Sunday, December 30, 2012

Race Report: Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon - Vegas!

I already knew this race wasn't going to be a PR, but a girl can hope, can't she? Just a week after Ironman and a busy weekend of working on my feet, what was I thinking running a half-marathon?!

I'm addicted to racing. That's the reason I raced. And my friends pressured me. But I couldn't pass up a chance to dress up as a bride, I mean a runaway bride!

My running costume: white Team Sparkle skirt, white tank with handmade flyaway sleeves, gunmetal Team Sparkle visor, veil pinned into hair, blue garter, white SKINS compression socks, and pink New Balance running shoes. 

Night races are always interesting. I never know what to do or eat before. We drank hot chocolate as we laid in bed all morning. That's what three moms away from their kids do on race morning.

I wanted a sub-1:40 marathon, but realistically that wasn't going to happen. Just a few days after finishing an Ironman, my legs were toast. But my heart still wanted that PR. Sorry heart, this wasn't the day.

The race began just as the sun was setting. It wasn't cold, but WOW it was windy. We ran one mile south on the strip and then U-turned to a nasty headwind. I've never raced with a headwind before. I heard later that the wind gusted up to 50 mph. It was like running on a hamster wheel. So much effort to just run in place. I knew nothing special was happening that day. It was straight into a headwind for about 7 miles. And when we finally turned around to run south on the strip again, the wind was blowing every which way. My veil visor blew off my head several times and one time I chased it backwards down the street. It was just ridiculous! My goal soon turned into sub-1:50. I don't know why, but it just sounded good. And I barely made it by seconds. It was my second slowest half-marathon ever. My legs were so heavy and I could barely wait to get back to our hotel. Luckily, we stayed at Treasure Island which is right where the finish line was. Yeah! Compression tights and dinner. One happy girl, despite a slow race. Still proud.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Getting back into the swing of things

I'm finally getting back to speed training. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love being fast and I love feeling like I pushed hard. BUT I seriously dread those workouts. The treadmill gives me butterflies because that's where the speed work happens.

Doing just one workout a day doesn't seem like enough after Ironman training. So I've been throwing in some 2-a-days recently. Last Wednesday I attended my boot camp class (which was a running day). Afterwards I did my tempo run. Six miles with the two middle miles at a fast pace. 

It's tough to do my tempo runs with a stroller and dog because my "fast" miles tend to be close to my "slow" miles. This day, I was alone and ready to push hard. I actually ended up doing three fast miles: 7:26 (uphill and headwind), 6:55, and 6:54. Yippee! I couldn't have been happier. My half-marathon training is going great!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Getting Strong

After I had Desmond, one of the first things I did to get back into shape was attending a local boot camp class. I remember trying to plank for the first time. Wow, my core was completely gone. I guess that's what happens when you don't do any ab work for six months.

I attended Hit the Mark Fitness boot camp several times a week. My favorite days were Wednesdays because that was running day. So pretty much my favorite day was the easiest day. Go figure.

I kept going for about six months until my Ironman got close. I didn't need the strength training as much and I didn't want to be too sore to do my top-priority training sessions. But I certainly missed going.

Well, Ironman is over and now it's somewhat of off-season for racing. So I figure this is the best time to work on strength training. I would like to get some PRs in running next year and I want to do it by becoming stronger in my legs.

I'm back at Hit the Mark 2-3 times a week and I'm loving it! I'm attempting to attend on the days where we focus on arms and legs. I want to be stronger so I can get faster. Here's to a faster 2013!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Race Report: Long Beach Marathon

So rewind a few months to August when Carrie and I decided we wanted to run the Long Beach Marathon in just 6 weeks. Yes, you heard me right. We gave ourselves 6 weeks of training. This is not recommended. BUT I will say that I was planning on doing some long training runs to get ready for my Ironman already, so this wasn't entirely out of the blue.

We did 4 longish runs, with the longest one being 18 miles. 18 is far, but it's still 8.2 miles away from a marathon. Still I knew we could do this....this meaning get a PR. Our last marathons were almost three years ago and we have come so far since then. Our goal: sub-4.

