Monday, October 8, 2007

(Half) Ironwoman --Hear me ROAR!

OMG! THAT was the coolest thing EVER! 70.3 miles under my own power! Hell YA!

What an amazing day. I still can't believe it.

HALF IRONMAN: 1.2 mile Swim, 56 mile Bike, 13.1 mile Run

In the darkened War Room, the team leaders sat around the large mahogony table. Silent. Focused. The commander spoke: "The time has come. We've been working, building and training for a long time and now it is our turn."

The commander looked around the table and saw the fire in their eyes, the determined clench in their jaws, the power in their frames. "And we are ready."

"What do we do?" she asked.
"FINISH!" they responded.
"How do we do it?"

C: Ok, let's review the plan. We've built a strong machine that can handle this, but we have to have FUEL. Team Sigma Delta Tau -- what's your objective?

SDT : Sir, provide 400 calories at 0530, 100 at 0730 and 200 at every hour ON THE HOUR, SIR!
C: What about fluids?"
SDT : Sir, as much fluids as we can take on every 30min during Phase II and every 2 miles during Phase III, SIR!
C: Excellent. What do we do?
C: How do we do it?

C: Team Eta Eta Omicron -- what's the Phase I objective?
HHO : Sir, Go Steady, Go Strong, SIR!
C: What's your estimated final position?
HHO : Sir, 1,2 or 3, SIR!
C: Excellent. You know that you will be on your own out there. There will be emergency back up power available from Team Terra, but we really need those guys focused and available for Phases II and III of our mission, so we don't want to tap that if necessary.
C: We all remember what happened in the Simulation...we can't have that again.
HHO : Sir, we are ON IT. That will not happen. You can count on us, SIR!
C: Good. You are the leaders here, we need to you start us out strong.
C: What do we do?
C: How do we do it?

C: Team Terra Alpha -- what's the Phase II objective?
TA: Sir, a smooth and steady 17mph while supporting the objectives of Team Sigma Delta Tau, SIR!
C: What happens if the competition takes you over?
TA: NOTHING, SIR! Stick to the plan, meet the objective, SIR!
C: You may be tempted...
TA: SIR, NO SIR! Team Terra Beta will take care of them, SIR!
C: Good point. Estimated position?
TA: 10-15 SIR!
C: Excellent. What do we do?
C: How do we do it?

C: Team Terra Beta -- what's the Phase III objective?
TB : Sir, Steady Run. NO WALKING. Hawk 'em down. Reel 'em in. Four 3mile loops. Loop 1, Phase II Recovery. Loop 2-3 -- steady and strong. Loop 4, Bring it home, SIR!
C: Good. Remember you must let Team Sigma Delta Tau provide fuel whenever they call for it no matter how well it is going.
C: Excellent. Estimated pace?
TB: 10 min/mile, SIR!
C: Conservate estimate?
C: Better kick it's ass then.
C: What do we do?
C: How do we do it?

C: You all have worked very heard to get here, you deserve this. We are on OUR GROUNDS and we are going to take this objective on OUR TERMS! There is no QUIT in this team! WHAT DO WE DO?

C: Now let's go out there and KICK SOME ASS!!!

And so it began....I was mentally and physically ready for this one. I could feel it.

The swim was a goofy kind of a start. As I waded out with Wave 4, one of the Kruetz photographers asked me to come over by the pier so she can shoot some shots of my J&A's jersey in the water. So as the 1 minuted countdown began, I was literally jumping up and down in the water so she could get some good shots! It was actually a great way to ease my nerves before the race began. About 20 secs before my wave was about to start swimming off, she said "Ok thanks!!" and I hustled back to my starting spot.

I didn't start on the outside edge like I usually do because it was jammed with other folks, so I just found an open space in the middle near the front and started there. The horn went off and we were swimming...scratch that...crawling through hydrilla! I felt like I was doing water ballet with ribbons! I kid you not...they were draped over my arms, my legs, around my neck! It was crazy! I went out a little hard because I just wanted to get away from all the crap! As I was swimming I saw the lead group of red caps out in front of me and a lot of waves splashing around them. I thought to myself, wow they are really going hard right now. I didn't change my pace. 1.2 miles is a LONG way to go...I knew I could reel them in. I settled into my pace of breathing every fourth stroke until the first turn as my warm up. After the turn and some open space, I started swimming strong. 1, 2, Breathe, 1, 2 Sight, 1, 2, 3, 4, Breathe. 1, 2 Breathe, 1, 2 Sight, 1, 2, 3, 4, Breathe. That's my strong open water cadence....and it didn't fail me. I caught the lead group as it had stretched out and swam on the outside edge. We were passing two other colors of caps of the swimmers in the earlier waves as we went, dodging and weaving, trying not to get caught in traffic. Rounded the last turn....I think there was only one other red cap and me. It was really cool passing a lot of really fit guys! Checked my watch 37 minutes. I'll take it.

