2003 Season Wrap UP

Well, another season has come and gone, and now it is time to reflect a little on the season in general and of course the last couple of races. Going into Ironman Hawaii this year, I knew that I was in good shape and that if I could manage to bring it all together on race day, I could have a solid day. I was feeling good the week before the race – my taper was going well and I was excited to race.

All week in Kona, the weather had been mild for Kona standards. The heat and humidity were probably where they normally are but the usual trade winds were absent. I wasn’t going to get my hopes up for race day though. Waking up on the morning of the race – it appeared that the weather was going to hold.

It was time for the usual pre-race routine, breakfast, head off to the transition and then wait for the start. This year with the transition in a different spot we headed over a little earlier than in the past to make sure that everything went smoothly. I got my bike all ready, bottles and food organized and then it was time to hang out for the start. We headed into the water a little early as well this year as everyone had to go through one entrance into the water. Lori and I decided to line up on the far left this year to avoid some of the crowds. This worked out wonderfully. We had a great start and clear sailing for much of the outbound leg. It was so nice to be able to swim without being pummeled by other swimmers. I was feeling good in the swim, and by looking around at the other swimmers; I appeared to be in good company. The swim went by quickly which is very different than in past years. Once I was out of the water, I was very excited to see that I was near so many women. In past years, everyone has been gone when I came out so it was going to be nice to have some other competitors around to actually race with.

I always say that I can tell how my bike ride is going to go within a couple of pedal strokes. Things were looking good for the ride, as my legs were feeling pretty fresh and ready to go. Throughout the ride, I just tried to keep thing rolling, keeping the pressure on the pedals at all times. I figured if I could just go that half a mile per hour faster, that would translate into some good timesavings. So whenever I started to lose it mentally, I just tried to push that little bit extra. I was feeling good and with the exception of Lori and Natascha going by like freight trains, I appeared to be holding my own. Paula came up on the climb to Hawi and this helped to have someone around to ride with. Since I had ridden a fair bit with Paula over the past year, I knew that if I could keep her in sight I would have a good ride. I must say that I never had any really bad sections on the bike. A lot of this might be due to the fact that the horrible winds were not there to contend with. It is a lot harder to keep things together when you are fighting to stay on your bike!!! So coming into the bike to run transition, I was very excited, not only had I held my own on the bike; I actually passed a few people.

Usually in an Ironman, I am so happy to be getting off my bike and start running. Once I am running, it is just me and the elements; there is no chance of mechanical failure etc. So off I went, the only problem was, I felt like I was in someone else’s body. I began the run feeling pretty bad. I knew it was a bad sign when running up the first hill out of transition; I was starting to see stars!!! OK, time to re-group; obviously I needed to get in some calories and some sodium. Over the first few miles, I just made sure that I got in what I needed. A marathon is a long way to go so I needed to get myself back into a position nutritionally where I could start to use my running strength. Needless to say, all of the time that I lost on the run to the lead people was within the first 5 miles. I was not making any time on the girls in front and I had lost one spot with Lisa Bentley flying by. Having a good runner like Lisa come by was helpful in getting me to try and find a good pace. Lisa and I went back and forth, she was faster on the uphills and I seemed to be able to bridge the gap on the downhills. Each time we would pass one another we would try and encourage the other – if we worked together, maybe we could catch the girls in front. In theory, this seemed possible; the only problem was the girls in front were waging their own battles so their pace was not waning one bit. Finally coming out of the energy lab, I decided that it was now or never, if I was going to try and bridge the gap up to Natascha and Nina I had to go. I stayed strong and got within 1 minute of the duo with about 2 miles to go. OK, this was possible; again the only problem was when the two of them got together, the started to pick up the pace significantly. Once again, I had run out of real estate. The what if’s start – what if I didn’t have to make the pit stop at the toilet, what if I could have run a more decent pace at the beginning. Then I came to the realization that this is all part of racing. I gave everything that I had and was very pleased to be in the top 5 again. It was nice to be running down Alii drive and be so close to the front. I think that everyone would say that the women’s race this year was one of the most exciting races ever. I am not sure the last time you had 5 people within 10 mins.

