I was born in 1983 in Germany where I learned to swim and cycle. For reasons I can;t remember I decided to go to university in England. I studied physics at Sussex uni and graduated 2007 with a masters degree. After a short period in Heidelberg in Germany I returned to lovely Brighton in 2008 to start a PhD. During my undergraduate degree the insufficient training times with the swimming club forced me to search for a new mission. Triathlon soon became my addiction of choice. The only problem was that I couldn't run. However, weaknesses can be worked on...
Running in a sauna at Kona 2009
Post Monaco 70.3 2008
|All about lizzy
Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Occupation: PhD student
Interests: triathlon, physics, reading, food
Ironman Hawaii Race Report
Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:02 am lizzy
Here you go: An epic report for an epic event. I'm tired and don't want to proof read. If you find spelling mistakes, you can keep them.
Up at 3.30am after a fairly good nights sleep. Breakfast was a few small bananas, a snickers, 2 bags of power bar gel shots (free stuff from the race expo), and 2 espresso. I was way too calm at this point. At 4.30 we got one of the many free shuttles going down Alii Drive and arrived at transition with plenty of time to spare. Off to body marking first, but there were no queues yet, so it only took a few minutes. Pumping up tyres, attaching food and drink to the bike, attaching shoes, and dropping off pre swim bag was done in no time at all – we still had over an hour to the start. So I went to the toilet a lot, looked out some of the pro's bikes, put sunscreen on my legs and vaseline on my neck. Slightly intimiated by all the fit and skinny looking people around me I put on my Aquasphere 'makes anyone look 5 kg lighter' speed suit early. The gun went off for the pros just as the sun appeared over the mountains. I went into the water just after that, and swam to the start line to make sure I got in the front. It was a bit early as I ended up treading water for what seemed like an eternity.
Two words: Washing machine. For the first mile I was swimming with my head up just trying to escape alive. I got kicked, scratched (scarred for live!!!), swam over. People tried to pull open my speedsuit, and I was glad I'd just invested in a new pair of goggles to replace my usual swedes for the race after receiving a healthy blow to my face. The only good thing was that because of all the fighting you didn't notice whether the sea was choppy or not. After that I finally found some clear water and got my heart rate down somewhat. I reached the turnaround after 32 minutes. I tried to draft a few people on the way back, but an incredible number of people don't know how to swim in a straight line, so eventually I figured I was better off swimming on my own. I had a few more small fights on the way back but emerged from the water after 1:03:27 in one piece.
Quick rinse of the face to get the salt off, a few wasted seconds because the zip of my speedsuit got stuck (definitely a fault with my suit – I had the same problem every morning the previous days), then a volunteer handed me my bag and I ran to the change tent. I had a clear plan on what to do in what order so the overzealous volunteers threw me completely. They nearly started stuffing my wet speedsuit into my bag when I hadn't extracted my salt tablets yet, causing me to reverse putting on my white long sleeved top to have a hand free to stop them. I also forgot to put a piece of tape on my right foot to prevent a certain blister from my bike shoes and to put sunscreen on my hands (my only sunburn!).
There is a small loop in town before you head out on the out and back section along the highway to Hawi. It was so busy on that stretch of road that I barely dared to go down on the aerobars. It was a nice little warm up and before I knew it I was going up Palani road. The first stretch of road until we hit the slope (Sorry, it's just not a climb!) up to Hawi followed a very simple pattern. Pack after pack of men and the occasional woman went past me. I was riding at a comfortable pace, but a little harder than in my last IM having faith in the large amounts of muscular endurance training I had done in preparation. I had to ease off occasionally to avoid drafting, and I'm pleased to say there were plenty of draft busters and athletes stopping at penalty tents. It did get a little tedious with some people cutting past me giving me virtually no room or re-overtaking without dropping back first and similar. And at some point I really thought that surely there couldn't be anyone left behind me. However, I somehow wasn't really as bothered about it all as at IM Austria two years ago. Other than my left hamstring feeling a bit tight (I found a way of stretching it while riding, which probably looks absolutely ridiculous.) everything was great, I felt strong, and was getting through my snickers, gels, salt tabs, and water ok. The aid stations were so frequent that I could barely finish my bottles off, so I powered through a few, and just enjoyed riding my bike in the sunshine. At the turn up to Hawi I finally had a bit more space around me. The gradient and the headwind meant small chain ring for the first time since Palani, slipping back on the saddle but aerobars none the less. In fact other than when I went out off the saddle and at the turns I barely left my aerobars. I love the bike course. The turn came much quicker than anticipated and gave me a bit of an estimate of my pace. I didn't have a bike computer which later turned out to be a great thing, but more of that in a bit. Apparently we had a pretty calm day with little crosswinds, so coming down from Hawi was loads of fun. Biggest gear, aerobars and fly! Past the turn Waikoloa (about 60k to go) things got a bit more uncomfortable: A relatively strong and constant headwind, and by now it really was getting quite warm. But I had no idea of how slow I was going due to lack of bike computer so it really didn't bother me. I felt at home in the wind, and kept cool by spraying ice cold water into my aerohelmet and over my back on every aid station. I also suddenly thought how amazing it was that my knee still wasn't complaining especially after the relatively low cadence ride up to Hawi. Before I knew it I passed the 90 mile marker, and my quads still felt fresh, so I played cat and mouse with some of the folks around me. I went past up the inclines, they went past downhill. I saw that as positive until I saw the Ergomo cranks one of the bikes. Never mind. Not my problem. The last 22 mile did drag on a bit just as I had anticipated, but it was never something that could spoil my mood. Overall I found the bike ride easier than when we did the training ride back from Hawi, and despite 5:47 being quite a bit longer than what I had hoped for, it went by really quickly. In restrospect I probably could have gotten away with pushing a bit harder, but better to be safe than sorry.
