Tuesday, August 27, 2013

IM Louisville The Race...

You know how this goes.  It was a long race.  It will be a long re-cap.  VERY long.  You have been warned....   If you just want to skim the pictures, the short version of the story is that CR and I had a good trip and I finished the race but I was pretty disappointed with my time.  The end.

For those of you who want more detail, read on...

CR and I drove up to Louisville Thursday morning.  I wanted to get checked in to the race Thursday afternoon to avoid the crowds on Friday.  We had a nice scenic drive making a few stops along the way.  One of which was the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.  CR admired all the lovely cars and we went on our way making it to Louisville around 3:30 or so to get checked in.

As we were unloading the bike, CR noticed that the rear wheel seemed to be off kilter as is rubbing against the frame (it had apparently been off kilter since I had the new tires put on and the tune up done).  We had some discussion of whether the mechanic should look at it or not.  I knew I had ridden at least 100+ miles with it on that way so wasn't all that concerned and was really leaning towards not changing anything thinking that if the guy here made it worse somehow, then I am in the middle of the race course with an issue.  CR was pretty insistent that he wanted it to be fixed so he took it to the mechanic at the expo who not only fixed the wheel but noticed that the rear brakes were sticking and the cable needed replacing.  (I mentioned I just got this thing tuned up, right...  how they didn't notice a the cable I don't know.  I wish I could remember the word the guy used, not rotting but the cable was doing something along those lines).  Anyhow, he was so very helpful and I was glad we got it fixed.  (I was also hoping it might make me faster since I wasn't riding around with the brakes on anymore).  Ha ha.

Most locals loved us.  Some did not.

Friday morning we got in the truck and rode the bike course.  Some of the locals in Louisville have bike rides on the course throughout the summer but I never made it up for one of those rides.  I just felt it was a little too far and I was thinking that I had not pre-ridden B2B so I would just do the next best thing and read race reports as well as the Troy Jacobsen video.  I knew going in the course was hilly and honestly it seems fairly similar to the riding in and around GA except that the hills might have been just a little more frequent.  Post race, my Garmin had the ride at 3050 feet of climbing.  Riding the course in the car confirmed that it was going to be a challenging ride.  There is some flat leading into and out of the hilly sections but they are covered up with cracks in the road every 10 feet that jar your bones.  Like I said...  a challenge.  

On our way back, we stopped to check out the swim start.

After assembling all the various swim, bike and run bags we headed over to meet my friend Keith who was also racing for the athlete dinner and meeting.  CR and I had been interviewed for the video so we were quite excited to see we didn't end up on the cutting room floor :)  

Saturday morning was a quick dip in the Ohio River for swim practice and then back to the hotel for breakfast.  Everyone talked about how murky the water was - I didn't think it was any worse than some of the lakes I swim in around here.  You can't see in front of you, but that is pretty much what I am used to for an OWS.  Water temp was 81 but really didn't feel like I was overheating.  Felt pretty comfortable temperature wise.
Keith getting last minute FB updates before the swim

Post-breakfast we did some last minute transition bag packing and headed over to drop off my bike.

Me and my volunteer escort

We got lunch at Smashburger (delicious!) and then went to the finish line to practice what now has been dubbed "my signature spirit fingers pose"  :)

Went to bed so very early on Saturday night but could not sleep.  It felt a lot like a Disney race, having to get up at 3 AM to be downstairs by 4 AM...   Finally got to sleep around 9 or so and then woke up around 2:30.  Good enough....

Met Keith downstairs at 4 AM - if that sounds early, it is!  Transition opens at 4:45 but then there is a mile walk from transition to the swim start AND the real trick is that IM LOU is a time trial start so you start in the order you get in line.  The clock starts with the first swimmer so the further back in line you are, the less time you have for your race as the cutoff is midnight for everyone.  A little different than the other IM races - if I had to guess, it seems like they might do it that way because the area where you start is a little narrow.  I can't imagine a mass start or even large waves of folks trying to get through that first section.

These are the people waiting to get into transition at 4:30 AM or so...

Keith and I were about a third of the way back by the time we got there and ended up hitting the water at 7:08 (I know this because of the picture I lifted from Mari's FB page ... thx Blue Iron Coaching!)  

