Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sandy's Pics

Sandy's pics are here:

The first part are some duplicates from my pictures. Sandy's start with "Daniela & Wes @ airport", which is not the most flattering picture of me :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Pictures from my camare are here:

Some of the captions are still being worked on.

Elvis Sighting (aka Race Report)

Our early morning became even earlier when Wes' phone alarm went off at 5 (7am central time for the motorcycle class that he cancelled to go to Las Vegas) instead of 5:30. We tried our best to go back to sleep, but I got none. At 5:30 we were up, ate breakfast (small bagel with PB and a banana), and we were out of the room right at 6. We had a half hour to get marked and finish setting up transition. I wish we would have had about 10 more minutes. We were told that we could only bring in our race necessities in a plastic bag they gave us, so I left my towel up at the hotel. When I got to transition there were several people with towels so I wished I had brought it. It was too late to go back to get it.

Transition closed at 6:30, but our wave wasn't scheduled to go off until 8:03, so we headed back to the room to put on our wetsuits. I also took another anti-inflammatory, which was in addition to the 5:30am one. At 7:15 we left the room for the swim start area which was about 500 yards from the hotel. One of the first things we noticed was the announcer being dressed as Elvis. Nice!

Viva Las Vegas!

The swim was a point to point. Unfortunately, I didn't check out the swim finish before the race. The sprint race took off a half hour late, which put us a half hour late as well. Part of the delay was due to waiting for NBC to get into place with their helicopter. The first sprint wave was off at 7:30 and the helicopter followed them very closely to the water.

At 8 I went down to the beach to get in a warm-up. All of the sprint waves had cleared the area, so there were people swimming out on the race course, so I followed them out. I heard the water was 63, but it felt just fine in the full wetsuit. At 8:30 the pro wave went. Sandy and I took our places down at the shore line. I asked Sandy to help get the collar of my wetsuit straightened out, which she did and then yanked up on my zipper to make sure it was securely up. Her wetsuit doesn’t have the quick release and she didn’t realize mine did. Thankfully she hadn’t pulled hard enough to activate it. We could hear the countdown for every wave but ours. All of the sudden a bunch of girls in our wave were off, so we took off, too.

I was able to break ahead of most of the wave right away. There was one girl slightly ahead of me, and one next to me. I had thought they were spotting well, so I just tucked in behind and followed the feet until we were close to the first buoy. I took a look and we were not on course, so I veered to the left to head to the buoy. I wasn’t sure if the other girls were following me or if I was on my own. I took it at a comfortable pace. If needed I could have gone harder, but I wanted to conserve energy. While we were away from shore I noticed that it was a bit wavy. It was the roughest water I’ve swum in.

Before the race started I heard Elvis tell us that we took a left turn at the yellow buoy to head in to the finish (all other buoys were orange). When I got to the yellow one, I looked up and couldn’t see any sort of a finish line. It felt like I was treading water for 30sec while two other girls caught up to me. I asked one if she knew were the finish was and she didn’t. I could tell she was much more out of breath then me. It then dawned on me that we had to finish at the beach front at the Loew’s hotel which was just beyond the bridge that was up ahead, so I headed that way. Thank goodness Sandy and I had swum out from there Friday afternoon so I knew where I was going! As I got closer I could see the swim finish and I increased my kicking a bit. As soon as I could see the bottom of the lake (it was definitely not the clear water I was lead to believe it would be), I stood up and yanked up on my zipper cord. It broke away well. I kept running until I could sit to fully take off the wetsuit. Earlier that morning I overheard someone say the run in from the water to transition was a long one, so I really wanted to get the suit fully off before heading out of the water. I was able to get it off and up out of the water before the girls behind me were able to catch up. I found out later that there was one girl that beat me in by 3 min.

Swimming to the exit in front of our hotel

The run to transition was a long one! I could feel that my groin was sore, but not as bad as I had expected. The pounding on my feet sucked. I had the feeling that something was stuck to the bottom of my foot, but there wasn’t. My feet were still pretty wet and I didn’t have a towel to dry them, so I wasn’t able to get on my left bike shoe without sitting down. Partly from having a damp foot, but also from the groin pain. The rest of T1 went well. My helmet and sunglasses went on smoothly, and I was off again.

