Cocoa Half Marathon

Cocoa Half Marathon Race Report: February 11, 2018

Official Stats
Category (30-39 Females): 3/83
Finishing Position (Out of both genders): 11th
Finishing Position (Out of only females):  7th
Finishing Time: 1:40:18.4
Pace:  7:39 min/mi

Stats off Garmin
Distance 12.61 miles; Pace 7:58/mi; Time 1:40:24

Race morning
The weather was about 45 degrees and 5-10 mph wind. There was alot of moisture in the air, but thankfully the rain never came! EVERYTIME I run with Kay (the lovely lady on the left side of the photo) it rains, is always freezing cold and extremely windy! Today….at least it didn’t rain! I can handle the wind and cold.

When we started, there were quite a few people we had to pass. The course had a few out and backs along the way and we were able to see a few athletes we knew. It’s always nice to see friendly faces along the course!

The race went pretty well, until around mile 5. My cardiovascular and muscular strength felt great, but I have been struggling with hip pain and have yet to figure out the cause. Initially, I assumed it was due to inflexibility, and it still could be, but I have been working on that area of my training by making sure to have good dynamic warm ups and nice long static stretching afterwards.

*Foam rolling could be a bigger part of my recovery and a massage……I need to figure out what is going on with my hips.*

From miles 6 to 9, the roads became very uneven and the course entered into a local park that had very uneven roads. The uneven roads completely did my hips in and for the rest of the race I was in pain. Looking back at my data, I can see my balance changes from my left and right foot. I began favoring my right side and my left began to take the brunt of the work.

With my husband by my side and encouraging me to push, I was able to finish strong, PR and reach my goal of under a 2 hour half for the second time. His encouragement and belief in me is what keeps me going when I want to quit. With his help and God’s grace, I was able to place 3rd in my age group!

By the time we finished the race the weather had dropped into the 30’s and the wind had increased to 10-15 mph winds. It was COLD!

 

Overall, it was a great race. I would compete in the race again and would hope to have my hip pain figured out so that I could push even more like I know I could.

Thank you to my hubby, Michael, Kay, Davy and Stephen for being there and supporting in your own wonderful way!

PS: Last nights dinner was grilled chicken, baked sweet potato and mixed frozen veggies. Breakfast was white Daves Bread toasted with jelly. Just in case y’all wanted to know a Dietitian’s race fuel.

The New & Improved Nutrition Facts Label

What’s New?

The Nutrition Facts Label is getting a face lift! As consumers, we try to be mindful of what we choose, but sometimes want to know more about the product we are selecting to make a healthier choice.  Below is a brief description of the changes you will begin to see this summer. If you would like to see a video or more in-depth article check out these links: Video or Article.

Upcoming Changes:

  1. Serving Size – Serving sizes have been updated to represent a closer comparison to what people actually consume.
  2. Fonts & Text Size – The font for calories and serving size has been increased and bolded. Servings per container has been enlarged due to consumers often overlooking this aspect of the label.
  3. Added Sugars – Added sugars are now included on the label. The term, Total Sugars have always included natural and added sugars. Now we can easily determine the natural sugar in the product versus the sugars added.
  4. Vitamins & Minerals – Potassium and Vitamin D have been added to the label. According to NHANES, American’s don’t consume enough of these nutrients. Click on each nutrient, for more in-depth information on the role of each as well as food sources: Potassium, Vitamin D, Iron, Calcium.

Here is a quick note on these key vitamins and minerals.

  • Potassium – assists with cell, organ and tissue function; key for muscle contraction and heart function
  • Vitamin D – builds and maintains bone strength; improves the immune system
  • Iron – carries oxygen rich blood to the cells; very important in the production of  energy
  • Calcium – builds and maintains bone strength; absorption is dependent on magnesium, vitamin D & K and phosphorous; caffeine, soda and alcohol and reduce absorption

Michael’s Ironman Chattanooga Recap

Ironman Chattanooga September 2017

Race morning officially starts at 3:30 am. It was a restless night, but I got more sleep than I had anticipated. The bike and our gear bags were dropped off the day before, so I have much less to worry about than usual. First thing on the to-do list is to put our tritats race numbers on. Due to the sleeves on my tri top I decided to put my race numbers on my legs. I stagger the numbers because that is more legit than putting them in a straight line. Studies also show it increases aerodynamics and adds 10 watts on the bike, #science. 😉

Putting my numbers on goes quickly but unfortunately Krista’s age number gets messed up and I stupidly put on the backup number upside down. O well, she will get it written on at the race.

