What are the Benefits of Indoor Cycling?

According to the U.S. Department of Health ".....regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of coronary disease, stroke, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.....and helps to control weight, contributes to healthy bones, muscles and joints... reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression..." Need we go on? Cycling is also "low-impact" without the joint stress that you get from "ground-pounding" sports and activities. All good reasons to strap-in/clip-on and RYDE!

 

 

My Kona Journey

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by Jocie Weeden

So, where to start?

August 2014

The Inaugural Boulder Full Ironman Competition

After finishing in eleven hours and two minutes, I found myself in a medical tent uncertain through which city I had just swam, biked and ran. Once two liters of saline solution were pumped into my body, my husband declared that I had qualified for Kona. As I lay in the medical tent I said, “Look at me right now…does that really sound like a good idea?”

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Fast forward to the next day when we attended the award ceremony in Boulder. After the award ceremony, they hold the “Kona Rolldown.” You must decide on the spot whether you want to accept your qualification for the Ironman World Championship in Kona. If you say “No,” your place is offered to the next person in your age group. If you say “Yes,” you are directed to a line with a cash register (So be sure to bring a credit card.). Even though we really had NO room in our October schedule we decided to sign up for Kona.

 

Kona3pics fmtA week after returning from Boulder, I was home clipped in my trainer when my bike grew wings and catapulted me onto the hard wood floor. As I lie on the ground, I tried to figure out what had happened. Once upright, I realized I had sprained my wrist and wasn’t sure about my aching rib. After a trip to the medical center and several x-rays later, I was told that I had subluxated my rib (separated its end from my sternum), and the recovery would be the same as if it were broken. It hurt like crazy to breathe, especially when taking a deep breath. Good thing I didn’t need to breathe deeply….oh, wait…Kona was coming.

Two weeks without swimming.

Running was interesting.

I continued to teach spin classes.

Two weeks later, I ran the Grand Rapids Titanium Triathlon which was the same distance as Ironman. The Boulder race was a tune up for this one. My win in Grand Rapids gave me confidence for Kona and prize money to help fund the trip. Post-race I had difficulty running and then was soon unable to run due to pain in my lower left leg and ankle. After two weeks of steroids and steroid patches, I was able to run again.

While running a half marathon, just as I was feeling normal once more, I began to experience moderate discomfort deep in my right buttocks. I continued to train for several weeks but again was unable to continue due to pain. I started training on an anti-gravity treadmill with seventy percent of my bodyweight at slow speeds. After a week, I was still unable to run outside without significant pain. Even twelve-minute miles were hard to maintain. My orthopedic surgeon diagnosed me as having muscle spasms due to a pinched nerved and recommended the muscle relaxant Flexeril. After only one day, I was able to run. Don’t get me wrong. My running wasn’t a pretty sight.

Kona was only two weeks away. If I had to crawl across the finish line, so be it. Even though I never ran more than fifteen miles before the race, I felt like I could do it.

We arrived in Kona on a Wednesday night. I registered for the race on Thursday and receive my timing chip, bags, etc.

Friday I racked my bike and ran bags to the transition area. There were rumors that the trade winds were coming, and race day would be hot.

Saturday. Race Day.
My accommodations were about six miles outside of town. There was a shuttle that picked people up at the shopping mall near our condo. When I arrived at 5:15 a.m., the first shuttle had already left. I felt uneasy waiting on the bleachers until two latecomers arrived.

I arrived downtown around 6:10 a.m. There was quite a bottle neck at the body marking station. I had to pick up my tattoo and wait in line to have them put it on my arm. After that, I prepared my bike and got ready to swim. The pros had already started their swim. The age group men started the swim first at seven a.m. The women began ten minutes later. We were all out in the ocean treading water until the start cannon was shot.

The Swim
It was a one “Loop” rectangular swim. You swam out to a Body Glove boat, around it, to and around another boat, and then headed back to shore. The salt water wasn’t very pleasant. It burned when swallowed and stung my eyes when my goggles were knocked loose once. The view, however, was amazing! The water was crystal clear, and I was shocked that the fish weren’t scared away by all of the people. There were coral reefs below and a multitude of amazing sea life such as parrot fish, angel fish, sea urchins, and clown fish.

The ocean currents were obvious but not treacherous. I found myself off course many times. Thank God for the paddle boarders redirecting me. I’m not a strong swimmer, but I actually didn’t find this swim to be as bad as Boulder when 2,700 people all swam together! I was surprised when I saw how long it took me to swim. The longer time was likely related to the fact that I probably swam closer to 2.75 miles with my zigzag journey. Regardless, it was an amazing place to swim.

The transition area provided a hose to rinse off the salt water and a tent to change into my bike clothes. A sign warned of instant disqualification for urinating in this area…move next door to the port-a-john area please.

The Bike
Kona2 1stpicLet me say that this was the most brutal bike ride I have ever been through. I have never been more terrified of being blown off of the road while clipped into my bike. Two times the wind lifted me and moved me into the left lane on which returning riders zoomed past. I managed only about eight miles that hour through the terrible crosswinds. I gripped my aero bars so tight; I had blisters on my hands. The bike course was fairly hilly but not terrible, but it was hot as hell and the lava fields on both sides of the highway didn’t help. I prayed I would make it through without being blown down into them. However, I could see the ocean off in the distance and was able to view some beautiful vistas. While peddling, I watched the elite athletes sprint on foot the next leg while I returned to Kona/Kailua.

