May 7th, 2013
Three years ago I went to Ironman St George. I was amazed of the athletes running a full marathon after 112 bike ride and a 2.4 mile swim. They were all shapes and sizes. I thought that I needed to do more. I’m not sure that I even knew what an Ironman event was before this. Doing a Triathlon never crossed my mind. Three years ago in March I ran my first 5K. I couldn’t run a mile without dying. But I was hooked. Two years ago I ran my first Half Marathon, again I was hooked. Last year I ran my first FULL Marathon in March, then I did the St George Marathon in October. I LOVED it.
After the really hard Ironman St George 140.6 last year they changed it to a really hard Ironman 70.3 US Pro Championship Race. It sold out. About 2700 racers. I didn’t have a bike or know how to swim. The first week registration was open I signed up. What’s wrong with me? I took my first swim lesson and ordered a bike. Thanks Babe!! I also jointed the Southern Utah Tri Club.
I was able to get a handful of swims and bike rides in and did my first sprint Tri in Sept, my second in November and my first Olympic distance this March. I also decided to sign up for Ogden Marathon which is two weeks after the Ironman. Fitting in all the training is a full-time job with a 3-year-old and 5-year-old and a husband who travels. How do people do it who work?? I can’t even imagine training for a full.
Thursday I picked up my packet. Checked out the store and bought an event cycling top, a visor and a new race belt- I lost my current one. But this is better because it says Ironman and can hold like 10 gels. It was hot and my kids were bored. There was a live band playing, that was pretty cool. We headed to swim lessons for my boys. They will know how to swim, fast, when they’re my age. lol
Friday you have to drop your bike off at the lake from 2-7. My husband was still in town waiting for UPS. I took my bike out for a 6 mile ride to calm the nerves. Totally helped! I was waiting around for 2. I arrived at the lake – OMG- it was crowded. I’ve never seen it like this. I happened to park right behind my So Cal friends who were doing this race. Dillon was doing his first half, he has already done a full in TX. And his brother Randy was doing his second half. Their parents were with them and it was great to see friends. I dropped off my bike in the T1 area. Dillon said to just bring my bike bag in the morning. Good idea. We visited for a while and I head home to make spaghetti.
Friday night the boys are running the IronKids race at 7. I signed them both up for the mile. The kids fell asleep after the lake so we had dinner later than planned. Then I arrived later than planned for the kids run. I found a great parking spot, then had to run to drop off my run bag in T2. (wearing flip-flops) Before the 7:pm closing time and start time for the run. I brought running shoes but didn’t think I was going to be running. Then we ran to the start. Geeze. I found Michelle. Her 4-yr-old was running too. Since they are 5&3 we start in the back. They take off by ages. I decided to run with Connor because it was so crowded and not an out and back course. (he usually turns around when he feels like it, lol) So I ran/walked a mile in my flip-flops. Hmm is that smart? Evan took off and never looked back, he had so much fun! He loved passing kids. During the run one dad tripped on his shoe lace and he completely fell, rolled, ate it. Yes, he had on a blue bracelet. (Ironman competitor) I felt bad. The run was great and the medal was awesome! I then park my car to leave it overnight and Michelle takes me home. We drop the kids off at Pepper’s for a sleepover. What great friends I have. I couldn’t have done it without them.
I finally get home around 9:pm. My bags are all ready to go. We have a ‘Run’ bag, already at T2. My shoes, water pack and visor are in this bag. The ‘Bike’ bag has my helmet, sunglasses and race belt with number. The ‘Morning’ bag has my wetsuit in it but is for my jacket I wore in the morning, I put my phone in it and some cash. I turned it in and forgot to put my flip-flops in it. We’ll see if they are still at the lake by a rock. lol The bags will be transported to the finish and put in the T2 area. I watch Grey’s Anatomy while I ice my ankles, they have been a little sore since my 20 miler last week. I check up on FB. Now I’m stressed my tires are going to be flat! Everyone is talking about how they were popping all day from the heat and of course I put 110#’s in them. Set my alarm. Three different times. I’m home all alone and now I’m worried I will over sleep! AHHHH!
Saturday morning I get up at 5:am. I slept great! I put on my new tri kit that I’ve never worn. But I look cute. Because that’s all that matters right? I have some oatmeal and bring a banana. The plan was for my neighbor to take me to the lake at 5:45. But I wished it was earlier as now I’m stressed about my tires. I get to the lake and have to walk like a half mile up to the T1 area. First things first. I have a flat front tire!!!! Liz Dansie happens to be right next to me and her wonderful husband Tom changed it for me. They are brand new tires and he wasn’t sure he could do it at first. The flat was because of the valve stem. I guess 110# isn’t that much air, some people put more than 140#’s!
