Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nike Womens 1/2 Marathon 2010

1:58:25 Personal Record on a tough hilly course and I'm wiggin out inside :)
Now to truly appreciate that time is to look at last years time, same race at 2:49:17. Yes, I was 3 months post baby, but wow.

Whats crazy is that going into this race I didnt know what I had planned. All year I thought I was going to run/shuffle with someone ... not until the week of that Coach had me worked on some speed work did I maybe think "Hey, I could run this on my own and see what happens".
There wasnt a doubt in my mind that I could do it around 2 hours. But not until the day of I decided with a friend to stick with the 3:40 pacer did I try and commit to a sub 2 hour.
Race morning was great. Other than a very loud nights sleep, getting up was smooth. Had a energy bar (thank you Denice), and started grubbing on all the goodies I had gotten in my registration bag.

We were a 2 min walk from the start, and hopped into the 8:30-8:59 section and played the waiting game.
Then it was the start, and we played the mad dash to get through people. Wasnt as bad as last year. My friend Denice pushed the right pace and I stayed behind her as she plowed through the crowd.
The first 6 miles were great. Spent time mostly dodging people and keeping pace. Didnt do much scenery watching this race, I felt as though I was in a zone and stayed there.
According to Denice's Garmin we were sticking an 8:30 pace, which was very nice.
I was in shock that I was "pushing" it at that pace ... cause I wasnt really "pushing" it ... just cruising.
Then we hit mile 6 and start the mega climb, stayed with D through the first hill, then split up after that.
Though everyone around me was "ringing" with heart rate alerts I felt very calm. Yeah, the hill wasnt easy but I didnt feel overwhelmed. Felt good to feel strong and I started my "Im a mountain goat" chant.
After watching the clock and seeing where I was it was totally possible for a sub 2 hour. So I pushed it. Decided I would tackle the hills strong, keep my turnover the same and whenever I hit a flat I would pick up the pace.
With that mindset, I was making good time.

( #1 Goal this year was to SMILE. Last year I was crying at this point coming down this hill. This year I was so happy to be 45 lbs lighter and pushing my self to a new personal record! )

Now I REALLY enjoyed that race. I gave it a strong effort, not overwhelming but I made sure I was on empty by the time I was finished. I was so happy. Only one time did the little voice in my head try to get to me at the end of the racing questioning why I needed to prove anything. With hearing that I picked up the pace, and came to conclusion that I wasnt doing this to prove anything, I was doing it cause my body COULD do it, and it WANTED to do it... so why not?
Crossing the finish line, I again was in a mindset to accept my awesome Tiffanys necklace, get my goody bag, grab all the free goodies, make sure I get my chocolate milk and pick up my sweet finishers shirt. Every other breathe I almost wanted to cry I was so happy that I did it! But I didnt cry because ... well because I knew I could go faster. Just KNOWING that made me happier.
So I lived in the moment. Took my finishers photo and shuffled to the bus.
Now on my way to the shuttles I bumped into the authors of RUN LIKE A MOTHER! I was psyched! I had been wanting to meet them, and viola they came up to me. They were taking video of women and asking them to finish the races phrase "I RUN TO BE...". So I showed off my rad shirt I had made at Niketown the day before . Very cool.

So that is my experience.
I love that race! Last year it HURT. So wasnt ready. But the views and the swag is unbeatable.
The day after my husband posts this on my FB wall: Totally going to hold him to that, next year I'll be flying in from good ole Mississippi, he will need a friendly reminder :)

"OFFICIAL TIME: 01:58:25...Christina is asleep and still doesn't know this. I am so proud of my wife! This is over a 51 minute PR from the same race last year. She has come so far and I think can do around 1:40 on this course...I just may push her to come back and try next year if she can get in".

Totally going to hold him to that, next year I'll be flying in from good ole Mississippi, he will need a friendly reminder :)


Oh my.
I peak around the corner of my webpage and peer down and realize that it has been forever since I've posted.
How? Easily. Training mind, body and soul into the ground only leaves room for Facebook & Twitter. Bad I know, so join me :)
BUT ... THEE MISSION has been accomplished. I took part and finished my first 1/2 Ironman event.

As I'm sitting in my bed 8 days 1 month later I feel as though it was nearly the first stone thrown into a pond and the ripples will lead to GREATER events.
Before I real off to crazier adventures lets start with this first stone.

Now if you were following me via TWITTER or FACEBOOK you know that the journey to Mexico was NOT pleasant. At one point the airlines didn't have us arriving till the day of the race!
Pushing all that aside, WE MADE IT!

The Cancun adventure starts of course when we land, anxious to get off the plane because we already MISSED the expo, we do the ugly-speed-walk-swag the booty-shuffle to our luggage. Both of us stand there an wait as everyones luggage comes off but OUR bikes. We had been having chest pains on if our bikes would make it. In the midst of our anxiousness there happened to be 2 guys waiting along for their bikes as well. So we werent the only ones. Knowing that we werent alone, and had enough of "us" to create mini riot if they wouldnt give us our registration packets gave the 4 of us "great calm".

Straight from the airport we rushed to the expo, which was closed but thank goodness they allowed us in and was able to pick up our race packets.

