Thursday, 8 July 2010

eagleman race report

in the days before the race
failure, if not death felt imminent. we know i can be dramatic, needless to say, i was super nervous. i wasn’t sure i could actually do it. i had never run 13.1 miles. let alone run them after swimming a 1.2 miles and cycling 56 miles. i also hadn’t trained the way i had planned.

i talked to eric, my tri coach, in November and told him i wanted help to complete, respectfully, eagleman. i figured i’d start towards the end of novemeber. but basal cell carcinoma muck in November happened. so i thought i’d start the first of january. but then i had to get my face burnt off a second time. so then, maybe mid January. then the earthquake in Haiti hit. which meant postponing both my tri-training and my trip to Africa . . . blah blah blah. i didn’t start training with him until march and then was in Africa for 2 weeks in april. resulting in not having the base i’d hoped.

in late april, i started training in earnest and felt pretty good. my work travel schedule was kinda intense, but i felt like i got into a rhythm and felt pretty good. i was surprised when liz and i did a 56 mile ride a couple Saturdays before the race, and i thought i was going to die. at about mile 38 all i could think about was fried chicken. . i think i needed calories, salt, and protein. we road from my house out to poolsville. eric reassured me that the ride was SUPER hilly ride and that the race ride was flat, and tho there was a heck of a headwind – in both directions (through some funky apparition of all laws of physics) – and no shade, i’d be fine. all i know is that when i got home and off my bike, i couldn’t imagine running 13.1 miles.

about 10 days before the race, i did my longest run of my training, 9.5 miles. and it hurt. i was trying to shorten my stride and have a higher cadence overall. about mile 6 my left knee hurt so bad, i thought i was going to have to stop running. was this a foreshadowing? had my training been too minimal and inconsistent?

day before the race
liz and i had split up finding accommodations for the races we were doing – my assignments were eagleman and big lick. when we signed up for the race in august, it felt like we had tons of time both to train and for me to find a place to stay. of course, i forgot, procrastinated, and remembered at the worst moment for about 9 months.

one week before the race, i buckled down to find a place to stay. needless to say, our options were limited. so limited in fact, we had one option. $275/night (NOT including taxes) with a minimum of 2 nights for a suite at a “bed and breakfast” at Sandaway.

thankfully, liz is also a libra and understands the propensity for procrastination and was game to embrace our fate. so we left on Friday afternoon for a race on Sunday.

lesson #1: ALWAYS have 2 nights at the raee destination whenever possible. it makes a WORLD of difference.


the view from just outside our room

the chair i wanted to chill and read in, but ended up chilling in other places
but this is a note to self:
when you get the second floor deck built, get two of these!


sunset


texture


reading the NYT

we ate at our favorite place on the eastern shore (bella luna -- you have got to check this place out if you are ever on the eastern shore) and got an amazing night’s sleep in the world’s best sheets. i slept until 10:30 (???!!!) (liz woke up at a more respectable time of 8:30, but then missed the sheets and just read in bed until i woke up).

we had a languid brunch (tho not provided by the bed & breakfast) where we met other triathletes. from them we got some good tips:
• ironman 70.3 new Orleans is the best time to be had.
• crab cakes eggs benedict were not to be missed ( tho turns out they didn’t hold a candle to market lunch.)
• get tons of electrolyte capsules at the expo
• ask for an IV post-race
• have fun
• there are cute summer dresses at the quicksilver outlet

then we meandered our way over to the packet pick up & expo. it was so great to not arrive right before it closed. i ended up buying a new sports bra and a couple pairs of running shorts. we got to hear from some professionals! and meet lots of fellow racers.

i was super kean to hear from Michellie Jones and Samantha McGlone. michellie gave a piece of advice that altered my race . . . someone asked her how she managed her nutrition and hydration. she made a breezy comment about how she gets all of her nutrition from her drinks. she mixes her hammergel into her hydration mixture. this sounded genius to me.

the pros
spoiler alert:
(the dude in the middle with the mic won the whole race)

samantha, teabelly, michellie, and liz

there is a #1 rule in triathlon: NEVER TRY SOMETHING NEW ON RACE DAY. but what are rules for, if not to be broken.

we ate our “carb up” dinner at bella luna and got to bed early.


taking the ferry from oxford to st. michaels
please note the compression sox i bought at the expo
you have to check out this site:
x2u compression socks

ready for carbs

ready for ANYTHING

more sunset, this is what it was like when we got done eating . . .



