Friday, August 6, 2010


I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks that I did Ironman Lake Placid. What an experience this has been! I want to thank Andrew Johnston for giving me the tools & encouragement in making me an Ironman. He's been an inspiration throughout my season and especially on race day. I am extremely grateful my family made the trek from Colorado, Las Vegas, Atlanta & Connecticut to see me finish my 1st Ironman. It wouldn't have been the same without you there. It was also amazing seeing so many friends on the course racing & spectating. Oh and thank you weather for being so beautiful and cooperative! Wow, I feel like I just wrote my Oscar speech.

I was so consumed with packing & worrying about the logistics of my trip that I didn't really have a chance to get nervous about the race itself. I was shocked @ how calm I had been. My flight left Wednesday morning, but I had to get in a ride & run before I left. We arrived in Syracuse at 1pm and then had to drive 3.5 hours to Placid. Of course my dumb GPS lady's route was just ridiculous, but it made for a good laugh between my mom and I. When we finally got into town, we made a pit stop @ the grocery store because I didn't want to eat any meals out before the race. I'm not typically the best eater, but I made sure I was careful with my food intake to take precautions for any possible GI issues. I cut out dairy for the week and didn't have any processed foods. I mainly ate chicken, steak, sweet potatoes, fruits and veggies. Between waking up @ 4:45, flying to Syracuse then driving for 3.5 hours, being exhausted was an understatement.

I got a great night's sleep, which was exactly what I needed. I woke up Thursday with a list of things I needed to get done. Do a 30 minute swim, check in to get my number, chip & various other goodies, pick up my bike from bike transport & then get in a 30 minute ride. It seemed like a lot to do when I was supposed to be off my feet relaxing. I got to the lake, put my wetsuit on & that's when the 1st "oh shit" moment happened. But really, what's a Pam Wiener race without a couple of oh shit moments? The zipper on my wetsuit came off the track and wouldn't go back on. I allowed myself to freak out for about a minute & thought about what my options were. At that moment it was swim sans wetsuit & figure out what I could do later. Andrew gave me a great pointer multiple times, don't worry about the things you can't control. I really only wanted positive energy leading up to the race and this was out of my control, so there was no reason to sweat it. This wasn't the worst thing that could happen to me. It sucks, but there are so many other things that really could've killed my race & this wasn't one of them. The water temperature was about 74, so it was fine to go without. I had a great swim. I felt confident, calm, relaxed and swam on the line (Lake Placid actually has a line in the lake below the buoys that mimics the black line on the bottom of a pool). I was interested to see how far away I could get & still see it. Of course forgetting it will be a lot more difficult with the rest of the athletes in the water. While I was swimming I thought of my options for the wetsuit dilemma. I had 2 friends coming up that have wetsuits, so I asked them to bring theirs or I just wouldn't wear one. Either option would be fine for me. Luckily my friend Karen's fit perfectly (possibly even better then my own). Great, mission wetsuit solved!

Later in the day I picked up my bike & as I was pumping the tire I snapped off the pressure release button in my back tire. "Oh shit" moment number 2 (only a few hours after number 1). My tires had enough air in them for a 30 minute ride so I figured I would just go to the bike shop when my ride was done. Luckily the the bike shop was right across from our condo. Although I ride a bike, I am not known for certain mechanical things, such as changing a tire. I know, awful, but my version of changing a tire is hoping I don't get one. I rode the 1st part of the bike and run course. It wasn't too bad, but I knew the most difficult parts were during the 2nd 1/2 of each lap. After my short ride I went to the shop, got help from the cute 22 year old dude, only to have my oh shit moments 3 & 4. It ended up both my spare tubes had slits in them. Better to happen pre race then during. I have midget size tires, so my tubes are smaller then most people's & need to make sure I have more then enough extras. I ended up buying 3 tubes, in addition to the 3 I had @ the condo. The little tutorial from baby hottie made feel slightly more comfortable about changing a tire. I made my way back to the condo, hung out with the fam & had a great dinner of pasta with turkey meat sauce.

I had another great night's sleep on Thursday. Go me! It was pretty crucial to get my sleep in since Saturday I probably wouldn't get much sleep. Friday was my day off & the only thing I wanted to do was drive the course. I rode it last year, but I really don't remember it. When we started driving it was the 1st time I really got nervous for the race. I knew the course was going to be difficult, but it was definitely confirmed when we drove it. When we got to the last hill it would definitely be tough, but it would be manageable. Through my training I've done hill repeats, difficult courses & a good amount of long distances so I knew I would be ok. After we got home I took a well deserved nap and then just sat on our deck over looking Lake Placid. The fam made a fantastic dinner of flank steak and sweet potatoes.

Friday night was necessary for a good night's sleep, but unfortunately it was awful. I couldn't fall asleep, woke up during the night for a few hours & woke up super early. My goal was not to take a nap Saturday so I would be completely spent that I would just pass out. I still didn't have any nerves, which was completely surprising. I'm not sure if I did and I was in denial, but either way it was refreshing to not be freaking out. I had to get in a 30 minute ride, 5 minute run and drop my bike off before 2pm. I was up pretty early and started getting antsy, so I went out for my ride. The section that I rode on Saturday wasn't on the course, which is good because I was having technical difficulties with my legs. They just didn't want to move. It wasn't that encouraging, but once again, oh well, I'll just be slow. During this ride I had another "oh shit" moment. I heard this crazy noise on my bike. I had no idea what it was so I pulled over to see if I could figure out what was going on, which was probably a long shot considering my lack of bike mechanic knowledge. Bingo, figured out the problem.I didn't secure the new tube on the back of my bike securely so it fell off into the tire. Ok good, no bike issue that needed to get fixed. When I looked on the back of my bike, the other tube fell off during my ride. Pam 0, tubes 4! I just went straight to the condo and had my mom pick up more tubes for me later to put in my special needs bag. My friends Linda, Karen and Wes from NYC came to visit. It was great seeing familiar faces. We chatted for a bit and then I went to drop my bike off. It was really hot that day, so I went back to the condo while the fam stayed in town. I vegged out by myself, which was nice and managed not to take a nap. My friend Steve from NYC, who just finished Ironman Coeur d'Alene (Go Stevie!!!), stopped by as well. We sat on the deck, chatted it up and just took in the scenery. We ate an early dinner of chicken with artichokes and some rice. I wanted to make sure I was done eating by 6:45ish, so I could get to bed early. I went downstairs around 8 and was asleep by 9:45. Then @ 1:30 I must've been having a dream about Ironman because I shot up in bed, scared out of my mind and realized I was doing an Ironman in 5 1/2 hours. That was the most nervous I had been. Thankfully I fell back asleep pretty quickly and didn't wake up until my alarm went off @ 4:00.

