Monday, November 30, 2009

IMAZ Race Report: Pre-Race

I had my bags packed days in advance. I had the lists for the packing ready weeks ago. This whole trip has been visualized down to every last detail for months. I'm a planner, a list maker. I was ready. The training was done, the logistics were nailed down, there was nothing left but to do it.

Zach and I went for a run Thursday morning in Portland and then had bagels and got ready to leave. Emily drove us to the airport. We boarded the plane and I read Twilight to pass the time. Before we landed, the flight attendant made an announcement asking anyone who was traveling to Phoenix to compete in the Ironman race to raise their hand, and my hand shot up!! I looked around and everyone was looking at me. Their faces were blank, even confused. No one appeared to understand. Whatever! This is kind of the whole Ironman experience- people don't understand, or they do, and think you are crazy. I'm used to it. And Zach was beaming, and I knew there were a couple other hands in the air and I knew they got it, and that was enough for me.

We arrived in Phoenix Thursday at 5:45 pm. The sun was setting and looked beautiful, I thought about where I would be and what I would be doing at that time in three days. By the time we got outside and picked up our rental car it was dark and that fact momentarily let my mind relax a bit.

But then we drove through Tempe on the 202 and I could see the Mill Ave bridge, all lit up. And I could see the lake. And the lights of the transition area. And I suddenly felt very nauseous and nervous. I got all quiet and was suddenly glad that Inga had to cancel on dinner. I knew I wasn't going to be good company. Zach and I found a California Pizza Kitchen and I scarfed down some pizza and a salad. I wanted a beer. I wanted to pretend this wasn't happening!! But actually once I had some food in me I felt a bit better and wasn't as anxious. After dinner, we drove to a grocery store where I loaded up on peanut butter, jam, bread, english muffins, Ensure, pretzels, fig newtons, water, gatorade. I had brought a couple packets of oatmeal to complete the pre-race food requirements so I was good to go. We were staying with Zach's aunt and uncle in Chandler, so they had tons of food and all that but I knew I needed my specific brands of stuff. We drove out to their house and unloaded all our gear and visited for a while before turning in. I didn't sleep very well at all, but that wasn't too surprising. I felt rested when I woke up so no worries.

Friday morning we had some cereal and headed to Tempe for a day of pre-race activities. The lake was open for swimming, so I was going to check the water out. Then at 10:00 athlete check-in opened. I also wanted to just scope out the whole thing and get a feel for how the flow of the transition area worked. I also wanted to drive the bike course, organize my gear bags, and then attend the mandatory athlete meeting at 7:30 pm.

We arrived at the race site about 9:00 am and I was so excited to walk through the Ironman Circus! There were banners, booths, announcers. It was amazing! It was a big production. I was not feeling very nervous, just excited. We walked down to the water and I put on my wetsuit and got in the lake. It was COLD. It took my breath away! Oh boy. The swimming was rather chaotic so I kind of just breaststoked until I got some free water and then followed the general flow of swimmers down the lake under the Mill Avenue bridges. I was originally just going to jump in the water to see how it felt, but suddenly I found myself swimming a couple hundred yards with no obvious place to turn around. Finally another swimmer was stopped and chatting with a kayak lifeguard-type, so I stopped too. I realized they were saying THIS is the starting line. As in, I just made my way from about where we enter the water on race day and swam TO the STARTING LINE. I was tired! It seemed so far! It was kind of funny, and I was very glad to have figured that out before race morning. I turned around there and followed the return flow of swimmers back to the stairs where we exited the water. After I'd been swimming a few minutes I felt pretty warm so I felt better about my prospects of surviving the first leg of Sunday's race. Zach got some pics of me swimming and was waiting for me when I got out, helpful as always. I put on dry clothes (changed under my towel like everyone else) and told him all about the swim.

