Monday, August 5, 2013

Why do I race so much? IMLP 2013 Race Report

People ask? How and why do you race so much?
My Response: Because right now I can!!! Right now through a good coaching plan, I have been able bounce back and race in 3-4 weeks again if I choose as long as my body feels strong and I have no lingering pains that reside shortly after Ironman or during the race for that matter!
Now I am fully aware that this streak of racing I am on is not the norm! Lets face gets in the way...injuries or crashes happen, or you burn out and need to take a mental break from it all! But while my body is strong I get to go and see and race in these beautiful places!

After my crash at the end of 2011 I was so disappointed by being taken out of the game that I rushed back as soon as I could to racing. I have raced non stop from Jan 2012 to now racing every 4-6 weeks because I could!!!
Since my comeback in Jan I raced IMSA 2012, IMLP Placing 3rd in 2012, IM NYC 2012 9th place 2012 IM COZ,IM Cabo 2103, IM BRAZIL 2013 11th, IMLP 8th place 2013! Add a whole string of 70.3's to that too!
Once again! Why not!
I have been healthy and Coach Jesse has got me to each start line feeling ready to race.

An Ironman is such a long race and so many things can happen along the way.
And those things have happened...I can list so may different things. But what I have learned is that I am strong and mentally I don't give up! I have only DNF'd one IM, actually only one race in my life. That was Ironman CDA and it felt awful. I remember lying on the ground crying in disbelief that I had been told that I was putting myself in harms way by running the last 10 miles!
I have always believed that it is so easy to quit. It's so easy when things get tough to just say NO I just can't do it today...but once you commit and refuse to give up you can do anything!
I go through those thoughts almost every Ironman. It might be in the water before I even started or even the night before when I am tossing and turning and get no sleep. Or on the bike when I have got a penalty or I am just feeling flat. Most common on the run when I might have stomach issues or am further behind than where I might like to be! But just like in life Ironman teaches you to persevere, to be a winner no matter what, to survive, to dig deep, to suffer, to appreciate what you have, to fight, to not take things to seriously when they not going your way. To cheer for others when its not your day, to love something, to work have faith, to trust in others!
What I get out of racing is a chance to test myself, my mental strength every time I step up to the plate!!!

Back to IMLP!
Beautiful Mirror Lake....Great energy the day before the race!

IMLP 2013 ended up being a tough day for me. But I had entered it just like I enter every other Ironman I have ever done thinking today might be the perfect race...a day when all the hard work in training comes together!
I arrived at the start line race morning a little apprehensive as I had not slept well the nights leading up to  the race and I got no sleep at all the night before the race. I desperately wanted to go into this race feeling fresh but it was not going to happen.  I try expect to not feel great race morning and I always put it behind me once I leave the house and head to the start. I had a quick prerace chat with Coach Jesse and was feeling good and ready! I was not nervous at all and headed into the water feeling calm. Once in the water I started my usual warmup only to find on the first sprint I did, I felt a wheeze to my chest. I could not believe I had heard it so I did a second sprint only to hear the rattle again. My chest was constricted and I could not believe or understood why? I was not feeling stressed or I did not feel like I was coming down with a cold so it was weird.

I put it behind me and actually forgot about it completely once the gun went off! I enjoyed the swim start! Having all the girls separate from the pro guys made for a fair swim. We all swam alongside each other and I managed to stay with the fast girls until the 4th buoy! I was hoping they would let up but they did not so I had to as the pace was too fast and I could not stay with them any longer. I managed to latch onto the feet of another girl who swam by me in an attempt to catch them. I stayed with her until 3/4 of the way through the first lap. That's when the faster age groupers caught up. It wasn't too heavy at first and as I came through the first loop I was at 30  minutes. A little slow I thought but then I realized that we were 3 min behind the men so this was actually a really fast split! 27 minutes?

The second loop got a little ugly as alot of age groupers were passing and we started catching the slower swimmers and it became a weaving game. I was also feeling very warm in my wetsuit! So much so that my second loop was 33 minutes....a full 5-6 minutes slower than the first loop! This set up is not suited for the female pro mid pack swimmer and I wish they could just start us pros well ahead of the age groupers to keep things clean! I would gladly start at 6.30 am and keep the age groupers at 7 if we could. That half an hour cushion would make all the difference in providing a fair race. My swim one hour flat!

