Thursday, August 16, 2012

IMNYC Race Report and Course Review...Thumbs Up from me!!! ( but some changes would be good!)

This was to be my third and best IM in 15 weeks. Ironman South Africa end of April (10.30hrs 10th place), IM Lake Placid( 10.08hrs 3rd place) end of July and then IM NYC (9.48hrs 9th place)! A hefty load but one I felt I could handle and more importantly Coach Jesse agreed to it...
I believe IMSA with 35plus mph winds and torrential rain on top of hills and a rough ocean swim was ALOT tougher than NYC. Then IMLP is no joke either! The bike course is very hard and then a hilly run course after! Mentally having done both those races helped me to put into perspective the toughness of IM NYC! Yes it was tough but there are much tougher IM races and worse conditions out there!

IMNYC was put on my schedule early in the season. I knew I had to be a part of it!  The excitement of a first time local Ironman race and knowing so many friends from NJ that were signing up.  I wanted to share that day with them and I did not want to miss out on all the fun!

For those that were curious as to how I handled the weeks between IMLP and IMNYC.
 I got back to training the very next day. Week 1 being very light activity/week 2 was a bigger week with a solid big training day the weekend before IMNYC. That day included a 100 miler on 9w in 100 degrees and a short run to see the run course and a hard swim.
I have to say that ride might have been a little more than I can handle as I felt it for days later. The heat really takes alot out of you. Seeing how hilly the run was I was also in shock and started to get a bit nervous as my achilles had been acting up pre and post IMLP.
But after that big training day (7.30 hours in 100 degree's one week before IMNYC) I felt I could handle NY . The last week I just spent doing some very easy taper workouts and taking care of my achilles getting massages/graston/ART and PT! I have to thank my good friend and PT of 15 years Jimmy Smith of Crest Physical Therapy for getting me in right away and getting me back moving pain free. Also to Coach Jesse for reassuring me that I was not going to do any major damage to it racing!!!

Race week I felt calm and ready for whatever the day was going to bring. I arrived in the city on Thursday for the pro meeting. The pier was buzzing with excitement and energy and the big pro field was like a reunion to me.  Coach Jesse had traveled in from Boston which is always is good for last minute questions!

The logisitics of the course were going to be tricky but I thought that the IM crew addressed most issues pretty well! (Despite all the abuse the race is getting!) I was actually so impressed with how smooth everything seemed to run leading up to and on race day!

 I was so calm and relaxed before the race and had the best 10 hours of sleep 2 nights before. That is always HUGE! I could not actually believe that I was actually going to be doing another IM though so soon! I felt like I was just going through the motions of race preperations.

Race morning arrived as it always does!

Coach Jesse, Pedro Gomes and I headed down to the ferry with plenty of time to spare. My excitement level was still around a 3 and I actually thought about how after not sleeping I could fall asleep on that ride over to transition. Once in transition I was so happy it was not raining like the previous day!  Before I knew it it was time to head to the next ferry that would take us to the barge for the swim start. That ferry ride took forever and my excitement started to pick up a notch. Everything was going as planned!!!
Once on the barge I really was excited to get the swim going! The water looked calm and as the sun peeked through over the buildings I took a deep breath and prayed that I had the best day that I could possibly have given the fact that I had just asked for that very same thing 20 days ago!

The cannon fired and the pro women were off! I had Hillary Biscay to the left of me and Dede Griesbauer to the right...both fantastic swimmers!  I was relieved that I had practiced my dive a few days before and my goggles held secure....The first few seconds were hectic as usual with arms getting hit as we had all squeezed so close together. I could not feel a big current and I reminded myself to kick hard as we were not allowed to wear wetsuits. I could not feel a current until about 20 minutes into the swim and only if I stayed wide. Then there were parts where I really felt the push of the water and I got into a nice rythem just staying in front of a few girls and working hard. I think my heart rate is always highest on the swim. I thought the swim went pretty quick but I did not get a chance to see the clock exiting the water. The pros seemed to swim at least 10-13 minutes faster and age groupers swimming almost 20 minutes faster with wetsuits and the current that kept picking up! Incredible! This is a most do race for anyone who does not enjoy the swim portion!
Swim: Despite swimming in more sewage than the Hudson normally might have...I give the swim a thumbs up!!!
I felt happy to be exiting the swim and smiled big for Dave Erickson from IM who was probably laughing at me as I had half the Hudson on my face still! Ewww and I know I defintely took a few gulps of that disgusting water while swimming too!  Whenever the helicopter would hover over it would churn up the water which made for rough breathing and lots of unnecessary water consumption! Thankfully I never felt sick!

