Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ironman Canada Part 1

So I know that I have a pretty short attention span, and I assume other people might as I've decided to write about my Ironman in different parts, so you and I don't get bored with my experience...I mean it was a pretty long day, so it's good to break it into smaller parts.

Anyway, I woke up Sunday morning at 3:30am super excited. Not really because I had an Ironman to do, but because I got to drink coffee! On the advice of my coach Tony I had given up coffee and all other caffeine for two weeks, and it had been a hard two weeks. I didn't have headaches or anything, but I have such an emotional attachment to coffee that I would wake up every morning and the first thing I would think was: "I can't have coffee today." Then I would go to work, and I would think: "I can't have coffee today", then I would go home from work and think: "I can't have coffee tomorrow." But on Sunday I woke up and thought: "I CAN have coffee today!!!!!" And although I don't really know how much of a difference it made having caffeine on the course all day after not having had it for 2 weeks, it made a huge difference that morning and I was able to go three times before I even left the hotel room! Woo hoo!

So anyway, Jasmine and Dana and I got ready and then went to the hotel lobby and got on the bus down to the start. We were there early, and I guess we hung out, got our wetsuits on, and got ready for the swim. When it got closer to 7am I went down to the water and got in and swam around a little. Then I went to the left of the crowd of people forming in the water and started asking people how fast they thought they were going to swim the 2.4 miles. I wanted to be behind people who were going to go a little faster than me, so I wouldn't have to swim over anyone. I finally found a guy that said he would do it in 1 hour and 4 minutes, so I stood behind him (about 3 or 4 people back from the very front of the line). I had swam it in 1 hour and 8 minutes at Vineman, so I figured it would be good to be behind someone 4 minutes faster.

Then it was time to start the race. I don't really remember if there was a gun or not, but everyone started walking forward and swimming, so I did as well. I was surprised and pleased at my placement. I didn't necessarily feel a huge pull forward like I was told would happen, but it wasn't crazy. There were a lot of people I was swimming next to, but we were all quite civilized. I didn't get kicked at all, and when I could feel people touching my feet, I would stop kicking, so as not to hurt them. Quite a few times I was stuck right in between two swimmers and we were all going the same pace and were a little too close, so our arms would hit each other, but everyone was always trying to find a clear space, so we would eventually move away from each other. For a lot of the time I could see people all around me, but had my own little space to swim in. I guess I was lucky to start near the front because most of the people knew how to swim straight and weren't zig zagging in front of me.

All in all it was a pretty good swim, but I wasn't pushing myself as hard as at Vineman. There were A LOT more people in the water (3,200) than at Vineman, so even though it wasn't crazy, I was also never alone, so I pretty much stuck to my breathing every two strokes. I also wanted the swim to be over. It's funny because swimming is basically the only thing I am any good at, but I find it the least fun. I was thinking about why this is, and I think part of it has to do with the fact that you can't really interact with people while you are swimming, and you can't really look at the scenery. So I was pretty happy to get out of the water after 1 hour, 11 minutes, and 17 seconds. At this point I was in 798th place out of 3,240 athletes. Pretty good, huh? Well don't worry...that was all about to change...but that will be in the next part of this report. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not What I Expected

I thought I would be so excited the week before my Ironman. I've been so excited all year. I have absolutely loved training and pushing myself. I've been so amazed at what everyone on my team has accomplished. Most of our teammates became Ironmen on July 30th at the Vineman Triathlon. I did the aqua bike that day, and I felt really good. I had a little problem with nutrition on the bike, but once I realized I wasn't getting enough calories, and ate more, then I felt great. I ran 4 miles on the run course and I was thinking, you know, I could do an Ironman today!

The next day I took off and on Monday I ran 10 and a half miles at Lake Chabot. My foot was hurting a little at that time, but it went away once I warmed up. I felt fine on Tuesday, but on Wednesday my foot was hurting a lot. I of course thought I should work through it, so I did my track workout anyway. By that weekend my foot was swollen and hurting so much I couldn't put pressure on the ball of my foot. Since then I 've gone to the doctor's twice, gotten x-rays (no fractures that they can see, thank goodness), and for a little while my foot felt better. But then of course I wasn't careful, and although I didn't run, I didn't really watch out for my foot either, and by last Wednesday it was hurting again.

