MONICA
37 years old
freelance photographer
running coach
Sunny Southern Cali, US of A

NO AUTOGRAPHS, PLEASE.
JUST TAKE THE BUTTON...





CHI RUNNING
by Danny Dreyer

GOING LONG
by Joe Friel
& Gordon Byrn

THE PALEO DIET FOR ATHLETES
by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel

KILLING YOURSELF TO LIVE:
85% OF TRUE STORY

by Chuck Klosterman

WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING
by Haruki Murakami

HAVEN'T HAD CABLE SINCE THE MOVE SIX MONTHS AGO. NOW I HAVE THAT DIGITAL BOX THAT I GOT FREE WITH THE GOVERNMENT VOUCHER. I'M HOOKED ON THE FREE USN CHANNEL (NBC) THAT PLAYS OLD KONA SPECIALS FROM YEARS PAST!!!

THEN OF COURSE FOR THE HOURS I SPEND ON THE TRAINER...


MY O.G. IPOD SHUFFLE



2009
2/1/09 Surf City Run HALF MARATHON
2/8/09 Chinatown Firecracker Run 5k and 10k
2/14/09 Tour de Palm Springs 55 MILE RIDE
3/14/09 Pasadena Triathlon REVERSE POOL SPRINT
4/4/09 Oceanside 70.3 HALF IRONMAN
5/3/09 Cinco de Mayo Run for the Cure HALF MARATHON
8/1/09 Vineman Full FULL IRONMAN
11/1/09 New York Marathon MARATHON
2008
2/3/08 Surf City Run HALF MARATHON
2/9/08 Tour de Palm Springs CENTURY RIDE
2/10/08 Chinatown Firecracker Run 5k and 10k
3/08/08 Pasadena Triathlon REVERSE POOL SPRINT
4/19/08 Rage in the Sage HALF IRONMAN
5/25/08 IM Brasil FULL IRONMAN
140.6 BABY!!!
7/20/08 Strawberry Fields Triathlon OLYMPIC
2007
2/4/07 Pacific Shoreline HALF MARATHON
3/31/07 Oceanside 70.3 HALF IRONMAN
6/3/07 Danskin All Ladies Tri SPRINT
6/24/07 Breath of Life Tri OLYMPIC
7/12/07 Playa Del Run #2 AQUATHLON
7/22/07 Vineman 70.3 HALF IRONMAN
8/9/07 Playa Del Run #3 AQUATHLON
8/19/07 Hansen Dam Tri SPRINT
10/7/07 People Powered Ride METRIC CENTURY FUN RIDE
11/4/07 New York Marathon MARATHON

ALLEZ
BOLDER
DC RAINMAKER
DECAF PLEASE
DYING WATER BUFFALO
FE-Lady
GREYHOUND
IM ABLE
IRON DEAN
IRON JASON
IRON MOM JENNY
IRON POL
IRON WIL
KONA SHELLEY
Lance NotStrong
LITTLE MISS RUNNERS PANTS
LOCKED AND LOADED...
NEOPRENE WEDGIE
NEWBIE TRIATHLETE 2007
OBRATS
SPANDEX KING
SPOKANE AL
Steve in a Speedo?! Gross!!
TEA
TriFAThlete
TRI GEEK KAHUNA
triSARAtops


www.flickr.com
This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called danskin all ladies triathlon '07. Make your own badge here.








  

  





Sunday, April 20, 2008

WEEKEND RECAP: RAGE IN THE SAGE HALF IM
OR
HOW I PISSED MYSELF (TWICE) AND LIVED TO TELL

well well well. where do i start? first, let me state for the record that this race was not my first choice. i got locked outta Oceanside 70.3 as it sold out in record time. then i panicked. i could not have IM Brasil be MY FIRST TRI OF THE SEASON!!! but even in sunny SoCal and the Southwest region for that matter, there aren't that many early season HIMS to choose from. before Rage announced that they were offering a new half iron distance, i googled and could only come up with Australia, Chile, and something somewhere outside of Fort Worth, Texas that may as well have been Mars. with everything i'm spending to get to Brasil, i couldn't travel that far for a warm up race. then i searched a little bit more and almost signed up for the Napa Vintage Half. 8 hour drive, and a cheap hotel might be doable. plus, BOLDER would be there!! i was waiting to hear from a friend who had done it, and in the meantime, Rage announced their new distance. SUUWEEEET!!!! only a 4 hour drive to Vegas AND i have family to stay with there. yeah, that all sounds great until gas prices went up so friggin' sky high AND said family were leaving on vacation and had already planned to have other family stay while they were gone. but then another uncle pulled through and hooked me up at the MOST POSH HOTEL. still though, i got reamed so bad at the pump (ok, that didn't come out right) that i'd a picked anyone up off the side of the road if they were willing to throw down some bucks towards my tank (that didn't come out right either)!!!