I put on my wetsuit, took this last pic and dropped off my morning clothes bag. Then we were already getting in our wave start! I found Cherie and Liz and we slowly started walking closer to the water. They added a ton of soft sand to walk down to the water. Super nice! I was trying to figure out how we were starting. We had to swim about 200 yards or so to a start buoy. They blow a horn and you take off.
I had a terrible swim, as you can tell by the time. I just could not catch my breath. For the entire swim! I would swim a few strokes then stop, the entire swim! Then I was worried about all the guys coming to pass me. I only got hit in the head a couple of times and everyone that past was pretty nice. I tried to stay to the outside. Cherie swam with me. She waited for me the entire swim, checked to make sure I was okay and kept me going. I don’t know if I would have made it w/o her. Cherie spotted Michelle from Phaze’s (my gym) on a kayak. We waved. Michelle’s race report is here. Her point of view from the lake. And last years too! We finally made it to the end, got out of the water and I gave her a hug and said we made it! I was 116th out of 121 girls in my age group. I’m that fast. haha.
After the swim there is a line of volunteers, I didn’t know what they wanted. A guy told me to come to him and I said what are we supposed to do? I didn’t know we had wetsuit strippers! How exciting!! He told me to sit down and he pulled it off so fast! It was awesome, I felt like a star. haha I jogged to my bike and dumped out my bag, put on my helmet. I didn’t realize I was cold but I was shaking so bad it was hard to put on my gloves. I sat down and put on my socks and shoes. I felt like it took forever. I looked for Cherie and figured she already took off. Jogged to the sunscreen girls and had them put some on my arms. I went to the mounting area and went to clip in my right foot and it slipped off and my calf got scratched and it killed. I said “ow” and everyone standing around watching said “ooh”. Yeah me.
I LOVED the bike part. I headed out and was relieved the swim was over! I was actually passing some people, but I was being passed too of course. I went up nemesis and don’t remember it even being hard, it went by fast and then it’s all down hill to the Virgin River. We turned left on Airport Road and I saw my neighbors. They had signs! “Ride Amber Ride”. How fun! Then we turned left on 700. I saw the Langston’s and Izabella’s family from my Angel’s t-ball team. Then I heard my name at the church. I also saw Brittney and yelled her name. I have fans!
We head down SR9 and there’s a girl with a 35 on her leg. (her age) We go back and forth for a few miles. But instead of her passing me and getting in front of me she stays to the left. Well this causes problems when fast guys are trying to pass on the left. She’s totally in the way. These two guys are passing, one yells at her, and she doesn’t even flinch. How does she not know to get out-of-the-way? The next guy passes her and yells on your left, turns and looks at her as he yells at her that she needs to move over. He was super pissed. Again she is clueless. If a guy yelled at me like that I probably would be crying. I always made sure I was on the right, it’s not safe otherwise. They were going pretty fast! Well that drama was over and we head up the next hill. I was having a great time. People were cheering everywhere and I would cheer back.
We head down a hill and I see a guy on the side completely covered with dirt. Later I read he looked back, bars wobbled and he went over the bars. He did finish the race. Good thing he landed in the dirt. This section has some bumps in the road, but they were marked with tape. A guy in the Tri club crashed here a few weeks ago and was unable to compete in this race.
Then we are on Red Hills Parkway. This is also the run course. I couldn’t believe the guys were already running, I was thinking it’s going to be a long time until I’m at that point. LOL I was riding up a hill and I wasn’t as fast as the guy running! Two cyclists near me were also commenting on that. Crazy!
We head up Snow Canyon. I loved going up the canyon. I’m not fast, but I didn’t hate it. I talked to people the entire way. I would ask where they are from and encourage them that we’re almost there. Some people were walking their bikes and we weren’t even at the steep part yet. We got to the top and we headed down hill. My max speed was 40mph. It’s nice having the entire lane and not worrying about cars. Once we turn right on Snow Canyon we have to take the bike path and go under the road. There are two no passing zones. There are a bunch of us all lined up following the leader. And when the leader was super slow- it kind of sucked. But if I was the leader I would probably be stressed if I was too slow having a line of people behind me. haha.
