This is Nikki. She reached out to me a couple of months ago for coaching to complete her first Half Ironman in the spring. Nikki’s first challenge in her Half Ironman quest was to better her HM time. I created an 8 week training plan for her that included base cycling and swimming with an emphasis on running. Nikki will tell you the hardest efforts were the Wednesday dreadmill work. Nikki put in tremendous effort and energy into her training, and showed steady progress.
Nikki‘s HM was last weekend at the Detroit Marathon, and she ran a PR of 3:02. She used a 2:1 run to walk ratio, and was able to pick up the pace at the end. She is very supportive of other runners in her group, and will often wait for others. I made her promise she would race her own race this time.
Nikki’s race report:
Here’s how the day went….
Woke up at 4:30am to music blasting from outside my hotel (we were 3 blocks from starting line & across the street from the post-race party). Tried to get back to sleep because my alarm wasn’t set to go off for another hour, but was pretty restless.
Arose, showered and started to mentally plan my race strategy. Ate a UCAN bar for breakfast and had coffee. Finally, left at 6:45am to get to my start corral. Sidewalk was so congested with spectators that racers couldn’t gain access to corrals. I immediately thought, “this would never happen in Chicago.” I had scouted out the corral I would join the previous day, so turned around and headed back through a side street to enter the corral. This was a great decision as I had to problems.
As I was waiting for the race to start, I began to shiver & questioned my wardrobe choice. Was thankful that I packed hand warmers too! Started my gospel playlist & began to quietly pray.
Race waves started every 2 mins and I began inching closer to the start line. Had to climb over mounds of clothes and thought again, “This ain’t Chicago! At least we place them along the fence for collection.”
Finally, my wave is beginning–yay!!! I turn to Anna, give her a fist bump and say, “see you in less than 3!” She smiles & we’re off!
First few miles were chilly and legs felt good. I change music after the first 5K and “turned up” the legs. By mile 4, I’m feeling myself. Music is pumping & I’m flying. Take a GU and keep it moving. Race scenery is amazing! By mile 6, I’m like hot damn I’m doing it & can keep going all day (based on how I feel). Mile 8 we enter the underwater tunnel & I’m flying. Felt winded so I slow down, looked over & I see Natali!! We take a couple of selfies & I’m off again. Now it’s time to exit the tunnel and here comes another “incline”. I think, I appreciate flat Chicago streets. Come out of the tunnel headed to mile 9 & Samantha taps my shoulder. We hug & I get an excruciating cramp in my right calf out of nowhere. I limp to side to stretch. Anna sees me & ask if I need her to massage, I decline and keep moving. The cramp comes & goes so I stretch and try to walk it out; however, it persists. I adjust intervals as I notice I can run at least 1 minute before cramping returns. I run up another “incline” aka an exit ramp at mile 11 & calf is sucker is hurting. I’m becoming concerned about time, but pressing forward. I’m walking more than running & mentally tanking. I tell myself to keep moving & don’t focus on clock, only focus on moving forward. I see flag for mile 13 ahead and think if my watch says 2:45 I can still make it. I pass gosh & see 2:45:35 and start pushing it. The more I pushed, the angrier that cramp became. I’m truly walking more than running, but trying to keep the walk less than 17 minutes/mile. I begin running again and it seems that I can only push for 30 seconds before the angry cramp attacks again.
I can see the crowd & hear the finish line cheers. I look at watch & keep pressing. I start envisioning that this was an Ironman event & they would snatch my soul from the course if I didn’t make it. I turn the corner and that freaking finish line is several blocks ahead. Hell, this angry ass cramp won’t let me make the cutoff, but I’m still gonna PR!
Overall, I think the cramping was due to lack of electrolytes. I didn’t consume a lot of Gatorade & have trained with salt/electrolyte tabs so I didn’t bring any with me. I was so proud of myself for adjusting when things didn’t go well. In the past, I’ve crumbled, cried, and gave up. Finally, I still PR’d and was able to shave 15 minutes off my time within the past year. I truly couldn’t have done this without your guidance.
I needed this race to go well today. This race. along with your coaching, has allowed me to believe that I can complete a HIM within the allotted time.
Thank you for tapping into my potential and helping me believe in ME! Now, what’s next?
Congrats Nikki! Nikki is very positive and a joy to coach. Spread some love and leave a quick congrats in the comments.
Now get ready for that big block of bike training coming your way.
If you have a big goal like Nikki, and need some coaching or guidance, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org