after a 60 mile ride on thursday with 6 hill repeats of 8-10 minutes, i realized i wasn't gonna make the 2 o'clock departure time, so at that point, i had to stall and ride out the rush hour(s) of traffic, waiting until 9pm to finally hit the road. rolled into Posh Hotel at about 1:30 in the morning with no plans but to sleep in and find my way to the nearest YMCA the next morning and knock out a golf swim, then make my way to the expo when it opened at 2pm, then drive the bike course. i've come to learn that i do much better if i at least survey the bike course ahead of time, ya know, get any surprises outta the way. turns out i shoulda also surveyed the run course, but i'll get to that later...

so in my near sleep state as i was unloading my car of all tri crap at the Posh Hotel lobby, i asked the bellman if by any chance the pool was big enough to do laps in. low and behold it turns out that Posh Hotel HAD A SEPARATE LAP POOL IN THE SPA AREA. NICE!!! so i slept in 'til 10am. for the record, i cannot recall when i last slept in until this mortal hour of 10am. it was pure luxury. walked down to the pool area and here's where everyone else was hangin' out...


not a lap pool

yeah, i spent about as much time as it took to take this picture in the pool/lounge area the entire stay. still though, check out where i got to knock out my laps...


a little shy of 25 yds.

the staff said it was a 25 yard pool, but i knew that couldn't be right when it only took me about 13 strokes to get across it. they were right though. it was a 25 yard pool, but you see that posh donut hole of a sculpture that some posh architect thought would be cool to put right in the middle?? yeah, so if i swam AROUND that and through the small sliver to either side, well that's were the full 25 yards and my extra 2 strokes would be. um, yeah, i can just see it now. i scrape my face all up or, god forbid, bang the already tenuous frozen shoulder up. fuck it, 13 strokes will have to do. the peeps you see on the side there were clearly trying to have a peaceful tanning/reading sesh away from the beach blanket rave goin' on across the way, so i was very conscious to swim on the right side so as to not splash them or their laptop. but when it became abundantly clear that i was gonna be there a while, they kept mad doggin' me.

IT'S A LAP POOL. I'M DOIN' LAPS. I'M GONNA BE HERE AT LEAST AN HOUR.

DEAL.WITH.IT.

after my swim session, i went upstairs and showered and hit the Whole Foods for lunch and to stock up on all things Paleo (more on that soon) and clean carby for my pre-race breakfast and post-race pig out. then it was off to the expo...


a casino parking lot filled with crap i don't need

it was all pretty standard: i.d. and USAT card please, confirm all the info is correct, here's your goody bag, what size shirt do you want?, sorry we're out of smalls, but here's a XXXL, you can add it to your other race nightgowns, your wave starts at 6:10am, take a look at the course maps over there, get numbered over there, no you don't have to get numbered now, but do it yourself cuz we're not numbering tomorrow morning, HOLD UP A MINUTE....

6:10am

6:10AM

SONOFABITCH!!!

i don't think i've ever raced a triathlon that started so early. i'd have to survey the bike course and head straight to bed to get my 8 hours in, but ya know that didn't happen...


a finish line or a mirage??

made it out to Lake Mead where i ran into fellow LA Tri Club member, Jan Schmitt, who was racing his first HIM. we surveyed the finish area as we discussed the strategy for the hills. i told him that for the rollers, if he got a good top speed on the downhill, he could get halfway up the next roller before he'd have to start pedaling again. he thanked me, and then we went our separate ways. i headed down to look at the water.... um, yeah, maybe these pics shoulda been the first indication of the conditions to come the next day...


the transition chute sponsor banners fly horizontal


dust storm anyone??

now none of this had come as a surprise. i always check the weather leading into race week. then i start checking it hourly to see if it's changed at all. it didn't and pretty much held on with these numbers:

85 DEGREES

25 MPH WINDS

SONOFABITCH!!!

then i headed out to survey the bike course. i wanted to know every twist and turn and possible "eat-shit" dip in the road. i decided to drive it with a little attitude, so i grabbed for the ipod and put on R.L. Burnside. oh yeah, nothin' like some Mississippi Delta Juke Joint Blues to make you feel like YOU.OWN.IT.

i got a ass pocket o' whiskey
and a front pocket o' gin
if you don't open this door
i'll kick the motherfucker in...

nuff said, thanks for the inspiration, R.L.

the light was getting low and golden, so i snapped these. i wanted something to help remember the scenery since I'D BE FLYIN' BY IT THE NEXT MORNING!!!




look at the rich red soil!!



the long and winding road..


i've said it before, i'll say it again, the desert is a magical place!!!

my mom surprised me and flew in to watch me race since she can't be in Brasil. i love love love her that she did this, but in all honesty, it kinda messed with my mojo. i was getting grumpy trying to change out my wheels to my race tires, and i still needed to mix my food up for the next day, and i really wanted to be in bed by 9:00. she didn't get in from the airport 'til about 8:30 and we waited too late to eat. after dinner, i still had to lay everything out, and that kept me up 'til about 11:00 with the alarm set for 3:30. 4.5 hours would just have to be enough...

next morning i woke up with no problem, but my mom was taking her sweet time. she was still putting on makeup when i was ready to go. i told her i was leaving and she could either do her makeup in my car or stay behind and drive herself, but I.WAS. LEAVING.NOW. needless to say, she put her makeup on while we waited the 20 minutes for the race directors to open the parking lot. and don't think i'm the only punctual nerd on race day. there were at least 8 cars ahead of me. DOH!!!! i made a beeline for the transition area with my bike. didn't even take the time to put the front wheel on, just ran with the frame and put it on the first spot on the designated rack, then walked back to the car for the rest of my crap.


me 'n moms

at this point, i don't know what came over me, but i just took my sweet time, asking someone to take a pic of me and moms, chalking up the aisle for all the ladies on our rack, eating MORE breakfast, then a good luck poop, and then OH SNAP!! 10 minutes to go, i don't have my wetsuit or sunscreen on, i haven't rubberbanded my shoes to my bike OR set up my aero drink bottle. just then, Krista, aka Tri-DogMom, spotted me and came over to say hi. she was racing the Oly and her hubby, Shane, was also racing the Half. Krista, if you're reading this, I'M SO SORRY I WAS IN SUCH A RUSH AND DIDN'T GET TO TALK!!!

THE SWIM



who's cold?? i'm not cold!!

the swim was a mass start of everyone, male and female, doing the Half distance. i had taken a look at the participant roster that listed roughly 130 people doing the Half (only 20 women!), but unless about 50 people were running later than me to get to the water, it was a way smaller field than that. i ran into Krista's husband, Shane, just as i was putting on my cap and getting into the water to warm up. funny, everyone kept freaking out about how cold the water was, but i musta been used to it. the water temps were supposedly somewhere around 61 degrees, and i've been swimming in 57-59 here in the Pacific Ocean for over a month now!! the swim got off to a late start which had me bobbing in the water a little longer than i prefer, but i got a chance to chat with fellow LA Tri Clubber, Alan Morelli. the guy is so fast, insanely fast swimmer (first outta the water in 33:55.5 including t1!), and eventually placed 7th overall at age 47!! he was super calm and we talked about Brasil. he hasn't raced it, but his training partner and tri studette, Claudia Campos, has nothing but great things to say about it.

