IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Monday, September 29, 2008

Compression Socks

Yes, the year is 2008 and I'm sporting those socks like I did back in grade school. Only those had the cool stripes in different colors at the top. I remember I had at least one pair in every color - an 2 pair of green striped ones because I liked them so much.
I did my first run in these compression socks on Saturday. Why, you ask? Well, compression socks are designed to strengthen and stabilize muscles, tendons and joints. They increase blood circulation therefore getting more oxygen through the blood and giving you more energy. I first saw these about a year ago during my last Ironman. As I go to events, I'm starting to see more and more people sporting these attractive little garments. I've been wearing compression shorts since I was diagnosed with the hamstring I decided to try the socks. What could it hurt?
The result? I found the socks quite comfortable! I was a little warm in them after a few miles, but very tolerable. I did find myself a tad itchy toward the end of the run, also. Could just be me not being used to having anything covering my shins when I run. All in all, my legs felt great and totally fresh for my ride the following day. Might just have to incorporate these socks in to my regular training wardrobe. Don't they look hot?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Runners are Crazy People

It was already raining when I went to bed on Friday night. Because I enjoy cool, fresh air, I slept with the windows open that night. Somewhere during the night, the rain became heavy and I rushed around closing some of the windows, but keeping the bedroom windows cracked so I could listen to the steady beat of the raindrops.
Hours later, it was still raining. Now I wanted the rain to stop. I was to be meeting up with some people to get in a long run on Saturday morning. This rain wasn't just a sprinkle, it was steady. I shot out a few emails to see if I could get anyone to commit to running....after all, I didn't want to drive all the way out to be the only goof ball that showed up! I ended up calling Sally, who confirmed that she was going - after all, it wasn't lightening, and I packed up my things (with a couple of extra towels and an extra pair of shoes) and jumped in the car.
Amazingly, there were already a handful of people there. Sure, everyone was just sitting in their cars, but the dedication of this group surprised me. I couldn't believe there were other people so obsessed with getting in their long run that they'd come out to run in this rain. I worried about my shoes and socks getting so wet that I'd develop blisters. Fortunately for us, the air temperature was around 70.
The group was not the regular size, but still a good, solid showing for this rainy day. Another positive, the trail drains quickly and we reached mile 3.5 (Turtle Pond), a place that's known for flooding, and it was free and clear. Excellent! We ran on, not a dry stitch of clothing on any of us. Thankfully, the air was warm enough that even I wasn't complaining of being cold. As we passed mile 4 or so, another runner coming the other way said the trail was flooded out at mile 5.7. OK, well, we could get to that point and just turn around if it's that bad, we discussed.
At mile 5.7(ish), there is a small bridge. For most of the year, there isn't even much water flowing through there. In fact, it's such a small bridge, it's easy to forget about. I'm not even sure how long it is, maybe 25 feet? Well, we get there and it's covered with water bursting from a higher section of the forest preserve. It's loud and rushing by us quickly, pushing broken branches up against what is supposed to be the railing. You can barely even see the railing at this point. It was one of the coolest things I've ever seen in this forest preserve.
Being the only female in our group, everyone looked at me to see if I'd go through. OF COURSE! We took off our shoes and socks and made our way across the bridge. Slowly, to make sure we didn't lose our balance, we stepped very carefully across the bridge, one by one, to the other side. The water was cool and rather refreshing! Once across, I squeezed out my socks (I can't believe how much water was in them) and waited for everyone to cross.

We're lucky one of our runners, Jim M., had a cell phone on him and we were able to get this quick shot. The picture doesn't really do the water in the background justice, but if you've ever run at WFG, you might recognize this spot and have a better idea at how amazing this was. You can just barely see the railing of the bridge if you look to the right of the guy (Jason) in the orange shirt. I'm sort of surprised Jim's camera didn't fry out. You can't tell in the picture, but it was still raining hard when we took that.

We continued on through the rest of the trail with just minor little puddles to go around. We were again surprised there was no water collection just before mile 8 - another area known for flooding. The rain continued for the duration of this run (and for days afterwards!), but everyone made it through without incident.