Kelly decided to join us last minute. She had been marathon training for four months prior, so this would be "easy" for her. A marathon is never easy.

Of course we had to come up with some killer costumes. I think these are my favorite yet: superheroes! Introducing Super Woman, Bat Girl, and Wonder Woman.

I've done the Long Beach 1/2 marathon before, so I knew what the first 10 miles would be like. We had a blast running together, as we hadn't run a race together since our first marathon 2 years ago. Carrie was so awesome, as she ran on my left side to protect anyone from touching my elbow. Remember my huge bike crash? Yeah, that was two weeks before this race and it was still so sensitive (and still is). What a sweet friend!

The best part of the race was around mile 17 when Skyler, Desmond, and Carrie's family was waiting to cheer for us. I was so excited to see them! 

The course was great and scenic, not boring at all. I felt great almost the entire race, except for the last 3 miles. Suddenly I needed a port-o-potty immediately! Oh joy. Luckily I was fast and my friends waited for me. Just a few miles to go.

Then I made a rookie mistake, I forgot to eat my last gel. So I hit a wall and I was having a hard time finishing. Just one more mile and I was fading fast. Luckily Carrie was there to pull me through. She encouraged me all the way to the finish line.

And BOOM we did it: sub-4 marathon. Just barely. 3:58:39

Desmond and Skyler were there to greet me at the finish line. I was so happy to see them! They are so wonderful, especially Skyler, for supporting me.

Side note: the issue I was having with my stomach was very similar to the issue I had at Disneyland 1/2. I'm wondering if my issue is related to the running shorts I wore under my skirt or if it's the Spibelt I was wearing. Something was off and I can't figure out what it was. To fix, I'm eliminating both items so I don't have to worry about it anymore.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What To Do and NOT To Do Before a Race

Skyler and I have done a lot of racing over the past seven years. And we've learned many, many lessons along the way. Yet, we still do dumb things and make mistakes. 

You can't take every race seriously, right? Well, I'm a bit too competitive to race for fun, so I try to minimize my mistakes as they come because they will.

Last month my girlfriends and I traveled to Las Vegas to work our booth at the Rock n Roll marathon expo. Why not race since we'll be there anyway? One of us just came off intense marathon training, one of us just did an Ironman (me), and one of us hasn't done any run training for months (oh, besides a marathon). We're destined for disaster, but who cares. Here's our guide of what to do and not to before a race.

DO take a road trip to Vegas with your best friends. No husbands or kids allowed.

DO eat healthy. The gyros from the Mad Greek Cafe in Baker were delicious!

DO stay in a fancy hotel next to the expo and finish line. No one needs to do any extra walking.

DO NOT: Eat at Max Brenner. No healthy food here. Over-indulgence awaits you, but at least it's three days away from race day.

DO eat the whole menu at Max Brenner. DO NOT do it before a race or without Tums. (P.S. Best mac & cheese ever!)

DO NOT eat lots of desserts...unless you can pretend you aren't running a half-marathon in three days. Hot chocolate was yummy, everything else was just ok. 

DO NOT work at an expo two days before a race. Being on your feet is a big no-no. 

DO dress like a bride as much as possible in Vegas. DO be prepared to get hit on a lot.

DO NOT work two days at an expo before a race. 10 hours on your feet for two days in a row is bad race prep. But if you're going to do it, at least look cute.

DO go shopping. A new bra and make-up can really boost your self-confidence. BUT you aren't supposed to do a lot of walking, so make sure someone pushes you in a wheelchair.

DO NOT eat at I Heart Burgers the night before a race. This is the worst possible pre-race food, but the best-tasting post-expo food. Dilemmas...

DO lay in bed in compression tights and socks for 18 hours straight. That's what happens when you go to bed and don't have to wake up for an early race. I might like this night race plan.

Coming up....the race report.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

So now what?

So Ironman was a month ago. What now?

I need direction to keep myself motivated. California doesn't have much of an off-season because of the great weather, so I can continue doing whatever I want. The question is: what do I want to do? 

