After IM Canada, I felt like I had this huge jump in fitness and after talking to Roch, my coach, we decided that I should race another Ironman instead of a marathon. I knew that after Canada, I needed to seriously take a look at my nutrition and figure out what my problem was if I wanted to have a successful race in Florida. After consulting with my nutritionist, Jenna, from Power Bar, we figured out that my biggest problem was my inablity to absorb or digest any maltodextrin. What had worked for me in the past no longer worked and I had to change everything in my diet. So a few weeks ago I stopped eating anything and everything that upset my GI. This included all dairy and wheat. Both of these are loaded with Maltodextrin.
Ironman Florida was a test for my new nutriton. I was a little scared. I haven’t had a good ironman in 2 years and the thought of finishing again with a stomach the size of a basketball and having the disappointment of running another 4 hour marathon, knowing I have a much better run in me, was terrifying.
Race morning, I was calm. I was a bit nervous about how chilly the air was and about how big the waves were, but when I race, I try to not think too much ahead. I try to take each moment as it comes.
The pros starterd at 6:50, ten minutes ahead of the age groupers. This head start enables the pro women to have a more fair race. I didn’t do a swim warm up. I felt like the air was too cold and I was afraid that if I had done a swim warm-up, it wouldn’t accomplish anything except making me feeze while waiting for the starters gun. When the gun went off, I flung myself into the water and started to swim as hard as I could. This didn’t help too much as I got completely knocked over by crashing waves. I’m not exactly a dolphin in the water:). The good news was that Heather Fuhr was right there with me getting knocked and kicked around. As we rounded the first buoy, the waves got even bigger. I lost Heather feet and I was now all by myslef in the crashing wavy water. I hate this sort of senario. However, I stayed upbeat and tried to swim as hard as I could. I felt the lack of master workouts as I suffered through the water. (While in Hawaii, I did a lot of ocean swimming, however, I didn’t do any hard interval swimming leading into Florida. I really felt like I was missing that strength). As I finished the swim, Michael had said that i was about 90 sec down form Heather. I scrambled to transition, put on arm-warmers and a jacket and climbed aboard my Javelin. The first 8 miles, I was sorry I put on that stupid jacket. I was roasting. Plus the stupid thing was like a parachute. I tried looking for Michael, who was a spotter, so that I could give it to him, however, I couldn’t handle the balloon effect anymore and handed it to a guy on a mountain bike. (I guess I will never see that jacket again:() I still had my arm-warmers on and they were absolutely enough! The first 50 miles, I was was feeling great. I was putting time into the leaders and I felt amazing. My legs were fresh and I didn’t have any aching that I sometimes have in other races. I thought to myself, the new nutrition regime must be working. As I hit the out and back, adn started having a tailwind, my stomach started killing me. I started to have memories of Canada again when I peed 6 times on the bike. I started having horrible thoughts again of having to run/walk a marathon. I didn’t want to do that again. So I sat up on my bike, glided a bit and tried so hard to pee!. I just couldn’t get it all out. And it hurt so bad! I spent the last 60 miles standing up, sitting down, trying to pee, trying to ride throught the pain….still trying to eat and drink even though my belly didn’t want me to. As I entered the bike run transition, I stopped in the port-john for about 2 minutes. And I tell you, it was t he best feeling in the world to just sit there and pee for about 2 minutes straight. It was one of those things…when you think you are done, and there is even more….Surprisingly, after I went to the bathroom, my stomach, felt fine. I started the run feeling fresh and feling good. My first mile was 6:30 and then I setteld to a 6:50/7 minute pace. After about 8 miles, my energy started to fade and I slowed to about 8 minute miles. After eating and taking a bit of salt in, I started with 6:50 miles again at mile 16 and continued with the pace until mile 20. At mile 20, I slowed again to 8 min pace to the finish.
After finishing, I had the biggest smile on my face. I had my first successful ironman in 2 years. I PR’d by 15 minutes and I Pr’d my run by 10 minutes. I feel confident that with a little tweaking here and there with my nutrition, I can be a contender for a top 5 finish next year at Arizona!
Many thanks to Splish who made me the cutest suit ever for race day. Thanks to Amanda and Mark at Boulder Running Company for helping me get race ready. Thanks to Jenna from Power bar for figuring out my nutrition issues. I should have gone to see you a long time ago! Thanks to Greg Welch for supplying my hot, fancy Oakley sunny’s. Thanks to the crew at Inside Out Sports for making sure that my bike is race ready. Thanks to Graham Fraser for putting a first class event on and taking such good care of Michael and I. Thanks to Paula Newby-Frasier for always having confidence in me and believing in me. Thanks to Roch for helping me grow as an athlete. Most of all, thanks to my husband, Michael, who’s support and belief in me inspires me everyday to be a better person and better athlete.