Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The #1 Goal

I'll have you know I didn't meet it this past weekend at Kinetic Half IM in good ol' Spotsylvania, VA (what kind of a name is that for a town! Crazy!).  I tried, I really did. I tried like hell.  No dice.. well, mostly no dice.  All in all, I guess I met half of it.

Let me explain.  I have a huge sweat rate.  Many of you have seen me struggle in the heat over the years and in all the years of racing I have actually been able to pee while riding my bike DURING a race.. once.  Yep, once.  There are multiple reasons for this but the two biggest are hydration issues and well, stage fright.

I'm sure there are some friends and family members reading this blog right now that are totally appalled with that last paragraph.  Trust me friends, at one point I was pretty taken-aback myself.  I remember before my first IM in Kona looking at my coach and saying "WHAT, I don't even understand what you saying trying to get me to do pee on my own bike!  Won't it go in my shoes?!"

It's not pretty, but it's what the people who aren't willing to give up ONE second do and of course, pro's do like it's normal everyday business.  Last year at Placid was the first time was able to make it happen and NO ONE was around.  No one.. so I could finally you know.. ease up and let it flow!  I was smiling ear to ear when I saw the sign that said "SMILE if you've peed yourself today!'  I smiled so big and happily!!  I even cheered!  Yep, total dork.

For me that's a huge sign that I am actually where I need to be to be able to run (which I was able to do at Placid decently well, so that was just another confirmation).  Anyway, that was the #1 goal for this race - pee on the bike.  Sure, I had other executable items for the swim, bike and the run that I was supposed to NAIL and NONE of them had anything to do with setting me up for a final time.  In fact, not ONCE during the race did I actually try to calculate my final time nor did I have a total running watch on my race time.  I didn't have a clue.  I knew my numbers for each and what I would be doing all day long.  I wasn't there to race anyone else. In fact, it was to be looked at more as a chance to execute a plan more than even a race which is why I didn't plaster it all over my blog or FB that I was headed there.  I just needed to focus and not worry about anything else or anyone else except for what I was there to do.  Showing my coach I could do exactly what he said to a T was important to me and whatever the outcome was didn't really matter much.  We didn't even really talk about it, it wasn't the goal.  Peeing was!

Luckily Pittsburgh was out in full effect and we had a wonderful dinner the night before the race on Friday with all 9 of us present and it was so much fun.  It was great to have Kyle there and he completely understood why we were there.  In fact before the race they were announcing the course record set by Suzy last year and he smiled at me and said jokingly "You think you can go 4:33:15 because that's what that would take" and we both laughed because 1. I really believed there was no way I was prepared to hit that kind of time considering the amt of base work I had been doing the last month (aka no hard stuff) and 2. I definitely wasn't there to even think about it.

I lined up with my other 30-34 girls just like old times when I wasn't scared out of my mind being with all the IM champs and such.  Not that it mattered.. my goal for the swim was to go out HARD and HURT myself in the first 400 meters to try and get on some feet.  It was the perfect time to practice putting myself in that place because in the pro race those girls are just GONE.  I mean see ya later have a nice race gone!  So, great chance to practice.  Gun goes off for the 1.2 mile swim and I run in and go hard like I am doing an Olympic.  I fight and after about 4 minutes I feel like I am going to die (no kidding, I really did, it was awful), look up and see one girl off to my far left and then two girl about 15 seconds up and swimming together already.  UGGGHH..  nothing is working out!  I'm NEVER this far up front!  I settled in and just focused on getting my breath and keeping a good pace.  Obviously I got passed a lot because I thought I was doing well, swimming through other waves and my place was 12th after the swim.

I looked down to see

SWIM TIME 31:25  (ok.. not horrible, not great for me either...., moving on).

Head into T1 and proceed to take what felt like 10 minutes to get my wetsuit off. That thing is TIGHT and man was it rough to get out.  Note to self, work on that!

I head out on the bike with a specific goal wattage for the first half and then the second half.  Feeling pretty good.. cadence is up and 10 mins in I start drinking as much as humanly possible for me.  After the first 45 mins I'm through my first bottle.  AWESOME..  I have 15 mins to try to consume another 1/2 (that's 36oz for those of you counting).  I don't quite make it, but have it in by 1:07, decent I think.  Passing lots of people, no sudden surges... stay consistent Kim.... nail that wattage, nail that wattage.. keep drinking.. keep drinking..