WOW!!! Race morning was finally here! It was a year ago (plus a day) that I really should've had my head examined when I signed up to do an Ironman. I ate the 1st part of my breakfast which was peanut butter and low sugar jelly on an english muffin. I made sure I was drinking water and a sports drink with electrolytes. I didn't want to start thinking about the race so I read a Cooking Light magazine. I then ate the 2nd part of my breakfast which was an Organic Food Bar. I managed to get most of it down. I was supposed to consume about 600 calories for breakfast. I took my water bottles out of the freezer, grabbed my stuff and had my mom drive me into town. We were staying about 1.5 miles from the start and this princess didn't want to walk if someone could drive me. Luckily my grandfather made all sorts of crazy sleep noises that woke my mom up, so I didn't have to feel guilty about her 5:00 wake up call. Shocking, but I still wasn't feeling the nerves. I wanted to write something on the inside of my arms so if I got into a funk, had doubts or just wanted to smile, I could look down and get some encouragement. I ended up writing YOU'RE DOING IT on my left arm and PERSEVERE on my right. I went to transition to put fluids on my bike, pump my tires and drop off my special needs bags. I ran into some friends along the way to special needs, so I got some good morning hugs. I was waiting for my family to arrive before I headed over to the water. I clearly didn't have my thinking cap on because I put Pam (not me, the cooking spray) on the outside of my wetsuit (which makes it easier to take off) before I put my wetsuit on instead of after. GENIUS I tell you! Some guy next to me said, "You're having a really tough time getting your wetsuit on." Thanks captain obvious because I was unaware of that little fact! Finally I got it on. My mom came over and gave me a big good luck hug and kiss. Of course I was bothered by something, so I got a little sassy with her (I'm blaming it on the nerves that must've been there that I was unaware of). My goal going into this race was cross the finish line within 16:59:59 and do it while wearing a smile more then showing misery. I really just wanted to enjoy myself and appreciate the fact that I'm healthy enough and dumb enough to do this. Plus I was in place that absolutely gorgeous and picturesque. I've heard so many awful stories from people that I didn't want to have that experience. I trained hard to become an Ironman and I wanted to be a smiling Ironman! I had my mental and physical game plan and I was going to do everything in my power to stick to it.

I took a GU about 10 minutes before I headed into the water. It had been 2 hours since I finished my breakfast, so I needed something in me. I got in the water and was feeling pretty calm. There were about 875 1st time athletes, so I knew I wasn't alone. I think this was the biggest field in Placid to date, of close to 2,700 people. I had 2 pairs of goggles, but I wasn't sure which one I was going to wear. I ended up trying them both on and went with the darker tint. I set the other pair on a dock to be forever lost in Placid. I took some practice strokes and felt really good. This might not be so bad, but only time will tell. I stood on the side while the National Anthem was sang and just focused on the day ahead of me. I then made my way over to the front of the mass swim start. My positioning was a big debate for me. I didn't have any anxiety this season, but I also didn't start with 2,700 people either. I was about 4 rows deep and in the middle towards the right of the buoys. This was a bit ballsy, but I thought it was a good place for me to go & if it wasn't I was soon going to find out. I don't think we even got a countdown, but between the bitching around me of how hard this was going to be, I heard someone say we had about a minute, then BOOM the cannon went off. My 1st 5 strokes were ok and then I got kicked and had so much water splashing at me, that my heart rate sky rocketed and I freaked out a bit. Shit, this cannot be happening to me now! I stopped a few times and tried gaining my composure. I tried counting my strokes to calm down, layed on my back, doggy paddled and nothing worked for the 1st 5 minutes or so. I looked around and there were a few people in the same boat as me which was somewhat refreshing. I finally calmed down enough and started my swim again. The counting helped this time and I was able to get in a good groove. I wasn't sighting and to be honest, I was pretty scared to. If I picked up my head I had no idea what body part of someone else I was going to come in contact with so leaving it in the water was the best option. I knew where I started and that I wanted to make my way over to the left, so I headed that way. I tried gauging where I was based on other people. I know that's not the right way to sight, but it was my way for the day. I felt like I was picking up some speed and was passing a lot of people. I had no idea what my time was and until I got out of the water for the 2nd lap, I wasn't going to look. I made my way around the turn buoy and wow did that suck. I got kicked, pulled, hit on pretty much every portion of my body. Imagine your clothing in a washing machine. The socks are fighting your shirts, your shirts are fighting your jeans, etc. Well, that's what this swim felt like. Somehow I managed to get directly on the line when I made the turn. Sweet or maybe not since that's where most people were fighting to get. Probably 100 yards after we made the turn, I got nailed in the face. It knocked my goggles a little bit, which let a little water in. It would've been a lot worse if I was in chlorine or salt water. I pressed the lens in and went on about my way. I tried sighting a little to see where we were in relation to the shore. I remember seeing buildings to my right so I knew I wasn't too far away. As we approached I heard Mike Reilly on the loud speaker, so I started swimming faster. I got out of the water, put my goggles on the top of my head, looked at my watch and couldn't believe the time, 35:something. No freaken way, I might be able to break 1:10 even with that awful start. I got back in the water and booked it. I was directly on the line again. I was feeling good and confident. By this time I learned how to swallow water that gets splashed in your face and still managing to breathe without choking. I wonder if this is a skill I can use in every day life. The draft wasn't as strong this go round because there were a lot less people in the water. I felt like I was swimming very strong and then a ding ding went off in my head and I realized I still had about a mile to swim so I should slow down a bit. I tried drafting off of people, but they were going to slow for me. I was pulled down a few times by the same person. I definitely hit, pulled and kicked some people during this swim. The difference between me and this a-hole on my leg was that I realized what I was doing, so I swam away from the person I was touching. I ended up doing a big karate type kick and have no clue where I nailed them. Not my problem, moving onto the next victim. This happened multiple times. I thought I made the turn around the buoy already, but I hadn't reached it yet. This was now starting to feel like a longer swim then the 1st lap. I finally got there and about 500 yards later, I think I managed to bite someone's foot. I tend to swim with my mouth open, so as I was putting my head in the water this individual kicked and my teeth went into his foot. I could've sworn I was going to have a fat lip. Once again, I was just waiting to hear Mike Reilly's voice. Once I did, I knew it was time to get my head in bike mode. I got out of the water and although it was a great time, was kind of bummed I didn't go under 1:10.

Aggressive Goal 1:10
Realistic Goal 1:12
Actual 1:12:08
Division Place 35/119
Overall Place 1648/2611 (I think this was the final number, but not 100% sure)

I ran on the nice carpet, made the turn and saw my family just screaming and smiling, which made me happy. I also heard a couple of Go Wiener's thrown out there. This was the 1st T1 where I actually ran the whole time to transition. I got my bag, found a volunteer and asked her to help me. She dumped out my bag and I just called out what I needed. Now that's service people. I decided to wear my tri shorts the whole time and not change. It's not necessary for certain body parts of mine to be in bike shorts for long rides, so I figured why take extra time to change into bike shorts. Plus changing wet spandex kind of blows. I got all of my stuff and made my way out to get my bike.
Goal 8:00
Actual 8:26