We are almost to the finish. I was really excited to run. I had a great bike ride and was looking forward to running. What was I thinking!? I also think I could have pushed harder on the bike, I don’t think it would have made my run any worse… I was now 90th place in my age division.
I get off my bike and run to hang it on the rack. I loved being in the second row. It’s so easy to find my spot both times. I quickly take off my helmet and shoes. Slip on my running shoes, visor and sunglasses. I decide to stop and use the bathroom- it was like the longest pee ever. lol Then I get out of T2 and start running.
I start running pretty fast. I immediately have a cramp in my upper ribs. It felt like a knife was stabbing me. I haven’t had this kind of cramp in forever! Then I make the first left, wow, I already need a walk break?? lol I saw Angel from my gym. I love seeing people I know. I then begin to run/walk for 13 miles. I finally get to mile 1 and was like WOW this is going to be LONG run. I stop at the first aid station and see so many friendly familiar faces! I fill my water bottle and grab a banana. Alex asked where Cherie was, now I’m learning she’s behind me. Alex took this pic.
I take off and run/walk up the hill. Shannon and Brooke yelled my name, they missed me run by, I’m that fast, but I turned around and waved and yelled. I can’t believe how slow I am. Slowest run of my life! Maybe I shouldn’t have run 20 miles last week? Probably wouldn’t have mattered. It was hot and hilly. I still have a cramp for about 3 miles. Then I got a new cramp, but it went away pretty fast. I loved that it was an out and back course. I was able to see so many SUTC people and cheer them on. It was a run/walk survival race. I would run with a bunch of different girls. Some from Vegas, Virginia, Chicago, Colorado, San José, and local. It made the time go by.
Then we got to Pioneer Park and we were almost to the turn-a-round. I was super happy and cheering everyone on. People I’m passing, people passing me and people on the other side. I was happy, what can I say? Running a 10-12 min pace lets me have lots of energy to talk. I passed a fireman and asked if he was running the entire course, he was. I said holy crap. He was wearing full gear. I later learned he is Fireman Rob and does all the races. His story is here: www.firemanrob.com. I also saw a blue man, he had to have been hot. A tall skinny guy wearing a pink speedo. These things make time go by.
I was stopping at every aid station. I would put ice down my top, water on my head. I LOVED the watermelon and coke! Awesome. I had another banana and kept pouring water on myself if I felt too hot. This kept me going. I’m glad I chose to wear my water pack. I always had water if needed, I mostly used it to pour on myself. We finally made it up the last big hill. I was doing the math, I was thinking I’m pretty close to my goal of 7 hrs. No more messing around. haha. I quickly stopped at the aid station after the golf course. I saw Michelle at the aid station and cheered her on. I have waited for this down hill. I ran like I was actually racing now. I loved it. I love downhill, free speed. People were cheering me on and I would cheer back all excited and then they would cheer more. I stopped for a quick soda at the last aid station and kept going.
I was running as fast as I could. I turned right on Main, I saw Pepper! I also saw two girls ahead of me and it looked like they were in the same age group as me. It got narrow- but I passed them and was afraid they’d try to pass me back. I saw the clock and the seconds were 54, I sprinted to the finish with a 5:30 pace. I heard my name over the speakers. I felt like I was going to die after I crossed the finish-line. I thought I finished at 7:05 or so. Then when I found out my time of 6:59:57 I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe I made my goal by 3 seconds. I was telling everyone around me. Woohoo! I finished 72nd in my age division.
Shannon was at the finished and hugged me. She was so excited for me. She walked with me to get food. I needed real food. I had a chocolate milk, a piece of pizza and a little coke. They were out of sandwiches. There was also ice cream. I sat down for a bit. Found my kids and let them continue playing in the water.
I thought my nutrition went pretty well during the 7 hours. I had a banana before the swim. I ate a gel every 45 minutes on the bike, or if I was hungry maybe 30 minutes. I was afraid I was going to run out of gels. On the run I also ate gels every 45 minutes or sooner. I always felt great. I added a couple of bananas and a few watermelon bites on the run. I also made sure I drank enough water. I also took two Hammer Anti-Fatigue pills on the bike and one during the run. I felt great all day.Hmm. Not sure that I can keep an 8:20 pace for 26 miles in two weeks. Maybe an 8:30? Maybe just finish.Wouldn’t life be boring if it was just flat??This is the run map.You can see all my stops. Much better towards the end.
