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Saturday, July 16, 2011

So Now We Have a Pair of Iron Balls ...... Brain Droppings from Ironman Muncie 70.3

The Schwag
 So last weekend Mike, Alison, and I completed the Inaugural race of Ironman Muncie 70.3 (formerly the Muncie Endurathon, one of the country's oldest triathlons), known in our house as "IronBall" because, apparently we are all 12 years old here and equate racing in Ball State University country with testicles made of iron.  Just go with it. 
Out of the swim

Lots of stuff happened here, I think I'll just randomly share them with you all.  
* For your laughter and enjoyment are my race pictures from the official site.  I'm not sure where sports photographers buy their special "Unflattering Action Lens" but I would greatly prefer  it if they switched to the "Beer Goggles Lens" next time. 
 * One of the stressy moments of the day was when the water temps were announced.  Temp at 6:30AM was 81.  They announced that since it was above 78, the race was no longer wetsuit legal, so a choice had to be made - swim with your assigned wave (my wave took off 3rd) or start last if you wanted to swim with a wetsuit and not be eligible for awards (more than an hour after the 1st wave).  Well, I wasn't going to be getting any age group award anyway, but starting later meant being way further back in the pack and right from the start and being out in the heat another hour. So the decision became much easier and I swam 1.2 miles without a wetsuit for the first time.  I get tougher all the time.  
Bike into T2

* {TMI WARNING- boys, I'd skip this one} I am ready for menopause already.  Or a hysterectomy. Not only did "Aunt Flo" appear 2 weeks early (Whiskey!Tango!Foxtrot! Seriously. ) but race morning was day 4 and I seemed to be dumping fluids pint after pint.  Choice. We got up at 530, got ready and were at the reservoir by 630.  Things had already reached EMERGENCY stage, having bypassed a disposable Diva Cup and a gigantic Tampax.  I had also soaked the pad of the bike shorts.  I was not going to make the potty line in time to salvage anything so I did what I had to do- I changed a tampon in transition as nonchalantly as I could.  We were racked by the pros who were busily reaching down their shorts to apply Chamois butter, so I guess I fit right in.  How's that for "First"??
* As I waited to go down to the start, I noticed my neighbor had a bottle of spray sunblock.  I asked her if I could use some.  She didn't answer (since she was already gone), so I took the silence as a yes and applied a few sprays to my neck chest and arms. Seriously, though, I wouldn't say no if someone asked so it was OK.
* Alison and I started in the same wave.  We found a good spot on the beach to claim for our own and we waited for the the start buzzer to sound, she leaned over and said "Have a great race, I hope you don't bleed to death."

Run out at T2
* The water at the reservoir was awesome.  Warm, clear, and not stinky or boat gas.  It was a great swim.  The lack of wetsuit was not a problem at all.  What was a problem? The swim ended at the beach, then you ran up a huge long hill, and THEN you crossed the timing mat.  Too bad the mat wasn't at the water, it would have been a much better swim time. 
* The bike was great.  Flat and fast, headwind out, tailwind back. Had a bike PR for the HIM distance.  Had a great time on the bike. Since the ladies started before all the men under 60, I got passed a LOT by fast boys on fast bikes, most of whom were nice enough to lean over and say something like "That's a purty bike" before they dropped me like a bad habit. I averaged 18.3 mph for 56 miles - very cool!
  * The bike was an out and back course in 2 directions so I saw Alison twice on the bike and she looked good.  I tried to catch her after seeing her just before the first turnaround about 10 miles, and when I saw her just before the second turnaround she had gained a bit of ground on me but not much.  I never did catch her though.  Saw Mike at about my mile 40 and and told him to hurry up and catch me.

Who's that guy yelling?