I hopped on my bike & told myself to take it easy. I wasn't 100% sure what I was going to use for my nutrition, so it was really a guessing game to see how I felt and what I was going to use. I had 1 concentrated bottle of Infinit, 1 regular bottle of Infinit, 7 plain GUs & 1 package of Honey Stinger Fruit Chews on me. In my special needs bag I had more Infinit, 2 more packages of Honey Stingers & 2 packages of plain Pringles in case I needed solids. Based on my biking this season, if I went faster then 7:00 I knew I was pushing it too hard. Believe me, I wanted to go under, but it just wasn't smart for me to even attempt it. It didn't matter how many people passed me (of course without even an on your left or in some cases on your right from these other bikers), I needed to stick to my plan. Just pedal up the hills, use the downhills to make up lost time, use the flats as recovery & pick up speed once I recovered. I also was aiming to negative split if possible on the 2nd loop. I needed to focus on me, not those around me. I wanted to break my bike up into 4, 28 mile portions. Thinking of riding 112 miles when you're only @ mile 40 could really mess with your mind. It started raining a little when I was in the water, so the ground was a slightly wet. I didn't use a jacket or arm warmers because I knew it wouldn't take long for my body to warm up. Of course with the light rain, it was slightly colder then I anticipated. Right when you get out of transition there are a couple of turns and downhills, which aren't my favorite, especially with wet ground and a lot of people around me (most of them aggressive). I just took it easy & made sure I yelled that I would be slow on the turns & curves. I guess it was defensive riding. Around mile 5 or so there were a couple of hills that were pretty difficult in the beginning. By no means are they challenging hills, but it typically takes me about 15-25 miles to get into a groove on the bike, especially after a swim. I took a GU after about 25 minutes on the bike which was the 1st thing I had eaten since my GU right before the swim. I actually think I got hungry in the swim although I shouldn't have considering the amount of water I consumed. I reached the 8 mile downhill & wasn't sure how I felt about it. Anyone who has ridden with me knows my fear of downhills. I picture myself on the ground, not on my bike. The rain fell harder & the roads got wetter. Crap, just stay on your bike & be careful for everyone around you was all I could tell myself. I wasn't worried about speed, I just wanted to stay on my bike. I had 1 scare with a guy who was braking on wet ground, in the middle of the road while we're all traveling @ 30+ mph. I was able to avoid him, but had a brief thought of crashing. The next 15 miles were relatively flat. I looked @ my average speed & realized I was doing pretty well with an 18+mph, but knew the hardest part was yet to come. I just pedaled @ a comfortable speed. The wind was in our favor, which meant it soon would be against us when we hit the turnaround. I just had to remember not to attempt to pick up my speed when I saw my speed drop because of the wind. Of course I had to lose something on my bike, which is typical for me. My salt pills fell out of my back pocket around mile 30. Luckily it wasn't hot, so I wasn't sweating as much. Plus my liquid nutrition has sodium in it. I hit mile 40 & my legs felt extremely fresh. I was doing a good job drinking, which tends to be difficult when the weather is cooler. We hit the horrendous 6 mile hill around mile 45 & I just remembered my hill repeats up Kennesaw mountain. I was able to do 6 repeats there, albeit pretty slow, which meant I could do this climb. There was some relief after that bad boy. I was trying not to think ahead, but I still had some big hills @ the very end of the loop. We hit the hills that everyone talks about & I was shocked @ how "easy" they were to climb. I do much better when a hill isn't steep, so this was right up my alley. I opted not to go to special needs. My stomach felt fine, so I was going to stick with the Gu's on my bike & just use the Powerade drink on the course. I was in a good rhythm & didn't want to ruin that by stopping. We made our way back to the Olympic Oval to start our 2nd loop. I was completely warmed up, there was no more rain & I was ready to go to town again. Bring it Placid, I'm ready for you!!! The initial hills were much easier this go round. I also felt so much more comfortable on the huge downhill that I was passing people. In fact, I was extremely aggressive on them and wanted to fly down that hill. I of course came across some Alpha Males that didn't think it was acceptable for a girl to pass them, so I was getting blocked. Normally I am super aggressive in my everyday life, however I didn't feel it was wise to get in a pissing match here. I managed to play cat & mouse with a couple of them. Things were pretty uneventful for the rest of the 1st 1/2 of the 2nd loop. After the fact I found out that I negative split this part. Once I made my way up the 6 mile climb I knew I was going slow when other riders were encouraging me & giving me a lot of inspirational words. I seriously think I maybe went 4mph up the hill. I hit a funk @ mile 90 where I wondered how I was going to run a marathon. As soon as I realized the negativity, I looked down @ my arms & said, because you're going to do it, YOU'RE DOING IT!!!! Ok, simple enough. The remainder of the ride wasn't as enjoyable as the 1st time around, but I was seriously almost done with the bike. I utilized the downhills & straight aways even when my legs were tired. I couldn't believe it after I made it up the last set of hills. I'm 2/3 of the way done with an Ironman!!! That adrenaline took me back to transition with a huge smile. I made a conscious effort to appreciate the scenery while I rode. Each time I saw the beautiful water and mountains, I just stared @ it and had a great conversation with myself. Seriously, this course might be challenging, but it is absolutely stunning. This was something I told myself going into this race. Make sure to take in everything around you, even on the hills. There aren't many opportunities to ride in such an amazing atmosphere, so I took advantage of admiring it. Even though there were parts of this bike that were difficult and kind of sucked, I always had a smile on my face, especially if someone was cheering for me. There was absolutely no reason I shouldn't be smiling.

Aggressive Goal 7:00
Realistic Goal 7:15
Actual 7:07:31
Division Place 68/119
Overall Place 1952/2611

My T2 was a lot faster then I thought it would be. I didn't have to change anything except my shoes & socks. When I spoke to my family after the race I came to the realization that T2 & the start of my run was a complete blur. Seriously I have no recollection of which way I ran out of the changing tent or how I even got on the main road. I know that I saw my family, but I couldn't tell you where I was or how I got there. This is the 1st time that's ever happened to me. I don't know if it was because I was super focused or Will Smith waved a wand in front of my eyes & made me forget T2.

