Tuesday, August 2, 2016

IRONMAN Vineman 2016 - Race Report

Before you start reading this race report and get to the part about all the pain and suffering on the run, look at the photos. For the most part, I am loving every minute of this experience (except for the run LOL). As soon as I crossed the finish line, three years of dreaming and training were realized. I cannot explain the joy I experienced at this moment. All I can tell you is that, if you dare to entertain the idea of doing a 70.3 or 140.6 race, you can do it! Endure and enjoy!!!

Quick Overview

  • January through March: Aerobic base training (tried to keep my HR below 135)
  • April 4 through July 24: Average of 13.5 hours of training per week

The Numbers
             2016            2015
Swim 1:09:30 1:14:01
T1 0:04:07 0:03:13
Bike 6:10:38 6:18:02
T2 0:03:58 0:05:15
Run 4:58:26 4:50:14
Overall 12:26:39 12:30:45

Injury Report
  • All toe nails in the same basic condition as they were before the start of the race BIG WIN!
  • Knot on my forehead about the size of a quarter. I think the padding on my helmet shifted so the plastic rubbed on my head. BOO!
  • One small raw spot on the top of my left big toe...about the size of a peppercorn WIN!
  • One small raw spot on the back of my neck from my wetsuit...smallest spot in over a year WIN!
That's it...140.6 miles and still in pretty good shape (except for my gut).


I had procrastinated booking a place for race weekend. When I finally got up the nerve to look on Airbnb.com, our usual spot was unavailable. I found a spot in Monte Rio instead that was considerably cheaper than our regular Guerneville location (the owners in Guerneville had also jacked up the price...probably because they found out IRONMAN was in town).

Cabin "C"
The Monte Rio spot looked nice, was close to the river,  and was about five miles from the race start. I decided to book it for Thursday through Sunday and enjoy an extra day in the area before the race. I am so glad I booked that extra day...I would have been in trouble if I didn't!

Great place to kick back and wait :-)
As it turns out, I needed that extra day. All athletes were required to check in on Wednesday or Thursday and to attend an athlete briefing on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Friday was also the day designated for run gear and bike drop-off.


HS and I left Stockton Thursday morning and got to Windsor about 1pm. The check-in process was well organized and went fairly quickly. When you exit the building, they funnel you into the IRONMAN store so you can start spending any money you may have left from this endeavor.

Number 909...no relation to Zipp ;-)
The store was twice as busy as registration, so we just continued on through and out into the IRONMAN village. The village had the standard triathlon type vendor type displays and there was plenty to see. Rudy had a great sale but didn't have my size in the color I wanted. I got some free dog food samples and checked out a TREK Speed Concept that was on display (HS told me I could buy ANY bike I wanted). Since it was warm, I made my way to the shade and sat down to wait until the gym opened for the athlete briefing.

The meeting was well attended, and although I had seen some race info claiming that the meeting was mandatory, nobody was stamping hands or anything like that. Most of the info was the same as last year without the video. They went over certain details of the course and how the transitions were going to work. Everything was fairly straightforward but I was a little worried about the penalty cards and subsequent time-outs.

Post check-in lunch at KC's American Kitchen in Windsor...Coach K said
I could have a glass of wine to relax (PS: Great food too!)

Relaxing after a stressful afternoon at registration and a huge
glass of chardonnay

I thought that dropping off running gear was anxiety inducing. Dropping off my bike and bike gear was way worse! As you bring your bike into T1, an IRONMAN official takes a picture of it and then directs you how to place your bike on the rack. I walked down my designated row until I came to my race number and placed my bike facing the river as instructed. At least I wouldn't have to put up with some last minute athlete squeezing in and moving people's gear around like last year ;-)

First pre-race bike drop off
PS: I'm sporting my Barb's Race shirt...this race needs to be resurrected!

Smile for the camera, Beast.
After racking my bike, I walked to drop off my bike gear bag. I found my row and walked to where my race number would be. My OCD tendencies kicked in so I opened the bag and made my 10th or 11th gear check that day...two shoes, one helmet, glasses in their case (attached to the inside of my helmet so they didn't get stepped on inadvertently), and last but not least, one Clif Bar. It didn't seem like enough for 112 miles and I reminded myself that I would have more food to add to the bike in the morning.