A few hours after the race I was watching and cheering the finishers come in with the clock at 9hr 30min. There were volunteers running with them. I thought 7 hrs was tough. They were finishing strong, I didn’t see anyone walk down Main Street. It’s such a great accomplishment. And training is really the hard part. Race day is just race day. Months and months of swimming, biking and running, following plans, yoga, running with friends, group rides, HIT class, Masters swimming. That is the hard part. The race is just the icing on the cake. I am fortunate to be able to do all three sports.
After the kids were done playing in the water and I got them a couple popsicles while I got my bike and bags. I loaded up the car and we went to Shannon’s for a BBQ. I walked in said hi and was like I need food. lol That burger tasted so good! The kids had a great time too. We went home and I was so tired but couldn’t go to sleep until midnight! The next day I felt great and we went to Zion for lunch and a short hike/bike ride. I thought I would be able to run a little but they were too fast for me. My quads said walking was all I can do. I saw a few Athletes there as well. We were all sporting our new Ironman bag, and maybe still wearing the blue bracelet. lol
After the race I thought one 70.3 a year is good enough. But the next day I forgot about the pain and I already want to do the HITS Half in Havasu in November and the Ironman Oceanside 70.3 next year. My Mom and sister live there. Of course I will do SG again. I have no desire to do a full. That just seems like torture. A 70.3 sticker on my car is good enough! I can’t believe I don’t have one yet!!!
Thanks for reading!!
April 28th, 2013
Havasu Triathlon was my first Olympic Tri. I did my first two sprints last Sept and Nov. This event was put on by Tucson Racing. They have been putting this race on for quite a few years. We have been coming to Havasu during spring break for the last 12 years for my husbands work, Maxxis Tires, for the WORCS racing series. I used to race dirt bikes here, then I used to be the event photographer, now after having kids, I come for fun. I have taken the boys to watch the run section of the tri the last few years, because they run right past us on the island. We are camped at Crazy Horse in the dirt on the island. The weather is always perfect, but it has been 105 degrees and one year it even snowed, it’s usually windy at some point and there is always some kind of action being spring break.
I went to the hotel for packet pickup the day before to get my number. I was also hoping to get a couple goodies from some venders. I forgot my race belt and didn’t have my bungee laces. But there would have to be venders. Not one. Picked up my number, looks pretty cool, love the picture on it. Then they showed me the women’s medium shirt, but it was men’s shirt and giant. They let me exchange it for a small. It’s a long sleeve, which I love! If it was short sleeve I would never wear it, since it’s not a women’s cut.
Ready to hear what was in my goody bag?? Oh wait, not much. I got a green swim cap and some safety pins. That’s it. Not even any flyers, to anything! I googled for bike shops, but it was already 6 and everything was closed. So I pinned my number to my waist water pack which worked out fine. I also wrote on the local cycle shops FB page and said I was surprised they weren’t involved at all. Well apparently they don’t know how Utah puts on races. And the price tag of this race…..$100.00. So what do you get for $100?? A shirt that’s too big, a swim cap, police on the roads- that are still open, and that’s about it.
What you don’t get. A finisher medal!!! Yes, I just assumed there was one. During my race I was thinking how well deserved this medal will be. But after I crossed the finish, I got a warm bottle of water. In November I complained about the HITS medals, how I wasn’t impressed. But you know what?? HITS have announced how awesome their medals are going to be this year with new medal company they are using.
So…I haven’t even talked about my race yet! I got a babysitter at the races. Thanks Pepper! Ate oatmeal for breakfast. Yea not very Paleo. Left for the start at about 6:50am at Windsor Beach. My wave leaves at 8:04, but the transition area closes at 7:20. I took one pic, put on my wetsuit and left the area. I really wanted to take more pics, oh well. I found some girls with green caps and asked if they could zip me up. AND they all happen to be doing the Ironman in St George too!
This event is a big collegiate race as well. All the different colleges were chanting and cheering for their schools. Yes, I felt old to be in the 35-39 age group. LOL
My wave is 2nd to last. There were men age groupers after us. SO…the wind was pretty bad. It was windy all night, but it was expected as that’s what weather.com said it would be. The sprints took off first and it was only 500 meters. The waves did not look fun and a kayaker who had sunk and came to shore right in front of me was not helping my fears of the swim. Watching a bunch of heads bobbing out by the first buoy not swimming, didn’t help either.
