Monday, November 21, 2011

Ironman Arizona Race Report

Ironman Arizona was my final race of this season. I am not big on setting time goals since course conditions vary based on the day, swims can be long, etc. That being said, I still had a couple of time goals - I wanted to go under 9:30 and I really wanted to run under 3:10 (my open marathon PR - set a while ago). I believed both of those were possible.

Race morning.

I'm in the middle of this very unorganized swim pack.

On the left you can see the masses of age groupers starting their swim, and on the right four small packs of pros headed back toward the swim exit.

My swim was fairly uneventful - I didn't get clocked on the head more than seven times, and I managed to swim a fairly straight path. I was with people the entire swim, until about the final 300m when I was dropped. I came out of the water in 58:51. Once again proving that you CAN learn to swim...

Huge thanks to Aaron Brougher & Kerry Yndestad for some of my race pics.

Onto the bike - I had three loops to try to move myself more into the mix of the race, and just ride hard. I was getting splits all day that I was close to five girls and frustratingly could not seem to close any gaps. 

Overall the bike went by fast. I spent the final hour trying to do complex math problems involving "If Charisa is riding at x-point on bee-line going x-mph approximately 16.5 miles from T2, what are the chances she can ride under 5 hours?...."  In the end it was close. I rode a 5:04.

I was excited to get out on the run and see if I could nail the run split I wanted. Plus - my friends were all over the course and occasionally they can get reactions such as this out of me.

I love this picture. Jeff and Becky are doing a dance - or maybe a jig of some sort to make me laugh. Because these are the things I find entertaining when I've been going hard for over seven hours.

The run wasn't all smiles and dancing though. At about mile eight I had moved myself up to 8th place (the final $ slot). And then I had to use my first out-house of the day, and slipped back to 9th. I ran my way back into 8th. And then she caught back up to me and we ran neck and neck for a while. And then I took the lead again. And then there was another bathroom break.

Since my stomach was not happy, I was finding it increasingly difficult to take in calories. God bless the caffeine/sugar inventor of Coke because after 2 gels, that was the only thing that fueled my entire marathon.

This is my favorite picture of the day - it speaks a thousand words. I'm desperately trying not to fall apart and chase my sub-3:10ish run split, while also trying to claw my way back into 8th. Ian is telling me to dig, and doing everything he can to help me figure out how to run faster with a stomach that is revolting. I feel terrible. And yet every time I pass a friend somehow it eases the pain a bit and I push harder.

By mile 22 I had made five stops in out-houses and was running against the red line of complete implosion yet still trying to make sure I kept myself under that other sub-9:30 overall time goal. Thankfully at this point I met some nice age group guy from Boston competing in his first Ironman. He promised to pull me to the finish. I focused on the red Zoot letters on his jersey for over a mile and didn't let go. He was on his first lap, I was on my third. When I started to fall off, he backed off a bit until I caught up and we pushed again. He said he needed to learn to swim better. I laughed and told him so did I.

I ended up running a 3:15 and finished the day in 10th with a 9:22.

2011 was a great year of racing. I am excited to see what I can accomplish next year. But first, time for some down time and off-season fun!

I believe I have one of the best support networks a girl can ask for. THANK YOU for making my racing, dream-chasing and hard work possible all year long.
  • Zoot – From the wetsuit and great training gear, to my speedy shoes, I love all my Zoot products, but even more so I love the Zoot family.
  • Profile Design – Thank you for making fast wheels, aero bars, aero drink setup, etc.
  • TriSports.com – the support you provide is amazing - and the IMAZ run course aid station rocks! (& Jaclyn's sign!!)
  • QR – Thanks to Brad for getting the QR speedy-race-ready. I love my bike.
  • Rudy Project – my sunglasses and helmet are the best out there.
  • ZipVit – Thanks for making some great nutrition products!
  • XEndurance – A 26 minute Ironman PR. Thank you!
  • SableWater Optics – I can see when I swim. Always. This rocks!
  • K-Edge – Haven’t dropped my chain once all year – thanks!
  • MicroscopeWorld.com – I love my job, thank you for always working around my crazy training & racing schedule.
  • Dan Selstad - I'm not sure which is better - the laughing in your office or the pain you inflict on my legs.
  • Coach - Thank you pushing me, pulling me back, and figuring out how to get the most out of me.
  • Steven – Your support is amazing. I can not imagine my life without you. I love you.
  • Mom & Dad - thanks for coming out to AZ to cheer me on, and all your support and belief in me.
  • My friends – From training at home to having you on the race course, I honestly believe I have the best friends ever. Thank you for always making me laugh.

