Sunday, November 11, 2012

Susan Hayes' IRONMAN Florida 2012 Race Report

Early Thursday morning, we started out for PCB. The drive was uneventful. We surfed the Internet, chatting, ate and hydrated while Dale was nice enough to drive. Once we arrived in PCB Thursday afternoon, we were dropped off at Ironman Village so we could check in and pick up our packets. They gave us a really nice backpack to carry all our stuff. We walked through the IM Store, but could not buy anything because we hadn’t completed the race. Next, we found our names on the M-dot board and had someone take our pictures! Then, we were off to see if we could sneak into transition. We found our racks and then walked out to see the swim start. Once we saw everything, back to the condo we went. Our spectators suggested we walk back to get a time reference. Not that it mattered; we still ran late race morning. We didn’t plan on the extra time it would take to get to Alvin’s Island to drop of our Special Needs Bags.

Thursday night was the IMFL Welcome Dinner. They had a jumbo-tron set up so you could see the stage where the PCB Mayor and others would speak. Dinner was typical: pasta, salad, brownies and cookies. The guy that sat across the table from us had two heaping plates of food. He ate like he'd never eaten before. He was done with both plates before I finished my one. It was pretty gross to watch him; silverware was an option in his eyes. The Welcome Dinner is pretty cool. This is where all the athletes come together before the race. They share stories of athletes racing, Race statistics, the breakdown of the athletes (males, females, states, countries, profession, ages), etc. They said it was 1 female to every 10 men. Wow! We were there! Professional Triathlete, Jessica Jacobs spoke and had some great advice. They asked the biggest looser up on stage, she lost 142 pounds! That is a full person. She made the decision to get in shape while eating hot Cheetos and watching an Ironman event on TV. They also auctioned off an IM Florida sign that had been signed by all the pro athletes! The guy that bought it said IM Florida would be his very first triathlon EVER! Holy cow! Nothing like taking the big plunge.

 morning, we went for a swim. The water was in the 60's but actually didn't feel bad. Made the decision right there to go sleeveless. I reminded Sharon and Jennifer if they were cold on the swim, how to get warm quickly. They gave me a look, ‘like you are kidding me, right’. After we swam, I remember thinking... "I'm dying here, how on earth will I ever complete this race!" We walked up to the pool and chatted with some volunteers and a 14-time Ironman finisher. Then looked at our watches and decided it was time to finish getting stuff together so we could make it to bike check in on time. T1 (BIKE BAG: shoes, helmet, gloves, sports bra, cycling shorts, bike jersey, butt butter, deodorant, sun glasses and sunscreen) and T2 (RUN BAG: Tri shorts, shoes, run top deodorant, socks, hat, fuel belt, refill for the gel flask) These are the bags you grab from the swim and after the bike.

Our ride to loosen up the legs was a total of a mile to transition. It was just long enough to make sure everything work properly. Once in transition, they took photos of all the bikes as we entered. C looked great and didn’t mind getting his picture taken. Then to our racks we went to drop off our bikes and put our T1 and T2 bags in the appropriate spots. Now, we were able to see where we would come out of the water, run up the side of the hotel, and where to grab our bags and enter the hotel to change. We went over the same scenario for when we came back into transition from the bike. One of my favorite things about Ironman races: someone takes your bike; you grab your bag and head directly into the changing tents! Once we had this all set off we went to grab lunch.