This time I told the volunteer to leave me alone, and just did my stuff. Chip off, compression socks on, chip back on, Energicer wrist bands on, one gel in each trouser leg, run shoes on, cap on and off! Much better!
With 370 km (I only just counted that now - I didn't want to know before the race, but I knew it was not a lot!) of running under my belt in preparation for the marathon, I was very very cautious from the offset. I set of thinking about quick feet and while my legs didn't hurt they felt pretty heavy. Aid station one couldn't come quickly enough. I took my time, stuffed ice cubes into my bra, and under my hat, drank a cup of coke, and took off again. After 5 km my legs started to loosen up. I can't put into words how relieved I was, and then the memory came back that this, too, had happened at IM Austria. The Energicer wrist bands worked well but clearly weren't made for Kona heat, it only took 30 minutes for them to stop cooling. However, I then found out that they are also perfect for stopping ice cubes from falling out of your sleeves. It felt like I was back in Kona and past 10 miles in no time. Unfortunately with soaking wet shoes because people on Alii Drive didn't understand that I didn't want water sprayed over me. But I can now report that Nike Lunaracers don't squeek when wet. But maybe I just didn't hear them because of the clanking of the ice cubes in my bra? When I headed up Palani Road, Chrissie was coming down so I walked up to enjoy the moment, and because running wouldn't have been much faster. Running along the highway towards the energy lab was uneventful for me. Run, walk aid stations, distribute ice cubes in my clothes, drink coke, repeat. Apparently it was a particularly hot day. I have nothing to compare it to, but I thought it very manageable. The Energy Lab wasn't any worse than the highway, but the uphill out of it (mile 18/19 ish) was the first time I started to feel my quads hurting a bit. But with only one training run over 25 km that was to be expected regardless of riding 112 miles beforehand. Rebekka (sharing apartment with her here in Kona) caught me about then, and we run together for a while until I had another 'picnic' at an aid station. However, I was just really happy for her to be running at all after her bike crash on Thursday, albeit in pain, that I really didn't mind somehow. I knew I had the daylight finish in the bag by then, I felt good apart from the sore quads, so I just kept plugging away. I came down Alii Drive when the sun was a huge orange ball over the pier. The atmosphere was amazing and I just took it all in, clapped people's hands, and crossed the line with a huge smile on my face. Run time was 3:52:55 and pretty evenly paced which given the course, conditions, and shocking training stats is incredible and a marathon PB. My only regret is that the aid stations were so long. I should have thought off that before the race – and restarted running earlier. I lost too much time there, but I just wasn't trusting my running.
Pizza, pizza, ice cream, pizza says it all. I have never felt this good after an IM. Maybe a little too fresh, I even had the energy to come back for the finish line party and dance on the sidelines.
This race is so incredibly well organised, you really have to search for things that could be better, but I found one: The only food and drink behind the finish line are pizza, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, powerbar (of all things after the race!), coke, water, and gatorade.
Do I want to come back? Yes, please! But first I need to get faster!
Pictures as soon as I get them.
Edit: I just found another cool fact: In my AG I was to be 13th out of the water, 12th after the bike and 8th after the run! Not bad for a swimmer!
~ Last edited by lizzy on Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:20 am; edited 1 time in total
Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:15 am Mrs Slacko
3:52 mara Welldone. Great result and with all that ankle/foot worry you've had as well. Swim sounded a nightmare! Congratulations Lizzy.
I smile a lot!
Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:26 am Slacko
Sounds like you paced it perfectly! Congratulations Lizzy, very happy for you!
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Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:00 am p00key
Brilliant ! Brilliant ! Brilliant !
Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:12 am The Iain
Superb, great work!
Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:26 am Carlito
Fantastic. Well done Lizzie. Well deserved.
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Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:32 am JamesBoH
Well done. Excellent result and a sub 4hr run off the bike having not trained over 25km is amazing!
Brighton 1/2 marathon
Frosty Aquathlon (800/10)
BUCS 10 mile TT
BUCS 25 mile TT
East Grinstead Sprint(500/26/4.4)
Bala middle distance(2/80/20)
RTTC National 50
Southwater Sprint Relays
Hever Castle Tri
Redmon CC 25 mile TT
E. Sussex CA 10
E. Sussex CA 25
BUCS TT 10
SCCU 100 mile TT
Little Woody (1.9/98/20?)
East Sussex CA 25
Brighton Marina Tri (1/29/8 )
Ironman Hawaii (3.8/180/42.2)
South Downs Way Relay
Falmer Tri - DNS
East Sussex CA 25mile TT
Brighton Marina Tri(1(?)/29/8 )
Weymouth middle distance tri(1.9/83/20)
Arundel long tri(800/36/10)
Midsussex tri(400/24/5.8 )
world agegroup champs(1.5/40/10k)
Lion Team Challenge Heidelberg:10x(0.38/18/4.2)
9:37 and we won!
Berglauf Dossenheim(5.4k, 350m of climbing!)
Nikolauslauf Bad Schönborn (10k)
hastings half marathon
steyning long tri(800/35/8 )
east grinstead tri(500/26/5)
weymouth middle distance tri(1.9/83/20)
ETU long distance tri almere(4/120/30)
don't remember the time but we were first mixed team!
east grinstead tri(500/26/5)
ardingly sprint tri(400/24/5)
midsussex sprint tri(400/25/5.9)
southwater relays(400/18.5/3.8 )
jog shop jog (20 miles)
barns green half marathon
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