are a few more pics. I would have taken more while riding but it was SUPER windy (I think I mentioned that already :) 











After we arrived back home (around 6pm) we cleaned up, had a whey protein recovery drink (mixed with water/skim milk) and had dinner with our homestay family and their friends. Veggie lasagna, salad, local bread. Yum!
Then it was early to bed for us around 9:30pm - we were tired! 

With no alarm set for Friday morning and a dark basement room to ensure a solid night of rest, we woke up around 7am. Glorious! 

After a pre-workout snack (waffles w/ PB and Jam and fruit for Karel and rice cake w/ PB and bananas for me) we headed to the swim start to meet up with a Trimarni follower/friend Kayla around 9:10am for a great 1 mile swim in the open water. 
The water felt great but since it was rather warm out, it was a bit hot in the wetsuits. But since it is suppose to drop in temps over the next 48 hours, the water should be perfect for race day - not too cold, not too hot. And unlike Thurs am when we drove by the lake, the water was not choppy which made Karel happy. 
I decided to wear my tinted goggles even though it was cloudy. 


Yay! I met so many Trimarni followers on Fri morning - thank you for saying hi!! 


Love our Vector Pro Xterra wetsuits!


My happy place.
Karel get happy when he exits the swim. 


After our swim we headed to the athlete briefing which we never miss as we always want to hear of any last minute details or changes. Three important questions I had 1) Do we need to wear bib numbers on bike? NO. 2) Where is Special Needs (SN) drop off on race day morning. BY STARBUCKS. (I will be using SN on the bike - for the first time and on the run). 3) Can we access transition bags on race day morning. YES


So many soon-to-be, first time Ironman finishers in this room! Can't wait to race with everyone!


We headed to registration and as AWA (All World Athletes) we were able to bypass the long line which was rather nice of Ironman. We also received special caps that we can use on race day if we choose and also we each got a ticket for a friend/family to attend the post race banquet for free. 


New swag to add to the Ironman collection. 

After registration, Ed (our homestay) picked us up and then we headed home around 12pm to eat a meal and then chillax for the rest of the afternoon.



110% Compression on and watching the Vuelta a EspaƱa on the iPad thanks to DishWorldd!


Moooo!!! Hello from Madison, Wisconsin!



Karel and I love to travel and we love to race.
In 2013, we planned a season of race-cations to celebrate our love of traveling and racing. 

It's been quite a season, with a lot of highs and some lows but well, that's all part of being an age-group triathlete. 

Just because you sign up for a race, it does't mean that life will be easy. If anything, life gets a bit more complicated. 
But in order to find success in both life and sports, you have to do the best you can to keep everything balanced with whatever you commit yourself to in life.

It's hard to believe but Ironman Wisconsin will be our last race-cation of the year and come Monday we will be enjoying our off-season!

We started our racing schedule in March with our first race, HITS OCALA HALF IRONMAN, as a tune-up race for the season. 

Then in May, in the end of packing up our townhome for our move to Greenville, we raced St. Croix 70.3

Then, just 6 weeks after moving to Greenville and sadly, just 3 weeks after my dad passed away from his 10-month fight with cancer, we raced Ironman Austria

So, here we are. Just 3 days away from Ironman Wisconsin. This will be my 9th Ironman and 2nd time racing IMWI and Karel's 3rd Ironman. Karel rode this course several times in the past when he was working for Trek and he would visit Trek HQ or go to Trek World. 




The hardest, most stressful part of any trip is saying see you later to our furry BFF. If I could only find a way to let him know that we WILL come back to him. Oh those 7-year old puppy eyes are so incredibly tough to leave. 
But lucky doggy (from sleeping on the streets to sleeping under comfy covers on a comfy mattress), Campy now gets to go to Charlotte every time we travel (we meet our friend half way, about an hour away). So now he is currently enjoying himself at his "camp" until we get back from Wisconsin. 


Tuesday morning I did a 90 minute ride and 10 min run with Campy and around 5:30pm I drove to Gaffney Outlets (1 hour away) to meet my friend to hand-off Campy (and all his toys). On Wednesday, I had a good 4-ish mile interval run (MS 2x's: 3 x 90sec at 7 min/mile w/ 30 sec break and then 3 min @ 8 min/mile recovery jog w/ 1 min break) and then a 1500 swim. 

After running a few last minute errands on Wed, I packed up our food bag (yum smashed fresh raspberries in my PB sandwich) and the car and we were off to the airport around 2pm (we always like to be early when it comes to checking in our bike case) for our 4:30pm flight to Madison, (planned to arrive at 8:30pm). 



After a smooth check-in with Delta, we went through our small airport of Greenville and had a good two-hours to relax before our flight. The weather looked perfect for a short flight to Atlanta, before heading to Madison.