We headed next to Athlete Check In and even though it was barely 10:00 there was a huge line that snaked all through the whole area! We hopped in line and then one of us would wander around and then we'd switch. I made my way to the merchandise store to preview the gear and souvenirs and found the Tri Bike Transport tent. Finally I got through and signed my waiver. Next I received my packet with race numbers, gear bags, timing chip, swim cap, and my wristband. The volunteer was this sweet old guy and wished me good luck. I picked up a race poster on my way out of the tent. Our next stop was the Tri Bike Transport. I didn't need to pick up my bike but I wanted to see it and make sure it arrived safe. It was there, safe and sound! Finally we headed back to the store. I was going to wait until Monday to purchase anything but the volunteers in the store told me that most things will sell out before then, besides that Monday is super busy because they release the finisher gear. So I decided that I would go against my superstitious instincts and buy the damn gear. And then a crazy person took over my body. I was possessed. There was SO much cool stuff!!! I was grabbing shirts and shorts right and left. Stickers and mugs were going in the basket and Zach was being piled up with clothing and hats. It was like a cartoon. I went to the dressing room and thankfully emerged with only a handful of perfect items. A bike jersey, four running tops, running shorts, a swim suit, cups, mugs, stickers, hats. Plus souvenirs for my parents. My jaw dropped when the total was revealed at the check out, but I knew I'd been saving up for this exact moment, and I knew that this would be great motivation to finish the race!

After leaving the race site we drove the bike course. We followed the turn-by-turn directions from the athlete guide and I was very pleased that there were no surprises. The course is generally flat, the roads are in great condition, and once you get out of town onto the Beeline Highway, the desert scenery is very beautiful! As we neared the turnaround I noticed the road did climb noticeably, but it wouldn't even be called a "hill," just a little rise. It was about 18 miles to the turn around with the final 10 or so being on the Beeline Highway. Good stuff. We turned off the course and drove into the town of Fountain Hills for some lunch. We spotted a Subway- perfect!

We drove all the way back to Chandler to our home base (Zach's aunt and uncle's house) and I began organizing my things. I was anxious to get this process started. I opened up my carefully packed suitcase and laid out the gear bags I'd received at check in. Morning Clothes Bag, Swim to Bike Transition bag, Bike to Run Transition bag...... um...... I looked back in the race packet sack... where are the Special Needs bags? Gah! I had Zach double check and sure enough they were missing. He was trying to catch a nap but promptly hopped up and volunteered to drive back to Tempe since the check-in was still open for another hour or so. He's my super helper. I continued to organize while he was gone and finished up when he returned with the rest of the bags. I put bright green duct tape on the outside of all my bags to distinguish them, which ended up being a great idea. I was very relieved to have everything ready.

The next thing on the schedule was meeting up with Inga and her husband Josh and going to the athlete meeting. I didn't originally mean to have them attend the meeting with me but they seemed ok with it so they did. It was fun to have them there and they learned a lot about how the race worked. We got to see the Everyday Hero presentation and I'm glad I did because I saw the guy- Rudy- several times on race day and it was cool to know his story.

After the meeting we all went to a great italian restaurant called Oregeno's for dinner. There was a pretty long wait but that was ok - we were stalling anyway since Maritza's flight arrived at 10:30 pm and we had time to kill. We had a great dinner and a great visit. Inga gave me a very special pre-race gift which included a mug and chamomile tea to help me relax, a yellow bracelet she had made that represented strength and will power (I wore it the entire weekend, including during the race), and some absolutely awesome, adorable, hilarious photos of the two of us twenty years before. She had called her mom in Montana and she found these long-lost pictures of us completing the Rankin Run, an all womens 5k in Great Falls, Montana. I was 8, maybe 9 years old. I will put the pictures in this post and I think I am going to frame the one. SO freaking awesome. It was such a surprise since I had completely forgotten about it and had no idea there were photos! Amazing to see. I look exactly the same. Hilarious.

We went to the airport and met Maritza and spent just a few minutes together before they headed back to Inga's (aka Spectator home base) and Zach and I drove back to our home base. I got to bed about 11:30 and actually slept pretty good.

Saturday morning there was more pre-race stuff on the agenda but not as much. This day was more about hanging out with my friends, relaxing, and thinking positive. We ate cereal at home again and then drove to Tempe. I went to the Tri Bike Transport tent and picked up my bike. They put the pedals back on (that is the only thing that is taken apart for shipping) and Zach pumped the tires. I put my seat bag with spare tubes, bento box (power bars to be added in the morning), and bike computer on the bike. Then I rode it around the parking lot just to make sure everything was working. We attached the race numbers in all the required places and walked over to the transition area. I found my row and racked my bike- there was a sticker with my name and race number exactly where I had to rack it. Next, I took my transition bags over to the two separate transition areas and found the sign that included my number in the range. Thankfully both signs were at the edge of the areas and my bag was numerically first, meaning my bags were at the end of the rows. Super easy to find, and the green duct tape made it even easier. I walked over to the change tent and checked that out. I found a volunteer and asked how the flow of the transition area worked and he explained it well. I asked tons of other questions and made sure I knew everything I needed for race day. Finally satisfied, I exited transition and found Zach.

