My first Triathlon
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Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas - Triathlon1/2 Ironman
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75F / 24C
= 7h 04m 32s
Age Group Rank
*WARNING: RR is long. I had a brutally epic day*
Didn't sleep but maybe 2 hours the night before. Worst pre-race nerves to date. Woke up at midnight and just laid in bed. Watched TV. Made a pot of coffee at 2:00, laid in bed, played on iphone, finally just got up right before 4:00 to start eating. Ate oatmeal w/honey and a peanut butter/nutella/banana sandwich. Drank water, gatorade and lots of coffee. I mean lots of coffee. Caught a ride w/Brandon to venue.
So nervous that I forgot to throw on clothes over tri suit, tire pump and extra bottle of water to fill up aero drink bottle and to drink before swim.
Thank goodness for teamates. Kris let me borrow pump and Ron gave me a half jug of water. Set up transistion, talked w/teamates, peed, double checked gear, talked some more, peed, made my way down to swim start, watched pros swim, talked w/more teamates, peed, wetsuit on, ate shot blocks, got in line w/wave, stretched arms. I was in 3rd to last swim wave.... so lots of waiting around.
01m 56s / 100 yards
I lined my self 2nd row & far right. Plan was to keep all swimmers and buoys to left b/c I am a left side breather. Took off hard maybe first 200 meters to get out frontish and far right, away from pack for clear water. Not that I can't swim with a pack, but talked w/coach Tommy and we felt it was better for me to stay away so I wouldn't be tempted to swim too hard since I tend to get aggressive when in a pack but that also drives my HR up due to contact and wanting to go harder than I should. I tend to burn out on longer endurace swims when I am not careful on my pacing, so goal was to keep calm, hr low and maintain easy pace for the entire swim.
Found my rhythm and for once I didn't have any trouble veering off course since everything was to my left. I was swimming a bit further out and not taking the shortest line but I was swimming in clear water and was sighting off the frontish of the main pack. Felt strong, not even breathing hard, focus on swimming smart, not kicking to save legs for later. Passed up the BOP from the wave that went right in front of us. Rounded the first buoy and going across, the chop was a little worse but nothing big. Made the swim more fun personally. Even passed up some men from the last men's wave.
Then out of no where my left leg siezed up in a massive paralyzing cramp from the hip down. It literally stopped me dead in the water. I have never had to roll onto my back in OWS training or in a race ever but I had to this day. I rolled on my back and was trying to massage out the cramp. I floated on my back for a bit until the cramp passed. Felt better and continued on. By then the pack that I was sighting off was ahead of me and decided to still just do my thing. Found my groove again and just as I had shaken off the crazy cramp from my mind it came back with a vengence. This time it forced my leg in a 90 degree angle. WTH?! This time I just floated vertically, right hand treading the water, left hand trying to straighten out my left leg. The 2nd episode lasted shorter but I was getting pissed off. Rounded the last turn buoy and decided to kick a little more to get blood flowing to legs. Next thing I know I was coming up the ramp.
What would you do differently?:
Not get cramps? Other than the cramps, I felt fantastic in the water. Minimal contact at the very beginning before seperating myself from the other swimmers and then again when going through slower swimmers from previous waves. But for the most part, had clear water since I was swimming pretty wide from the main pack. Never once was I breathing hard and felt like I could've swam forever at that easy pace.
Long run from ramp, through shower, to wetsuit stippers, to bike. I had 2 wetsuit strippers and it still got caught on my chip. Took them probably 4 tugs to finally get the wetsuit off of me. No worries, just happy to have volunteers willing to strip me :
Sat on my butt, put socks, shoes, glasses, helmet and race belt on.
What would you do differently?:
Nada, I had a long day ahead of me. Didn't want to forget anything. Well....maybe put more sunscreen on.
