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A couple of weeks ago I shared my version of the day and days leading up to our race. Well, Felipe put this video together. It is too good not to share it. Hope you enjoy it

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A day to remember: Challenge AC recap

It’s been couple of weeks since Felipe and I finished our second 140.6 distance triathlon at Challenge Atlantic City at the Jersey Shore. We’ve been back to reality and our regular routines, but I find myself always thinking back to our experience in Atlantic City, especially when I need a mental vacation from stress. So Rather than keep thinking about it, here is my recap. (for Felipe’s recap click here)

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With my parents and nephew

The days before the race had been great. We had the chance to have a different experience to Ironman races and for It being an inaugural Challenge event in the US, I must say I enjoyed it and it had a different feel, more laid back and family oriented than Ironman. Felipe, my family, and our awesome friends who came to support us at the race enjoyed spending time on the shore, people watching the many special characters on the boardwalk, and being true triathletes as we met pros including the power ironcouple, Rinny and T.O. It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by so many triathletes overlooking the jersey shore.

 

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Pic with Rinny and T.O.

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Suited up and ready to go

Race day came quicker than expected. We went by our regular early “getting ready for a race” routine, gathered up most of the troops, and headed to transition. The morning weather was great, the water looked calm, and the normal race jitters could be felt, but Felipe and I were so excited and enjoying the moment….until panic hit me for a sec as it was announced that water temps were in the 80s and “no wetsuits.” Ahhhhh I’ve trained with my lava pants and wetsuit in OWSwims, but not sure how I felt about NO security blanket! Time to breathe, stay positive, and engage in mindfulness! Felipe gives me reassurance it will be ok and says, “I’ll do wetsuit with you!!” Love him to pieces! Within minutes, the Announcer comes back and says they will have a later wave for wetsIMG_5796uits! Sigh of relief! Maybe a European thing since Challenge races are in Europe, but my humble suggestion would be to say “wetsuit optional” instead of “no wetsuits.” The race was off to an amazing start by three Navy seal military officers, two of whom were participating in the race, parachuted into the transition area. What a rush of emotions watching that and pride everywhere!! Bid our farewells to my parents and headed over to the start with our friends. Have I mentioned how amazing they were and so glad they were there to be our IronSherpas!!!

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Only 2 min behind Felipe 🙂 glad I’m out of that treadmill swim

Felipe and I make it through the crowd of fancy wetsuits and by the time we hit the dock, the gun goes off. No time to stall, but just jump in and swim with the crowd. Going out to the first bridge. about .5 mile, seemed fast, no current, and for the first time enjoyed drafting off people. We hit the second buoy and make a turn, and that’s where the fun started. I was in a rhythm, but when I sighted, it felt I wasn’t moving far. Well that’s because we all had a strong head current for the next 2 miles. I used other swimmers to sight off of since there weren’t that many buoys and we had sun glare the entire time. Half way through my swim, I hit a turnaround and because the current was so strong, I couldn’t manage to get around one of the buoys. I swam and it seemed to keep moving away from me. Later found out that the buoy was moving because it was loose due to the current. I freaked out a bit as I noticed I started getting tangled in the cords and fought to get out of there. Another swimmer had stopped to make sure I got out as she had the same issue. Now all I could think about was where is the finish and I so ready to get out. I look at my Garmin and I’m at 1.8 miles. I felt so disoriented in the water due to the many turns we had to make and the current. Breathe, focus, and swim Res! I remembered wise words from our coach, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” Finally saw the dock and headed for it. Gathered myself to get on some fancy floating decks, which volunteers helped with and went to transition. Our friend yells at me as I go to transition that Puli is ahead of me by 2 min. I thought he was kidding at first, but as I run out to get my bike, I see our team bike jersey and got super excited. I yell at my love and we are both relieved to see each other. We bike out together and start our 112 mile journey together. At about mile 10, Felipe goes off and tell him I’ll see him on the run. I felt strong and realized we had a tailwind while riding on the AC Expressway and the weather was great.

Starting the bike together...

Starting the bike together…

Enjoyed the first half of the ride and rode through some scenic blueberry fields in Hammonton. On my second loop, at about mile 70, pulled into special needs and again saw our Irontex jersey at a distance and couldn’t believe Felipe was there. But quickly I realized something must be wrong as Felipe is strong and me catching up to him isn’t typical. As I get closer, I worry as his jersey was torn and his compression sleeves were bloody from his knee. What happened???? I’m so amazed at his strength, focus, dedication, and endurance as he has ridden like this since having had the bike spill at mile 28. That’s my bad ass hubby! He was determined to continue and finish! Off we go again and keep a comfy pace with him behind me. It wasn’t the best feeling to know he was hurt and in pain, but knowing we were together helped and I knew I had to stay strong to get us back safely to T2. Easier said than done. We hit the AC Expressway back and smack in our face is a ridiculous head wind…for about 30 miles. Talk about mental strength needed! I felt I was barely moving and the heat wasn’t helping, but knew I couldn’t give in. We finally make it back to bike transition and we are so happy to see our friends at bike in! We head to the medical tent to get Felipe checked out and I’m hopeful that they can tell him he can continue on the run. The volunteers were awesome, clean his wounds, and bandage him up. I knew our run was going to be more of a walk, but I was going to stay with Felipe and finish this together. He wasn’t giving up!!! We figured out what we needed to do to make it to the finish and I knew my speed walking would get us in, but wasn’t sure how Felipe would do. Nothing else to do, but to move forward.