Inga and Maritza had arrived at this point so we went and met up with them. The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging around the race site checking everything out and taking pictures and talking and laughing and having a great time. Maritza and I did a 2 ish mile run along part of the run course and also got to see the entire swim course as we ran. Then the four of us found the sign-making tent and spent a good hour or more making fun colorful signs. I knew Inga, Maritza, and everyone else were going to make more signs so this was just a partial sign-making session. I made one for me from my mom and dad and I made one for myself that said "I believe in you." Zach made a great one that he turned in - they were placing some of them along the course so it was fun to look for it while I was running. We finally left Tempe and went to a great lunch spot near Inga's where we sat outside visiting and listening to the live music and eating delicious sandwiches. Finally, we had to take off so I got final good luck hugs from Inga and Martiza and Zach and I headed back to home base.

Back at the house, I got my last few things organized and Zach made the race day PB&J sandwiches for me. He also mixed up my bottles of Perpetuem and put them in the freezer. I tried to take a nap but mostly just laid there reading Twilight and resting. Zach gave me a special surprise which was a folder of notes from all my friends and family!! It was supposed to be something for my special needs bags but he figured that wouldn't work as well as he originally thought, so he gave them to me the night before. It was so fun to read through and some of them made me tear up. It was cool to know everyone was rooting for me. :)

When I couldn't rest anymore I went upstairs and all the family was there hanging out. Zach made spaghetti dinner while I visited with his Dad and Stepmom, Aunt, Uncle, and cousin. We ate a big delicious dinner and then even had a little ice cream cake after. I finally said my goodnights and headed back downstairs about 8 or 9 pm. I took a bath and finished Twilight and then went to bed. I was anxious and excited and not very tired. I knew I had a long night ahead of me... but not too long. The alarms were set for 3:30 am. I closed my eyes and tried to relax. It was only hours away....


Let's get this awesomeness out of the way first:
Rankin Run, Great Falls, MT, 20 years ago

And now onto the more recent athletic pursuit:

Thursday, November 19

Portland Airport

Friday, November 20

Phoenix. Hellooooo sunshine!

Arriving in Tempe at the race site:

Heading into water for practice swim (in red cap):

Getting used to the cold water (63 ish degrees):

All done! You can see here the Mill Avenue bridges. The start line is beyond the second bridge:

Tri Bike Transport. My bike is in there somewhere:

Checking in for the race and getting race packet:

Pro press conference. Kate Major and (spoiler alert!) race winner Sam McGlone:

To be fair, this was what I took into the dressing room to try on. I didn't buy it all, I swear!

Driving the bike course. This is what the first few miles through town were like:

Heading out the Beeline Highway:

Desert scenery:

Back at Aunt Carol's getting gear bags ready. The balloons were from my mom. :)

Green duct tape really did make my bags stand out:

Beautiful sunset, heading to Tempe for pre-race meeting:

At athlete meeting:

Saturday, November 21

Picked up bike from Tri Bike Transport and took it for a spin just to be safe:

Bike and transitions bags ready to be turned in:

T2 bag:

A peek inside the empty change tent:

A view of the T2 bags from the bridge:

The arch we had to exit through before the swim start:

Bike Out:

Maritza, Inga, and me hanging out at the race site:

Short run with Maritza along part of the run course and with a view of the swim course:

Zach making me a sign in the sign crafting area. It took me a minute to figure out what this number meant. It's the total from my shopping spree. :O

One of Inga's many spectacular signs!

I made one sign for myself:
Zach's sign. Hilarious!
Lunch and live music at Duck & Decanter:
Back at Carol's for dinner and relaxing before bed:
Large bag o' spaghetti:
More report and photos coming soon!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ironman Arizona Video

Hi! I can't believe it's been a week already. We had a great holiday and got home last night. Loving post-Ironman life so far. :)

Report is coming soon, along with tons of photos of the entire weekend. For now, enjoy this video Zach made of the race. Make sure you have the volume up. The louder the better.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I did it! I finished in 13:41:xx and I am an Ironman.

It has been such a fun and crazy time in phoenix getting ready for the race and everything came together perfectly. All the training, all the planning, the strategy, the cast of supporters, everything. Perfect.

