Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A week of ironmans, Italy, Sept 2013

First, it need to start off with thank you's.

  •  Thank you to Melinda, my bestest high school friend who agreed to come and crew for me as part of our 28 year reunion... 
  •  Thank you to Georgio, Riccardo, and the rest of the race team who made lemons from lemonade and pulled together a race that was more challenging (cold water, hills on the bike, and a partial grass run), a mishmash of accommodations, and everything else to give us athletes a revenue to race. 
  • Thank you to the tripleDeca racers who were a crazy inspiration 
  •  Thank you to Heather and Tony for sharing the experience with us, and a big congratulations to Tony on a splendid finish. 
  •  Thank you to Gu, and Salty, for magic fuel. 
  •  To Debi for the challenge of being my coach and to Dina for training me to eat. 
  •  And, finally to Drew for continuing to be my staunchest supporter. 
 Whew... An academy award list of thanks, but it was a race that needs it. The goal was a DecaIronman, but the conditions smacked me down and instead I finished 7 Ironman races in 7 days, and a wicked cold 8th swim, to set a new US women's record.

Melinda and I got there weds night before the race, but Bixby (my bike) decided to take a detour. Two stressful days waiting for Bix (who did get there Friday night), and getting ready, and before I knew it, it was race morning.

The swim was is a 25m pool, on the roof of a building. Day 1 the water was chilly, but the swim went by pretty easily. Change over to the bike, and then time to do laps and laps of the bike. The bike course was super fun on Day 1, 5 hills per lap, only 1 that wanted standing up. Wind exposure was interesting... But on Day 1 no issues. I was so stoked to be there and be racing, and couldn't stop smiling the whole day. On the run I took it real easy, planning for the days ahead. The run course was about a mile loop, half on cobbles, half on grass and lent itself well to run/walk/jog strategies. Felt pretty good after the first day ended. Pumped an energized and ready to take the week on. Loving hanging with the racers, Melinda was rocking the crew world, and all was on track.

Day 2... Still quite good. Seems the bike was windy, and the run was harder, but nothing unexpected.

Day 3... Interesting getting out of bed. I could barely walk to the bathroom, and couldn't quite understand how I was going to race. But, somehow I did, and the aches and pains receded through the day.

The middle days are a blur. Painful, but doable. Full of doubts in the morning when everything hurt, but hours later counting laps down on the run. Staying steady pace, not fast, but focused. Eating constantly, whatever Melinda and Heather hand me to eat. Drinking Gu recovery, protein, and glutamine shakes each night.

Day 6 was when we realized that the pool was not heated. Each day the temps got colder, but on Day 6 the pool became a mad scene. People stopping every 10 laps or so to try to warm up. Ghislain walking through the water unable to put his head in. I stayed with it, and came out of the water third, blue, and shaking. Took the start of the bike easy, but struggled to get my head into it.

Day 7 there was fear getting into the water. Georgio said go, and folks slowly got wet. It was cold. After 20 laps or so Georgio asked me to stop and poured hot water into my wetsuit. It helped for a lap or so, then the cold set in again. Tried to stay head down and moving forward but couldn't help watching the scene as people stopped, warmed up a mite, and started again. Eventually it was done and I got out and Melinda hustled me to a shower wetsuit on. 5 minutes in the shower, wrap up in a blanket, drink tea, get warm. The pool facility was unheated, which added to the challenge of the warm up. Eventually out on the bike. An odd thing happened on the run that day... For about 2 hours I felt awesome, could not hold back to my usual jog/walk. My body was getting used to the stress. I could see how the triple deca folks adapted to the stresses.

Day 8 and back to the pool, with overcast skies and rain threatening. Again the pool was an insane cold suffer fest, which they cut to 3000m, and then the hour transition to the bike struggling to stop shaking from the cold. It was raining and cold on the bike, and I could not get warm. I called it a race. I am confident that I had the training in, both physically and mentally, and the nutrition game solid and had the conditions not been so brutal I would have been able to finish the full deca. Just having a place it get warm would have been a help.

So, I finish this season content. I still have not completed a deca, and I may go back I and give it another shot in a few years, but I am secure in the knowledge that I can. I finish the season 18 lbs lighter than I started, one with Bixby, and coming around with the run.

A new personal, and US record... Not too shabby.

After the race, I had a intense 3 week work stint in South Africa which have me time to recover physically, and now I'm easing back into the game. Next season I have 3 double Ironman races on schedule, and am setting goals base do on finish time and competing. Then, to finish the season I plan to tackle a straight quintuple... A new format for me and a solid challenge to finish. I can't wait to push the limits of what this body can do... And see who I am at the end!

Tri long! Leslie

Day 1: 15:58
Day 2: 17:02
Day 3: 17:34
Day 4: 17:12
Day 5: 17:39
Day 6: 17:38
Day 7: 17:20
Day 8: 1:02 (shortened swim)

Day 9:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 7

1:20, 8:09, 7:51, 1st American woman to do 7 ironmans in 7 days and still counting.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 4, 5 & 6

1:25, 7:25, 8:00 for 17:12:12 day4
1:26, 8:10, 7:35 for 17:39:36 day 5
Today day 6 - was overcast and chilly all day water was cold as well, or at least felt cold in their condition at this point. 1:19, 8:02, 7:52. Only 4 to go, but the hardest ones with the weather turning for the weekend. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 4 & day 5

Yesterday. 1:25 swim. 7:25 bike. 8 hour marathon. Final total 17:12:21.  Today. 1:26 swim. 8:10 bike. 7:35 marathon. Will have precise total tomorrow.  So pretty consistent.