IMG_5930We were off to the boardwalk and on a mission to finish. Being on the boardwalk was different than most of our previous races as there were so many people to watch, but also became a bit stressful. It was amazing to see the ignorance of some people as they were clueless about the race, gave us weird looks when they found out what the athletes were doing, and felt like an obstacle course as at times it felt as we had to weave through people. Nonetheless I stayed focused and kept Felipe going. I could feel him fading as it got later and did anything I could to pump him up and give him energy. I thought about ways to distract him from the pain and seeing our family and friends on the boardwalk helped! On our last loop, we talked about life, our plans, travels, and our craziness in doing Tris together!! Wouldn’t change it for anything. We knew we were close to the finish and pushed together! We crossed holding our Colombian flag and relieved to have made it! I am so proud of Felipe for his mental and physical strength! This was definitely an experience and a memorable race for us, but soooo blessed and happy we finished together. So thankful and glad to have had our family and IronSherpas – Becky, Jenny, and Brian there for support! The night wasn’t over as I knew we had to most likely go to the hospital to get Felipe checked out. It was all good though as we accomplished our goal together and are proud to call ourselves 2 x Ironman distance finishers! Ironcouples rock!

Priceless Finish with the love of my life....

Priceless Finish with the love of my life….

3rd time is a charm… Well maybe

OK, so it’s been a couple of weeks already since we finished our third 70.3 Ironman. In a sense it was a race that we were kind of looking forward to but not really if it makes sense. Yup…. Confusing we know. Maybe you have seen my previous post about motivation or lack thereof and how the winter was keeping us from training. So that’s the “not really” part of it. We felt a bit unprepared, and maybe were underestimating the distance. It kind of happens… But don’t let that fool you it is still a big race and a long day. We went in with our training as much as we got in, one thing for sure we were rested. We did our long workouts and hit them hard but we felt strong on them, long swims were great, long rides didn’t really bothered us so much and the runs…. Well the runs suffered but we had some miles in the running shoes that made us think we were going to be OK.

IMG_5704The week leading to it was of course crazy busy with work. We didn’t do our typical day off before the race. We typically leave Friday as a day off and since the race is on Sunday it leaves us Saturday to “rest” more. Well… If you know what happens at the Expo day then you know you do anything but rest. So our approach this year was leave the house on Saturday, go in to check-in, eat, rack bikes and leave… It actually worked out pretty good in our opinion. It eliminates the amount of walking you do trying to walk to places you don’t really need to be at. Also it helped with the nerves, which were pretty high due to the weablogger-image--201752111ther conditions we were going to have so the less time we spent at the expo and around athletes the better for us… Yes… Antisocial mode helps sometimes.

We were able to see the coach, he gave us some last minute weather related tips and off we went. We went to the hotel with K (our Sherpa of choice for the weekend). She wasn’t doing the race since she got sick but still offered to come down and help us with cheering, and also for the drive back home after the race. Anyways we went to the hotel and stayed there until the next Sunday morning. Did the usual pre race stuff.

blogger-image-21273471Sunday came, we enjoyed the benefits of being in the club village this year. It is pretty nice to have that since we have a place to camp near transition. We just got there while the team people got ready. We chatted a bit but not much, usually we are not too chatty without being rude. There were a lot of nerves because of the bad weather which at that point we had nothing else we could do other than let Mother Nature take her course with our day.

This year our waves were different than last year, I went in maybe 30 min before Felipe. The swim was rough, chop and current took at beat on us and it was not fun to see people taken out as we were getting off the dock. The bike while uneventful we were being very cautious as the roads where wet. A little of a tail wind on the way out and cross wind on the way back made it for a fun bike. Galveston is an out and back bike which it’s cool because you see everyone and we saw pretty much the whole team. Getting off the bike we hit the run. Puli didn’t feel well, he was getting belly cramps after probably taking too much salt water on the swim, Res keep pushing forward with her awesome steady pace.

blogger-image--1918549458blogger-image--39903413It was a great day. Felipe managed to have a PR on this course and a sub 6:00 70.3 with a 5:59. I managed a 6:40 which wasn’t a PR but knowing our load over the next months a number I can work with since we don’t want to get injured nor push too much too early as the year will be long and this is just the beginning. We definitely have learned to read our bodies, our fitness and endurance are there, we need to put longer hours and get some speed but other than that we have a tough couple of months coming up and want to do well without breaking apart.

We were also glad to spend time with almost all our teammates and our cheering crowd who were awesome. One more for our 70.3 distance… Again one of our fave races and we will probably do it again, being so close to home.

