2014 Ironman New Zealand Race Report

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First and most importantly, thank you to every single one of my supporters! It makes all of the difference in the world knowing that I had so many people rooting for me and knowing that I couldn’t let you all down. The amount of support was overwhelming and I am truly floored by the outstanding people who surround me. So thank you all!

Swim
Got right up to the front and center at the start. Surprisingly, people weren’t too aggressive. Had to roll over a couple of suckers, but nothing too terrible. The first half felt a little disjointed. Was trying to pick up the pace but my body wasn’t having it. Tried to do a couple sets of high turnover to get things moving. Settled into a better pace on the second half. Was sticking with two girls who I thought were in my AG with the same colored cap on. One of the girls took off right at the very end but I couldn’t hang with her.

Time 55:55, 1st in Age Group (abbreviated as AG)

T1-5:38
There was about a 500 meter run from the swim to transition. What a work out! I was trying to rush through because I thought the girl who had taken off was in my same age group, but then they announced that I was currently in first place!!! This was the golden moment of the day.

Bike
My coach had told me to be in Zone 3 out of 5 for my bike. I was a little intimidated by this. But the first part of the bike I was flying at 20+ miles an hour and was feeling uber surprised and confident. Cut back on my planned nutrition a little bit after a discussion with my coach prior to the race which came back to bite me in the buttlater on. Started getting passed by a few girls in my AG right before the first turn around.

Things started taking a bit of a turn for the worse as I went to the second half of the first loop. The whole way coming out had pretty much been downhill and going back was just a long, sustained climb with the added benefit of head winds. By the end of the first loop I was feeling pretty gassed and didn’t feel like I could hold Z3 anymore. I think this was a combination of not thinking I was capable of sustaining that amount of effort for so long and also my lack of nutrition. Going out for the second loop I tried to maintain Z3 because I knew it was going to be even harder coming back on the second loop as the winds picked up in the afternoon. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t do it.

In fact, I went into survival mode on the second half of the second loop. Just kept telling myself to get to the effing run, get to the effing run. The last 12 miles were pure torture. The head winds had picked up and were switching in all different directions. Was just done and needed to be off the bike. My energy continued to dip as I switched over from my Odwalla bars to Gu chomps, also a last minute change to my nutrition plan. Another mistake.
Time: 6:17.19, 13th in AG

T2 4:05
Was a little dazed and confused when I got to T2. Twice I had to go back and get things out of my transition bag that I had forgotten.

Run
Let myself run and just flow. Thought to myself even though my bike sucked I could still have a good run. There were only water stops every 2.5 km or approximately a mile and a half. I also had to adjust my nutrition plan yet again.

Hit a hill at 3 miles in and just felt like I had nothing in the tank. Started walking and then snapped out of it and realized I needed to start eating. Almost immediately felt better. For the first loop my pace bounced around a little but I was down around 8:05/mile for most of it. Took the speed but tried not to go over the top and blow up.

Started slowing down a little bit the second loop but just tried to maintain my pace for a sub 3:50 marathon. Took a walk break at mile 11 and realized my knee was killing me. Hadn’t even felt it before. Took some pain meds. Had to take a couple more walk breaks. First 13.1 was around 1:50. Realized if I could just run about a 9:30/mile pace for the rest of the marathon, could still get the 3:50 pace.

Knee was feeling better as I went out for the third loop and just wanted to finish out strong. Had a pretty solid third loop. Pace was still a little bit slower than I would have liked but kept it around 8:45/mile. Was trying to push the pace and get as close to 3:45 as possible. At the turn around on the last loop with 4 miles to go, since my left knee had been hurting I was running on my right foot weird to compensate and ended up getting a nasty blister on the bottom of my pinky toe. Just ran right through it to finish the race. With less than 2 miles to go, I put the blinders on and put everything I had left in me to get to the finish.

Time 3:47.26, 5th in AG

Overall time 11:10.23, 9th in Age Group, 47th Female Overall, 336th Overall

Even though I should have been completely happy with this performance, I have mixed emotions. It doesn’t help that I am my own hardest critic.  It was unbelievable and unfathomable to me when I came out of the water first and in 55 minutes. For the first quarter of the bike, I could feel Kona within reach. But as more and more girls passed me, my confidence started to slip. I started beating myself up mentally and psyching myself out. I really dropped the ball on the last quarter of the bike and my last minute changes to my nutrition plan killed me. I really have to figure out my bike split nutrition and just continue getting stronger. If my knee had not been hurting during the run I feel that I could have run a sub 3:40 marathon, which is my goal for my next Ironman.

It’s like I have two pieces of the puzzle on the swim and the run to get to where I want to be but I really have to conquer the bike. I knew I should have trained more and knew I was capable of performing better. My motivation is somewhat restored but I am happily enjoying 2 weeks off of training. My knee is still giving me some residual pains so I may need to go get it checked out at the doc’s office.

But hey, I got 9th place in my first international performance which really isn’t that bad and I freaking killed the swim! Just have to take the things I know I did well on, be happy with them and just work on the ones that didn’t go well or the things I was not happy with. I know I have the potential to perform even better so I just want to focus on the future. Thinking about doing another Ironman before Tahoe this summer…going to talk to my coach and see what he thinks! If qualifying for Kona were easy, nobody would want it.

Thanks again lovely fans! I’ll be back in the saddle again soon!

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4 thoughts on “2014 Ironman New Zealand Race Report

    • The thing is, I still haven’t figured out my nutrition quite yet on the bike. During my long rides, it is a completely normal occurrence for there to be dips in my energy level. But this was a pretty extreme case. So I still need to figure this out.

      My original plan was to have 200 calories an hour on the bike but my coach thought that was way too much so I cut back to 175 calories. I should have trusted my instincts. He also wanted me to cut out solid foods halfway through the bike and switch over to gus. Luckily, I stuck the granola bars as long as I thought humanly possible. It might have affected my run as well. No way to know. Just learn and move ahead!

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