Do I keep up with my long-distance training? Do I run to the trails and enjoy some leisure running? Do I gear up for the Tinker Bell half-marathon I'm running next month? Or do I wait until January to start my 70.3 training?

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Holiday Gift Guide 2012

My favorite time of year is definitely Christmastime. I have to force myself to wait until Thanksgiving to start listening to Christmas music. (By the way: The Glee Holiday Pandora station is awesome!) I just love the cold air, the Christmas lights, and holiday parties. And of course I love sugar cookies!

My Christmas list is pretty much an average triathlete wish list. Running socks, gels, more running shoes, etc. I'm very fortunate to have everything I could possibly need, but in the triathlete world, there are always more toys to lust after. I've put together a list of some cool gift ideas. It's always fun to wish for new things.

A must-have on this Ironmom's list is unlimited babysitting at 24 Hour Fitness. It's already a killer deal at $4 for 2 hours of babysitting, but they also offer unlimited babysitting for $20/month! Come January when I start training for my 70.3, I'm going to be at the gym almost every day.

I'm a big believer in compression. How else could I have been almost pain-free a day after my Ironman? The only problem with compression is how boring it is. CEP does makes some fluorescent calf sleeves, but still, I want something with color. I ran across these compression sleeves from Lunatik Athletiks and I fell in love. I love stripey socks! Is the quality as great as Skins, who knows? 

I work out A LOT, which means I go through LOTS of sports bras every week. But I have to admit that none of them flatter me like The Handful Bra says it will. A bra that will flatter, not flatten? Yes please. Since I'm done breastfeeding, I could definitely use an extra boost.

My absolute most favorite pair of running shorts is Lululemon Speed Short. I only have one pair (in black) and I actually plan out which day I will wear them. Yes, I love them that much. I wish I had more, but they are $54. A little pricey for me, but well worth it. I'm loving these gray, pink, and black ones and hope I've been good enough for Santa to bring me another pair this year.

You would think I'd be sick of gel-based nutrition after sucking down 20 during my Ironman. Surprisingly, it still remains my favorite way to get calories during training and races. I usually take Vanilla Clif Shots because it's the most plain and tastes kind of like vanilla pudding. But lately I've been using Chocolate Cherry Clif Shot Turbo because of the 2 shots of caffeine. I usually avoid caffeine during a race that I'm pushing hard because it messes with my heart rate, but when I'm on my bike or need an extra boost I go for these. (P.S. I like Clif Shot better than other brands because of the thinner consistency. I suck at drinking liquids while running, so I need all the help I can get.)

I don't race without a Team Sparkle skirt. I used to be too serious of an athlete to wear a skirt during a race, but Team Sparkle has changed me. I love looking cute and dressing up for races. Plus the reflective properties of the sparkle makes them great for night running. I'm running a few Disney races soon so I think I need the Red Polka Dot skirt.

I love running clothing. And anything I can pass off as normal clothes is even better. I was recently introduced to Oiselle and I love all their tees! This is my favorite. I will have to buy it if Santa doesn't bring it.


My friends still aren't sold on the coconut water magic, but I certainly am. I always drink some before a race and if possible, post-race too. Sadly, it's not cheap, so I can't drink it as much as I'd like. O.N.E. is my favorite brand of coconut water and their flavors are so delicious -- Pink Guava being my favorite. If I could have a whole case for Christmas, I would be one happy girl...for a week at least.


Trail Shoes. I'm on the look-out for new trail shoes, but I'm not quite sure what brand. My current ones are 3-year old Mizunos and they feel like bricks. I need something a big lighter and maybe more flashy. Any suggestions?

What are your wish list favorites this year?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Question: Use Pain Relieving Gel During Race?

So I've used pain relieving gel post-race before and it's wonderful. I love the feeling of heat burning through the pain. I had never considered using it during a race until recently. It's weird because I've seen it available at aid stations during a race, but I never put two and two together. So I'm hurting and can put something on my body to numb the pain? Why not?

So now my question is, do I carry it or put in my transition bag for use during a race? I think it might be worth it, especially with my knee and IT band issues.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Natural Running Class: Week #4

The last week of my running class was bittersweet because I was sad for it to be over, but I was excited to learn how to apply what we had learned the past 3 weeks.