So, the season was over. Looking back, I am very pleased with the entire season. I had achieved all the goals that I had set for myself- I had won Lake Placid IM for a 4th time, I had a great race in Hawaii, and I had improved both my swim and bike. What more could a person ask for!!!

Ok, so now it was off-season. Well there was one small problem, I had somehow been conned into doing the XTERRA race the weekend after Ironman. How this happened, I am not sure. First of all I don’t ride a mountain bike, second of all, it was a week after the IM. It was a conspiracy, Paula went ahead and registered me and sent my mountain bike over to Maui. I don’t know that I ever really agreed to it, but the peer pressure got to me and I never declined the offer either. SO we arrived in Maui, my brand new MTB in its case – ready for it’s maiden voyage. Since the last time I was on a MTB was probably 9 months ago, it was probably a good idea that I check out the practice course. So for three days in a row, Roch took me on the practice course so I could get used to my MTB. I think that my HR was 20-30 beats higher the entire time as I was so nervous. For anyone that has done the Maui Xterra, you know that it is not a course for the faint of heart. What had I got myself into???? The only saving grace was that in the DOUBLE competition (combined times for both IM Hawaii and Xterra) I had a nice 2.5 hour cushion on the next person. I figured, even if I was 2 hours slower on the MTB, I would probably be OK. This took the pressure off (not that there was any anyway) so that I could stick to my motto of SAFETY FIRST!!!! It was really quite hilarious getting through the bike ride. I thoroughly enjoyed the uphills and dreaded the downhills. Luckily my new MTB is dual suspension – this definitely made going down a little easier. I really feel sorry for the all the people that had to go around me as I was dragging my feet on some of the downhills. Well I survived the bike ride – no flat tires and no crashes (only a couple of close calls). I started the run and to my surprise, my legs felt great. This happens sometimes after an Ironman – I was nice and tapered leading into IM, and then took the week between VERY, VERY easy so I was actually pretty rested. SO anyway, I felt strong to the finish and I think Roch was pleasantly surprised to see me come across the line without any scrapes or bruises and with a smile on my face. OK, so now it is OFF SEASON!!!! YIPEE!!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors and those people that support me throughout the year.

First, to all my sponsors – without your support I could not do what I do, so thanks so much for helping me to live the life that I love!!!

Saucony – I have been with Saucony over 10 years now and they are always supportive in whatever I do
Oakley – the greatest glasses in the world

Quintana Roo – Bikes and wetsuits. Giving me the bikes and wetsuits to get me riding and swimming better than I ever have.

Roger Freeman MD – Roger is a great guy and someone who has a passion for our support. It is nice to know that if I ever need any injuries taken care of I have the best guy in the business at my disposal.

Seal Mask – Keeping me seeing straight in the water and protecting my eyes in those nasty mass starts.

Reynolds Wheels – the best wheels around

SpeedPlay Pedals – Keeping my knees healthy so I can put in the bike miles I need
Profile – handlebars – giving me that aero advantage.

Time – cycling shoes – the most comfortable cycling shoes I have ever worn

To my support crew – you all know who you are. Thanks for always being there for me and for your unconditional support. There is no way I could continue doing what I do without all of your help!!!!

It is that time of year again

Ironman Hawaii World Championship time. Keep posted on the daily happenings on the BIG ISLAND by clicking on www.multisports.com and checking the News section.

This is my 13th time racing in Ironman Hawaii, so I am hoping that it is lucky 13!!!! Check back here after the race for my post race report and a season wrap up.