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Time to get motivated so we can get the peak of our Challenge Atlantic City training in and work on our weak points. Other than that… Let’s continue having some fun. 🙂IMG_0136

Cheering is fun too

On Labor Day, we had a chance to go cheer on our friends M and G while they were doing their first sprint tri. Looking back a couple of months ago, we got them hooked shortly after we came back from our Ironman. M had mentioned that she had started running but we think they got to consider doing tris after talking more and more about it to us. We helped them go and check out bikes, talked them through the basics, helped them work on a training plan that was doable, and then they signed up for their first tri.

G coming into T2
G after a fast T2, getting on his 5K

Their first tri was the Blackland Sprint Tri. They were a bit nervous that week, asking the normal questions and we helped them plan the race, and help calm their nerves. They were ready and wanted to have fun. We had told them we were going to cheer them on during the race, so we planned to get there for the start, but a storm rolled in so it pushed us back a bit as we had to drive about 30 miles to get to Plano, TX. We had calculated their times and figured we would catch them coming into T2. We actually had a good place as we set up right at the dismount line. We got to see others before them come in and cheer everyone on. We saw G and M and then headed to catch them at the exit of T2. they looked great and seemed to be enjoying the race. We headed to chase them on the run. While we were waiting, we were able to see a few of our Instagram and Twitter friends and that was cool too, to get to cheer so many awesome people on our rest day 🙂

All smiles from M, it must have been a good ride 🙂
it wasn’t too bad, she was still smiling 

Cheering made us think about our beginnings, also made us think of why we do this, which is one of the big reasons of this blog. We remembered how our first race was, our nerves, excitement and all the different emotions that go along with simply racing. Now, even though we have moved to longer distances and we have gotten more experienced, we haven’t forgotten that we do this for other reasons. First and foremost it’s to have fun, we push our bodies and want to do well, but we want to have fun. Although at times, pain comes with racing, the feeling of accomplishment at the end is amazing! We also do it because we want to become better individuals and better as a team. Team Res-Puli that is!  We’ve grown so much as individuals, not only physically through this process, but also mentally. We are tougher mentally, which makes us better on the personal and professional fronts. As a team, being a couple that tris has taught us so much, tri-ing as a couple, being married, pushing each other, building a stronger relationship, and having fun together. 

So while we had a lot of fun cheering and had a great time seeing M and G become part of the triathlete world and being proud of them, we also had a chance to look back and think about our tri life. We think that we’ll be triing for a while, we love it, enjoy it and best of all… we still have FUN!!. 
  
That’s it for now… our next post will be probably be after we take on Trifecta for the 2nd time. Should be a fun race.

One More On the Books… Repeating Rivercities

Last Sunday (August 4th) we had our latest race. It was a race that we signed up for before Ironman Texas so it was a race that even though we wanted to do to some extent turned out to be a bit of a drag. To start like we’ve been talking for the last few entries we haven’t really found that motivation to get back into the groove of training with the same intensity we were before. Additionally, our work schedules have been crazy busy with traveling on both sides. To the point that for instance this time the one traveling pre-race was Res and going to Denver on an all week work training wasn’t the most inducing environment to train and returning Friday to leave on Saturday morning to race on Sunday was a bit exhausting. To all that add a couple of weeks of above 100–degree weather in Texas and really makes things difficult. Yes we started using the “it’s too hot” excuse. Oh well, we think we deserve it after training all winter for IMTX.

We don’t really have any major races scheduled… Oh wait. Lets take that back, we don’t have any long distance races scheduled. I guess an Olympic Tri (trifecta Tri), Bourbon Chase and Dallas Marathon sound so short after a 15:00 hr day. Needless to say we feel like our bodies still have some endurance left despite the few pounds we packed since May 18th. Maybe not…. We know that. 
We went to Rivercities Tri pretty much just wanting to do it just to do it. Maybe with the goal of not coming back with worse times than last year and maybe getting a PR, other than that the usual have fun and try to do our best. 
The day came, Saturday our drive east to Shreveport was easy. We convince K to do the drive so Puli was actually happy to not be the driver as normally happens. It’s always fun to go to this race as the swag is pretty good. Better than most. For some reason it is one of the top 5 tris with the best swag. 
Had to take the same pic as last year 🙂

Our day started at the typical 5:00 alarm, get ready have a little breakfast. Packed the bikes and bags and headed to the lake. It is a beach start so it is always fun to have those. Puli was in the 3rd wave and Res was a couple of waves after. So off we went. The swim was pretty good for both of us, both of us lowered our times on it which was a good start. Our bike splits were good. Puli’s was 0.1 mph faster than last year and he felt pretty strong the whole way to the point he was worried that he was going too fast and wanted to have legs left so he pushed back. Res’ bike while not faster than last year was strong, consistent, and really the progress has been seen on it. Our run was when the wheels fell off. Puli was feeling good and started ok, but the heat took a toll on him and he couldn’t get his HR down or stay cool. Res’ run was great 2:00′ PR over last years run which was amazing. Our transitions suffered a little as the racks were weird and the bikes were hard to get in and out. So in recap Puli didn’t PR by less than a minute which he wil take and Res PR by over 2 minutes which she was excited about. 

