30 July 2009

Ironman Lake Placid - DNF Report.

It still pains me to type those three letters.

Lessons learned:
-Don't leave your Garmin on the cradle after it is done charging - it WILL drain the battery once unplugged.
- Don't ride the brakes without pulsing to give the rims a chance to cool down.

I had a GREAT swim - I've been beat up more in Oly starts than Ironman. I started a little to the right of center, 4 rows back. In hindsight, I should have started closer to the buoy line, as I got caught up behind a group of slower people. Came out of the water in 1:14, much slower than I should have, but alas, unscathed. Quick transition, and it was off to the bike.

First loop of the bike was uneventful. After turning my Garmin on in transition only to find the battery had almost died from sitting on the contacts, I decided to leave it off for the first loop. Kat loaned me her Polar, since she thought I was nuts for doing ironman without an HRM. I realized I took the first loop extra slow at 4 hours when I rolled through town, and planned to make up serious time on the second half.

Turned on my Garmin and planned to run it until it died. I went down the first half of the Keene descent barely tapping my brakes. As I began the second part of the descent (shown between the 55-70 mile marks), I was riding about 45mph, which was a bit out of my comfort zone. I hit the very steep section and rode my brakes hard. The brakes started to feel like the wheel was out of true. Suddenly I heard a crazy noise, looked down and saw my tube and about 5 inches of rim tape coming out of my front wheel. After pulling a Fred Flinstone to stop as I skidded down the hill, I had a sigh of relief that the road didn't claim my skin or teeth, and began to pull my front tire off. I burned my hand taking my wheel off, so I let it cool while I pulled my tubes out of my saddle bag. As I took the damaged tube out, I accidentally dropped my wheel on my spare tubes, which melted under the heat from the rim. I was able to flag down the SAG vehicle, who had no 650 stuff to help me out. So, I sat on the side of the road as they pulled away, balling my eyes out because my day was over at 1:15pm. Watched a few other teammates head down the hill, including Kai who seems to only see me in ditches on the side of the road. An ambulance picked myself and my bike up, and dropped me off at a run aid station, where after a few hours spent volunteering at said aid station and running barefoot with my teammates, I finally got a ride back to town.

Bluntly put, it sucks to train so hard for a single day, and for it to end badly. I've been through worse, so it isn't going to break my spirit (though, it was close on Sunday). I've signed up to do Florida this year since many teammates are doing the race - yay charity slots. I'm coming back with a vengeance on the MDot races. Plans are to either hire a trainer or work with one for a few run and bike sessions to see where I can improve and really blast the course. I'll need to get more comfortable in the aero position, as I'll likely be in it for about 6 hours.

IMUSA in Red, IMFL in Orange. Safe to say, I won't need my brakes.

So, following the rest of this week off, I begin training for the second Ironman in a year. I'll still do Nation's Tri and the Army 10 miler, but I will be scrapping Marine Corp, which falls two weeks before Ironman Florida.

20 July 2009

Odd Facts about Cemeteries

I am sure this was the last thing you thought I'd be writing about with Ironman just around the corner.

My mom frequents Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery to visit my dad's grave. Over the past few months, she has called with interesting stories about the happenings around the cemetery (who knew they were so.. active?). Western Reserve has plenty of land to expand to, and with the rise in death rates of veterans, has been doing a lot of work in the cemetery. Adjacent to where dad is buried is a large urn garden. They have been constructing another urn garden beside the first one, which will hold another 5,000 remains. Beside Section 11, where dad is buried, they have been prepping another "section" of land for burials.

Ever wonder what goes into prepping land for burials? Well, here's the process, as accounted by my mom's phone calls:

Step 1: Dig up the ENTIRE section, 8.5 feet deep. Why not 6 feet deep? Double vaults. At OWRNC, both the vet and their spouse, military or nonmilitary, can be buried together. So, everyone gets double deep vaults. By entire section, I'm talking about a space for about 300 burials. Make everything perfectly smooth.
Step 2: Arrange the burial vaults with about a six inches of room around each vault. Gotta have a little bit of elbow room down there. :) Place caps on the vaults.
Step 3: Fill the entire lot with gravel. Yes, gravel. Ever wonder why Arlington National Cemetery (for the DC folks) looks so perfect, whereas most of your city owned cemeteries have a more "bumpy" look to them? Gravel. It prevents any type of ground sink that traditional cemeteries encounter when they backfill with dirt.
Step 4: Spread dirt over the top few inches of the gravel.

When the lot is going to begin housing deceased, the particular plot is dug up, the body is placed at the bottom of the double vault (or top if their roommate's already there), and then the gravel is replaced along with the dirt. Once a whole row is filled, the cemetery will lay strips of sod across the grave sites.

I keep telling my mom to get pictures of the construction in action, but she says she would feel weird snapping pictures. I'll update the post if I ever get pictures, but I happened to find this whole process very interesting. Something you never really think about - I had no idea there was such a science behind grave digging.

I'll update tomorrow once I'm finished packing for Placid - including a how to on ghetto-rigging some new decals for your race wheels.

16 July 2009

Lucky number... 6?

