Tuesday, April 17, 2007

IMAZ - Looks Like We Made It! THANK YOU!!!

Dear Lisa,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me prepare for Ironman Arizona. It was an incredible day…better than I ever imagined!

I still remember when we signed up for the event – almost a year ago now – thinking it would be a good thing to do to stay motivated to train through an Idaho/Wyoming winter. Well, it sure was!!

Going into the race, I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of performance goals. You had trained me almost exclusively using time as my guide (1 hour of swimming or 2 hours of running, etc.) But last week, I tried to set some hard and fast time goals – which looked like this:

* Basic Goal: Beat the time I completed IM Lake Placid in 2005 (15:17)
* Goal that I would be really happy about: Finish in 14 hours and change.
* Dare-to-dream goal: Go sub-14

And then you said something about me being able to take two hours off my Lake Placid finishing time. My thoughts ran something like this, “So sweet of you, Lisa…but…err…that’s a little crazy”.

Race morning, we got to the start with Jay and my brother, John. Jay and John were so great about helping us stay calm and focused. (John, thanks SO much for coming out for the race from NY!!!)

The Swim: How great that we got out of a lot of the treading that many of the athletes had to do! (Thanks to advice from a friend of Lisa, we swam up a little after entering the water, and found a ledge we could sit on to avoid all the extra energy required to tread water as we waited for the start gun. Sitting on that ledge, snuggled up with all these other wetsuits and looking out to the lake, the scene was beautiful. The sun was shining and a scan of all the faces was so telling – everyone had worked hard to get to the start line and now it was time…GAME ON!)

The swim was very physical. I’d sound more self-righteous about all those terrible athletes who bashed around hitting people, but I am sure I hit more than my share of people – especially when I did the breast stroke kick!

I got out of the water with a time of 1:33…about what I expected. The transition from the lake to the changing tent is a fair distance but you get lots of support from spectators and great volunteers, so that part was really fun!

Bike: I focused a lot on pointers you have given me during training….heel first as I pedaled, and spin, spin, spin. The wind was horrendous on the return of each of the three loops. I saw actual tumbleweeds cross the road in front of me. On the return of the first loop, I was on the verge of tears. I knew I couldn’t expend that type of emotional energy on loops 2 & 3, so I made a deal with myself that I couldn’t complain about the wind or conditions until I was an hour into the return on each loop. That strategy worked out because by that time, my mind seemed to accept the conditions and move on to other thoughts…like, “Thank God I am not changing a freakin’ flat right about now” Finally, I got off the bike, all too happy to get on my sneakers and start the run.

Run: I knew I wanted the run to be great. It was my favorite part of doing Lake Placid, and I wanted to re-create that again in Arizona. I had also devoted the largest percentage of my training to running this past year, so it felt like a great time to test my training. I thought about our runs in the sub-freezing weather of Idaho and of the training we had done in Tucson, where you paced me to feel what different running speeds felt like (and what pushing it really meant!) It was time to go the distance.

I followed the plan (something I don’t always do! ;-) ) and walked two minutes from every aid station until I hit mile 20, where I committed to running the final 10k. During this time, I remember going through one of the aid stations and this woman read my bib number (which also had my name on it) and she said to me, “Colleen, you are racing today”. It was weird, she looked at me knowingly when she said this – like we shared the secret that this was the first time I had ever done a race where I really engaged that extra gear. And I thought, “Wow, I just might be! I can’t wait to tell Lisa!”

I was so psyched to complete the marathon in 4:33 – 11 minutes faster than my previous stand-alone marathon PR. And my final time for the IM was 13:25. Which I am so psyched about!!!

Thank you for coaching me, for being a great friend, and for helping me grow as an athlete and person. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined a PR like this!!! The dream became bigger and I am so grateful for everything you did to help me chase it down!

ps – A special thanks to Michelle, Mike, Jay and the girls too! I LOVE how the whole Batchen family helps you towards your goals...it means so much. It’s hard to do anything but run your heart out when 4 year old Annabella stays out for over 8 hours on a race course to cheer you on and watch you finish a race in the dark!

pps - Thank you for being inspiring as a coach who provides great work-outs, but also as an athlete who is willing to put it on the line to test your own limits. I watched you train for this event despite many other important commitments. Whenever I lacked motivation, I just had to think about how you had already done 4 hours on the bike trainer that morning before 8am! And that dedication came through. You were an absolute star on the course!!! Watching you get through those bike loops before me (I saw Lisa a number of times on the bike because of the out-and-back nature of the course) helped me understand that this race was going to take some grit. Congratulations on breaking 13 hours...despite numerous trips to the port-a-john!!!


Bob Gentile said...

Great report Colleen, very excited for your PR, U knocked it out...

I love the part about when the aid station person said “Colleen, you are racing today”.....Dang friggin right I AM racing today Missy :-) LOL

Big Hugs)))CONGRATS!!

olga said...

WAY TO GO, COLLEEN!!! This is an awesome race, a great report, and a fantastic feeling!!! So happy for you, girl:) Congrats again to both of you, ladies!!

Michele Jensen said...

Colleen - you were a true inspiration. Your attitude and your determination was incredible. Everytime she passed us, you were completely focused, calm and even happy!! And you trained for this during the winter!! Awesome, I'm so glad I got to see it.

Larry said...

Way to go Colleen!!! As Lisa would say, "you rock!". I was thinking of you and Lisa on Sunday while I was running my 'lil 25k trail race as a speedwork session. When I started hurting near the end, I told myself to "suck it up!", because if you can be out there swimming, biking, and running all day long, I shouldn't complain about a 2 hour run. Thanks for the inspiration! I'm putting a copy of your blog entry in my drop bag to read as a motivator while I'm running Zane Grey. All the best! -Larry

Anonymous said...

loved your report. LOVE the pictures of you two Rock Star Divas!!! i am amazed alone at your marathon time let alone the whole day! what a special memory the two or you will share. LC

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your incredible race report. You totally rocked it with a marathon PR and a IM PR which was HUGE!!!!!!!! You are a rock star.