once we got going, i warmed up pretty quickly. as usual, i felt restricted in my wetsuit, like i'm getting an extra weight workout to the upper arms from the constriction of the rubber sleeves. once i got used to that, i got into a groove. my only goal in the swim was to swim as fast as my form would stay good. i kept focusing on the notes i'd gotten at my last Triathletix video session last year with Ian Murray: 1. wider entry of the arms. upon entry, i tend to slide my arms dead center down the front of my face which looks good, but it doesn't allow for a very steep and deep catch. 2. steep and deep catch. shoulder above elbow, elbow above wrist, wrist above fingers. this allows for the deepest and most successful catch through the water. 3. quicker breath to the side. i tend to take a long glide to breath, with my face turning up to the sky and almost looking behind me which then causes my left arm in particular to drop its good catch form. now i just barely lift my face out to the side with the goal of just one eye out of the water (i envision an alligator), quick deep breath, and then back to the catch arm. and lastly, i wanted to hone in my sighting skills. the buoys were bright ass orange and green, so it made it pretty easy. my goal was to not stop to breast stroke so much to sight, but to take my gaze forward on a breath and sighttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifht the buoys. if i found myself losing concentration out there, i'd just check in with all my points: wider entry, steep and deep, breathing with one eye outta the water, sight that buoy and KEEP MOVING!!! without saying what my time goal is for IM Brasil, mostly because COACH won't even have the discussion with me yet, i did have a goal time of 38 minutes for the Rage swim. came in at 40 and some change. so sue me...

THE BIKE

up to t1 and i already felt like i had to pee, yet i ran past an entire row of porta potties. i have no idea what my issue was with the porta potties, but i just didn't wanna stop, like i was racing or something!!! it wasn't a very long run to my bike, but the run to the bike mount line was at least 80 yards away and on an incline of slightly rocky asphalt. i didn't wanna wear socks for the bike, and i didn't wanna crush my calves by running uphill in my cleats, and I DIDN'T WANNA WALK, so my only option was to rinse off my feet at the rack and run barefoot with my shoes clipped onto the pedals and rubberbanded to stay in place. funny, they recently showed Andy Potts doing this on race morning during the tv coverage of the Clearwater 70.3 World Championships! i didn't pick up much debris on my feet to the mount line and i was off...

ok, let me pause for a second here and state again for the record that I LOVE MY MOM, and i was so happy to have someone there cheering just for me as that is not usually the case. i handed off my camera to her, set up up for what the lighting conditions would be most of the day, showed her how to use the pop-up flash, showed her how to zoom the lens, and asked her to try to catch as many LA Tri peeps that she could as i do at races. howevah, it was made abundantly clear that I DID NOT GET THE PHOTO GENE FROM MY MOTHER. as evidenced in this picture...


huh??

god love her, but what was she seeing here?? i know, i know, i gotta cut her some slack. i take for granted that i'm able to watch and see things occur through a lens, but my mom musta been overwhelmed with wanting to both watch the action and try to actually take pictures at the same time. so i get this picture, but what my mom was observing about her genius child at that instant was that i ran around all the cluster fuck at the mount line and didn't mount for another 10-15 yards. hey, nobody says you HAVE to mount your bike right after the line, just as long as you're past the line. same thing with coming in. if i ever get a flat in the last half mile of a race, i'm not changing the tire. if i weigh my options, the fastest i can change a tire is about 5 minutes, and under the duress of race conditions, perhaps longer, or i can run in with the bike. fuck it. i'm running it in. the rules don't say you have to have two working tires or that you have to be ON your bike when you come back to t2. you just have to come across the line WITH your bike. food for thought. ok, i digress...

my bike was set in a small gear to spin up the half mile driveway to the main highway. this gave me a chance to catch my breath and get my feet in my shoes. then up on the highway, and IT.WAS.ON. my goals on the bike were simple: maintain between 85-90 rpm, eat on the 15's, salt on the 30's and HAVE SOMETHING LEFT FOR THE RUN!!! i purposely set my computer to only display duration, heart rate, and cadence. didn't wanna even think about speed. it wasn't too hot or windy yet, so i needed to hustle before it picked up. my hamstrings felt a little tight, maybe from the cold water temps and that i didn't really get a warm up run in, so i really had to focus on spinning at 90 rpm 'til my hammies felt normal again. the rollers began, and i was havin' a blast. keepin' my cadence high and spinning the uphills and then FLYING LIKE A BAT OUTTA HELL on the downhill!!! this gave me the speed to not really have to pedal 'til about a good 3rd of the way up the next uphill. and so this continued 'til we got to the first major turn where the olympic distance peeps turned around, but we turned right and kept going. after the turn came a ginormous downhill. i pedaled 'til my cadence hit 110 and i had no more resistance in the pedals and then i just let it all fly. all i could think was, "oh my god, this is so fun, but this is gonna suck balls to have to come back up. SAVE SOME FOR THE WAY BACK, GIRL!!"

i cat and moused with one skinny bitch for a while. she would fly past me on the uphills, and i would fly past her on the downhills and the flats.

