Monday, June 30, 2014

The Dam Tri Race Recap

I have such mixed feeling about his race, so bear with me as I recap this race.  Remember, it's MY race and MY emotions about it and they might be different than how you would feel.  I respect anyone and their efforts to try and do a race and I appreciate the fact that just finishing is GREAT, but FOR ME--- well I want more.

Going into this race, I just kept thinking about how under prepared I was.  I had swum only a handful of times since Mighty Moraine Man in September.  I think I swam a few times after that race on a race high, but recently (since January) I swam for a total of 2 times.  Yup 2 times!

As far as the bike, well I did do the MS 150 and that is 150 miles over two days, but on that ride there is a rest stop every 12 to 15 miles and it's a ride not a race.  Even so, since then I had been on my bike twice, and I only logged one brick (bike/run) workout.  To say the least, I was unprepared for a triathlon of this distance (.9 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6.2 mile run).  

I told Tracey, who was doing the race with me, that I was just going to give myself permission to go slowly.  I mean, what else could I do?  And so I went...

I was soooo nervous from the moment I woke up (4:30 am by the way) and my stomach hurt so badly.  I tried to eat something, but I just couldn't handle it.  I knew I needed fuel, but I just couldn't get myself to eat.  I had a bar and tried to eat, but it gagged me.  I gave up.  So now I'm going into this race on zero calories.

We got to the race and picked up our packets no problem.  The time went by so quickly, we set up our transition area, took a few pictures (of course) and before I knew it the pre race meeting was happening.

Soon enough we walked down to the shore and the elites were starting.  Up next, the men.  Then they called our wave and we got in the water.  Nothing to do now, but just swim.

I wish I had gotten a pic with the buoys because it looks sooooo far.  Well .9 miles of swimming IS far!  
The swim was wetsuit legal so I decided to wear my wetsuit.  I'm not sure if it was the right decision because as soon as I got going, I was so hot.  I also felt so thirsty.  It was also apparent that I was going slowly.  I figured there might be 2 people behind me.  I swear I had the worst time swimming in a straight line and I don't know why I was having such a hard time swimming.  Um out of practice perhaps.  I always sort of just wing the swim, but at this distance I don't think you can just "wing it."  Noted!

Swim:  43:33 

It took me 43:33 to swim .9 miles.  I'm sure I swam over as I'm pretty sure at one point I was going in circles.  Ha!  Regardless that was a horrible swim and about 10 minutes longer than I anticipated it taking me.  Regardless, I was SOOOOO glad it was over.

I got to transition and was VERY shaky.  I tried to move as quickly as possible but that wasn't very quick.  

T1:  4:01 

As soon as I got on the bike, I had one mission and that was to FUEL.  I had a bar in my bike bag and I had a bottle full of gatorade and one of water.  I started with the Gatorade and drank a lot, but it started to upset my belly so I switched to water.  By the end of the ride, I had eaten half my bar (about 100 calories) and drank BOTH my bottles.

The bike was pretty lonely.  I knew I was one of the last females out of the water so there weren't too many people behind me.  I did get passed by a lot of sprint distance racers, but never got passed by any olympic distance people (no women anyway).  Once the sprint distance racers split off, I never saw anyone else for a long, long time. There were times during the race where I questioned if I was even on the course.  I was focusing on trying to go as fast as I possibly could.  There were so many LONG hills.  They weren't too steep, but LONG ASS hills.  It was hard to not get in my head and feel down.  I'm normally a middle of the pack racer and I knew I was bringing up the rear and that was messing with me.  Nonetheless, I trudged on.

At around mile 18 the wind really started to pick up and any flat stretch that came along was ruined by a terrible headwind.  Then at mile 21 my Garmin went out.  It started to just beep over and over again and appeared to be shorting out.  It switched to a screen I had never seen before and said my total race time was 10 hours and some odd minutes.  I could no longer see how fast I was going or how far I was on the course.  Luckily each mile that went by my Garmin would still beep so I could see I was keeping up a decent pace (for me).  Also around 21 I caught a glimpse of another rider up ahead.  That helped me to feel so much better and I followed him/her into the finish.

