Monday, June 4, 2012

Race Report - Motivation Man - My first 70.3

My expectations for this race were: hot, lonely and slow but get it done and make the best of it. Officially 6:50 with a smile. And I pretty much got that.

What I didn't expect was a tropical depression to move into South Florida the day before the race and apparently settle forever. We had tropical monsoonish weather complete with Flash Floods the whole day before and until about 4pm the day before race day the forecast was for rain all day the day of the race.

I was in a bit of a panic. But as it turned out - it didn't rain during the race. So that was good.
Here's the bike all loaded up for the drive to West Palm Beach. Thank you to Target for the rain gear.

Packet Pick up
It was sprinkling during the packet pickup and we were outside but it was okay. I found most of my friends racing and heard the pre-race meeting which was almost funny because there was a lot of - well this is a first time race so we aren't sure. That's not so reassuring.
New bike - new spot for the number. The new bike got lots of fun attention before and after the race from fellow Shiv enthusiasts. That's fun.

TriJungle was there so that I could buy a fuel belt because I had left mine at home (oops).
Me and Meli getting set for the race. Notice the new fuel belt :-)

I racked my bike - covered the seat and handlebars in plastic and said good night.

So one of the title sponsors was Colavita Olive Oil. So these two adorable olive oil bottles were in the swag bag.

I ate dinner with my family at a thai restaurant across the street from the hotel. Pad Thai - no nuts. It was fine. I only worried a little bit about straying from my pre-race pasta bolognese :-) Then a quick stop for ice cream - none for me.
Notice the grey sky back there. Scary. Superman swirl for the girl. Rainbow sherbet for the boy. Pre-race nerves for mommy.

Then I packed my bag for the next morning and went to "sleep."

I didn't feel like I slept very much but oh well.

Wake UP - 4:20 
That is so early. But the start was 6:30 and what's a girl to do? At least it wasn't raining. I ate. Covered my body with body gluide, chamois stuff and then sunscreen wherever I could reach. I was using Bullfrog waterproof. Goes on thick and sticky. But it was no match for the tropical sun as it turns out.

4:45 into the car. 
I took a taxi to the start. No issues. Nice guy driver. I concentrated on relaxing.
Pre-race portrait. Notice the raincoat. Also, I'm so nervous I couldn't even muster a smile. eeek.

5:10 Body Marking, Chip pickup and into transition
It was a relaxed transition set up. I think everyone was just happy it wasn't raining. I put in my bladder (ha that sounds funny). And set up my stuff. I kept my run stuff in a ziplock with the hope that it would stay dry if it rained while I was on the bike.

The bike made it through the night on the rack. As a note my new bike is so small it actually doesn't touch the ground when it's on the rack. Pretty funny but also made me nervous that it would swing in the wind and bonk into neighboring bikes. Oh well - didn't seem to be an issue.

6:15 Down to the Start
Here's where the first time race started showing it's face. Nobody could understand the swim course. The poor announcer had to explain it a few times and the chatter was so loud it was really hard to hear. Eventually we got it figured out. I thought the course looked long but I always think it looks long. I figured out my sighting markers. Building, Cranes, Dock.  I actually wasn't nervous. My buddy Melissa was white as a sheet with nerves. But then she found her mojo. When she couldn't hear the instructions she marched right up to the stage and told the guy she couldn't hear and that's when I knew she'd be okay this race.

So the men jumped in and were paddling around with the guy yelling go over there to the start and then all of a sudden he said ,"GO!" and about 1/2 of the guys were still 10-20 yards from the "start."

So, I said to the ladies next to me, let's go because we've got to get all the way over there. So we jumped in and went over to where the "start" was. And then he said,"Go!" and we were off. The deep water start wasn't as big a deal as I thought it would be. I let the speedies take off and then off we went.
I'm somewhere in there. The start is between the two first orange buoys ... maybe. Notice not a single kayak directing us ;-)
The water was gross. Practically no visibility but that's not such a big deal. About 1/2 way to the first buoy I flipped over because I could not catch my breath. I saw my buddy Melissa and we said, "hey" and then I went back to swimming. Luckily after that I found my rhythm and I felt fine.

