Thursday, July 24, 2014

70.3 Muncie

This was such a fun race!! It is hard to capture it all, but I will do my best. I chose this race because I knew that I did not want to have my first racing experience with a new nutrition plan be the World Championship setup. It also was conveniently enroute Houston from Michigan where I had spent a week with my family.

My mom and I drove down and I opted not to broadcast it as it wasn't really meant to be anything spectacular. Though anytime I hint at doing a mediocre race is usually a good sign that I will do my absolute best that day. The swim was wetsuit legal and as per my usual I came out well behind others despite the time I've been putting into the swim. But a 37 min is not a bad time for me!

My transition was a little slow as I struggled to get the wetsuit off, but the bike was fantastic. I focused solely on power and never had my time visible. I worked on negative splitting so I could hammer it hard on the second loop. I held back and knew I could have pushed harder, but I let myself become a slave to the power. The temps were just right for the bike and the roads were fairly smooth for the Midwest. I posted a 2:29 split which was my fastest yet and only 8 min off the number 1 women's pro.

I only took in UCAN prior to the race and during, not even consuming 20 ounces on the bike. Leading to the run, I felt super strong, but chose to use the restroom in transition prior to the half marathon start just in case. I felt a little slow out the gate, but put down a 7 min first mile. I focused on one mile at a time and sipped water every so often at the aid stations along the rather hilly course. I was quickly passed by 2 girls in my age group posting 1:25 and 1:30 run splits so now I know what needs the most work. I was super happy with my run time though as I tied my half marathon PR of 1:35 even with using the restroom again at mile 11 as I was a bit nervous of my stomach holding out for the whole race. I crossed the line at 4:49 setting a new PR by 2 min!!! It was amazing because I had not tapered whatsoever and I was finally able to put my nutrition to the test with awesome results.

The thing I loved most about the race was that I felt stealth as I had registered so late that my bib number was wayyy back of the pack. It was so fun just doing what I love with no prerogative and zero expectations. Highly recommend this race to anyone as it even has showers for free at the race site! Now I know I'm on the right track to Kona once I adjust to my new home in Houston  #Ucan #sugoi #Nuun, Andreas Ultrabikexstudio, IRun,

National 24 Hour Challenge

Biking 24 hours...what all does it entail??  

For my new challenge this year, I chose a 24 hour bike challenge with 2 of my very best friends, my brothers.  Tommy and I flew into Michigan to attend the race the day before and met up with the rest of our immediate family.  We then woke up Saturday, June 14th and started the race at 0800.  It went from 0800 that Saturday until 0800 the following Sunday with only as many breaks as you opted to take.  

Leading up to this, I spent on average 2-3 hours on my bike each day starting a month out.  I didn't try to push the pace or shoot for any specific power, rather I just wanted to spend time in the saddle.  I was a little anxious as to how I would respond to spending 24 hours on my Adamo Road TT saddle, so I knew the more hours on it in training, the better I would feel come race day.  The longest ride I had ever done was 120 miles on a saturday followed by 80 miles the next Sunday, but I knew going out and riding 200 miles for training at one time would most likely do more harm than good with my body still recovering from 3 half ironmans and Boston Marathon within a 5 week time frame.  I still maintained a base for running and swimming to enable a quick adjustment back to ironman training following the completion of the ride.  

Due to travel, I involuntarily tapered a day leading to the bike ride, but in reality, with Kona on my mind, I did not really intend to taper.  I arrived in Michigan around 1pm the day before the race and assembled my bike before heading to the race start area and settling in on air mattresses for the night in the local gym.  Perhaps due to deflation of the air mattress, or due to nerves, I did not sleep soundly at all and was grateful for the many workouts I had done on minimal sleep that enabled me to get ready despite the less than ideal rest.  