Now it's 6 days until my race, and I haven't been able to run in 20 days. My foot is starting to feel a little better with all the rest I am giving it and all the ice and ibuprofen, but I can tell it's not 100% and I am still limping. I've been really positive this year, but right now, it just seems like too much. I am so scared for Sunday, because even if my foot doesn't hurt at all, I feel like I am not in shape anymore because I haven't been able to do much besides swim.

Before this happened I was setting really high goals for myself in terms of time, but now I don't even know if I will finish, and that thought makes me so sad. I've worked so hard for this, and it just seems unfair for this to happen right now.

I hate to complain, and to not be positive, but I was hoping by writing this and getting it out there, I would somehow come to terms with my situation. I mean I have always said it is about the journey, not the end, and it's been a wonderful journey. And I guess if this one doesn't work out, then I have next year to become an Ironman. I guess becoming an Ironman means not giving up, even if you don't finish your first event.

But I must stop talking like that, I will finish this event. I will finish it, even if I don't get a medal and I have to run away from volunteers trying to pull me off the course after midnight! Even if I don't get a medal, I will finish this!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Separation Anxiety

I am an addict. I have to admit it. I am having separation anxiety right now. I gave up coffee three days ago...and it's been rough. I mean, I don't feel physically bad, and I haven't gotten any headaches, but I miss it sooo much. I wake up every morning and the first thing I think about is coffee. I think about how much I like the nice warm inviting smell of it brewing in the office. I think about the refreshing coldness of an ice coffee on a hot day, I think about the joy I get from going to Starbucks and getting my tall coffee in a grande cup so I can put extra cream in it.

Coffee is so comforting, it's like I've lost an old friend.

But alas, I should not complain...apparently sacrificing for two weeks will help me on race day. I am so looking forward to my first cup of coffee on Aug 28th at 3:30 in the morning, and then eating all those caffeine filled GUs on the run!  Oh what fun, what bliss! I guess I am also excited about being an Ironman, but I am really excited about being an Ironman that gets to drink coffee!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Running in Water

So I haven't posted in a while. A week and a half ago I did the Vineman Aquabike (2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride) and then I ran 4 miles just for fun. I wanted to write about it because it was super fun, but most of the people on my team did their Ironman that day, so I was much more interested in reading about their experiences. I was super proud of them! Especially my friend Dana, who kept going until 2:30 in the morning to finish the race and become an Ironman.

Then after Vineman I started to get a little pain in my foot and by last Friday it had gotten really bad. I couldn't walk on it, and it was swollen, and by Sunday people started to talk to me about stress fractures and neuroma, and basically I started to think that I might have something really wrong with me, and that I might not be able to do the Ironman. I didn't really feel like writing about that, since one I was probably over reacting, and two I didn't want it to be true.

So I finally made an appointment and got x-rays and saw a podiatrist, and I don't have stress fractures or neuroma! Basically I have just not had proper foot placement and have been putting too much stress on my metatarsals (toes). So they gave me these little metatarsal pads to put in my shoes and told me to stretch my calf and not run until August 28th. :) I will however be running in the water, thanks to Dave Stark who is lending me a water running belt. I don't really know how it works yet, but I am sure I will look very funny, so if you want a good laugh you can find me at Temescal pool in the evenings at 5!

So I guess the next time I will be running on pavement will be for 26.2 miles after I have already been working out for 9 to 10 hours. Hopefully my butt and shoulders will hurt so much from the bike ride, I won't notice any pain in my foot! Well hopefully I won't have any pain in my foot...but if I do, then I can hope for the second best, right?

So anyway, I really feel super lucky, and I hope that the pads and stretching and not running make me feel fresh and new on race day!