Definitely a run I'll never forget. I've always known that I'm a little "too" addicted to this stuff and sometimes don't know when to quit. Well, the group of runners that ran outside in Chicago on Saturday morning - whether at WFG or anywhere else - are truly a crazy group of people.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Great Illini Half Ironman Race Report

Though I'd had this race in mind for the last couple of months, I just signed up about a week ago for this event. I was tossing around the idea of doing the Full Ironman Aquabike here (2.4 swim followed by 112 run), as I did last year. However, the thought of getting in another half ironman in this year to prepare for Ironman Arizona sounded appealing.

Unlike last year, the predicted weather was just perfect for racing. We picked up Jess and arrived in transition at about 5:15am. We pulled up right next to AJ and then Caroline pulled in rightnext to us! Not sure how many total participants in this race, but transition is tiny. I like tiny - fast transitions! I was too late to get the first spot on the rack, but second wasn't bad. Truthfully, there is not a bad spot in all of this transition area.

I helped Elizabeth with a little tire problem and was pretty distracted that when I was about to get into the water, the Saint asked, "hey, where's your chip?" I HAD FORGOTTEN TO PICK IT UP! Yikes! I ran over, pickedit up and slapped it on my ankle. I skipped body marking all together. (did I mentionI was distracted?) My feet were really cold, so I got in the water to warm them up. Swam a couple strokes and the water was a good temperature. Walked over to Caroline, got this quick photo and jumped over to line up for the start.

The first section of this swim is directly into the sun. The buoys are pretty far apart and it was a bit difficult to see them with the sunglaring in my face. After the first turn, I was already running into people from the previous wave. It was easier to see now. After the second turn, I had to stop more than once to find the next buoy...spaced too far apart. I didn't trust that the swimmers in front of me were on the right track. The swim felt good and I ran into transition and got out of there in a hurry. Nice to have small transition areas!

This was my first race on the new aerobars. I know I didn't put in as much time on them as I should have, but theyfelt pretty good. I had to rearrange the aerobottle and computer, so the whole set up was a new experience for me. Seems to have worked out! The first 10 miles of the course was turn after turn after turn. There was no time to get up to speed before having to slow down to go around a corner. Thankfully, the volunteers learned this year that we do not want unopened water bottles on the bike! They still don't realize it's easier to hand us bottles as they run in the same direction we're riding, though. My handoffs were pretty good because they had the stops right after the U turns on the course. I need to practice getting through those faster!

Once we got out further into the course, it felt windy in almost every direction we rode. Not terrible, but enough to make it loud in my ears. Lots of unleashed dogs running out onto the course. Very dangerous! I heard one run up barking after me and I freaked out a little and started riding faster to make sure he didn't take a chunk outof my leg! I yelled at several others as I rode up to them...they were just standing in the street and would begin chasing biker after biker as we rode by. Insane! I was working on keeping a steady power output. It turned out to be not quite what I was looking for, but taking into consideration all the slowing for the turns and U turns on the course, it wasn't too bad. Not a very fast bike split for me. I was getting uncomfortable in places I don't want to talk about and was happy to see transition up ahead.

Super fast transition (about 40 seconds I think) and I was off and running. My toes on both feet were numb. It's not fun to run when you can't feel your toes. I think it took until mile 3 for them to warm up. Note to self: put on toecovers when it's below 70 degrees in the morning! I've never complained of my feet being too hot during a race. The run course was rather boring. It was a "C" shape and to cover the 13.1 miles, you had to go out and back and out and back...I cannot imagine the people doing the full ironman today...they had to do that FOUR TIMES! Good God! Had some pain in one foot...something I've never felt before, but it didn't seem to slow me down. I stuck with my regular nutrition on the run and felt good until around mile 10 when the hamstring pain kicked in. I slowed, but not too much. I only ran the second "lap" 1 minute slower than the first one. I was happy to be done.

Weather conditions were perfect...aside from the little wind on the bike, the day was just beautiful. Don't get many days like that, so you have to enjoy them when you get them! I'm now suffering from a considerable amount of chafing. And now the Ironman training begins.