Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Redemption at Redman...2015

Well, after Pike's Peak I was done...toast...emotionally...luckily, I had another big race already lined up...my 3rd half ironman.  It was 6 weeks after Pike's Peak.

Triathlon is my favorite favorite favorite...This would be my 3rd time doing Redman so I had plenty of advantages going in to this race: 1) I knew the course 2) I knew the routine - transition, bike racks, lake swim 3) I was under zero pressure.  My whole goal was to finish my race and have fun.

Several friends were doing it again this year...some for the first time...I rode up with Catherine, her sister Cara, and her husband Ron.  Cara and Ron were doing it for the first time. Catherine had done the 70.3 and the Olympic at Redman before, but this time she would tackle a new longer distance - the full length aquabike (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike)...I was not jealous of her at all!  I thought she was crazy...but that is why I like her.  I had other friends going up for the race too - Diane and Michelle were both doing it for their first time.

Watch out Redman!

We got to Oklahoma City Friday afternoon, got the bikes racked and looked at the lake...The swim looked totally do-able.  I wasn't worried about that. I did find out the bike course had changed slightly but I heard it was very smooth and much better this way.  The run was the still the same  course - 2 loops with no shade. Good times!

Bikes racked and ready to go!
Butterbaby is ready to go...

We went to dinner that night and were in bed by 10pm. I slept better than I normally do before a big race, but still not what I would consider a restful night's sleep.  We got up at 5 - I remember thinking that wasn't too big of a deal these days because of early morning Camp Gladiators and early morning runs with Tracy and Aimee - 5 o'clock didn't kill me like it used to.

We parked and walked the mile up to transition.  It was perfect weather - cool but not cold.  We got our wetsuits on and hung out for a bit waiting for the start of the race.  They had the National Anthem and a flyover by a super cool jet and then we were off.  Well, we had to wait a bit, but Catherine's wave was off.  We waited a while and were finally on our way....
Sexy in a wetsuit...you know you are jealous wishing you could have your own wetsuit pics...

Remember how I said earlier the swim looked totally do-able...looks can be deceiving....I got in that water and the shallow part where we got in was super cold.  We swam parallel to the shoreline and within the first 50m I stood up and said screw this...I want out.  I couldn't catch my breath because it was cold, there were so many people around I couldn't get into a rhythm of breathing and swimming.  I finally convinced myself to quit being such a wimp and start swimming.  So off I went - swimming and sighting every 5 strokes.  This gave me something to think about other than where I was - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, look up and sight, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5....buoy to buoy...I just would take it one buoy at a time...just get to the next orange buoy...finally I got to the end yellow one which was where I would turn (this is one of them that looked MUCH closer when you are on dry land - just saying). When I got to the yellow one I looked up and started turning and just as I did a guy clocked me in the face. Nice...good times. Thank you sir...The swim was pretty much the same the rest of the way. I swear I saw a shark fin, but talked myself down.  Then I saw someone's hand that was swimming and thought what if that isn't a swimmer...what if it is a dead body? These are the things that go through my mind...Now you know why swimming is not my favorite.  I finally came to the last buoy and was so excited to turn and swim into the shore line...Part 1 was over in 47 minutes...

Got up to the wetsuit strippers and into transition just fine.  I had decided to not change into a bike jersey but to just use my Moxie jersey the whole time - swim -> run.  That was fine, but that meant I wouldn't be able to preload my pockets of my jersey like I normally do when I switch shirts before the bike. I needed to be able to load everything into my jersey after my swim. I needed to think more importantly about what I was placing in my jersey and where to place it.  I had played it out in my head the night before. Put things in your left pocket, I told myself, that way you can grab with your left hand since your right hand is your dominant hand and needs to control the bike.  I was really nervous about screwing that up since I knew I had to eat on the bike - it was so important - I couldn't bonk before I had to run 13 miles and if I didn't eat, that was going to happen before I even got off the bike.  I had NUUN in both my water bottles on the bike, I decided when I finished that I would drink water. I had a PBJ sandwich, gummy worms, and my BASE salts in baggies in my jersey. I got it all loaded in my left pocket, a stop at the porta potty in transition, and was off on the bike. All in 5:53 - not my best time, but good enough without forgetting something!
Let's go spend three and a half hours on a seat the size of a bar of soap...that sounds fun.

Off to bike...I wasn't on the bike a half mile and my shoulders and upper back were burning...They were so tight and so sore. I say EVERY time that I will do more swim/bike bricks because it is always my upper back that hurts...but then I never do them...All I could think was this was going to be a long ride.  I really wanted to stay in aero the whole time, but that didn't happen with my back. I did stay in as much as possible and would just come out every once in a while to stretch.  The roads were super smooth and the weather was perfect.  It was never crowded on the course and we got into the back roads and it was a great ride.  I never felt bad,  I ate, I drank ALOT, I took my salts every time my watch beeped for 5 miles, I was feeling good.  By the time I got back to the dam of the lake and could see the finish line, I was ready to get off my bike...it seemed like the longest bike mile ever...I made it back though  in 3 hours and 22 minutes...not one pit stop on the bike so I was ready to get off that sucker.  I am now sitting at 4 hours and 16 minutes of exercise and it is noon and 85 degrees and I get to go run 13. 1 miles...woo hoo!

Got back into transition and racked Butterbaby in her spot and changed into my pink magic running shoes in 4 minutes and 26 seconds.

The run course is something I know like the back of my hand. It is a 6.5 mile loop that you have to run twice. Since this is my 3rd time to do this race, it would be fifth and sixth time to run that loop. I know where every crack, grass blade, aid station, bush, where it gets hotter, and where you have to run because you are getting close to the finish. I started off running 1/4 mile and walking a minute...that felt fine but as it started warming up and I got to the back part of the loop where it gets hotter because it is a blacktop road I stopped keeping track of the 1/4 mile. I just told myself that I could walk whenever I wanted but I couldn't walk more than .02 mile at a time. That worked fine.  I had to have something to distract me from how hard it is. That's the thing with triathlon - no music...nothing but you and your mind...it's hard. I came in off my first loop feeling really good. I knew one more loop and I was done.  Finally about mile 8 I figured out how to turn my interval alerts on and did so. I had them set for 2 min run/ 30 second walk.  The first time it went off I thought it was broken - that was not 2 minutes..that was more like 5 minutes. I thought I had it set at the wrong interval until it beeped again and said "Run 2:00"...oh my goodness...those 2 minute intervals were so much longer than what I run in my neighborhood...It was so warm by now. The aid stations were fully stocked with cold water, sponges, coke, grapes, pickles, pretzels, you name it.  I felt like I was at a trail race. It was awesome. I ate my way through that whole race. I was also taking my BASE salt every mile. Finally finished the second loop feeling pretty good! The run had taken 2:53 - not my best time for a half marathon, but I felt good and I had finished!
Boom....second loop done!

Total time on the course was 7 hours 14 minutes and 3 seconds.  Right smack in between my other two times when I had done Redman. My other times were 7:05 and 7:29. I'll take it!
That was fun!!!!

The difference this year was I didn't train as much as I normally do - I had also been training for Pike's Peak and honestly, I just didn't swim or bike as much as I should have.  I only biked once a week if that and same with the swim.  I think having a different goal of just having fun and not worrying about paces/times made it much more enjoyable for me.  It did for me the exact opposite of what Pike's had done. It brought my love of racing back. I needed that!

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