Friday night, I slept 2 straight hours, and then woke up every hour until I decided to get up around 3 AM. Made my shake and ate bagel with Almond butter for breakfast, put my hydration in the appropriate bags (so I thought) and off we went to transition. Once in transition, I helped Sharon pump her tires, and noted that I was really hydrated as I REALLY needed to pee. Off to the Porta-potty I went! Opened the door, did my TP check... WHAT NO TP, you've got to be kidding me! NONE of them had or ever had TP! This is an Ironman event 14 years in the running and they did not have TP stocked and ready for race morning! You've got to be kidding me! Ok, let me see if how long I can hold it and get my bike ready to go. Sharon was at my bike by now. She pumped my tires as I added 2 Infinit bottles and realized I left my water for the Speedfil in the fridge. My rack mate said they had water tables setup and we could grab water from there. Boy did I luck out! We went around adding last minute things to our T1 (bike) bags and then into the hotel to add our stuff to our T2 (Run) bags. I was attempting to get stuff in order, when the urge to pee came back. My best training buddy said she'd make sure everything was there for me to go. Thank goodness she did, the line was starting to grow inside the hotel. By the time we got that done, we rushed back to the condo to grab our wetsuit and to do last minutes things. We looked at the clock it was 6:10. Holy cow! We still have to walk back to the race start! We poured ourselves into our wetsuits then hurried Dale and Mary along. I heard something about coffee and said ‘get it at bike out. Sorry, we were late’. Once we were down stairs and on the beach Sharon, Jennifer and I took off walking as quickly as we could. Three quarters of the way down the beach we heard the gun for the Pro-Men to start... Crap we're late! We made it to the timing arch just in time for the National Anthem. We got through it, walked to the far right were we saw Dale and Mary. Got our wetsuits on and posed for a few photo shots before heading out to the water. 

The waves appeared to be larger than us. Oh boy! What happened to the calmer water from the day before? I do have to say, us running late gave us no time to look around or get nervous. Once we walked out to the water the cannon went off and away we went. I thought to myself, swim your own swim, this is your race, and do it at your speed. Then I thought I am glad we started to the right, the combat swimming isn't too bad. About that time I got sandwiched in. Come on guys really! They kept it up, forcing me to come up with a new form of defense. Instead of high elbows, it was side elbows. It worked well.  They both gave me space.

Had a few guys try to swim over me. After kicking a few, I decided I’d better focus on swimming and not kicking them off, as I felt a cramp coming. The first turn buoy was the most fun. As we approached, everyone started swimming diagonally to it. Once around it, people wanted to swim out to sea. I had to stop a few times to let those people go ahead so they wouldn't take me with them. Guess people forgot to sight, or were counting on the swimmers next to them to guide them in the right direction. The second turn buoy was pretty uneventful. Back to the beach! I looked at my watch 33 minutes! Sweet! That was, I'm sure, my fastest 1.2 mile swim yet! Now to start the second loop. The waves were larger and stronger. Through the waves we went, diagonally out and got in line with and swam along the buoy line to the turn buoy and back in. When I reached the beach, I found some open wetsuit strippers, 3 working together. Two to pull the wetsuit off and one to keep you in place. They help you up and off you go. I remember thinking WOW! You feel great! How is that possible? You just swam 2.4+ miles. How is it you feel great! 

Off to grab my T1 bag and into the changing tent. Found a seat. Volunteers came to help. I change my clothes, put on my helmet and out I went. Had to wait for the guy to hand me my bike. I checked to make sure my tires still had air and off I went. Again I thought, this is your bike. Do it like you trained. Waited 5 -10 minutes to start hydrating on the bike hoping any issues from the salt water would settle down. Next time, I will have Pepcid on the bike. I didn't want to wait too long as I knew the bridge was around mile 11. At the top of the bridge were 5 or 6 guys in the wild underwear dancing, screaming and cheering us on.

I Probably could have lived without seeing it, but was pretty cool for them to do that taking our mind off the crappy climb we just had. Around mile 50, as we headed out to get our special needs bags, the road got pretty bumpy. Every 10 feet thump thump thump... Will this ever end! I Grabbed my special needs bag, took my 2 new Infinit bottles and my 2 new Crustables, and off I went. I was really wishing I had something crunchy, non-sweet and a Sprite. 

