Friday, April 30, 2010

A PR in Galveston, but that was brutal

It has taken me almost a week to write this race report because my feelings about it have changed as time has passed. During and right after the race, I was very negative about the whole thing, questioning why do I put myself through this. And after processing, thinking, and talking with other racers, I've put it in a little more perspective. But that's getting ahead of myself.

I drove in Saturday morning to see C race the Olympic. Turns out, the bad weather came through Friday night, and there were still high winds that apparently turned over and sank a police boat! So the swim was cancelled and they did a bike/ run race with a time trial start. C did great. And the winds died down as the day went on. It was a little tough because she was done and celebrating, and I was preparing. And I did not take the day before preparation seriously enough. I didn't manage my food intake and wound up eating some heavier things that did not settle well. And I was starting to get nervous. For Longhorn, I did all my worrying before, and was calm before. This time, I've been much more relaxed, and then started panicking a little.

Sunday morning, did my regular preparations, missed the group picture, but found the other 35-59 T3ers lounging in the beach chairs for the hour before our start. And then we were swimming. Very choppy- the wind had picked up as the morning progressed. I am a pretty calm swimmer, and this was the worst I've ever been in, drinking a lot of salt water and air as the waves slapped my face. Many swimmers were being rescued by the lifeguards on waverunners. And the salt water took off my body glide and I was getting pretty chafed on my arms. And it seemed really long.

But finally done, up the ramp and on to the bike. After some strong rides in training, I was feeling good. There was a cross/ head wind on the way out, so I talked to myself about being steady out, pushing on the way back, aiming for 2 hours out, 1.5 hours back. And it seemed to be passing quickly. My stomach did not settle as it normally does, and seemed bloated. I waited but then had to start my nutrition. Finally get to the turnaround, and there's a cross/ head wind. No tailwind at all! What a let down. But I was still maintaining 16 mph, so at least it was flat. I did have to take a bathroom break at mile 45, where Sparkle passed me- which is amazing that it took her so long! And then into the real head wind back to transition.

My stomach was still unhappy, but at least better to be upright. Shuffled the first lap, and then started feeling pretty good. I was making 14:30s and moving right along. Water and gatorade and ice at every station. But it was hot, and windy, and no shade. But I was getting close and I was on track to break 8 hours total, if I could just keep doing what I was doing.

And almost immediately after thinking I could actually break 8 hours, at about mile 9- I hit the wall. All of a sudden, I was light headed, and nauseous. I started walking and felt even worse. The next aid station I tried to take in even more liquid, but that did not go well. I never puked, but I dry heaved a little. I cried passing the T3 tent- I just wanted to quit and go lie down in the shade. K joined me for the last lap and that made me sad as well. I was on track, I was about to break through, I had done the training, I had lost weight, and yet the outcome was the same- the last T3er having to be helped in to the finish. And I was in a dark place- thinking this is masochism- we are hurting ourselves doing these long distances. This is not fun. I might as well go sit in a bathroom and cut myself- that's the equivalent to this punishment.

But I did keep going at a shuffle, K tried to talk me through it, and I tried the coke at the last aid station. The caffeine and the bubbles settled my stomach a little. And also knowing the finish was so close, I picked it up. I had a great finish- a bunch of T3ers and the last of the spectators were lining the finish chute and I was slapping hands and moving quickly, Logan announcing. And I did have a 15 minute PR from Longhorn! And immediately after finishing, directly to the medical tent. IV fluids, Zofran injection for nausea, and lying down in the shade. I felt immensely better. A number of T3ers came by to check on me, then saw C off before going to CK's hotel room to borrow her shower. Then driving back. The drive back was actually very pleasant- drinking coke, and talking on the phone the whole way back, and sitting. It was great!

So after talking to a number of teammates, pretty much everybody had a rough race. The heat and wind affected everyone. That is really reassuring, that it isn't just me. And lots of people had problems with the swim, with the crosswinds on the bike, and with the heat on the run.

And the bonk- I've never hit that before, and the stomach problems were leading directly to it. It was a scary place. And physical, systemic discomfort. I do not want to go there again. But at the same time, I've been through it now, so I can handle it if/ when it comes again. My legs actually felt good throughout. And I wasn't really any more sore afterwards than any of the training weekends.

So, lessons learned in Galveston:
1. T3 is great! Teammates are there for you even when you think you don't want them to be.
2. Salt water and waves = nausea.
3. Cross wind means you're fighting the wind the entire way.
4. Manage nutrition very strictly the day before the race.
5. Have back up nutrition to try different things if your primary is not working.
6. Pepto.
7. More sunscreen!
8. Salt supplement? More research needed.
9. Adjust goals to the conditions.
10. Ups and downs happen, just ride them along.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Last chance workout

I had my last big workout before Lonestar and it felt good. Core and then spin, both a little shorter and less intense than usual. And I am feeling pretty good. This round of training for the half iron has been much calmer and I've had less anxiety. I have done the training, been consistent, and have built on the foundation from Longhorn. I am hoping for good things in Galveston!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Swimming with Brendan Hansen, for real this time

The second edition of the T3 Open Water Swim Clinic actually went off today, luckily the rain held off. C came up from San Antonio again, and we did a loop of the bike of Practiceman, but skipped the rest. Then we actually got in the water and went swimming. And Brendan Hansen is disgustingly fast. He creates a wake when he swims. Really, the water essentially moves around him and bends to his will. I tried to duplicate it, and no luck.