Surprisingly my nerves are calm and most of my focus goes into making sure I didn’t forget anything. I usually feel that I am forgetting something race morning, so this was nothing new. While running through the checklist of race day nutrition and other tasks that need to get done I work on getting breakfast down. I have been trying to eat more before long training days and races, so I have a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit, 2 bananas, and a half cup of cottage cheese on the menu.

We have all our stuff together and we head out to the truck, pulling out of the driveway at 4:15, only 15 mins late. The roads are empty so the 30 min drive down Lookout Mtn. to Chattanooga goes quickly. Unfortunately, 15 mins into that drive my uneasy, did I forget something feeling, is realized. I forgot my Garmin head unit for the bike in a small inner pocket of my duffel bag. One thing I have learned with Ironman is that you must adapt with whatever situation is thrown your way. I still have my Garmin 920xt and that should suffice. It will only make it slightly more challenging to stay on my power target since I won’t have the numbers displayed right in front of me. Parking is a breeze and we found a spot in the parking garage right behind transition! A huge plus because we had to walk quite a bit after completing Ironman Texas in 2016.

We make our way through the crowds, past the body markers once Krista is marked, and head to our bikes to put our frozen bottles of hydration on. Once that is done, we walk through our bike and run gear bags to drop nutrition there, and we are done and out of transition in what seems like no time. We load up on the buses for the several mile drive to the swim start. This seems to last a long time. I am running through things in my head and I take time to pray for a good and safe race day for all participants. As soon as the bus stops I get adrenaline shooting through my system as I think about the day ahead. While I am fighting my adrenaline back we walk past the already long lines for the port-a-john city and we find the line for the swim start. Unlike most Ironman races, Chattanooga has a time trial type swim start. It is first come first serve and some of the people at the start of the line have arrived at 4 am. We start walking to the back of the line that seems to just keep going and going. After a brief chat with Mike Porter we exchange good lucks and continue down the line. We finally come to the end at what seems like 1/4 to 1/2 a mile back from the start. Now, we wait… on the concrete sidewalk. At least we have a rail to lean on. 1.5 hours until go time!

I pass the time resting and drinking a sports drink (again in an attempt at staying well hydrated and fueled). Before we knew it, the race began for the pros. We start pulling on our swim skins, consuming our gels, and putting on our swim caps as we file to the start. The nerves hit now but they quickly turn into excitement as I reassure myself that I have done this before and think of all the training I have put in. The line moves a lot more quickly than anticipated because there is a large group of wetsuit swimmers that are bunched up near the front making the length of the line deceiving. Wetsuit swimmers must start last because the water is so warm wetsuits are optional. We rush to say bye to our friends and family, take a quick picture and practically run to the dock where there is no more line for non-wetsuit swimmers. I give Krista a quick good luck kiss and rush to get my goggles on as I make my way onto the dock. There is much commotion going on around me, but I am focused on getting my goggles on and visualizing what is before me that it seems as if Krista and I are the only ones on the dock. I take a few deep breaths and jump.