I thought I was going to throw up if I ate another Crustable, but I knew they would give me the energy I needed to finish. From mile 59 - 65 we had some climbing to do. Not bad, just enough to make you work a little harder. As I approached 77 on SR-20, I was watching the cop that was supposed to be stopping traffic for us. He was waving the cars on. I thought, ‘shouldn't you be stopping them’. By this time I was in the middle of the intersection. I think he got his hand signals confused for stop and go, because he smacked one of the cars that went through just in front of us. I didn't stick around to tell him it was his fault, I just kept going. I rode with my mirror, so I could see the cyclist coming up from behind and I could plan my tactics. I noticed this girl right on my butt for 4-5 miles. Finally enough was enough. I sat up, waved her on, and told her ‘draft time was over and it was time for you to work’. I don't think she was very happy with me, but really didn't care. A 7 meter distance between bikes is the rule. If I had to work so did she. Finally back to 79, in the home stretch now, headwind or not, it is just 30'ish miles. On the way out to the landfill, I was looking for Jennifer. She was about 2 miles ahead of me. I never saw Sharon. Hmm, I hope everything was ok. As I was heading back to 79, this lady was riding beside someone chatting up a storm... REALLY! I overheard her make a commit about drafting and she moved on. As she gets alongside me, she says "My husband is an official and told me to watch out because they would be looking for drafters".  I was thinking to myself REALLY! WHAT THE HECK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING... and there is an official right behind you. Are you STUPID! Once on Front Beach Rd, it was a tailwind all the way back to transition! SWEET! What a way to end the ride. Saw Dale and Mary around mile 111. It was nice to have our cheerleading squad there waiting.

sdrI remember thinking as I was heading into transition, will I be able to stand when I get off this bike... Feet are on the ground and the legs are holding me up! Nice! I grabbed my Infinit Endurance bottle and into T2 I went. I still felt AWESOME! What is wrong? How could that be? In I go and ready to change. I had two great volunteers helping me. One handed me my clothes the other filled my gel flask. As I reached for the deodorant, she says, “you don’t need that, we don’t care if you stink.” As she started to put it in my bag, I told her it wasn’t for her. I really didn’t want to smell myself. Finally dressed and off I go out for the run. About a mile into the run I felt a little cramp in my left knee. I looked at what I had and saw Pepcid AC, Sports Legs, GasX, and Imodium. So I took my sports legs and the Pepcid, drank some Infinit then ate a banana. Believe it or not the pain is gone. Around mile 4, I saw Jennifer heading back. Off to the park I went. Aid stations were every 1/2 - 1 mile on the course. Very nice! At mile 8, Dale and Mary were waiting to get photos. I unloaded some unneeded crap. A minute later, Sharon popped around the corner and I made her stop for a photo. Off I went to special needs. I left my fuel belt. I was looking forward to changing my socks as I was getting blisters. I forgot to grab my light. I really wished I had a Sprite. Looked at my watch I was on track for a 6-hour Marathon. Then off I went into the dark. Saw Sharon around mile 15 or 16. Shortly after that, my stomach decided to get really pissed off. Holy Cow really and it is dark, none of the potties have lights. I finally found one that did. Just in time. Took care of business off I went. As I got back out to the park it was dark. The generator lights stopped working. They moved some lights around. My poor stomach was still unhappy. I took the Imodium and prayed for the best. I knew by this point I was not going to make that 6-hour Marathon for a sub-14. Ok, suck it up and go.

You are still going to finish and I was very happy about that. During the run, I talked with several very nice people, spectators and volunteers. They were awesome! I could not believe I was in the final stages of completing 140.6 miles, and felt good about it. When I hit the finish shoot, I made sure I enjoyed every minute of it. I was a little disappointed the announcer did not say Susan Hayes you are an Ironman. I knew I was, but it would have been really nice to hear him say it as I crossed. 

I am thankful that somehow, I had my hydration and fuel on the mark. On the bike I had 3.5 Crustable sandwiches, 3.5 bottles of Infint Endurance, 1 quarter banana, water and an 8 oz. mixture of Napalm, honey, Sustained Energy and 6 -Sports Legs. On the run, I had 24 oz. Infinit Jet Fuel, 8 oz. mixture of Napalm, honey, Sustained Energy, 3 bananas, some soda, pretzels, chicken broth and some grapes. Also took 7 - Sports Legs, 4 - Pepcid AC, 1 - GasX and an Imodium. I believe this really helped me get through the day with minimal pain and suffering. During the Marathon, I took it in segments only 6.5 mile to the halfway, only 6.5 back to special needs. That really helped me; I probably was a little conservative on the run, having never run a Marathon before. I had no idea what to expect. I wasn't sure if I would have enough.

Once I made it to the park for the second time, I knew I was going to make it. The best part is I never had the Marathoner Dread Man thoughts. I have been doing triathlons around 4 years now. It is really hard for me to believe that the Full Ironman has been by far my best race yet. I felt strong, in control and focused and enjoyed every minute. 

