Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ironman Florida Race Report: Bike (part 5)

Immediately after crossing the timing mat on the short turnaround stretch I made a quick stop at the portapotties which were right there. No line, but also no volunteers to hold the bikes so I had to make sure not to let the end of my Speedfil tube (the part I suck on to get my drink) touch the ground or the outside of the portapotty when I left my bike. I refilled the bottles and was on my way.

I had no idea what the time cutoffs were, other than the 5:15 bike finish cutoff. I knew there were other cutoffs and was pretty sure the earliest one was at 4pm but I couldn't remember where it was. Since my Vineman Aquabike took 9 hours, I figured I could finish the swim + bike at Florida in 9 hours too which would have me finishing the bike at 4. I hadn't planned on a flat that seemed to take forever to get resolved though! My brain was no longer capable of doing math though. I kept trying to calculate how many miles I had left and what pace I'd need to go in order to finish, but my brain kept getting distracted and thinking about all the other things that could go wrong.

Anything can happen in Ironman. I'd heard that many, many, many times. Sure I'd had a flat, but that could be the least of my worries today. I had no idea what more could go wrong, but I knew everything could still go wrong. Before my flat, I was feeling good, a little slow with all the potty stops, but good. I had no doubt I'd finish. Now I had no idea if I would even get to finish the bike.

I started thinking about my secret backup plan. If something went wrong in Florida so that I couldn't finish, I wanted to sign up for Ironman Arizona with a community fund spot. Community fund spots are the only way to register for an Ironman once the regular spots fill up (a year ahead of the race). You pay about twice as much, but half of it goes to a local charity. After a year of training, I didn't want it to go to waste, and I didn't want to wait another year to do an Ironman. Last I'd checked, there were still community fund spots available for Arizona, which was just in 2 more weeks. Yes, the swim would be cold and gross, but at least my family would probably show up. That could work. I convinced myself I would still be an Ironman this month, even if it wasn't today.

Once I realized how negative I was getting, I started thinking about all the people supporting me through the Janus Charity Challenge. I thought about my friends, family, and coworkers who had made a donation to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness on my behalf. I started at A and went through the alphabet and thought of each person and how they were supporting me today. When I got to B and pictured one of my nieces coming to cheer at Ironman Arizona, running along with high heels next to me, it made me laugh. I think my brain was starting to fry a little at this point, because I got a few letters past D before I remembered my husband Dave. I also really couldn't calculate how much time I had to make the final cutoff.

I started focusing on the mantras again. My friend's yoga chant was the one that really helped the most. I just kept repeating it over and over and over again. It got my mind off of everything else: the possibility that my tire might blow, that I might not meet the bike cutoff, or that something I couldn't even imagine could still happen to ruin my day. The yoga mantra calmed me down and helped me get into the zone. My friend was in her first day of yoga college and was sending all her good vibes to me. I really felt like she was right there with me on the bike helping push me along. Each time I said the chant, I felt like I was getting stronger and the ride was getting easier. I was going faster without much effort.

For the entire rest of the bike after I'd crossed the timing mat at mile 73, I just kept passing people, mostly women. That was a real confidence booster. I recognized a few of them, since we'd played leap frog a bit. One said she was glad to see I'd gotten my tire fixed. I saw a woman, Mona, whose age on her calf indicated she was in her 60s. I'd seen her a few times and I was really impressed with her. I told myself that there were way too many people that I was passing for me to have to worry about the time cutoffs.

I tried to get back on my nutrition plan, but it was harder to eat. The Gu Chomps still tasted good though so I kept eating those. I ate most of the gels that I had planned, but I had to force myself. I kept trying to switch flavors. I was good about taking my Endurolytes as planned, and I kept drinking my Heed. I'd missed almost a full hour of nutrition though when I was coping with the flat. I know I didn't eat as much as I should have during the last 35 miles.

It was really exciting to make the turn at mile 100 and see the bridge waiting for me to climb it. Finally I had some easy math - 12 miles left and I had plenty of time. (It probably wasn't even 3:30.) Yay I was going to finish! I passed a few more people on that highway. Everyone was pretty spread out by now.

Once I turned left onto Front Beach Rd I could feel the wind again. This stretch had been super windy during my test rides earlier in the week. It's pretty much the only place in the whole race that I noticed the wind (other than that brief moment of nearly getting blown off the bike). It wasn't anywhere near as bad as it'd been during my workouts though. Either that or I was on an adrenaline high. A volunteer told me I only had 3 miles to go, but I knew she was lying and had 5 left. Seriously why do people do that?? I saw my friend sitting on the grass by our condo and waved.

I just kept passing people. I kind of thought I should slow down and rest my legs a little to prep for the run, but I realized I was keeping a high RPM and I wasn't exerting myself more than I should've been, so I just kept passing people. I was really surprised when I got to the last half mile stretch. People were riding slowly and there was a big group of them. I wanted to pass as many people as possible so that my overall rank on the bike wouldn't be so awful, and I didn't see any safety reason that people should be riding slowly, so I just checked them off as I passed them, riding right up to the dismount line. Woohoo. I made it to T2.

FIRST BIKE SEGMENT 73 mi. (5:14:51) 13.91 mph
FINAL BIKE SEGMENT 39 mi. (2:09:54) 18.01 mph
TOTAL BIKE 112 mi. (7:24:45) 15.11 mph
Overall: 2206/2424
Division: 78/95

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Good job. I like the part about you imagining your nieces running along in their high heels. :) Fun.