race day
i was super nervous the night before, which meant an overactive brain and a tired body. i went to sleep reading the lancet’s infectious disease journal, which prompted a diatribe on the eradication of polio and how “they” can’t stop the fight. “we are so close! i know that only a few people are getting the disease, but this is the time to keep going. we aren’t fishing with nets anymore . . . we have to hunt.” that kind of rant.

then a “discussion” about how all of the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella) is grown from stem cells from three fetuses: one from 1968 and two from 1972 and how that is pretty crazy. i think it is pretty cool, but there are people out there that are really troubled by it. poor liz!

then at 3:30 i just woke up. totally awake. i tried to relax and go back to sleep. but i kept stressing out about how i was going to stay hydrated and fueled. in my sleep-deprived stupor i decided that the best thing to do was just to do what michale does and get it al from my tea bottles. at 5 (the wake up time) i jumped out of bed and mixed espresso flavored hammer gel and honey into my green tea. please note, i have never tasted this drink. i didn’t think to drink it before i mixed all four of my bottles.

i made a green drink on the floor of our hotel room, we packed up, sun blocked up, tri’d up, and were up on out by 5:30.

we got to the transition at about 6:20. it was intimidating. there were about 2200 bikes (about 98% time trial – tri bikes). 2200 70.3 ironmen/women. and lots of support. while i was setting up my transition area i accidentally flattened my tire using someone’s random pump. got it fixed (SCHWEW!). i felt like i had a great transition area. i feel like my transitions are getting really tight . . . YES!

my transition area
due to having to leave the camera in transition,
we don't have any photos of the race etc

liz and i anxiously checked each other’s transitions. noshed on muffins and bananas. spied on the pros. the race was delayed 15 minutes (i’m not sure why). which made me even more nervous. the forecast called for 97°F and the run was going to take place at the hottest part of the day.

sitting on a dock, we watched the pros take off. it was amazing how fast they were compared the 50+ group that were in the heat just after them. my belly started getting all nervous and i decided i needed to go to the bathroom. about 25% of the other racers did too. the line took so long, that by the time i got into the port-a-potty my heat was heading into the water. which killed any hope of gastrointestinal relief.

i said good-bye to liz at the pottys and ran to get in the water. the water was so warm, it was a wetsuit-free swim. some athletes were really wigging out about not having their wetsuits, but i liked it. the water felt good, and i felt good in the water. i decided to take a more zen approach to the swim. usually i like to be in the top 5% of my swim heat. which means i work hard to be on the edge of the pack and to stay in front. this time i knew that i had at least 5.5 hours of work ahead of me after the swim, so i was just going to use the swim as a nice stretch/warm-up.

swimming felt good. i stretched out and focused on my form. when people would swim up on me (literally), i would just back off and get out of their way. i didn’t want to get clobbered in the head again. (the last couple of tris i’d gotten wacked in the head which left me nauseated.)

the heat before mine was a big man heat. i don’t know if it was an age group or the clydales, but coming around the last buoy some HUGE dude in a spaz-swim wacked me really hard in the head. i was sorely miffed. though, decided to just let it go, there wasn’t much i could do.

lesson 2 – you are going to get clobbered in the head on the swim. just deal.

i felt awesome coming out of the water. it is one of my favorite parts of triathlon. there is a fantastic rush transitioning from swim to bike. i just feel so “triathlete” in that moment. plus, i think i’m a decent swimmer and i just feel strong and fast out of the water. also, i’m pretty fast at transition, and i just kinda dig those moments. i like being fast.

this transition was a bit different tho. my arms weren’t as shaky and i felt just a bit more chilled. which was cool, and would have been nice had i ‘earned to be more chill before Columbia, i probably wouldn’t have lost so much time due to the flat tire . . .

lesson 3 – stretching out and focusing on form makes for a comparable swim but a more balanced qi

i jumped on my bike pretty fast . . . get time, and was off.

lesson 4 – reapply sunblock after the swim

the ride was pretty and fun. and i was surprised that it wasn’t as hot as i thought it was going to be. i did feel like i wanted a time trial bike. but i felt a camaraderie with my fellow roadies. i spent most of my time on the bike being past my men in the age group behind me, which was kinda frustrating. i don’t think i passed anyone until mile 8 and i never really felt like i was moving as quickly as everyone else was. i’m not sure what that is all about. maybe it is just because there were lots of people going my speed, maybe it is just that i need a tri bike? maybe it is because i need to train more? i don’t know.

