Vineman Full Ironman - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Guerneville, California
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 14h 58m 48s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Leading up to this race, I was under-trained, due to rib fractures in June. I also had to fly in the day before the race from a biz trip to NYC, not exactly the best thing to do going into an IM distance race.

Woke up and showered, always nice to feel fresh going into the race knowing how horribly stinky and sweaty I will be once the race starts.

This race was dedicated to my grandmother, so I wrote on my left arm "4 Gram" and on my right arm my usual Ironman motto, "Suck It". Two things for me to keep in mind all day, the love of grandmother and the ability to suck it up and keep moving forward. Kinda like playing good-cop/bad-cop.

Loaded the car and headed to the race site. Was not very hungry, just had a banana and a few bites of Pro Bar. The body marking volunteer laughed when I told her my race number was 666. Go figure :) I set up transition and headed to the water. I didn't even use the porta-potty, I was so relaxed heading into the race. Goal was just to finish.
Event warmup:

Nothing, it's an Ironman....the swim is the warm-up! I also texted Margot where my T1 spot was so she could pick up my car key and drive my car the finish for me. Thank you, girl!
  • 1h 35m 4s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 15s / 100 yards

Floated around for a few minutes and realized I had no clue where the turn-around was for the second loop. I asked 5 other women near me and none of them knew! I guess more than a few of us didn't go to the pre-race meeting.

I relaxed in the water and told myself, "today is great day to become an Ironman!" The race started and I was in the scrum of arms and legs. I got hit in the head pretty hard, saw stars for a few minutes. I thought about my grandmother and how much I wanted to finish this race in her memory. Some people had questioned my sanity for even starting this race going in under-trained....I promised myself if it got really bad, I would pull myself off the course. (My mom and brother talked about that and he told her, "mom, this is Abbie....she is finishing that race, even if she has to crawl across the finish line!")

As I swam I thought of how lucky I am to be out there and said to myself "you can't succeed without giving yourself the opportunity to fail." My swim was smooth yet slow. I stood up at the turn-around, fun to swim in shallow water. My watch said 26 minutes and change, I'm no speedster. I got passed by a bunch of people in the waves behind me, oh well.

I made it back 4 minutes faster and just followed the feet in front of me to the second loop. Started to get really bored swimming and sang songs in my head as usual. Finally saw the swim exit and wished I was a faster swimmer, ahhh a girl can dream. It was a very slow swim, but I expected that going into the race. Looked at my watch and saw I was about 6-7 minutes slower than normal, but hell at least I was out of the water!
What would you do differently?:

Get more swim training in prior to race day.
Transition 1
  • 05m 54s

I felt like I was in T1 forever! Since there are 2 transition spots here, you need to pack your stuff into a plastic bag for transport to the finish-line. My backpack didn't fit very well and I started cursing that my transition time was being eaten by fighting with a plastic bag! The girl next to me helped me, thank you! I couldn't fit my towel and wetsuit into the bag and hoped that the volunteers would take it to the finish line.

I used my ghetto arm-warmers....mens tube socks with the toes cut-off, easier to throw them away at an aid station. They were tough getting on, I wish there had been volunteers in T1, I could have used some help getting them on.

Got out of T1 and walked my bike up the hill out to the course.
What would you do differently?:

Put my back-pack in the plastic bag before I started the race, no idea why I didn't do that to begin with.....just a brain-fart!
  • 6h 37m 53s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.89 mile/hr

The day started out with zero sunlight. It was a cold ride and I was thankful for my arms-socks :) I ate 3 Shot-Blocks immediately as I was really hungry toward the end of the swim. Going into this race, my nutrition strategy was just to eat and drink when I felt like it, rather than stick to a specific feed schedule, still trying to find a happy place for my tummy during racing.

My legs were cramping almost from the start due to being wet mixing with the cool air temps. I hoped the cramps would go away as the day wore on. I got passed by some guys with their disk wheels....always remind me of the sound of jets. My goal was to ride at relaxed pace and see this as a long supported training day. One of the first signs of insanity; viewing Ironman as a "training day".

On the first loop I was feeling great! I was passing people and saying "good morning" to everyone. What can I say, I'm social person and there is no way I can go an entire day and not speak to anyone, lol. I spun on the up-hill and worked the speed, woohoo!

I passed a woman who had a "50th" ribbon on her bike and asked her if it was her bday. She told me it was last week and I wished her a happy belated. Lots of people on the course had no idea how to ride single-file or took note that it was not a closed course. One chick that was in front of me by 20 yards or so decided to pass someone and as she is passing, a car flies by her towing a boat, it was inches from hitting her! She never ever looked for oncoming traffic!

Finished the first loop feeling really good, I never looked at my watch as I really did not want to focus on time for this race. Saw Nancy and Andrew as I started the next loop. I ate my Shot Blocks and drank water, popped 2-3 Enduralytes every hour or so and ate bananas at the aid stations. I took 2 pieces of Clif Bars, bad idea, tummy was not happy about that. Thankfully I had my TUMS...I never race without them :)

The second loop went well, just stayed within my race and thought about what a great day it was. My hip-flexor started to cramp right before Chalk Hill, lovely. I got worried that I might not make the climb if it seized up, but thankfully I suffered through. The bummer of the climb was a woman with a cow-bell....she was not at the top of the climb, only at the middle of it, which was a total mind-game! Evil woman!

Powered over the hill and headed the few miles back to transition. I never looked at my watch until I got of the bike and saw I had been racing for almost 8.5 hours. Got a bit bummed thinking that i were properly trained I might have a chance to PR. Quickly killed that thought by telling myself that finishing without injury was the main goal.

