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.
  • – 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!
  • – 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.