Results…

In summary we decided that we definitely need to get back in the groove of things. Can’t imagine if we had stuck to the training plan we have on our schedules which is focused on short races and building that speed that we need especially getting off the bike or on the swims. 
We also felt like we had lost respect of the distance to some extent. Our sprint or olympic nutrition/hydration is not as well thought out as our long distance ones. Is like we feel we don’t need it. We needed it last weekend. We ran out of Infinit on the bike as it was so hot and humid. So starting the run with that in your mind that your are already digging up your reserves is not the greatest feeling.  
Throwback podium… last year’s podium

We will do a short 5k in Belmar, NJ this weekend. The Belmar Chase, supposed to be pretty flat and fast we will see how the Jersey shore treats us. In the meantime we will definitely start our training discipline back on Monday when we get back home. We have a month to tweak a few things before Trifecta as we definitely want to PR this one. We have about 15 or so teammates doing it as well. 

Then after that we plan to take a triathlon hiatus and focus on our Bourbon Chase and Dallas Marathon to close out the year. We want to focus on the runs as it seems to be our weakest leg and also the one that we’ve lost the most on after IMTX. 
We’ll hope to share the experience after Belmar’s 5K. We want to keep the tradition of doing a race when we go to NJ, it might not be a podium like last years but we will keep the tradition alive. 

… maybe we are back…

So over the last few months we’ve been focusing on things other than triathlon… like life in general. It’s funny, but even though we want to workout and our bodies actually feel ok during workouts it is just hard to go at it with the same intensity or regularity that we were before. Even funnier is to go to the group workouts and hear everyone (most of everyone, except the new team members) say that they haven’t really worked out as they had planned.

On the personal non-tri front, I (Puli) am happy to announce that my Oregon stunts have probably come to an end. Yes, I’m back to the good ol’ Texas. Even though I had a great experience working there both personally and professionally, nothing compares to being home and sleeping in your own bed with the ones you love next to you (that being Res and JayJay). On the workout front, well I think I’m going to miss a bit of it, working out there was pretty awesome, got to do awesome rides and runs. So I got to say… we are probably planning a riding vacation out there.

Last Mountain Bike Ride in Oregon

Climb to Mary’s Peak, OR

On the personal tri front, a couple of weeks ago we did the Disco Olympic tri. Being our second Olympic and our first race after Ironman Texas, we really wanted to do it to come back to it. To try to get back to the swing of things. Traveling didn’t allow for much swimming and motivation wasn’t really there the whole time. So we did what we could, hitting about 50% of the training plan our Coach M graciously put for us, but not really killing ourselves to keep up with it. We weren’t really afraid of the distance. Funny now how a 1500 m swim, 23 mi on the bike and a 10K on the run really doesn’t even phase us and probably we need to take it more serious than that, but after having done 5 times that, we know our bodies have the distance, might not have the speed but we know we can finish it and not really puke or be completely exhausted by it.

Back to our Disco Tri, granted I had flown in on Friday for a Sunday race and had to leave again Monday so needless to say I was preoccupied, tired and really didn’t feel like going out there to kill my self on the tri. Regardless I gave it my best, I think we all did.

The morning came, we had the Keller carpool ready (truck’s name for race days, since we tend to fit 4-5 bikes and 4-5 people in it) and we headed up to the tri. About an hour’s drive from home. So the wake up call came at 3:45 am (last time we did that was on Ironman day). We headed up there and it was overcast, and storms were rolling in. Got to the park after a minor incident getting into the park which I’m not going to bore you with, we got in parked and unloaded. Transition setup was again uneventful, with the exception of a lady who was just rude. I think she was a beginner and I was trying to help her but she was just rude (maybe she wasn’t a morning person). We had designated racks (like many races) and she decided to come to my rack, when she was like 4 racks down actually by Res (her number was one number before Res) so I politely told her, she should not be racking there as they would probably make her re-rack and/or get a penalty. She fought me back and just went to the rack next to us, again racking way off from the place she had to. She even had a balloon for her bike, thought that was cute. Anyways…. I think in our sport we try to be nice for the most part and here is one of the reasons we share our experience, so other people getting started know or learn from our mistakes. So lesson here, listen to others, they are not trying to make your life harder, if they tell you something maybe is worth listening.

Res Looking Good 
My Signature… tongue out

The swim:
On the swim I knew I wanted to stay around 30 minutes, that meant to keep a
2:00’/100m pace. The swim start was a mass start with all male and female under 40. I started towards the back and found myself towards the middle by the first turn. I found a few feet that I followed but then ended up passing. Sighiting was a bit difficult because they only had the big buoys but other than that pretty easy swim. Garmin read 31:56 or 2:03’/100m, not bad.

