Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Great White North 1/2 Iron Race Report

I WENT SUB-5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4:58:54 read the clock and I am pretty sure I ended up 12th female overall...99% sure anyways...but if I am in error, just know that it is an honest mistake! :)

I DO know that I came in 9th in my age group. But my big goal was to get under 5 hours. I knew I had a shot at it if I really blitzed the bike. I thought that if I just went as hard on the bike as I could, I should be able to do a 2 hour, 1/2 marathon no problem, even if I suffered. Of course, I want to go 4:30 for these races and then even less, so my coach is helping me to reach my goals step by step.

Do you know that Sara Gross is the best coach ever? It's true.

Hi! I gave birth 6 months ago and I run 1:22 for
13.1 miles in a half Ironman.

Okay here are the deets...

Pre Race Deets or The Case of the Leech
The day before the race I swam in the lake and then took off my wetsuit and rinsed it in the shallows. When I emerged I saw a piece of dirt on my calf that wouldn't dislodge when I swiped at it. I KNEW THEN. LEECH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I had been alone with Mike or another family member I would have had the luxury of having a full-on freak out. When I was in Australia last year, there was a huge bug crawling on my bed and I ran screaming to the nearest man...my coach's hubby. LOL. I have no shame. I will run to a guy every time. Hahahahahaah!

Except this time.

This time, there were a bunch of other athletes milling around and I had to be the calm, cool one all by myself. My Mom was there and she said, "Gee, that looks like a leech." I gave her a grimace, but apparently my look didn't convey that I knew it was a leech -- I fooled my Momma into thinking I was so cool and calm. I picked at the thing on leg and I couldn't gain purchase.

I couldn't even feel it -- and I watched it morph and move all around my calf trying to get away from my prying fingers. It slithered into a skinny line and then curled into a ball. OMG, it was so gross, but I was on a mission. If I was going to rip a chunk of my own flesh to get rid of this thing I was going to do it! Hahaha!

Fortunately, I got it on my finger....and then it wouldn't come off!! AAARRGGHH!!!! It was at this moment that I lost it. I think I squealed and then started to frantically wipe my finger on the grass. It came off. SHUDDER.

Funny thing though, this little kid came running up to me once he figured out I had a leech on me and he wanted to see it! LOL!!!

Hey Julie, I really like your calf.

Morning of Race
Met up with fellow MRT athlete and very dear friend, Tessa. Who proceeded to cuss me out for a full 15 minutes about why I always hide away in my motel room and take off right after races instead of hanging out and attending the award dinners. LOL!! Seriously, I have never heard her swear so much in her life. Hahahahaha!!

You see, I have an inner hermit. I LOVE being by myself. I also love spending time with friends -- when I am forced (haha!) to go out, I really enjoy myself. But for some reason, given a choice (or the chance) I'll opt to veg by myself rather than hang out with people. Tessa made a good case, so I promised her I would hang with her at the awards dinner after the race. And she knew she had me there, because once I promise something, I HAVE to do it. :)

As all of us athletes stood in line waiting to cross the mats to get onto the beach I regaled everyone with my leech story and a number of what ifs...as in
  • What if, you spit in your goggle and then go to rinse it out, but the leech gets in there and then it gets in your eye?
  • Or, what if, you turn to breathe, but at that same moment someone splashes the leech into your mouth?
  • Or what if, the leech sticks on your face somewhere and you don't feel it and you don't even know it's there....And the race goes on and on and you get onto the run portion and notice that people keep looking at you. And then you begin to notice something on your face out of the corner of your eye...
By now, I was really warming up to all the different scenarios that could play out and every time my friend Richelle shuddered, it was like extra motivation for me to continue. And I did... LOL.

The Swim -- 35:46 (1:48/100m!!!!!!!!)
I remember from this race in a previous year that the buoy turns can get really congested. And if there is one thing I HATE, it is being forced to stop swimming from the sheer mass of upright bodies at the buoy turns. This year I aimed wide and had a good swim.