As I headed out through T1 and up the steep hill I was ecstatic when Coach Jesse said I was only 4 min off the lead and in a good spot... I was in 15th place.
I was trying to ride with the girls I had come out of the water. Not an easy task when your coach tells you to chill and all the girls are flying like they are racing an Oly distance. Early into the ride I hit a bump and my aero bottle holder snapped dropping my aero bottle onto my wheel. I had to keep adjusting it the whole ride which became really annoying near the end of the ride as it no longer wanted to co-operarte and I had to ride holding it up off the wheel. But I was not going to let that bother me at all!!! I rode and was happy.  Three small groups passed me in the race with pro girls in them. I do believe that was the difference between me placing 9th or placing Top 5-8!! Sitting 10m back is always easier than riding solo and its good to have people to push you!
But my legs felt the long ride from the week before and  IMLP and the watts were hard to hold especially on the way home!. I just settled in and rode to the best of my ability pretty much solo.  I really felt the headwind on the last loop home and wished I had a carrot to follow or push me. The day had really heated up and I was a little concerned that I had not got enough liquid in.
I had not managed to pee in 5 hours and I had run out of all Power gels with an hour to go!

My opinion of the bike course????  I thought it was pretty easy...I definitely would have liked to have seen more spectators as it was a little boring... Big thanks to Coach Jesse who hiked up a bushy mountain (almost getting to come see us for a second on the bike course. That meant a lot....having him there for that second really did make a difference!!!)

I think if they switched this race to 9W that runs parallel to Pallisades park the course would be so much more fun!  The 9w route has 2x the amounts of climbs and if we could actually go up Bear mountain that would be even more challenging...We could ride one loop then..

So after many bottles of Power Bar Sports drink, Power Bar bars and Power Bar gels fueling me I headed back into transition! I was feeling pretty good still despite not being able to hold the watts I usually ride at...

I ran into T2 tent and was surprised to see 2 pro girls still in there. I exited out so fast and saw, but mostly heard many friends yelling for me!! Coach Jesse was there on the big climb to tell me that it was hot! Thanks Jesse as if I had not realized!!! But he actually scared me into running the first out section really easy. Forcing a half a banana down and a much needed PowerBar Double Latte gel in. These things are like gold at this time of the race!
 My achilles was holding up and I was so relieved about that!!! Thanks Pearl Izumi for keeping my feet blister free and happy!  
 The first loop ticked by so fast. Despite a quick bathroom stop where one of the girls that had been in  T2 passed me! Ahhhhh! But I managed to pass a few more girls on the run and I was running well and loving every minute. The hills did not phase me...sure they were hard and it was hot but I was just SO happy to be feeling strong! It wasn't my fastest run...but it was SOLID!!!  That was all I could ask of my body....
I am getting goose bumps right now writing this as I was so excited to be seeing so many friends out there on the course. There was Laura, Maggie,Monica...3 Jersey girls that were all looking strong! My training buddy Steve who I yelled at for walking when he shouldn't have been. Scotty Du and Tim. I saw so many FB friends!  The other pro girls were inspiring me...Mary Beth Ellis, Amy Marsh, Rebecca Keat and Sarah Pimpiano who were having killer races! I was happy for them too! The was Hectar Picard, Brian Boyle and Chris Cleary all inspirational athletes racing with unbelievable stories of their own! I think I was just on an Ironman HIGH. A sort of state you enter when you have raced alot and you are just so thankful to beable to do what you love.