Somewhere in the second hour I end up with these two men who insist of staying right together (a little too close for MY comfort) and they keep passing me and then slowing DOWN forcing me to drop back and bringing my average watts down.. mother of pearl.  I drop back.. wait a minute and then put on a hard surge to get the heck out of there.... 10 minutes later.. they are back.. they pass me and we're in the same place again.  I almost feel like yelling at them - "I"M TRYING TO HOLD A WATTAGE HERE can you PLEASE  stay consistent or just let me GO!"   I keep my cool.  We go through that at least twice more and I just finally back off enough to let them go in the 2 hour range..  I saw a Marshall pull closer to them up the road, I can only hope they got the one guy constantly hanging on to the other's wheel.

I see Kyle and he's cheering and I get excited!!  Yes!  We're doing it Kyle!!

It's 2:07.. I have to pee.. slightly..  I've made it through 3 bottles and am starting on my fourth from the course.. We make a turn and suddenly I'm alone.... I try..  I try!!  No dice.  This just isn't happening.  I keep drinking and just hope to make this happen in transition.

We head in and it's time to run.  I still feel good and despite the men and the surging I manged to nail the wattage averages for the ride.  I'm optimistic about making my goal happen when I sit down in T2 to put on my shoes.

As I'm wheeling the bike into T2 I start to hear the announcer talking about the third women racking her bike.  He's talking and talking and all of the sudden I'm sitting to put my shoes on in the grass.. relax relax.. you got this!!  GO KIM!... and I hear his voice talking about my colorful shoes and purple socks and I know.. he's right behind me.. great.  I tense up.. yep, still gotta go but not going to go in here!

I head out and for the first 5 minutes my Garmin won't go to "RUN" it's just stuck on the bike screen!!ARRRGGGHH!!! Will anything just go right!!  I finally go so slow I'm almost crawling once I'm out of the crowds and turn it off, start over, and get it to go to the run screen.. finally.. still have to pee.

The woods are right off to my right.. and you know what.. I gotta go for it.  I hauled off into the woods and grabbed a tree.  SO much better..  So I'd say I 1/2 completed my goal.  I've GOT to get this figured out though.. and SOON!

Finally out on the run course and the heart rate is good and the legs are turning over!  I don't feel too bad!!  FINALLY!  Weather was in the 70's so not too hot either!  I click through the miles trying not too worry about pace, only HR and what I think I can MAINTAIN.  I start to wonder how close I am to the second and first place girl.. then I let it go.. I'm used to "hunting" but today isn't about hunting, it's about the plan.  I just stay calm and stick to it.  When I finally see #2 a little after the first mile I give her a good job and keep going.  OK.. that felt a little good.. but back to the plan.  Miles are coming in 6:25, 6:10.. we go uphill then down around, then uphill again on the three loop run course.  Definitely not a flat course!  My legs don't enjoy the downhill but I try to be quick and light on the feet!  I finally catch at glimpse of the final girl right before we head into a wooded section and I follow her until we come out on the other side where we snake along the river to finally finish after lap 3.  I try to pass confidently and head uphill to look for Kyle.  He doesn't tell me a thing.. not how close she is once I pass, my time, nothing.  He knows it not about any of that.. his only comment "follow your plan Kim!"

Two more laps and trust me, there were some lower parts!  During the last lap when I knew there was no one to catch and I was starting to really feel the pain I talked to myself about how this was going to be a very common theme this year and next and how I'd better get used to pushing when I was alone (because plenty of times it will be because I'm at the back of the women's pro field) so it's either keep pushing even when there's no one to see or give up.  "Whatcha gonna do Kim?  Are you gonna go easy?  Get soft? Let up?  What do you want to teach your body and your mind?"

Gritting my teeth I made my choice..  Make it happen.  Finally, the last uphill of the last lap and I was going all in.  Grind it out, Grind it out!  Soon I would go through the woods and come out to see that finish line!