This week was about speed. We did some drills to help us determine if we were weaker on one side or the other. One drill was hopping on one leg around a four-square grid, clockwise and counter-clockwise. I determined I'm pretty weak on both sides. Another drill was one-legged running, which was impossible for me to do. I just looked like a huge goof. I tried showing Skyler when I got home...and I still looked like a goof.

Another useful drill was using speed in a 3-stepped drill. You did normal running for 2 steps, then did an extra boost for the third step. 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, etc.

I got my evaluation after class and Sally gave me some exercises I can do at home to help my weak hips and glutes. Side-step with bands, clam, donkey planks, etc. I'm trying to do at least one a day in hopes I can get stronger and faster.

I would definitely recommend this class to any beginner or advanced runner. I learned a lot and hope that the application yields faster race results next season.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Race Report: Turkey Trot 10k 2012

Turkey Trots are some of my favorite races. Mostly because they give me an excuse to eat lots of food on Thanksgiving day and not feel too guilty. It's been three years since we've raced one because last year I was 9 months pregnant and the year before we were in St. George (and sadly they don't have a Turkey Trot there).

This year we decided to get my family involved too. After an email filled with lots of peer pressure, I got my brother, sister, and dad to commit to running a 10k with us. I was so excited we were all going to race! My mom volunteered to watch Desmond (thanks Mom!).

So as the day gets closer my focus is only on Ironman. I really didn't even think about the fact that this Turkey Trot was just four days after Ironman. Oh well. I can make it a fun run, right? In reality, I don't think I have any "fun run" genes in my body...too competitive. 

I was super excited for the family to be together for this race. We lined up on the starting line and the race began. I ran side-by-side with Eric, but we kept Holly in our sights. I think Eric really wanted to catch her. Holly is fast so I figured I didn't have a chance.

Eric and I stayed together and I was super impressed at how fast he was running. Holly stayed about 30 seconds ahead of us, near my friend Kelly. Eric and I were feeling great and were actually negative splitting each mile. We ran past Holly at the turn-around and Eric was even more determined to catch her. The last two miles descend onto the Santa Ana River Trail, my local training grounds. Eric and I slowly started to reel Holly and Kelly in. After a few minutes we passed Kelly who was having an asthma attack. About 1/4 mile from the finish line we approached Holly. She was throwing up and pushing really hard. Eric sprinted past her, but I slowed a bit to see if she was ok. She looked at me and said, "I don't think I can finish." This was hilarious to me because the finish line was really just steps away. I said she'd be ok and sprinted ahead (am I a bad sister?). She was right behind me. The Salas siblings finished just seconds apart from each other.

Even though I was excited to have such a great race, I was even more excited for Eric, Holly, and my dad, as this was their first 10k! I was so happy to watch my dad cross the finish line. He has been there so many times to watch me, and this time I got to watch him. I'm the proud one this time! Great job Dad!

Even though we should have been struggling to even walk from our Ironman four days earlier, Skyler and I both PRed at the 10k distance. I can't believe how fast Skyler ran! He's so amazing! 

Skyler 41:21 (6:41 pace) 1st in age group
Elise 46:06 (7:27 pace) 1st in age group

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Post Ironman

I expected to be unable to roll out of bed the next day because that's happened plenty of times after a race. Or at least it should have hurt to walk downstairs (because walking downstairs is actually way worse than walking upstairs). But to my surprise I felt great!

I had worn full-leg compression tights to bed the night before, so maybe that had something to do with it. Or maybe my new running form is less painful than my old running form. Or maybe when you run a slow marathon it doesn't hurt as much. Who knows?! I am just grateful I could walk like a normal person the next day.

The only pain I had was from chafing from my wetsuit. My wetsuit is relatively new and seems to be a bit big in the arms. This results in chafing near the armpits. No biggie though.

The next day Skyler and I headed back to the race venue to purchase official Ironman finisher gear. You don't want to buy that stuff before the race because what if you don't finish. I bought stuff to wear every day of the week. Why not? I worked my butt off to complete this event and I want to have plenty to show for it.