Bad Ass team

The bike:
By the time I got to the bike the rain started, it wasn’t too bad at first and I tried to push hard to see if I could cover more while the roads were dry, that didn’t last long, about mile 1 or the entrance to the park the rain just was a constant drizzle and pretty much I settled for a pace to be safe and not screwed up crashing. I settled for a 20 mph pace which I tried to keep, some hills slowed me down but I didn’t want to push too hard on them as I didn’t really want to walk the 10K. I came out of the Oly detour and got with the Sprint people, I saw a couple of our teammates that I knew were ahead of me from the swim but they weren’t too far ahead of me, maybe 1 mile or so, so I knew it wasn’t too bad. Saw Res and a few others heading behind me and warned them to be careful on the turn as some folks had wiped out with the wet road. Anyways I started passing Sprint people and here was the other incident of the day. Note to people here…. please read the rules when you participate, mistakes can get you penalized and its not fun to spend time at the penalty box on big races (luckily I haven’t and hope I won’t). I was going up a hill and saw one of our teammates doing the Sprint distance. He is an average rider, I’ve ridden with him before a couple of times and he can keep up a 20-22mph pace for about 20-30 miles but not beyond that. So I was going and I did the usual short conversation “what’s up… good job” and I was going to pass him, I had already taken his side, so common sense is alright… see ya… I’m leaving you are staying bake. What does he do? gets off his saddle to not let me pass him. I think he thought this was a ride around our normal route where we are riding side by side. Well, I played it cool and I just shifted got off my saddle and left him, just pissed me off for many reasons…. 1. you don’t do that period… is the rule… 2. it’s your teammate passing you doing a longer distance, therefore… stay back and accept it. 3. again… it was wrong. Anyways I wasn’t going to let that bother me, just aggravated me a bit, but kept going.  Finished the bike, I wanted to have an hour (in perfect conditions) but with the rain I take the 1:08 I had, 20.2 mph average.

Run:

Res focussed on the finsh

Off to the run I went, I felt pretty good starting, it was a 2 loop run. First loop went ok, second loop I was starting to feel the lack of training, I was trying to keep an 8:30’/mile pace and not get my heart rate too high, but on the second loop I found my self slowing down between miles 3-5. I saw Res at mile 5 and she told me to go finish strong, I had started to pick up the pace then, I was doing about 8’/miles then and had a girl running behind me and we were just pushing off from each other. It was raining so I could hear her strides and she was keeping my same pace. When we came to the last 200 yds of the run she just sprinted to pass me, I gave it all I could to not let that happen and not let her chick me… yes I have some pride left :). It was funny because at the end she hugged me and thanked me for pushing her. It was more the other way around but I didn’t say anything. Come to find out my 10K was 53:28 or an 8:40’/mi pace, come to find out later she was running a 7:40’/mi. which is what I kept for the last mile.

Worried about getting chicked….didn’t happen!

All and all, the race was a good one, weather was great, could do without the rain but it turned out great. I think the rain actually helped us to stay cool and also to not push so much on the bike that we were able to run the 10K without that much of a problem. Definitely will do the race again next year so we can see how we do.
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Not a bad swag… Disco Tri-Top

A true test!

It’s been two weeks already since we crossed the finish line to what would be our 1st Ironman (note the reference to 1st…). It has been a long road to get to that finish line, but let me tell you… Those 15:00 hours battling the elements out there seemed an eternity :). Needless to say… we were able to do all this after putting in:

  • 1869 miles on the bike for a total of 112 hours of saddle time (actually rode further than the distance between our house and New Jersey)
  • 340 miles of runs for a total of 61 hours of running time (or the equivalent of almost 13 marathons)
  • 96180 yards of swimming time (pool and a few open water swims) for a total of 36 hours in the water (or the equivalent 1923 laps in a 25yd pool)
 Anyways, here is a recap to what went down starting from our road trip, check-ins, pre-race preps and hopefully if you are not bored by then you get to read our race reports. We will try to keep them short, however there is a lot that happens in 15 hours.

Drive down:
Before we start with the drive down, it is important to mention that Puli had the risk of not making to our drive down. He was on his way from Oregon on Wednesday and after a cancelled morning flight and being diverted to Lubbock due to bad weather and ended up on a 15 hour trip back home, making it home at 2 am on Thursday. Now, getting to that morning, he finished packing and changing bags and then packing the car. So it was a pretty unadventurous drive down, we picked up a friend of his from work that was doing it too so after getting him we headed south. We weren’t that far behind from the team’s caravan, so we met with some of the other ladies from the team doing it and headed to the expo. Something really cook happened while we were driving, Puli got the news that his guest blog on Swim Bike Mom’s blog was posted, so he was really excited about it.

The expo and day 1.
We got to the expo at around 1 or so, heat was intense, it was in the 90s, humidity was brutal but we were filled with excitement, nerves were piling up, it is a weird sensation. We have been to other athlete check-ins but this one was different. The energy is intense, looking at everyone who have been probably training as hard as us (if not harder) over the previous 6 months and just trying to take it all in. We know we are all competitors, but for the majority of us, getting to this day was not an easy journey, but yet we were ready and we were going to make the best out of it. After picking up the packages and walking around (more like melting) in the heat we decided we’ve had enough of it and went to the hotels before going to the Athlete’s Dinner. Dinner was actually pretty nice, inspiring, and got us all pumped for the days ahead, funny how being with 2800 of your closest tri friends can get you going.