SWIM – 2.4mi – 58:06 – 1:30/100m – 78/181 30-34 Age Group

As I come up and my head bobs out of the water I realize that my right goggle has not sealed well. I try to re-adjust it and I ask Krista if she is okay. After she nods I turn and start my swim. My adrenaline has my heart racing, so I must breathe every other stroke. This usually results in a lot of breaststroke to calm down, but I am thrilled as I continue to push on. Every so often I must stop and re-adjust my right goggle to empty out the water as it continues to leak. My left goggle has now fogged up, but I make it work. Some goggle adjustments last longer than others before water fills my right goggle but despite the frustration I am feeling pretty good as my heart rate comes down. I focus on trying to find someone swimming a bit faster, so I can get a good draft. My efforts are occasionally rewarded, but it takes constant adjustment as some people are swimming too fast and others end up slowing me down more than I want. After reaching the halfway point I am in disbelief. I couldn’t already be that far along. I continue counting down the distance in my head for each set of buoys I pass. I pass another swimmer on my right and I realize that I am passing Mike! While I continue past, I focus on not swimming too close and think, don’t cut him off! For some reason it seems like the more I focus on not doing that the more likely it is to happen. Sure enough I feel his hand hit my foot. I hope that I didn’t ruin his concentration and that he didn’t know it was me. With several hundred meters to go I start to feel the fatigue in my arms and shoulders build and I realize I am nearing the end. We swim under the bridges that we will run across later in the day and I imagine myself running on them. Shortly after passing the bridges, I look ahead and realize that I am coming up to the last set of buoys. I make a hard left towards the stairs where volunteers are pulling people out of the water. Finally, it is my turn and I take the LARGE step up out of the water and immediately my right hamstring cramps up. I stumble up the stairs and out of the way to stretch the protesting hamstring. The locked-up muscle finally relaxes a bit, so I try to start walking but it locks up again. I stop, bend over to stretch it some more and it releases again. This time when I walk it doesn’t come back! My slow walk turns to a jog as I head up the ramp to my bike gear bag. I wave to family and friends before grabbing my bag and I head into the changing tent. My excitement is hard to contain as I think about the fact that I had just completed the swim 20 mins faster than I had hoped!

T1 – 14:01

Once in the changing tent I sit down to start going through my bag. I am always a little woozy after the swim and this time is no different. I struggle through getting the skin-tight jersey on with the help of a volunteer and with a bit more tugging I get the sleeves in the right spot. I put my race nutrition in my pockets, spray sunscreen on, put my socks and bike shoes on and I run out to my bike after handing the volunteer my bag. The hamstring feels great now as I grab the bike and run past the racked bikes to the mount line, struggle to get clipped in, and begin my favorite part of triathlon.  116 miles until I return.

BIKE – 116mi – 5:35:54 – 20.01mph – 27/181

bike course

I try to start easy, focused on getting my legs warmed up before settling into my targeted power. There are a lot of people already on the bike though and I spend most of my time passing people on the left. I have several occasions where I end up putting out more effort than I want to, but I don’t want to get penalized for drafting. So, I continue to pass people with the occasional spike and hope that I don’t pay for it later. At around 40 miles into the bike I start to feel like my legs are more tired than they should be. My power spikes have been minimal and haven’t gone that high, so I think that maybe I am just climbing a false flat. Unfortunately, the feeling persists, and I make an adjustment to the power number I am trying to target. As I turn onto the backside of the loop and hit some downhill sections my legs begin to feel better and I am flying past people even at my lower power target. It feels good to be going 30 miles an hour so effortlessly. I soon find myself approaching special needs and I stop, trying to figure out how everything is organized. A volunteer asks for my number and relays it to people grabbing the bags. She is very helpful as she assists me with filling my bottles and my pockets with my nutrition. As I survey my current food and hydration situation I realize that I am a bit behind on my fluids but and on track with the food. I have an entire 32oz bottle of PowerAde that I had intended to put in a water bottle. Since I don’t want to leave it behind I stuff all my food into one jersey pocket and stuff the bottle in the other. With my pockets bursting at the seams I thank the volunteer and head over to wait in line for the restroom. Once I get tired of waiting I resolve to make it to an aid station further along the course where I hope there will be no line. I see our family and friends as I near the edge of Chickamauga and I wave and am quickly back out onto rural roads. I am disappointed to realize that I had not given the thank you wristbands the participants were given during sign in to the volunteer that had helped me in special needs, but I look forward to giving it to someone else. The course is fairly rolling but has a lot of good downhill sections and has great scenery. I am enjoying myself as I start the second loop. The first part of the loop has a lot of climbing and I start to feel a bit exhausted as I climb the hills. Time to get into the Haribo gummy bears I put in my special needs bag. I think, if it is good enough for Peter Sagan it is good enough for me! I make a quick stop at an aid station to use the restroom and refill my water bottle with the PowerAde that has been jabbing me in the back for the last 20 miles. Around mile 70, about halfway on the backside of the second loop I start to feel what I have been dreading all day. The slight twinge of a muscle cramp coming on. I get frustrated as I think about all the races where I am limited by leg cramps on the bike. Nothing I have tried seems to help. I end up pedaling and coasting through the cramps as they come and go. I back off the power to try and let the muscles relax, which doesn’t seem so bad because I had started to feel like I was having to give descent effort to hold onto my already adjusted power target. The rest of the bike ride becomes a balancing act as I focus on pushing as hard as I can but not so hard that I cause the cramping to return. Finally, in Chickamauga I am surprised to see my family and friends again and it gives me the boost I needed. I feel energized as I pass the 100-mile mark that I had been focused on reaching. I then think to myself, I am coming to get you 116 miles! I can stay steady as I head back into Chattanooga since most of the people around me are now moving around my speed. I am ready to be off the bike as I round the turns in town meandering back to transition. I ease up and coast down the last hill into transition and hand my bike off to the volunteer and awkwardly run to my gear bag.  116 miles on a bike will make anyone’s run look pretty goofy. 118.4 miles down… 26.2 to go! This is one of the rare times I am looking forward to a marathon.

