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October « 2011 « Mary Beth Ellis' Blog


Archive for October, 2011

4th Time not the Charm

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

The Ironman World Championships in Kona has been a goal of mine for many years. While the ITU path and Olympics is the biggest stage in sport every four year; there is no higher stage in Ironman triathlon than Kona. I entered the race this year on a binge of racing Ironmans but had high expectations for my fourth Ironman in 14 weeks. However, the fourth time wasn’t quite what I envisioned in fact it blew my worst case scenario out of the water.
The race started off well. I was in the back of the front swim pack for the first 1K; then I followed the wrong feet. Next time, I sighted we were off the bike and game over rover. Then the feet was following sighted and gave me a big kick to the goggle. I could see for the rest of the swim out of one eye bad enough to be annoying but so bad as to stop and fix my goggles. Coming out of the swim, I was pretty demoralized. The time and place were much worse than I was hoping for. I didn’t give up and may have gone a bit hard the first 40K trying to make up for the subpar swim. I also swallowed lots of salt water, and puked up everything I tried to eat for the first 80K. Luckily switching to water, I was able to eat and drink fine by the second half of the bike. However, my bike motor was completely broken. My legs weren’t working and nothing I did managed to fix the problem. It felt like the entire field just passed by me and I could do nothing. To add insult to injury, I got a flat tire running over a staple. The quick fill worked for a few a miles, but I rode in fishtailing on a flat back tire. Starting the run, I think my mental state which was fragile at the start of the race had cracked. I was feeling sorry for myself, angry that I could swim or ride a bike, and really just wanted to quit the race. But I managed to suck it up and run an adequate marathon. By the time I got to the finish line, I was glad that I didn’t quit but very disspointed with my performance.
Coming into the race, I had no choice but to race three Ironmans. However, mentally I think I had such a hard road to get to the start line I didn’t take the time to refocus for the hard race at the world championships. When you are tired physically, it becomes even more important to be prepared mentally. In retrospect, I was strong enough mentally for the battle ahead, and I was physically compromised by the three Ironman events I had to finish. But the positive note is that I did suffer out there on lava fields and have learned some important lessons for next year.

Ironman Canada Race Report

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Whew! Three Ironmans in eight weeks and three wins finally got me a ticket to Kona! I cant believe it – i keep pinching myself and it hurts so it must be real. I love racing in Canada. I had my first win there in 2006 just up the road in Kelowna. My how much has changed! Back then as a first year pro, I was racing ITU and couldn’t have envisioned winning the ironman there.

The day started a bit slowly. I was sluggish off the line and spent the swim getting pummeled by the pro men. Good practice for Kona! . It was a wetsuit swim so I was a bit disheartened with my time but at least there is plenty of racing after the swim in Ironman. For the first time, I had no cramping or issues early on the bike, i just tried to stay with Meredith Kessler as she set a fast pace out the first 60k. Aided by a tailwind, i think we sat on 40k an hour. When we got to the first climb, i felt good and decided to push a bit harder. I rode the rest of the way alone and with the headwind coming home, i was very ready to get off the bike. I was equally excited about my bike time. In contrast to Austria, this split reflected a true solo hard TT effort and gives me some much needed confidence for Kona. Also despite hard hot conditions, I had no stomach issues, please check out my full race nutrition report here: . At the start of the run, I was tired the wind and bike sapped me more than in previous races. Also the heat was starting to get oppressive around 95 degrees F. On the run, I drank as much as I could and grabbed as much ice as possible. And still I felt like I was melting. The last 8 miles were tough more from the fatigue and heat than any bonking. Luckily, Eric biked out on the course so I had some moral support out there. And the age groupers and crowds especially in town were amazing. Breaking the record was an unexpected bonus to the day. I wasn’t going for it, I just wanted to finish and get out of the heat ASAP. Overall, I am so pleased and now also a bit sore. Luckily, Eric took it easy on my during our run and swim Monday.

With my spot in Kona finally secure, I am excited to start preparing and have a good race there. Thanks so much to Doc, all the team TBB members, Alex, our amazing team TBB sponsors, First Endurance, and of course Eric, my family, and friends.