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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ironman Texas Went Like This...


I'll make this quick at first, then long if you feel like you want more to read on your coffee break.  On the podium at Ironman Texas with a 4th place, it felt like I won the whole dang thing,  Maybe I'm finally learning that racing some of the best brings out your best.  It was the most hard fought 4th place of my career (mostly because of the great women on the start line) it also hurt like hell from the gun and never let up.  Kelly Williamson (the champ) said it best, "All Ironmans are hard, there is no such thing as an easy course".  You can say that again! And with that, I still hold massive amounts of respect being able to push my body 140.6 miles in a single day...

I went into the race wanting/needing a top 3 to seal the deal with my Kona Points (that KPR chase us pro women are on).  Coach Cotter and me set some goal numbers based on training paces I was hitting, knowing they will flow in either direction given the course elements.  52 swim (I got a 53 flat), 4:59 bike (road a 5:03), and 3:10 run (ran a 3:12.12).  Got really close and am pleased to say the day landed me a 9:14 finish time, a 10 minute Ironman distance PB (personal best) and a new off the bike marathon PB.  I was beyond smiles, thrilled is an understatement about the day.  The last 3 Ironmans have all been my best three Ironmans of my career, in a sport that depends on progression I am pleasantly satisfied and trusting the best is yet to come...

Now for the long story...


Tuesday night I flew out to Texas, yeehaw!  But before I flew, one more swim and bike.  Mike kept me company, much needed company to be more honest.  He did a great job moaning and groaning about how the bike was smashing his balls, the laughter was the perfect escape from the race-week nerves that were in full swing.  He's a paddler, a surfer, a water guy.  Not a biker.  It's always so much more fun to ride with non-triathletes when there is no need to be serious...it reminds me to simply enjoy the ride. I fully support the "Get distracted method" on race week. Believe me, we focus plenty, if not daily, on our goals.  They are ingrained in our minds and hearts, taking a little rest from them will not cause them to loose their importance, sparkle, or shine in our lives...




Before that I helped escort a 2.4 mile swim on a relay for that Iron Epic5 day.  Being part of a race helped get my head in the zone to race without the pressure of it being my race.  Did that make sense?  It was all kinds of fun and a great excuse to get in one more iron distance swim.  Just being around a race has a funny way making them seem easier than they are.  I mean, I was watching my friends run the marathon in the middle of the night.  They looked exhausted, we felt amazing, it helped me remember that the horrible pooped feeling that happens racing is only temporary and will fade at the finish line.  Part of me needed that going into Texas, to remember that it is okay to dig deep...


And the day after that, a Time Trial up to Hawi.  I know, it seems like a full weekend the week before an Ironman.  But there is this lesson I'm finding a lot of truth in, no matter how trained the body is, it only matters if the mind is feeling the same "readiness".  And while the past few Ironmans of working with my coach has taught me to trust my training, he has found sometimes this girl needs a workout for her head, and that is what this Time Trial was for me. It was straight up shenanigans at the start line.  Shake out the butterflies, get the legs ready to work hard, it was my actual "practice racing" a week before Ironman Texas.  Hawaii Cycling Club put on a time trial up to Hawi, 16 miles long and nothing but upward climbing.  My bike felt ready, I felt ready, I set out to break 40 minutes and landed 39:56, that pretty much helped my confidence going into the Ironman.  And once again, it was a much needed day to just enjoy sport without any serious pressure such as  a pay day or Kona points...



Mike found me at the finish line, that was cool, as I love having someone to wipe my sports drink and gel barf discustingness on.  It also makes me feel really safe that a fireman is around, not really sure how that has to do with anything, but I always feel like firemen can save the day (just in case I'm having a bad one).  And what the heck, he is handsome...I'll take that at any finish line any day!


...Okay, now really onto Texas!  Kainoa gave me his usual pep talk before my flight, "run 1 or 2 miles everyday mom before your race".  He always says that and it always makes me laugh.  It's nice to remember my first job is "mom". 

I landed in Texas very, very tired.  5 hours time change kicked my butt pretty good since I'm a horrible sleeper on flights.  But...I was greeted by the most amazing Texans.  Kendall and Liz had beautiful yellow Texas roses for me and a giant bag of food and drinks!  I was far from shy, stuffed my face and hydrated from the flight.  I'm pretty sure this was the start of my successful race, instant ease.  Everything was amazing, a comfy bed, a princess bathroom, 2 dogs, and the Gray family.  If I had to sum it up (pros please don't get jello of my home stay), it was like living in Whole Foods or a garden in the fridge.  Honestly, I always get super blessed with the families that take me in, the difference with the Gray family was that they reminded me so much of my parents.  I mean exactly the way it felt living at home in high school (I had a great high school experience).  Even their daughter reminded me of my younger sister, a dancer! 


Now we begin.  The day before the race,  the swim became wetsuit legal and you guessed it, I did not bring mine.  Zoot came to my rescue and I did the thing they say never to do in sport, "try something new on race day".  I swam in a brand new wetsuit!  The good news is, it's Zoot, you can trust it without ever having tried it. THANK YOU ZOOT, one very happy triathlete right here...


Let me just tell you, Texas is awesome...


