Thursday, May 14, 2009

St Croix Race Report

Mark decided on St Croix for me in December as the race to set forth to try and get a slot for Kona. With my health issues it was a crazy challenge for me to pull off two ironmans in one year. We decided this would be my best opportunity. All focus on St Croix, very early season A race, 95% of riding on the trainer.

Alarm rung at 4:30am, as transition opened at 5:30am. We loaded the bike in our convertible jeep and were off.

(how else could we pull off transporting 4 people and a bike)

I pre-decide the outfit for the day as Splish had sent me two amazing suits (that I practiced in leading up to the race) and the tnmultisport tri kit was shipped to St Croix and Zoot provided me with some back up outfits, since Friday before the we were leaving I was in a panic (Thank you, loved the tri shorts). Due to the hot weather I chose to stay a bit more “covered up” as the race director mentioned in the pre-race briefing that the sun would strip the skin off your back… I decided to listen :)

(Splish racing suit designed by Kristen at Betty Designs- comes in pink too)

The swim starts on Caye Island which requires a swim away from your loved ones and over to the island where it all begins. I tugged on my blue seventy 3.0 and my fave speedo goggles. Hopping into water at 6:30am has never been easy, but today at 78-degrees plus, I began wondering where the bubbles were to make this a true bath. Today the water was the calmest I had seen it since our date of arrival.

The pro men, then women, then waves of men all went off, before I knew it was our turn, the women 30-34. The swim started out great, besides being kicked around a bit, I took the lead, had a kayaker in front of me and thought, this is going to be fantastic. As we rounded the island the kayaker left me ;( , the sun beat down, I couldn’t see much in front of me, so I kept swimming (not the advice I give to my athletes), and kept swimming, now a kayaker is headed towards me, pointing me in the opposite direction, oops! I look to my left see another pink cap. Darn, all that work and I hadn’t made any progress. Then the buoys stayed right in front of me the rest of the way. No creatures stung me as they decided to in the previous swim and life was good. Swim time was a swim PR and 30 seconds off the amateur course record.

I hopped on the bike and was ready to ride!

I was not sure if I had was leading because of my off course swim and Mark did not mention I was in the lead so I just figured I needed to go as fast as I could on the bike in

order to allow for “extra” time on the run. Every pedal stroke mattered. I saw a girl around mile 15 and tried to catch up, we seemed to be cycling at the same speed. Flying downhill, I dropped my chain (a problem I thought had been fixed going into the event), pulled over and fixed it and was off again. Saw her later on the beast. This is where I was able to pass her; only to find out she was in the division that started before me. It was hot, but it did not seem to bother me, puked on the bike like Stadler, but

didn’t feel it coming, it just came right out. No sickness, just yuckness! The rest of the ride was smooth, well, not the roads so much, but smooth in that the nutrient was on (infinit, base amino, base water, salt tabs) clif blocks melted, but all in all everything was executed just as planned.

I had heard stories of roosters running the roads (which is

true), but none jumped out like the squirrels do in the Northwest. The roads are being paved more and more each and every year, which I cannot image how they were before. I remembered to cycle on the left side (kind of easy to do with people in front of you, but that doesn’t work for me on the swim course) of the street and grab bottles from the left too, no problems there. The scenery, especially in the back half of this course is absolutely beautiful along the water. And lastly, many mentioned that the back half was harder than the beast, somewhat could agree, but it reminded me much of our Lake Stevens 70.3 here in Seattle. In comparison, St Croix is bigger hills with greater descends, Lake Stevens small hills (close to similar in grade), but less down hill time.

I came off the bike in my goal time and was the lead amateur. I noticed coming in

to town that there were some walkers…I was thinking, already, in the first mile…it was going to be a hot day! I was beginning to feel the heat/humidity immediately upon dismounting. I had a can of sunscreen spray and ran out of transition spraying myself down, and tossing the can like it was a cup of water. I may have officially learned that this girl burns, at these sunny races. 2 loops: on the street, little

to no shade, to the golf course up, up, over around, a little down, and then do it again. I tugged on my flashy silver Zoots and was off. I felt strong the first loop, saw the pros circling around. I knew I was leading, but did not know how close the girls behind me were. Mark then mentioned that a girl was 3 minutes back and then 15 minutes back. I told him I felt “really sick”, his response “you always say that when you run”. I thought “All right, no time to sit here

and talk (really to argue) about my feelings".

(coming up on lap two...please turn volume down!)

