Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We're not in Kansas anymore Toto....Part 2

4am came way to fast that morning. I think that I actually had a pretty solid night of sleep despite it all. Just the same it was early, and not all of us are morning people...
If you look closely you"ll see it says 4:55...we'd been up for almost an hour. Does he look thrilled?!?

Breakfast of champions! Water, Coke, 1/2 a bagel with PB and a nanner. I am normally a big BIG fan of breakfast (and I LOOOOOVE brunch) but race morning eating is always a struggle for me.

We were packed and out the door and on the road by 5am. Woah. Talk about efficient in the morning. We had about a 5 or so minute drive to the park....that got much much longer as we got to the park entrance along with hundreds of other participants. Crap! I had not scheduled this into my morning routine. Yes, I had plenty of time, but even little things like this are enough to send me into a complete meltdown on race morning.

Finally there and parked, time to set up T2. I met up with Taz and Meghan here,and it's a good thing I did because I was quickly becoming a nervous wreck. When Taz tried to re-body mark me (yes, yesterday's body marking came off in the shower) I was shaking so hard she had a hard time writing. She tried joking with me to relax me...something about having written the wrong number on me...but that just started the first round of pre-race hyperventilating and tears. Opps. What's odd is that this is far from the first race I've done, and yet I always, no matter the race, no matter the distance, no matter who I'm with, get this freaked out nervous. This is something I need to figure out...

From here we headed down to T1 to get set up there and ready for the swim. The mile walk down to T1 helped calm me down a little. I got down there and found my bike only to find that the girl on my left had racked her bike on the wrong side and had taken up my transition space. Grr! This was another one of those race morning mishaps I could have done without. But I figured it out, condensed my transition area and made do.

With the transition area set up there was nothing left to do but stand in the port-a-potty line and suit up. While waiting to go to the bathroom, I ran into Robert, who was looking annoying calm and perhaps still half asleep. We chatted for a few minutes, before it was time for me to get in my wetsuit and make my way towards the swim start.

Yeah, I'm going to need that back now...

By the time I was suppose to head to the chute with my swim wave I was starting to cry and hyperventilate again. I wasn't sure where Meghan had disappeared to (she is a very popular lady), which meant I had to head over and line up myself. I asked Wyatt if it was too late for me to decide not to race, he said yes and that if need be he would throw me in the lake....ok, looks like I am doing this thing. I walk over, in tears, and wait with my wave. The same chick that racked her bike on the wrong side and stole my transition area ended up waiting by me and trying to settle my pre-race nerves, so I forgave her for her earlier indiscretion.

Surprisingly, once in the water, I was quite calm.

The swim start was uneventful and all in all pretty mild. With a hundred-twenty or so ladies in my wave it wasn't too congested or wild. I was able to find a line pretty easily and make some headway. And the most shocking of all, I was able to swim fairly straight! This NEVER happens. Every 200y'ish there were big buoys that I was able to sight off of and use to keep my self moving in the right direction. I felt slow and steady in the water. My breathing was calm and my stroke was strong. I could've pushed harder, but wasn't looking to over do it, so I kept to my slow and steady routine. About the time I had to round last corner buoy and head for the finish, the front of the wave behind us (Men 40-44 I believe) had caught up and swam straight over me. I hung in there and kept moving, despite a pretty vicious elbow to the right kidney. Before I knew it I was coming out of the water....almost 5mins before I thought I would!

I am just not graceful coming out of the swim....

My swim to bike transition was slow, but to be honest I wasn't in a hurry. I had a hard time getting my wetsuit off my arms as it was getting caught up on my watch and wristband (I never swim with anything on my wrists....). I took the time to be heckled by Wyatt (and secretly I loved the attention, it's nice to have someone who cares about you there cheering you on) and get myself together.

(One of many shots of my butt.)And go!

I knew more or less what to expect on the bike. There were some long hills, but nothing too steep. It was overcast and looking like rain, but the temperature was perfect! Overall my ride was pretty uneventful...pedal, grind up hills, coast down hills, repeat. I was happy with how much water I was able to comfortably drink, and I was even able to do some eating on the bike (a chocolate Gu or 2, some watermelon Luna Moons, and a few strawberry Clif Blocks). My biggest mistake, I think, was deciding to drink some of the orange Gatorade Endurance they had on the bike course. I think it was just too sweet for me and left me feeling queasy and crampy with 10 or so miles left in the bike. Despite the upset tummy, I was happy to see that I had paced myself well. I had kept my power at a manageable and consistent level, my cadence was steady (and not quite as masher-esque as usual), and I even kept up a decent mhp.