It hasn't really sunk in yet.. I've been imagining these moments for months, years! Th race, the final miles, the finish, and the feeling after of being able to say I did it! But its not like I imagined! Yesterday during the race I was all business, right up to the end. I had a Moment (to put it lightly, did anyone see the live feed?) in the finish chute and right after I got pretty emotional but it didn't stick. Of course going to the medical tent doesn't really invite celebration (more on that later). I think it will hit me soon or maybe it won't be like that. ?? Maybe a couple beers will get the ball rolling. Haha!

So I'm lying here in bed at 530 am, wide awake, waiting for morning so I can begin my new life as a superhero. I should probably try to rest though- I went to bed at 2:00 am after getting up at 3:30 am for the race the previous morning. But I'm all wired! And sooooooo sore. And hungry.

I will put together a race report ASAP but wanted to update you right away here. It was awesome. It was way harder than I thought it would be!!! And don't misunderstand, I thought it would be very hard!!

Some quick thoughts which will all be detailed later:

I swam and biked faster than I expected!

The swim was BRUTAL in the first few hundred yards. Total washing machine. I was kicked and scratched, and even got punched in the head. !!!

The water was freezing and my arms were aching and numb for the last half of the swim.

The bike course was nice! I liked it. I think the bike was my favorite part of the race. Which is ironic considering I grew to hate it in training.

I stuck to my nutrition plan!

I never hit the wall. The run was Hard, but by walking all the aid stations I was able to run the whole race. I stopped a few times for various reasons, but didn't take a single unplanned walk break.

On the run I tripped on a curb and totally f-ing ate it. It was dark out and I wasn't paying attention. I really scraped myself up. But I pulled it together! You may remember I fell hard at Cal. Int'l Marathon in 2006 and went on to BQ so apparently this is kind of my schtick. Finish huge important races with blood running down my leg. Classy!!

I had the loudest and most enthusiastic spectators on the course. Not an exaggeration. They cheered me and everyone else on ALL day and made me feel like a true hero after. I felt like a rock star! It was amazing.

I spent over 400 bucks on ironman merchandise a couple days before the race and that really did give me extra motivation to finish! :D

Allright I better stop for now. Stay tuned for an EPIC race report
And a bazillion pictures. I will try to do it soon but might wait until I get back to Portland next weekend. I'm going to jot down my thoughts today so I don't forget any details.

Thanks for all the support you guys!! I thought of you every time I crossed a timing mat. :) you were all right there with me!

Thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Here I Go

It's time! We leave tomorrow afternoon for Phoenix. I'm ready. I'm packed. Let's do it!!

I'm really looking forward to the warm and sunny weather. It's going to be perfect for the race and even perfecter for the rest of the vacation. I packed clothes that I haven't worn in months and I'm looking forward to getting a tan. As I may have mentioned (ha ha), it's been cold and rainy here. And it's going to be like this for months! So I'm going to soak up every ray I possibly can.

I'm also really excited about seeing all the family and friends that will be there to support me. Deana and Dana are flying down- they have been great supporters of Zach and I in all our races around Portland since we moved here. Plus we have family that lives there, Zach's aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandad. Zach's dad and stepmom are driving over from San Diego too- Melanie (Zach's stepmom) has been a big inspiration and basically got me interested in triathlons after hearing about her tri adventures. Also, I am excited to finally meet fellow blogger KelsaLynn! I'm thrilled that my wonderful friend Maritza is coming down from California. It means so much to me. She and I ran our first marathon together 4 years ago and the rest is history. And last but not least, Inga, my bestest and oldest friend, who lives in Phoenix. I wouldn't be doing this race if it wasn't for her. Having a built in support system in the Phoenix area made this race seem approachable, and her support has been huge. She's been my best friend for 25 years (holy shit, really?) and I can't wait to see her. With all these people cheering me on, how can this be anything but amazing?? I love that IMAZ is a loop course (3 loops for the bike and 3 figure 8 type loops for the run) so I get too see my crew like a dozen times. I will never be alone!

After the Ironman weekend we are spending a couple of days in Phoenix and then driving over to San Diego for Thanksgiving with Zach's folks. We are all doing the Turkey Trot together (I'll walk it with his Dad, Zach and Melanie will run it) and then feasting with the best of 'em. We've done Thanksgiving down there like 5 of the last 6 years or something and it is always a great time. I can't wait! It's going to feel SO good to finally be able to truly relax. After 6 months of training for an Ironman, you better believe I'm going to indulge myself.