NOTE: Some athletes had bottles on their bikes with hydration in them at drop off! Gross!! I can only imagine the petri dish of crap they will have growing after sitting in the hot summer sun for an afternoon! Yuck!

Ok bike gear...don't go anywhere

Race Day Morning

I woke before my alarm and started getting ready.

Step 1 - Get dressed. I pulled out my Pearl Izumi tri kit. I am so proud to be able to wear this and to be part of the Pearl Izumi Tri Champions team. On top of that, I had trained in this outfit, I had raced in this outfit, I love this outfit and I knew it was going to get me though the day without any problems.

Pre-race selfie
Step 2 - Put on Tri Tats. The instructions on the back of the tri tats were so small that I had a hard time reading them. Other than how to put them on, there was nothing telling me where to put them, so I guessed. I put my age on my left leg and my race numbers on my upper arms. There was a third set of race numbers that I had no idea what to do with, so I slipped them back in the envelope.

Step 3 - Eat breakfast. I started a pot of coffee and put a couple of pieces of sour dough bread in the toaster. Last year, eggs on toast was my go-to race day breakfast, but I have gotten quite lazy this year and have found avocado on toast to be an acceptable substitute that requires very little cooking.

Step 4 - Double check. Here I go again...time to check and double check. I opened my morning gear bag and spotted my timing chip. Oops! That should be on my ankle.  I strapped it on my left leg and checked the fit. It felt much better than some I have worn in previous races (Ones that feel like they are falling off the entire swim!) Ok, back to the inventory...wetsuit, swim cap with number, goggles, extra pair of goggles just in case, Gatorade for the bike, Honey Stinger waffles, coconut strips, Skittles, Sport Legs. Check. Check. Check

Step 5 - Finish up. My final step was putting my hair in a pony tail, applying plenty of sunscreen to all exposed areas (including my part because I would be wearing a visor on the run), coating the back of my neck and hairline with copious amounts of Glide so my wetsuit would not rub me raw, and putting on my flip flops. That was it. Time to walk out the door. I hesitated and contemplated bringing a pair of socks for the ride. Nope...most of my training was without socks, I don't need them today.

HS and I got in the truck and drove to the river a little after 5am. When we arrived in Guerneville about 10 minutes later, the town was crawling with athletes in the early morning darkness. Parking was difficult to find, so I asked HS to let me out so I could head to T1. I would have gone nuts if I had to sit in the truck any longer. I grabbed my gear bag and the bike pump and started my solitary walk.

Pre-swim warmup!

Happy to see a familiar face :-)


In 2015, the Vineman swim was two loops and was seeded according to age group. This year, the swim was one loop and the athletes were required to self seed based on estimated finish time. I was prepared to give up some time on the swim due to the number of athletes in the water. I estimated that there would be twice as many swimmers. In my mind, this meant twice as many people hitting and kicking me. I prefer to hang back and let the people that want to fight their way through the water go ahead.

A sea of green and pink caps. Where's Waldo?
Last year my swim time was 1:14. I seeded myself in the 1:10 to 1:20 group and stayed towards the back. There were a lot of big guys in that group and I wanted them in front of me. The race started at 6:45am, but I don't think I actually entered the water until about 7:05am. The timing mat was at the edge of the river and once an athlete crossed the mat, their official time would start. I had to wade out a few yards until the water was deep enough to swim.  This year, after I pressed start on my Garmin, I locked the keys so I wouldn't have to worry about anything getting screwed up!

Once I got going, I quickly figured out that a lot of the men folk in the water were a little more optimistic about how fast they were going to swim. I would spend a few minutes slapping big feet in front of me and then move past them. Oddly enough, even though this event was much bigger than last year, I had less people hitting and kicking me in the swim. Once I moved past a group of slower swimmers, there would be a nice open space and then a few minutes later, I would come across another group.

The swim seemed magical. I don't know that it is about swimming in that river, but it is one of my favorite places to swim. As I swam past the original turn, things began to feel effortless. I was sure I was swimming slower than normal, but I didn't care. The river was beautiful as it made a slight bend to the right. Eventually the water curved left and I knew I was coming to the turn. I could not believe that I was almost half way finished and I still felt great.

