Friday, May 31, 2013

The Ugly truth and Silver Linings!!!!

“If clouds are blocking the sun, there will always be a silver lining that reminds me to keep on trying.”
― Matthew QuickThe Silver Linings Playbook

I happen to watch "Silver Linings Playbook" the night before the race!   I found the messages stuck out loud in my race!

Ironman Brasil was a race that I have wanted to do for such a long time!  I had 10 weeks between Cabo and Brasil to build my fitness into what I thought/hoped would  result in a solid race and a top 5 finish!

I trained hard and felt 100% race day!  Race week had gone perfectly!

I had arrived in Brasil  and was greeted by comfortable breezy autumn days and warm friendly people. Florianopolis is on the beautiful Santa Catarina island and is a charming  vacation hot spot for rich and famous Brazilians. The run course was lined with million dollar homes and perfectly manicured streets.  The touristy Jurere International buzzed with Portuguese athletes sipping on espresso's and eating pastries and training in large groups all day!

Rodrigo and Carla
For anyone thinking of traveling there...Most locals do not speak English! Not even a word so my days were comically spent acting out my requests or thankfully on occasions where I could get internet using google translate! I was staying at a cute little guest house nestled on the hills of the run course about 2 miles from the start. The inn filled up with athletes as the week progressed and everyone was excited to have a pro in the house!  The inn keepers Carla and  Rodrigo were two delightful special  people who made me laugh and catered to my every need! We spent a lot of time trying to learn each others languages and had some fun with that! 
Jurere Guest House

I arrived race morning so calm and ready! The pro field would be alot deeper than anticipated and the talent equally strong! 

I felt positive I could have a great race though! 

The Swim

As I watched the sun rise on the beach that morning I was truly excited to race!
 I looked back at the thousands of age groupers lined up behind us and I prepared myself mentally for the mass start and to get beat up on the swim! The gun went off and I got a great start into the water. But it did not take long to be engulfed by lots of age groupers. I was amazed by how many people passed me. I started to worry that I was swimming so slowly!  The calm water was now a mosh pit of swimmers and I felt like I was trapped! What I found was that  people started out hard but then started slowing down and I found it impossible to pass. Forcing my first 1000 m to be rather slow and way to easy. Once it thinned out I was able to push the pace and enjoyed the swim immensly!  The swim was a M shape with 4 large sighting buoys. On my second out and back because of the current I swam far to the right but it looked like alot of people were getting taken left and cutting the course short and not swimming around the 2 outside buoys. I stopped looking as it would frustrate me and just swam the course. I was pysched to see 56 minutes, a PR swim as I came running out onto the beach! This was a FAST swim with ten pro men swimming under 50 min!!!


The 112 mile bike course is a 2 loop course with 4 big climbs.Onto the bike and I felt great. I had come out of the water with another girl and we left T1 close to each other. I pushed hard to keep her in sight and found that would mean pushing probably 5-10 watts higher than I should have been. What was apparent though right from the start was the blatant drafting on the bike. At first I thought it was just because the course was tight as there were so many people that exited the water at the same time. But once onto the highway it was still very congested with bikers. I do not like this kind of situation on the bike in an IM, especially so early on and I had been worried about it! A pro came by in a group yelling and screaming about the drafting 15 miles in and I just thought to myself just keep calm and race my own race. The drafting was very distracting though as a group would come by and then a marshall would follow. But it seemed like the marshalls were unsure of how to handle the group drafting problem. 

I got my penalty at mile 27 while trying to pass a single guy! The Brazilian men are tough competitors who don't seem to like women passing. There was no dropping back and no letting pass without a fight! Which led me to ride side by side by him for longer than I should. Hence I was crushed when I was flashed a yellow card. Actually I was amazed that out of all of the drafting  out there I got this penalty. I had to pull over and wait for them to cross my number. A process that took way to long! Once back on my ride I spent a while fuming and crushed! The race was unfolding before me. I tried hard mentally to think that I had just had a ten minute flat and that I could still come back from it. But truth was I could see on all the turns how far the pro girls especially those taking advantage of riding in a pack had.    This was frustrating as I already had I penalty and a second would mean disqualification. I  just had to drop back slow down when a group went by and  wait for them all to pull away! This is an example of what to expect in Brasil! I was not prepared for it!

I really tried to stay positive and keep my head in the race. My goal had been to bike 5 hours even and I was right there at 56 miles and only a minute or 2 off at 84 miles. But the last 28 miles were super windy and I slowed down!

I arrived into transition with a 5.08 bike split. 
Not to bad I thought...just keep positive! Its a long day! FOCUS!

The penalty tent was in transition! The standing around for 10 minutes ticked by so slowly and I left the penalty box deflated for sure. My goal would just be to run the run as fast as I could and try set a PR! Try find the silver lining I said to myself. The 26 mile marathon was a 3 loop course. One long 13 mile loop and 2x6.5 loops. The first miles ticked by fast and I felt fantastic. The hilly section was a series of 3 hills with some 16-20% grades. It was there while I was digging to get up the hills that  I saw just how far I was back to the leaders. 


I was excited for team mate Jessie Donovan who had worked her way to 3rd place despite having GI issues! But I was so discouraged to see that 10 minutes of standing around had taken me out of the race even if I PR"D my run by 10 minutes. I kept pushing ahead but mentally definitely settled for just a finish!!! Sometimes in a race situation like this I can enjoy the crowds and other racers. But the language barrier definitely made me feel a little isolated and I missed the feel of American Ironman races!
This was quite an exciting finish line but with an extra 1km added to the marathon I was ready for it to be over! Instead of running in at 3.26/7 I ended up with a 3.31
The run was all about the getting it done!

I am always grateful to finish an Ironman and am always happy to finish feeling good! 

The result of not pushing was that I felt fine the next day! I almost feel like this was just a long training day and I am ready to race again soon!!!  

I really enjoyed my last day in beautiful Florianapolis. Venturing to a little fishing village Santo Antonio  for an amazing lunch and meeting with a fun group that helped Jessie Donovan and I translate the menu. I too caught the most amazing sunset and ate the most delicious cake. 

I was invited to the post Ironman Party...which only started at 11.30pm. Brazilians party late!I opted for sleep and recovery instead!
One thing I have learned about myself in this Ironman journey is that I am not a quitter!  I may get easily distracted when things happen and in Ironman alot of things can happen! But after 24 Ironman I feel I am still trying to perfect the mental aspects of racing and pushing my body! It's what keeps me coming back!!!

Some awesome sponsors represented here!

Thanks as always to my Coach Jesse and my awesome sponsors at Qt2 Systems!

PowerBar, QR, Blue Seventy, Normatec, Rudy Project, The Zone, Nuun, Fuel Belt!
Also to my family who I love dearly for putting up with all my travels and race schedule!!!

1 comment:

Bre said...

ugh to the drafting/passing situation...totally unfair for you guys to have to deal w/ that. Sounds like what happens when you try to pass age group guys. Love that you pretended it was a 10min flat instead--- such a great mental trick to try to keep your head in the game.
Thanks for all the pictures and updates- I swear I felt like I was there! :) I can't wait til one day I get to race.
Congrats on the race- your splits looked great and the penalty was bad luck I think. What is up next for you?