The swim wasn't bad since we were all kind of spread apart to begin with.  I had the occasional kick or pull and a couple of times my goggles were knocked off but nothing too bad.  I liked that the swim went around an island and under two bridges as well as the numbered buoys.  All that helped me divide the swim up in my mind.  Instead of not really knowing how far I had to go, I just counted down the buoys (there were 9 yellow and 9 orange).  I also knew that to the end of the island and the turn around was 1/3 of the way and then another 1/3 or so to the first bridge then I was pretty much headed home from there.  I felt like I did a decent job of sighting.  I noticed some people hung closer to the shore than I did but my plan was to swim down the buoy line and that worked well for me.  I was pretty happy with my swim time.  Swam it hard enough but left plenty in the tank for the rest of the day.

Decent run from the swim out to transition.  Grabbed my transition bag and headed in to change.  I tried to move quickly but was more concerned with being comfortable than being fast.  As I got to my bike I was surprised that there were so many bikes still on the racks.  Guess I was further up in the swim line than I thought!

Took off on the bike and felt pretty good.  I was maintaining a decent speed at that point but knew I wanted to just sort of take it easy (ish) until I got to the last 30 miles.  That was the plan anyhow.  The first bit is flat and then you head into the hills and they keep coming and coming.  There is one little out and back section that was the hilliest of them all - both up and down but even with the screaming downhill, I was glad we only had to do that section once.  After the out and back we headed to the loop that passes through LaGrange where a lot of the spectators come to cheer.  It really is a great pick me up after all that climbing and sun blazing down on you.  I saw Colleen and Tom!  On the second loop I was excited to see CR!  The original plan was that he wouldn't come out there but then he was so upset that he missed seeing me at the swim he decided to try and find me on the bike course.  So sweet....  (He was at swim out and was apparently just missed seeing me, I didn't see him either.  There were so many people...).

I don't know what was going on in my head on the bike but I just was not having a good time.  I remember thinking once "this is not fun".  I was hot and I was being passed by soooooo many people which was truly discouraging.  I would see people and think 'I am going so slow' and then have to remind myself that these people riding around me basically started at the same time I did so maybe I should cut myself some slack.  I just did my best to try and keep my head in the game and keep going.  I loaded up with two bottles at every station in fear of dehydration, kept eating according to plan and watched the miles tick by.  They were ticking a little slowly for my taste but they were ticking by nonetheless ...  As I got to special needs, I took a break for a few minutes (the only time I got off the bike all day).  I stood under a tent, ate one bite of a peanut butter sandwich and couldn't choke it down.  I ate some pringles but they weren't tasting great either.  Shortly after that, even the thought of water didn't sound good even though I kept taking it in along with a salt tab every 30 minutes.  I knew something was going on either with my stomach or dehydration but wasn't sure which thing.

This will be TMI but also a funny story so ....   Somewhere after my last pass through Lagrange I was peeing on the bike (I know...  do what you got to do) and this guy comes by and passes me and says "good job".  I laughed for a minute because I wasn't sure if he was commenting on my peeing skillz or the riding.  LOL.   I will say I normally can only do that when it is raining because it is pretty gross but it was do it there or nowhere so there you have it.

And after 112 miles of riding, I was FINALLY pulling into transition and getting off the bike.  Thank the Lord!  Someone took my bike (hopefully not handling the pee seat) and I made my way to the changing tent.  I was thinking T2 would be quicker than T1 because I was only putting on my shoes and a hat but somehow it ended up being much longer.  I credit my walking from Bike In to the tent and then I taking my sweet time in the transition tent trying to cool down and assess the hydration/stomach situation.

I headed out of T2 and saw CR almost immediately (he was making all sorts of friends while cheering - I loved that he seemed to be having a good time).  I stopped to talk to him for a second and then moved on.  Immediately I knew this run was going to be different than B2B.  My legs did not feel as fresh as they had in those other two races.  This should be interesting.

I did a lot of walking that first mile, taking in a Huma gel and water.  I saw Colleen, Tom and Jennifer somewhere along in there so stopped to admire sweet little Caffrey and to meet Abigail for the first time (I can't believe she was sleeping through all the noise!).  After that I settled into my run a mile walk a minute plan.  I was running around 9:30 minute miles when I was running so was pretty much on my pace.  The only thing was I didn't feel like taking water.  I was trying to choke it down but felt like it might come right back up.  I took it in anyhow.  I was feeling slightly lightheaded but kept going.  My plan around mile 8 became run a half mile, walk a minute.  That worked until around mile 12.  The stomach/light headed weirdness was getting worse so I just kept doing a run/walk to special needs.  (at that point it was run a block, walk a block and those blocks seemed awfully long!).  Made it to special needs, reloaded my Huma gels into my pack, took a few pringles and moved on.  I went through special needs about the same time as this other woman who was power walking her way to the finish.  It was a fast clip so I just tried my best to keep up with her and keep moving.  I was feeling less lightheaded when I walked even though the feeling like I might throw up any second was still there.  We walked together for a while until I lost her at an aid station.  (I ended up seeing her later so she might have stopped for minute).