Sadly, we had to head back home to California that morning. I would have like to have one more day to relax, but our little boy would be waiting for us when we got home. Or so we thought. My mom had taken him to Utah with her and their flight was supposed to get in at 8pm that night. Well, their flight was cancelled and I didn't get to see Des until Tuesday morning. Almost a whole week without my boy!

Our reunion was sweet and I spent the whole day just hugging and kissing him.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Elise Wallace, You Are an Ironman!

Race day: Wake up time 4:40am. Not easy, especially with one hour time zone difference, but when I was awake I was ready to get up. All of our stuff had been ready for 2 days, so there wasn't much to do in terms of getting ready besides getting dressed and eating some food. I ate two mini blueberry muffins, apple & cinnamon oatmeal, a mango coconut water, a banana, and some Honey Stinger chews.

We arrived at the race venue around 5:45am. We hit the port-o-pottys first, which was a great idea. Very productive I should add too. We got body-marked, finished dropping off all bags, and got in our wetsuits. 

We waited until about 10 minutes before race time before getting in the water. I got super emotional at this point. I knew the water was cold and the long day was about to start. I was crying. I made myself stop immediately and jumped in the water, making sure to hold onto my goggles so they didn't come off. The water was very cold, but surprisingly didn't feel as cold as the day before. Although, it was colder, but because it was cooler air temp, it didn't feel that way.

Skyler and I sat next to each other on a ledge in the water until the cannon went off. We jumped down and were on our way. Skyler said he swam next to me for 20 minutes, but I didn't know that because I only breathe to my right and he was on my left. It was a hectic start because everyone, all 3000 athletes, start at once. I got slugged in the face twice, but I survived. Maybe it didn't hurt because I was numb from the water. The sun was coming up just as the race started. I longed to feel the warmth of it on every stroke.

The half-way point approached and I was glad to be heading back towards the beginning. About this point I began to notice that my body was shaking and my teeth were chattering. I was so cold! I've swam in colder water before, but never for this long. I couldn't wait to be out of the water and moving on with my day. It's funny because the swim was the least of my worries for the race, yet it was a stark reality at the moment. About 3/4 of the way I noticed my shoulder start to get tight. I had to adjust my stroke on my left arm to make sure it didn't bother me too much.

Elise Swim 1:22:55  (Goal: 1:20:00)
Skyler Swim 1:29:05

I couldn't have been happier to get out of that cold water and surprisingly my time was pretty fast. The volunteers must have seen that something was wrong with me because they immediately pulled me up the stairs and over to the blanket station. They wrapped one around me and sent me over to the women's changing tent. They walked me over to the heater tent section to help me warm up. I was hypothermic and couldn't stop shaking. I tried putting on my bike shoes, but my legs were shaking too much. I took a few minutes to relax and warm up. I was thankful I had packed arm sleeves to warm me up. Normally my T1, swim-to-bike transition, is a few minutes long, but this time I took all the time I wanted. It may have seemed like I took a nap because I took so long. Oh well. On my way to the longest bike ride of my life.

Elise T1 13:32 (Goal: 5:00)
Skyler T1 6:06

Normally Skyler and I tell each other to "Go Fast!" before each race. This time the motto was "Go Slow." You don't want to burn out your runs with too fast/hard of a bike ride. So as excited as I was to be starting the bike portion of the race, I tried to hold back.

The bike course consists of 3 loops of approximately 38 miles each. The way out was a 1/2 flat and 1/2 slight uphill, so the way back had a slight downhill then flat for the second half. For the first loop there was a headwind, so going uphill was a bit of a challenge. Nothing I hadn't trained for. I remember getting to the turn-around at 1:15. I did a quick calculation in my head (which I did a lot of during the race since there's not much else to do) and realized that my bike split would be super long if I kept that pace. But I had totally forgotten that the way back would be faster, especially with a tailwind. I finished the second half of the first loop in 57 minutes, for a 2:12 total for the first lap. Also on the way back I stopped to use a port-o-potty. I had needed to go to the bathroom for over an hour, but it was just not happening while sitting on a bike. I timed it perfectly when I approached someone leaving a port-o-potty. No line for me!