T2 – 6:49

My hop off the bike is more like a stumble off the bike as I stretch upright for the first time since in 5 ½ hours. I hand the bike off to the volunteer and head towards my run gear bag. The bag is easily spotted, and I race off to the changing tent. As I enter the tent, I find a chair, dump my stuff out and start working on changing my socks and shoes. I have to decide now whether I want to take my left over nutrition from the bike ride with me on top of my run nutrition and I figure that I’m better safe than sorry and stuff it along with my run nutrition in my jersey. I stuff all my bike gear back into the back and run out of the tent carrying my hat and race belt. I hand off my run gear bag to the volunteer outside the tent and immediately start working on getting my hat and race belt on. Only a marathon left now!

RUN – 26.2mi – 4:30:31 – 10:19/mi – 29/181

As I head down the sidewalk towards the river when beginning the run, I pass some family and I get a shot of excitement as I cruise past. I start working on getting my pickle juice down to keep the cramps that started on the bike away. The run soon heads into the first uphill where I notice that my legs might cramp up, but I am able to keep pushing on. The first lap I knew had a lot of sun and I was out on the course early enough that I was running in full sun for the first several miles and it started to take its toll. My focus turned toward trying to stay cool, but I keep up my pace and stick to my intervals. Mercifully when I start to really feel the heat setting in I enter the greenway section of the run course. The downside is that I am trading the heat of the sun for the stifling humidity. Despite the conditions everything is going to plan as I leave the greenway and hit the first major hill. The hill is so steep that my run slows to what would be a walking pace, so I choose to walk and conserve my energy. The run then takes me over the river and as I pass it I think about where I was this morning, swimming down below. I start up the infamous Barton Avenue on the north side of the river and discovered why people hate the hill. The hill seems to go on and on, but I crest the top and continue down to the bottom. The rest of the north shore part of the run course is up and down and I think about how much the hills took out of me as I pass over the walnut street bridge to start my second lap. During the first part of my second lap the heat, cramping, chafing, and fatigue starts to get to me. Starting my run back up after the walking intervals becomes increasingly challenging. Soon enough I make it to the greenway to only be met with discomfort in my lungs. For some reason I am getting a sharp pain when I breathe deeply from what feel like my kidneys. Concerned about what is going on inside me, I start to walk and hope for it to go away. I decide to press on despite the discomfort and it eventually wears off, but my legs are feeling heavy and I focus on just continuing to move and do my intervals. As I finish off the greenway and start up the hill that leads to the second part of the course I run up behind Mike Porter and talk to him a bit. He is not feeling well but seems in pretty good spirits despite the situation. I find out that Krista is ahead of him, so I have something to look forward to as I leave Mike behind and start the second loop of hills. At the bottom of the worst hill of the course my hamstring decides to lock up on me and my run slams to a halt. After stretching for a bit, I attempt to run again but it won’t let me, so I settle for walking up the hill. Once at the top I start to run down, and I spot Krista coming back up the other side! I am so excited to see her, and we hug and kiss. Another athlete jokes with me asking if that counts as outside assistance. Krista is also having a hard time and feels very nauseated. I remind her how strong she is and as we part ways I feel energized by getting to see her. As I continue through the hills that energy fades as does the daylight. It is very near dusk as I run through the back side of the course. With only a few miles left I start to get excited and I force myself to quit taking as many walking breaks.