Around the bouy no problem and found my new sighting and fine and then mysteriously there were no feet around me. I bobbed up and saw that I was where I thought I should be but I seemed to be alone. Hmmmmm.... not normal. Looked to my left about 10 yards there was another swimmer with a kayak past them. Then about 10-15 yards to my right another swimmer being brought back onto the course by a kayak and so I figured I was roughly on course. Proceeding.

A while later I was clearly swimming through an oil slick it was so totally gross. I popped up to see where I was and the guy in the boat was there about 10 feet away and I asked, am I off course? He said no just head to the cranes so I did.

The swim was endless. I must have zig zagged all over the place. Here's why:
There were only 2 buoys for the entire 1.2 mile swim. In between them nada.
Of course, as a swimmer, you can't actually see the buoys from in the water when they are too far away. And by too far away I mean about 20 yards is when I can see the buoys. I usually can just follow the feet in front of me but I must have gotten off course and lost all the feet.

So, it took me forever. For-ev-er.  1:05 or something was my swim time. But other than that it felt okay. There's actually some satisfaction to having swum for over an hour without being too tired.

So they started the Olympic swimmers just a bit after us. And so we merged with them as we rounded the second buoy. That was annoying. I was with the men and there was one guy who was all over me. I swam to the left he's on top of me, I swim to the right, he's on top of me. Like I mean his arm is smacking me on my face. I was so annoyed I flipped over to the side and pushed him out of the way with my feet. He didn't even pause. Goober. But then I had my own water.

When I got to transition I was surprised to see that my girlfriends bikes were still there. I figured that they would be long gone since I had been off course. But nope. So I saddled up and headed out ... I did forget to reapply the sunscreen. Oops.

The Bike
I was very relieved it wasn't raining.  The bike course started out with going over the tracks and that was a none issue. Then there were a few little ramps up and down overpasses. I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did climbing.
Here I go on the bike. Notice the black mustache under my nose. Ummm gross! But I didn't know about it until later.

My coach had said we'd be against the wind on the way out so settle in and get aero and just stick it out. That's what I did. I tried to stay above 17 as much as possible. Around mile 5 the guy in front of me totally ran into a cone in the road and fell over. He's fine luckily.

Around mile 10 I got a weird feeling in my right leg. Stiff muscle ... hmmm ... not quite. What is that. Then it showed up in the same place in the other leg... hmmm... I think it was muscle cramps. I've never had that so I can't be sure but that's my thought. I concentrated on making sure I was drinking my nutrition because that has salt in it.

** In hindsight that pain might be from tired legs from such a long swim. I'm still not sure. **

Just after that my training buddy Diane passed me. She said come on stick with me and I said okay and then she pulled away and I was like ... oh well there she goes :-) I could see her up a bit but couldn't quite catch her.
Here's Diane at packet pick up. She's awesome. She's also easy to spot with her orange bike and custom wheels as she speeds by me on the bike. Small but speedy.
Mile 12 or so the Olympic guys turned around. Then it got lonely. Oh so boring and oh so lonely. Pedal, pedal, pedal. sip, sip, pedal pedal. I took my Gu and kept drinking. I had 3 bottles to get through.

Around mile 20 I though huh I must not be drinking enough because I should be onto bottle 2 by now. Sip ... dry. Right on schedule. Refilling was fun. I've only tried it a bit on the go so this was my first refuel. Went fine except I didn't exactly get the bottle back into it's spot on the back of the bike. Ooops. That is of course when another cyclist came up and saw me. He said something with my number and my bottle and I dunno if he meant to turn me in later or what. There wasn't really anything I could do about it anyway.
This is my nutrition for the race. I measured out the infinit and put it into ziplocs inside the bottles. I took bottled water to mix it the night before and put it into a cooler the night before. Then I put one bottle into the bladder and two behind the seat. The fourth was put into the fuel belt for the run. I kept it in an insulated grocery bag to keep it as cool as possible until the run.
So, off we continued.  Mile 24 ... bottle exchange. Signs were terrible and I missed it so luckily I didn't need it. I ate my honey Stinger waffle. Not so easy on the go actually. I had opened the packet in transition but still eating the cookie was awkward. But I got it done - basically just shoving about 1/2 of it in at once. Somewhere in here I saw my buddies heading back on the other side. That was fun. Then oh blessed things ... the turn around!