This race had a lot of splits, which was great for our family and friends who were tracking at home. Every time I passed one of the timing mats, I thought about everyone getting to see my times. I wanted them to be proud.

The second loop was pretty uneventful. I did ride beside a woman for about 10 minutes and talked with her. It's actually illegal to ride next to someone because of the drafting rules. But we weren't drafting, we were talking. Riding for 112 miles gets quite lonely. On this lap, the wind was going the opposite way, so I got to the turn-around faster than the first time. But on the way back, the wind was blowing in my face. I stopped at mile 63, which was the bike special needs station. In my special bag, I had packed some Cliff Shot gels, a banana, a granola bar, and some Nuun tablets. I ate the banana, took the gels, and took off my arm warmers.

Back to the start and I was ready to start lap 3. My second lap was also 2:12. I forgot to mention that I saw Skyler on every half-lap. Since I had a lot of time to think, I calculated where I would see him each time, factoring in his faster speed. Turns out my math skills are excellent and we are consistent cyclists because my timing was perfect every time. Also at the turn-around that's near the race venue, John and Deby were waiting to cheer us on every time I went past. It was so, so, so awesome to have them there! Racing is very emotional for me and having family there is so important.

Lap 3 was very similar to lap 2, but my neck and shoulders were really starting to hurt. I wish I had packed advil in my special needs bag (next time). The ride back into town was very exciting. I had survived the bike, which was my worst fear, and I was ready to start running a marathon. My legs didn't feel too tired because I had ridden so conservatively.

Elise Bike 6:37:23 (Goal: 7:00:00)
Skyler Bike 5:40:41

I rode into transition and passed my bike to a volunteer (pretty cool that they take care of putting our bikes away). I grabbed my T2 bag and headed over to the restroom. Ironman is a long enough race that I didn't feel bad stopping to go to the bathroom. I went into the women's tent and again was greeted with lots of naked women. I had never considered changing into running short, but after chafing a bit during the race, that may be something I consider for my next Ironman. I sat down to put my running shoes on and my new friend Missy came in and sat next to me. She had just finished the bike too and had a flat tire. Glad she was doing well!

Elise T2 7:32 (Goal 5:00)
Skyler T2 3:50

I headed out of the tent and was on my way to running 26.2 miles. I always gets too excited when I start the run and knew I needed to hold back my speed so I didn't waste too much energy. I had decided beforehand that I was going to walk all of the aid stations. My goal was a five hour marathon, which is about 11 minute pace. The first 7 miles were great. I was eating my gels and drinking a little at most aid stations. I also tried some salt pills to make sure I wasn't losing too much salt. Around mile 7 I started getting a side stitch on my left side. I rarely got these in training and it was usually from dehydration. I made sure I drank more electrolytes, but not too much where it swished around in my stomach. I had to jog/walk off the side stitch for about 2 miles until it finally went away. It never came back.

The run course was also a 3-loop course, each loop being approximately 8.7 miles. During the first lap, I spotted Skyler across a bridge on his second lap. He was about 5 miles ahead of me. I was so happy to see him!

During the second lap I spotted a new friend who was also wearing a Team Sparkle skirt. We had similar time goals for the race, so I knew we would cross paths eventually. This was her first marathon too! We ran together and talked for about 4 miles. On a downhill I got in front of her and never saw her again.

The aid stations were spread about 1-1.5 miles apart. Here's the order of stuff: Perform, water, food (oranges, bananas, gels, pretzels), coke, water, Perform. At each aid station I would stop and take whatever my body wanted. Sometimes it was coke, sometimes it was pretzels (for the salt), and sometimes it was nothing. Later in the day, they also offered chicken broth. It was delicious and I would definitely drink it again in a race.