Goal 8:00
Actual 5:13

I've done 1 marathon before and I did it in 5:01:01. I had no idea what I was actually capable of, but I wanted to have a plan whether I stuck to it or not. My goal for the run was to break it up into 4, 10ks and run the 1st 6 miles @ an 11:00 pace. Nothing over, nothing under. What I didn't factor in was the 1st couple of miles are completely downhill. I was running a 9:25ish & every time I tried to slow down it was only for a moment. I ended up walking a little initially, which looking back I wish I didn't, but I was trying to stick to the 11:00 pace rule. During my previous marathon I hit my wall @ mile 13, so the rest of the race was miserable. That was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. I was having such a fantastic time enjoying myself thus far, I didn't want anything to ruin that. I made a deal with myself that as long as I ran the flats and downhills, I could walk the uphills and aid stations if I needed to. I carried a bottle of water with me so I could drink and take a GU at any time. I figured I would get some Powerade drink along the way if I needed it. What I didn't account for was how disgusting the orange/mango flavor was. Needless to say, I didn't drink much Powerade. My foot started bothering me within the 1st few miles. I couldn't believe this could happen to me again during a race like it did at Rev 3. I felt a little numbness starting, so I went off to the side of the road and stretched my Achilles. When this started, my plan was to ignore it and it will go away. It didn't last too long this go round. I guess I had my auto pause on because my watch stopped a couple of times when I walked through aid stations and when I hit the potty around mile 4ish. I wasn't really keeping track of time, but I did look at my overall pace a few times. I noticed that I was fairly close to 11:00 miles for much of the race (I was closer to 11:20s because I didn't figure out the auto pause time). I did walk more times then I wanted to, but I did this because I knew I wouldn't be able to run the whole marathon. I told myself that unless I was going up a hill, I couldn't go above a 15:30 walk. I also realized that I was able to run longer and faster if I walked. I think my run pace was anywhere from 8:45-10:30. I guess you can say I walked so I could run. The 1st 1/2 of the marathon was really uneventful. I saw so many friends, former coaches and family out there which was so awesome. It was great because there were groups of people spread out all over the course. I didn't know where most of them would be, but I was looking everywhere I could. I'm thinking that helped take my mind off of the marathon I was running. I talked to some people around me, got a lot of cheers for wearing TNT gear and just smiled. I was told by someone around mile 21 that I was the happiest person she saw out there. I got a lot of keep on smiling through the day on the bike and run. When you hear that, how can you not smile more? My legs felt really good and it didn't feel like I had just ridden 112 miles. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't speedy Gonzales, but I felt good enough to run a marathon. I ran into my friend Jenny around mile 14. She asked if I had any salt pills because I had a lot of salt on my shoulders. As a matter of fact, that would be a big fat no because my salt pills once again fell out of my tri top. Luckily she spared a couple for me. I tried taking in some chicken broth for the sodium since I didn't have salt pills. It tasted amazing, but I wasn't able to keep it down. I think because the Powerade drink was so sugary that it wasn't allowing me to absorb certain things I put in me. I ate a bunch of pretzels throughout the run hoping that would give me salt as well. I ended up playing cat and mouse with Jenny a few times, so I was able to talk to her. I also talked to a guy that was a TNT coach in Ohio. It was nice that people out there were enjoying their time on the course. The faster people I saw were so serious and could barely crack a smile if I said hi. That's just not how I race. The balls of my feet and toes started hurting around mile 17. I didn't see the sign for mile 18, but asked a volunteer and he said I just passed it. AWESOME!!! Then around mile 19 my left hamstring started tightening up. I didn't care what was happening to my body. I was a little more then a 10k away from being an Ironman. The hurting would have to be put on the back burner until I was done! I couldn't believe it when I saw mile 22. This is getting more real by the second. I saw a group of people I knew with my former NYC TNT coach on IGA hill, which is around mile 22 or 23. He told me that I looked way to fresh and I needed to be running since I was walking. I told him I was walking the hills and that I wanted to make sure I had a pretty finish line photo, so I didn't want to push it to hard. He laughed and told me that was ok as long as I ran when I got to Mirror Lake. After that hill, there's another one. I decided to run up that hill and saw my family cheering away. They looked so happy and I couldn't tell they had been spectating for 13.5 hours. I made the final turnaround and knew I had a mile or so to go. Then the unthinkable happened. I got a cramp in my left calf. Yeah I told that cramp to F off. I changed my stride a bit to accommodate it. I was in the final stretch and nothing was stopping me from getting to that finish line. I saw the Olympic Oval with all of the lights and couldn't believe my eyes. I heard Mike Reilly's voice and I booked it like I never have before! I guess all of those 1/4 mile sprints paid off because I was probably running a 7:30 for the home stretch. I made my way into the Oval and got super choked up, but had the biggest smile on my face. I made the final turn and heard the most amazing words, "PAMELA WIENER, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!!!!"

Aggressive Goal 5:00
Realistic Goal 5:30
Actual 4:59:12 (PR by 2 minutes)
Division Place 68/119
Overall Place 1556

Aggressive Goal 13:26:00
Realistic Goal 14:13:00
Actual 13:32:27
Division Place 62/119
Overall Place 1648

My family came over to me when I crossed the finish line and I thought I would ball immediately. My mom gave me the hugest hug and cried, which I thought would make me cry. Surprisingly it didn't. I think I was just so elated and on a natural high, the cry wouldn't flow. Or maybe I was just so dehydrated that's why it wouldn't come out. It honestly wasn't until I just wrote the words "PAMELA WIENER, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN" that I had tears come out. I did make my way into the medical tent. Personally I wanted an IV because I was told that it would help me recover better the next day. They weren't too keen on just giving them out. They took my vitals and everything was ok. My body started cooling off and I started shivering. They gave me some chicken broth to warm me up, but I couldn't keep it down so I ended up getting an IV of anti nausea medicine. Once I got the anti nausea, I started shivering like a crazy person. I had taken off all my wet clothing, but that didn't seem to help. They put warm fluids in an IV bag, gave me 2 blankets and aimed a heater on me, but nothing seemed to warm me up. I must've been in there for at least 40 minutes before I finally warmed up. The good news is I looked WAY better then anyone else in that room.

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day then what I was given on July 25, 2010. Not only did I become and Ironman, but I was happy and appreciated everything the entire day. I wish more people could feel what I did since I don't think I can actually put it into words.

If you've made it to the end of this without falling asleep, I give you a lot of credit. I've been writing this thing since the Thursday before Placid. Next up on my agenda is Augusta 70.3 with Team in Training in honor of an amazing coach, man, father, husband and Leukemia survivor, Andrew Johnston. If it wasn't for him, I don't know if I could've been an Ironman. This is the least I can do for him. If you would like to donate, please visit my link, Thanks again for your support throughout the past 7 months!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

1 WEEK TO GO FOR NUMBER 2557, PAMELA WIENER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am absolutely amazed that 1 week from today I will be completing an Ironman. This day creeped up out of nowhere. How did this happen? Is this what a parent feels like when their kid is 16 and getting their driver's license. I have been so consumed with thinking about everything that needs to be done prior to Wednesday morning when I leave, that it's really left me no time time to actually think about the race. I guess that's a good thing. I am really getting excited to see what I'm made of. People ask me all the time if I'm nervous or if I feel ready. The nervous part, in a way because I just really don't know what to expect. The ready part, I'm not sure if you ever feel truly ready for an Ironman, but I know I put in the time and effort. So yeah, I'm ready. Andrew sent me my last schedule of Ironman training and damn, it still seems like a lot! This week my legs felt so much better then last week. I still had some intense workouts, but for the most part I felt ok.

My swim on Monday I probably pushed slightly harder then I should've. I swam with other people, which I tend not to do, so I was going faster then if I was by myself. I made sure on Wednesday's 2000 yard swim to hold back a little and see if this was a pace I could sustain for 400 yards. I had some sprints thrown in there, but I was pretty pleased with how I felt.

Lucy Roo has been on a break since last Saturday. I got a new back tire and didn't want to abuse her before Placid on the trainer. She also is now on her way to Placid and we will meet again on Thursday when she's delivered. I had a couple of trainer rides and a 3 hour ride today. I was trying to hold back a little on the bike for my long ride. I was riding with a friend and there were times I looked down at my speed and thought, I feel good, but damn we're going faster then I wanted to. I would occasionally throw out that we needed to slow down. Our 2nd 1/2 was much slower, which was fine for both of us. I had 2 5 minute sprints that were tough on me. I was booking it and trying to get my HR up. Once the intervals were done, so were my legs. When I got off the bike though my legs felt pretty good. I have to make note that I've been riding my road bike and wow what a difference. I think after riding that I will be happy to be on Lucy Roo again. Lucy is so much more comfortable now. Kind of crazy after all the bitching I initially did.

I was not pleased with my long run this week. It was so hot and humid out that it sucked any energy that I might've had out of me. I tried taking it slow, but that wasn't working out too well for me. I ended up walking a bunch whenever I felt like crap. I'm not sure if it was the right decision, but I wanted to preserve any energy I had for next weekend. I didn't think it was necessary for me to push it too hard because I would receive no benefits from it. My other runs though were good.

If you want to track me go to There should be an athlete tracker on Sunday. You can track me by my name or bib number which is 2557. Fingers crossed that all goes according to plan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

2 WEEK COUNTDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I've been quite a slack ass on the blog front lately. Luckily I can't say the same thing for my training. I still have been doing my workouts, but every time I think about writing, something comes up & I put it off. I have been sleeping like shit, so insomnia would be the perfect time to write, but I choose to watch shitty reality shows @ that time. Unfortunately for me, not sleeping is a side affect when I get stressed out. So I've put off writing for over 3 weeks and after getting an email about my blog from Andrew, it pushed me to finally write again. My mind is going in a million different directions. The weird part is, it hasn't really hit me my race is almost here. The nerves for the actual race hasn't even hit yet. I'm more nervous about packing and getting everything together without forgetting anything. The NE was hit with an awful heatwave, which also hit Placid. Even though this is something completely out of my control, it is still playing games with my head. I've been checking the weather & luckily things are looking a lot better. Things are going well with my training & I've finally hit the taper stage. In my mind taper means a couple miles here, some miles there, relax & rest your body. Yeah, that's not exactly what it really means. I was told that I do shorter, but more intense workouts. Really? That's how my body is supposed to say hello to an Ironman? I guess so.