And the icing on the cake is that when we get back to Oregon there will be parties and celebrating with all my kick ass friends here- Emily, Alisa, Sarah, Amy, plus more Deana and Dana (you can never have enough Deana and Dana!). And Zach's Mom and stepdad from Montana are coming to visit in early December too! And of course, it'll be Christmas time. Which is my favorite!! Cookies and Christmas movies and shopping and carols and yay yay yay.

My mom and dad aren't going to make it down to Arizona, although I know they really wanted to. I wish they could but it's fine- plus I know my mom would be so worried seeing me when the smiles stop in the later miles (to put it mildly). Ha ha! They have been so amazingly supportive of me my whole life and especially in this latest endeavour. Although I have to tease my mom- last year when I registered, I was visiting for Thanksgiving and when I ran in to tell them I got an entry, my mom had the most worried look on her face! "I was hoping you wouldn't get in," she said, only half joking. SO cute. Don't worry Mom!! I GOT THIS.

Mom and Dad will be tracking me online on Sunday and so can all of you. Visit and watch for the link which should appear on race day. Right now the athlete tracker is not obvious but it should be on Sunday. Zach will also be posting updates on Facebook and maybe a couple pics too.

I will be thinking of all of you every time I hear that Beeeeep of the timing mat. I will know that you are right there with me, just as you have been along this whole awesome journey. Thank you all so so so much for your kindness, encouraging words, and reassurance. I am inspired by all of you- all your marathons, triathlons, half marathons, everything- I read all of it and I am so impressed and proud to call you all friends!! Thank you for being a bunch of hard core athletes and for creating this environment of crazy that we all thrive in.

Since apparently this is turning into an Oscar acceptance speech, I'd like to say one final enormous thank you to Zach. He is my bubby bear, my best bro, my coach, my training partner, my chef, my psychologist, my hero, my reason for living. I am the luckiest girl in the world and I could not have done this without him.

There's no need for a "Goals" section here because my one and only goal is to finish. Of course I have a strategy, which involves pacing, but who knows how this will ultimately play out. I have 17 hours to finish the race (with various cut off times for each leg throughout the day) but I think I'll be finishing in under 14 ish. For tracking purposes, I'll give my planned time for each leg of the race. Of course anything can happen, but based on my training and assuming everything goes good, here it is. Swim- 1:35. Bike- 7:30. Run- 4:30. ISH. Who the hell knows?! It's going to be crazy and awesome and difficult and who knows. It's going to be an adventure, that is for sure.

Finally here are just a couple of photos from the last week. I'll update you all as soon as possible after the race. Whew.

Good luck flowers from Mom and Dad sent to my work:

Rainbow after one of the many rainstorms (pic taken from Zach's office window)

Mt. Hood at sunrise. This photo makes me want to cry.

Thank you for reading. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cucumber Cool

Another super taper week in the books. Not much swimming, VERY little biking, some quality running, lots of napping and movie watching and relaxing. Love it.

I had a few taper pains pop up- some were my fault and some were completely unexplained. I know this is normal and I tried not to panic. Thankfully everything cleared up quickly. I didn't take any chances and eased off even more than was probably necessary, but whatever! Now is the time to play it safe.

The funny thing about this week is that while I had no problem skipping swims and bike rides, I couldn't get enough running! I think all the energy my body is storing up wanted to escape a little bit in my running this week. I busted out some faster miles and it all felt so effortless! I had to make myself hold back and didn't run as much as I could have. It is the taper after all.

I don't know what it is but I'm feeling so calm and relaxed and positive about the race. I'm not nervous at all really. I know it will sink it at some point but I'm feeling fine at this point. I guess I am a little anxious, like when I was getting my things together tonight I kind of snapped at Zach. Oh who am I kidding, that is totally normal. I guess I am just prepared enough that there isn't anything to freak out about? Like I got all my freaking out out of the way over the last couple of months. Works for me.

I keep coming up with little things to do, like wash my running shorts and pick up Ziploc bags, but everything is coming together. This weekend I got lots of miscellaneous things done- Zach and I practiced tire changes, I trimmed my nails, I soaked my wetsuit and hung it to dry, I called Inga in Phoenix and went over the weekend plan. I started packing tonight and will finish tomorrow night probably. I only have a few little workouts this week (note to self: take it easy on the running!) but mostly just getting as much rest as possible and thinking positive.

Here's the recap of this last week. Pretty light!