The began the last lap and I was so excited to be near the end. Each lap started where the finish line was so I got to see a glimpse of the excitement at the finish line. I got a second wind at the beginning of my last lap. I had already run about 17 miles and I only had 9 more to go. I was running pretty fast and I kept hearing people ask why I was running so fast. My pace was probably about 9:00, which was fast considering most people were shuffling or walking. My knees were hurting a bit, but mostly only when I transitioned from walking to running.

Around mile 22 I approached an aid station which was at a park. I glanced to my left and noticed Skyler sitting on a wall, wearing a jacket. I said hi and kinda kept going. I shouted, what are you doing here? And he replied that he's see me at the finish line. I assumed he was finished and was just out on the course cheering me on. But I thought it was weird that he was at this location. So I turned around and went back, just in time to see him vomiting. Uh oh! Something was wrong. I then found out that he hadn't finished yet, but was sick again. His stupid stomach has messed up every endurance race longer than 8 hours. He told me to keep going, but I wanted to help. Since we were close to an aid station I ran over and got some water and a sponge for him. He sat on the wall for a bit and I told him that I would wait for him. He told me to keep going again, but I said it would be fun to finish together. He didn't want to let me. After a bit he managed to stand up and we walked through the aid station and kept going. He said I was allowed to walk with him up the hill and then I had to start running again. I didn't want to leave him, but I knew that's what he really wanted for me. So away I went, just a little over 3 miles left.

I don't know if it's because I was stopped for a while (about 20 minutes) or because I just was excited to finish, but all of a sudden I had so much energy and I was running fast. People kept looking at me running by and were whispering, where did she come from? I probably wasn't really going that fast, but it just seemed that way since most people were walking. I was also getting so many cheers! I bypassed every aid station that was left between me and the finish line. I was getting there as fast as I could.

Soon I was finishing my third loop and made the turn to head down to the finish chute. I had envisioned this moment almost every day since I signed up for this race. That feeling was what I wanted so bad. I knew it would be an emotional moment and it was. Tears were streaming down my face. I had done it and here was MY moment.

The last 50 meters was the finishers chute lined with thousands of spectators. I was alone and sprinting as fast as I could. I knew that my friends and family were watching live and that gave me even more energy. Then I heard the words I had been dreaming about, "Elise Wallace, you are an Ironman!" I had done it! All my hard work had paid off. I had become part of the elite club call Ironman. No one can ever take that away from me.

Elise Run 4:46:34 (Goal 5:00:00)
Skyler Run 6:31:25

Elise Total Time 13:07:56 (Goal 13:30:00)
Skyler Total Time 13:51:07

I was on cloud nine...for about a minute. Then I became concerned with how Skyler was doing. I had left him at about 3 miles to go. Calculating how fast you can walk 3 miles, subtracting the time since I left him, I figured he should be coming in about 15-20 minutes later. I waited and waited and waited.

My legs were tired from standing, so I sat down. But then people kept coming over to ask if I was ok. After almost 45 minutes of waiting, I saw him being pushed through the crowd. There was a medical staff person on each side of him. All I cared about at that moment was making sure he was ok. I followed the three of them over to the medical tent to assess the situation. He thought he might need an IV because he had been throwing up so much.

While I waited to see what happened I got to hang out with John and Deby, as they were waiting for us at the finish line. Thank goodness they were there to calm my nerves. Skyler was able to communicate to me that he was cold, so I went to retrieve our morning clothes, bikes, and bags. I passed near the finish line area to get where I needed to go and realized that I was missing out on all the fun. That is my one regret, that I didn't get to enjoy finishing my Ironman. Obviously Skyler is more important, but this was my first one and I didn't get my massage, post-race food, photos, or sharing stories with other athletes. Sadly, this is the only photo I have from the race (and you can't even see my skirt!).

After hanging in the medical tent for about an hour, Skyler was deemed ok and we left the area. We were both kinda hungry and grabbed some drive-thru fried chicken (Raising Cane's) and sodas. I had too much adrenaline to go to sleep, so I took an ice bath and watched tv until probably 1:00am. But sadly my appetite wasn't the best so I didn't enjoy all of my cupcakes like I wanted to. Only had one bite.