SB: "wow, ok so i guess you like to go downhill."

me: "honey, i'm a big-boned black girl. that's about all i can do on this bike. plus, you're not in my age group, so it's ok if you pass me, but see that guy up there?? he's younger than both of us, and he's burning out quick, so LET'S GO GET HIM!!!"

she laughed and then we attacked. this poor 27 year old guy was just mashing uphill, and you could tell he was pissed that he was getting chicked out on this course. i really don't like to mess with people on race day, but this musta been his first half, cuz we were way too far back in the pack for him to be mashing and huffing and puffing the way he was. he clearly didn't know howhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif to conserve, and he'd be lucky if he had any legs left for the run. i even found myself getting too competitive with skinny bitch and had to let her pass as i slowed for my next feeding. i passed just about every aid station. didn't need anything really. i had all my Perpetuem mixed into two gel flasks, an extra pack of Luna Moons, my aero bottle and two more bottles filled with Gatorade Endurance and Carbo Pro, and another bottle filled with plain water. if i found it to be so hot that i drank more than i brought, i'd grab for the Gatorade at an aid Station, but so far i was cool. made it to the turnarouhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifnd without incident, but i was starting to feel the wind. heading up the next significant hill climb, i realize my break was rubbing. great!! how long was it like this?? no worries, adjust it and move on.

in passing every aid station, i passed every porta potty too, and there was really no opportunity to pull over on the road and pee behind anything. it was bad enough that i was wearing my thinner tri shorts. and for the record, Coach Liz, Momo, and , you all must have HooHaas of Iron, cuz there's no friggin' way i'm wearin' my tri shorts on the bike for Ironman. nope. not gonna do it. no amount of Aquaphor or Chammy Butter is gonna help either. I NEED ALL THE PADDING!!! but for this shorter distance i thought i'd be fine in them. that's what i've worn for all the other HIMS i've done. but between the light tri shorts padding and the weight of my full bladder, i couldn't take it anymore. still though, i didn't want to stop and get off my bike and go in a porta potty. i wasn't even racing this thing. what was my problem?? next thing i know, before i can even pass the next porta potty, i musta not been paying attention to my gearing and my chain slipped. had to get off the bike anyway, but there was a large bank to the side of the road. no place to go and hide to pee. i couldn't hold it anymore. nobody coming in either direction, so i just held on to the saddle with one hand and the bullhorns with the other and squatted down to pee. i was right on the side of the road, so i couldn't even pull down my shorts. just had to let it all out down the sides of my legs and into my shoes. just then some young looking guy came by. it was a slight incline, so he wasn't flying.

young looking guy: "you alright?"

me: "yeah, just needed a pit stop"

ylg (realizing now what exactly was going on): "OOOOOOOOOH........"

so there you have it. another right of passage. i pissed myself. as gross as it was, I FELT SO MUCH BETTER!!! used my bottle of plain water to rinse everything off as best i could, and i was back in business.

made it back to the killer climb i was anticipating and low and behold, i kept a good spin going and even passed some peeps. i came up on this 52 year old lady who had passed me a few miles earlier...

me: "hey, this climb isn't so bad after all. we're gettin' up it just fine!!"

52 year old lady: "yeah, well the worst is yet to come..."

me(to myself): "way to keep it positive you old bag..."

me: "don't we turn right at the top?"

old bag: "yep, we still don't get to head home yet..."

me: "yeah, but it's only to that toll booth and then we turn around"

ob: "yeah, and then the worst is yet to come"

me: "wait, i see two people turning left heading back, and there goes another one, and there's a volunteer directing them"

ob: "can't be. the map says we're supposed to turn right to the toll booth"

me: "and there's an arrow also pointing to the left. guess they changed something about the course."

ob: " i hate when they change stuff on race day!!"

me(to myself):
"i hate negative old bags.."

me: "who votes for turning left??"

sure enough there was the 27 year old guy who'd mashed to pass me way before the turn around. he was toast now and gave a big resounding "hear! hear!!" voting to go left with me. old bag followed and fell behind as did the 27 year old guy, but soon we hit the wind, and old bag passed me up one last time, never to be seen again, or so i thought...