Monday: Bike
15:00/stationary bike
This was supposed to be my rest day, so I just went to the gym with Zach to do a light strength training session. This was a mistake! I kind of jacked my shoulder up. Dammit! I stopped immediately and went up to the cardio area and rode the stationary bike for a while. Frick!

Tuesday: Run
7.0/58:38/8:22 average pace
Fabulous run in the pouring rain. My legs were feeling fresh and speedy and I loved it. I ran the last 3 miles at 7:44 average pace!

Wednesday: Swim
1250 yards/40:00
Zach had the day off work for Veteran's day so we went to the pool together. I realized pretty quickly that my shoulder was very slightly sore and decided not to push it. I did mostly kicking while Zach swam.

Wednesday: Run
5.0 miles/40:50/8:10
Another fabulous run, again in the pouring rain. I drove up to Forest Park since I haven't been up there for a couple of weeks. It was wet and muddy and cold and awesome. Once again my legs were having trouble holding back and I cranked out my last three miles at 7:48 pace! Speedy legs!

Thursday: nada
My lower back was randomly tight all day at work, so I decided not to bother with the short bike ride I had scheduled. My shoulder area felt better but didn't want to swim either.

Friday: Run
3.5 miles/30:31/8:43 average pace
Easy run with Zach after work. Thankfully, no rain this time!

Saturday: Bike
11.9 miles/49:43/14.3 MPH
I really wanted to get my bike out for a ride before I dropped it off for transport. My back felt fine and I decided not to use the weather as an excuse, although I could have - it was only 34 degrees out when we were ready to leave! We bundled up and headed out for a short ride down the Springwater. As soon as we got back we took my bike up to Athlete's Lounge on 26th and Thurman. There were several bikes there already, like maybe 10. I was glad to see that there were 4 road bikes alongside the tri bikes. The manager of the bike shop is actually doing the race too and he arrived right as we were leaving. Good to know his bike will be along with mine! Makes me feel more secure. I said goodbye to my bike and left it in their hands.

Saturday: Swim
1800 yards/45:00
After the bike ride I watched a couple of movies on TV and took a little nap. Zach finally woke me up and we went over to the gym. My shoulder felt fine and I got a nice swim in. I even did the first 1000 y without my nose clip! Good to know that in case I somehow lose it in the race I will be ok. We took a long steam and soak after the workout and then back home for more movies and relaxing.

Sunday: Run
9.0 miles/1:19:31/8:50 average pace
Today I went for an easy long-ish run up on Marine Drive. It was cold and windy but only a few sprinkles, thankfully. I felt great. After the run I drove across the river and visited Emily in Vancouver. She just got back from her honeymoon in Hawaii so she showed me a bunch of pictures and we sat and chatted the afternoon away by her fireplace. Cozy! Back at home I packed some of my stuff and now Zach and I are watching tv and relaxing. And eating ice cream. (Pumpkin ice cream from Cool Moon)

totals for the week:

swim: 1:25 (3050 yards)
bike: 1:05 (11.9 miles- ha!)
run: 3:30 (24.5 miles)

total training volume for taper week 2: 6:00

Definitely embracing the taper!

ONE WEEK to Ironman Arizona. :)

Sorry for the lack of photos lately, but I promise there will be more photos then you could ever want to see in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading! I'll be back with another post before I leave for Arizona on Thursday. Have a great week!

Friday, November 13, 2009

10 Day Forecast and 182 Day Recap

The 10 Day Forecast on officially includes race day now, although I've been watching it on Accuweather's 15 day forecast for a while. The conditions are going to be great- it will start out in the low 50s and reach highs in the low 70's, or something like that. Sounds delightful! Especially because it's been very cold and rainy here the last couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to some sunshine.

The race is actually just 9 days away and I'm so excited. I've got a few minor things to take care of this weekend and I'll be dropping my bike off for transport tomorrow. Then I'm going to start packing my stuff based on a collection of established and solid lists. We leave Thursday afternoon.

I'm really loving this taper period and I'm feeling really relaxed. I'm enjoying having time to hang out with Zach and watch hockey and sit in the hot tub and visit with friends. I'm keeping my diet pretty healthy, mostly avoiding alcohol, and getting tons of sleep. All systems go!

Along with looking forward to the big day I wanted to take a look back too. I put together a little training summary to recap all that went into my Ironman preparation. I am going to keep it pretty brief and then later I'll do a longer reflection on the training and what I really thought of it and whether I'd do something like this again. So here are a few facts and figures on my Ironman training journey. The totals are up through the end of last week, so the final two weeks (taper) aren't included.