Day 2…. practice swim and more
Day 2 (Friday) started with a short practice swim. It was Puli’s first time in the water in 2 weeks so he was pretty anxious to get in. It was a good swim for Res as she wanted to test how she would feel with the water temp and swimming without her wetsuit. The practice swim confirmed to Puli that he was going without his wetsuit and to Res that she was going with a wetsuit. So back to the hotel for some necessary breakfast, the team was going to IHOP, however we kind of just wanted to stay calm and do our own thing. Nothing against them, it was just something we wanted to do. We then went to do bike check-in and bag check-in, boy that can be complicated… too many things to think about and learned a few things in the process, like do not put your gels or other energy food (call it blasts, blocks, etc.) in your bags when the heat can warm them up to a cozy 100-deg temperature…. THEY MELT!!!!! other than that no other lessons, just wanted to turn the bike in and go back to the shade :). Puli actually had decided he wanted to get a haircut, he had been traveling over the month and didn’t get a chance to get one while away, so he was feeling like he needed one, mainly to keep his head cool in the heat (he says it helps). So that was the main thing about day two, just trying to stay calm, hydrated, not too nervous and think about not making any stupid mistakes the next day.



Pre-Practice Swim shot…


Day 3…. According to Res

I can’t believe that it’s been two weeks from the awesome day in which Puli and I became Ironman!!! Sitting here looking back at the first day that we decided to embark on this journey together. I remember having been all excited and yet nervous to meet the team and get our first workout in with them. Boy, was I out of shape then. I could barely run a half mile before thinking I was about to pass out because I was so out of breath. Fast forward to a year and a half later and we are embracing our Ironman weekend sharing so many emotions together including happiness, nervousness, excitement, tension, and overall sense of pride to have made it this far.
The day arrived quickly and alarms went off at 4am. I knew it was going to be a long day and that we would not make it back to our hotel at least until after midnight!! We went through our morning rituals and got our bags ready. We headed out to T1 to get bikes ready and keep the adrenaline going. No major issues so far and walked almost a mile to swim start. What a way to warm up before swim start!! We saw our support crew and cheering squad which gave us a boost of energy and kept walking to the lake. Puli braved it and started in 7am wave as he chose not to wear his wetsuit. I am not the strongest nor fastest swimmer and decided to use wetsuit for my swim as extra cushion and comfort level. Glad I did although mass swim with or without wetsuits is insane. Arms and legs flying everywhere, people grabbing your feet, toes, gliding over you, crossing in front of you…pure chaos. I was able to find a rhythm about 20 minutes into my swim, before it was interrupted by other athletes with poor sighting skills. Stayed focused on the buoys, on not drowning, and getting to the finish. I made it out of the water in 1:32 and ran up to T1. The volunteers were amazing as they offered help, dumped my bike bag out making it easier for me to see what I needed to get dressed. I had a snack as I was starving and headed out to start 112 miles of my bike ride. I tried not to think about the distance as it seemed surreal that I was about to embark on a century + ride on my own and then return to running a marathon!!


 

Game face ON!!!!

 

Warm up walk…. it was hot and humid already




Non-Wetsuit Start – Chaos, thanks I wasn’t there
Breathe Res…you got this and off I went.


Smiles still… rough day out there but glad to be back in 1 piece
The first 5 miles felt great as there were lots of spectators cheering us on. Gradually started to get into areas were there were no spectators, just traffic. And here is where my bike ride became not only a mental, but physical challenge. With no one out there to distract me from the heat, humidity, and my thoughts, I started to hear a rubbing sound on what I thought was my front wheel. It became annoying going into about mile 8. I pulled over to check it out and moved the front brake around and off I went again…well not for long because the rubbing noise was still there. I was happy to see the first aid station! I got some water to drink, pour on me to cool off, and took another stab at checking out my front brake. I moved it some hoping this would do it. For some reason I thought I was riding a unicycle that day because it never dawned on me to check out my rear tire. I figured I don’t hear the noise back there I won’t mess around with it. Well, as a good friend would say…FAIL!!! My back brake rubbed throughout my entire ride, but I didn’t let that get to my head. It made for a tough bike ride as I had to push extra hard and continuously pedal through some rolling hills.  I remember having been close to hitting a mental shut down at mile 70 when I got into an aid station and saw so many cyclists resting under trees looking for shade. The mere thought of me doing the same for couple of minutes crossed my mind, but then said to myself, who am I kidding, if I sit down I will not get back on this bike! Poured water on me and back on the bike I went. The Texas heat and the Woodlands humidity were not my best friends that day and made for a mentally challenging day! The last 12 miles of the bike ride felt like an eternity to finish as one of the aid stations had run out of water and all I had left was warm Infinit. Yuck, but had no other choice. I made it back from the bike ride all in one piece, which had been one of my goals, and I was so happy to see some of our fellow team members cheering us on at the bike finish. I was ecstatic to have gotten off my bike and headed to transition area to get ready for my marathon!  
 