the wind caught me good, and even though i was letting it all fly on the downhills, i curiously switched my computer to show speed for a second, and it read 16mph. my bike immediately felt like two pieces. my front end where i tried to hold a little weight and keep from blowing over and then the back end with my Hed3 race wheel which felt like a sailboat rudder switching directions all over the road. i would pick up some speed and then the wind would catch my back wheel, but if i relaxed and just went with it, it felt like the back of my bike was turned while the front was headed straight still. weird sensation, but kinda fun to navigate!!

the last incline was about 8% and the wind was still whipping pretty fiercely, but i still felt good, my nutrition felt spot on, and i just needed to chug up to the turnaround and then it would be a downhill, wind-at-my-back last two miles to t2. still heading up, there went old bag on the other side heading back down. i could care less about catching up with her. after the turn around, it was TIME TO FLY AGAIN!!! oh man, i love fast descents!!! i just tucked and wooo hoooed all the way down. just before the turn off of the highway, i started to come out and on top of my shoes. there was my mom, cheering me on as i entered the park area. i could barely look over and smile, but i was soooo happy she was still there and hoping she was taking care of herself too, hydrating and keeping her blood sugar level (she's diabetic).


INCOMING!!!

back into transition and all the other bikes were already on the rack save for one. i could care less. i wasn't racing this thing. it was a long training day, and most importantly, i wanted to get through it without incident or injury. fellow LA Tri Clubber Chris Rosien had finished the Oly and stopped to cheer me on while i racked my bike and changed into my shoes. i felt like i was last and taking forever with all the shorter distance peeps already walking their bikes to their cars...

THE RUN

again, i wished i coulda surveyed the run course before hand, but that woulda been impossible as IT WAS ALL TRAILS and not very well advertised as such. the first mile was an uphill for about a 3rd of a mile out of the beach area. just as i was about to make the turn up onto the first flat section, i could hear them announce the male winner of the Half. wow, that's lightnin' fast in these conditions. legs felt a little wobbly so i decided on a very conservative 4:1 run walk until i could get them back to a good stride. first mile clocked in at 11:15. kinda slow, but again, an uphill and that's probably about where i'll be for Ironman, so all good practice. the slower stragglers from the Oly were still heading back as well. one poor kid looked dazed and was diminished to a slow shuffle. i passed him just as we got to what i'd like to refer to from here on out as "the turn up into hell." at the aid station just before the turn, i caught up with the old bag..

ob: "hey you caught me."

me: "yeah, well i'm a runner more than a cyclist."

she took off towards the turn up into hell but i stalled with pouring water all over me to give me some cooling relief. the dazed kid was asking the volunteers if he was still on the Oly course as he had mistakenly followed the better part of the Half Iron bike course before he realized he'd gone too far. really?? think after 2 hours maybe you missed something? so we headed into hell and he drifted behind me. when i say hell, i imagine hell to be a washed out gully filled with big rocks and uneven surfaces every inch of a 2 MILE UPHILL. add to that about 4 inches of hot, red sand, and yeah, i think that's what hell probably looks like. and i ran it (sorta kinda). at this point i woulda had my legs back to a good stride, but the uneven footing and the rocks coming up through the soles of my shoes were killing me. at one point i nearly rolled my ankle trying to hop from one section to another and i had to slow it down. it just wasn't wort it to sprain my ankle a month out from Ironman. so i took it down to a 30:30 ratio all the way up hell. i watched the old bag drift further and further away as she kept turning around to see if i was attacking. go on, old bag, YOU roll YOUR ankle, but at your age, your bones will take longer to heal!!! i noticed that the mile markers no longer indicated the Oly course so i turned around and yelled to the dazed kid that he'd now also ran too far. he looked mortified. imagine coming out to do your first olympic distance tri and doing juts about a Half Ironman instead?? the fast guys were flying back down past me to the finish line. then i saw a guy from the Outlaws nearly eat it. he kinda stumbled but caught himself before he totally ate shit.

me: "yo ok??"

outlaw: "yeah, i'm fine, but this course is crazy!!"

me: "please tell me it levels out."

outlaw: "yeah it does but not for another mile and a half or so."

me: "did we sign up for Xterra by mistake?"

outlaw: "hey, i've done Xterra before. this is way worse..."

me: "greeeeeeat..."


at the top of hell was another aid station and once again, the old bag...

ob: "you caught me again!!! i saw you walking!! how'd you catch me??"