swim TN

When I turn onto the walnut street bridge for the last time I feel my adrenaline hit and I pick someone out ahead of me and run them down. He catches me after I pass him, and we talk for a bit. I find out he is also racing his second Ironman. He starts to fade as I push to the finish line but after some encouragement to keep up we enter the finish chute side by side. His mother rushes out from behind the barriers to hand him a flag for his country and runs with him a bit before leaving him to finish. I think back to my first Ironman when another athlete let me finish by myself and I decided that I wanted to be that kind of athlete as well. So, my companion finished ahead of me with flag waving overhead and I followed right after getting a wonderful sunset view right behind the finish line. I was thanked for letting him finish and am reminded how great the other athletes and volunteers are at this race. I am elated as I think about finishing another Ironman and the excellent finish time that I wasn’t expecting. As the day turns to night I change from athlete to an excited cheerleader and spectator as I wait for Krista and Mike to finish.

M at finish line

 

Krista’s Ironman Chattanooga Recap

Ironman Chattanooga September 24, 2017

First, THANK YOU to my amazing husband, family, friends and ALAMO 180! I would be lost without your support and guidance.

Ironman Chattanooga here we come! We decided to drive to Tennessee and make a road trip out of our Ironman rather than fly. On September 18th, we headed out of SA and drove to Lafayett, Louisiana. Stayed the night and headed out again in the morning. Side note: my family has this crazy tradition of taking selfies at the state signs. 🙂

On Tuesday, we drove to Birmingham, AL and completed our bike and swim training. Wednesday, we ran in the morning and then headed out, passing through Georgia before getting to Tennessee.

We have arrived in TN

We used the afternoon to drive the bike course which is an out and back with two loops. Thursday, we headed down to packet pick up, got a bike training in for the day. I decided to go swimming to get more time in the Tennessee River to help reduce my nerves. My parents had arrived in the afternoon and were an amazing help for being willing to baby sit our bikes while swimming. On Thursday, the current was very strong and felt like I was in an endless pool. I would start swimming and then look up and realize I was in the exact same spot. I started to swim again and a little while later, I looked up to see that I still hadn’t moved much at all. It was a very strange feeling. After a few attempts to make progress, I decided that I had had enough time “swimming” and getting exposed to the water for the day. On Friday, we swam and ran. Michael and I both got in the water on Friday and much to my surprise, we were moving upstream. It was amazing, because just the day before I went nowhere. Again getting exposure in the water was very important to calm my nerves. After the swim and run training, we headed back to the house where my good friends, Gabby and Emily showed up as a surprise!!  We got dinner together and hung out that night. Saturday was a swim, bike and run training as well as full of race prep (food, beverages and transition bags). We hat to turn in our gear to bag check and our rack our bikes for the night. This is always a helpful yet nerve racking act…leaving your bike overnight and hoping it is there the next day. After turning in our stuff, Saturday night was all about eating, rolling out, stretching and going to bed early.

Race Morning/Swim

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

“ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Distance: 2.4 miles; Time: 1:10:44; Pace:  1:49/100 meters; Placement: 61/78

We got up around 3:30AM and headed to transition around 4:30AM. We dropped everything off at one transition spot, which was very nice.

After dropping everything off, we shuttled over to the swim start which was a first-come-first-serve line up rather than by age group and gender. We sat at the swim start for about 1 ½ hours until the race began.

