Wildflower Triathlon - Long Course
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Wildflower Triathlon - Long Course - TriathlonLong Course
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This swim actually felt better than it was, which is really odd. I seeded myself at the back, and went the buzzer went off, started swimming as quickly as I could. I felt really good - I definitely was way too timid about this swim; got punched and kicked a lot and avoided doing the same to other people. My sighting wasn't terrible, but I also was way too far out and added way too much extra yardage that took too much time. My shoulder felt constricted, but besides that, it all felt good and natural. I need to work on swimming faster, but this was within two minutes of my predicted time of 44 minutes (and according to my watch, it was 43, but that obviously doesn't matter). However, had the swim been the low point, I would have been really happy.
What would you do differently?:
Swim faster? Do way more open water swims, practice swimming with others.
Well, first real mistake of the day was placing my sandals on the wrong side of the swim in/out. Left them on the swim in side, so couldn't get them, and had to run on rocks. After the NY Tri debacle last year with getting a rock stuck in my foot, I wasn't too eager to take chances, so walked/ran it.
I didn't practice transitions enough leading up to this. I really need to do it after getting out of open water, or at least with a wet body. Everything is a bit different, more off balance, and more difficult. I also need to pay more attention to details, such as leaving my arm-warmers in a way that I can easily put them on right-side up (I ended up forgoing them, which was a huge mistake, as I have a HORRIBLE sunburn now.) Took in a a gel with some water, ran out with my bike, and got on.
What would you do differently?:
Practice transitions more, be more detail oriented, and stick to the damned plan no matter what - I wish I had taken an extra minute (yes, for the world's longest transition ever) to put on my arm-warmers and to reapply sunscreen.
I barely want to write about this at all. I started the ride, and by mile 1 or 2-ish, there was something not right in my stomach. I couldn't name it, but it just wasn't right. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, but I kept going, though it wasn't fun from the start. I heard Tim Bomba call my name, and was so damned excited, that I just wanted to do well. However, this pain in my stomach quickly went from irritating to really uncomfortable. Knowing one of my weaknesses is taken in bottled fluid, I stopped and downed about 300 calories of carbo-pro, which helped for about 5 minutes. I felt nauseous and miserable. At the first aid station (and nearly every subsequent one) I stopped and used (or tried to use) the porta-potty, but basically couldn't. I couldn't take in any of my food (almost all of which I have trained with for over a year, and all of which I had done at least a few hard workouts with) including my gels, which I rely on heavily. I tried larabar, but it felt like a rock. I tried two slices of orange, but that didn't help either. There was something just so wrong. I finally got to mile 40, Nasty grade, and started my climb. At this point, I was already crying, and at mile 41, there was an aid-station. I stopped, threw up, and had to sit down. I was in so much pain, and knew I should have quit, but I just couldn't give up on myself. So, after about 20 minutes in an aid station, I kept going. In my granny gear even for the flats, Now, one positive thing came out of this day - I was in so much pain and wanted to be finished so desperately (plus a lot of practice and an ounce of fearlessness) that my descents were truly phenomenal. I hit 38 mph, was fearless, cornered well, and used my brakes very rarely. I didn't use my aerobars at all - so need to practice that A LOT before Barb's. When I got to mile 50 and entered the park, I actually started crying in joy, knowing that I would finish the bike course. (Also, may have had a flat and not realized it, as my tire was totally flat as we left the park. But don't even want to deal with that.
What would you do differently?:
I don't even...I can't...I have no words.
Arrived into the chute with three volunteers standing there. I got off my bike, asked with some desperation if I had made the cut-off, and was given a gentle "no." I feel so horrible for those volunteers - talk about the worst job of the entire day; having to tell exhausted and disappointed athletes that they couldn't finish the course. I said, "ok. Thank you." Colin (my beloved) was there, and caught me about to fall down, bawling. I was pretty devastated, and in so much pain. He didn't know where the med-tent was, so he found a volunteer to take me up, and he racked my bike and got all my stuff together.
I went to the med tent, where I was given a liter and a half of IV fluid. I was in horrible stomach pain, but once lying down, I felt much better. However, standing up was very painful, and I collapsed on the way back to the car. They let us cut the line for the busses, and we made it back to the car. Ran into Heather Shenkman, an extraordinary age-grouper athlete, who had had a heart procedure only 8 days earlier. She really helped me feel better about myself.
Got in the car, tried to eat a bit of chicken fingers (it was the only thing that sounded edible) and slept from 8:00pm to 9:00am the next morning, only waking to get out of the car and get into bed. Sunday, I still felt really crappy, and my symptoms were resembling appendicitis, so went to the ER at night. Got a cat-scan (NOT a pleasant experience) and was told I have an inflamed terminal ileum, which hopefully doesn't mean Crohn's disease. Went to an excellent GE doctor today, and have to get a colonoscopy in a month before we find out anything. However, even if it's Crohn's, it's treatable, and I can still race.