The next day everything started to sink in. I am an Ironman! We headed over to the race venue to buy more Ironman clothing. I didn't want to buy any before in case I didn't actually finish. Now I have enough to wear every day of the week.

The one thing I feared was how I would feel the day after an Ironman race. Surprisingly, not sore. I know!'s crazy. Was it the compression tights? Could I have pushed harder? I don't know. I'm just thankful I could walk up and down stairs without being in pain.

Coming up...the aftermath.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Natural Running Class: Week #3

Running uphill and downhill. This is what I need to learn for efficient trail running. I really love trail running, but I don't get to do it enough. Mostly, just when I race. Yeah, that's how infrequently I train run.

This week in class we worked on running form for uphill and downhill running. I thought I was a good downhill runner, but it turns out that even though I am fast, I am totally burning out my quads. I've definitely noticed that after races, but just thought that was part of trail running. What I need to do is kick my butt. Yes, smaller steps with a buttkick on each stride. It feels a little weird, but my quads don't feel like they are getting a major workout (which is good).

I think I have uphill running figured out already. I knew that I need to take small, short steps when running uphill. I just need to make sure that I'm not bending at the waist when I do it. Stand tall.

We also learned some stretches, which I can't remember at the moment. Oh, one is a bridge exercise, but you pull one knee into chest so your back doesn't arch.

I got new running shoes: New Balance 870. They are bright pink and yellow. Of course way cuter than my old red & white K-Swiss. Hopefully they will work out just as great or greater.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lead Up to the Big Day

Wednesday: We dropped Desmond off at my parent's house since my mom would be flying with him to Utah in the morning. I was so sad to leave him, but excited to get this journey started.

Thursday: We dropped off kid #2, Pumpkin, at the kennel. Surprisingly she was excited to get inside. She has learned she won't be there forever. What a good girl! We were soon on the road.

It's been a long time since Skyler and I have been on a trip by ourselves. It felt so abnormal to not be getting a baby out of the car every time I got out of the car. We arrived in Tempe about 6 hours later. We checked into our hotel, which was a little ghetto. We unpacked and hopped on our bikes for a little ride around the lake. We rode the run course, which is about 8.5 miles. We met some of our friends later for dinner.

Friday: We headed over to the race venue to check-in and walk through the expo. Our hotel was just a mile away from the race venue. After we picked up our stuff we did a little jog around the lake. 2.4 looked really daunting. Nerves settling in.

We headed back to the hotel after lunch and did a whole lot of nothing. Actually I laid out by the pool for a few hours. It was such a weird feeling to have nothing going on. We couldn't do a workout, we couldn't eat yummy food, we couldn't walk around, we were forced to lay and do nothing. Very weird.

The best parts of the day were FaceTimes with Desmond. I'm glad he was familiar with the concept already, so he kinda knew what to expect. He seemed like he was having a great time away from us.

Saturday: We headed over to race venue for the practice swim. The water temperature had dropped from 68 degrees the week before to 62. I jumped in and instantly regretted it. I'd rather be shocked on race day than have a full 24 hours to think about how cold the water is. We swam around for about 15 minutes, then got out. Next on the list was dropping off our bikes, T1 bags, and T2 bags.

So many bags to pack. Made it even more nerve-racking to make sure you don't forget something and don't pack it in the wrong bag.

Next, we did a whole bunch of nothing. I can't remember a day that has gone by as slow as this day did. We were both so nervous and anxious to get this party started, but the day just dragged. We spent some time lounging in our hotel pool for a while. We had lots of time to kill so we searched around for cupcakes. I wanted to make sure I had yummy treats waiting for me when I finished the race.

I knew where to look for cupcakes thanks to this girl, Missy. She is my cupcake triathlete twin. She lives in Arizona, raced her first Ironman, and loves cupcakes too. If only we lived closer..

Later that night we met our teammates for dinner at Sauce. The spaghetti and meatballs was delicious. Bedtime 10:00pm. I'm surprised I was able to sleep as well as I did. After having a baby, I've learned to sleep whenever possible. My race nights are a whole lot more productive.

Race day begins at 4:30am. Stay tuned for the book.