She's over hump day, PR - 5 ironmans 5 days

Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 3

Well, kind of a tough day mentally today....and maybe eating wise.  1:26, 8:10, 7:35 for 17:35. I think she might be in a groove on day 4 or so.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 2

Ok, tough day on the bike, rain and windy.  Swim 1:23, starting to find a groove.  Bike 7:49 trying not to over extend.  Run 7:30 or so.  17 hrs, took a little while to find something that tasted good but all good for today.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

I've got a little more now.

Swim1:25 or so, bike 7+\- hours, run 7+ hours as well.  Nutrition was on and she smiled all day.  Sadly the other woman, Sarka, dropped out but I don't know why yet.

I'm working on being more current on updates, might not be til Monday though.

Day 1

Day 1 Complete 16hours or so, says feeling good, went conservative to save for next days.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Off to Italy for the DecaIronman

Hi Ya’ll:

I am off to Italy tomorrow to take another run at the DecaIronman.  My race officially starts on Saturday at 7:30am Italy time (many of my crazy friends are out there warming the course up for me now in a 30 day attempt).

If you are curious, you can find results at:
·         http://andrewholton.blogspot.com/ (look at the twitter feed on the right hand side…  Melinda (my crew) will be posting sometime in the morning and then at the end of each day)
·         Directly on twitter with @leslieholton
·         http://tripledecaironman.myblog.it/ (the race’s blog site)
·         http://usaultratri.com/ (Steve is compiling the race results in a spreadsheet… this may be a day or so behind as it is information he is getting from a variety of facebook sources)
Deep breath!

Monday, March 4, 2013

RR: Tampa Double IM

It is about time, and seems way too soon at the same, to get this season rolling!  Last weekend was the Tampa Double Ironman.  Let me first say (Oscar style) a huge thank you to Linae, Joe, Molly, and Drew for crewing for me, to Gu for the cool hats and nutrition, to Sturdy Girl Sports for keeping the girls secure, and to Kirby and all his staff for a terrific event and venue.

That's me in the black swimcap in lane 2...
The race starts with a 4.8 mile, 50m pool swim.  The pool is just fantastic.  There were 5 people in my lane, but it spread out quickly and there were no issues.  Actually, I was the faster person in my lane and I would have preferred a faster lane so I could have drafted off some folks.  Instead, it was just a long slog.  Swimming is interesting as there are limited distractions/things to see/people to talk to so I tried to entertain myself watching the other lanes.  Made a quick stop at 4000m for a slurp of Sprite and a Gu but other than that head in the water for 2:56 and done.  6 minute changeup and off on the bike.

The bike started with a few miles on roads to the park and then we headed out on 7ish mile laps.  This course is terrific.  Great pavement, soft turns.  It was a tad on the windy side (all right, really irritatingly windy) and cold for Florida.  My goal was to stay above a 16mph average, and I managed this for the first 112mi.  Unfortunately, once it got dark I could not see my odometer and my mph definitely slipped (note, bring my cheater light to see next race).  I can tell my long bike mileage isn’t quite there... some girly bit issues, inability to stay in the aerobars, and other tirednesses that say early season were obvious.  My shoulders were also screaming but Joe worked out the kinks maybe 10 hours in and that really helped.  I tried to stay on a good mix of Gu’s, Resse peanut butter eggs, trail mix, and some real food and stay on top of my nutrition.  I also started in of the caffeine and it was awesome!  The caffeine taper did seem to do the trick.  I think it was around 15:XX when I got off the bike, but the race results aren’t up yet.  I know I came off the bike in 3rd place, and moved to second pretty quickly so while I am not wicked pleased with my speed it was a competitive split and that is good.    More training, my new ride set up for long aero-riding (should be getting this week), and some tricks and hopefully I can get this split down into the 13:XX next race…

Run? Walk? Shuffle!
Finally… to the run.  This was 31 laps on a flat course.  My goal here was sub 16min miles, and I held that only to the marathon.  I just couldn’t figure out how to make this body move any faster.  Around 30miles to go I had complete foot implosion (blisters on the balls of both feet) and from that point on it was a slogfest.  I had to do this odd shuffle not quite run, not quite walk, because anything else would really get the blisters screaming.  I lost my 3rd place with maybe 10 miles to go and I could only whimper “good job” when she went by.  Coach Debi has some tricks for working on this (something about shoes) and the goal remains next time to get this solidly under a 16min mile pace.  Food wise this was Gu’s, salt tabs, water, blueberries, and this one absolutely godsmacking amazing blueberry doughnut that should not have but totally hit the spot around daybreak.
Awesome crewcheif Linae and RD Kirby!
 Finished at 34:59:51, 4th place female.  3-4 hours behind schedule… but I see places for improvement and am really excited to see how this season goes.

One cause for concern is my left foot.  Yesterday I could not put any weight on it at all.  Went to the Dr and the x-rays are inconclusive.  Got a script for pain and inflammation, try not to do any weight bearing for the week, follow up with a sports ortho end of the week.  Best case, deep bruising and I’ll be back to walking, buying new running shoes, and jogging about next week.  Worst case, stress fracture and my next race is in jeapordy (Double IM World Championships in Austria May 18th).  Til then, I am getting more of an arm workout with the crutches, and giving my blisters time to heal.

Thanks for reading!
Go long!