group photo before swim start

While waiting we took a group photo, of course! These were the happy faces I would be looking for all day long! Mike and I had an amazing group of family and friends who traveled all the way to TN to cheer us on! After the race started, the line moved pretty fast. We started walking to the start and quickly made our way to the dock where you jump off into the water. I was worried about this swim start because I often feel like “they never stop coming” and “there are people everywhere” and then have anxiety that I have to work really hard to calm.  This time getting into the water felt different, I think it was a combination of things for me. I think this reduction in anxiety was a result of: I was able to get into the water a couple times before the race; my parents and friends were able to be with us all the way until we jumped into the water before the race so I didn’t think about the start as much as normal; I prayed and my parents prayed; the first kayaker after I jumped in and started swimming was a sweet lady who encouraged me to swim to her and collect myself. She was an angel in disguise because after going over to her and talking with her a little, I felt like I was ready to take on the swim and conquer the part of the race I feared most. The current was not as strong as Thursday or Friday, but it was still significant. That morning, the river was just a bit too warm for wetsuits to be legal, so I wore my swim skin over my tri kit. The river was very wide and there is plenty of room for swimmers to spread out. Being a more nervous swimmer, I was pretty comfortable in the river with thousands of my “best friends”. As I was swimming, I keep an eye out for crazy people…..and it was a good thing.  After a few hundred meters into the race and I noticed a swimmer behind me getting closer and closer. I stopped and started treaded water, then I realized this guy was going to swim straight over me. I knew he could see me and as I treaded water, I tried to move out of the way but was unable to get completely out of the way. It seemed like he was aiming straight for me. I had never had this happen so the only thing I could think of was to push him off of me as he got closer. As he proceeded to swim over me, I shoved his arms off and away from me. Taking a deep breath and collecting myself, I was so thankful I had been keeping an eye on what was going on behind me as I was turning to breath. The rest of the swim was less eventful thankfully. There were a few times I popped up, moved out of the way and treaded water while a swimmer passed by inside my “bubble”, but for the most part, it was an excellent swim!  As always, the finish of the swim always gets tight and people get more aggressive but I was able to push the last hundred meters and finish strong and very happy with my swim.

Overall, I loved the swim. I tried to enjoy myself and having peace of mind that I would finish was so re-assuring. If you have ever been worried about the swim cut off, this is the race for you!!  The volunteers are great, there were kayaks or boats every couple hundred meters so it is almost impossible to get off track and the swim is a nice wide open area! As I finished the swim, the volunteers just pulled me out of the water and onto my feet, before I could even realize what was happening. The swim went SO FAST!!! It was AMAZING!!!

T1 – Time: 9:06 minutes

The transition from swim to bike is a moderate distance. The changing tent was normal and busy but they have a lot of volunteers to help out. I changed out of the shorts I swam in and put nice cushy bike shorts on. In less than 10 minutes I was out of transition and onto my bike.

Bike

Distance: 116 miles; Time: 6:51:13; Pace:  16.34 miles/hour; Placement: 34/78

K on bike

For the bike leg, it should be a manageable bike course if you train on hills of all lengths and gradients. The course is mainly rolling, but it has one larger hill climb. The elevation sounds scary, but Heart Break Hill is way worse than anything you will race on this course. The bike course is an out and back with two loops. The hardest part is the two loops that are continually rolling for about 50+ miles each loop. It is beautiful and very shaded (at least while I was on the bike course). At mile 56ish was special needs and I got to see my family and friends twice on the course which was so uplifting! Everything was going perfect, up until mile 80 on the bike. I was feeling good! No knee pain, which was a major concern, I was eating/drinking my nutrition like clockwork, but then all of a sudden around mile 80, I didn’t feel like eating anymore. My stomach was starting to feel unhappy and I got very nauseated. My legs felt great on the bike, my power output and speed was right on target, but I could not figure out why I felt so crummy. I continued to get my nutrition down and hydrate properly but could not shake the yucky feeling in my stomach. As I got closer to the end of the bike course, I was catching more and more people and getting so excited about almost being done with the swim and bike. Finally, I thought, I can get to the sport I love, running! Swimming, I have a love-hate relationship and biking is fun but after 116 miles I think most people would be ready to get off their bikes.

For the bike course, overall I loved it, but I have two complaints: (1) it gets packed early on during the course so be cautious because it is easy to get all bogged down and then ride too fast or too slow in the beginning and even on to the first loop; (2) special needs was confusing. Special needs is in ONE place. So when I rode in, I called out my number and they told me “You need to ride further down.” So I clipped back in and road past special needs….then I realized I was too far and had to ride backwards on the course (#dangerous!) but, I figured it out, got everything I needed and even got to see my family again!

WARNING: The reason I felt so crummy on the bike was because I sabotaged myself without thinking….so around mile 80, I started to feel nauseated and didn’t want to eat anything. My brain was telling me that I needed to eat and stay on my nutrition plan but, I didn’t feel good at all. I pushed through the bike, kept eating and hydrating properly and got to the run. It wasn’t until after the race did I figure out the huge mistake I made that day that cost me at least an hour of time.

