Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ironman Santa Rosa Race Report: Alison Amorim

Eight days ago Alison Amorim & Jess Perry placed 2nd & 4th OVERALL at Ironman Santa Rosa. We'll hopefully catch up with Jess in the near future, but for now we asked Alison to write a report of her stellar day.

Thanks Alison and congrats!

Santa Rosa was my 1st Ironman after becoming a full time mom and working full time! Wes Johnson, our coach and longtime friend, had the difficult task of finding creative and flexible ways to help fit in the hours needed to respect the Ironman distance, but also to achieve my personal goal. I completed 1 Ironman prior to this race (Coeur d'Alene in 2015). My time was 11:45 which included a 30+ min. mechanical on the bike and walk/run the last half of the marathon in 106 degrees! But I finished my 1st Ironman with my husband, Jorge! Going into this race, my goal was to put together a solid race in all three disciplines and more importantly, to have fun.

The Swim

The nerves. I come from a swimming background, BUT might be the most anxious person heading into the water. Prior to Santa Rosa, I had 2 frustrating swims/races in short and long distance races with cramping quads and shortness of breath. My number one race goal was to have a swim that felt smooth and controlled. No panicking! Ideally I would be well under an hour, so I started with the lead pack at the gun. I fell into a group of about 6 other swimmers and while we jostled for position in the draft, we worked together for the first lap. At the half way point, our group was separated in the chaos, but I stuck with 2 other guys. None of my nagging problems re-surfaced and I swam at a pace that was slightly out of my comfort zone. I knew the transition was 0.25 miles long and up a boat ramp, so I backed off on the last 50 meters to relax for the uphill run. I didn't use my watch for the swim and didn't know my time or position in the race with all the chaos, but felt awesome in the water. I saw my husband for a while since it was a slow uphill run before heading out onto the bike.

The Bike

Cycling is my weakest of the 3 disciplines, so this was the part of the race where I needed to stick to my race plan. I use a powermeter and knew the watts I needed to hold... but easier said than done. I knew I was the first woman onto the bike- I like to race and have a bad habit of letting my watts drift to places they shouldn't be. The first 5ish miles were a steep descent and into some not-so-rolling hills! I found my legs fatiguing around mile 40 and backed off to just below my goal watts for about 10 minutes. With refreshed legs, I kept my watts in check! One woman passed me somewhere between miles 40-50 and despite my inner crazy screaming to chase her, I let her go and stuck with the plan. The roads were rough and I was covered in nutrition. I only use F2C and Cliff Blocks with a little water from the Aid Stations. With such rough roads, my pace slowed, but luckily I didn't flat or wreck like so many other riders out there. The bike finished with 2 flat 25ish mile loops which became pretty chaotic, but I was able to see my husband twice (this was my 1st time racing without him). I'm not a very emotional racer, but I teared up both times.

The Run

The only race plan was to have a comfortable 1st half marathon and then pick up the pace if I was feeling good. I started the run feeling fresh from the flat miles at the end of the bike, but my Garmin wasn't working... so I ran on "feel". I come from a sprinting background and don't have a much long distance experience... so there isn't much "feel." My pace gradually slowed throughout the 3 loop mostly trail marathon. When the race looped through the downtown area, there were tons of cheering people and I saw Jorge and the BAM squad about 9 times... but the majority of the run was on a dry, quiet trail. The 1st loop flew by and I was running pretty calmly behind another athlete, but lost him when I had to stop and retie a shoe. I finished my F2C and drank water, Coke and Red Bull from the multitude of aid stations. The 2nd loop was mentally very difficult. It was lonely, hot, and I knew I was slowing down (to what, who knows...) My only thoughts were to keep a high cadence and pick up my knees. Every time I saw Jorge I asked him, "Am I OK?" and he just reassured me. The 3rd lap, in my mind should have been easy, it was the last lap and we were running home... but it wasn't. I started cramping and focused only on putting one foot in front of the other. The last 2 miles crept by despite being in the cheering crowds and I definitely had nothing left in the tank. The course turned onto the streets for the LONGEST FINISH EVER. I left all my emotions and energy out on the course and all I could do was find my husband and give him a huge hug.

Alison & Jess Perry

Swim 53:34  Bike 5:37:45  Run 3:38:49  Total 10:20:51

This may not be the most exciting race report, but I truly stuck to my race plan and raced my own race. I knew the marathon was going to hurt and it did. But was it fun? Today i can say yes (it's a week out!). There is so much time to think in long distance races and I let my mind wander to my 15 month old, husband and the rest of my awesome support system. Seeing your teammates, friends and coaches on the course, people who have invested so much time and emotion in you...its enough to make anyone tear up. It wouldn't be the same without you!

Check out this recap including 
Alison's 2nd place overall finish!

husband & wife Kona power couple!

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