I caught a couple of good drafts but unfortunately had too much clean water for big parts of the swim. Still, I drafted when I could! :)

The thing with me and swimming is that I might not be very speedy (yet), but I can keep going and going and going. So, the swim felt effortless to me. (This is also probably due to my nice taper -- thank you Coach Sara!) Even when I would do some surges, I felt really great and not exhausted like I have in the past. LOL.

Out of the swim and the wetsuit strippers had a hard time getting my wetsuit over my hips and bum. Some women fixate on their weight, their boobs, their teeth...my fixation is my bum. I don't know why, but it's a funny thing. I find bums odd -- like why would someone think a bum looks good? Bums are bums! I remember I watched this show a long time ago, and it showed a number of close-up body photographs. You had to guess which part of the body the pic was from. It was so weird how boob cleavage resemebled butt cleavage! Seriously!!

Anyway, my bum plays an important role later on....LOL!!

The Bike -- 2:31:38 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I don't know what the transition times are....because I am pretty confident that I actually broke 2:30 for the bike according to my watch anyways. Heh-heh! In fact, during the last kms of the bike I looked at my watch and thought, "If I really push as much as I can, I can break 2:30!"

I never look at my watch to gauge speed/distance like that either....this was a first. I only wear the watch to help guide nutritional choices. However, this time, I used it to push myself even harder. The thing is, I had the fitness to do that on the bike. I'm not there on the run yet.... Hahahaha!! The run is usually about survival for me, but the bike this time was so neato.

In fact, I was cursing myself that I hadn't asked my coach about proper gearing choices. I was spinning out in my hardest gear for too much of the race. I needed harder gears! But who knew I was actually getting stronger? LOL!!! This will be rectified shortly -- I've talked with my uber coach and Gord (my bike guru) and I am moving on to another cassette now. YAY! I am finally climbing the ladder. Hahahahahaha!!

The bike went by so fast it was awesome. I kept saying to myself, "Push, push, PUSH!" I couldn't believe it when I saw the sign for 45km.I was thinking, "Already? Wow, this is going by fast!"

I was grunting and grimacing away, but I was not consciously doing so...I would sort of come out of the bubble and then realize I was grunting and grimacing, but I was so divorced from what my face was doing...I just went back into the bubble and kept saying to myself, "PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!!!!"

The Run -- 1:51: 31 (Hey, I am excited to start working on knocking the time off that kind of run!! Hee-hee!!)
Felt terrible and wobbly and out of breath for the first 4 or 5 km. I always feel like that at the beginning, so I knew it would pass. There was the teeniest of inclines throughout the course and my quads just about went on a cramping/Charley-horse extravaganza, so I made sure to take it even more easy on those parts.

Ran out of salt pills -- was not prepared to go through as many as I did, so that was a good lesson. Around 15km or so, I got this familiar light-headed, woozy feeling that I get in hot IM races. Wish I had brought more salt pills!

Ahh well, I kept nipping at my gels and took water at every aid station and just hung in there.

There was a guy that was running a similar pace to me out there -- we kept passing each other...At one point, he was behind me on a windy section and I heard him tell a friend, "I'm just drafting!" LOL! I turned around and asked him, "Are you saying I have a fat ass?" Hahaha!

As he passed me he said, "I'm married with 4 kids, but I gotta say..." Then there was some kind of bum compliment. LMAO!!!!!!!!! I was like, "Hell ya! I'll take any kind of compliment about my bum ANYWHERE, ANYTIME." LOL!!!

You know how fun it is at these long distance endurance races, when your fellow athletes start acting silly? Hahahahahaha!!

Well, the final 4km, then 3km were pretty brutal. The quad cramps were on the very cusp of taking over and rendering me one big spasm (Not one big spazz -- I'm already a spazz), and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Just get to the finish and then I can lay in bed all day! Hahahah!

