Lather – Wash – Rinse – Repeat

Lather – Wash – Rinse – Repeat
If it isn’t broken then why try to fix it, right? 10 months ago I was living this exact same day in Lake Placid, New York and I had one of the best races of my life. So what I did was try to do exactly what I did the day before that race. A simple schedule of no driving and sticking around the apartment and race site. It is so different here with very few women. So few women; that there is only one changing tent! Yes ladies, I get to go in the same tent with a bunch of fit triathlete men…(this is where the smile comes in). On the other hand, it is a good thing I wear the same thing from start to finish.
8:30 a.m. – breakfast and emails
9:30 a.m. – hit the water for a lap of the course
10:30 a.m. – bike a 35k
12:00 a.m. – run an easy 8k
noon to 3:00 – off the feet, rested, got my gear labeled, made sure I had everything and ate lunch
3:30 p.m. – gear drop off, ran into a friend, we walked the transition
5:00 p.m. – watched the Iron Kids Race
6:00 p.m – pizza and beer; that’s right, the non-drinker drank a beer. Following suit to last year, I drank a beer. I also slept really well the night before my race too!
7:30 p.m – in my place, turned on the music and packed my liquid lunch for tomorrow; while mixing my calories, I always mix for 6 hours, but decided in the end to mix 7 hours worth for the bike.
So uneventful…tomorrow. That will be the day with the story all is waiting for. Even I am excited to see how the story ends.
-someone needs to make temporary tattoos of the bike course profile. I saw a guy with a laminated one taped to the aerobars…and I was just gong to write it on my arm.
-the Euro’s go all out on their bikes, there are no jokes here!
-I noticed after transition was closed, there are two women who are not racing in my age group; and now there were 15.
I try to go over and over again some sort of strategy and I just can’t com up with one I am happy with. As of now; the swim will be brutal with only a few women in the field, so I think no matter how good I feel I will take a start toward the back. First half of the ride hold steady on the flats and hills, push the down and hold on for dear life up the final climb and descent. From there it is a non technical push for 40k with wind in your face typically. CAN’T WAIT FOR THE MARATHON at this point. 8:50 pace and should be able to easily hold as long as I don’t panic and go out too fast for the first half.
Swim: 1:20
Bike: 6:30-7:00
Run: 4:00
Just remember: It is going to be a long day
As scared as I am, I am as excited as a kid on Christmas waiting for his parents to get up he can open his presents.

After my morning swim and lunch for tomorrow is ready!


Oh My…

Oh My…
I wanted to get sick. I was driving up the hill I would soon be descending on my bike; steep sharp blinding turns, giving complete confirmation there will be no reward at the top of this climb. Instead of the need for speed which I have been hoping for, became thoughts of a new strategy; watching my lines carefully so I can live to tell the story of When I Survived Ironman Lanzarote. Until now, my biggest decision I thought I had to make was if I bring a full length or sleeveless wetsuit, and now I see I have bigger fish to fry; all I am thinking about now are my wheels, the weight me on my bike with the wind and the grade of the descent…oh my. There is nothing comforting to me right now other than the sweet thoughts of a marathon I get to do afterwards, but only if I survive. I know this is only one of the many hills I get to climb, but this is the one I will loose sleep over. This is what Computrainer cannot prepare you for.
1350 athletes, 137 women and 17 are in my age group. None of that matters to me anymore, not even the rough swim start of 1200 men beating you down. If asked what my goal was at 7:00 this morning, I would have told you something completely different from what I am going to tell you now. The weather has changed, the wind speed is up and all I am looking for is to be done before the sun goes down. My race number is 64, my gear bags are all in the front row, bike in the front; I couldn’t have a better transition layout, and being the master of transition…too bad this isn’t a short course race, those extra thirty seconds over everyone is nothing here.
What I will get to see along this torturous route is something amazing. As shown a few days ago the hardened lava desert in the south, terrain, rocks and sand changes so much in such little amount of land. I lived by my motto of “I’m Lost” to the fullest today. Leaving without a map didn’t help and I didn’t pick-up one until I hit Haria (aka – panic point on the bike course). This is when I needed to stop to let the tension out of my shoulders, more so than indulge in the spectacular view that lay before me. I pulled off at a vineyard, yes…a vineyard. As I pulled in I was looking around looking for grapevines, but never saw a thing. Asking the man who ran it how long it had been here, I was shocked when he said 150 years. With my curiosity and confusion taking over, I asked where the grapes where and where the wine was made. He told me right here. We were standing about 400 meters from the opening where the top of the volcano blown off 200 years ago. Personally, I thought it was just a communication error. I bought a bottle of wine and he gave me a detailed map. It wasn’t until I was heading down the hillside and noticed hundreds of pits dug in the ground with plants in them…grapes! I didn’t know!
I got to see amazing wind sculptures from the late and very famous Lanzarote artist Cesar Manrique. So many intersections all over the island with his pieces of work; they are everywhere; I wish I could have gotten pictures of all of them, but I had to manage my driving. There is a cactus garden, Mirador del Rio and so many little stops along the way. I came across a beautiful town called Punta Muijeres where the lava rock spilled into the ocean creating these pools. These pools are now at the door steps of many locals’ houses. A man walking his dog stopped next to me to share admiration for his little village. I took a few pictures and he smiled and said with a sigh, “muey bonito”. “Si, muey bonito, muey,” I said to him. Fishing boats lined up beyond, with shades a blue that range from dark azul all the way to brilliant turquoise.
As you reach Orzola everything begins to change. Memories of my trip to Ironman South Africa came to mind as the beaches mixed with rocky shores and the waves crashed ten meters into the air. Lava rock mixed with sandy white beaches blends into the backdrop of high cliffs that drop straight into the water. When I say straight in the water, I mean there is no room for road, so you must backtrack through the hills to get to the other side.
As you make your way down past Teguise, a beautiful town in the center of the island, but still magnificent view, you start to find a green moss-looking plant growing onto the rocks. There is a castle there and a few churches that are stopping sites, but I was more interested in getting to La Santa, but not before I make a stop at Famara. Famara is a surf town where you will find the best wind sports and surfing on island. The surfers look just like the ones you will find in California, and I am sure they have a similar code, like The Nod, we triathletes use throughout the world. When I stopped in the town, I was clearly an outsider. Not knowing the code of social acceptance, I took a few pictures and moved onto La Santa.
The packet pick-up is always and interesting thing. You never know what you are going to get. Ironman packets outside the US are always so much better. Kick-ass back pack is what we got pre-race. (IM South Africa – they gave us jerseys). The location is far from the race start and this is your host hotel. The idea of being bused to the start of the race and waiting to be bused back after the race does not do it for me. There is nothing to do at La Santa other than be at the resort. However, the resort is pretty impressive. It is an endurance athletes’ dream! Since there is no sand beach and you cannot swim off the coast there; the resort build an inlet. So there are able to get the tide, swim an ocean course in the protective area of the resort! There is a track with field events, VO2 Max testing, lap pools, weight room and so much more.
I have officially made my round of the island. Tomorrow is tune-up and drop off. Take a deep breath in and go for it. There is nothing more I can do now, but listen to my words I tell everyone who does there first race; enjoy every moment, good and bad for there will never be another one like it.
And there won’t!

