Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ironman Pocono Mountains 69.1

This weekend I completed the Bike and Run of the Ironman Pocono Mountain 69.1 (since the swim is 1.2, I've removed that from the planned 70.3 distance).  Overall it was an amazing experience, and even though the swim cancellation was a HUGE disappointment to me, I'm glad I did it.  I thought I was prepared, but actually doing the 56m bike and then the 13.1m run I was able to prove to myself that I really could do it.

I was Paleo except for my the Powerbar Gels and a little corn in all of the days leading up to the race and even on race day.  I didn't hit a wall or bonk at all, I felt good nutrition wise throughout the whole race.  I probably should have had a little more on my run, and had I done the swim then I'm sure I would have felt the need to "eat" something sooner than mile 16 on the bike.  Generally I eat something like a lara bar or a gel as soon as I get on the bike after finishing a swim.

Here is a recount of what my food and nutrition looked like the days before the race and then during the race itself:

Pre Race:
Added some extra sweet potato and some acorn and spaghetti squash (for variety really) to my meals starting on Thursday (race was Sunday).
Dinner night before was grilled chicken, salad, and mashed sweet potatoes, and lunch had been a burger with no bun with pork roll and a fried egg on it (this was delicious btw) and a half a lara bar.

Race Day:
Breakfast was a few pieces of veggie egg cassarole (made at home and brought with me), a couple of carrots, cup of black coffee.  I then had a lara bar about 20 mins before I actually started racing, blueberry muffin is my current morning favorite.

Powerbar Gel, Tangerine 2x caffeine at mile 16
Powerbar Gel, Strawberry Banana, 1x caffeine at mile 30
Sweet Potato, Apple, and Corn baby food at mile 40
Powerbar Gel, Tangerine 2x caffeine at mile 50

Drank 1 bike water bottle of water and 1 of coconut water

Powerbar Gel, Espresso 2x caffeine at mile 4
Some water at aid stations, small cups*
1/3rd banana around mile 9

Full water bottle
Cup of warm chicken broth

About an hour after finish:
Coconut Water with 5mg BCAA and 1tsp L-Glutamine
5 or so chocolate covered espresso beans
A handful of dried cherries

Around 5pm: Plaza Azteca Salad, a few chips, and guacamole!
Two handfuls of chocolate covered espresso beans (these things are addicting) and some more dried cherries
Mixed berries with almond butter and shredded coconut (warmed up, a easy fruit cobbler)

So that's what I ate, how did I do??

Overall Race Information
Number of Finishers: 1,329
Number of Females: 339
Number of Males: 990
Average Time: 5:22:54 

Laura's Race Information

Overall: 5:36:51

Division Place (Age Group): 39/71
Sex Place (Females): 141/316
Bike: Time 3:33:20, 15.8 mph
T2: 4:25
Run: Time 1:59:06, 9:06 pace

Race Highlights:
  • It was NOT raining on Sunday morning :) and it was cold enough to know I needed to wear pants and a warm base layer
  • Getting to sleep in until 5am on race day!
  • Having awesome fan support, my parents and the Plenti (THANK YOU)
  • The scenery on the bike, it was beautiful, rural, and super hilly
  • Not getting a flat or having any bike trouble, the roads weren't that great
  • All the people that were scattered throughout the bike course banging pots and pans and cheering for the bikers
  • Passing a sign for Fresh Farm Eggs and wondering if I could stop by and get some on the way home
  • The volunteers that were standing in the cold and the rain to help make the race great and make sure no one took a wrong turn
  • Not getting passed by Tim Marley on the bike, until I realized that he had bike trouble and he didn't pass me because of that rather than the fact that I was going fast
  • Finishing the bike, halfway through I realized that the course was WAY hillier than I had bargained for - I should have trained on more hills or maybe came out to practice on the course
  • Hitting mile 7 on the run and still feeling strong, despite the pain in my knees
  • Not crying at mile 9 - This is where I thought I would cry but didn't - however the last mile was really emotional for me, I had to stop twice just to slow down and BREATHE
  • Finishing with a smile on my face and not actually hyperventilating - the last 2 miles is where all of my emotions started to hit, and was starting to have trouble breathing, I wasn't over exerted I was just overwhelmed with what I was about to accomplish!
  • Post race Mexican dinner
  • Being in the picture on the online local paper, click here to see it
This really is me finishing!  See the smile :)

Improvements for next year:
  • Single transition - having two transitions was logistically hard for spectators and it was hard to set up for as an athlete
  • Being able to do the swim...however the river was raging, it was absolutely the right call to cancel the swim
  • More real time athlete updates so that spectators and people following from home can have a better idea of where we are on the course and when we started!
  • Improved road conditions on the bike course - every mile someone was on the side of the road with a bike issue, tire, chain issue, etc
  • Getting the bags that they promised and RECOMMENDED we pack full of warm dry clothes and whatever we wanted after the race to the finish
  • Post race food - this is always an issue for me, they had subway, cookies, and chicken broth...I had chicken broth.  Where was the fruit? 
  • Give athletes some Ironman swag, we paid a lot of money for the race, a 70.3 sticker or water bottle would have been a nice gesture in our race packet

This weekend was a really awesome accomplishment, even without being able to do the swim.  I realized that I can do it, and I was right at my goal times - 3:30 for the bike and I squeaked under 2 hours for the run.  I have some things that I'm hoping to improve for next time and I am set on completing the full 70.3 distance.  I want to be a true half ironman finisher, not someone that did 2/3rds of a half ironman once...so Tim and I signed up for Miami 70.3 on October 30th!  The Poconos was cold, rainy, and hilly and Miami will be much warmer, flatter, and hopefully drier :)  It will be really interesting to see how we do.

For recovery I'm resting and got a massage on Monday (the day after the race).  Right after the race I felt sore in my lower back and I had pain in my knees (which started on the bike and persisted throughout the run).  Monday back pain was gone, but knee pain was still there.  Two days later I feel great, I actually think that Crossfit workouts that have been a fraction of the time that this Half Ironman took me have left me more sore.  Tuesday I did yoga as active recovery and will be getting ready to get back into the swing of normal workouts on Wednesday or Thursday...I'm already planning an 11mile run in Valley Forge Park for Saturday!


  1. Congrats on the race, even if it was 2/3rds of 1/2 of an ironman (you did an Iro?) Wish we could be in Miami to cheer you on there, but we know you'll do amazing, especially with the time trial under your (race) belt

  2. Congrats, Laura. Good luck in Miami!