Its about 4pm by this time, after that we get in our expensive taxi to take us and our luggage/bike cases to our hotel where we rush in, put together our bikes, then get back into a taxi and head to the transition area.
Once crossing into the transition area a sense of calm came over me. WE MADE IT, HOLY CRAP.
Wasn't very crowded and we found our marked spots and dropped off our bikes.
The rest of the evening consisted of a VERY gross pasta dinner at Senor Frogs, where we finally met all of our AWESOME twitter friends that were doing the race as well.

Lets get to the good stuff.


I want to say we were up at 4:30. Shortly after we have room service drop off our breakfast , which we barely ate the fruit and cereal.
It seemed extremely simple as we dressed and grabbed our things and headed out the door.
Lucky enough to find a couple from Switzerland waiting for a taxi which we ended up sharing.
Now not until we were nearly to the transition area did I realize I forgot my flippin Helmet! I remember having it but setting it down to pick up something else. Thank goodness it was only 5 am, and the transition area was PITCH DARK. So we dropped off our new friends and went all the way back.
Once we got back to the transition area things started to become REAL.
I still feel as though I didnt have much to deal with and was wandering around for awhile. It seemed like it took the hubby FOREVER to step up his transition area.
What was going through my mind?
TIMES. How long would it take? When do we start? What do I have to average?
With all those worries, we made our way to the swim start. It was beautiful out there. You could see the hotel zone in the distance. The sun was coming over the water full of swimmers warming up.
I chose not to warm up. I just didnt feel as though it would benefit in any way.
The hubby pointed out the professionals, as if he needed to, as they were the only ones with cameramen following them.
Chit chatted with the twitter buddies, and got some photo ops then it was times for all the massive waves to go off.
I was in the PINK cap wave ... I dont remember if there was a lot of people or not, but I did position myself towards the front of the pack. Not caring if I would be stampeded on.
I said SOMETHING to the ladies standing next to me, which got a laugh and plenty of smiles but for the life of me I cant remember what I said, and next thing you know we are OFF!
There was quite a bit of running in water, it was SHALLOW. Some people were dolphin diving and I was just running out. Then finally jumped in and started to swim.
Now with the first time I ever had an open water swim, I DID have a panic attack. I have some serious issues with that and it ticks me off. For the water "looking" calm , I still did get quite the mouth fulls of water which led to me throwing up, which led to the dudes on the jet skis harrassing me, which created more of a wake, which led to an early onset on seasickness, more throwing up, then led to me screaming in spanglish at the guys on the jet skis. I never did get tired though, because I really didnt give that swim ANYTHING. Sad, Im a wuss but I really didn't care. I just wanted to seasickness to stop and get out of the water.
Swim 48:37
Running out of the water all the way back to transition area, gave a good time to get my head back on, rinse off, hit up the restrooms then get on the bike. It all happened quickly once I got out of the bathroom, next thing I was flying along on the bike.
It felt awesome to get out there. Wasn't SUPER flat like they said but flat enough. Spent the first couple of miles just passing up people, spinning out my legs and finding my happy place.
Couple miles in and your are riding through the JUNGLE. One straight road that we will loop twice. Not even 7 miles into my ride I ran over a TARANTULA! I seriously cant get over this. He was the size of a house cat ... ok, not really but of a HAMSTER. Just as fuzzy as one too! Black and chestnut covered, I ran him over screaming out loud "OH MY GOD!!!!!!". Where do you ever see those freaking things over than on TV? Weeks after the race when people ask me about the race the only thing I can say is "I RAN OVER A TARANTULA"
Well heading out on the first loop was AWESOME easily kept a 20.6 mph pace and if it stayed like that it would have been a breeze. Then came the turn around which was right into the headwind. "This is not cool" and yes, I now have become a person that talks to myself. Didnt want to power to hard through, knowing that I would have to do this again and was only able to maintain about a 18.5 mph.
Spent most of the time passing people. Was not allowing myself to be passed by anyone untill I heard the whirring and gear changing of 2 bikes behind me as Luke Bell and another professional passed me up. They were just cruising along, no struggles and FLYING! I was impressed and cheered them on.
Then more men started to pass me up, but they cheered me along in their spanish accents  "DALE! CRISTINA, DALE!!". I smiled and waved.
On the way back I was a little tired, but stayed strong, and a motorcycle with a cameraman follow me for a LONG time. They were behind me, on my left, then right, in front. I smiled and waved and I couldnt look like a wimp for them so tried to be as "Bad Ass" looking as I could, which was just me smiling and waving ... but at least my legs had to be strong looking right?
By the last turn around I was bored and a little lonely. When Claudia #162 came up beside and starting talking to me. First off I was waiting for her to pass, but she kept right along on her road bike, which pissed me off but it was good to have a short conversation.
Claudia" Where are you from?" (imagine with spanish accent)
Me: "Monterey , California! You?"
Claudia: " Mexico City, ummm .. is this your first?"
Me :" Yes, You?"
Claudia: " the same , are you tired?"
Me: " just a little bit, you?"
Claudia " the same"