Do You Speak English? I’m Lost

Do You Speak English? I’m Lost.
I believe this is going to be my theme for the week. Already I have used this phrase countless times. I am having a difficult time with the roads not being marked well or even reading them at that! I never had this much of a problem anywhere I have ever driven and am starting to wonder why the lady at the car rental actually talked me out of renting the GPS. The Map; it is a marvelous tool, if you know how to use it. Luckily, growing up as a country girl there are two other things my Dad taught me (next to driving a manual) map reading and direction. I learned my north, south, east and west – and using my sense of direction has gotten me far on this little island; as long as I know where east is, I will make it back to my apartment. Learning how to read a map is priceless, but I will say, with modern technology, it is much easier having someone speaking directions to you, rather than pull over every fifteen to twenty kilometers to check your map, since driving and reading don’t go hand and hand very well.
But loosing my way has gained me many adventures. I got to have an amazing date tonight in what is one of the most romantic pieces of paradise I have ever seen with Myself. A hidden cove where the locals hang out. Around 6 pm the fresh evening baguettes are dropped off at the stores, so I picked one up, got an apple, Spanish cheese, almonds water and chocolate and had myself a picnic. Sitting there along the beach, the kids are playing, lovers snuggling, an old man swimming laps; this is a daily ritual for these people. I sat and enjoyed the people and the place, had a wonderful time with myself. After eating I decided to climb the volcanic rock that surrounded this little cove. Words and pictures cannot begin to paint the picture of this natural beauty. The water beneath is this dark clear blue, the reflection of the dark sand is something I’ve never seen off the coast of the US, Caribbean, Mexico or India. After my dinner, I continued to loose myself through the streets of Puerto del Carmen I got to see boys playing on their balcony with Super Soaker’s shooting unexpected passersby. It is amazing what you will see and find when you allow yourself to get lost.
As I took a dip in the water today for a lap around the course I swam into another fellow racer who is from the UK, taking on his second Ironman. After talking for awhile we found ourselves making a swim date for tomorrow morning, which I am looking forward to.
I also got the chance to hit the run course and do one full lap (since it is a three lap course, each lap getting shorter). I will be first to say, it is NOT flat like they say it is. However I will give credit to it seeming flat after everything you go through on the bike course. Small rollers, but they will feel bigger after 180km of biking leading up to and the wind could play a factor, as well as the lack of shade…which is none. As the days get closer I am getting more and more excited. Athletes from all over Europe are starting to arrive and no matter what language they speak, everyone speaks the language of “The Nod”.
The Nod is eye to eye, wordless acknowledgment and slight tip of the head form of communication that I have found all over the world with other athletes. I find you get The Nod more often when traveling overseas. Everyone here does it. No formal introduction needed, no handshakes required, just The Nod and you find yourself socially accepted.
As the evening comes to an end the smell of the salty sea air is exchanged for smells of local cooking. Rain starts to fall and I quickly run to the balcony to grab my drying clothes, now wet. I make a cup of tea and start to go over my pictures and find myself feeling so lucky that I have a life where I get to see all these things. It really is amazing what I have got to see throughout my life and can’t wait to see what else the world has to show me!