My swims have been good lately. I am officially shedding the $500 long sleeve wetsuit & am going with my free TNT sleeveless suit. I am so much more comfortable in that suit and I'm all about comfort on July 25. I've been swimming once a week in it. The problem is it's so hot in the pool that I tend to slow down when wearing it. I don't really see me getting too warm in the lake @ Placid, so I'm probably good on that front. I met with Andrew and came up with some strategies for my swim @ Placid. Even though I haven't had open water anxiety this season, I've never started with over 2000 people in the water fighting over a line on the bottom of the lake. My plan is to start pretty far over to the right & then make my way to the left. Fingers crossed that it works. I will end up swimming more then 2.4 miles, but if it helps me get past the people, I'll take it.

I'm satisfied with how I'm doing on the bike. I still think I'm slower then last year, but that's ok. I'm also riding 56 miles more and running a marathon after. I did 6 Kennesaw hill repeats 3 weeks ago. That workout knocked me on my ass. I definitely started a lot faster then I should've because my last one was 2 minutes slower then the 1st. It was also crazy hot out. I was supposed to do 2 repeats standing. I wasn't able to get up the whole thing standing. As a matter of fact, I think I probably was only able to make it a 1/4 of the way. In the same week my long ride was a Century. The 1st 40 miles were pretty slow. I couldn't climb, my legs felt tight & tired (I had an 18 mile run 2 days before). We hit a rest stop @ mile 50ish & somehow I got some major energy & power. I felt phenomenal until the last few miles. The sun & heat just got the best of me. This past weekend I had a 3.5 hour ride. I was supposed to take it easier then I did. My legs felt really good so I went harder and faster then I normally did. I paid for it @ mile 50. I just completely bonked. I took a GU which helped. I also was working out some things with my nutrition. I tried the potatoes, but realized I need to do them in the middle of the ride & not as a substitute for GU. I need it really to absorb the liquids in my stomach.

Oh man my runs are not exactly what I'd like them to be leading into a big race. My body rejects the heat like the plague. Seriously, it is beyond awful. I'm pretty sure I walk more then I run, even on 6 mile runs. I don't know why I haven't learned my lesson that I need to take it slow in the beginning & see how my body will do. Nope, not this genius. I end up paying for it in the long run. I had an 18 mile run a few weeks ago that went better then I expected. It was definitely tough, but I didn't feel like death was upon me until mile 15.5ish. I drank a ton, took salt pills & GU, but the heat took over my body. I made a deal with myself towards the end that I had to run on the flats or downhills, but I was allowed to walk on the uphills. Then last night I had one of my better runs since summer hit. I slept in, so I had to do my run @ night, which was still 90 out. I made sure that no matter what I did, I didn't go faster then a 10:15 minute mile & if my HR went above 160 I started to walk. It helped so much doing my run that way. This is exactly how I want to run my marathon @ Placid (although it will be 11:00 miles for the 1st part of the race). I was able to negative split with this strategy & felt like I could've done more. I needed this run because I was starting to get a little worried.

I can't believe IMLP is less then 2 weeks away. It's amazing how far I've come since January. There were so many times that I doubted myself & my ability. That doubt is what held me back. I know I can do it! Even though it will be crazy tough & push me to levels I never thought I could achieve, I will do it!!! I will be an Ironman!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010


SWIMMING 1:20 (3 days)
BIKING 4:30 (3 days)
RUNNING 2:05 (2 days with 3 bricks)

I seriously feel like a new woman after a forced recovery week. My body and mind were screaming at me to take a break. I felt guilty last weekend for only doing 96 miles instead of the scheduled 112. Believe me, if my body could've done it, I would've. This was the 1st time in training that I actually questioned whether I was capable of doing another workout. I was drained and hurting. Luckily Andrew listened to my body because I feel so much better now. At this point I am confident enough in my athletic ability to be able to cross the finish line in 16:59:59. Time shouldn't really matter to me, even though it does. I want to do the best that I can do. Who knows what my best will be on race day, but I know not finishing isn't an option.

I had a 2000 yard swim in my wetsuit again. My swim was slightly better this time, but not what I was hoping for. I had a difficult time breathing every 3rd stroke, so I just went with breathing to the right. I felt pretty uncomfortable. My arms just felt unbelievably heavy with each stroke. It's almost like they were super sore. I tried a few different things and ended up switching to my left side to breathe & I felt a lot better. I can't figure out what the problem is. It's not like I have a cheap wetsuit. I want it to work, but I don't think it is and it's quite frustrating. I have a 4000 yard swim on Wednesday which I'm going to use my sleeveless wetsuit. Hopefully this feels a lot better. If anyone wants to buy a Blue Seventy Helix size medium, I have one for sale!!!!!

It's amazing how short a 3 hour ride feels now. The 1st 2 hours were in a pretty shaded park, which was seriously like being in heaven. It was fairly hilly, but so is Placid...but worse! I then switched for the last hour to a new location to ride with some TNT Tri peeps. I wasn't going for time or distance on this ride. I really just wanted to ride with ease. I didn't want to work to hard, I wanted to enjoy it. Andrew mixed in a 10 minute interval that kicked by butt. I'm not used to pushing that hard for 10 minutes. I guess that could be part of my problem of not being a faster cyclist. I was amazed at how much of my day was left after 3 hours as opposed to a 6+ hour ride and 2 hours driving time.

I didn't have a long run this week, but the run I did have was pretty intense. Hot and humid is an understatement to the weather we've been having. I'm not sure if it's possible to hydrate enough in this. Luckily the 1st 20 minutes of my run were in a shaded neighborhood. After 30 minutes I then included 4, 10-12 second intervals. I think I reached 7:08-7:15 on all of them. Not bad for my 10:00 pace. Pushing myself in that heat was not fun. I stopped a couple of times under a tree to drink some water and try to cool down. It didn't seem like anything helped. This weather just drains you and makes every workout harder. I hope that one day before Placid the weather drops by 10 degrees to see what I'm actually capable of doing.

Monday, June 14, 2010


SWIMMING 2:00 (2 days)
BIKING 7:55 (3 days)
RUNNING 4:15 (3 days)
WEIGHTS 1:15 (2 days)

This past week was probably my most challenging so far. I am beat up!!!!!! Seriously, I don't think my body was meant for this type of torture! After doing a 1/2 Ironman and 112 mile bike ride my body surprisingly felt good. And by good, I mean I didn't think I was going to die. Andrew kind of took it easy on me by only having me do 1 set of leg weights 2x this week instead of the 3 sets. I thought I was off to a good start. Mentally I was prepared for what the weekend had in store for me. A 112 mile bike on Saturday and a 2.5 hour run on Sunday (should've been about a 15 mile run). I knew I could do it because dammit this is what I've been training for. In my mind I'm capable and although I might be slow, my body can do it too. Or so I thought...