Thanks to Dale, Mary and Krista and all the other spectators who traveled to see us race. It was absolutely amazing to have your support out there on the course and though out the week. It was a joy to hear your voices and see your smiling faces. Also, thank you to all the friend and family who followed us at home. I could feel all the prayers and positive vibes coming my way. Thank you!!!

IRONMAN Florida 2012 - Sharon Trepiccione

1. Pre race prep. The trip up was uneventful. We got up to PCB and got right down to business.  Got all registered.  Also went through the Expo just to see what's there.  On the way up I noticed a deep slit in my front tire that I hadn't noticed before.  I didn't pack a spare tire cause I did check over the bike before we left.  How I missed that I'll never know.  Lucky for me the Zipp tent had one tire left so I grabbed it. 
The next day was busy with a pre-race swim.  The water was calm and clear.  I thought, "oh yeah, if this is it then I'm feeling much better about that part of the race".  I felt strong in the water and very loose.  Yep.  I thought to myself that tomorrow was going to be a great day.
Once we got done with the swim we brought our gear over to the race start.  First thing was pictures of our bikes.  Guess that was for insurance or something.  But hey, P was all dressed up and shiny for the detailed wax job I gave him the day before so P was hamming it up.  I was pretty happy with my rack position.  Right up front and on the end on the main aisle side.  Oh yeah, how cool is that?  Again, I'm thinking tomorrow I'm gonna rock!
Then it was off to drop off the bike and run bags.  Nothing special.  Bike bag: helmet, glasses, headsweat, mirror, gloves, jersey, shorts, shoes, biofreeze, deodorant, bodygluide, bagel, 2 crustables, 6 endurlytes, butt butter. Endurolytes were also in my bike support bag as a "just in case".
Run bag had shoes, socks, calf sleeves, shorts, compression top, run jersey, visor, bagel, crustable, biofreeze, deordorant, bodygluide.
So with the chores done it was off to grab some lunch and make up the last minute prep (like the special needs bags) eat dinner and get some sleep.
We all went to sleep early.  I did sleep maybe a total of 3-4 hours.  I was awake at midnight and was awake for a while then fell back to sleep shortly before the alarm went off.  Once awake, I jumped right up, got dressed and made some breakfast.  Breakfast for me was a protein shake and a PB&J bagel, and some water.  I was ready to go when it was time. 
2. Race Morning.  At about 0430 we grabbed our transition bags and headed to the race start.  The walk was a good warm up and I was ready to rock.  We got there and completed all of the final preparations.  Things went smooth except for we didn't plan the extra time it took to walk to the special needs area then back to transition to the bikes, then the bags etc. Then it was the walk back to the condo.  That delayed us returning to the condo for the wetsuits. I should have set the schedule to leave earlier or leave earlier to walk over to Walmart and catch the shuttle. 
We got back to the condo, stuffed into our wetsuits.  I grabbed my two gels and a bottle of water and we headed down the beach to the start.
We were not at the start very long prior to the race start.  Heck the pro men were off and the pro women started and we just about got through the start chute.  Just enough time for some last minute pictures.  That's when I took my gel and drank all of my water. 
The water was rough.  What happened?  In less than 24 hours, the water was completely different.  What the heck?  But even with all of that, I wasn't nervous.  We walked as far to the right as we were comfortable and then "boom" the gun went off.
3.Swim. As you can see from the picture that Susan posted the water was a lot rougher than the day before. What was up with that? We started on the right side to compensate for the current. I took a while for me to get into a groove with all of the people but I got into the groove about half way up the first leg.  I tried to keep Susan in my sights but after 50 yards that was impossible.  She was fast and there were too many people. Jennifer stayed on my left until the first turn bouy on lap 1.  The swells were large enough that I really struggled to see the buoys.  But I wasn't too far off.  Before I got to the first turn buoy I was in my groove,  I lost Jennifer and figured she had already passed me.  I made the second turn and yes I was warmed up and thinking aobut how I was going to come out of the water, get my gel and drink some water.  I practiced in my head my entry and exit and visualized how well that was going to go.  I got to the beach and swam in til my hands touched.  Good.  Then I got up and started the high knee shuffle.  Just as I hit the end of the water, "bam" somebody sliced the back of my left leg with a knife!  I looked at my Garmin, 41 min.  Wow.  Not back for a nurse shark. I took my gel, got up the beach, got my water and back to the high knee entrance.  Ouch.  There is was again.  I almost turned to see who was slicing the crap out of me.  I told myself no big deal, this is the swim and it was just a one off thing.  I felt really good on the second loop.  It felt like the buoys were coming faster this time around than before.  I got closer to the swim exit I mentally practiced my exit.  I decided this time to swim in further as to save my legs.  I did.  I got so shallow I could only get to my hands and knees.  The backs of my legs were totally seized up.  I thought to myself, "get up....don't make a fool of yourself in fron of all of these people!".  I got up and started towards wet suit peeling.  1:27 something was on the Garmin.  Man!  That was a great time for me.  I was pumped.....until my legs seized up again that i almost tripped and fell....would have face planted it.  Not sure how I didn't.  Look at the swim exit picture and you can see that in the one that I'm almosted doubled over.  Yeah, that hurt.  Got to wetsuit peeling and wondered how I was going to get up and down with my legs in this shape.  Luckily my wetsuit came right off (thank goodness for suit juice...I gobbed that stuff on before the race).  I got up and followed the crowd to the showers.  There was a line and no one was moving.  I thought to myself, Hey this is a race not a healthspa.  But we all moved through efficiently.  The swim was the best part of my day, except for the finishing chute.
4. T1. Transition was  pretty straightforward. I did get some help from a volunteer. That is definitely not something I'm used to. I ran out of transition and heading down the pathway to loop around to my bike.  AS I was approaching I could see P all shiny and calling my name.  C'mon Sharon, we got a ride to do!  Lets go.  Pick me up and I'll carry you.  I unracked P and was pulling him back when I volunteer came running over apologizing for not having my bike unracked.  I told him it wasn't a big deal but he grabbed P from me and pulled him out to the aisle.  OK, no problem.  went around the rack and grabbed P and off we went to the mount point.  At the mount point I knocked off one of my bottles.  Guess my legs weren't in good shape still.