19 comments:

Caroline said...

AWESOME race Charisa! Thank you for sharing! Congrats on a 26 minute PR (!!!) and way to hold it together on the run - I have so much to learn when it comes to suffering and pushing through the pain, and I find race reports like this super inspiring. Hope to see you at a race sometime soon (pssst - I hear Lake Placid in July is beautiful, just saying...) and enjoy your off-season!

Damie said...

I am SO PROUD of you!!!! Awesome race!!!!!

Alison said...

Congrats on your amazing race - very inspirational!

Kiet said...

C you inspire me mucho, watching you race makes me want to hop back on that ironman horse now. But instead, I'm gonna take a break from the distance, find my speed again, and come back, cool?

Matt said...

an impressive race, to have stomach issues like that and staying in the game full on is awe inspiring, your rock!

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

Great job !!
That was my first Ironman in 08 (infamous April version).
Too bad about your stomach issues, you surely would have been able to buy Steven dinner.
Now to next year... I think I hear IMNYC calling.....

Beth said...

What an awesome race to finish an awesome year! Stomach woes are the worst but still running a 3:15 marathon?? Wow. That's all I have to say! Loved the pictures. Now enjoy some off season FUN!!!!!!!!!!! :)

cheryl said...

WOW! Fantastic race, congrats on such a great year! You have such a great positive attitude, love it!

Kim said...

way to hang in there charisa. congrats!

Christi said...

Congrats on a great race Charisa! Now enjoy the off season!

Angela and David said...

Congrats on such a great day and a great year!

Andrea said...

Pretty freakin' amazing!!

FLATOUT JIM said...

3:15 with 5 potty breaks. That's pretty nice. Maybe the porta potty supplier could fork up some sponsorship money to make up for missing out on the race prize.

kristinschleicher said...

whenever i think "oh, I might just stick to running," I come and read your race reports and get so excited about triathlon. CONGRATS on your huge PR and an amazing year!

Libby said...

so awesome and inspiring to nearly nail ALL of your goals with a rotten stomach. tough as nails girl. what an awesome season for you and more to come next year! congrats and enjoy off season!

Anna said...

Great job! I started following your blog after WF last year when I read your profile in the race info. I'm new to triathlon and it's been so fun to follow your blog. IM Arizona was the first time I got to watch an IM and it was so fun to get to see you race!!! I volunteered at the TriSports aid station and screamed for you every time you passed. You were incredibly awesome and looked so focused!! I look forward to continuing to follow you and can't wait to see what you do next year!

Lindsey Jerdonek said...

Hey Charisa,

You did a bang-up job at IMAZ. When I first saw your 9:22 I was wowed (and still am bc it's CRAZY fast). You must be so proud of your season. It was great seeing you at Alcatraz earlier this yr and I hope we cross paths in 2012. :)

Lindsey

Jason said...

great job out there. Congratulations on smashing that 9:30.....8 minutes is a lifetime....way to go!

Enjoy your down time but I can't wait to see how you do next year as with experience we get better.

You always have the best pictures too.

solarpowered said...

Agh - I've been MIA from blogland for a bit -- so much to catch up on! What an awesome, gutsy race! Congratulations on blowing the 9:30 out of the water! Wow! SO inspiring.

Love the December pics, too.