I signed up for Ironman Arizona on November 24th 2008.

I officially began training May 11th. That was 28 weeks, or about 6 1/2 months, before IMAZ 09.

My training volume over 26 weeks (6 months) averaged 12 hours per week.

My training volume in the 10 week peak period averaged 14.5 hours per week.

My highest volume week was 18.5 hours in week 25.

My longest bike ride was 107 miles (Harvest Century Ride). I did 9 rides over 60 miles.

My longest run was 20 miles. I did 7 runs of 14 miles or longer.

My longest swim was 4200 yards. I did 7 swims of 3000 yards or longer.

I participated in 4 triathlons during my training: Blue Lake Sprint, Hagg Lake Olympic, Lake Stevens 70.3, and the Aluminum Man Olympic.

Besides the triathlons, I did 9 Open Water Swims.

I ran one running race, the Timberline Trail Half Marathon, where I won my age group!

That's it for my quickie update. I'll be back to recap this second taper week and then again next week to post my goals (spoiler alert: FINISH) and final thoughts and stuff. I'll also post the tracking info and all that. My race number was posted a few days ago and it is #2252. Yay! This is really happening!!!!

Thanks for reading. :) Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 08, 2009


I was going to go with Super Slacker but that seemed harsh. I truly believe in the "less is more" mantra of tapering so I guess I've done nothing wrong. This week was supposed to be a reduction in training volume and I came in pretty far under that goal. Whatevs!

I was actually doing fine through the week but this weekend a big cold rainstorm smacked the Northwest and ruined my long run and long ride. I could have been more prepared for the weather but it's been really unpredictable lately and I honestly thought I was going to be ok. Turns out I had to call Zach and have him come pick me up half way through my long run (meaning I was as far as possible from home) because the temperature dropped a good 5 degrees and the rain was coming down in buckets and horizontally. Zach actually had to avoid some flooded out sections of road to reach me. Yikes. I've NEVER called it quits during a long run in 5 years of running, and believe me I've had some awful runs. So this says something about the weather! I was going to finish the run up on the treadmill but I was shivering so bad and figured, F it, I'm tapering anyway. I took a long hot shower and Zach made pumpkin pancakes and we snuggled on the couch and watched the Godfather. Then we went to a friend's for dinner and then to Sarah's fabulous karaoke birthday fest where I took some ownership of a little Stevie Wonder, Bryan Adams, and Janis Joplin. What fun!

Today (Sunday) it was weirdly cloudy and I took the "Heavy rain at times" prediction seriously and just avoided riding outside altogether. It was supposed to be a 3 hour ride and I managed 1 1/2 hours on the trainer (watching Godfather II). Zach and I had a wonderful lazy Sunday for the most part and it was awesome.

So this weekend was cut WAY short, but I really don't think it matters. The important thing is that I feel good. I'm relaxed and positive and ready. I've got all my lists in order and all the details ironed out and there's very little left to do before we leave for Arizona.

Also the 15 day weather forecast on officially reaches my race day of November 22 and it looks perfect (starting out at a low of 49 and reaching a high of 74). It will certainly change a lot in the next couple of weeks but so far, so good.

Have I mentioned that the day I participate in Ironman Arizona will also mark the 12th anniversary of my first date with Zach? That's right. On November 22, 1997 we went to see Starship Troopers together in Helena, MT. He held my hand in the movie and we had our first kiss in the car after). The rest is history! Awwwwww.

So here is my pathetic/awesome taper week:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: also rest

Wednesday: Swim
4100 yards/1:30
I swam 4000 yards (actually 4050 because I miscounted, but figured it out later by my watch splits) straight. Meaning I didn't stop swimming for nearly an hour and a half. I adjusted my goggles while treading water and I didn't do any other strokes besides freestyle. This was to get a good prediction time for my IM swim and I'm really glad I did it. I think I'll be able to do the swim in about 1:35:00 which is a little slower than I would have guessed, but that's fine. A couple minutes on a day like that is nothing.

Wednesday: Bike
23.8 miles/1:28:50/16.0 MPH
Springwater out and back x 3 on a windy day

Wednesday: Run
5.0 miles/41:15/8:15 average pace
Where did that come from? It felt very easy and I was a little confused. My last mile was 7:48. Awesome but weird.