I want to say her english was limited and we made the turn around and she stopped to use the restroom.
Now the long haul on the way back was WINDY. Then I started getting some rain.
Then I started to realize that it looked like a hurricane had gone through. There was massive amounts of water on the road and the wind picked up intensely.
I apparently just missed a MEGA downpour but was getting hit with the wind big time.
At this point I had not one single female pass me up, then a train of 3 pass me up.
I was PISSED. They were drafting each other and pushing through.
I was stuck behind a dude named Jose, that kept kicking water back into my face.
then I passed him up, but right on my tail was another chick. She passes me up then decides that she is in Nascar and wont let me pass her up. Side to side we go and she still wont get over. At this time some screaming in Spanglish again occured she pissed me off so much I pushed through her, fueled with the rush I pass up the chicks that passed me up earlier and was picking off the men one by one.
I was trying to make it in under 3 hours and finished in 3:04:51.
Once I got into the shoot I clipped out of my bike, there was no way my legs were going to let me to slip out of my shoes, I would have face planted. So I did the run/shuffle into the transition area and remembered reading another race report about something suggesting to turn your shoes upside down to avoid them filling up with water if a storm passed through ... I remember thinking about this on the bike and cursed myself for not remembering , so happy enough they were my vibrams full of water when I put them on.
While standing there I tried finding the bathrooms which were out of site, and just headed out onto the run course.
2 loop course on the hotel zone.
Went to the first bathroom I found, then hopped back on the course.
I was barely moving and didnt care. The garmin said an 11 min mile pace and I was fine with it. I was hoping over time I would get my legs back and pick up speed.
That was NOT to come. It got REALLY hot. So hot that every kilometer there was an aid station on which I had to take 2 water bags and soak myself. Marking sure that my VFFs (my shoes) were soaked as well because they were on fire, and seriously melting to the floor. With my feet on fire, I couldnt pick up speed and just was surviving to get to the next aid station.
The first loop was my happy loop, the second loop was not fun.
I had to pee ... and couldnt. PAINFUL. Also screw bathrooms, first off couldnt find a porta potty and second I didnt care. I tried peeing while running , and would try pulling over and peeing... it wasnt happening.
Then I saw the hubby pass me going back, I cheered him on ... and he DIDNT cheer me back. At this point I can say I was a little emotional and started to cry a little then my legs cramped up, which lead to a back spasm. OW OW OW. I thought I was done, but it ended up passing and I cruised along, only thinking to myself how I was going to throw my bike at the hubby when I was done.
The last 4 miles BLEW. It was hot. The only thing keeping me happy was seeing my twitter friends on the course. I wish I could have run with them, but we were all at different paces.
My feet hurt, and were on fire.
Then I said to myself screw it, and with the last 5k coming up I picked up to my normal happy pace and was "flying" it felt great to run. I thought to myself "why havent I been doing this?" , with picking up the pace I would have a 6:20 time and I would have been thrilled with that. Then feet were getting on FIRE, like I wanted to run on the grass  the relieve the pain, so I just ran through aid stations screaming "AGUA!!! AGUA FREA (spellcheck COLD WATER)"  which I was pouring on my feet ... then it shot up and bit me!!
I pulled my glute muscle and felt like I should have been a racehorse wiping out on the track.
That hurt and brought me down to a walk. A tearful walk. But I decided to speed walk it, and at times wanted to run but the pain was to intense.
Though it was pretty painful , my feet were the ones suffering. WHY IN THE WORLD I THOUGH MY VFFs WOULD SURVIVE I DONT KNOW...
I Love them , but we have not been on talking terms.
So I walked a mile and a half ... With people screaming my name to push on it was hard to not run. It was rather sad. But coming in on the last part of the race I sucked it up and ran on it. I wasnt coming across the finish line walking. HELL to the NO.
So I crossed, I finished in 6:40:41.
 Not bad for my first I guess, but it was quite the learning experience.
After crossing the finish line they put me in the medic tent, where they laid me down and threw wet towels on me ... they thought my problem was that I was over heated. So they asked me "Why didnt you unzip your jersey?!?' -in spanish of course and my reply "BECAUSE MY CULO HURTS!!!!!!"
They peeled off VFF's to show my pruney blistered toes, and a blood blister on the bottom of my left foot the size of a quarter. Nasty and not till 2 weeks later I get a pedicure to show under my toe nail polish I had 2 black toes, and one BIG blue one.
Now that I finished, I snuck out of the medic tent, limping, barefoot, hard ground, they gave me my medal, finishers shirt and offered pizza which had to be the nastiest thing they could have offered at that moment... but I was on the lookout ... for the husband I was going to throw my bike at.

Yeah, he wasnt there waiting at the finish line, arms wide open.
I find him later in line for a massage ... he says he was "looking" for me.

So I'm done that was the experience. Do I want to do it again ? HELL YEAH, lol . Now I feel I know what I need to do for the next one.
Then again after this race I couldnt help but feel as though I'm WEAK. Yeah, I said it WEAK. Just 70.3 miles when there are people out there busting out 140.6 ?!?! Yeah, I'd rather piss and moan over a FULL IRONMAN than a half, so next year I will tackle the full distance. Go BIG or go HOME right?