Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lauren's Ironman Arizona Race Report

This might be a record for how fast I've been able to write a race report after the race. My few weeks of tennis/ski/mountain and road bike season have just started so before I get back to work I need to cram in all extra-curriculars such as blogging. Once again, I've been remiss in my blog updates due to the age-old work and training excuses so this blog is a long time in coming. Since Rev3, I recovered, attempted to race Austin 70.3, recovered from that and did a nice training build for Ironman Arizona, my third and definitely FINAL ironman of the year.

All I could say about Austin 70.3 can be and will be said with these 2 photos:

Blah blah blah blah

After Rev3 I was psyched to attempt another Ironman race but as the weather turned bad (as bad as it can be in the SF bay area) and the days grew shorter I really found myself struggling to get the work done.

Team Pataky rolled into Tempe late on Thursday and was greeted by a bright and shining coach Paulo on Friday morning at the pool for a little workout and chat. It is always nice to see Paulo face to face as he dispenses his no-nonsense race advice. We also found ourselves wandering around Target late on Friday searching for random last minute race articles. Target really is a taper killer, though, as you have to walk MILES AND MILES to find what you are looking for. Another interesting fact about my Target experience is that I only find myself going to Target in the presence of Lindsey, or when I'm at a race site.

Anyway, I was expecting a nice FAST course in Arizona. I did a short ride on the Beeline Hwy (part of the race route) on Friday and was excited by the constant tailwind. Dreams of averaging 25mph danced in my head that night, but my hopes were dashed on race day when gale force winds and some rain descended upon Tempe.

My swim was a few minutes faster than normal, and perhaps a bit less haphazard than usual, despite having to stop every 10 minutes and pull my cap back on my head. I saw Matt and some good friends of ours running along the path next to the lake shouting something at me. I assumed he was telling me to pick it up. I got out and heard Matt scream that I was only 2 minutes down from the B pack. I wasn't sure what position I was in after the swim but I knew I had to get to work.

Perhaps if I could learn to deal with open water swimming I wouldn't be caught up in this JV action.

My T1 running was faster than my marathon pace.

The first half of the first of 3 loops was blissful - minimal wind, slight incline, minimal people, no rain. This all changed when I hit the first turnaround and was blasted by the cross/head wind coming at me. The wind became progressively stronger as the day went on, so I just made sure to control what I could control - my watts (well, most of the time), attitude, and calorie intake. Matt miraculously appeared in random places all over that bike course, yelling splits and taking photos. I rode myself into 6th place by the end of the 2nd loop and managed to hold that position until the beginning of the second run loop. I rode around 5:01, which was about a minute slower than Rev3 for me.


The run was a lesson in pain management - both mental and physical. I felt so strong and happy on the bike and then upon leaving T2 I remembered that I still had 26.2 miles to run. At that point, I would have preferred to curl up in a snuggie given the cold temps. I usually try to forget the mileage number, but it just seemed daunting to me. I felt flat and when I looked at the video Matt took, it looks like I had the cadence of an ox pulling a trillion ton plow. I tried to follow my nutrition plan and attempted to employ all sorts of mental tricks I've read about, but nothing was helping. My body started rejecting the powergels - it was probably just in protest mode after being forced to consume 1 trillion gels this year. The headwind did not help things either, but everyone had to deal with these conditions! Two girls passed me at the beginning of the second loop and then another 2 girls passed me towards the middle of the final loop. By that point, my quads were screaming at me and I wondered if they were going to hold out until the finish line. I did make it to the finish line in 9:33, good for 10th place in a stacked field and a nice way to end my season.

The rainbow hopefully masks the painful look on my face during the second loop of the run.

Last loop - trying to keep it together..just like that other guy in the photo.

I had to get back to work Monday so poor Matt had to pack up all my race crap and haul it around as I was pretty much useless and could not bend in any direction. In fact, still in race mode, I tried to beat an older woman with a walker up the jetway but she won. My calves gave out and I just couldn't push it.

This season I've learned so much more about racing as a pro (especially long course). I've enjoyed the training and racing this year and have really enjoyed getting to know some of my fellow pros. Unlike last year, I have no doubts about why I am racing - I love to race!

Thanks to Matt who has been such a supportive husband. I would be lost (or at least that pesky ISM saddle would still be hanging off my bike) without his help. His race day sherpa skills have been honed to a science. Also thanks to Coach Paulo for all of his wisdom and knowing how to manipulate me to get the work done correctly and in good health, and to Darrell at Front of the Pack for helping out with all of my bike maintenance and other triathlon needs. I dumped off my bike to be fixed recently (resplendent in a bath of Coke and power gels from a recent long training ride) and when I picked it up, it was questions asked.

Also thanks to all of the people who have kept me healthy and relatively uninjured this year. I will have to do a separate blog post about my "team" of medical professionals, but in short...thanks to Dixie Snyder and Anthony Gilbert, for their ART skills. Dixie also has mastered a 2 hour stabbing ART massage in which my QLs ,glutes, and some random back muscles are bent into submission. Also thanks to Lyresa Pleskovitch, Chiro/ART extraordinaire and to Harriet Garfinkel at Woodside Pilates for keeping my spine moving, and Patrick Wilson for 90 minute stabbing massages while watching sci-fi shows. INJURY prevention has been key for me this year! If anyone in the Bay Area reads this and is in need of an ART/CHIRO/Massage person, let me know and I'll put you in touch with these people.

Anyway, I've had a nice relaxing time with the Harrison family over Thanksgiving My mother was so happy to hear that my last race of the season was the week before thanksgiving, which means I could barely walk and thus was prevented from doing any turkey trotting. I'm now busy trying to run all the errands and clean all the closets I meant to clean in the past year but for which I just had no time!

ONWARD TO 2011!!!!!

Thanksgiving activities - the first and last time you will ever see me swinging a golf club.


  1. Congrats on an awesome race and a stellar 2010 season! Many great things to come for 2011 I'm sure! :) And man...I can't believe you don't go to Target more often... ;)

  2. Congrats on top ten at IMAZ-cheered for you as I watched the coverage from the trainer! Ditto to Target being a taper killer. Enjoy your time off and thanks for writing such fun race recaps to read!

  3. LahP, thanks for the slog post and well done on the season. As usual, I skimmed the text, paused briefly to look at the photos before diving straight into the post tags.

    While I was amused by the "rainbow masks pain" tag, I was disappointed not to see a "weird sour drink face," "massive sombrero" or "indoor helmet" in the post. I can only put this down to a case of chronic fatigue. Enjoy your rest!

  4. wait. not the last time in a sombrero i hope!

  5. You rock that sombrero like no other. Hey wait, I have an idea... Cozumel 2011?! Or maybe just Cancun 70.3? I know someone who will give you MAJOR LOVE on the mic!!!!

    Absolutely fantastic season. You are my PTP inspiration!!!!

    Now where's LJ's half marathon report?! Giddy up, LJ. Inquiring minds want to know.

  6. I have been known to try golf in the off-season. It ALWAYS ends badly. And I SOOOOOo get trying to fit everything I put off for an entire year (cleaning, trying to sell an old set of wheels, blah blah blah) into the next few weeks.