As I neared the turn buoy, I swam towards the outside to avoid the swimmers trying to save seconds by taking the inside. It wasn't worth it because it seemed like once a swimmer got around 2/3 of the buoy they would stand up and block the other swimmers. I continued on with the process of moving past a group and then into an open space. When things got too shallow to swim I would do porpoise/dolphin (it's much quicker than walking) being careful not to dive too deep and bottom out.

At one point I found myself trying to negotiate a path around two male swimmers. Every time I tried to move left or right, they seemed to read my mind and block my path. Eventually, I decided to try and "blast" through the middle. It worked. Unfortunately, it also caused my right foot to twinge and set off a pre-cramp panic inside my head. No! No! No! Please don't cramp. I forced myself to relax and I stopped any kind of movement with that foot. Thankfully, the potential cramp passed and I was able to get back to the job of swimming.

At one shallow point, in between my porpoise/dolphin move, I heard a male swimmer ask someone if that was the second bridge up ahead (meaning the second bridge we passed after the start). I stood up and walked a bit while I stared at the bridge. That is the second bridge. I'm almost done. Woo hoo!

I couldn't believe it. I dove in and started swimming again. Minutes later, I mashed my hand into someone's really soft rear end. Oops, sorry! I thought I had accidentally molested a female swimmer, but as I moved to the right, I caught a glimpse of a green cap. My only thought was "Dude! You need to firm up those cheeks!"

It was a short distance from the second bridge to the first. As I passed the first bridge, I looked up to sight and saw the swim exit. I was amazed that the swim was over already. As soon as things were shallow enough, I stood up and made my way to the bank taking a moment to unlock the keys on my Garmin and press the [Lap] button. My watch read 1:09:18. No freakin' way! I had planned to swim about a 1:20:00. I was certain I would add time to last year, not take time off. I was pumped and I ran all the way to the changing tent!

Total game face!

Feeling great and running to my gear bag!

An IRONMAN event is big time. Everyone gets treated like a pro.  As I ran out of the river, I grabbed my swim to bike bag and ran up the bank to the wetsuit strippers. There were plenty of volunteers (Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!). I unzipped my wetsuit, pulled it down around my hips, flopped on the ground, and put my legs up. My suit was off in seconds. I stood up, took my wetsuit, thanked the volunteer and headed for the changing tent.

Here's a pic of the inside of the changing tent (taken at bike drop off). It was muggy
and dark on race morning.
The tent was a little on the dark side and the ground was pretty muddy...probably from all of the wet swimmers changing. I found an open chair and sat down and started going through my bag. I didn't have much...bike shoes, helmet, glasses, and a Clif Bar. A volunteer came over to me and asked what she could do. I asked if there was a way I could clean off my feet and she handed me a wipe. As I cleaned the bottoms of my feet and put my shoes on, the volunteer packed up my stuff and handed me my bag.

I dropped the bag off on my way out of the tent and went to find my bike.

Look for the green tape.
I made a mental note on bike drop off that my row was the only one that had green tape on the carpet. Thankfully it was still there on race day.  It screamed "Tracy, turn left here!"

Beast! I'm coming for you!!!

I walked up the short steep hill leaving the river and mounted my bike. I was almost to the main road when I remembered to advance my Garmin to the bike section of the race. I pressed the button and looked down at my watch...there was the cyclist icon. Success! Things are going so much better than last year!

I love this pic...it really makes me look like I'm going fast!
Out on River Rd. there were hundreds of riders, It was hard to keep the proper spacing and I worried about a course marshall driving by and giving everyone a penalty. I did what I could to maintain a legal distance.

Briefly bunched up...I was in the middle of a pass ;-)
My first loop was fairly uneventful. I rode at my desired pace. I ate on time and executed flawless hydration top-offs at each aid station. I couldn't ask for more. On the first climb up Chalk Hill, I ate a GU in an effort to replenish the glycogen in my fatiguing muscles. 

I love my bike!

There was a lady who had "MONICA" on the back of her kit. We traded spots back and forth throughout the first loop. She was in the 40-44 age group, so I really didn't care if she passed me. At the end of the first loop, I saw her pull over and grab her special needs bag. I was feeling a little un-special because I couldn't think of anything I needed in my bag and I really didn't want to stop.

Hey guys! Guess what? I'm done with my first loop!
The best part of any race is seeing your family and friends!!

