Wednesday, July 28, 2010

IMLP Race Report

(Pic: Mirror Lake on race morning)

"Soak in every moment. There is no feeling that compares to your first IM" - A DM I got before the race from @HarveyDanger, a man who I have been following and has been an inspiration to me. I made this my main goal of the day.

When I started writing this race report I was sitting in a cafe, wearing my finisher's shirt with an IMLP finisher sticker displayed on the back of my laptop. A man walked over to my table and asked "Did you just run the ironman?" I beamed "YUP". Then he's all "You're my hero". Awesome...

Race morning - Having so much of the CREW with me the morning and day of the race was incredible. IronmanBobby asked John and I what time we would have our alarm set for race morning. He set his for 15 minutes earlier so that our coffee would be ready. John left to walk to the race start early, I followed along with Anna soon after. Anna is amazing. She's done this (IM) 13 times so I just followed her around, imitating everything she did to get ready. I felt relaxed.

Swim - The water was perfect and I couldn't wait to get started. I lined up in the back and danced and rocked out to the music until the cannon went off. I had a pretty bad injury on my hand from the week before and I had to be careful not to reinjure it by getting beat up in the swim. This was nearly impossible in the battle zone that is the swim start at IMLP. So my strategy... I waited a few minutes until everyone swam away and then I swam over to the inside of the buoys and took a super chill pace so that I wouldn't catch the big crowd. Eventually it thinned out more and I passed a bunch of people (swimming wide for plenty of room) and was able to swim the second lap closer to my normal pace. The added benefit of this strategy was that I started a really long and potentially anxiety filled day feeling completely in control of my experience and not overwhelmed by fists to the face. Time: 1:29:36

(Pic: Me and Anna, after she put on her wetsuit and I copied her and did the same)

T1 - With the cut on my hand still delicate from the swim, this had to be done one-handed. The worst part was taking off my wetsuit, it took a long time. A volunteer offered to help but I was doing fine on my own and felt more comfortable doing it myself. Time: 9:36

Bike - As I was mounting my bike, a spectator standing about a foot away said to me "Go out there and enjoy every minute, soak it all in"... coincidence? Thanks for the reminder! Anyway, I hadn't gotten to ride the course since the previous year. I was super excited to ride because I was much stronger and had a faster bike. I focused on "the Strategy" which I had been following thanks to my best bud Phil. I took it really easy on the climbs and still passed a lot of people because I'm a strong climber. Then I allowed myself to push a bit on the descents and flats. In February, at Strong Like Bull, I learned some bike handling tricks that made me much faster (and less nervous) on descents. The first loop came easily and pretty fast for me. At the end of the first loop I started to think "YES! I get to do this again". I was told that the hills get bigger for the second loop of the bike and I found this to be true. Add the wind and I started to find the whole thing a bit tiring. I slowed down a bit, but was no less happy. The second ride over "the bears" was awesome with a gazillion spectators screaming "nice pace" as I passed people with ease, sitting up on my saddle. And then a highlight of my day... I take the right to start my parade through town and I hear "GO GURU" and see Kate and Phil! YAY!!! That filled my energy tank more than any calories ever could. I was fully recharged to kick ass on the run. Time: 7:02:13

T2 - This transition was much faster and unimpeded by my hand injury. Most importantly, I grabbed my lucky Rev3 visor because Phil wore that exact one last year for IMLP and he had a spectacular race. I couldn't wait to get out there and run. Time: 3:45

Run - My legs never felt like jello. They never do anymore. I love running off the bike. The first few miles were mostly downhill and filled with my loved ones, which explains my 8:45 pace over the first 10k. Before I got to the turn onto the out-and-back I got to see John, with only 2 miles left. A perfect start to a marathon. My focus at this point was to chill out and not go out too fast. The songs stopped playing in my head and my thoughts were replaced with numbers and equations, trying to guess at my finishing time. Coming back through town, I got news from my tri-family that John had finished 12th. I was stoked, as this was a huge pro field and he must have had a great race. Moving forward, my body felt surprisingly awesome until about mile 18. At that point I felt the fatigue setting in. This was what people are talking about when they say that your legs keep going because they know what to do, while your brain has checked out. I knew that, no matter what, I was finishing close to 13 hours, and of course played with the idea of breaking 13. Then I thought of the climbing I had ahead of me over the last few miles and decided a more approriate goal would be not to walk. Not even one step. Not at an aid station and not on a hill. Just keep running... and I did. People were screaming at me on the hills because so few people were still running up them. I saw my amazing support team again at the start of the last climb, blew kisses and trudged on. Just before the last little leg out-and-back I heard someone yell "I LOVE YOU CHRISTINE LYNCH" and thought, that could be any one of my fans... but I looked and saw John! He looked so happy, which made me tear up (in the eyes) and then tear up the rest of the run. Coming into the oval I picked up the pace a teensie bit more, which was all I could muster, while I listened for "Christine Lynch of New York, NY... You are an IRONMAN!!!" Time: 4:21:54

Here's the thing... I fully expected to have a day filled with ups and downs. I didn't expect to have a day that was ALL ups. I honestly LOVED every second and never once thought of pulling out or stopping. Even when I stared up a giant hill, about to run it with exhausted and screaming legs, all I could see were my friends, my support, my dedication, the fantastic year of training and racing... and that this was simply my celebration.

And in case this report isn't enough, here are some helpful links to interviews, videos and more pics of ME!!!

Pics from TheyTri.

Video of me finishing.

And the best interview ever from Ironman Bobby.


Kaitlin Wood said...

Christine, this is so incredible! It was so inspirational reading this entry and I am excited to get started on my own journey :-) It was so great meeting you yesterday and I look forward to seeing you again on Saturday!!


Laura said...

Was at PLACID too! congrats. Haven't had the time to read the report yet, but you bet I will....

Anonymous said...

I read your blog because I am considering IM LP. You inpired me. I'm leaving for lunch early so I can go work out! Woo hoo