Friday's swim was a 4000 yard, but in my wetsuit. I've only worn my $500 wetsuit 2x in races. The 1st time was @ St A's and I couldn't tell if it was the wetsuit I didn't like or the waves. Then I wore it in Knoxville and felt pretty good, despite not having a great swim time. Then I swam Macon and had an awesome swim, sans wetsuit. I got into it at the gym Friday night while sweating my ass off. Note to self, don't put on wetsuit while sweating. I'm not really sure what my options are in Atlanta considering this heat and humidity we're dealing with right now. So I somehow manage to get in this wetsuit even though it's not on fitting exactly the way it should. I seriously felt like a stuffed sausage cooking on a hot grill. I get into the water and do a warm up. Hmmm, the body is not feeling right. Maybe after I warm up for a bit I'll feel slightly better. Yeah, not so much. My arms felt sore and tight, even though I stretched. The water felt heavy with every stroke. I couldn't figure out what the issue was. Could it maybe be my wetsuit? CRAP!!! I also start burning up by the time I got to my 1st 1000 yards. I decided to stick it out and just take the wetsuit off after 2000. AHHHH, relief! I felt so much better with that thing off of me. If you talk to anyone that does an Ironman, they'll tell you that a wetsuit is essential (unless of course you're doing one where the water temp is too high to be wetsuit legal). Ok, this might cause a problem for me considering I'm planning to wear this wetsuit in a little over a month. Now I'm not even thinking about my stroke or how I'm swimming. I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do to feel more comfortable in this wetsuit. I have a sleeveless one that I might end up resorting to if I don't feel better. I now need to do a swim workout every week in my wetsuit to start getting used to it. At least I better get used to it!

I was kind of psyched to take on a 112 miles again on the bike. I know I can do it, so why not do it 2 weekends in a row? I started off the morning eating a Cliff Bar. Unfortunately I was only able to get 1/2 of it down because I felt a little nauseas. I met a couple of friends (thanks Tim and Patti) for them to do the 1st 48 miles with me. As soon as I got on the bike I started to sweat because the humidity was so high. Luckily I had extra fluids on ice in my car and knew I would need all of that and more. It wasn't too hot 1st thing in the morning, but the humidity plus the prior weekend's activities got to my legs. Around mile 25 I started feeling it and not in a good way. I don't know what was wrong, but my legs had trouble moving. They seriously did not want to go. I was taking in salt pills, liquid nutrition and gel, but it didn't seem like anything was helping. The other issue was every time I burped (and believe me, I burp a lot), I burped up liquid. This means that the nutrition I was taking in, probably wasn't staying in me. Then the heat came out. We finished our 1st loop and I knew it was going to be a long day, especially since my last 64 miles would be by myself. I put more liquids on my bike, drank some more in the parking lot and Tim was nice enough to go to the store and get me some more liquids so I could refill my bottles while I was on the course. I debated whether to do the 66 route or another 48. This played out in my head for quite some time and it wasn't until I got to the turnoff for the 48 that I decided to cut this ride short. My legs weren't getting better. It wasn't getting any cooler out. And I definitely wasn't keeping my nutrition down. No joke, I was whimpering while riding. I felt like a granny, but to be honest, it didn't matter how slow I was going because I was out there doing it. It was a long, hot day for and I could've given up a number of times but I didn't. I was definitely tempted to hitch a ride back to my car. I was scheduled to do a 5 minute run after my bike. I managed to run for 2.5 minutes, walk for 1 minute and run for another 1.5 minutes. I stretched, but I didn't really feel any relief. I made sure I got some chocolate milk in me right away for recovery and bought some ice for an ice bath. The ice bath felt fantastic and I stretched some more. I was completely dehydrated and had a massive headache which lasted into the morning. I tried drinking as much water as I could, but it didn't do the trick.

I woke up the next morning and wanted to get an early start to my 2.5 hour run. The problem with starting earlier is the humidity is worse. The problem with starting later is the temperature is hotter. No matter what decision I made, it was going to suck. I chose earlier. I decided that I would run a mile, walk a minute. That's my plan B for Ironman. Plan A is to run longer then that. By the time I got to my 2nd mile I was already hurting and saw a long morning ahead of me. The humidity and I were in a battle with each other and the humidity won. I stopped to refill my water bottle at Caribou, which was mile 4ish. Luckily it was ice cold, which felt amazing. I wore one of my race belts that has pouches, so I put salt pills and gel in it. What I didn't do was put the salt tabs in a plastic baggie. Big mistake when you're sweating bullets. Luckily a few of them were in decent enough shape that I was able to take them. I should've just gotten salt packets and taken that instead, but I didn't think of that until I just typed it. I was diligent with drinking and taking my nutrition, but I probably needed some Gatorade for the electrolytes. Even with everything I took, I was hurting. My legs didn't want to move. My mind was battling the positive and negative thoughts. I stopped more times then I can count. To add insult to injury, my lower back started killing. Serious pain. I stopped to stretch so many times and it just hurt. It hurt when I walked. It hurt when I ran. No matter what, I was getting my workout in, no matter how bad it sucked. I got to mile 6.92 and turned around, which was 1:18 into my run. I figured I could go a couple minutes over the 1:15 turnaround point and get in close to 14 miles. I thought that I would feel better because the humidity had come down and most of the way back would be downhill. Ok, so positive thinking doesn't always help. It got so much worse. I ended up walking probably 6 of the final miles. Let me tell you, not so much fun walking and I would've rather run more, but my body said no (I think maybe my mind said no a couple of times too). I finally got Gatorade with a couple of miles to go. I pushed myself to run as much of the final stretch as possible. There's a hill at the very end that I allowed myself to walk to, but I the deal was I had to run up it. I don't know where the energy came from, but I ran up it and @ a 9:50 pace.

I got home to find my weekly workouts which included 6 hill repeats @ Mt. Kennesaw. Uh, yeah, no clue how that will happen with the way this body is feeling. I sent Andrew a note about my weekend workouts. He said my body was telling me I needed a break and he adjusted my schedule to be more of a recovery week. I kind of feel like a wimp, but if I was really a wimp, I wouldn't have done a 96 mile ride on Saturday followed by an almost 14 mile run on Sunday. Maybe this was a good thing to happen to me. Sometimes you need some shitty workouts to remind you of the good ones. I've had them and channeling those this week.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Macon 1/2 Ironman Race Report

I'm beginning to think my whole purpose of doing triathlons is to 1 up the previous race report. I'm also beginning to realize you don't necessarily need a brain to do triathlons however, a memory goes a long way (even with a checklist). I decided to do Macon after the Rev 3 Knoxville HIM. I was pretty disappointed in my performance there so I asked if I could do another one with some crazy training the day before because I didn't want to lose out on long training just to get in another race. Macon fell on a Saturday, so I was granted my wish of a tough workout, but the day after. Saturday a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike with a 13.1 mile run. Sunday a 112 mile bike ride. HOLY SH*T! I'm either a dumbass or a badass asking for punishment like this. After Sunday I'm going with a little bit of both. I really wasn't even thinking about this race as a race. It really was just a long training day. In my mind I kept thinking about the 112 miles I had to ride on Sunday. It just kept playing in my head and I needed to be smart.