me: "for one. i'm not trying to catch you. for two, i'm a runner. i know how to pace myself. i know when to hold back and when i can turn it on."

ob: "yeah. i can't turn it on at all on these trails. if i'd a known it was gonna be trails, i'd never have signed up. these trails are miserable, just miserable..."

i start to pour more water on my head and on my top and down my back trying to avoid my shoes

ob: "you know, you oughta get some of these cooling sleeves by Orca, there the best. really, they help so much to cool you off. you should get some..."

me(to myself): "really?? now you're gonna be my mom?? SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE LADY!!!!"

at this point i had to either let her go or turn it on and get out ahead of her. i cold not stand one more minute of her complaining and bossing me around, so i chose the latter. turns out she was just the motivation i needed to find my legs again and pick it up. the trails flattened out and now we were running along a more smooth section called The Railroad Trail that was constructed to facilitate the building of Hoover Dam with gorgeous views of lake Mead below and all the sailboats out. then came the 5 tunnels, these dramatic tunnels cut into the mountainside, our only shade the whole day. at every aid station, i stopped to pour more water on me, and the bag would catch up every time all the way to the turnaround. finally i just skipped one to gain a little distance on her and also skipped my walk breaks and instead ran the majority of the way back. then i got to a tunnel and i asked a lady who was just on a leisurely hike if she'd do me a favor an look behind me to see if there was a woman in blue wearing some ridiculous white sleeves. she said no, there was nobody behind me, so i stopped and soaked up the shade of the tunnel and then picked it up again. felt strong coming back. ain't it crazy how you always feel strong when you're on the way home?? at the lsat tunnel i saw the 27 year old guy STILL ON HIS WAY OUT. i gave him a high five and told him to hang in there, that there was no more uphill (kinda sorta). and then..

oh man, i gotta pee again. i cannot stop for the porta potties and let the old bag catch up with me. there's just 4 miles left. i think i can hold it...

i run a few more yards..

dammit, i can't hold it. so i looked for the largest sage bush i could find and just squatted down and let it all go. again, no time to let my shorts down. it just went all down my leg. at the next aid station i took about 10 cups of water and poured it all down my nether regions. it felt awkwardly good, and i was ready to make the turn back down into hell. this time going downhill felt easier, but i still took it easy, not wanting to fall or roll an ankle. at the bottom the volunteer kids were asking ME how many people were out on the course. maybe 10 or 12 i thought.

coming up on the last big hill before the finish, i caught up with Jan Schmitt, and he wasn't doing too good. i'd come out of the water before him but then he passed me at about mile 30 on the bike. he's fit and fast, so i thought that'd be the last time i'd see him. this was his first half, a brutal one for your first i thought.

Jan: "than you so much for your advice on how to tackle the hills on the bike. it really helped me, but it was still a very tough day today!!! i've been talking to myself for the last mile, and i'm kind of out of it. in fact, i think you might not be real. i might be dreaming..."

me: "no, Jan, i'm real. i'm here, and it is definitely a tough day. in fact, i'll walk up this last hill with you. hey look, there's the mile 11 sign!!! 2 miles left. we know how to run 2 miles don't we??"

Jan: "we sure do. you're my angel!!"

at the top of the last incline we reached another aid station where yet another woman asked ME how many people were still out on the course. with 2 hours still to go 'til the cutoff and nobody heading outbound on the course, it was a little disconcerting to have so many volunteers express their impatience while i was trying to finish a race. hey, it's a long day out there for me AND you, so HTFU and hang on 'til the end. you got plenty of water and snacks here. what's your damage??

i said farewell to Jan, told him to pour some water on himself to cool off and then took off for the last 2 miles. still no sign of the old bag. maybe she got sucked up by her Orca cooling sleeves??? the last two miles i felt strong, had a nice turnover going, and was READY TO BE DONE!!!! i looked back one last time and saw Jan behind me and the old bag gaining on him. i motioned with my arm to "come on and let's finish this!!!" there was my mom with the camera waiting at the line. the announcer said i looked strong and there was plenty of food still here for me. take a look at my expression when he said "food"...


did you say FOOD??


the final stretch!!!

crossed the line, grabbed for a water and a slice of pizza and then turned around to watch Jan come in just a little over a minute after me. he was so happy and excited to be done!!! then i waited for the old bag. i figured i should thank her for forcing me to pick it up. of course there was a complaint...