1st lopp of 3, only 26.2 miles left



I had never done a marathon before, but here I was about to get one done after a 2.4 mile swim and 112 miles on the bike.  I was not surprised to feel my legs numb and dragging for the start of my run. I did not pick up my pace until about mile 7 and then alternated between slow jog and fast walk. I wondered and thought about where Puli was during most of my run as I had not seen him since wishing each other luck at the swim start.  It was a three loop run with lots of spectator friendly areas to give us the extra push some of us needed to get to the finish line. I met some awesome people on my run, first timers like me, others who this was not their first rodeo, and others who just inspired me even more to make it the finish. I was able to maintain a fast walking pace on my last loop and I kept thinking, I don’t think I’ve ever walked this fast for so long! It was dark out, glad I had a headlamp, and stopped at the aid stations to fill up with chips, soda, and chicken broth! I was nearing the finish and all I kept telling myself was “Finish strong, You got this!” I saw my teammates and it was a great feeling. I asked them about Puli and they said he had finished and was near the finish line. I honestly don’t know where I got legs from at the end, but I felt as if I sprinted to the finish line. I saw Puli about 200 feet from the finish line and my heart was racing! I was ecstatic, relieved, and began to get tears in my eyes as I got closer to the finish. The energy was amazing and I enjoyed the moment as I heard the long awaited words, “You are an IRONMAN!”



 I WAS 200 yds from becoming an IRONMAN

This has definitely been one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had and could not have asked to share the journey with anyone else than Puli! He encouraged me, pushed me in getting stronger, and motivated me to not give up on myself especially on training days when I felt extremely slow. You are one of a kind Puli, my partner in crime, and glad we became IRONMAN together. This journey couldn’t have also been possible with the support from our family, friends, and followers! As we look back on the many emotions we had on May 18, 2013, the next question is which will be our next Ironman race!!! Stay tuned! 🙂

 Day 3… According to Puli
 As Res said it.. our morning was pretty uneventful, it was our typical morning rituals, something really funny is that we’ve learned to deal with each other very well on race day. By dealing I mean stay out of each other’s way. It makes it easy on both of us, and also it just makes it for a less hectic start of the day. We just make sure we are doing our thing but we don’t really talk to each other. It’s a silent communication if that makes sense.

So, after the pros went on their way, we said our good-byes and I headed to the water with some of the girls doing the swim without a wetsuit. I looked for the guys but couldn’t find them, not that I could keep up with them but at least wanted to have a good group around me, didn’t happen. When 7:00 hit, we were off on our way to a very long day. I started about 10 seconds or what I thought was 10 seconds after the gun went off, and had a good uninterrupted swim for like 5 yds, tried to open my way through the masses took a few elbows on the face, slaps on the head, kicks but didn’t let that stop me, I’m sure I did some damage on some people too, can’t avoid it and if you try to play too nice you simple get railroad out there. I got to the first turn, and negotiated the turn pretty well, I was on a 1:58/100yd pace which is what I wanted for my swim, then got to the second turn and on my way back the wetsuit guys started to pass us and chaos started again. I tried to go on the outside which I knew was going to be the shortest distance to the finish line and that turn into the canal took forever to come by, finally it came and there was only about 1000 mts left, looked at the watch and I was reading 1.8miles or so, and was at about 1:00 hour, I was happy because I was still on pace, however my garmin decided to either play tricks on me or the distance was a bit longer, but final garmin reading was 2.7 miles and 1:40 minutes later. Coming out of the water and going up the stairs i started to feel what I thought were cramps, but I didn’t paid attention to them, got my bag and went into the tent. It was more chaos there, tried to look for a chair didn’t find one and I just sat on the ground to change. Eat my bar, and got something to drink, off I went to get my bike.