Side Note : Between mile 30-40, I had used up all my hydration of Poweraid and water so I began taking the Gatorade Endurance along with water. In efforts to minimize my stops and have a faster bike time, rather than taking Poweraid or Skratch, which is what I had trained on, I decided to use Gatorade Endurance….which I had never trained on before.  BIG mistake! This completely wrecked my system! But, keep reading……What I find frustrating is that it was a hydration (nutrition related) mistake and being a Dietitian, I know better than to make this mistake. You live and learn I guess, and I learned that my body despises Gatorade Endurance.

T2 – Time: 5:16 minutes

The transition from bike to run was pretty smooth. The changing tent was easy to find a spot to change out of my bike shorts and into more comfy Alamo 180 tri shorts. In less than 6 minutes I was on the run course for the last leg of this amazing race!

Run

Distance: 26.2 miles; Time: 5:20:19; Pace:  12:13 miles/hour; Placement: 31/78

Running is what I LOVE to do; I always feel so alive and happy when I am running. This is not the case for today though. The run course was two laps so I knew I would be seeing family and friends along the course at least twice. Seeing family and friends is always so nice to pull you out of a dark place and make you put a smile on your face! Unfortunately, because I unknowingly sabotaged myself on the bike, as I started the run, I felt very nauseated. Not thinking clearly, I told myself it was nothing and that I just needed to focus on my pace. My legs felt strong and my muscles felt good. Knee pain continued to be nowhere in sight! I was so excited….this is where you stop reading my recap and go buy a POWER METER for your bike because that makes a world of difference!! They are amazing!

Anyways, as I got further on the run, around mile 4-5, I started feeling really sick. Throughout training, I got nauseated usually due to the heat and pushing hard, but I had never been this nauseated in my life on a run.  Around mile 5,  I stopped and peed, hoping that would fix everything. I was so confused….my nutrition was spot on, or so I thought, my muscles felt great, my legs were strong, but my insides were so MAD! Around mile 6, I began also feeling chaffed all around the seam of the chamois. Without realizing it would be an issue, I had been proactive in cooling myself by putting water on my head. Apparently, my tri shorts decided to chaff on every single seam line. So by miles 8-9 I was super nauseated and chaffed. Walking hurt just as bad as running did. The sport I love so much, running, was kicking my butt and I was mentally ready to be done before I even hit the halfway mark. On the back side of the first lap there are some massive hills! I mean MASSIVE…so note to self, train on HILLS!! I hit the hills and felt sick, but was managing. By mile 11, my whole run began to fall apart. While running up this huge hill, I saw Michael <3, I was so happy!! Getting a kiss and hearing that he was struggling too made me feel a little better but didn’t take the discomfort away.  At the halfway point, I was so chaffed and nauseated, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to keep going or finish the race. All I could think about was that I HAD to hear “Krista Neugebauer, you are an Ironman” and nothing was going to stop me.

Usually, I make friends on the run and have a blast, but today, I was miserable and mad.  I began my second lap and my Garmin said it had a low battery. Knowing I was only half way done with the marathon, I stopped my intervals, ran consistently and planned on just walking during aid stations. The possibility of my Garmin battery dying on the course, sure motivated me to speed up. But after trying to speed up, the nausea quickly slowed back down. I saw my family and friends on the run and tried to be cheerful but it was a battle. Gabby asked me how I was feeling and I said, “I have never been so sick and nauseated in my life.” She was supper encouraging and told me to keep going and that I looked strong! By mile 15 or so, my body was mad and hit “eject”. I felt terrible and wanted to be done with this race. My pace had now dropped way below what I was aiming for. I had started the run with hopes of keeping about a 10 minute average which is right where my training had put me. Now, at a 12 minute mile, I was filled with frustration and disappointment.  After my second port-a-potty stop, my whole insides felt like they were moving UP and DOWN with every step. Around mile 16, I stopped taking in supplements. I knew that if I could not consume any nutrition that was going to be a problem, but I for sure was not going to quit. Again around mile 17 my body hit “eject”. I kept being hopeful that going to the bathroom would help and I would feel amazing afterwards. Frustrated, I stopped, went to the bathroom again and continued to feel very nauseated and chaffed.