Unlike an ironman, I opted to be more cautious for the race and wore a camelbak with Nuun as my electrolyte replenishment of choice and UCan as my primary fuel.  I had just started a new diet the previous weekend in efforts to nail nutrition prior to all the World Championship events, so I was also using the 24 hour challenge as a baseline to see how my body would react to the change.  Whenever I craved something solid, I either had a quest bar, or at extreme times of hunger at the 14 plus hour in, fruits, veggies, string cheese, or hard boiled eggs.

I also prepped for the race with the help of providing my brothers and I with customized race jerseys and Ultrabikex studio tuning my bike up and switching out my old tires for brand new GrandPrix 4000s II.  That way I helped to eliminate my chance of getting a flat.  Of course, the final prep was swinging to load up on Chamois butter as you can never have too much of that for a long ride!!

Race morning preparation consisted of eating some scrambled and hard boiled eggs, filling water bottles/my camelbak, putting air in my tires to max inflation, checking in to get the race bib and gear, and saying goodbye to my awesome parents and sister who were crewing for us.  

Tommy and I started off immediately with the gun and I went on hot pursuit for the lead pack as this was a draft legal race.  I knew from biking with my good friends, Jim and Tony, that drafting with the right group was critical for a ride of this nature.  Tommy and I stuck together for the first loop which was roughly 120+ miles.  There were 4 stops enroute where we refilled water bottles before pressing on.  We were averaging over 20mph for that whole section and had to contend with some less than pleasant pothole ridden roads at times and ensure we followed all course markings so as to not get lost.  It felt relatively easy and we were super lucky to link up with a man who was a local and had done the race 14 previous times!!

After the long loop was done, we continued onto the medium loop which was around 24 miles.  We split up, but both managed to easily get 4 of those loops in before we were forced to switch to the night loop at 8pm.  I still felt great, but stopped to eat some food before continuing onto the smallest loop (7.6miles) for the next 12 hours.  

I absolutely love biking, and surprisingly, during all of that time, there were not too many thoughts that crossed my mind aside from figuring out how many loops we needed to break the family average record and just counting down miles loop after loop.  It was super wonderful biking around my home state and just challenging myself beyond anything I had ever attempted.  

Once Tommy and I linked up after the medium loop, we went around the small loop twice with the light of day to ensure we knew what the course would be like.  By the time we finished that, Kevin, who had started a little late and battled 2 flat tires, came in.   For about 18 more small loops we created our own mini family pace line and attempted to knock out one loop every 30 minutes, allowing for breaks and periodic time off the saddle as there certainly was no time for sleeping or much else.  

I was very pleased to note that through using Ucan and my new nutrition plan, I never experienced highs or lows or extreme cramping or anything.  I felt incredibly even the entire ride and it was awesome!!  

Towards the early morning hours, my hands started to feel numb from being in aero position for so long and I started to freeze as the temps dropped significantly to the 40s.  I layered up and pressed on with my brothers.  Around 4am, we divided up to see if we couldn't get more mileage as we were each at different levels of fatigue and discomfort.  I was knocking out the 7.6 mile loops in less than 20 minutes, but towards the final hours, I lost most of the feeling from my hands, which had become super swollen.  I then opted to wait for my brothers to come around again before we finished the 24 hour challenge together with about 10 minutes to spare on the final loop.  Our totals were 394.7, 394.7, and 379 due to Kevin starting behind/having 2 flats.  We set the new family record and got to share such an amazing experience.  

It was so much fun trying such a new and awesome challenge.  I need to do it again, as I now feel much better prepared to know the best method to reach over 400 miles and possibly break my age group record of 415 next year!  Highly recommend this to anyone who dreams of competing in RAAM.

My nutrition was fabulous thanks to Javier, my bike was perfect with the help of Andreas, my training was ideal with the help from my coach, Joey, and teammates, our support was the best with my wonderful parents and sister volunteering their sleep hours to meet our every need, and our uniforms were spectacular thanks  Thanks so much to Nuun,, iRun, and UCan for making this journey so fun and memorable!!!