Pacing the bike correctly was a huge focus of my training. I took off my bike computer and cadence sensor on my bike and set my Garmin to only show HR. I was going to ride completely blind time/speed wise and go completely off HR. Coming out of T1 I was amped up and so excited to ride. It took awhile for my HR to calm down. My Garmin would annoyingly beep at me anytime my HR went over 150. Lot's and lot's of people passed me on the bike. Just stayed in my zones and didn't worry about anybody else.
Saw 10 mile marker and the 1st aid station coming up. I already went through my water in my aerodrink bottle and decided to refill. Grabbed the hand-up fine and as I was dumping the water into the aerodrink bottle my left leg siezed up again. My dumb@ss instinct was to grab my left calf but my other hand had the empty hand-up water bottle. Lost control and wrecked. Completely my fault. I was on the ground and some race workers ran by my side and grabbed me and my bike to the grass to get me out of the way of other riders. They called the medic to check on me and they suggested that I get checked out in the medical tent but I didn't want to go. The medic started to ask me questions like "do you know where you are?, do you know what m/d/y?," ect to make sure I was ok and in my usual fashion I was being a smart@ss. Guess that convinced him enough that I didn't need the ambulance called on me. The other race worker checked over my bike and he said it looked ok. Figured since I was off the bike and at an aid station to go pee.
Got back on my bike and went off on my way. Really focused to stay w/in my HR zones which was even harder b/c I was pumped full of adrenaline from the wreck and now I was worrying about how much time I had lost. I had no way of knowing what my pace/splits were and I had to calm myself down and tell myself that I was ok and would make the time cutoff. Decided to check my gearing and found out that the wreck messed up my ability to use my big ring. Welp. Now I really have no excuse to not stay in HR. Also found out a bit later that I lost my salt tabs in the wreck and it kinda hurt to chew my cliff bar bites that I was using as my solid nutrition. After struggling to chew 3 of those I stuck w/Gu's.
I hit the turn around and I made much better time
(23 min faster second half of bike
)....well it helped that I didn't wreck on the second half of the ride. :P Rest of the ride was good for the most part, slight tailwind, stayed in HR, ate and drank accordingly. I started to get a bit uncomfortable the second half and was squirming around. The post wreck adrenaline was slowly starting to wane from my body and little aches and pains were ever so slightly starting to creep in. Cramps came back but not the leg locking ones that were plaguing me earlier, this time I didn't reach down to massage them out. Stretched out legs as best as I could on bike by standing and flexing feet in pedals.
What would you do differently?:
Not wreck, lose salt tabs, and the cramps. Other than that, I was dead on w/HR and was riding w/in my limits.
I ran on the wrong side of the rack
) and decided instead of going around, to rack bike from the side I was on and squeezed between bikes and under rack.
Took off cycling gear and put running shoes on.
What would you do differently?:
Go to the correct side of the rack. Sunscreen. Lot's of sunscreen.
2h 38m 32s
12m 06s min/mile
Coming off the bike, I knew my first mile was going to feel wierd and I was once again running off of HR only as well. I was feeling ok though. In pretty good spirits, happy to be off the bike, smiling for pictures for my family and yelling encouragements to teamates. From training, my 2nd to 3rd mile should have been where I shake my legs out, find my zone and settle.
This is where things started to really fall apart for me. Halfway into mile 2, I felt like a ton of bricks fell on top of me. The adrenaline officially was gone and I could feel the wreck in all it's glory now. On top of that the heat and humidity was taking it's toll on me and by the time I started the run course there were no more sponges. My first lap I was able to run and walk the aid stations where I would dump 1 cup of water on head and down shirt and drink the other. The 2nd-4th lap was just survival. Not only were my legs cramping, but my lower back, feet and even toes decided to join the party. My sock had slipped down on my right foot and I got a huge blister that burst. My right shoe was soaked in blood. Well....I was literaly bloody from head to toe.