I was so pshyched to finally make it out of the park, up the steep hill, up the endless stairs and finally onto  the GW Bridge. I did not know I had moved myself up into 8th place but a girl ran by me looking strong and I let her go thinking as soon as I got off the bridge the crowds would fire me up and I would go catch her. The bridge was quiet and a time to reflect. Some called it lonely or boring. I was having a profound moment and took in the power of the views I saw. The water below and the magnificance of the bridge. I too reflected on my season, my year. A crash a year ago where I had broken my collar bone, fractured my hips, torn my groin and knee up...and I was just so thankful at that moment to have set the goal to race and finish IM NYC!!!!

Once over the bridge I was a bit disappointed as I expected to see more familiar faces there. Instead we got to run through Harlem, and into an area where no-one even knew we were racing!  Instead of digging deep to catch the girl in front of me I fell into training day mode. There was quite a head wind which actually felt good as it cooled things down a bit but no support!
 I expected to see these two faces but had to wait for the finish to see them! The miles ticked by fast and Coach Jesse out on the course gave me a quick boost when he yelled to push for 8th. I tried to pick it up and managed to bring my miles down again but not enough to catch her!  I was so thrilled to run down the finishing shoot and to see my family and friends there! Love you guys ( Mercedes, Coleman, Mikhaela, Lucas, and of course Hank, Syd and Tanner)

Thoughts on the run: Thumbs up! But I would definitely like to see some changes. I would like to see one loop in Pallisades Park, then over the GW and straight to Central Park!!! Now that would be spectator friendly and amazing to run in! 2 loops in the park even better!!!
Congrats to all of you that completed NYC! I know some of you came out of retirement to do it, some did there first IM and some wanted to get their Kona spots! 
Big thanks to Coach Jesse Kropelnicki of QT2 System for all the heart that comes with his coaching, my supportive family and to my sponsors! Rev 3 who supports me always, Cannot wait to continue the season with their races! Power Bar for keeping me fueled! Pearl Izumi for their solid shoes and good looking training gear! Norma Tec for playing a huge part in my recovery program! Blue Seventy for adding to my speed this weekend in the swim. Kestrel for their speedy bikes and Torhans for their bottles. Lastly LG for their helmets!

Always happy to finish and not have to go to medical!


I have had alot of people asking me how I am going to handle doing 2 Ironman in 3 weeks. I am not the first too do this by any means and as far as I am concerned I would rather talk about it once its done.

There is the fear of the unknown...although I have done a similar perhaps more brutal few weeks before. That was IMLP/Timberman 70.3/IM Louisville within 5 weeks of each other I believe. I survived...the 70.3 was tough and the run portion of the IM REALLY hurt but then again it hurt for everybody. When you faced with a 90 degree day like we might very well be in NYC we will all be out there suffering. Some more than others. I could only wish for such a day as I LOVE the heat and feel I race well in it!

Next Sat I will race Ironman NYC with little fear and mostly excitement for the chance to be out there with hundreds of friends in the worlds greatest city doing what I love! It will  be a challenge for sure and I expect to have some tough moments, but I like Lake Placid will be looking to have another well executed fun race!
I was hoping to spend alot of time training on the course as it's only an hour from my race but sadly I have only gone into the city once to ride 9w and have not even seen or run the course. I know it is a tough course...which will make the finish even better!
I went in this weekend to familiarize myself with the course and the logistics of it. The course is hard and today showed 100 degree's in transition. But the moment you went up into the Pallisades Park the shady trees block out some of the sun and it dropped 10 degree's. This will be a challenging 14 miles as there are some steep climbs!

 This is the first hill coming out of transition. Its a real beast...probably 400m but will probably be lined with spectators so will be fun!

I cannot wait to run over the GW Bridge!!! By that point of the race we will be almost done.....8 miles or so to go!

I am really looking forward to the race. This one will be hard...but then again aren't they all!

A great capture from Ironman Lake Placid

Running into the oval I see my family!

This is my favorite picture ever from all my years racing! I just love my daughters energy and happiness for me!
Add Kiss for everyone!
I was so excited to see them and have that moment and to finish 3rd!

All smiles!!