I burst through the edge of the woods to get myself positioned to head off to right instead of staying left to go on another lap.  I see the finish, hear the announcer and LOW AND BEHOLD the time says 4:39:29.. SPRINT KIM SPRINT!!!!  You can make it under 4:40..  I smile and cross while they yell.. unofficial time 4:33:40!  NO WAY.. no way no way no way!!!  I totally forgot about the other two waves in front of me!

Man was I a happy girl.  Not so much about the time or place, but just that it's been TWO years of trying to put together a solid half IM distance race and it finally happened.  Nothing was spectacular and I still want to run a lot faster (moving time was actually 6:45 pace / 1:28 but I had that little watch problem / woods break!).

So thankful that Kyle was there to keep me on track and support me 110%.  He's my rock and without him none of this dream chasing would be possible.  He's there in the good times, the bad times and everything else.  So glad that everyone from Pittsburgh was there and my Ballou Skies teammates were out there so we could cheer each other on, and just so thankful to have a great plan to execute and learn more about how to race consistently and put the pieces together.  No it was not a big race, no it was no a pro race field, but it was just what I needed to gain some confidence and find my mojo to feel like with some work over the coming year and learning about the mental fitness it is going to take to show my physical fitness that eventually I have a chance to put a race together.  It's there, it's just going to take time and energy to have it come together.

I believe in the plan.. I love to race no matter the outcome and I think it's a true blessing to get this chance ANY time I race, big, small, pro, amateur, first, last or otherwise.  The hard ones teach us so much too and I know those are just as necessary.  I'm committed to the process, whatever that is for me over the next few years!

I got to meet Ellen FYP athlete and she is on track to have an awesome season!!  So great to finally meet you Ellen & plenty of other new friends/ bloggers - Katie T (who had an awesome race & placed 3rd with a time of 4:45!).

This was long as all get out.. sorry Kyle.. I suck.

Next time, I'm getting that goal done.  Anyone else have issues with that part?  How did you overcome it??

 Friends Matty Mo & Billy also had great races!! Way to go boys!!!!!!!!!!

 Kyle catching me taking a lake shower post race so I didn't have to ride home stinky for 7 hours!! 

 THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!
Ballou Skies for allowing me to be part of this great team that does so much good for boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Power bar for fueling me with delicious products that never fail me on race day.  Newtons  for helping me run with good form and hopefully, get speedier with time. Top Gear for outfitting me with a bike that works and helping me learn how to fix it along the way. Jesse my coach at QT2 Systems who I cannot say enough good things about!  You are providing the tools to make this dream possibleBlueseventy for supporting our Ballou Skies team with super fast wetsuits and speedsuits!!  You all keep me in the game, faster, longer and stronger – I can’t thank you enough! 


Jennie Hansen said...

Great report Kim! I couldn't help you out with the goal, I'm 0 for 2 on the bike peeing this year, too...and it hasn't been for lack of effort (or urge)! My conclusion is that I need a bigger cut-out in my saddle, haha. Let me know when you figure it out!

Kim said...

Way to go kim! Those qt2ers sure know how to run off the bike! Glad you were able to finally pee...hope next time you let it fly on the bike...maybe on those darn drafters ;) congrats on 1st!

Michelle Simmons said...

Have you tried squirting water on yourself while you're riding before you try to pee? I find that if I'm already wet it flows a lot easier! So spray water first, then relax and let it go, then spray yourself down again after. All good! ;)

Congrats on putting one together!!

Christi said...

Great job Kim! You are a true inspiration. Your spirit and drive and unending and that propels me to try harder!

Katie said...

I am also a negative on that goal. I feel like I drink enough, but never have to go. I need to figure it out before IMLP though!

And funny on the announcer in T2, he was driving me crazy too although I knew you were catching me :)

GoBigGreen said...

Congrats Kim! I cant say I have an answer for you bc in the 70.3 I have yet to pee on the bike either! Ugh.

Kelly Covert said...

Congrats! Way to put together a solid race!! AS far as peeing on the bike, I find if I stop pedaling and scoot back off the seat I can relax enough to let it go.

ADC said...

Congrats on a great race.

Dave Peters said...

Fantastic job Kim and a really good (end educational!) read. Excellent!

Dave Peters said...

Fantastic work Kim! Also a great (and educational) read! Excellent!