* Once I was back to the transition area, I dismounted and jogged in to rack my bike.  The heat of the day hit me when I stopped moving and the stillness set in.  I'm not sure what happened to the wind from the bike, but there was absolutely nothing moving.  I used the potty quick and got to changing shoes and hats.  I again asked my neighbor to borrow her susnscreen.  Her bike was back, but she was not around so I again took her silence as a yes and applied liberally. I also stopped at the susncreen apply-ers near Run Out for good measure, although I think the teenager applying mine just had fumes on her gloves and no actual sunscreen.
  * As I exited Run Out, I heard some guy yelling "GO JENNY!!!" I could not place him.  He yelled again.  Noticed he was wearing an older IMWI Finishers shirt. Still couldn't place him.....he looks familiar..... and then there was Kathy Fitzmaurice with an umbrella a little ways down yelling my name too.  It all came together who the guy was - Kathy's husband Adam Ball.  It really is cool to have a cheerleader you had no idea would be there.
 * The run became a shit show quick.  The temp on the road was at least 95 and there was no wind and the course was nothing but unrelenting gently rolling hills. There really was no flats to be had - we wer either headed slightly uphill or slightly downhill.  Period. Yuck. 
I gave try at running as best I could, but it was so freaking hot, my pulse would skyrocket as soon as I tried.  So i walked a lot of the 1st mile, then took water, a piece of banana, 2 icy wet sponges and a cup of ice, then gave another shot at running with a run 3/walk 2 method. It was not long before I was simply walking most of the run just to get the end. 
* I get to some dark places in my head when the run goes sour.  Disappointed in myself, I get really irritated by people who say things like "Looking great!" as they pass you.  I had a couple meltdown moments on the run, which I'll share next.
* About mile 5ish on the the course, I was patted on the back as I was walking uphill, hot, sweaty and feeling defeated.  A tall lumberjack-looking guy said "People like you inspire me!"  My immediate response was to be offended. My response went like this: People like me?  Who's that- fat people? Old ladies? Crappy runners? What?? He did not respond and kept going.......perhaps I scared the lumberjack??  Much later on the course, I got to thinking he was probably referring to the "Ironman Wisconsin" Logo that was written across the seat of my bike shorts..... (Sorry for being such a beyotch, Lumberdude, I was a little touchy about my performance when you arrived on the scene)

* At about mile 4 I saw Alison running back in, which would be about mile 9 for her.  She was on a walk break (I have NEVER seen Alison walking) and she looked hot and had a couple ice sponges under her shoulders.  You know it's rough out there when you see Alison at anything less than a steady determined run pace..... Anyway, we both headed to the middle of the road.  I should have said Good Job or something. What I actually said was "It's hot as dicks out here, Batman!"  My daintiness filter was already gone at that point.

crying as I walked, wouldn't look up
* Just as we approached the turnaround on the run course,I was passed by Triathlon Barbie and her entourage as she was giving them all a lesson while they ran about how important it is to drink cola when it's offered on the course.  As they passed me, she turned around and said "Don't you quit, you're doing great!"  I responded snarkily "I'm not quitting, just slow." She said "Great!  Don't you quit now, keep at it!"  I wanted to poke the back of her perky head, but instead just said "This ain't my first rodeo, Barbie." and kept on my way.   

*I saw Mike again about mile 7ish as he was headed out to the turnaround.  I yelled: You better hurry if you're going to catch me, WimmDogs!  (the moment called for a little bit of  WWJBD- what would Johnny Brown Do?).  Mike passed me about mile 8, looking good.  He had made up an HOUR on me at that point. Ugh.
 * It only got worse.  My back and hips were locked up tight from holding a single position on the bike for so long and the heat was wearing on me terribly.  I was in survival mode, just getting to the finish line and getting out of the sun. I was fried to a crisp and felt like I was on fire. The course was getting hotter and hotter as the day went by and the asphalt was blazing. By the end of the day it was over 98. There was no shade.  What had been shady on the way out had shifted as the day went on and was now shady on the other side of the street.
* About 2 miles from the finish, I saw one of the photographers as I was headed up a small hill.  I started tearing up, hot, hurt, and tired.  Knowing it would be a race picture, I hung my crybaby head so my hat brim covered my face.  He kept yelling "Hey Wisconsin!" to get me to look up but I wouldn't.  So stubborn sometimes.

Can I stop now please?

* If someone had come by in one the golf carts and asked me, I'd have taken a ride back in and said screw it. I was that done, and I am never willing to give up and SAG in even when I probably should.
* At mile 12.5, there was one final F*#%king hill.  At the top was a guy who was yelling the participants up...."Come on! Sack up! You should be running this! You're almost done!"  I was at my limit.  I burst into tears and sobbed "Stop yelling at me!!"  He stopped :)
* at mile 13, I was cresting the top of a hill, sobbing my eyes out like a toddler, then I turned down the lane to the finish.  It was downhill so I was jogging it in, biting my lip to suppress the tears.  There were Mike and the Viemeisters (cool!) and Mike is yelling "It's all worth it, you get a cool hat!!!).  That cracked me up and I started laughing.  I got to the finish line and it was over.  I was hot, sweaty, crampy, tired, sunburned EVERYWHERE, including the backs of my legs and ready to get out of the sun.

End Result: Swim was the Swim, Bike PR, Run PW.  Not a PW overall. 
Review: One of the best races I have ever done from a a volunteer and organization perspective, but if it's always that hot, I don't think I'd do it again.