The beginning part of the bike was the same course as the sprint distance, and there were several people still on it. Being that they were the slower, less experience riders, they weren’t doing very well at staying to the right. A motorcycle affiliated with the race caught up with me and started directing the bikers ahead of me to get to the right. They didn’t have enough time to get to all the people before I’d catch up, but I made sure to thank them for their help.

A little less then halfway through the sprint bike course was their turnaround, but the Olympic course kept going out to the main highway. It was soon after that I was able to catch up and quickly pass the girl that beat me out of the swim. I congratulated her on her swim time as I passed by. From then on I was on my own. It was nice and peaceful, but it kept me from pushing myself harder on the bike leg. This was probably a good thing. There were several turns at the bottom of hills that I had to slow down for. If I was with others, I may have crashed from trying to keep up my speed. It also probably helped reduce the leg pain later on.

I looked a few times at the PowerTap to see how the watts were doing. In the beginning on the flats they did get up close to 200, but as I settled into a comfortable pace, they dropped to 180-185 like I was told to do. There were 3 steep inclines that I choose to stand up for.

The bike route was on the highway for a bit before going off along a bike path that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. When I got to a flat part I had my first gel with some water. There were a good amount of volunteers out on the route. In the beginning of the bike trail section two police four-wheelers caught up to me and passed me. The exhaust was not fun to breathe in! I caught up to them and they passed me again another two times. It wasn’t until I was back on the road before I noticed the extent of the wind. When I got a good gust, it seemed to take a hold of my disk wheel, but I was able to keep it in control except for one time that I was spitting at the same time. I got it back in control quickly. I’m not sure what the wind speed was but I did hear some people talking about not liking it much, but I really didn’t notice it all that badly.

As I turned back in to the road leading to the resort I had my other packet of gel with some water. In total I went through my aero water bottle on the bike and that’s it. I expected to need to drink more due to the dry heat, so I had another water bottle loaded on my bike. The bike leg went by very quickly!

When I was just about to round the corner into the Loew’s resort, I un-Velcro my bike shoes. My bike was only a few feet into transition so I didn’t bother keeping my shoes on the bike and I hadn’t practiced that dismount this year. After the dismount, I switched hands that were maneuvering the bike so I could grab the used gel packets from my jersey. This caused the bike tires to come out from under the bike and I laid it to the ground. Smooth! Not a good start to T2! I picked it back up, and drug it to my transition area. It then took me a few tries to get it on the rack with the water bottle on the front. Took my helmet and sunglasses off, put on my running socks and shoes, and slipped into my race skirt (yup, skirt, not belt. Bought it the day before at the expo from Skirt Sports. Very cute, but I won’t wear it in an “A” race). Since I had forgotten to put it on prior to putting on my shoes even though it was right on top of my shoes, I had to stretch it a bit more, which made one of the snaps pop off. I quickly found it and re-snapped. About 10 feet away from my rack, I realized I wanted to keep my sunglasses, so I ran back and got them. I looked down at my Garmin to hit the start button and realized I had put it on upside down. As I was running, I turned it around. The 5 seconds I lost to the 4th place girl would easily have been made up if I wouldn’t have had such T2 issues! Oh, well.

Lonely T2

The run was an out and back that continued past T2 on the way back. It started off in the beautiful resort area, but then went off-road into BFE. The pain was about an 8 as I started, but went to 6-7 as I kept going. I felt like it was stretching out, but I rarely forgot it was there. The run was the hilliest I’ve ever done. It was rare when we weren’t going uphill or downhill. I actually think the hills helped. I took shorter strides on the way up them, and the downhills just don’t hurt as much. My run splits ended up being a lot faster then I had expected.

I was probably about 1.5-2 miles into the run when the pros started passing me on their way back. Some were nice and encouraging, some just ran by. During the run, I got in 2 drinks of water. One about 1/3 in and the other at the turnaround. At the turnaround (a little less then halfway through the run) I saw next chick was about a mile behind me. Could I hold her off? Her run looked strong and faster then me.

The water people near the Loew’s resort said there was a mile left, so I picked up the pace a bit. The next people said I had a mile left, too. Then the next people said I had just under a mile. I think they were all lying. Next time I’m checking out the course ahead of time! The finish was in a shopping area. They kept directing us around corners, so I couldn’t see the finish until I was right on top of it. The finish was very similar to Hy-Vee...a steep, grueling hill! Very cruel!