Good practice and good tips, but swimming is my least weak sport of triathlon. I'm steady and relaxed, just not very fast. But I did get some ideas to work on in the future: make the second half of the pull faster and extending more in the reach.

And so far, still moving right along for Lonestar. Tapering pretty well, only getting the crazies a little bit. It's funny that it feels weird not to work out now. But I am looking forward to the month off in May. Though what I'm looking forward to is kayaking, and camping, and gym classes, and dance lessons, and ...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

T3 camping trip

Last year I missed the T3 camping trip to Bastrop due to work, so I was determined to go this year. I reserved a campsite as soon as the date was announced and cancelled any race plans. It turns out, I reserved in the wrong area. It is always funny and sad to me that no matter what group of people, there are cliques.

But anyway, I drove up Saturday morning and we did the same route as Pedal through the Pines that I did a month ago. If you remember, I had to walk my bike up the 7-8 big hills and it totally kicked my ass. Well, this time around, I rode together with J and that worked out nicely. She dropped me on the hills, but I passed her on downhills, and on the flats, she drafted off me because she was on a road bike. I still have not quite figured out how to draft without feeling anxious about being so close.

When we hit the first big hill, I joked "should I try it or just get off and walk now" and she said, "just try it." So as a challenge, I did. And I got up! In the lowest gear and standing, and panting, but I got up. And the next one too. And then the next. And by that time, I was so stoked that I had gotten up the first ones, I decided I would have to climb the rest too. And so then it was a challenge to finish the ride without having to walk any of the hills. And once out of the park, it was back to reasonably flat. And wanting to stay with J, I was pushing a lot harder than I would have on my own. But it was okay. We finished the 60 miles, with 2 pit stops, and then on to the campsite for an ice bath in the kiddie pool. And good timing, because about 15 minutes after I got out of the ice bath, the park ranger came by to enforce the rules: no beer outside of your tent (really, that seems ridiculous), no parking on the grass, and no kiddie pools.

After a nap, and dinner at the Roadhouse- okay, not great food. Then smores around the campfire before crashing in the tent. Sunday morning, I was worried my legs wouldn't hold up for the run, but they were pretty good. One 4 mile loop on the road, then off on to the trails- very nice, wide, pine needle covered trails. So 2 hours total, but probably not quite 8 miles. Then back home for a shower and 3 hour nap. A good weekend, and it makes me excited to go camping again soon, especially because my month off of training in May is coming up!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

400s on the track

After months of asking for morning run workouts, T3 has finally done it. They have a new coach Lesley, that is doing Tuesdays at the trail and Thursdays on the track. So far it's been 4-10 people only, but it's only been a week. So I was surprised on Thursday: I had a personal coach for track practice- everyone else slept in! Coach Charles was subbing for Lesley and he had a lot of good suggestions for me, and it was a really good to get feedback since I haven't done much speedwork.

And it turns out I can run faster than I think I can! Based on my mile times, I was supposed to do 3:30 per 400, and my first one I did 2:30. And after working on breathing steadily, being even throughout the lap, and pacing, I was consistently going 2:45. I did 7 of them with resting 2 minutes between, and it was great.

Of course, my legs were trashed for the next 2 days, but it was worth it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First training injury

So I've been dealing with my first real injury from training, and it's my wrist. Of all the body parts stressed with triathlon training, you'd think my legs or back would be most vulnerable. Of course, that may be part of it- I expect that and baby my legs and back.

I have been getting stronger with all the core training, and have been able to do more of the exercises including pushups, pike ups on the ball, mountain climbers, etc. And all of those include supporting my body weight on my hands. So I would feel some tenderness after a core class, but no big deal, just rest it right? Well, after a week of that, it was more painful, so I went to Performance Wellness and got adjusted and treatment for it. And 3 weeks later, still painful, so I went to my physician and got a steroid injection. De Quervain's Tenosynovitis is the final diagnosis- where the thumb tendons run across the inside of the wrist inside a tendon sheath get inflamed.

So now I'm a week out from the injection and brace, and it feels great. I will slowly incorporate biking outdoors and swimming back into the schedule, but no pushups! I'm also going to change my aerobars to be a more neutral position.

The injury has affected my training a little, but also going out of town for Easter. I think I'm in a pretty good place for Lonestar, but still could use a couple more long rides and outdoor swims. I have been able to keep up with the long runs for the most part, so that's good. And overall, there is less stress about the race, and I think it's because I've already done it once. The confidence from finishing Longhorn is a big part, plus knowing the Lonestar course is flatter and easier, and the time limit is longer. I think it's going to be a good time in Galveston!