And then back we go. The slight wind to my back did make a difference and I was pretty easily holding 20 mph. The leg cramps continued and my shoulders were getting stiff from being in aero. I find aero to be pretty comfy but this is getting to be a long time. Also my shorts were bunching up in my saddle.

I saw my friend Melissa heading out. That was good. Then I saw the last person on the course with a motorcycle escort. That would be annoying.

Mile 30 okay. Boring ... oh so boring. Change the drink mix again that was exciting because I had to use my right hand and I'm not as stable steering with my left. EEEK. But I did it and I managed to get the bottle back into it's holder without dropping it. VICTORY>

Somewhere in here there was a family with a sign that said, "ride it like you stole it!" It was awesome. Cheering spectators make such a difference.

Mile 40 ... this is getting very old. Then finally the little hills started again. I would get out of the saddle to climb just because the change felt so much better. I was playing catch up and pass with another cyclist on a road bike she would pass me on the climb and then I would pass her on the descent. And there you have the difference as I see it in the two bikes :-)

Finally it was over. I wanted to hug the volunteer at the dismount line. I walked my bike to the rack. I tried to jog but it wasn't happening.

T2 -
Racked the bike. Put on my hat. Took off my arm coolers and gloves, changed my shoes. Put on fuel belt. Forgot to reapply sunscreen. EEEEEK.  Put on my watch. Go.

The Run 2:40
I started out at a 10 minute pace. It was approximately 7000 degrees. I stopped at the first water stop to get ice and water and after all that Infinit on the bike. This was the best most fabulous water I had ever had. I had several sips and headed back out.  My pace slowed down a bit continuously during the run 10:30. then 11 and then 11:30 and that I can hold forever so I just slogged along.

What was really interesting was that the 1/2 iron runners were really chatty. I ran with a guy down from Ohio who had run IM Texas when it was 104 but said this was worse. And everybody was grouching about the swim being too long. Ha! I even talked to a lady who measured the swim on her watch as 2 miles. She didn't think it was actually that much too long but just that she was wandering all over the place because there weren't enough buoys. I saw my coach and my teammate Luis running back. And kept going. I turned around and then I saw Melissa who said, "what is all over your face? It's black" Of course I hadn't seen myself so what do I know.

A while later I saw a friend Kike who said, oh, that's grease from the water in the Intracoastal. GROSS!

Then I ran past the finish line to another turn around, past  the finish line again and back out onto the course. I was pretty sure I would hate the loops ... and I did.

I made a new friend, fellow Hammerhead Alvaro who told me that the trick in this part of the race is just to keep it easy. That was definitely what I was doing. I didn't feel bad I just had no speed at all left in my legs. He and I stuck together for a bit and then I started back up after a water stop and he walked more so I moved on.

About a mile back into the course I caught up with my training buddies Diane and Randy. They were walking. So we started back jogging stopping to walk through each water stop and get ice water. I took both my GUs that I had brought and ate one provided on the course.
This was a good moment.

Together we went past the finish line again ... that stunk. And at this point I had to go potty. But there were no potties. Drat. That's no fun. I finally saw my family looking for me. So that was great and the kids even wore their shirts! So back out to the turn around (longest 2 miles ever) and back to the finish line. Diane wanted me to run in strong but instead I ran in with my kids. Jack had on crocs so we went his pace. It was a great moment. And they announced "Amy Stone, from Pinecrest"  :-)

6:54:20 right on schedule :-)

The Finish
My coach put a medal around my neck. Turns out it was his. They ran out of medals which totally stinks but whatever. They'll mail me mine and I'll give his back.
I'm pretty happy here. Notice how Jack stole my water at the finish. He was hot and thirsty after jogging the finish with me!

It's not really about the medal anyway.

I relaxed and informed my hot and sweaty family that I was going to wait for my friend Melissa. Turns out she was the second to last finisher so it was  about an hour. The kids actually went to the car for air conditioning. They were finished.

We saw Meli finish and she did great. Even though she was out there the whole day she didn't need an IV or anything and almost all the others around her finishing then did. So she raced smart.
After the finish. Great group!


  1. Raced smart in that I didn't need an IV or raced slow???!!!??? I saw a few fools that had just raced IM Texas. That was very crazy!!!!

    Congrats on your PR! Great job!!! Thanks for sticking out till the very very end!

  2. Raced smart because you didn't need an IV at the end.

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