Aloha!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ironman New Zealand, Wrap up...


Wow.  Seriously, wow.  To sum up this trip, (and I have a day to go), just wow.  In my 17 Ironmans, each very unique, this one will go in the books as the most full blown, whirl wind of non-stop excitement, and near the top of being one of the most appreciated Ironman journeys, (cause each Ironman has a journey to the start line).

That little fruit stand on the side of the road was the most chill moment since I landed here, the rest felt like a high speed roller coaster with great views.  Having never been to New Zealand, I only heard great stories of great adventures and great people surrounded by great views.  True story.

Left home on Monday, landed about midnight Tuesday, made it to Taupo Wednesday.  Right into a run, head first into many moments of laughter, full speed into lake swims, more runs, bike rides on the other side of the road dodging cars cause I'm American and kept getting on the wrong side of the road, electrical outlet troubles, and it gets dark here way past my bed time so I had to hang dark sheets to force sleep...no wonder the Kiwis never stop.  I had two pro roomies who were absolutely terrific and completely different from each other, and from me.  I learned from them both, soaked up the opportunity to have training company and motivation, and learned the fine art of rest and recovery does not always mean sleeping. 


The night before the race I wrote in my journal that this was the most happy I'd ever remember feeling going into an Ironman.  Things are far from easy at the moment, but mostly everything in my life is giving me reasons to smile and keep thankful.  I kind of feel stuck between a rock and a hard place too much lately, trying to make ends meet so I'm working more resting less, missing a lot of training just to keep sport afloat.  I just can't find it within me to throw in the towel and I'm not even sure I would recognize when that time is even if it hit me. Being a professional athlete is by far one of the things in my life I never even imagined would happen to me, but I just keep this dream wide awake feeling in check at all times so I never take it for granted.  Anyways, before the race I knew a couple things...

I missed a lot of swim time to get out of the pool early to get to work on time, 3 of my important long rides were cut way short to get kids from school on time, (you can't fake 112 miles on a bike), and I walked 8 miles of one of my 2 and half hour runs because I was being a girl (no offense girls, but sometimes we are not as strong as we owe it to ourselves to be).  Racing against some of the best women in the world you can't exactly show up and pretend that you put in the work, so I was brutally honest with myself, "Bree, you had a few days leading up to the race that did not go ideal for an athlete trying to get to a finish line fast.  But you would not trade your life for anything in the world, do not let anything be an excuse to not have a good race, let them be reasons you are going to have a good race".  And so, I let motherhood, family, work...be my strength.


The race pretty much went like this...

The swim was pretty surreal, not tropical like I like, but so impressive that a lake could be so clear, clean, and beautiful.  The Maori men came in on canoes, chanting, singing, dressed in so very little.  It felt like home in a pretty islandish kind of way.  The gun went off and the pro men went, a minute later us pro women.  I had a nice little swim with one of the Japanse women, we were right behind the 2 girls chasing Meredith who must have set an Olympic record with her swim!  But then...we caught the chase pack of men and honestly, I did not have any fight in me.  It was rather sad how un-aggressive I was.  Not sure if I was lacking my swim confidence to go around a huge train of them since I missed so much practice or what.  I sat on their feet.  About 800 yards to go I decided that was stupid, if you catch them clearly that means they are swimming slower than you, move your ass Bree.  So the Japanese woman and me made our way to the front of the huge back pack of men and ran up the beach in front of them as the 4th girl out of the water, (only to get ran over into the change tents).

Lesson learned, find a way to swim more  and never just sit there, its a race!

Onto the bike, hugest mistake ever in a cold race.  I felt nice in that wetsuit so I left my arm warmers in my transition bag and got on the bike turning instantly into an ice cube after the first hill.  I'm not one to pity myself for too long if at all, so I just rode hard to warm up.  I dropped every single bottle at the first couple aid stations, my hands were so numb that I ended up dropping all my nutrition out of my pockets too, and there went my calories for the first 36 miles.  Eventually I hit a wall, felt so lousy, and 4 girls passed me on the bike.  After 17 Ironmans the lesson that "every low patch eventually fades if you find a way out" has sunk in.  So I slowed way down, grabbed every single gel, banana, and drink I could get my hands on and ate as many calories as I possibly could.  I forced myself to eat until I felt so full I'd throw up.  And as luck would have it, 20 minutes later I was back in the game, riding like myself, and feeling warm (thank you sun for coming up a little bit).  Oh it got ugly again, boys stop reading...

I seriously felt like I peed my pants but I didn't really need to since I missed all my drinks the first part of the ride, well, you guessed it...my period.  Awesome, middle of a 112 miles on a bike.  I'm not an athlete to trick my periods with birth control and I never let myself get to skinny that I lose it, so you know, sometimes it just happens when riding a bike in New Zealand. Damn it.  I have learned another lesson after 17 Ironmans, always stuff a tampon and extra shorts in your run bag.