Bike:  1:44:30 (14.35 mph average) 

When I got into transition it was obvious that I was waaaaaay behind the other racers.  There were no bikes on the racks.  haha  Then I actually heard the announcer say, "There's about 10 more people out on the bike course, most of our bikers are already in."  Oh well, all I could do was run.  I got my shoes on ASAP and got the heck out of there.

T2:  2:21 

As soon as I started running, I knew I was in big trouble.  My achilles and calves were so tight and they straight up hurt.  I thought for awhile that my calves were cramping up.  It doesn't help that the start of the course was uphill.  I walked.  Yep right from the beginning.

Once I got up the hill I started to "run" again, but it became apparent that running was not going to be easy.  I was fine on any straight or slight downgrade, but if there were any uphill at all, I was struggling.

Because my Garmin was all messed up, I couldn't hit the lap button and start my run on the Garmin.  So the first mile came up as 8:48 minute mile, but that included the tail end of my bike.  Obviously I wasn't running an 8:48 mile.  I just kept plugging away. I felt like my feet were barely moving, but I was trying to give it my all (which wasn't much).

Mile 2: 11:17

At mile 2, I saw Tracey (which meant so was at mile 5ish).  She said she was "dying" and it actually made me feel better.  Haha misery loves company you know.  It wasn't that I wanted her to be suffering, but if she was, I didn't feel so badly about my current discomfort.  Ha!  Right after I saw Tracey, I decided I needed to adopt a run/walk method.  I figured I'd run 2 minutes and walk 30 seconds.  Well after 1 round of that, I realized 30 seconds wasn't enough of a walking break so I switched to 2 minutes running and 1 minute of walking.  Having a set ratio helped to keep me focused and moving forward.   I still had no idea of pace or overall time as my Garmin was so messed up.  Each lap would beep and that would be my only indication.

Mile 3: 12:29
Mile 4:  11:38

Adopting the run/walk was the only thing that saved me mentally.  I think at this point and for this race I was giving up mentally.  I don't know if I've ever done that during a race before.  I'm always a warrior and push through, but I was definitely giving myself permission to hold back. I mean what was the point of busting ass?  I didn't want to suffer and so I didn't.

Just past the 5 mile mark I started playing leap frog with another person.  She would pass me and then I'd pass her and so on.  We finally started running side by side and we were talking.  She told me she was a grandma (I later found out she was 50 years old) and was happy to be out there just doing the race.  She also told me to appreciate the fact that so many people wouldn't even sign up and be out there TRYING.  Yes, I know that is true.

We hit the last water stop and I told her "let's go."  We had about .5 miles to go and I was never so happy and I picked up the pace and dropped the walking.    Then at the .2 mile mark I saw Tracey waiting for me and I ran as fast as my little legs (ok big legs haha) could carry me.

Mile 5: 11:58
Mile 6: 12:24

Obviously I was happy to be finishing.  "Grandma" is behind me 
Run:  1:11:04  I think the run must have been short because this puts me at an 11:30 something average and clearly I wasn't doing that.

I crossed the finish line in 3:45:27 enough to earn me second to last in my age group and 96th place out of 110 people.  That's humbling right there!

I'm pretty disappointed in myself.  Here I think I'm in better shape this year than last, yet I did much worse than my last olympic distance tri in September.  I think the difference between that race and this one is all attitude.  Going into that race I had the "I think I CAN" attitude and this race I had the "slow and steady" attitude.

I'm proud of myself for going out there and running the race, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed.   I'm really sick of not being "good" at things.  I was frustrated before with always being middle of the pack and in this race I was bottom of the barrel and that doesn't feel good.

Again, I mean no disrespect to anyone with regard to their times. My own disappointment comes from my perceived effort versus my performance.  I'm talking about the level of effort I put into working out and how I seem to remain the same year after year, after year.  It's hard, it makes you want to give up (just being honest).

You know I won't give up, especially since this girl would never let me.

Thanks again to Tracey for always waiting around for her slow friend to finish.  Congrats to you Tracey on a GREAT race.  You'll always be my inspiration.

 I told you this was the DAMN! tri.  Ha!  On to the next thing folks.


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