Right before the finish line this girl in my AG blew by me and beat me by 5 seconds. LOL. I was going at TOP SPEED though. Hahahahah -- If you can call what I was doing top speed, but seriously I was giving it everything I had -- hahahah -- I didn't have that extra oomph that I have on the bike, but I am excited to train more and then get it! :) :)

The Aftermath
I was so excited that I broke 5 hours I went around to all the girls who had passed me and I was shaking their hands and telling them congratulations and that they looked so awesome out there. I know I am a dork but I couldn't help myself! Hahahah!

I could barely walk I was so stiff and sore. I had to ask a volunteer to bend over and pick up my helmet and my bike shoes. There was no way I could bend over. Then it took me like 30 minutes to walk with my bike the 50m out of transition -- LOL. Well not really, but I was going so slow. Then I heard this volunteer behind me say, "You've got 2 penalty laps to do!"

I turned around and I almost passed out.

And then he broke up laughing!!!!!!

BRUTAL!!! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!! I said, "That's cruel and unusual punishment!!!" LOL!!!

I was so excited, I went back to our sleaze-bag motel (oh yeah, I KNOW how to pick them!) and actually TURNED ON my cell phone and called my coach. Hahahahah -- I think she was more surprised that I actually used my cell phone than anything else though. LOL!!

Good times!!!

Congrats to my fellow MRT athletes and friends out there who had phenomenal races out there on Sunday:

Tessa -- YOU ROCKED IT!!!!! And as usual looked HAWT doing so! :)
Kendall -- I saw you, but you didn't see me! Hee-hee!! Congrats on your smokin' time! WOW!
Patty -- You looked really solid on the run when I saw you!
Amber -- You are such a stud there is nothing I can say but you are excellent. How you pulled off a PB after puking from the flu for 12 hours beforehand is beyond me!
Lisa -- Two flats and you STILL got a running PB!!! YAY!!!! Congrats!!!
Richelle -- Thanks for listening to my leech stories and congratulations on a great race -- can't believe you managed to crank that race out considering what you've recently gone through!


Darin Hunter said...

Great race Julie! Congrats on your PB and keep up the fantastic work you're doing with Sara, it's obviously working!

Julie said...

Thanks Darin -- congratulations to you too, holy crap FOURTH OVERALL!!!!! It's all because of H-Dog I think. LOL!!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Ok thanks for stilling the fear in me and ows and leeches. Its going to take awhile to get this out my memory every time I see a lake

AND CONGRATS on the race!!! SUB 5!!! Freaking awesome

Second race this year about your bum, the other one was the pic of guy staring at it.

Julie said...

Big Daddy -- We have a cosmic connection because as I was entering a comment on your blog, you were entering a comment on mine. LOL!

And yes, it is ALL ABOUT THE BUM!! Hahahahahahaha!!!

runningman said...

Wow, awesome race Julie. Smokin times!! Congratz on the sub 5, great club to be in. :)

Shannon Wicks said...

Hey Julie,

Congratz on your sub-5 and fantastic race report...pic of leech included! LOL!

Keith said...

Congrats on your great race result! Myself, I'd have preferred a pic of your bum, rather than the leech.

After swimming in that lake there are lots of things I try not to think about. Geese, for instance. Until I can get geese out of my mind I probably wont do that race again.

Amber Dawn said...

WOW! I am sooooo stoked about your bike! I want to bike like youuu!!!!

Awesome race report, you are so friggin funny about the leech..and your bum... jeezuz girl what a day would be like inside your head!!

Keep it up superstar!! Your progress is so inspiring!

Lisa Graham said...

Wow girl - CONGRATS on such an amazing day! You went crazy-fast and killed it out there! I'm not surprised at all, though - you've been working so hard and consistently and you have such a great attitude toward this sport and life in general. I knew you had it in you!

I'm so glad I FINALLY got to meet you, and looking forward to seeing you again at IMC!! We should hang out!

And OMG - the leeches? EWWWW!

Sara Gross said...

For the record, the run was only 20k! Julie, you make my job easy. Thanks for being so great.

Julie said...

Sara -- sorry babe, but a 1:22 for *only* 20km is still SUPER IMPRESSIVE!! :) :)

Theia said...

Congrats!! Great race report and awesome race.

And ummm, the leech? I would have been shrieking!