On to the bike! It was a pretty uneventful ride, save the gunfire, dogs, and dropping my chain twice (total user error). The big win was that I managed to eat EVERYTHING in my bento box and drink both of my bottles! I went steady and didn't try to push my pace...although the first half I probably averaged around 20mph since it was so flat and nice...but the hills on the back side slowed me down a bit. There was a great physics lesson out there we were in the rollers, I cyclist came up and passed me on the left. It was a taller guy, with fancy disc wheels, aero helmet and all. He had just gotten ahead of me when the next up hill came....I was turning a nice little cadence and just kept going..and going..and going...before I knew it I had caught up to him on the hill. I didn't want to mess with my momentum, so I was like, Oh I go. So I entered the passing zone and passed him up the hill. He looked over at me and with an English accent said, "Hey...that wasn't supposed to happen!" I just giggled and kept chugging my little bike up the hill. Of course, he totally passed me on the next downhill but was really cool and said, "Nice work on the hill...I'm gonna have to work hard so you don't get me on the next one!" We both smiled as he went aerodynamically screaming down the hill ahead of me. It was fun!

I came into transition and checked my bike split.... 3:01! Wow! I was thinking it would've been closer to 4 hours ...maybe 3:30, but COOL! 56 miles of bike. DONE. On to the run.

I swapped into my running shoes and took off...and the strangest thing happened. My legs felt GREAT! I mean there was none of that usual cinderblock heaviness or anything! I couldn't believe it! I went chugging out on to the course and ran through the first aid station where Carolyn and Ruthie were. "Hey - here comes DIONN!" Carolyn yelled surprisingly! All the fellow Rogues jumped up and had everything ready that I might need. The best thing was that Ruth handed me a little Rogue towel that had some ice in it.... I wasn't sure exactly what to do with it, so I slung it around the back of neck and tucked the edges into my top so that the ice was right on the back of my neck. And LORD did that feel good! I decided then that that was going to be a great way to keep cool on the run. So at every aid station I grabbed fresh ice for the towel and then took another handful and dropped it into my jog bra. Yep..that's right..I put a whole cup full right in there. And let me tell you, I never got hot. My core was feeling good!!

It was great seeing Panther et all at the Rockstar station. He asked me how I was doing...and I told him great! I think he was surprised to see me so soon and actually doing well! (Traditionally the first couple miles in a brick for me SUCK ASS!)

The run was really, really fun! There were so many volunteers that I knew that were yelling for me...and SO many other racers that were saying hi to me and telling me I looked was inspiring and invigorating! At one point and gentleman who was running at my same pace turned and said to me, "I think I'm going to change my name to Dionn!" It made me smile and I kept chugging along.

After making it up that last brutal hill without having walked NOT ONCE! I came across JJ on the outside of the fence. "Hey D! How's it going? You look fresh, first lap?" I smiled. "NOPE!" I only had 1.5 miles left to go! I think JJ was uber-surprised as well!

He jogged along the outside of the fence as I went up the final hill yelling support and telling me to pump my arms up the hill. At the top, I turned the corner and headed in to the finishing chute.

Adam was there with his usual exuberant self exclaiming, "And here's comes Austin's OWN DIONN SCHAFFNER! Finishing strong for her first Half Iron!" (Or something like that...)

I stomped on the gas and let it all out and went flying over the finish! I felt like was SO AWESOME! I had such a blast and what a way to finish. I'm still feeling the finishing high! This is why I train. This is why I Tri.

Offical Stats:
Swim: 37:11 (1:56)
Bike: 3:02:24 (18.4 mph)
Run: 2:05:27 (9:35)

Total Time: 5:49:30

Class Position: 8 (WOOT!)
Gender Position: 35
Overall Position: 160

(Note that the top 3 in my class were in the Top 10 Females, there are some fast 35-39 year!)


MikeW said...

You are AWESOME!
That rock star water stop and nothing on you.
YOU are Diana Ross, Donna Summer and the Tina Turner of TRI!



Shorey said...

GREAT job!

Lulu said...

Great work Dionn - you looked so strong out there that you made it look easy! Very impressed!

shubbe said...

Here's a before picture for you.

Congratulations. You looked really strong out there. (I'm the one who cheered for you, while mentioning that you didn't actually know me.)

Mark said...

Heehee, nice physics lesson:)
Great race, Dionn! What amazed me the most is how strong you still looked afterwards ...