I finally crossed finish. I had to pee like no other, so I hobbled over to the restrooms. When I got back up, I could barely walk. Shortly after that I saw Wes. He missed the finish. I saw a table that was oranges, so he headed over there. I couldn’t walk without holding on to his arm. The pain felt very similar to the first time I pulled the other side last summer. I became very fearful of what I had just done to myself. Since I couldn’t move on my own, I stood in front of the orange stand and kept eating them. I looked around for other food, but that’s all they had besides water and Gatorade. Seriously?!?! I’m so glad I had packed my recovery drink and threw in a bottle of apple juice at the last minute! I waited in line for a massage near the finish so I could see Sandy finish. When I realized that the line was going to take forever I moved to another stand where I could still see the finish line. Sandy crossed as I was still waiting. It was a while before it was finally my turn. I didn’t want to leave without getting at least something quick for my leg. I’m so glad I did because the pain went down significantly afterwards, but not enough to be able to walk back to the hotel. And I was really getting hungry! I got an ice pack for the ride. Wes drove me to the hotel, and then he and Sandy went to the airport to get Paula (Sandy’s sis).


At the hotel I made up a Peanut Butter bagel and had an apple. I also grabbed some ice from the vending machine area and iced some more while I did my first bit of stretching on the floor. About 15min later I went down to transition to pack up and got some more ice packs.

I took a shower and at 2 I went down to the “Iron Girl Brunch” for some free food, which ended up just being fruit, juice, pastries, and coffee. There was still no protein in site. At 3 Wes and I went to the awards ceremony that also started a half hour late. First place for the Olympic distance got a very nice specialized bike. She beat me by 3 min which I doubt I could have even done un-injured. First place for the Sprint distance won Zipp wheels. Those were the only overall awards. The top 3 places of each age division were given Irongirl earrings and a Tri Divas t-shirt.

Receiving award

6:00 was our massages. I asked for deep tissue, but it was far from. I also asked to concentrate on the groin, but had to remind her and ask for it to be more intense. I prefer my normal massage therapist!

I definitely did not do enough stretching! The next day my body was sore all over. However, my leg felt just as good as it did the day before! Yeah! By Monday I completely forgot I even had leg pain when walking around. But as soon as I take a running step, it’s back. And when I try to bend over and stand on one leg to put pants on I can feel it. The Drake half marathon in two weeks is not looking good..

Monday, April 14, 2008

Trifuel Article

Our flight out of Las Vegas was on time! No one was ready to come back to the cold weather, but from the forcast it looks like we might have brought some of the warmth back with us.

The race report is still to come. I worked on it during the flight home on Wes' computer which is where it still is. It's currently over 4 pages long...I can get a bit wordy. I should be able to get it posted tomorrow.

Ron G. found this article on the race. So cool to be listed in it! It's amazing to me that I'm the youngest of the top 5 of both age-grouper races...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

breakin all the rules...

The hot tub closes at 10, but that didn't stop us Saturday night from enjoying a bottle of wine until midnight. You'd think we'd be exhausted and sleep in Sunday morning, but we were all up by 8 and back in the hot tub. After lounging and having breakfast, Sandy and I (well, Wes for a few minutes, too) got in some laps in the pool. We also all tried out the water slide in the kiddie pool.


Packed up and were headed to Vegas at 1. We checked in to the Golden Nugget, found some lunch on Freemont Street, and were back at the pool. We're still all wondering how the GN pool made it on any "top 10 pool" list?!?! Do the other hotel pools suck this bad? There is a slide, but how many times can you possibly go down it? There is a shark tank, but can you really watch fish swim around for all that long? It wasn't long before the shade took over. Also, a new hotel requirement is an adult-only pool.

Sandy and Wes have never been to Vegas, so we took the mini-van out for a spin on the strip. After taking an hour to drive the few, long blocks, we parked for free at the Flamingo and walked over to the Bellagio. The shops there are amazing. We stopped at Tiffany's and a few others before heading out for the water show. Back inside for the flower display and butterfly houses. Then to one of my favorite stop of the night...the chocolate fountain outside of a chocolate store! I had to get some gelato for the walk back to downtown.


Paula and Sandy weren't up for checking out Fremont street, so Wes and I ventured out. A bar had some live music until midnight. All covers songs. Back out to Fremont Street to find a place that would make a fresh Pina Colada instead of the pre-made frozen type. Found the prefect spot for one and stayed there the rest of the night...

And the rest of the story stays in Vegas....

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nap Time!

