Friday, November 28, 2008

IM Arizona 2008 Race Report

I have to start this race report with a special thanks to all of you for your support, phone calls and emails. And a very special thanks to Niki and Trav for unending support even throughout the race and to Martha Dudley for the run support and finish line support, and to Val and Stan for sharing their condo and Stan for the great cooking!!! and My husband Norm for his unending support and encouragement who could not go to IMA - and without these other folks it would have been a lonely and tough day.
Thanks to Travis for getting me race ready with his massage and stretching and Special thanks to Val for the P3 speed machine and to Bob and Anna for holding the fort at work in my absence :)

As most of you know after IMF I made the decision to race IMA 3 weeks later to try for a Kona slot. It was just not in the stars for this year. The water temp was 63 degrees and we got in the water 20 min before race start. I like to go out in the front with open water - so I was in the water at 6:40 with the first group -mainly guys and held on to a kayak and treaded water for 20 min. I knew I was cold then - had a great new wetsuit 2xu that Norm got for me at IMF and a neoprene skull cap under my swim cap. They did not allow booties or gloves. The swim was 1.2 miles down, turn under the bridge and 1.2 miles back. I knew by the time I was at the turn around that I was in trouble, I was really cold. It was worse on the way back. It is a very narrow swim course and no one can spread out so you have 2600 bodies everywhere. Every time I would pick my head up to see how much farther I would get nailed - kicked – hit, swallow water, hyperventilate and have to get going a rather long swim for me. The water was not rough except for the other 2599 people churning it up to a chop. By the time I got out of the water - the volunteer led me straight to the special med tent they had set up for hypothermia victims like me. Luckily one of my Mark Allen team mates was in the cot next to me so we snuggled up and tried to warm each other up. I have to say the guys in the tent were awesome. 6 thermal blankets wrapped around me and a huge heater with a 12 inch hose blowing under the blankets - chicken soup also. They held the soup for me as I was shaking so badly I could not even hold the cup to drink. After a bit he told me it would help to warm up if he took me out in the sun and I walked around a bit, so off we went me wrapped up like a tamale in a blanket - then back to the cot - more blankets and the heater again. I really did not want to leave that warmth, curling up for a warm nap sounded pretty inviting…. and go get on my bike. The med tent guy actually walked me still wrapped up in blankets to my swim to bike bag - then to the change tent and met me on the other side so I could keep the blanket. By then I was pretty well warmed up so the shaking on the bike wasn’t too bad. The depressing thing was that out of 2600 people in the race - there was only a VERY small portion of bags and bikes left in transition. I had two choices - go as hard as I could go on the bike and run in hopes of making up time or quit…which is not in my vocabulary…so Off I went…No computer and no HR monitor again. Niki’s advice was going until the wheels come off until you can't go any more…Norm's was race a SISU race..I kept those two thoughts I mind and tried to push all the negative thoughts away - like how far ahead of me are the girls I need to be racing…

It was a 3 loop bike and a 3 loop run so for the first two loops the Pros were passing me, other than that only a few of the younger age group guys. Joanna Zielger passed me like I was sitting still. Leanda Cave passed me on the run and Chris Lieto and I ran together for about 1 minute - he was finishing and I was starting… No drafting for me on this race - everyone I passed was slower than me and when I got passed they were much stronger. There is a very gradual 10 mile climb that we got to do 3 times into a headwind - I am guessing that I was 14-15 mph here. The last 4 miles of this climb has two steeper climbs and I was in the small chain ring for these. Oh but the downhill on the P3 was glorious..let r'rip!! Had to be close to 40 mph in places on the downhill. Several turns in the race were somewhat technical also. Off the bike to a fast T2 and off on the Run. Martha and Niki were the tag team for me with Niki giving Martha race updates from St Pete on line, so Martha would tell me on each loop where I was and if I was gaining or losing ground..It was a HUGE help. The trouble with these new compression socks is everyone is wearing them and for the most part you can’t see ages, so I just tried to pass everyone I could see. The 3 loop run had about 10 short rather steep hills - 3 x 10 = 30 hills - not good when you live in flat Florida.

Ended up in 3rd place ( was 3rd at IMF too)- beat out of first place and my Kona slot by 4 min and 31 sec and beat out of second place by 41 sec…I just needed more real estate!! My T 1 was 24.48 due to my little foray into the hypothermic zone. Niki said I made up 43 minutes.

So - I write this for 2 reasons - 1 to let you know WHY I was SOOOO LONGGG in T1 and more importantly to share with you just how important it is to STAY positive - believe in yourself and what you can accomplish and NEVER NEVER QUIT unless it is for a real medical reason. You never know what kind of day anyone else is having..give it your all - race with SISU and go until the wheels come off!!

As to Val’s race - she had a sisu race also - she raced with vertigo that she has had for several weeks now. She finished strong - # 2 IM for her. We both agree this is a much tougher race than IMF. I am VERY PROUD of her too!

And for those of you who will ask - No I am NOT disappointed in my race - I had a phenomenal race and proved to myself that I Can win. I am really only kinda disappointed in regard to the KONA slot. Kona will always be there - I will be some day I know. Friends like you all make this sport one of the best - thanks to ALL for your support! Could not do it without you..


  1. I hope that I can persevere and overcome my swim anxieties in my first IM. I read about your IMA and not sure I'm that brave.

  2. Great race report, even better race!!!

  3. You GO girl!! One TUFF lady. I'm saving this race report to read again when I need a boost.