It appears I have to rescind my recent post; no longer is it lucky number 5, my odds have moved back to 6. Another girl registered recently, as there are still community fund slots left. My guess are her intentions are to try to qualify too - I'd assume most people don't just wake up in the morning and register for an iron distance race 2 weeks prior to toeing the line. She could be fast, she could be extremely under prepared.

***Post edited for negativity. If you happen to have Reader, you might catch a glimpse of it. But, I was apparently just in a bad, bad mood when I wrote last night. ***

Work's been rough - got the layoff notice on Monday. I knew it was coming, but it doesn't make receiving it any easier. I suppose I'm young and naive.... I feel like I've done nothing but bust my ass for the company, took on jobs that I absolutely did not want, but was promised better things by taking them, and in the end, I was still screwed over. I suddenly understand why working for big companies make people calloused. It has made me calloused. I have money being thrown at me to stay, and a decent sum as severance benefits. I'm not sure that I'm going to take it though... How does someone wake up every day for 5 months knowing that you're only doing work to finish losing your job. I'm a very hard, determined worker. Everyday this week however, I've been plagued with no desire to even go into work, and have hardly done anything. What's the point - I feel like I'm cleaning up the girl before me's mess, so its easier for the folks in Oak Ridge. Why am I making their life easier? The company has officially made me extremely cynical at work.

I'm looking forward to this weekend - a massage, getting things packed up for Ironman, and a guy I used to be pretty close with is in town for some training. I went out with him Wednesday night, and realized how much I really did miss him. I'm looking forward to spending some more time with him before he goes back to Chicago.

13 July 2009

Feed Me

So. Hungry.

I've been cutting back my caloric intake so I do not gain weight before Placid. With the reduced training volume of taper, I hear it is pretty easy to pack on a few extra pounds. No need to haul anything more up those mountains than necessarily. Unfortunately, my metabolism (and subsequently stomach) are not that thrilled with my decision. Officially for the first time since about 2 weeks after my jaw was wired shut, my stomach growled at me. For the first two weeks of the liquid diet, my stomach was mad, then it realized I just wasn't going to feed it, gave up, and I haven't had hunger pangs since. Until this morning. ::grumble::

12 days left until Ironman Lake Placid. Yesterday's 55 mile bike ride turned out to be an interesting one. Rode on a busy highway at one point, took an exit ramp, looked at the Route 17 overpass (which we were supposed to be turning left on.. I left my go-go-gadget legs at home, so I couldn't hop up to the overpass 30 feet ahead), and was told "good luck getting back to Virginia. I took 2 water bottles with me on what I figured would be a short, 2.5 hour ride.

Dehydration FAIL.

I believe someone said it was 87 degrees out. And every small town we rode through only had a "general store", which, remarkably are all closed on Sundays. Around mile 40, I finally found a 7-11, and enjoyed a nice cold bottle of water. Dehydration had definitely set in though. Around mile 50, something flew into my helmet and attacked my head. I was able to stop and pull off my helmet, but lost the group I was riding with. I started to get chills and became blackout dizzy when I started up again, so I stopped on the side of the road and called Marlene (Sagging for the team) for a ride back. Luckily, the chills and dizziness stopped, as I had NO desire to jab myself in the thigh with my epipen

06 July 2009

Lucky Number 5

It used to be Lucky Number 6. But due to unforeseen circumstances, its been moved to Lucky Number 5.

So whats the significance?

Back here, I stated that I was going to focus into improving as much as I could over the next few months, and take the idea of qualifying for Kona a bit more serious. I would say there was about 90% honesty to that - in reality, I knew that I would not be able to make the physical leaps required to hit that target, but still, it was a fun idea.

While I had some downtime, I thought I'd stalk scope out the competition for Lake Placid using Athlinks, just to get an idea of what kind of racers I was up against. Scanning the names, one of them looked familiar. When I pulled her up on Athlinks, I saw why:

A quick check of the Qualifying Slots showed that she nabbed a Kona slot (with that rockin time) at Eagleman this year.

And then there were 5.

The remaining 4 girls I'll be competing against are either average, or good runners but pretty bad swimmers and average to below average cyclists. There's actually a chance that I could come in second in the age group (Miss 4:41 will be first, my guess) and take a slot. How freaking cool would that be?!

So, as I enter my taper into Lake Placid over the next 19 days (16 hours 51 minutes...), I will be concentrating heavily on not blowing off my workouts, and very conscious of every calorie that goes into my body. I had hit the proverbial wall two weeks ago with the epic 2 hour swim, 20 mile run, 130 mile ride weekend (By far the most mileage in one weekend for me)... and was just ready to be DONE with Ironman. Luckily I've only skipped one workout, when my mom came in town for the 4th of July, which I plan to make up this week.

Work has been beyond overwhelming as we transition into a new financial system (try telling multi-million dollar contracts that we aren't doing any new purchasing or subcontract agreements for 10 days... not fun). Luckily thats over, and things should be relatively calm over the next 19 days (16 hours and 49 minutes).

Happy Training, and good luck to Es - rocking out Ironman Switzerland this weekend!!!!