What was particularly heart-breaking was hearing Tim call my name - he saw another age-grouper athlete about my height and was so excited, I heard "is that Kate?!" It almost broke my heart. I tried to tell him what was happening, but he was up in the tower, and I couldn't get there. I also found out that three of my favorite tri-club women, Gail, Angela and Martha all waited for me at the finish. I also tried to find Martha, but was just so sick I couldn't wait anymore. I needed to go home.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Primarily, this horrible stomach thing, which I was totally powerless over. However, also need to practice being in aero, swimming faster, taking in liquid nutrition on the bike, better transitions, etc.
Even though this was the worst race experience of my life, it is absolutely one of the best races I have ever experienced. The volunteers are extraordinary, the crowds fantastic, and the support, unbeatable. I cannot wait to go back and try again next year, and this time, succeed with flying colors.
Last updated: 2008-09-17 12:00 AM
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2009-05-04 6:56 PM
2009-05-04 8:50 PM
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75F / 24C
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = F18-24
Age Group Rank = 18/18
Before I publish this race report, I feel a significant amount of shame about the fact that there is now a DNF next to my name. That I feel anything besides pride at attempting to do something that I would have called impossible less than a year ago is ridiculous, and is made even more so by the fact that I have spent the past 36 hours in ERs and doctor's offices, after being diagnosed with terminal (NOT fatal, just a horrible word for it) eleitis, which is hopefully a fluke that will pass, and at worst is Crohn's disease. I did my damndest, followed my plan, and sometimes, as one of the best Age Grouper athletes I know says, "I am a great athlete who had a bad day." However, I also feel it's important to publish it, on the off chance that this happens to someone else, and they know that they are not alone, and taking care of your health is way more important than racing. If I could only really convince myself of that, that would be great.
Drove up on Thursday and checked into a hotel in Paso Robles. We didn't camp, as my boyfriend has his own competition at the end of the month - a classical guitar competition, and needed to practice on Thursday and Friday. So, to protect the guitar (and his sanity) we stayed in a hotel. We got to the hotel around 10:00pm, so we went straight to bed.
On Friday, woke up, had normal breakfast of bagels, peanut butter, cream cheese and banana, and had to get my car lights fixed, as both had simultaneously gone out the night before, on the darkest highway outside of Nebraska. So, I did that, and a bit of antiquing on the side of the road, where I found a fabulous 1950's hat. Irrelevant, but still fun.
Got back to the hotel, and had to fix my speedometer on my bike, which had fallen off. Then, was going to go for a ride, but it was raining hard, I didn't know the area, and it didn't feel worth the risk. So I subbed a 10 minute run for a 20 minute run, and went for it. Threw in a few sprints at a 5:32 pace(!!) but was comfortable at a 9:20-9:40 pace, which is just awesome for me. We had lunch at a chinese restaurant, had chicken, vegetables, rice (with a lot of soysauce for extra sodium) and a few bites of really bad soup. Went back to the hotel, drove down to the race site, went in the water, swam about 400 meters, the water felt perfect. Went to the pre-race clinic where I ran into Tim Bomba - I literally almost crushed the man by jumping into his arms, I was just so happy to see him. He really is an inspiration, and more importantly, a wonderful friend.
So, this is probably the part of the evening that was less than perfect. First of all, walked a solid mile and a half uphill, on top of a day that already had too much walking. Because the clinic went till 6, and Paso Robles was an hour a way, we didn't get to the restaurant for dinner until 7:15, and didn't eat our entree until 8. I had pasta and chicken, but the pasta came cooked in butter, so it was a bit rich for me. I ate it (they gave it to me free and I felt bad) but definitely avoiding fats the night before a race from now on.
Packed up, and went to bed around 9:45 for our 3:45 wake-up call.
Woke up race morning, had a larabar and my bagel, and drove to the race. There was no traffic, and it was a GORGEOUS morning. My beloved (who is the most incredibly supportive man alive, it's truly a gift!) walked with me, and hung around while I set up transition. Everything was all good at this point, felt good. Probably didn't have quite enough water.
Went up, hung out with Colin, put some sunscreen on, did plank for about 40 seconds to warm-up my core, stretched out, and focused in by listening to my fabulous friends and family mix (asked my friends and family to send the names of their favorite warm-up music my way, which resulted in the best music mix EVER!) and I felt awesome. Prayed a bit, got suited up, and headed to the swim start.