My swim was good, not bad.  I am still waiting for "great".  I was 4th girl out of what felt like a very long 2.4 miles.  Not sure if I was tired from jet lag, pooped from being in a wetsuit since I never train in one, or swimming in a lake is just more demanding than the floaty ocean water. In any case, I was just so happy to be out of the water...

Onto the bike.  Texas is such a fun bike course.  Nothing too hard, not too easy, it's an honest ride for 112 miles.  I felt amazing instantly, chilled out a little, calmed down, took in fuel.  Passed a couple girls, got passed myself, stayed on my plan knowing it's a long day.  It payed off staying patient but there is a part of me that wonders if I was a little too calm.  I am known for just going wild and hitting a wall, I don't miss those days, but I am looking forward toeing the line even closer on the bike.  So it was a safe ride, well fueled, and smart... now to run.


The run was my favorite part of the day.  I was 5th girl off the bike and a ways back from the leaders yet only inches from the women chasing me.  It's becoming fun to run a little scared, maybe because I am finding my run confidence, where I used to just count steps till I got passed, let them go...

4th place was only a couple minutes ahead and I knew with patient it could happen.  3 loops, a little over 8 miles each.  By the end of the first loop I ran up to Sarah and we ran together for a little bit.  I just kept saying, "It's a Sunday run, a run with friends, it's easier to run with company".  Well you got that right, easy all of a sudden was 6:40 on the Garmin.  Maybe we could keep that, but I wasn't in the mood to try for 2 more loops and fall apart.  But then again, we never know unless we try.  SO I chilled out just a little bit and it paid off.  I was able to take over 4th and in the final mile hold off a fast closing 5th.  Tamara got within 10 seconds of me and thankfully there was a finishing fight left in me, a 5:55 on the Garmin for almost a quarter mile gave me just shy of a minute finish over her.  It was a very exciting run for me.  The women in the race certainly pulled out my courage, my patience, and my best marathon yet.  You know how the story goes, "mean girls break you down, strong women build you up", well, on this day a bunch of really strong women truly built me up and I am very thankful for them.  Huge Congrats to Kelly Williamson for the win and to all the ladies in the pro race...
Yay...
Honestly, this was a best day in my sport life...


And Belinda Granger has taught me that awards are meant to be dolled up, not in our everyday clothes.  So the red boots came out, it was a celebration after all...


A huge mahalo goes out to Zoot Sports, Ceepo Bikes, Bike Works Hawaii, Coach Cotter, Rolf Prima Wheels, Splish, CF Kona, Bioastin Hawaii, Odin Wilmont Chiro, and Junko Sheilds massage.  This day that I finally broke a 9:15 is in huge part thanks to you, we did it!!  And I do believe the best it yet to come!  Of course, thank you to my family and friends too...I am so sorry for the days I am a pain in the ass.  I love you guys.  Also to the Kendall Gray family for making Texas a place to remember! Ps...Mike, I know behind every pro triathlete is her other half that often gets the grunt of her exhaustion and lack of patience, well darling, this is our day and there is nobody I'd rather share it with...




13 Comments:

Blogger JC said...

Fantastic Race report Chica. What an AMAZING Day! That pic at the end is PRICELESS! HUGE HUGE Congrats:)))

May 21, 2014 at 10:28 AM

 
Blogger Lee Integlia said...

What a great and inspiring race report! Congrats on an awesome race! I don't think you could ask for a better finish line photo...looks like pure bliss!

May 22, 2014 at 2:54 AM

 
Blogger Tina Marie Parker said...

Great Day! Great Race! & A happy family. Congrads my friend.

May 22, 2014 at 5:25 AM

 
Blogger Damaged Hearts In Motion said...

Congrats again Bree, nice to read about it. Have a great off time with your family

May 22, 2014 at 10:05 AM

 
Blogger Adrian said...

Congrats! fab race, should have dropped you an email as I always do at the end of each of your races! Kona is very close! keep chasing!

May 22, 2014 at 4:18 PM

 
Blogger Lesley said...

Amazing race, fantastic race report-- I have been reading your blog for years and I'm so happy for you and your awesome PR! Congrats for trusting in yourself and your training, digging deep and having heart!

May 22, 2014 at 4:24 PM

 
Blogger Pam Moore said...

Way to go!!!

May 22, 2014 at 5:18 PM

 
OpenID triathlonobsession said...

Awesome report and kickin' cowboy boots! Huge congrats on a great race and a PR to boot!! elizabeth

May 23, 2014 at 4:15 AM

 
Blogger Kathy said...

amazing, getting older and getting better - PRs don't land at your feet very often - what an AMAZING race! so happy for you!

May 23, 2014 at 8:35 AM

 
Blogger Boo said...

Thrilled for you!!

May 23, 2014 at 1:13 PM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Congrats on an awesome race and amazing PR! So happy for you. I've been following you for years but haven't commented in a while, just wanted to say hi... keep inspiring, super mom! Love the finish line pic!! ;)

May 23, 2014 at 4:51 PM

 
Blogger mark provenzano said...

These race reports always choke me up a bit :) Congrats Bree!

May 27, 2014 at 6:49 AM

 
Blogger Lucy Francis said...

OMG I know this course so well :-)
When I found out your result I was so happy for you.

May 28, 2014 at 9:18 AM

 

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