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August « 2011 « Mary Beth Ellis' Blog


Archive for August, 2011

IM Regensburg Race Report

Thursday, August 11th, 2011
After IM Austria, I didn’t imagine I would be racing another Ironman only about a month later. But WTC new points system and my need for more strength and experience over the distance lead me to try another one very quickly. Heading into this race, I was struggling with some physical ailments from some open wounds on my feet from my last race and a glute strain so was feeling quite cranky and out of sorts. I wasn’t as excited and eager for the race as I had been for Austria but on the flipside I also wasn’t as scared of the distances.
The swim started off badly as I lined up to the far right not realizing that the kayaks holding us pros back would all move off to the right blocking me while the rest of the pros and age groups all started swimming. I was hot and bothered and had trouble calming down my breathing until the first buoy but lesson learned don’t line up to extreme of either side of line. The front pack was already way ahead by the time I cleared the kayaks so I swam the entire 3.8K by myself. It was another long and lonely swim. Once on the bike, I struggled my left glute locked up with cramping and spasms. I went from leading the race to having trouble even turning the pedals over. To add to my issues on a windy day, I couldn’t stay in the aerobars for more than 30 seconds at a time. This lasted for the first 50K and at that point I was positive that I would have to pull out of the race. Finally around 50K, the pain started to subside and at 80K I felt like I was finally able to pedal normally and stay in the aerobars. Slowly, I worked my way through the field enjoying finally passing tons of athletes instead of moving backwards as I did the entire first half of the race. At this point, my glute was still very sore so I didn’t think I would be able to run but figured I could at least get in a decent final 100K training ride. However, I slowly worked my way to T2 and back through the women’s field into 3rd place. I figured I would start the run and drop out if I was in pain. Amazingly, as long as I kept my stride short and cadence high, I wasn’t having any trouble with my glute so I decided to just keep running. Despite two port-o-let stops from overdoing the salt tabs to try to stop the glue cramps, I got to first place at the halfway point of the run. When I accrued a 6 minute lead with 10K to go, I eased off the pace as the only goal was to win as easily as possible. Unlike Austria, I didn’t hit the wall and just cruised the marathon as much as you can cruise anything at the end of an Ironman. Other than that pesky pain in my butt, I pulled up well from the race and am definitely glad that I preserved in the face of my adversity to get to the finish line. And another lesson learned don’t give up in an Ironman; it is a long day and anything can happen.  I was so close to pulling the plug and glad that I just kept slogging through and didn’t give up. The age-groupers out there did a great job getting through some tough weather conditions on the bike and perserving most with smiles on their faces. And the city of Regensburg was beautiful; the scenic run course went through the old town and around some parks by the Danube river. The crowds and volunteers made it easier to keep going all day long. Thanks so much for being out there in the wind and rain.

Now, I hope that I get to Kona and have a chance to race the best gals at the world championships later this year. Cross your fingers for me!

Overdue Team TBB Tour Day Alps Report

Thursday, August 11th, 2011
First, if you haven’t read Brandon’s blog from the trip. Do it now! He has a great review of the adventure along with some photos and video – the candy store video is my favorite.
Day 1: The trip started ominously with a cold rainy morning here in Leysin. I struggled up the first climb as everyone started killing it. I was just thinking are they crazy? We have a mountainous 200 miler ride then a rest day followed by a long course triathlon up Alp D’ Huez then a mountainous 200 mile ride home. I guess I put in low gear and tried to get up without sweating. I claimed that I didn’t sweat at the top but I think there were a few drips under my jersey. Then we had nice decent into Chamonix where aforementioned candy store video records my delight at the stop for lunch and lollies. The rolling and climbing continued until Albertville 175K from Leysin. After a rack of ribs and hot bath, I was ready for a good night’s sleep at the Etap.

Day 2: The morning started with my consumption of a pot of coffee at the Etap breakfast buffet. After that I was ready to roll for day 2. The coffee in combination with Doc’s admonition that I not save myself for the race I gave it to myself on the big climb of the day not realizing that I would pay for it later on the climb up to the top of the Alp. I definitely arrived at the top of this climb sweaty and felt okay until we reached the bottom of the climb up to Alp D’ Huez. I slowly made my way up and was at least not too disheartened as a few of the others struggled along with me. The second day ride was only about 140K but made up for lack of distance with the climbs.

Day 3: After a good night’s sleep, we had a swim, run, bike pre-race rest day.

Day4: Race day dawned ominously with cold grey skies that opened up as soon as the race started. It was cold and rainy the entire day but luckily I managed to put on enough clothing so that I wasn’t too cold . The race didn’t go great but I managed to pull off a second place despite frittering away 10 minutes trying to fix my bike wheel during the first 30K. Funnily, the easiest part of the bike ride was the climb up the Alp. It was definitely the highlight for me and the run up on the mountain was so much fun a nice hilly mix of dirt and road. I hope that I get to race next year and give it a better go. Hopefully the weather will cooperate too!

Day 5: After an early morning swim, it was back on the road again. We took the longer flat route to our Albertville stop. After a flat pretty comfortable 160K ride, we arrived at the Etap and rested for the night. I was starting to go from slap happy into a complete zombie.

Day 6: Not even attempting to down an entire pot of coffee could help me today. I struggled from the start and limped into Chamonix. After an influx of calories and candy, I had a resurgence and felt much better for the final two climbs and ride home. I even climbed the hill back up to Leysin though I had the option of taking the train. Stupid I know!

Overall, the trip was an unforgettable experience and the saddle sore that came with it from wearing old worn out bike shorts is a reminder. I definitely think it made me stronger physically and mentally. I’ll be drawing on this reserve for the rest of the season and hopefully in the lava fields of Kona.