(really I am making every attempt to smile here through my sunburned skin)

The last 6 miles the heat really got to me, the whole contemplating the s

port the whys, the hows, the does it matter, etc, then remembering

that I was almost done, that this is what I wanted, I trained for THIS. Just keep running! I could not take any GU or I knew I would be upchucking, and I needed to finish this race. I began guzzling, yes, guzzling water, three cups at one aid station, tried to do Gatorade for electrolytes, stayed on the salt tabs and attempted coke. I held ice to my

face; this girl was not cooling down. What really didn’t help is that the first six miles were marked, the last 6 not marked so well, I saw a 10 on the floor,

thought I was at mile

10, then did some math, okay now at 11, now at 12 then I saw a sign, mile 10. What? I thought I only had a 1.1 more to go…aghhh…the mind games. I needed a moment, really, I had to go to the bathroom, I pulled over, and immediately the amateur women went by (1:31 half marathon she finished in). I started running, knew I would see Mark and Connie and Jeff soon (knew

I would be in medical soon too:)).

With 1 mile left you run up a street and then down into the finish

line. The locals lined the streets; Jeff had them chanting my name. The last 2 tenths are great memories. It was fun, the heat, the tough course, it was worth it, and I remembered my photos from Kona. We are headed back to Kona, this time the arms had to go UP!

So excited that the plan executed the way it was planned.

Here were my refrigerator goals (where when I lose sight of what I am trying to accomplish Mark puts these right in my face :))

Swim: Okay, so I didn't know the course record was a minute slower than my goal time:)

Bike: Right on!

Run: Dream big right!

Kona: Achieved.

*this was by far the hardest half ironman I have ever done. Bike and Run.

This is how I was going to do it:

*Hill repeats...oh yes, they hurt, okay, not just hurt they were the agonizing pain, the wondering constantly, on each repeat, if I would actually make it up.

* Okay, so I enjoy wine, just a glass or so here and there, but not for this race, I cut it out.

*100% is alot for me, I like working too, so 100% was asking a lot of myself. I had to MAKE this happen.

*Rest, yeah, always needing more.

*Stress, only way to keep my gut healthy

Some Rookie mistakes to ST Croix:

*Flying on Cape Air- they do not fly your bikes, let alone, the 10 seater pla

ne was enough to call medic attention to Mark (this was actually flying continental then transferijng to cape air).

*Remember your cartridge adapter, not many on the island. (cartridges in huge supply, however)

*Vacation longer after race!

*hydrate more post race..yes, got sick that night at awards


Things that went well and would repeat:

*Arrive on Tuesday, helped get acclimated,

*Ride the beast,

*Cartidges in huge supply,

*Very well organized event (race director great about email us back pre-race, and great communication)

Thanks to my sponsors Inewmed for keeping me healthy and getting me ready fo

r this event- seriously could not have done it with out you guys-Brian, Peter, and William, Richard Dizon for the weekly stretching/massage work-you are amazing, Road Runner Sports for the amazing gear and shoes, Zoot for the awesome race shoes, the compression I get to train in and for getting me some race clothing (that was a panic), Splish and Betty Designs for the great custom apparel that makes swimming so much more fun, Base Performance for the amazing products that keep me hydrated, recovered and strong, Blue Seventy for the super speedy skin suit, and Rudy Project for the great glasses and helmet.

Thanks to friends and family and mom for tracking, facebooking, blogging and cheering all day, most of you starting at 3:30am! Thank you Beth for supporting/sponsoring me in my adventure to Kona.

Thanks to Connie and Jeff who made the trek all the way to the island to support and put up with me in the days leading up to the race. It was so great to have you there to share the trip with and to see you while racing.

Thanks for Mark who did all the research, decided on this race and led me to believe that we could make it back to Kona. Thanks for doing EVERYTHING for me to help me get ready, not just at the race, but everyday. Does this mean I have to return the favor for Ironman Canada? :)


Anonymous said...

Yep :)


Jawn said...

Congrats! What a wonderful journey to success!! That was great~ :)

Mara said...

I love your finish shot--like a sun salutation!

beth said...

So happy for you Teresa! You deserve that slot for all the hard work that you have done. You have done this on TOP of working as well!

D said...

Ah! How have I not been following your blog?? Sometimes I think there's just too many rad tri chicas out there, but that's not possible!

Awesome work at St. Croix!! Adding you to the list of people to spectathlete for in Kona :) See ya there (if not before!)

Charisa said...

Awesome race! All that hard work completely paid off :)

Laurie said...

Teresa, So impressive...proof hard work and never ending determination will get it done. You earned and deserve that spot! Go get 'em girl! They better look out in Kona!

Lisa said...

You are AMAZING!!!