We watched our bike case board the plane which was a good feeling. 
We have a bike case that holds both of our bikes and two wheels. Karel installed an extra front fork mount and with some expert mechanic skills, he puts both of our Trek Speed Concepts in the case. I will try to remember to take a pic before we head home to show you how he does it. We pay 1 bike fee (Delta $150) but in order to meet the weight regulations of $70 (to avoid overweight for a special item as the bike case is a special item, not regular baggage) we have to remove the seats from the case and put them in our checked luggage (which we share a luggage). Also, Karel and I both get 1 checked bag free and the bike case counts as 1 bag (even though a special item) so this is why we share a suitcase to avoid having to pay for a third piece of luggage. 


Well, a first happened for us as there was a major delay leaving Greenville. 
After boarding the plane (pictured above) with our suitcase and bike case on board, we were told there were some storms in ATL but that the pilot thought we would be fine to avoid them. When we rolled away from the gate, the pilot got word that the ATL airport shut down due to storms. With a schedule arrival of 5:30pm and a schedule depart from ATL at 7pm, we were now looking at a possible departure of 5:30pm which would have given us only 30 min for us AND our bike case to get to the next flight (if all went as planned). 
Well, after sitting on the plane for an hour, we were then told it would be 6pm that we would be leaving. By then I knew we had no chance to get to Madison that evening as I had called Delta while we were waiting to check on a possible "next flight". Sadly, we were on the only evening flight to Madison. 

Karel and I were not sure what would happen next as we had never been through this before. 
What hotel would we stay at?
Would we get our bag and bike in ATL?
How would we get to Madison the next day if the first flight out fills up?

Oh, so many questions and concerns from two athletes about to race an Ironman in 4 days!

Well, this is one of the reasons why we always try to arrive to a race venue (of an important race) with at least 4 days until the race. Traveling has it's share of unexpected events which often require time and patience. 

After spending 90 minutes on the airplane (thank goodness for the Trimarni bag of goodies!), the pilot finally drove us back to the gate so that we could depart if we wanted to. 

We departed the plane (but kept our carry on bags on board) so that we could stand in a long line to talk to the gate agent. 

I wasn't sure of our options but I knew there was a 9am flight from ATL on Thursday and a 6:05am flight from Greenville. Still not sure what would happen to our bike case and suitcase (the extremely important parts since both had our bike stuff in it even though we carried on our nutrition and race gear!) the gate agent told us we had two options.
Oh, let it be known that by 7pm (as we waited in line) we had been at the airport for 5 hours AND it was now storming in Greenville, SC.

Option 1: 
Fly to ATL (whenever the plane would leave) and spend the night in a hotel and take the first flight out in the AM to Madison. This flight arrives to Madison at 10:35am (1 hour behind EST)

Option 2:
Stay in Greenville and leave on the first flight out to Detroit, which then goes to Madison. This flight arrives to Madison at 9:05am. 

Because we would not have any access to our bike case/luggage, the easy answer was option 2 so that we could stay in our own bed and not have to deal with the craziness of the ATL airport (and pay for a hotel room). 

I got the car from the Economy lot ($4 to hang out in the airport for 6 hours) and then we made our 20 min drive home in the pouring rain. We were so exhausted that we were off to bed by 9pm for a 4:10am wake-up call. 

On a positive note, our cats were REALLY happy to see us! 



So, let's try this again. 

6:05am flight to Detroit. 
8:35 flight to Madison. 

Two smooth flights and 90 minutes to wait and hope that Delta checked the locked-up luggage for the night and made sure that our suitcase and bike case got on the first flight out of ATL to Madison. 




Well, at least we had a comfy area to wait and wait and wait. 

Thankfully, a friend of ours is a Delta Diamond member so he was able to check that our bike case was on the plane. But in this situation, it's kind of like getting a race t-shirt before you do the race and you don't want to wear it until you crossed the finish line. We didn't want to celebrate until we had visual contact with our belongings. 

Because we couldn't wait in anticipation at baggage, we stayed in the terminal area and waited by the Gate where the plane was departing people and luggage. We watched and watched and after just 5-8 suitcases, there was my Oakley suitcase!!! 
We waited a few more minutes and yippee......


We saw our bike case!!!



Oh, what a great feeling. Thank you DELTA for coming through for us and for also being so great at helping us out with all our questions. 

Funny enough, I ended up seeing one of my nutrition athletes at the airport who flew from ATL so I told her that it was a bummer we could not have flown together but she was on the same flight as our bike so it kind of counted :)

We are so incredibly lucky that we have a home away from home in Madison with one of my long-time nutrition athletes Ed P. who is not only a 2011 IMWI finisher but a prostate cancer survivor and all-around amazing guy. His wife picked us up at the airport (since Ed was volunteering at 2014 IMWI) and took us to her home where we quickly made ourselves at home. I was in the kitchen cooking up some lunch and Karel was out in the garage in his new Trimarni bike shop to assemble our bikes. 

Thankfully, no broken parts, Di2 was working and charged and in just 3 hours after making ourselves at home, we were out on our bikes to ride the course and stretch our legs (and to release some unwanted stress in our bodies). 

Oh the fun of race-cations!