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.

1 comment:

everybody's entitled said...

PR! Congratulations! Amazing! Woo Hoo!