What would you do differently?:

Not fracture my ribs a month out from race day! Also avoid eating any Clif Bars, that was not fun.
Transition 2
  • 04m 49s

No problem getting my bike on the rack and getting my shoes on, but I forgot to bring a towel, would have been nice to wipe them of before getting my socks on. I had left some Clif Shots there, but they were so hot from sitting in the sun I left them there. Had some armpit chafing and was bummed I did not have Vaseline. However, I noticed some on the rack 2 down from mine and I ummm...borrowed some :)

Headed out of T2 and grabbed some water and a banana.
What would you do differently?:

Bring a towel and Vaseline. I really need to read my prior race reports so I actually remember and put this into practice.
  • 6h 33m
  • 26.2 miles
  • 15m  min/mile

The run....a.k.a "Abbie's Suffer-Fest". Going into this race my longest run had been a Half-marathon at the end of May. Since the goal was just to finish, I thought I would wind up walking a lot of this marathon and I was right! Plus it had gotten warmer and this course did not have much shade and tons of hills!

Going out on the first loop, nothing felt good, so I decided just to walk for the first hour and see how I felt. I saw tons of people walking the course. Even the super-fit guys seemed like they were having a tough time. Luis came up and started chatting with me. I said, "you must be on your 2nd loop already, huh?" I was shocked when he told me he had a tough bike and was on the first loop. We walked and chatted and off he went.

At the turn I tried to run the downhills at least, by the time I finished I was only about 5-7 minutes faster by doing some running! I guess I'm a fast walker and a pretty crappy runner, no news shocker there! Along the way I saw Donato, Michelene and Todd, always nice to see familiar faces along the course. However, with the number 666, I was popular. Someone called me "the devil", lol.

I was really hot out on the run and grabbed some ice from an aid station and dumped it down my tri-top. No clue how but it must have melted once it touched my skin and I wound up with it all in my tri-shorts! So as I walked it made this funny, crunchy sound. Having an iced crotch has a very fast cooling effect!

During the second loop, I went to that dark place in my mind that always shows up in Ironman, the self-doubt and the voice that says, "quit". I looked at my arm and saw "4 Gram" and that made me want to cry, guess I should have looked at the "suck it" arm instead! AT this point I needed a hug, and thankfully Luis showed up on the course and we embraced in the middle of the course as runners passed us on both sides. Thank you Luis, you have no idea how much I needed that! I told him, "i just don't want to go back for the 3rd loop". He said, "just keep walking, you'll be fine sunshine."

Sometime after that, I started to go loopy mentally. At one of the aid stations the volunteer said "gatorade? water? pretzels? Cookies?" I said, "yes" He looked at me and said "well which do you want?" I said, "sorry, but give me a minute to think, I'm not sure what I want." He said, "I can understand why, just let me know what you decide and I will get it for you." I'm still not sure what I asked for at that stop.

Along the way I chatted with 2 people who were walking together, she was having stomach issues and I offered her my TUMS. She said, "wow, you came prepared!" I replied, "I never race Ironman without them" and handed her a roll of TUMS.

Finally out on my third loop and I knew I would finish, but blisters on my right foot really started to hurt. There was a pebble in my shoe and I sat down on one of the benches with some spectators. The woman next to me said "oh, honey is this your first Ironman? This whole thing is amazing!" I told her this was my "4th" and she said "Geez 4 of these? You are nuts!" LOL!

The sun went down and it was completely dark. I was trying to run the down-hills but could not see anything! Maybe it turned out better that way, since I never saw the hills just felt them. I got my glow-stick and hoped that it would just magically transport me to the finish line, I soooo wanted to be done! But the glow stick held no magical power, damn! Toward the end of the run, the guy next to me said, "we are going to finish! At this point, we can roll and still make the cut-off!" At that moment rolling sounded preferable to being on my feet.

At the last mile I was able to run a bit more, at least it was flat! I finally came into the last few hundred yards and the sound of the crowd made the pain go away and thoughts of my grandmother filled my mind and heart. I could hear hr voice say "Abbala (Jewish grandmother speak) I knew you could do it!" I ran down the chute, heard my name announced, took a bow, crossed the line and gladly accepted my finisher's medal. I crossed the line in just under 15 hours. Not a PR by any means, but I accomplished my goal of finishing.
What would you do differently?:

Ummm, have I mentioned not being injured a month out from racing!?
Post race
Warm down:

I got my finisher's hat and t-shirt. Picked up my clothes....thankfully my wetsuit and towel made it from the first transition.....they were duct-taped to the bag, lol! Changed into flip-flop pronto an ate a piece of grilled chicken and chicken noodle soup.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of training leading up to race day and maybe I pushed a bit too hard on the bike.

Event comments:

Vineman is a beautiful course, but damn that run course is a bitch! I'm glad that I finished, but I think I will stick to the 70.3 on this course. Being an Ironman distance event, it would have been great to have volunteers in transition to help.

Thank you to all of you that follow my training and continue to offer words of encouragement. My injury in June sidelined my training as well as my spirits, I am so grateful to have finished this race.

As with every race, I learn more about myself and what my body can accomplish if I put my mind to it. So many people ask me "why do you race Ironman?" My response, "there are many things you can lose in life; spouse, home, job, the list is endless as there are so many thing outside of our control. However, my Ironman finishes are something that will always be mine. It forces you to find strength when you feel you have nothing else to give."

Back to training, I'm racing Ironman again in 6 weeks :) "4-time Ironman" sounds great but "5-time Ironman" has an even sweeter ring to it.

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Last updated: 2010-01-25 12:00 AM
01:35:04 | 4224 yards | 02m 15s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Suit: Sleeveless
Course: 2 loops
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:54
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
06:37:53 | 112 miles | 16.89 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: 2 loops and hilly
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:49
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
06:33:00 | 26.2 miles | 15m  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4