Lake Placid IM – July 27, 2003 – LUCKY #13

We’ll I am happy to report that things went well at the office at the 5th annual HSBC Ironman Lake Placid. After a wet soggy day, I was able to run myself into the lead and capture my 4th title at Lake Placid and make it a total of 13 Ironman wins. See the following link for the full story. read complete entry at multisports.com

Dannon Duathlon Championship Series

Well, I finally did a race this weekend after not having done one for over a month. It was the perfect way to do a race – one literally in my back yard. The Dannon Duathlon in Carlsbad, seemed like it would be the perfect tune up before heading to Lake Placid in two weeks. It was really nice to sleep in my own bed and then actually ride my bike to the race. It was the perfect warm-up a short 30 mins spin. I must admit it was great not to have to worry about a wetsuit and all of the nutritional planning that goes along with an Ironman.

 

The Duathlon was a 5km run/ 30km bike / 5km run – so nutrition was not going to play a factor. My only concern was whether or not my body was going to remember what it was like to have to run and bike that hard – it certainly was going to be a shock to the system. To my surprise everything felt really good on the first run – I felt like I was well within myself and was also happy that I was able to stay with Lucy and Michellie for the first run. My biggest fear was that I was going to be caught in no man’s land on the bike but luckily that didn’t happen. I must say that it really is a good thing that Ironman racing is my thing because man do my transitions SUCK!!! On each transition I lost at least 10 seconds to Lucy and Michellie – but then again, they are about as fast as it gets. The three of us rode together – I think that I did the least amount of work out of the group but really tried to at least take a few pulls. We all entered the bike-run transition together and imagine this but somehow when we left transition I was about 30 meters behind. I actually felt good on the second run and ended up catching up to Michellie at about 1.5-2 miles and ran steady the rest of the way – Lucy remained ahead and pulled away slightly. An attempt to try and reel her in would have emptied the tank – something that I did not want to do with only 2 weeks left until Lake Placid ( and realistically it probably would not have been possible – Lucy is one of the best runners in thesport – she always runs the second run almost as fast as the first run – something that is very hard to do!!!) We’ll I must say that I really enjoyed the race and was happy to find out that everything is on track for Lake Placid.
Keep posted as I will do some updates for the Lake Placid race.

Heather

RESULTS:
WOMEN’S
Lucy Smith 1:28.26
Heather Fuhr 1:28.47
Michellie Jones 1:29.35
Dolly Ginter 1:32.36
Cecily Tynan 1:32.58

MEN’S
Greg Watson 1:18.56
Chad Kozak 1:19.37
Eric Schwartz 1:20.23
Derek Kite 1:20.43
Kyle Marcotte 1:21.25

WELCOME

Welcome to my new and improved web site – it has been a long time coming, so hopefully you will enjoy it.

Check out the GALLERY for some new shots. Also, if you have any questions or comments on the new site, go to the COMMENTS section and send me off a note. I will be making regular JOURNAL ENTRIES from my races and you can keep posted on my RACE RESULTS and SCHEDULE as well. I would love to hear what you all think about the new site!!!!

Heather Fuhr Race Report – ½ Ironman California

One thing that I can tell you is that it is a feeling of relief to get the first race of the season out of the way. Having not done a race yet this season, I was a little anxious to see how things were going to go on Saturday. I knew that my training was going well but since I had not yet tested my fitness in a race type situation, my performance was going to be somewhat of an unknown. I have been doing the majority of my training over the past month or so solo, so this also makes it hard to judge where things are in terms of fitness. This was going to be a true test of fitness and a chance to see if things are on track and if not, what changes might need to be made.

 

The day started with a 4:00am wake-up call – YIKES!!! I think more than anything, this was the thing that I was dreading most of all. After eating a small breakfast, it was time to head off to the race site. When putting the bike on the car, along came the rain. I really did not want to spend the day racing in the rain but we all know we can’t control Mother Nature. Luckily on the short drive to the Oceanside Harbor, the clouds disappeared and the sun was starting to come up. Yeah, maybe we weren’t going to get rained on after all. Things went very smooth with checking in and getting my transition all set up. Again, it always takes a little longer setting things up for the first race. After checking and rechecking to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything important it was time to head out on a pre race “JOG” to get everything moving.