On my second loop I was finally passed by my first course marshall. Thankfully, I was well behind the group in front of me that seemed to have mistakenly thought they were in the Tour de France. The marshall's motorcycle pulled up next to them and lingered for a while. I think he was busy handing out penalties.

So focused, but loving it!
The rest of the second loop went as planned, except for one small mistake. At one aid station I decide to unload some trash in my bag. I reached down, grabbed what I thought was only a bunch of Honey Stinger wrappers and tossed them. Unfortunately, I tossed my second Chalk Hill GU as well! Bummer. Luckily I still had some Skittles left over to substitute.

The rest of the ride went as well as could be expected. However, the wind really started to pick up on the second look and it reminded me of my windy interval rides from Stockton to Thornton.


T2 was out in the field of Windsor High School, or maybe it was part of Keiser Park, either way, it seemed barren and dry. I was happy to finally get off my bike.

T2 bag drop off on Friday afternoon (there was a rose at the end
of my row)
I handed my bike to a volunteer and thanked them. They asked if I needed anything off the bike and I replied "No."  Quite frankly, I didn't want to look at my bike for a while. I grabbed my run gear bag (right where I left it) and headed towards the tent.

The T2 changing tent was noticeably more empty than the T1 changing tent. I plopped in a chair and dropped my bag. Two volunteers rushed over to help me. I started pulling stuff out of my bag and taking off my bike gear. This time I opted for socks and as I changed, I asked if a volunteer could fill up my hand held bottle with water. As she hurried off to take care of my hydration, another volunteer asked if I would like some sunscreen. I said "Yes" and she started coating my shoulders.

I asked if she could get the back of my neck too. She obliged. However, as soon as the sunscreen hit my neck I could feel it burning and I knew I was either burned from the sun or raw from my wetsuit. Too late now...gotta keep moving. I thanked the volunteers. They stuffed my bike gear into the bag and I headed out of the tent.


While the first two disciplines went as planned, the third and toughest for me, the run, was a disappointment. On most of my training runs I carried a water bottle. I decided that this year I would carry one during the race so I could cut down on the amount of time I spent at the aid stations. Another thing that I did on my training runs was start off with some C4. I did this partly to wake up for my 4am L-O-N-G runs, but also for a boost of energy. I decided that I would put ½ a serving into my water bottle so I would get a boost for the start of the run.

Karen snapped this pic of me headed out on the run!

I made my way out through the park and on to the road. My first couple of miles were around my goal pace, but then again, there was a monster downhill to start the run, so I’m sure that helped. I sipped on my C4 and plodded along. There was a lot more sun on this course compared to last year’s route and I missed the shade of the trees. I decided to take two Endurolytes to be on the safe side because I didn’t want a repeat of the Auburn Triathlon.  While I didn’t have to grab something to drink at the aid stations, I did get ice to put down my top and I helped myself to ½ a banana and some potato chips.

Around mile 10, I started to experience some stomach discomfort. I had an ulcer in my late 20’s or early 30’s and all I can say is that the pain that struck me felt like that. My stomach was knotted up and I felt a sharp, burning pain. Part of me wanted to stop and puke, part of me didn’t want to go there (even though if I did, I could tell everyone that I definitely left it all on the course).

I started adding water to my bottle at the aid stations and chewing on some of the ice I had been collecting. Nothing seemed to work. My slow run became a definite run/walk. I cajoled myself into running on down hills, but even then, the pain was making it difficult. On my second loop, I saw a runner bent over on the side of the road. In my head I pleaded with her not to puke. If she started, I was going to be joining her. I turned my head so I wouldn’t see her vomit and shuffled past.


Speaking of loops, let me touch on that briefly. As most of you know, I’m not opposed to loops. I find running in a loop oddly comforting. The loops on this course were not comforting and I found them to be quite annoying. Even if I didn’t have to run up the monster hill three times, I still would not like these loops. I saw a post on Facebook by Karyn Hoffman (a tremendous triathlete and runner) and she referred to part of the loop as “the maze”. This was a perfect description.

Worst loops ever!
At the end of each loop, you had to run around the perimeter of a parking lot in the park, back out on the street, back into the park, around the backside and then past the fork in the road reminding you that you needed to head back out on the course, back through the park, out on the street and around the parking lot. It was nice that you got to see lots of cheering fans (thank you Karen Messersmith for being there to cheer for me since my crew was out having DINNER! LOL), but the well wishes weren’t enough to make running through this park multiple times worth it.