I traveled down to Macon on Friday around 3pm. I packed pretty much right before leaving. I had my checklist and was ready to check things off. Bike shoes, check. Running shoes, check. Goggles, check. Tri shorts and shirt, check. Race belt (in the car), check. Nutrition, check. Helmet, (in the car), check. Sunglasses, check. Socks, check. On my way down I realize I might be making a stop for a sports bra because I know I didn't pack one. I'm pretty sure I had one in my trunk since I basically live out of my car. I get down to Macon after sitting in unbelievably annoying rush hour traffic and pull into the race site, only to remember as I parked that my helmet in the car wasn't actually in the car, but at my brother's house. F**K!!!!!!! You've got to be kidding me this is the thing I forget? And here I was worrying about a sports bra, which I could easily pick one up anywhere. A good helmet, not so much. I run into friends as they're coming out of transition hoping they might have a spare helmet. No such luck. I call another friend who is down there and no luck again. I figured I would be making a stop at a sporting good store to get a new helmet. Funny thing is I was actually in the market for a new helmet, I just didn't think I would be purchasing one in a situation like this. I check in and get my number. I've had a thing with race numbers and they have to have meaning or just have a good ring to it. One time it was the area code of my cell phone number. Last race it was 420. This race I was assigned the perfect race number...411!!! Information for the chick that should use it regularly. Luckily Macon has a small race expo and Roswell bikes was there with helmets. Now here is where I expect to get the most amount of jokes and comments. Don't worry, I'm prepared. Plus growing up with the last name Wiener, I've been abused for many years. I tell the guy that I have a really small head (insert joke) and that I have a hard time finding hats and helmets to fit me. He said that he's never had a helmet not fit someone. Well now he has! That bad boy was big on me. One of the helpers in the tent told me that he is a vendor for Roswell Bikes and he actually has some helmets in the back of his trunk. Great, now I'm back in NYC on Canal Street buying a "designer" purse from some sketchy dude! He of course was telling me how great this brand is, blah, blah, blah. It's some German company which is probably not USAT approved, but it fit and for the moment, that's what I needed. He said it was a $100 helmet which he'd sell to me for $50. I'll take it dude. I'm the girl who forgets to put on a race belt or bring tri shorts for a triathlon or manages to get lost on a race course and cuts it short by 2 miles so this really shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone who knows me. No joke, I'm pretty close to start laying things out for IMLP.

Race morning comes and I have no nerves whatsoever. I like this feeling especially since it's so not normal for me. The announcer tells us that the water is 81 degrees and not wetsuit legal. That's a good thing because I didn't even bring mine. I get in the water for a warm up swim and of course the ritual of peeing before every race. I go to about the 1st buoy and felt really good. I was in the 4th wave and was trying to figure out exactly where to start. I decided to position myself to the far right. This way if I wanted to I could just swim on the inside of the buoy in case any anxiety came out. The horn went off and I was in the water. I got into a groove pretty early and was able to sustain it for the entire course. Honestly, this was the best I've ever felt in an open water swim. My stroke felt fantastic, I felt like I was moving at a pretty decent pace and I had 0 anxiety. WOO HOO! The only issue I had was breathing every 3rd stroke. That's really the only way I swim now in the pool, but for some reason when I get to a race I revert back to breathing just to the right. I tried it a few times, but wasn't comfortable with it. I got out of the water, looked at my watch and was really psyched. My swim time was 32:49, which is almost 6 minutes off of my last HIM. It was about a 1/4 mile to the transition area. I started to jog and then there was a hill so I decided to walk up it. I wasn't sure exactly how much energy I exerted in the swim, so I wanted to save my legs. Our swim times didn't end until we hit the mat before transition, so my recorded swim time was 34:49. I looked at the race results and I am happy and proud to say that I was the 28th female of 111 out of the water. That puts me in the top 25%. What an amazing feeling that is after being 5-10 minutes slower in every race because of my anxiety. HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!! Huge accomplishment for me.

Moving onto the bike. I was hoping to do this in 3:30 or less, but if I didn't meet it I wasn't going to be upset. It took me about 15 miles for my legs to get going. 10-15 seems like the magic number (or not so magic number depending on how you look at it) for me to get acclimated to biking legs. It's also a good test for me not to push it too hard in the beginning and train holding back for Placid. I don't want to blow everything on the bike. I felt ok at mile 15, but man was it hot out there. It had to be in the 90s with a heat index of 100 (@ least that's what it was around 3). I was trying to get my nutrition in and drink as much as I could because I know how my body reacts to the heat and that's not well. By mile 25 I had already gone through 2 bottles of water, 3/4 of a bottle of Infinite (my liquid nutrition) and I took a few sips of my concentrated bottle of Infinite. This was the 1st time I was using a concentrated nutrition bottle. It's beneficial because you're carrying less on your bike, with more calories. All you need is water to chase down a sip of the concentrated liquid. Well when I got to mile 30 they were out of water and only had warm Gatorade. This did not make me happy. I really wanted and needed water especially since it was so hot out. Not only would I put the water in my aero bottle, but I would pour some on myself to try and stay cool. Uh oh onto plan B, which I didn't have. I decided at this point to take it much slower and try to drink the 1/4 bottle of extremely warm Infinite and not even touch the concentrated stuff. I also made sure that I was taking my salt pills. I tried conserving the Gatorade but that only last for so long. I couldn't wait to get to mile 45 so I could hopefully get more water. Luckily they had some so I took 2 bottles. I kept 1 on my bike so I could have it for the run and then another went into my aero bottle and the rest on my head and neck. I felt much better and more confident with these liquids. The course wasn't the easiest, but wasn't the most difficult I've done either. I was expecting it to be slightly flatter based on feedback I've heard from others that have done the race before. I don't think there were any abnormally huge hills, but some were definitely challenging. I got passed left and right and very seldom passed others. I was surprisingly ok with that. In my mind I kept thinking 13.1 and 112. Those were the numbers that stood out the most for me. With about 10 miles or so left I saw a couple of girls behind me. My only goal was for them not to pass me. They weren't too close to me, but if I saw them creeping up, I was going to gun it. I figured I had to get competitive at some point during this race. When I was heading into the final 6 or so miles I saw a guy who seemed like he was struggling. I asked if he was ok and he said that he was really cramping. Luckily I had some extra salt pills, so I gave him a few. Hopefully it helped him a little bit. During the salt pill exchange one of the girls got in front of me. Oh hell no that wasn't happening! So I got in front of her and never saw her again. I ended up at 3:30:07. Not bad.

I took my water bottle and went on my merry way for the run. Luckily there was a water stop right out of transition so I topped off my bottle with cold water. I finished that bottle before I even got to mile 1. I was thirsty and felt like I was in a desert which had humidity. I looked at my watch and made sure I kept no less then a 10:30 pace. For some reason when I see people walking it makes me feel like I should walk too. I passed a girl walking, so I decided to walk. Mind you, we weren't even at mile 1. Crap, this could make for a long day. Then she passed me when I was walking. Then I passed her when she was walking. It was definitely a game of cat and mouse. I turned around to her and asked if she was planning to do a run walk. I figured we could at least keep each other company. I didn't have a plan of how much I was going to run and how much I was going to walk. I basically wanted to run until I felt I needed to walk. When we got to the 1st water stop I saw a friend of mine who told me he cramped up pretty bad at the end of the bike and wasn't feeling great. I welcomed him to join us. I'd say we probably did a 1.5 minute run and then a 2 minute walk for the 1st 3.5 miles or so. We made sure to stop at every aid station to get more fluids We probably stopped for much longer then we should've. At this point fluids were the most essential thing for us because of the heat and humidity. When we got to the mile 4 aid station I was feeling much better. My legs seemed like they had improved substantially and I could run more. I decided though to stay with my crew. The wiser thing would've been to go on my own, but I chose this option instead. I wasn't racing for time, so I might as well enjoy it while I'm out there. The thing that I did decide on, which I will probably get a scolding for from Andrew, is instead of running at a slow pace during my run portions, I went for all out sprints. I basically did about 8-10 1/4 mile sprints (7:00-8:30 min mile pace). Yeah, I was feeling those sprints by the end. I wanted to make the most of this "workout" and I knew short sprints would probably do the trick. The one thing I will say about being at the back of the pack, we are fun freaken people. There were a few different packs of us that kept passing each other during the run. We laughed and joked and had as much fun as we could have out there. My run time was 3:12:18 and finish time was 7:23:01. I think the one thing I really need to work on are my transition times. Seriously, they are pretty bad. I'm just never in a rush to start the next discipline. I guess I should be. Maybe that will be my next goal since I might've overcome this whole open water anxiety BS! So my times definitely weren't something to write home about, but I had a good, fun day!