Just a quick update of my results before heading to the pool for a much needed nap...
First amateur across the finish line (helps to be in the first non-pro wave)
1st in my age group (30-34...getting old!)
5th overall women (the fourth place chick beat me by 5seconds, but the top 3 killed me)
Leg is feeling much better after a quick post-race massage and lots of ice

Full race report later...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Race Results

Not sure how quick the turnaround will be, but the race results will be posted at:

Meeting Malaika Homo

I went to the "meet the pros" even tonight. To introduce themselves, each pro was to tell a little about them and what their "best" race was. When they got to Malaika Homo she said she hasn't won any large race, but one of her favorites was winning the Pigman Half. My first thought was, there's another race called pigman...? I asked her about it afterwards and 2 years ago she was driving home to Indiana from Utah. On her way out she did Big Creek and on the way back did Pigman.

Pigman Half 2006 Results:

Malaika is 4th from the right in the tan top and blue capris

Took a short 6.75 mile bike ride. It was all uphill on the way out, which makes for a nice ride back! And just slightly more scenic then Iowa. Although, once you get out of the resort area's plush green grass, it's pretty much rock and dirt.

Got a little bit of sun today. Looks like I'm coming back to Iowa with a little color. I'm sure it'll be more red then brown and quickly turn back to pale white. Lips are getting chapped. Good thing just about ever stand at the expo today had chapstick. I've got about a lifetime supply now.

About time for some food, finish packing for tomorrow, and getting to bed early. 5:30am wakup call tomorrow.

Pre-race prep day with not enough sleep

We woke up way too early this morning! Sandy and Wes were hot tubbing it until 3:30am (5:30 Iowa time). By 8:30 we were up, and the coffee pot was brewing. Grabbed some breakfast and unpacked the bikes. Sandy had a minor freakout when she couldn't find the tool bag which also contained our skewers and pedals. Would the airline really have confiscated them? After 10min of ransacking the suitcase and calling Dan, we finally found them tucked safely in the "I'll store them in an extra bag in case the the zip lock bag rips open" bag.

10am we were at packet pickup. Hy-vee had better swag, but we got stuffed Aflac ducks that squawk. :) Off next to try out our wetsuits.

It's gonna fit!

The swim area beach front was too small to get in a good swim, so we made our own swimming area.

Do we really need to stay within the ropes...?

Got in enough swimming to get a good feel of the water (about a half hour), and I practiced getting out of my wetsuit twice.

Off to find lunch at Whole Foods, and grab some snacks for the rest of the trip. Also picked up some beer and a few bottles of wine. Whoever had the room before us left a parting gift of a 12-pack of beer. Sweet!

The interstate was a little slow moving on the way back to the resort due to an accident. I've never seen a mini-van roll UP an embankment!

Up next....out for a quick bike ride, then getting our nipples pierced tomorrow!

Viva Las Vegas!

After being huddled in the basement of the Cedar Rapids Airport waiting for the tornado warning to be over, we made it out 2 hours late. Before taking off, we got in a quick drink to calm our nerves.


The flight was 2hrs 45min and I slept about half of it. Wes and I waisted the first chunk of time playing 2-person euchre while Sandy tried her best to "be in the now".

If you have the option when flying with bikes to use Allegiant, do it! For $60 each way we took 2 bikes in 1 bike box. The luggage people seemed nice and they said they took good care of the bikes when loading them. We'll see when they get unpacked

We made it safely to the Loew's resort in our styling mini-van. Already checked out the swimming pools, hot tub, and a good bottle of wine. Night!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

4 to 3 to 4 to Vegas!

It's been a hectic week leading up to our vacation. The orignal 4-some became a 3-some on Tuesday which began the look for a substitute bike-girl or -guy. Thankfully Wes was able and willing to shack up with 3 girls in Las Vegas, so we became a 4-some again!

So, we're hopefully flying out on Allegian at 7:30 tonight. The weather isn't the best in Cedar Rapids. An airplane should be able to take off just fine in 40mph winds, right?

A little history on why we're taking the trip, besides to just get out of Iowa. A year ago Sandy found out about a triathlon that Iron Girl was hosting in Las Vegas. If we signed up then, we got a huge discount on the entry fee. We figured if we didn't go, we wouldn't be out much $, so we signed up. And now it's just about here.

Race information:

Yes, that amazing looking hotel on the website is our's for the first 3 nights in Vegas. For the last night we're moving to The Golden Nugget.