A couple of times I almost started to cry because of the pain. I've felt pain and suffered to some degree in races before, but this was a totally different league of suffering and pain. I was in a dark place in my head quite a few times and really had to dig deep and do lot's of positve self talk which involved more F bombs than usual. It was really hard not to slip in that dark place mentally because the run course and spectators had thinned out. I even saw a few @sshole athletes ride their bike down the opposite direction on the run course. I actually had to move to the side so I wouldn't get run over by this f@cker. I had half a mind to push him over. Needless to say, it was a bit demoralizing. Good thing I'm stubborn as he!! and there was no way I wasn't finishing this F'ing race. There are athletes that have overcome so much more: terminal illnesses, disabilities, ect. I mean, what's a little wreck and road rash? Pffffft. If I had to crawl to finish, I would.
I was F'ing miserable out there but seeing family and friends helped immensely. On my 3rd lap my aunt saw how bad I was suffering and ran out on course, chased me down to shove a piece of dried mango in my mouth and declared
(in a cute little asian accent-think Ms. Swan from Mad TV
): "Here! Eat this, it will make you feel better!" Coach K
) and Coach Tommy
) ran out to give me some encouragement which meant a lot too. Finally when I saw the mile 12 marker I knew it would soon be over. I tried to run faster but my body pretty much gave me the middle finger so shuffled in through the chute.
As soon as I passed the finish line I started tearing up. Anybody that really knows me, knows that I don't cry much but I was just so d@mn happy to finish even after everything that had happened at the race. The cramping, the wreck, the pain...oh sweet baby jesus, the F'ing pain was bad. I was finally F'ing done. It wasn't the "perfect" race, it sure wasn't fast or pretty but I gritted out a finish and that was my only goal with this being my first HIM.
What would you do differently?:
Not wreck 10 miles into the bike.
Ushered into medical tent where I refused to go to the ER. Road rash on right side of face, wrist shoulder, knee. Bruised all over my right side. Huge blister that popped. I was cleaned up, vitals taken and released to go home. Went to Mario's, inhaled a large pizza and mango bellini.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Looking back, the only thing I can think of that would have caused my massive cramping was too much coffee in the morning. I drink coffee normally, but not 3-4 cups. I peed 4 times before I hit the swim portion, and I remember feeling thirsty but didn't have any water after I made my way to the swim start area. I thought it was just due to nerves and anxiety. I think I was already dehydrated when I started the swim which caused the cramps. When I've pushed my self swimming in hard sets at masters, I've gotten cramps in my side but I've never had these painful paralyzing charlie horse like cramps from the hip down.
The wreck obviously slowed me down, as well as losing my salt tabs really didn't help either.
Even though the wreck threw me for a loop, I had an amazing experience. It taught me that I could suffer, really suffer and still make it. I tend to doubt myself when it comes to training/racing but this race exposed that I have another reservoir within myself that has been barely tapped.
The race itself was very organized and run well. Volunteers and support was stellar. The spectators cheering and the overall energy was absolutely contagious.
The weekend was so much fun. I got to hangout with my amazing team. I've been w/TTT officially for 2 years now and I can't even begin to describe what an incredible team they are. Not only are they a freaking hoot to be around, the love and support from the team is tangible. From the messages from teamates not doing the race, to the ones on the race course giving encouragement, and to the troopers who woke up early and stayed until the bitter end to spectate/cheer. They were straight-up endurance cheer leaders! Huge shout outs to: Brandon, who drove me to Galveston and poor guy got stuck baby sitting me all weekend. Johnan and Jeneen who fussed over me like a couple of cackling mother hens and kept me laughing with their crazy antics. Coach Tommy, who put up with me but got me to the starting line physically and mentally prepared. Much love to TTT.
Last updated: 2011-01-26 12:00 AM
00:40:59 | 2112 yards | 01m 56s / 100yards
Xterra Vortex 3
Counter clock wise square.
74F / 23C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:38:00 | 56 miles | 15.41 mile/hr
Strong with gusts
Out and back along island.
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:38:32 | 13.1 miles | 12m 06s min/mile
4 loops around Moody Gardens which passed right by the finish line (evil! evil! evil!)
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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