Moving onto my short 112 mile ride after a 1/2 freaken Ironman! I can say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was tough, but luckily the weather was pretty cooperative until mile 80ish. It was completely overcast and much cooler. My friend Mike rode with me for the 1st 50 and man was it great having company. My legs were definitely feeling it initially, but they felt pretty good considering the day before. I was climbing the hills pretty well, maybe a little too hard aggressive. I worked on something new this ride. Hell, I had enough miles to do so. When I climb hills, I hate getting out of the seat. My legs hurt more and I just don't like it. It can be more beneficial to stand because you're using your entire body instead of just your legs to generate power and speed. Mike highly recommended it, so I tried it out a bunch of times. He told me that it would take time to feel better and compared it to the same thing as doing sprints. It sucks in the beginning, but you have to train your body to get used to them. I'm trying! I dropped Mike off at mile 50 and got more nutrition and hydration. I struggled a little to get back into the groove for a few miles and then was going at a very good, comfortable pace. I planned to do the 66 loop and missed a turn. CRAP!!! I ended up on the 100 mi route and knew there was no way I was doing 150. I stopped at a convenient store to get more hydration and asked for directions. He gave me directions (which at mile 89 would've added on at least 20-30 miles). I would've done it, but not with a smile. Then I ended up seeing markings in the opposite direction for the route I was initially on. I wasn't sure what to do because I couldn't quite figure out what mile I was at in the route. I stopped a car and asked how far I was from a landmark I knew. They said it was about 5 miles away, so I decided to backtrack that way. Luckily I did because it only added 4 miles to my route, which was what I planned on doing with the 66. I was definitely tired at the end of the ride and the hills were killing me. The skies opened and it was hot. I needed to be conservative on my liquids because I knew I wouldn't be able to stop for at least 20 miles. 7:23 in riding time for race distance. Man it was tough, but I did it!!! Lucky me gets to do 112 next week too!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Positive Reinforcement

SWIMMING 3:20 (3 days)
BIKING 7:25 (2 days)
RUNNING 3:55 (2 days)
WEIGHTS :45 (1 day)

There really is something to be said about positive reinforcement. We've had some encounter of it since childhood and it really does work. Whether it's telling a child good job for something new they've done, or getting a job well done email from a boss, or a you're doing great out there during an athletic endeavor, it helps. I had 2 experiences this week that really made me feel good and helped out so much with my confidence. Funny enough they were both on the bike, something I've struggled with until recently. I had to do 6 hill repeats @ Kennesaw mountain. I knew I could do it, but it would just be on the slower side. There were a couple of people I saw multiple times on my way up and down the mountain. One asked if it was my 2nd time up. Actually, it was my 4th and I had 2 more times to go. She gave me a big "Awesome!" and made a positive comment the other few times she saw me after that. Another woman was pushing her child up the hill in a stroller. To me, that's more impressive then what I did. She asked if I wanted to pull her up the hill and then told me what I'm doing is harder because I can't stop. When I came down the mountain she screamed "You go girl!" It's funny because I went a lot slower then I did last time, which is ok, but it made those slow hill repeats so much better when I heard these women encouraging me. It was such a fantastic feeling. Then yesterday I rode with a couple of people I know and one of the women told me I was really strong after going up a hill. Now I don't particularly think this is the case. In fact I just feel like a slow, fat ass, but hearing that actually made me think, "Hey, just maybe I am strong." This is why it's so important to have people cheering for you at a race. Especially when it's coming down to the end and you feel like shit. Hearing someone shout for you or say something positive really does something for the psyche.

I had a 4000 yard swim on Wednesday that really kicked my ass. I didn't have sprints to do like I normally have in my workouts. I just never felt like I got into a great rhythm and my arms were killing. I think part of it was from my hill repeats the day before. I tend to brake a lot with a death grip on them, so it works my triceps a lot. Even though I didn't feel great, I got the workout in without stopping. I've been trying to incorporate a flip turn into my workouts recently to alleviate any assistance from the wall and taking extra breaths. I'm not entirely comfortable with it, but I'm trying. I want a better feel for what race day will be like. I'm hoping I can get in an 1:20 open water swim soon. The problem is I would want a kayak there for safety. I'll have to look into this.

My bikes this week were really good. The hill repeats at Kennesaw were difficult, but I didn't feel like I was going to die. I remember my 1st time up there and I couldn't even complete 4 of them. I actually turned around 1/2 way up there because I didn't think I had the physical strength, which was actually a mental thing because I definitely did. I'm sure saying that I was ok with the 6 means 8 or 10 is in my near future. Then yesterday's ride ended up being an almost 88 mile ride. My schedule was between 5-6 hours. I wanted to do 6, but by the time I was done with 5.5 hours it was already 3:00 and I was spent. I felt great with the exception of miles 70-80. My legs started getting tired and I was getting hot spots in my toes. I just felt kind of shitty. Luckily I snapped out of it and was able to finish the ride with no problem. I had great company for the 1st 55 miles or so and then did the last bit on my own. I wonder if I had others around me if I would've hit the funk @ 70. Either way I felt great afterwards and gave myself a big pat on the back.

My interval run on Wednesday was fine. Nothing too eventful. I ran with a jogging stroller so it was harder then if it was just me. This really made me think that there's no way I can get heavier then I am because the thought of lugging around extra weight during runs was so unappealing. It was my birthday weekend so I kind of went a little nutso on the food, but after today, I need to get back on track. I should carry around a picture of me dragging ass with a kid in a stroller. The best part of my run today is that it was over. Wow was it brutal. I felt great for the 1st :50 and then it went downhill from there. I was scheduled to do a 2:30 run, but ended up only doing 2:15 (I was in a time crunch to get to a wedding). I stopped and walked so many times. I seriously felt like my feet weren't even moving and if you touched me lightly I would fall over. It was unbelievably hot and humid out and I must've drank at least 3 bottles of water on this run, but never felt fully hydrated. It also probably didn't help that I woke up still in a food coma from last night's dinner. My belly definitely hurt, but I forced myself to get down 1/2 of a cliff bar. My only thought today was please let it rain in Placid if it gets this hot. I tried going anywhere that there was shade, but it only helped so much. Hopefully my next long run is a little better then today's.

Thankfully I have a recovery week starting tomorrow and after that the craziness begins. June 5th I'm doing another 1/2 Ironman and then on the 6th I have a 112 mile bike ride. Then the following week I have a 4000 yard swim on Friday, 112 mile ride on Saturday and a 2.5 hour run on Sunday. Yeah that's basically an Ironman (minus 13 miles or so on the run) in 3 days.