I started walking with another guy and we ended up walking the last 12 miles together.  Yes, the run / walk plan left me at special needs and  I ended up power walking for 13 miles.  We laughed as we passed the timing mats thinking "at least the people at home will know we aren't dead out here".  This was not the shining moment for either of us so it was nice to have someone to joke with for the 3+ hours it took to walk to the finish.  We even had a moment of pride when the people handing out the glow necklaces for the later finishers didn't make us take one because we were "almost done"  -  even though "almost done" at that point was easily another hour.  I was still feeling so light headed.  I assume it was dehydration but then kept thinking that I had been peeing not only on the bike but along the run course too.  Who knows.  My mouth was dry and I was taking in water, coke, and perform when I could.  I was sure I would need an IV when I got back to the finish.  Me and Brian (my walking BFF), started calculating what it would take to keep him under 15 hours so we picked up the walking pace and made that our goal.  I counted down the miles and eventually we were rounding the corner to 4th street and the finish line.  I told him I was going to start running once we got to McCrory's and I took off heading into the chute and the cheering crowd.  So much fun, even after all of that!

Me and BFF Brian

I got my medal and finisher swag and headed over to see CR's smiling face :)   I said goodbye and a big thanks to my IM LOU BFF, Brian, as it would have been torture to walk all that way without him.  I had planned on finishing between 13 and 14 hours so I was pretty disappointed that it took me so much longer but at the same time proud that I didn't quit.  I never did get that IV bag although I probably needed it.  I ended up drinking ridiculous amounts of water the next day and am just now starting to feel "normal" again.  So very strange and one of those things where you don't know what you could have done differently.  I mean, I drank two bottles of water with nuun every 15 miles on the bike along with 2 salt tabs every hour.  I would have thought that would have been enough.  Oh well....   I finished and I will just have to be proud of that and not pick it to death with the things that could have been done better or differently. I will have to save that PR performance for next time :)        

SWIM:  1:16
T1:  8:50
BIKE:  7:27
T2:  11:50
RUN:  5:58
Finish:  15:03

**  I have had a couple of people ask me how I would compare the IM branded race to a non-branded race since I have done them both now.  I will save that for another post in the next day or two.  I think I have given you enough for today (and then some...)



Ransick said...

Congrats on finishing with tough conditions. I was following you and a couple other online friends and when I started cooking out and sweating I told my wife I was actually glad I wasn't doing the run in Louisville right then even though I was streaming the finish line on my iPad.

Give yourself more credit on your finish time. It would have been much faster on a 70 degree, low humidity day.

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

great recap K-Dub! I'm damn proud of you. those conditions were tough, tough, tough and you DID it. you took what the day gave you and finished like a champ ...still standing and with spirit fingers!

I think the bike cable word you may be thinking of is fraying? I have that issue about once a year.

Coy Martinez said...

I saw you so many times out there!!! I finished in 15:05!! Talk about close! :) I recognize your suit from the run!

Good job on the race! It was hot out there and not much we could do besides try to keep cool and press on!

I think on race day they had spray painted back over that Iron Man sign on the pavement hadn't they? I remember looking down at it!

Karen said...

Oh that is funny! I wish I knew it was you! Yes, they had spray painted over the spray paint for race day. I thought that was nice of the race folks - get rid of the bad vibes and all... Congrats on your race!!!

Matthew Smith said...

Congratulations on another Ironman! You rock! I have many of the exact same feelings as you...especially wanting to finish between 13-14 hours and ending up with 16. :( It was a tough day, but you still did great! And, you remembered Caffrey's name too! :) Great race report! Maybe we'll do a local race around here sometime like a half mary or something? I think I'm pretty done with the IM scene, at least until my kid wants to do one when he's 20. :)

RockStarTri said...

Congrats! great recap of a great accomplishment. Well done.