 

Next thing I knew it, it was time for the race to start. At 6:30 sharp a minute of silence was observed for those who have lost their lives fighting for our freedom. You could see for most, this was a time for reflection and a very emotional moment. The national anthem followed soon there after and then the race was off. Just like clockwork, the professional men went off at 6:40am. Since we were only 3 minutes behind, there really was not any time for a swim warm-up – just enough time to get used to the nice 60 degree water. We were fortunate that the temperature had gone up a couple of degrees over the past few days – believe it or not there is a definite difference between 58 and 60 degrees. One of the great things about the race was that as a professional women we were going to be 12 minutes before the next wave which would mean that we were actually going to have a “clean” and clear race.

The gun went off and away we went. I lost the pack pretty quickly, not quite sure why. Every time I looked up, I was veering off to the left and the pack was heading off to the right. No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to get back in contact with them so I just decided that I was going to then pick the best line I could for my SOLO 2km swim. The swim went by relatively quick and even though I swam the whole thing by myself, I feel like I had a pretty good swim. I was about 3:45 behind Andrea Fisher and Nicole DeBoom who are both great swimmers. I headed out on the bike and pretty quickly felt really good. At the first turn around, I was about 4:30 – 5:00 behind Nicole who was leading at the time. I kept riding strong in hopes that I would not lose too much time to the leaders. The course is a great mix of flats, hills, headwind and tailwind on some of the best roads Camp Pendleton has to offer. I did not have any real down point during the ride and came into transition (4th) a steady 5:00 min down from Andrea Fisher in first – this was very encouraging. I had almost held my own on the bike – a very refreshing concept.

 

I headed out on the run with the notion that I was just going to be patient and run conservatively. I felt pretty good for the first (3) miles or so – as it turned out we had a roaring tailwind out to the first turnaround and then a nasty headwind on the way back. I wasn’t feeling quite as chipper into the headwind but was happy to know that I was still making up time of the front runners. I passed Nicole DeBoom first at about 4 miles or so and then Andrea Fisher at about 7 miles. The remaining person to catch was Lauren Jensen, and she appeared to be moving along pretty well. I finally got my sites on Lauren and at about 8.5 miles, I made the pass to take over the lead. I knew that I was going to have to face the headwind again for the last 3 miles so I just tried to stay consistent. Actually the second time into the headwind was better than the first – I guess knowing that it was only another couple of miles to the finish really helped. It felt great to be leading and to feel strong to the finish. Oblivious to what was going on behind me, I crossed the finish line feeling great. Apparently after passing the girls that were in front, they continued to jockey for position all the way to the finish. It was great to see such a competitive women’s race.

Well, I must say that the race went off just as I had hoped and it gave me a definite confidence boost. I know that things are on track with my training for the season that is upon us and this is encouraging.

With the race under our belt – it was off to take care of some very important business. The annual trip to “PIPES” and VG’s for our fill of breakfast burritos and donuts. This is one of the great bonuses of racing the longer races – the great food afterwards.

Congratulations to all the finishers in the 2003 Ralph’s California ½ Ironman – a job well done. I would like to say a big thanks to the organizers (Roch and Huddle) for putting on a top notch event and to all of the volunteers for keeping things safe out there for us.

RESULTS:
WOMEN’S
Heather Fuhr 4:39.29
Andrea Fisher 4:42.17
Nicole DeBoom 4:42.59
Andrea Ratkovic 4:43.17
Lauren Jensen 4:43.48

MEN’S Tim DeBoom 3:58.42
Rutger Beke 4:00.05
Torbjorn Sindballe 4:02.31
Paul Fritzsche 4:09.48
Michael Lovato 4:09.58