On the bike the exit was easy, was good to see people on the way out, however I just kept an easy speed leaving, the concrete pavement and the concrete joints just brought nightmares and saw a couple crashes due to that and flats on the way out. Kept thinking about Res and praying she was OK. When we started to get into the open I got a good speed, it was averaging 20 mph on the first half, I got on a group which we just kept each other’s rear wheel at the distance but pushing each other and pulling each other, it was fun. At the 56 mile mark I looked and I had 2:45 or so, that was my fastest bike 56 mile split, I knew I had to slow down because I couldn’t keep that up and then get off the bike and attempt to run. Got to special needs, tossed my old Infinit bottle and changed bottles, kept pouring water on me because the heat was starting to get on us, and couldn’t keep cool. Around that time I caught up with one of the girls that I started the swim with chatted with her a bit and then kept on going. I was alone for a while until a couple of guys decided to keep up with me but on my tire, which pissed me off a bit because that’s just not fair. At least keep a distance!. So I pushed the pace and they couldn’t keep up so I dropped them fairly quick. Then I caught up with one of the guys from the team, was surprised to see him because he is one of the strongest on the bike but he was having a rough day. Then I caught another one that passed me on the swim with his wetsuit light speed and caught him on the bike, chatted with him and he said he pushed to hard on the swim and was paying for it on the bike. Left him behind. At mile 80 or so, I was starting to feel the ride, but a lady came by and chatted with me for a bit, we had the same bike and she was a repeated IMTX customer 🙂 so she told me that it was not that hard, that we should keep pacing each other, we did for about 20 miles, but at mile 100 she said she couldn’t do it anymore and told me to finish strong. I pulled into town and was feeling great. My bike split was lower than I had originally planned, I had an official time of 6:12 when I had planned 6:30. Thought it was AWESOME!!!!. I came in and slipped my feet off the shoes to dismount, to my surprise the pavement was so !#$%^ing hot that it burned my feet to the point that by the time I got to the tent I had already blisters. It was great to see one of our teammates who was volunteering at T2 and he got my bike. At the tent i changed, forced myself to eat more, and hydrate. Poured a lot of water on me, to cool myself and went off on the run.

 

Got out of transition and into the run. Saw the cheering squad took a few pictures (note to self, I need to rub the sunscreen next time)

Damn feed burns and I still have my bike gloves 🙂 oopsss

I talked with one our guys and he gave me his words of wisdom, I was on my way to 26.2 miles of run. I made it to about mile 6 on a slow 12:00’/mi run, and the blisters got really bad, felt one popped inside my shoe and I knew it was time to stop to check them out. Got to an aid station that had medical and had them check out, they were bad. Feet were red and blistered. They cleaned them up, put some vaseline and wrapped them up. I was good for another 4 miles, then repeat, by then I had already done the math and I knew if I kept a speed walk/walk pace every mile I would make it in about 6 hours, which was plenty of time. So repeated my blister cleanup routine for about 4 more times, had chips, chicken broth, water, fruit, and actually my belly was doing great!, legs weren’t too bad either, just a bit tired because my walking form was all screwed up from the blisters, I was trying not to put too much pressure on them. Met a lot of people on the way, walked with them, heard their stories, their

journeys and it was probably the most mental stage of the day. From mile 13 to mile 26 was hard, I was tired of simply walking, didn’t see the miles piling up fast enough and I was getting just anxious to finish. Then at mile 17 it started to get better, I was on the countdown in the single digits and was on my last loop around. By then I hadn’t seen Res all day but luckily our cheering squad had given us updates on each other, so we knew we were kicking some ass out there… mile 23 came and I met one guy who really helped me a lot, he walked with me for about 2 miles, he was telling me his IM story and his journey and I thought it was amazing, you can see his story here to Mathew THANK YOU!!!! simply talking to you made those miles go so fast.. probably the fastest of the second half. I then saw some of the cheering squad picking up signs, they were pushing me and I was so close. I then made the turn to the finish line and saw Coach M. He said to me… “go for it.. last 200 meters” that’s all i needed, I gave them my bottle, got my flag out and got in the chute, that is the one of most amazing experiences I’ve had in my life. Having total strangers cheer you, the energy simply makes all pain go away and carries you in. I then heard those words that we waited for 6 months “Juan Felipe Pulido you are an IRONMAN” the adrenaline rush took the pain from the blisters away, I wanted to jump but was afraid I’d just fall, but I simply finished with my arms up holding my flag.

 

Like Res put it on her race report, this Journey that we started last year when we could barely could run 3 miles, has been an awesome Journey. It is for sure not over, the tri itch is still alive and kicking and trying to figure out what is next, of course after getting some ink, but that is for another post. This Journey is just beginning. I wouldn’t have done it with anyone else, Res has been hell of a trooper. I would see her frustration after almost every group practice because she wasn’t feeling fast enough or she was having doubts of finishing by the cutoff times. But after perseverance, tears, and lots of hard work she made it possible, I’m very proud of her. Also, I wanted to thank everyone that was with us through this journey. Teammates, who were there during our training days, sometimes was sad to see their workouts actually over and done with when ours were only half way, and sometimes they even stayed there to hang out and cheer us on long rides or long days. Family, our families who were glued to their computers, phones and were aware of every update possible, and probably letting everyone and their mother know where we were at any given time. Friends and co-workers who were glued to the live feed to watch us finish and actually took snapshots of our finishing moments. Sorry we kept you up so late…. but thanks!!! you know who you are. To those that we got tired of talking about Ironman… sorry… hope you understand… the days leading to it I know probably were annoying to you… it was my way to cope with anxiety. :).
Anyways… hope you didn’t get too bored ready this long post… I’m sure we will be talking more and more about it.. for now we are taking it easy.. little training and aiming to get back to our shorter distance races.
Stay tuned for updates about the ink moments, and also what we decide to do for our next IM… remember I said our 1st at the beginning? well… for more to come!. And remember…Anything is Possible!