I don't blame you guys...I wouldn't want to wait for me either! LOL

The Run Continued

In a quick post-race email, Coach K commented;
“From the outside looking in it looked like your day went according to plan with the exception of miles 13ish through 22?” 
He could not have been more right. While my distress started earlier than that, it may not have been reflected accurately in my times until later in the race.  At mile 11 I stopped to pee. I had been debating whether or not to try and go on the run, but decided against it given the amount of distance I still had to cover. I’m glad I stopped, because I really had to go and at that point I didn’t care if I screwed up my pace or not.

Back out on the course, I continued my run/walk. I was miserable and started questioning whether or not I even wanted the finisher’s medal. I was in so much pain that at one point I even considered going over to the ambulance at the side of the road and asking to be taken back to the finish. Ultimately, I knew I wanted the medal and I wanted to hear my name when I crossed the finish line. At that point, I started questioning my sanity. Really, Tracy? You’re going to put yourself through all of this suffering just for a medal and five little words? Really?

At the end of my second loop, I thought I would never see the top of the monster hill (This hill is so much more fun descending it on a bike!) It was a long miserable walk. Every once I a while I would muster up enough oomph to run for a few yards, but that was the best I could do. I even started walking downhill! I tried smiling when I saw the course photographers, but I’m not sure if they captured a forced smile or a grimace.

Yeah, that's a grimace :-/
Thankfully, at the start of the third loop, the temps started to cool. My stomach was still my biggest concern and I wondered if I was doing any kind of damage to myself. I had been avoiding food since my stomach problem started but I knew I had to get some sort of energy in me in order to finish the last loop. I decided to try eating another ½ of a banana at the first aid station and  then started taking sips of Coke at the following stations (Note: for the cost of this event, you think you would get real Coke and not something labeled “cola”…but I digress…).

Towards the end of an endurance race, being able to perform simple math becomes an issue for me. Throughout the run, I kept trying to figure out whether or not I was going to be able to PR (yes, even with all the pain, that was still in the back of my mind). At certain points, I would calculate that it was impossible. At other points, my calculations would look like I still had a chance. It wasn’t until the final turn with approximately 4 miles to go that my calculations pointed towards a PR by a very slim margin. I didn’t have much time to dilly dawdle.

One of the things I practiced this season was telling myself that a little discomfort was not the end of the world and that I wouldn’t die just because my legs were tired. I refocused and started to run. I kept telling myself to keep moving forward…just keep moving forward. My average pace for the last four miles was 10:48, 10:50, 11:10 (going up the monster hill one last time), 10:28 (almost there), and 9:49 (headed down the finish chute). The seven miles preceding the last 4.2 averaged around 12:30 per mile. Divine intervention is the only thing that I know that could have picked up my pace because it definitely wasn’t half a banana and some fake coke!

The last .2 miles, as I headed towards the finish line, were awesome. The chute was lined with fans. Children climbed the fence and stuck out their hands for a high-five. I made sure I left no outstretched hand untouched.

Free high-fives!
There was a male runner ahead of me. I kept some distance between us because I wanted to make sure that the announcer had plenty of time to get my name out (that’s what I came here for, right? LOL). I rounded the last corner and smiled when I saw the finish line. This was it! As I crossed the line I raised my arms and then immediately started looking for HS. He had to be there somewhere. I heard the announcer say “Tracy, you-are-an-IRONMAN!” and then heard a voice in the crowd calling “Tray!” I looked to the right and there was HS with James and Jessica. I was so relieved to see them.

The clock does not reflect my actual start time ;-)

I walked over to HS and let out an audible sob (listen for it in the video) and he placed my finisher’s medal around my neck. I can’t watch the video he took without shedding a tear. It was a momentous occasion for me and I couldn’t have done it without him!

This video made the entire race worth it!!! Thank you, honey!!!

Post Race

I stopped and posed for some pics with the IRONMAN screen behind me. Looking at the pictures now, you would never know the amount of pain I had endured to get to there…I was all smiles.  It was if the finish line had some sort of magical powers that could momentarily transport you to the happiest place on earth.