The bike was by far the hardest part of the race, but there were fun moments too. One such moment was when I played leap frog with several other bikers. I passed them up the hill; they would pass me on the way down. We would do the same thing on the next hill then over and over again. Flavio, as his bright orange bike outfit proclaimed, pointed out that we would probably do this most of the ride, and he was right; we did. When it became obvious that the wind was kicking both our butts, he exclaimed in a thick German accent, “Just enjoy the day!” Flavio was about sixty years old, and he was right; I needed to enjoy the day. Even though I got crushed on the bike, I did keep in mind that many people would love to be in my place. I reflected on my good fortune to be able to be on this course with the best of the best.

Kona4 fmtThe Run
At this stage, I decided I was going to run the course but not end up in the med tent. It was still very hot at this point. The course had an out-and-back loop south of town on the main drag (Ali Drive) and then headed north on to the lava fields of Queen K Highway for the last six-teen miles in another out-and-back loop. I had an interesting conversation with a British woman about the noisy ice in my cup as I ran. Ask me about it when you see me. It was decently hilly but people in town kept me motivated. On Ali Drive, I tossed a football back and forth with a few college kids which was a nice distraction.

 

PitchBlack fmtThe hands-on support on the bike and run were lacking for those of us who were not in the lead. The bananas were gone at many of the stations. I stopped to get sunscreen at an aid station and since I couldn’t apply it myself asked for help. The volunteers stated that they were not allowed to help or touch the athletes. I found that odd since volunteers applied sunscreen at transition after my swim.

Kona2pics fmtAt about 5:30 p.m., it started to get dark. By 6:00 p.m., I was given a glow ring so other runners would be able to see me. I didn’t realize the significance of that until 6:30 p.m. when it was PITCH BLACK. There was no moonlight and only black lava rock fields. I was very nervous about tripping. Those of you who have run with me know I have a propensity to trip—on nothing. To make matters worse, cones had been put on the course to split the running lane. I could not see the cones or the other runners until I was right on top of them. Thank goodness for the glow rings. The smart runners who knew they would be finishing in the dark had headlamps. There were a few bikers with lamps that were leading the wheelchair racers.

By the time I reached the turnaround aid station, I had already tripped and decided it was time to find a runner to follow. As I left the lit aid station, I ran on the heels of a man who was wearing a “Boston Strong” jersey. I told Boston Strong that I would be running behind him and following his glow ring which was attached behind him on his belt. At the next aid station, I lost him and had to follow the white line on the road as much as possible. He came up behind me as I was running, and we ran together trying not to run into cones or other runners. I chatted with Boston Strong for some time while we ran. I brought up that I had run the Boston Marathon this year and had a great time. He had run it as well and was also its race director. I asked him if he was the guy that I always see on TV, and he said, “Yes, I have been the race director for 27 years.”

Then a car came down the highway focusing bright lights on us. Someone from the car asked, “Is that you Dave?” “Yes, it’s me,” said Boston Strong who I now realize was Dave McGillivray. I realized it was a camera crew. So I jokingly tell Dave, “You get enough TV time; I think they need to focus on me.” He tells me its fine. Since we are so close to each other, I will be on TV. The crew leaves, and we continue our run in complete darkness.

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Dave and I come across a woman, and I tell her to be careful of the cones. As we all continued to run, she proceeds to tell me that she just knocked out her two front teeth when she tripped over a cone. I thought she was joking because I hadn’t heard her scream. She then said she also hit her head pretty hard. I informed her that I was a dentist and if she did knock them out we needed to put them back right away. She said one of them was an implant which was lost and the other tooth was fractured at the gumline. WOW! She asked me how much further and I said about six miles. I recommended she stop at the next aid station and get help. The best statement from her was “I’m sure I look terrible.” To which, I replied “It’s too dark to see you, but I’m sure you don’t look great, and you need to stop at the aid station!” Boston Strong just kept on running. Believe me, I did not want to trip and followed on his heels. She did stop at the next aid station.  It sounded like she was planning to finish, but I have no idea if she did.

At about four miles to go, I lost Boston Strong and his guiding glow ring when he stopped at another aid station. As I headed into town, the lights were a welcome change. I ran up and over the finish line ramp and heard, “Josephine Weeden from Saline, Michigan. You are an Ironman!”  

I had made it to the finish line.

And I must admit; it was pretty cool to hear my name being announced, but I was so ready to be done.

My husband found me near the finish after I received my medal. The kicker is that we both forgot to take photographs after the race.

No, this wasn’t my dream.
No, I don’t plan to do it again…unless I qualify when I am 70+. Maybe.
Yes, it was an amazing experience and I’m blessed.

Yes, if you qualify, even if it isn’t your dream, you should do it!
Yes, I’m looking for my next challenge!
For those of you who make it to Kona as I’m certain some of you will, be smarter than me. Pack a headlamp in your special needs bag!

Remember: That sounds like a terrible idea…Let’s do it!

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