ob: "i got lost out there. i made a wrong turn. i think i did an extra mile or mile and a half..."

still complaining?? some people will never learn...


it's not a dream, Jan, we're done!!!

all in all, i am thrilled with my performance. it was my slowest HIM of the 4 that i've raced, but none of those courses and conditions could compare to what we did out there on saturday. all that considered, i feel strong, i hit all my goals of swim form, nutrition, and being able to run it in. i figure that the Brasil course won't be nearly as challenging in terrain or hills, just A MUCH LONGER DAY. and hey, if i happen to run into any complainers out there, hopefully they'll complain in Portuguese and it'll all sound like poetry to me!!!

SHOE UPDATE:

so check it out. i was planning on using my same shoes i raced in at Im Brasil. i've been on the fence about whether to get new ones, but these aren't too old, and the window to break in new ones to where i like them is pretty much closed. but after the piss and the dirt, they were pretty wrecked. truth is i'm also really broke. there's still so much money to spend before i even get to Brasil, i just can't bring myself to buy another pair of shoes. so back the the Posh Hotel, i tries to wash them out as best i could. what'd ya think??





before
after
nothin' a little hotel shampoo can't fix. fit for an Ironman, wouldn't ya say??

11 Comments:

Blogger momo said...

monica. crap - there are so many things i want to comment on, i'd write a novel here if i tried to comment on everything.

suffice to say - great race report, girl!! and a great race by the sounds of it - that course is definitely brutal.

i bought a pair of those stupid wing things. i wore them once, the bugged the heck out of me and now they're in my drawer. along with a hundred other things i'll never use or wear but sounded good at the time.

oh, and it was really nice that your mom came out to watch you race. :-)

April 22, 2008 at 5:51 PM

 
Blogger CoachLiz said...

Hey,

Congratulations on a hot, hard race! My buddy Johnny Tri was out there on that course for the full 8 hours, so yes, there were people still out there.

Yeah, you can pee in the tri shorts but you better not do it in the bike shorts, lol. Those chamois are like a sponge.

Good clean up job on the shoes! I am getting excited for your IMB race report. It won't be long!

April 22, 2008 at 8:21 PM

 
Blogger Spokane Al said...

Good job on a tough race.

Good - your discription of swimming while envisioning an alligator - I will remember that one.

Not so good - referring to a 52 year old woman as "an old bag." This troubles this 57 year old man a bit and he wonders how you would discribe him.

It sounds like you are getting primed and prepped for your upcoming IM. You will rock!

April 22, 2008 at 9:48 PM

 
Blogger CVSURF said...

Great job on the race report. The race sounded tough but you did a great job. IMBrazil here you come. Your prepared and fit. Look out complainers!

April 22, 2008 at 9:54 PM

 
Blogger Bolder said...

great race, great report.

one step closer to Iron.

April 23, 2008 at 8:28 AM

 
Blogger Tea said...

OMG! I laughed so HARD!

Did you ever see ob finish?

Congrats on a great race! You are tough as nails!

April 23, 2008 at 1:36 PM

 
Blogger Kathy said...

Well done Iron Monica - sounded bloody tough!!!! IM Brazil is gonna be AWESUM..

The clean up on the shoes looks pretty damn good to me... so did the Hotel - niiiice

April 23, 2008 at 2:39 PM

 
Blogger Rainmaker said...

Ha! Awesome report and congrats on the HTFU'ing out there with what sounds like a really rough course.

I love that you two took down the 27-yo biker. Sweetness.

You're more than on track for IM Brazil!

April 23, 2008 at 8:24 PM

 
Blogger Warrior said...

Wwwwwoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Wow well fucking done.... amfuckingazing.......
I suppose it's too late to get a sponsor for new shoes.....but hey your cleaned up ones are looking as good as mine and I haven't raced that much.......
amazing account....it's weird the people who decide to talk to you during a race don't you think?

April 24, 2008 at 7:53 AM

 
Blogger the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

well, I bet you ran into Sweet Baboo - or mike or tim, hard to say. Sounds like a super hard race, glad I was not there.

well done - bring on Brasil!

April 26, 2008 at 10:19 PM

 
Blogger Dan Seifring said...

Great race.

Incredible race report.

April 30, 2008 at 8:30 AM

 

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