Thursday: Bike

Friday: Run
6.5 miles/58:23/8:59 average pace
Zach rode along with me on his mountain bike

Friday: Swim
2000 yards/45:00
Easy swim at the gym

Saturday: Run
9.68 miles/1:30:42/9:22 average pace
Long run cut short by freezing cold rainstorm.

Sunday: Bike
Less is more. Less is more. Less is more.

totals for taper week 1

swim: 2:15 (6100 yards)
bike: 4:35 (24 miles and 3 hours on the trainer)
run: 3:10 (21.18 miles)

total training volume: 10:00

2 weeks to Ironman Arizona!!!!

Sunday, November 01, 2009


I'm sitting on top of the world tonight. I had an incredible week of training and I almost don't want it to end.

This was my final big training week before the taper. This was my peak week. And it was EASY. I ended up with over 18 hours of training time and all but one hour of it took place over the last 5 days. This means I just had 5 insane training days in a row. And it was a piece of cake. I am so into it. Wednesday I was out the door at 8:00 and didn't finish my workouts until after 3:00 pm. And then I went to the gym with Zach in the evening! I literally worked out ALL DAY. Thursday and Friday, yada yada yada. Then Yesterday I ran 20 miles and it didn't even feel like a tough workout. Today's 80 mile ride was similarly breezy and fun. Ain't no thing! I'm loving it. It's weird.

I wish I could keep going like this. I think this is going to be the kind of taper where I need to hold back and make myself rest. I am kind of pissed that I was so burnt out a few weeks ago and was struggling to get my workouts in, and then now I can't get enough but I have to lay off. Oh well, I guess it's the right time to be at this peak! I hope I can maintain my strength and positivity through the taper and then knock it out of the park in Tempe. I wish the race was tomorrow. GAH!

Okie dokie. Here's the proof: I'm crazy! And I love it!

Monday: rest

Tuesday: Run
7.0 miles/1:04:32/9:13 average pace
Waterfront solo

Wednesday: Swim
4200 yards/1:45
Solo swim at Aquatic Center

Wednesday: Bike
30.0 miles/2:01:36/14.6 MPH
River Road/Oatfield loop solo

Wednesday: Run
5.0 miles/44:27/8:53 average pace
Brick run after the ride, also solo (Deana's work schedule changed, so we ran together Friday instead)

Wednesday: Strength Training
light lift with Zach at the gym in the evening

Thursday: Bike
Watched recorded Ironman Lake Placid coverage

Thursday: Swim
2150 yards/1:00

Friday: Run
10.0 miles/1:33:29/9:21 average pace
5 miles with Deana at 10:10 average pace, then one mile in 8:08 (downhill from Deana's to my house to meet Zach) then 4 miles with Zach at about 8:30 pace. Whew! It was nice to have company for the long run though.

Saturday: Run
20.0 miles/2:58:04/8:54 average pace
Wonderful fantastic long run. It felt easy and like I could have kept running forever. I never felt tired. Got rained on a little but had a bit of sun too. The course was neat - I had Zach drop me off far out in eastern Gresham and I ran home on the Springwater Corridor Trail. The only time I've ever done such a long point-to-point run was in races (boston x2 and CIM x3). It's kind of cool to cover such a huge distance on foot.

Saturday: Swim
1000 yards/25:00
Why not.

Sunday: Bike
80.0 miles/4:58:48/16.0 MPH
Wonderful fantastic long ride. It felt easy and like I could have kept riding forever. :P It was freezing cold- 40 degrees at the start and only warmed up to 48 by the end of the day. Zach rode the whole way with me! That's a cycling distance record for him. Our friend Anne came out and met us after we did one loop (44 miles) and rode 30 miles with us. It was awesome having some extra company. Zach and I did a fast bit at the end to round off the distance and we were pushing really hard at the end. It was great. I never felt tired and I definitely didn't have the mental block that I've dealt with the last couple long rides.

totals for the week:

Swim: 3:10 (7350 yards)
Bike: 9:00 (110 miles + 2 hours trainer)
Run: 6:25 (42 miles)

total training volume for my peak week: 18:35


3 weeks to IMAZ


Just one from Saturday's Halloween 20 mile run:

Sunday's Sauvie Island ride:

The fog finally burned off about 25 miles into the ride:

Zach trying to absorb as much warmth as possible (still only like 45 degrees):

Picked up Anne about 45 miles into our ride:

Me and Anne:

All done. Bikes loaded up on the car. The sun was on it's way down and it was only about 3:00 when I took this photo!

Thanks for reading! Have a great week.