5. Bike. I was very concerned starting the bike with bad legs already. I did the rinse mouth out for the first mile or so. I was very happy that I did not give into temptation of kicking butt on the start of the bike. I started with my bagel to help absorb any saltwater that might have worked its way into my tummy. I then started on my first crustable. I did stop at the first bike water stop to pee. That worked out well since it was not crowded.
Jennifer passed me just before the bridge.  I was surprised cause I really thought I was the last one out of the water.  Great job Jennifer!
I continued to travel the course but I could not get any power or speed.  My HR was fine.  My legs, not so good.  The front of the legs started hurting and cramping too.  Oh boy.  I had gobbled up some endurolytes at the rest stop in hopes of salvaging the bike.  I thought, ok, I'll make forward progress and get myself back in centerline.
By mile 40 I knew something wasn't right. I couldn't hold my speed and it just felt bad. Everyone was passing me like I was standing still. I thought I will ride conservatively so that I can hit the run  with gusto.  I had already drank more than half of my perpetuem/endurolyte mix and more than half of my electrolyte bottle.  The crustable was gone and there wasn't much left of the bagel either.  So I thought I would try some perform and a banana.  Maybe it was the potassium I needed.  I drank some perform and had a banana section at the water stop.  Back into the aerobars I go.  About 2 miles later, here starts the burping. gets worse and deeper.  Luckily, I was near the edge and turned my head.  There goes the perform and the banana.  Nice. Well, I did feel alittle better.
I saw Susan coming back off of the bumpy road.  I say hey and hope she saw me.  She was at least 5 miles ahead of me.  Just seeing her gave me the energy to get down the road and to special needs.  Somehow I knew it would be ok. 
Special needs was nothing special.  I gobbled up the endurolytes and refreshed my bottles.  I had some crustibles and a bonk breaker.  The bonk breaker was a welcome sight cause its not sweet.  I started on that right away.  A quick pee and some chamois butter and I was in business.