Finally off the bike, I wanted nothing more than to run!  I went into the porta-potty for what seemed like an hour to change and clean up, losing way too many minutes, but I felt like a million bucks now.  3 loops here I come!  And the most awesome thing, the pro men leaders were just about to start their second loop when I was going out on my first.  It was so awesome to run with them for a whole 30 seconds with cameras all in my face!  I then looked down and saw a 6:20 mile on the Garmin and thought, "Oh hell no, slow down, this is their pace for 26.2 miles not yours".  First miles make or break your race (another lesson 17 Ironmans have taught me).  I eased into my pace and just had a blast...


New Zealand is not the easiest run course but it is one of my new favorites.  I love loop courses so much and running around the lake was incredible.  The crowd support and little neighborhoods had me so fired up.  And to the awesome guys that kept blasting radios, thank you for playing my jams, it was like home to me.  The run was the only part of the race where I felt very confident.  Most all my training runs went better than good and I never had an excuse to miss any, on days I had no sitter help Kainoa would ride bike next to me.  My coach gave me numbers and I just believed all marathon long that I would hit them.  And I did.  In fact, I got my new best off the bike marathon time by 5 minutes (3:14) running home as 4th woman at Ironman New Zealand.  Many, many more lessons learned, many good moments, and many more reasons that I am so thankful that triathlon is such a big part of my life.


This was Kainoa's email just before the race, he tells me to always run some miles for him, "Kainoa, mommy ran that entire marathon for you, had you right there with me".  My other bit of motivation was on one of the hills during the run there was a "go Mike" chalking.  I pretended it was to me from my Mike.  Cheesy, I know, but anything and everything helps over 140.6 miles...



The race was also awesome because we got to collect arm bands on each loop of the bike and run, by the end of the race we look like 80's girls, especially if your shoes are hot as mine.  But...the best finish line part, thanks to some incredible new Kiwi friends, were volcanic recovery pools!  They were something I'd never experienced and could sit in all day long.


Awards party with the other Big Island athletes, Congrats Sal and Keish!  Loved seeing you on the run.  Hawaii also had 2 Kauai and one other Oahu girl out here, it really made home feel closer.  I'm still highly convinced the best Ironman will be when I have Mike and the boys along with me...


A view from our lanai here in Taupo...


...and then this.  Told you the Kiwis are another breed!  So full of life, never ever a dull moment, and I jumped out of a plane!  No, I did not love it.  I was more terrified than I've ever been in my whole entire life.  I'm still scared and not sure I'll try that again.  It was on the bucket list, so thank you Dan and Kiwi peeps for helping me check that off the list...


Crying.


That is not a happy face, I was actually barfing...


One more day here in Taupo, I'm ready to go home, I miss it.  Planes only fly Tuesday and Thursday back home for me, so I'll soak up another good adventure without complaint.  Next up will be Lavaman, a nice little local race on the island, and then...another Ironman.  At the moment we are thinking Texas, good timing and more affordable than the others, I'll keep you posted.  Before I sign off, a huge thanks goes to Ceepo Bikes, you are my most favorite 2 wheels ever.  Zoot for the most perfect run shoes a girl can race in and a wetsuit that had me very, very warm and cozy.  Splish for swim suits that make me want to be in a pool and my race top at last minute notice!!  Bike Works for always supporting me and my bike, hands down the greatest bike shop in the universe.  Rolf Prima for race wheels that work wonders on the shell and rock like roads of Taupo.  Crossfit Kona for building me up some strength where I was certainly lacking it.  Bioastin Hawaii for the yummy green stuff I believe in! Odin and Junko for helping keep my body in one piece, your hands really are healing.  Brooke for some yoga that I am starting to actually like.  Kona Aquatics for being the greatest little swim team on Earth, not just the island.  Coach Cotter for day in and day out finding a way to help me balance sport and everything I care about in such a way that I can be healthy on start lines and finish races a step closer to my goals.

Finally, my favorite, thank you to Masuda, Kainoa, my family... you are my reason.

Bree



6 Comments:

OpenID petraruns said...

What a great post and what a great race Bree! It's humbling to see what challenges you have to overcome to train but I'm so amazed at how you managed to turn all that into your inspiration, not your excuse! A reminder to me to not let my excuses get in my way! Soak up the success and carry on - the best is yet to come, I'm sure!

March 3, 2014 at 4:53 AM

 
Blogger Kailin Acheson said...

Major congrats, Bree! Looks like an amazing race and trip!

March 3, 2014 at 5:03 AM

 
Blogger Kathy said...

great race! i can't believe you jumped out of a perfectly good plane! :)

March 3, 2014 at 6:48 PM

 
Blogger Lucy Francis said...

That's so lovely to know that the race and the trip went well. Filled with new experiences as well.
I felt like i was there racing with you

March 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

 
Blogger Steph said...

Congrats! And your attitude is so awesome :) Thanks for sharing!!

March 6, 2014 at 3:30 AM

 
Blogger Damaged Hearts In Motion said...

Nice job Bree. Jumping out of a good plane is one of the best experiences in life. Glad you knocked off your list. Good luck with the rest of your season

March 15, 2014 at 4:41 AM

 

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