garmin diedAround mile 19 my Garmin died! Once my Garmin died, it was all about digging deep and relying on God to get me to the finish line. Needless to say, I did quite a bit of praying on the run. Those 7.2 miles took forever! The hills seemed unbeatable, but I kept pushing and telling myself what a little boy on the course had said earlier, “Every step forward is a step closer to the finish.”  Frustrated that I felt physically strong, well prepared and like I should be killing the run, my body was rebelling and my insides were completely wrecked. Emotionally, I was all over the place….I was crying, sad, frustrated, angry, emotional….then I remembered something Michael had said to me on a training day. He told me that “Ironman don’t quit.” After crying some more, I began feeling proud, determined and confident. Along the way, I met a girl who also was feeling nausea and was walked what seemed like forever. We chatted and kept each other company until about mile 23. She started to fall back and I decided I had had enough of IMCHOO; I became determined to finish! As I got closer to the finish line, I was more and more excited. I have yet to personally introduce myself to Mike Rilley, but I got to see him and be in a group conversation the day before. I kept thinking, it would mean so much for him to say my name as I crossed the finish line. As I got closer and closer to finishing, I saw Gabby and Emily, they ran along the side and then said, “We will see you at the finish line!”. Oh my goodness…..that was so exciting to hear! As I entered the finishing shoot, I high-5ed the crowd and tried to soak it all in. Then I heard my name in Mike Riley’s voice, “Krista Neugebauer, you are an Ironman!” Hearing my name being announced by Mike Riley is an incredible feeling! Wow, what a long day full of unexpected trials, but I did it! As I finished, I had enough energy to jump into Michael’s arms for the hug I had so desperately needed. Just like that, I had finished my second full Ironman; I could not believe it was over. All the hard work and just like that in 13:36 hours, it was over. It sounds crazy, but the day flew by! When focusing on one discipline at a time, by the end of the race, it’s amazing how fast the day seems to have gone. Emotions were going crazy, I was mad, happy, in pain, waddling as I walked, hot, cold, proud, sad and disappointed all at the same time. What a day! At the finish line, my parents, Michael, Gabby, Emily, Ashton and Travis were all waiting for me with open arms and smiles. I can’t thank them enough for being there and supporting me all day long!

The run took me over an hour longer than anticipated. This race was a growing experience in the sport I felt most confident in, the run. I learned that Gatorade Endurance and I are not friends. I will probably never use that again, unless training my body to use that is necessary. Today, I chose to rely on God’s strength, dig deep, fight for the Ironman title and finish strong! All for His glory!

Race Cons:

  1. Parking is expensive and you have to pay everywhere
  2. The run has crazy hills

Race Pros:

  1. Swim is fast and down current!
  2. Spectator friendly (not quite as awesome as IMTX but great place to race)
  3. Beautiful course
  4. Well stocked support
  5. Shuttled are provide for athletes and spectators in the morning for the swim start. They even shuttle spectators for free to the halfway point on the bike and then back to the finish.

Overall, I would recommend this race….I might even do it again! 🙂 

Living Fearless

Over the years, many friends have encouraged me to start a blog. So today, I decided to take a stab at blogging. They encouraged me for a couple reasons. First, my husband and I have a unique story that many couples do not share. One thing that sets us apart is that sisters from my family, married brothers from another. Let me explain, I have one older sister and my husband, Michael, has one older brother. My sister and his brother got married, a few years later, God brought us together and Michael and I got married. The second, unique side to our story, is that we train and compete together in athletic competitions. Michael and I share a strong drive to train, compete and get faster/stronger/better in our sports. Third, I am a Registered Dietitian who loves to practice what I preach. My friends feel that I have some insight regarding food, health and fitness that others may be interested in reading about. Using my knowledge as a Registered Dietitian to enhance athletic performance has been very helpful in both mine and my husbands athletic adventure.

My husband and I have been competing in races since we were dating in 2004. We have competed in Spartan races, 5k to full marathons as well as 70.3 & 140.6 Ironman triathlons. Throughout our journey, we have faced fears, pushed through tough experiences, grown stronger as individuals and a married couple. You know what they say, “The couple that trains together, stays together.” In our case, training has been a huge part of our relationship.

In past experiences, I have learned, fear is one thing that can hinder success. Learning to face your fears and growing from tough times has and I am sure will continue to be a part of my life. In days to come, the focus of this blog is going to be all about living fearlessly no matter what you face! I will even throw some Dietitian stuff in here too…like some of my favorite recipes and nutrition tips. Enjoy!

Fearless God