So as I was fighting through starting to just feel gross and outright puke-y on the bike I reached the 50m mark. I was feeling pretty good about things. My time was ahead of where I thought I would be, I still had legs, and water was starting to settle my tummy. Now I mentioned in my last post that I got us a little lost while we were pre-driving the course, and because of that we didn't drive the end of it. Well what I didn't know, because of that blunder, was that there was an absolute calf-burning never ending hill with like 3m left. For real? I was feeling ok, but I did not have the stomach or the legs to push it here. Damn it! Eventually I hauled my tired self up that one, and as I approached the 55m marker I got NERVOUS. If you recall it was at this point of the Pigman last year that I decided to go body first into the pavement. Right. All I wanted to do was make it safely off the bike and this race would be a success! On this course, thankfully, the roads in the park were closed to traffic, so I had no cars to contend with. What I did have at mile 55 was a nice downhilll and another quick uphill....but I was so terrified of a Pigman repeat that I rode the brakes down the hill and had to pedal myself up the hill. Grr. Oh well. I was stoked to see the bike finish. And wouldn't you know, right as I was finishing the bike the clouds broke and the temperature instantly skyrocketed like 15+ degrees. Just my luck. Oh well. Off the bike, let the running begin!

Side note. Saddle # way too many is not so much better than any of the others I've tried. So while I was able to tough it out through the 56m I was SORE when I got off. Like super sore.

Into the giant sea of bikes and to my rack. As I was running, and I use that term very loosely, up to my gear I saw Wyatt walking along completely oblivious that I was off the bike and transitioning. I was about 10mins ahead of my estimated time. Score!

Another slow transition for me. Again, I wasn't in a super hurry, especially considering I was not feeling good at this point. In my not feeling good haste I completely forgot I had Tums in my bag for this very reason....grr! I also forgot to put on my Garmin, so I was running without any idea of pace. Double grrr!

Shoes and race belt, check!Hat, and GO!

Oh the run....the run was miserable. I was insistent that I was going to run. i was tryign to channel my inner Hillary Biscay and stick to her "no walking in Ironman" rule. But who was I kidding?! I am no Hillary Biscay. I managed to keep my running up for the first maybe 2m. Every step left my stomach in turmoil. About this time I saw Edde out there cheering us on. I think I may have started to cry a little...Edde had gotten up at some silly early hour to drive from NC to KS to see us ladies race!! I asked him what to do and his words of advice were to walk and stay hydrated. So I conceded to walk and tried to get my stomach under control. The first time I saw Wyatt on the run course was probably 3 miles or so in. I was just about in tears. I remember telling him that I was miserable and to get the camera out of my face. He ran with me for a bit and told me that it was almost done and to keep going. I was so upset. All in all I was having a great race (for me). Both my swim and bike went better than expected, and here on the run, the part I thought was in the bag, I was falling apart. I wanted to quit. Why was this happening? I kept watching all this people pass me looking strong and great, and all I could do was trudge along and try not to puke. That's when it occurred to me. I was capable of finish, that wasn't the question. I wasn't going to finish in the time I wanted to, but I was going to finish. So it came down to finishing with a bad attitude and being miserable or making the most of my day and enjoying the accomplishment.

So I decided to keep moving, smile and cheer for all the incredible people out there. I cheered for those people zooming effortlessly by me. I cheered and encouraged those feeling like I did. I walked and chatted with the other people struggling. It went from "get the camera out of my face" to this:

I talked with a collegiate athlete from the Chicago area who was pushing through calf cramps. I saw Robert on the run and comiserated on stomach issues. I walked with an elderly gentleman from TX who was frustrated with having no legs left. Near the end there were 3 of us that challenged ourselves to push through two minutes of running alternated with one minute of walking. Even though I had a major attitude adjustment and was actually having a pretty good time, I was still excited to see the run come to an end. With a about a half of a mile left I was able to run out the rest of it. It wasn't fast, but it was steady.

I ran down the yellow brick road to an official Ks 70.3 finish of 6:58 and change!

1 comment:

Taz Brown said...

Nice race report. Remember this: On race morning in Wisconsin when no one is allowed in transition with you (at your bike) you will still have people there to calm you down...The Ironman Techs! :)