Onto the bike and it was drizzling. I had hoped the rain would hold off until the bottom of the downhill bit it did not. I settled in quickly and was amazed at all the people around me. The first loop of Placid is usually quite lonely but there were many age groupers around. It was easy to go to hard but I stuck to my plan and hit the power perfectly! I was well aware though that I was working for my power. A few days earlier I had had one of the best rides in a long time where my legs felt fresh and fast and the heart rates were low and power great! But now it was taking huge concentration to be where I needed to be.
Over the course of the bike I worked harder to stay where I needed but was frustrated by the way I was feeling. I glanced at my heart rates a few times and was amazed that I was riding way to high of a heart rate for the effort I was putting in.

I can tell by my face here that I was not happy!
At the halfway point I was still on target. But the second loop my watts fell drastically and my heart rate continued to creep up. After the big downhill and onto the flats I was amazed once again by the shameless drafting going on. I really believe they should just make Ironman draft legal as athletes don't seem to have a conscience anymore about doing the right thing. After getting a penalty in Ironman Brasil I felt like I gave up time in Placid because when a big train of guys would pass me I just sat up, soft peddled and told them to all just go by. I spent much of the second loop riding in the middle of the lane to let the groups go by. By the last climb into town I felt like I had no energy. I had been prepared to attack these last 15 miles and instead I just had to ride them in. Bike was still solid at 5hr 31 minutes.

The moment I started running I was not feeling good at all. My breaths were shallow and I actually stopped by coach Jesse to tell him I was not feeling so good. He yelled at me that I was 9 min back from 3rd and in a great place and to get going. So off I went! But my breathing got shallower to the point that I started coughing and then hyperventilating as I was having an asthma attack! I could not take a deep breath. This was the third time this has happened in the last few weeks. It actually happened now that I think about it in IM Los Cabos too where I had a panic attack and could not catch my breath as I was so dehydrated. A race official stopped to see if I needed help but I said no and I was going to continue. So with tears running down my face and breathing like a freight train as I could not get any air in I just started running again. I was so upset that this was happening. I ran because my legs were not failing was my lungs but if I really focused I could keep my breath shallow and just keep the pace steady.
I could not push at all but went through a few times over the marathon where I got the fire in my belly but was quickly reminded that while my legs felt ok my lungs were only going to give me so much!

To have a winning performance you need to be focused! I definitely lost my focus in the marathon. Or more so redirected my focus from wanting to have my best race in Lake Placid to just wanting to finish no matter what!  I thought of my dad alot who had gone into hospital a few days earlier who too was battling with lung issues.  I raced because I know how strong he has always been with dealing with emphasema and for him I wanted to finish!

I raced for the young girl I saw on the Mirror Lake beach the day before who looked like she had recently had her leg amputated. I admired her strength, her courage and her ability to stand on the beach smiling with her husband. Whatever she was dealt with she was up there supporting him and standing tall! I dont know her but I raced for her!
I raced for my kids! My daughter the night before had told me that I must remember that no matter where I finish she is just so proud of me for always being able to finish and she loves me no matter what place I end up with!
I finished because although my lungs were burning my legs were fit and strong!
Big thanks to Charlie Abraham for the lovely pictures!
My beautiful QR CD01 that fits and rides perfectly!
Big thanks to Joan and Sabrina my thoughtful homestay girls!

Thanks to Powerbar! This quote I read the day before kept me going on the run too!

Lake Placid was my first Ironman I ever did. 11 hours flat and my first Kona qualifier as an age grouper. I have had a 3rd, 3x5th place, a 6th place and now an 8th place finish here. My journey's have all been different and I have loved them all! Its a race I strongly recommend everyone do at least once!
Thank you Coach Jesse from Qt2 Systems, PowerBar, Quntana Roo, Normatec Recovery Boots, Zone diet, Blue Seventy, Rudy Project!

I kept going as I knew when I headed back into town I would get to see so many friends and hear so many cheers on the course that it would energize me and get me through the tough times.  For all those who cheered I am thankful for your support out there!


My girl has lyme said...

Thanks for the shout out Mrs. Gordon .. I do love reading your blog! You definitely inspire me! Thank you for including me and my sister this morning! I hope to race in ironman one day just like you! Love, Anna Jankovich

Jacqui said...

Just saw this note Anna!! You are totally welcome! Thank you for the message and I do hope I can help you get ready for an Ironman one day!!