So now we get back to SR 20 with the headwind and hills.  I love to climb but I stayed cool cause I was already in trouble and thought this is no time to play.  So I kept my head down and kept moving.  I was nearly done. By mile 70 something I still wasn't feeling good so I thought I would try something different.  I had a gel and some water at one of the stops.  It was one of the 3 that I had for the bike.  So a few miles down the road, here starts the burping again.  This time the incidient wasn't as bad as the first.  Nice.

I knew when I got to the landfill road that I wouldn't see Susan.  I knew by now she was 10 miles ahead of me and probably rocking it.  I thought about the last time we both were in the same spot and how she motivated me to keep going.  Instead of thinking, we go again....I'm such a weenie....I thought I am in the same spot but I'm going to do better.  I smiled to myself when I looked down at my Garmin and saw that in fact I was doing better than the first time.  Good for me. 
I knew the 4 miles back to Beachfront Road would be killer with the headwind.  Been there and already done that.  So I was prepard.  Turning down Beachfront was the tailwind.  Oh yeah baby....maybe this is my opportunity to show P and everyone else what I'm made of.  That lasted until right before I got up to the condo where Dale and Mary were waiting for a picture moment.  Then the nightmare started.  My left leg seized up so bad that I had to stop pedaling and grab hold of it.  I way go away, don't let me ride in front of them and they take a picture of me grabbing my crotch.  I prayed and the Lord stopped it just in time.  A picture moment and then the final stretch.  I asked the Lord for strength cause I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stand at the dismount point.  He answered my prayer, I got off and handed P off to a volunteer and silently apologized to him for not riding that well.  Off to the changing area I went.
6. T2. T2 was ok.  I had 2 young volunteers help me.  There were the best.  They wanted to get me out of there so fast so that I could have a good race time.  Loved it.  After I got all ready I sat there for a few minutes to collect my thoughts, say a prayer, and hope that my legs would let me stand up.  Then I got up and headed for the door.  I walked the entire transition because my upper legs were screaming and knotted up. 
7.  Run. I started to run after about 1/4 to 1/2 mile...something like that.  I asked God for the strength to make it to each water station.  The run wasn't pretty but I used my forward lean to help put one foot in front of the other.  I just kept telling myself run tall, lean from the ankes, and keep the feet moving.
I saw Jennifer on her way back on the first loop.  She told me Susan was at least 3 miles ahead of me.  She was right,  I saw Susan at mile 5 and her mile 8.  She grabbed me for a picture moment.  I didn't want to stop because I was afraid I wouldn't restart.  But I listened to her and grabbed as much energy from her as I could.
Sharon finishing strong!!
I made it to mile 7 before I had to stop to take care of a GI issue.  Once that was behind me all that was left was gas.  I took water, coke, perform, broth, pretzels, whatever I could get my hands on.  Nothing worked.  I really needed something.  I made it back to special needs.  I didn't want the crustible...yuk...sweet just wasn't what I wanted.  I was out of my perteuem and refilled by bottle at special needs.  I ate most of the crusible (Susan's voice was inside my head...."shut up and eat it....I don't care whether you want it or it!) I did and actually it helped alittle.
Susan passed me at the same spot we saw each other on the first loop.  It was good to see her again.  I grabbed more energy to get me to the turn around.  I told myself once I got to the turn around, I could do anything. I got a good second wind at mile 22. Thought about my 22 mile training run and that I felt better here than I did back then.
Mile 24 was hard I thought the road would never end. It was dark and lonely but I kept thinking about how much better the end will be. Even thought I heard Susan's name at the finish.
Finally, the finish chute.  It was what I was waiting patiently for during the last 13 hours. The finishing chute experience was worth all of the effort. The volunteers were great! They put up with me and they deserve a medal for that.


As I came down the chute I thought about all of the hard work that we put into this.  Even though it wasn't my day I was still going to finish.  I high fived everyone that had their hand out along the right side of the chute.  I raised my arms right before the finish in a victory salute but none of the cameras captured it.  Bummer.  I would love to have one of those pictures.  I stepped across the line and let out a big sigh of relief.  A volunteer asked to escort me back and I said ok.  Then I saw Susan coming up to me to put my finisher medal around my neck.  Wow.  Now that one small gester made all of the last 15 hours and 36 minutes of pain evaporate!!  That scene will forever be etched in my mind.