B.o.B. said...

So proud of you Kdub! I'm wondering if the Nuun wasn't enough for that heat? I think you are AMAZING! Congratulations again. Go eat another biscuit. Or twelve.

P.S. I love walking BFF. Ha!

steena said...

Heyyyy CONGRATS! 140.6 is a huge accomplishment no matter what your finish time is.
I think it's great that you made a course friend too, I really hope I find one during my first IM.
That's hilarious about the "nice job" too. HAHA. I'm yet to pee on the bike, myself, but WILL do if needed! It's one of the few times in life it's okay to pee in public.
Congrats again, be very, very proud that YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!

Janyne Kizer said...

Thanks for the recap! I really enjoy your posts. I'll miss you at B2B this year!

Are you thinking of Chattanooga?

Pipeline said...

Awesome job!!!... pulling on the run/walk like that is what makes Ironman or Long Distance what it is... it's getting that mind over body to kick in and get you going.

Michael said...

Congrats on the finish! It was HOT, HOT in LOU on Sunday. I think the temperature is more the issue than dehydration. Your body just doesn't want to put out that kind of effort in that kind of heat. I had the same issue at my 70.3 in 2012. It was just so hot and I was so overheated. I was sick from about midway through the bike until I finished the run.

Way to go! You did it girl! And I tracked you...you were just a few minutes ahead of my friend Coy. I always knew when there was a time update on you there would be one on her just a few minutes later!

Unknown said...

Congrats on finishing a freaking IM. Sorry it wasn't the race you expected. However you still did amazing. :)

Jim ... 50after40 said...

Congrats Karen! Michael and I tracked you and a few others all day and it was so exciting to see you cross the finish line (virtually). Great job well done ... what a huge accomplishment!

ajh said...

Congratulations on your finish, not quitting and a very respectable time. Sorry you were disappointed - that's no fun - but you did great!

The Original MAJ said...

I think you are amazing. I am sorry it took me a few days to add that. :-)

Swim Bike Mom said...

I just love you. I am so proud of you, and I think you are seriously one of the most awesome people I know!! Just knowing you has made me a better person. And even though I will never be as wise or as prepared on bike rides (insurance card, Aleve in little baggy), I do think often "WWYD," and that makes me do things a little smarter (at least I hope). You are such an inspiration and your spirit is infectious! What a stud you were at IMLOU and I loved watching you cross the finish line online. I said, "There she is! Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" and then the next thing that was said (of course) was "CONGRATION." Naturally. Thank you for being such a great friend and always making me smile. Like my mom said at Augusta last year, "That Karen is just such a beautiful person- what a class act." Indeed you are, my friend...indeed you are. CONGRATION again. You done it.

Unknown said...

It was a killer day out there and every time I saw you, you had the biggest grin on your face which I loved. You weren't going to let it take away your smile! So proud of you my dear and can't wait to catch up in person!

Carolina John said...

Congratulations again on another blast of an ironman!

Unknown said...

Congratulations! I know Colleen and Tom too! I wish I had know they were in town for this and that you were racing in advance. I live in Louisville now.

Jillian said...

I saw you so many times out on the run and I didn't even realize it was you! I even said hi to Brian (he's a local to me)while you guys were walking together. Congrats on finishing this tough race on a tough day!

Kevin said...

Congrats on finishing another one. Sometimes all you can do is just put all the goals aside, keep moving forward and just finish. Great job not letting the conditions stop you from finishing

Jenn (junkmiles.org) said...

Fantastic job!! enjoyed tracking you and watching you manage a very tough day brilliantly!!
The heat is awful, I know I'm having to take far more salt tabs than you'd ever think was humanly possible just to stay vertical in these conditions. I struggled the 1st part of the summer trying to pinpoint....hydration, blood sugar...and it ended up being electrolyte depletion.
And SOOOOO glad you fixed the frayed cable...THAT was the culprit for my wreck 2 weeks ago!!

meghan said...

Oh good heavens this made me excited scared and all kinds of other things to read. Congrats on pushing through to finish this! Amazing amazing job. I just can't even imagine. You're an Ironman!! (x4?)

Lindsay said...

congrats karen!! that's a bummer about some of the locals being fuddy-duds though. hooray for new mid-race friends that help push you through!

Amanda said...

Huge congrats on another finish. It's these races that make us stronger. You know how strong you really are when you finish under tough conditions!