The aftermath: Had a nice dinner at a greasy pizza place with Alison's college roommate's husband and daughter, which was cool.  He is a professor at Ball State in exercise physiology, so dinner conversation was interesting and entertaining. 
The next day we headed home, and took a short detour through Elwood, IN where my grandparents and other family lived.  It was a nice walk down memory lane see all the local landmarks, check out Grampa's house and his paint store and to share the local stories with Mike.
Fun Times.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Milton Optimist Club 10K a/k/a Adventures in Africa

So, again we are at the number 13.  Avg speed for this race: 13:13.  One day REAL soon we are getting back to the 12's or lower.......
So anyhow, here is the Independence Day Lucky 13-

1) It's been a while since I've had a race shirt I've really liked.  This is one of them.  I love the slogan "Optimism - Play it Forward."  It kinda sums up my goals in life: Keep a positive outlook, do good things for other people for no reason, that kind of stuff.  Not that I always achieve it, mind you - sometimes I am a snarky beyotch- but a girl's got to have a goal.
2) This was only the second run of the week for me. Probably should spend more time running if you want to  get faster...... but the bike is sooooo much more fun.
3) It was hot out there.  it is always hot out there on this particular run (imagine that, a hot day in July..... who'd think??). Not just hot, but that overwhelming Africa grade heat where you expect to see a lioness come pouncing out of the brush after a zebra or two. Holy Hell I hate that kind of heat on a run.  Add in some open road with little to no shade and you have there a recipe for some serious whininess.  In all seriousness though, the bulk of the water stations were out on the open part of the course, as well as a sprinkler station at a local farm, so the heat was thwarted as best as the RD was able.
4) This is a great little race.  No frills.  Cotton tshirts.  No chips.  No times posted online.  They barely advertise it at all, not on or any other registration site, just a little blip on the Milton 4th web page.  Registration is a paper only by mail or in person affair (*GASP!!*) only. And yet, there are a ton of people there, mostly locals who do it every year or a newby or two who decided to give it whirl since it's in their backyard. Kudos to Kris Koeffler for putting on an event the community can really get behind.
5) Five.... the number of people I passed after the halfway point. On this race, I know that I generally make the most headway on others after the 5K mark.  Lots of folks can wing a 5K.  I am not particularly speedy, but I keep a slow steady pace and can do some distance for a long time.  So the rabbits take off and go hellbent for leather and I plod along doing my thing and pick them off on the back half when they fizzle out after the hill on the turnaround. Best of all, most of the folks I overtook appeared to be over the age of 10 and under 70..... so they were more in my age range than the people I usually pass :)  I think there were at least 13 people behind me overall.  I love that.
6) Phil and CJ (and Tucker, one of my favorite puppies) were at the crossroads that was both the 1 mile and 5 mile mark.  You gotta love having a cheering section on the course, thanks guys. Shortly after seeing the Gredler gang, I came across a kiddo trying to attack me with a dinosaur machine gun style squirtgun.  I was pretty hot, wish he'd had better aim - totally missed me with every drop of water.
7)  After the 5K mark, I set my sights on a lady about my age up ahead.  I spent the last 5K trying to catch up to her.  She was running just a bit faster than my pace the first half and was slowing a bit.  I tried to keep running when she did and to keep running a bit longer when she stopped for walk breaks.  I made up distance on her each block, each mile.  At the finish, I was just  a few steps behind her. I patted her on the back and told her I'd been chasing her for miles and she gave me a good run for my money. If it had been an 11K, I'd have caught my pace bunny.
8)I love that the whole Wilkinson clan came out.  I spent most of the first half as a Wilkinson sandwich, with Jack and Brendan leapfrogging with me off the front and Michele and Sparky leapfrogging on the back.  Those kids did awesome.  We stuck around for the end to cheer the kids, because really, that's what life is all about.... cheering in the next generation and lighting the fire.
9) At the finish line, was my favorite preschooler, my niece Izzy.  She was hot and tired and crabby, but still just about the cutest thing ever.

From my sister at the finish.  All I see are eyes, boobs, and hips, everything else is a washout.

Coming up on the first corner just after the 1 mile
Heading into the last mile
10) Remember what I said about this being a no-frills kind of race? There was no official photographer there either, as evidenced by the super-terrific photo documentation of the race shown here.  Sadly, I think they are some of the best race pics I've ever taken, mostly because they are blurry  so you can't see all the stuff flopping around in high def.
11) Mike puked on the course and still managed to almost PR.  What's up with that?
12)The best part of this run is our usual post-race dip in Storrs Lake nearby.  It's about 1/3 of a mile across, a good distance for some open water time.  The water is nice, there are just a few fishing boats to contend with, and it's rarely wavy or rough.  This year, Mike and I were joined by Alison, CJ and Phil, Jamie, Steve, and Jeff. It's always nice to swim in a small group to help you pace and sight.  Plus, it felt awesome to get in the water and cool off.  Win-win.
13) We stopped at McDonald's on the way home specifically to get something cold to drink.  Have you had one of those new Mango Pineapple smoothies there?  Those things are delicious!  I do not normally advocate for fast food, but I think I have found my new go-to treat.  O.M.G.

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