What suffering? I don't remember suffering!
A volunteer gave me my finisher’s shirt and asked if I was OK. I said I was fine, just a little emotional. She remarked that it was perfectly normal. I walked towards the exit and the volunteer ran up to me and told me that I dropped my hat. I looked at the hat and explained that my hat was still on my head. “No, she said, this is your new finisher’s hat!” I laughed, thanked her and made my way to HS.

As we walked to collect my bike and gear, HS proudly told me that he had bought me an IRONMAN outfit. He said he thought he got the right size but I could exchange it if I needed something different. All of a sudden the magic of the finish line vanished and I was back to being tired and in pain. “I don’t want anything IRONMAN!” were the embarrassingly ungrateful words out of my mouth. Here is a man that has put up with all my training hours, hung out for over half a day waiting for me to finish, and was thoughtful enough to buy me a GIFT and that is what I said. Ugh…God forgive me…I felt horrible.

We picked up my gear bags and bike. Beast was a hot mess. Gatorade had practically shellacked my aerobars. The top bag was open revealing a colorful mess of Skittles and coconut strips. I pushed the bike and HS carried the bags. The volunteer at the gate double checked to make sure we had the right stuff and we headed to the truck. Thankfully, HS had paid for parking so we didn’t have to go too far. I checked out the new IRONMAN cycling outfit he picked out and had to admit it was pretty cute (black and pink…how could it not be?).

On the drive back to the cabin, HS patiently listened to all of my war stories. We had about a 20-30 minute drive and I noticed that my stomach was still really hurting. Perhaps eating some real food would help? I asked if we could get pizza and he said we could get whatever I wanted. We pulled up to a pizza place in Guerneville but the “Pizza by the Slice” sign and the toothless woman out front made me reconsider eating there. I then suggested stopping by the taqueria I saw headed towards Monte Rio.

We parked across the street from the taqueria and I tucked my finisher’s medal in the center console as if it were made of precious metal and likely to be stolen (Hey! It’s precious metal to me!) Once we got inside the restaurant, I wanted to double over in pain. At that point, I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to eat. HS ordered a carnitas dinner and I opted for a bean, rice and cheese burrito. Thankfully, the food was ready within minutes and we were back on the road.

Precious "medal"
The first thing I did when we got back to the cabin was to take a bath. While I soaked, HS brought me a glass of wine. I took a couple of sips and my stomach was racked with pain. At that point, I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to eat. I got out of the tub, put on my pj's, and sat down to try and get some food in myself. I managed to eat about half the burrito, but it took some effort. I wrapped up the rest and put it in the fridge for later.  

Around 10:30pm HS said he thought we should go to bed. I laid down for about five minutes but was still so amped up that I could not sleep. On top of that, my stomach hurt so bad that rest was nearly impossible. That is when the mass evacuation started. I got out of bed and HS asked where I was going. “I have to go to the bathroom!” I replied as I hurried across the cabin. The rest of the night was like that…lay on the couch, get up and rush to the bathroom, lay back down, doze off briefly, get up and rush to the bathroom. I was lucky if I got 3 hours of sleep that night.

The next morning hunger and pain waged war inside me. I wanted to eat, but when I tried, the pain came back even worse. I managed to get a few more bites of cold burrito in me with a little diet 7-up, but that was the best I could do.  We packed up and decided to head home early. My stomach was still knotted up when we hit Stockton, but I forced down a turkey and avocado sandwich when I got home and managed a two hour nap before we had to pick up the dogs.

Something to consider from the cover of the cabin instructions ;-)
After we got home late Sunday morning, the pain was still lingering. Eating remained an effort and I was jealous when I saw the picture that Karyn posted of her and Scott’s post-race breakfast. I would have killed to have an appetite! Regardless of all of this suffering, I am glad I went through with it. I can’t explain why hearing those words were so important to me, but they were. The sense of accomplishment has made it all worth it.

What’s Next

Throughout this training season, HS and I have discussed what’s in store next. I’m not ruling out additional 140.6 mile races, I’m just taking a year or so off from that distance. I want to take some time doing races that bring joy back into the sport (although I have to admit, the feeling at and IRONMAN finish line is quite intoxicating). IRONMAN training is tough, not only for me, but for HS and I have to consider his feelings as well as my own.

Next year, I am going back to shorter distances with maybe a 70.3 thrown in for good measure ;-)