Transition was kind of a weird set up. It was shaped like a weird little Tetris piece, the one that looks like a Z. Luckily my rack was in the middle and was very easy to find since all I had to do was look for this:
and my rack was just on the right side of it.
As I ran into transition I had the top of my wetsuit stripped easily. I got back to my bike and attempted to get the rest of while standing. I should have just sat down though, because I was dizzy and just about fell over! Finally…wetsuit off…Camelbak with Infinit on, race number, sock, shoes, bike helmet, glasses, Garmin…all on. Time to get going!
T1 – 3:59
The Bike – 56 miles (or 90 km)
The bike is a two loop course. When you look at the elevation profile it looks scary. Plus at the athlete’s meeting they really drilled it in to you that this course is hilly…very hilly…extremely hilly. My dad and I drove the course on Sunday and I realized that…it wasn’t that bad. Yes, there are three nice climbs out there, but for the most part the hills are pretty short. The rest is a lot of steady gradual uphill and really fun descents. It may be hard to be fast on this course, but it was definitely a fun ride.
When I got on the bike right away I felt bloated. Uh oh, I think I swallowed too much air on the swim. It has happened to me before, once while doing a trial swim out at Arbour Lake. When I got home I looked about 5 or 6 months pregnant thanks to the air and water I ingested in the lake. I was pretty sure the same thing had happened at the race. At first I tried to burp but I wasn’t getting relief. On one burp I just about threw up. Uh oh…
Despite the bloated feeling my first loop of the course went pretty well. I was feeling strong on the uphills and doing my best to take advantage of the downhills. Just after an aid station there were photographers up the road. The guy in front of me went to drink his water, fumbled with his bottle, and wound up flying off the road and going into the bush. Luckily he stopped himself before he could tumble too far down the hill. He said he was okay…but that was a bit scary!
I hit the halfway point in 1:36, which I was pretty pleased about given the difficulty of the course. After starting the second loop things got more uncomfortable though. I was feeling gassy on both ends and it was affecting my riding. I decided to stop at the next aid station so I lost between 6 and 7 minutes thanks to that. But what do you do? Take the extra time and hope you speed up? Or finish the bike off potentially getting slower and slower? I decided to stop. I did feel better after stopping but my stomach was still gurgling. I knew I was in for a tough run.
So what happened? Given that I felt just fine before the race I knew what was affecting me happened on the swim. It was too early on the bike to be the Infinit (plus I’ve trained with it and have never experienced this before). The lake water essentially locked my stomach up. It wasn’t emptying, which also meant that my nutrition wasn’t being absorbed. As I was trying to take the Infinit in the situation just kept compounding. According to Angie I should have just thrown up to clear things up and start fresh. Oh well…hindsight..!! No one really wants to barf, eh?
Lap two took me about 1:54…so thanks to some slowing down and my aid station break it was significantly slower. Disappointing…slightly. But…I am happy with how I raced the bike given the discomfort. I trained well for this course and I am really happy with that. I never felt like the course was too challenging for me.
56 mi in 3:30:02
F30-34: 30 out of 49 finishers
I racked the bike, took off my helmet and Camelbak, grabbed a couple of gels, swapped out the shoes and took off.
The Run – 13.1 mi
The run is a two lap course, and you actually run through downtown and the crowds four times. That is a fantastic set up. For the most part you are running on the roads the entire time, but traffic was pretty minimal and not an issue. There was one kid driving a red sports car that did not want to leave room for the runners and I had to hop on the grass. He blasted his horn at one of the runners behind us. Hmm…jerk…
When I started running I was feeling not too bad. I worked hard to reign in the pace as no matter what I didn’t want to go out too fast. I knew that even though I had grabbed gels that I most likely wouldn’t be able to use them. I had assumed they would have Coke on the course and I figured that would get me through. Instant energy, plus flat Coke is what I use to settle an upset stomach. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that it was only water and Gatorade out there. Crap. The first four miles actually went okay. In the fifth mile my stomach was really sloshing so I decided to hit up the porta-potty at the end of mile 5. Imagine my disappointment when…nothing… Things were well and truly “locked up.” I trudged on and while I was still running, I was slowing down. As I passed the aid station at mile 6 there was a girl running the other way that was looking for Gu but only Powergels were available on the course. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to use it I handed her one of my Gus.
I knew I would be seeing my parents soon and since I was only taking in Gatorade I figured I’d be hurting at the finish line. If I couldn’t have Coke on the course I definitely wanted some after I crossed the line. As soon as I saw my dad I asked him to run to the convenience store, buy a big bottle of Coke and open the top to let it flat a bit. Thanks Dad!
Things started to go downhill on loop two. My digestive system wound up going through this viscous circle. I would run, then the gurgling would start and I would feel like I had to poop my pants…run through it and then I would feel like I had to throw up. So I walked…a lot… I was not a happy camper.
I have never thought about quitting a race before until now.
Evidently I don’t have to dig too deep for a reason to keep going though. The first thing I thought about what that I wouldn’t be able to wear my new visor and really nice pullover. That was enough! I’m sure if I needed to eventually I would have come up with reasons like, I’ve trained for this and travelled to this race so quitting would be the ultimate disappointment… I knew my health wasn’t in jeopardy so really there was no reason to quit. I would make it to the end, it would just be slowly.
Around mile 10 or 11 I recognized Sister Madonna Buder. I have to admit I got a little choked up once I realized who I just saw.
I wanted to get this race over and done with, but my running breaks were getting shorter and shorter before the nausea would just be too much. Athletes running in the other direction were trying to be so encouraging…thank you so much…but despite wanting to run I just could not get past these stomach issues. I’ll admit, I held my own little pity party at mile 11.37. there may have been some crocodile tears. This was not how my day was supposed to go. I trained hard for this and I was better than this. Sadly, these things do happen though.
I looked at my Garmin and realized that I was really close to setting a new personal worst. If I could just keep running the last half a mile I may be able to squeak in under the line. Time to pick it up. I was so happy to know I was just around the corner from the finish line. I could hear the announcer and the music. The Rembrandts were playing. I’ll Be There For You. Seriously…this would be the song playing when I crossed the finish line? Yuck. Funny about the things you think about sometimes!
I was in the chute heading to the end. So much cheering..!!!! My parents were there shouting my name. Finally. I was done… I think this picture shows just how relieved I am that it is over.
13.1 mi in 2:40:25 (just 1:33 shy of my personal worst)
F30-34: 35 out of 39 finishers
F30-34: 38 out of 49 finishers
I took my chip off and got my medal then saw my parents right away. We found a bench to sit down on and I chugged a bunch of that Coke down. Apart from Gatorade I took in no other nutrition on the run course. Surprisingly after all of that the pizza looked so good that I scarfed down a big piece of pepperoni. After grabbing some cookies I was ready to leave so I grabbed my bike from transition and headed out.
At the end of the day I can take some good positives away:
- I had a good swim. I normally question why I do these things on the swim, but not this day. I also chose to put myself in the mix a bit more since I wanted to swim close to yellow cord. I survived. I just need to practice my open water a bit more so that I’m not taking in so much water while swimming.
- I trained well for this bike course. It wasn’t scary at all. I LOVED riding this course.
- I toughed it up and finished when I debated quitting. I would be so disappointed in myself today if I had quit. Ultimately today I am not disappointed. I’ve analysed the race, now time to move on.
- I’ve learned some good lessons for racing next year.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Lake Stevens 70.3 Race Report – Part III