It’s getting closer and I get in the water. It actually feels nice because the air and wind felt cold. We all start about waist level and when the horn blew we took off. Well I just don’t know how you swim and breath with waves crashing and rolling in your face. I would swim, then try to take a breath and water in my face was what I got. I had a hard time. I’m almost to the first buoy and the last wave of men are coming. I was a little scared of them but they made it around me fine, right when I was at the buoy. We turn left and head straight down the channel. now the sun is in my face and I can’t really see where to go. I grab onto the paddle board, along with another girl and guy. I try to catch my breath and I clean my goggles so I can see where to go. So I take off. Once I’m in the channel the wind wasn’t really bad and people are watching on both sides of the channel. But I’m having a hard time breathing. There’s one girl in front of me and I try to stay with her. I catch up to her, this is her first tri ever. Ya, we chatted for a bit. I asked if it was legal to walk since it was a little shallow where we were. lol So I finally make it down to the last buoy turn left and then I was like OMG! Head wind going all the way back out of the channel. Looking at the ground I felt as if I was going nowhere while swimming. There are also people already running the course right along the channel. So there are orange cones for the runners. I use those to help me keep going. I made it to one, then another. There was a girl walking along the way and was asking if I was okay, a few times. So I felt I wouldn’t drown. Then I notice one girl and one guy ahead of me. I try to stay or catch that girl. Then she decides to climb out of the water, take off her swim cap and walk up the rocks rights by the light tower. I was like what?? We are almost there. Then I get to where she was and it gets a lot harder as we enter the bay again and I thought the waves were going to make me crash into the rocks. The guy also climbs onto the rocks and I think he said he just wanted a break. I just have to get around the dock and head to the beach and it seemed like it took forever to get there, it was so hard that last few feet.
I finally get out! I really was expecting them to say, sorry you didn’t make the cutoff time, but no one told me that, so I walked/jogged across the sand onto the grass into the transition area. There are people packing up their stuff because they are done with the sprint. I’m laughing inside. My wetsuit takes forever to get off. It’s stuck on my watch and the transponder on my ankle. I have sandy feet and wipe them off a little before I put my socks on. I kinda need to pee, I’m all wet but just can’t pee my pants while sitting on the grass. I did try for a second tho! LOL There are no bathrooms close and I grab my bike run across this big dirt lot get on the parking lot and take of. There is one girl mounting at the same time as me. So I didn’t feel all alone.
We head North on London Beach Rd for about 13 miles into a headwind. Yes that was fun! I had to pee the whole time. My bladder was hurting. I didn’t know if it was legal to pee in the bushes and I didn’t really want to run across the dirt and pee anyway. We went into a neighborhood that had some hills. There were volunteers at every turn and everyone was really nice and cheered. There were about 6 guys at one turn who were creative with their moves and signs. There was one really steep hill, a guy missed gears and had to walk, you can’t really start riding once you stop on that hill. We finally got out of that neighborhood loop and then it was all downhill! Woohoo!
The transition area was a nice grassy area. I sat down to finish taking off my wetsuit. And while putting on my shoes I tried to just pee in the grass. LOL But I couldn’t. I tried and just couldn’t, it’s just so wrong. haha I ran out of the transition area, stopped and debated if I wanted to run all the way over to the bathrooms that were way off the course. So I did.
I probably spent 5 minutes running to and using the bathroom. See pic above. Then I finally got on the run course and was not loving the sand we had to run in along the channel. But it eventually turned into a sidewalk, we ran past tourists and people, I had to yell, on your left or run around them. We ran up the stairs to the top of the famous London Bridge, ran around the island to the far back and turned around and headed back. There were runners behind me! I was shocked. lol Well maybe like 3 or 4. I finally made it to the finish.
They were doing the awards. I got my bike and left. Since I took forever I felt I needed to get back to my kids fast, they were with a sitter. And I brought Mike lunch. BUT- I should have stayed because I got third in my age group! Because there were only 3! I would have got a really cool rock trophy. Oh well.
I finished in 3:41:49, 89th overall of 93. Well, all I can say is next year I should be a little better.
Some Quick Facts:
93 Olympic finishers
124 sprint finishers
200 collegiate finishers
Olympic Distance: swim: 1500 meters, bike 40K, run 10K
Sprint Distance: swim 500 meters, bike 20K, run 5K
Water Temp average in March is 62 degrees, almost everyone had wetsuits. I think the temp was in the mid 50′s.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to get pics when I’m all by myself and I had to leave my phone in the t-area. I finally needed to post this race report as the Ironman is in 6 days!