i stole these photos from the race site, so i can't them any bigger without paying $70 . . . i can't really believe it is worth it. but i'm TOYING with the idea
you can see all the photos here
there are some really bad ones, but some cool ones too.

my nutrition plan had me getting most of my calories the first half of the bike. i knew at some point my body was going to close down all the digestive system because fight or flight had lasted a REALLY long time. a couple miles into the ride, i started sipping on my tea, gel, honey mixture. you guessed it, the mixture was yucky. it was just WAY too sweet . . . i don’t like sweet stuff. so i tried to force it down and i felt like i was doing pretty well. there were 3 aid stations on the ride . . . mile 12, 28, 42 (i think). at the aid stations i got water and drank about half of a liter before i chucked it. i also had my rehydration capsules. so i was feeling like a really on top of the hydration/nutrition situation. i even at half of a organic food bar at about mile 25.

lesson 5 – DO NOT TRY NEW THINGS ON RACE DAY lesson 6 – don’t mix sweet stuff into your tea! lesson 7 – bring salty snacks for the ride . . . probably calbee snack peas are best


i felt really good. the wind was not as bad as i’d prepared for. i enjoyed myself and felt like i was really born to do 70.3 races.

as i got closer to the bike finish, i amped up my cadence as a prep for the run. the nervousness was completely gone. i felt like i had this race in the bag. just 13.1 miles and i’m done.

transition was surprisingly fast. i decided i would take my time so i could reapply sunblock and down some more rehydration pills. the sunblock came out weird and foamy. the can was hot, but . . . whatever i just sprayed away and left.

lesson 8 – shake your sunblock before you apply. the heat might have created a separation

i was also surprised to see that i hadn’t drinken as much as i had thought. i had one bottle down about 80% and another one down about 50%. originally i’d planned to have 3 bottles down on the ride, 1 organic bar, and some additional hammer gel. i was only about halfway there . . . guess all those rehydration capsules are all i needed?

i took a quick potty break and was off.

i felt fantastic! i was astonished by how awesome i felt! seriously, i was fascinating about Clearwater age group wins etc. i was running an 8:30/mile and feeling fantastic.


the run takes you out of the transition area into a neighborhood. i had passed runners on my bike as i road into transition. it seemed like once you got off the main road the neighborhood was just a short jaunt of the course. it was not! in fact, it took about 4 miles to get back to the main road. not much on a bike . . . but for me . . . at about mile 3.5 something happened. it was just RIDICCULOUSLY hot. i felt like i was going to faint. my feet started swelling, which is uncomfortable no matter what, but in vibrum five fingers, it can start to cut off circulation to your toes. the index toe on my left foot was really hurting. then my stomach started to hurt. it wasn’t super bad, just kinda felt gassy.

lesson 9 – pour ice water on your feet & head and whole cups of ice into your bra to keep yourself cool and your feet from blowing up.

though the absences of the headwind was appreciated on the ride, it meant there was NO wind on the run. it was also BLAZING hot. not a cloud in the sky. no shade or relief from the sun anywhere. it was crazy hot.

at about mile 6 i felt like the race needed to end. that’s when i met him; an incredibly good looking, French triathlete. he made some cheeky comment about my purple suit and then said he needed help. he felt like he was going to pass out. i had just passed through that wall but knew i would hit it again, so we decided to run together. i can’t remember his name. it wasn’t a common French name (or at least one that was familiar to me). we ran together and talked. I really have no idea what we talked about. i’m guessing we talked about water and how hot it was.. i remember him saying he had done a few of the 70.3 races and said this one was the hardest he’d done, that the course was brutal. That was obvious to me, but also a relief, maybe i could do others? I kinda just wanted to quit. We got to the halfway point/turn around and I think that boosted our energy a bit.

lesson 10 – 13.1 miles is REALLY FAR!

i stuck with the mystery French man for about 9 miles. at some point he just dropped out. he said he couldn’t go any further. i tried to encourage him, but couldn’t . . . he had slammed into the wall. he insisted i keep going, so i did. he caught up to me at the next aid station where i was dousing myself in ice and water and walking, a LOT. we kinda leap frogged each other for the rest of the race.

i hurt something fierce. i could feel my skin burning, legs tiring, feet and stomach swelling. my body was on the verge of a complete mutany; or maybe more accurately in the process of mutany. i realized at about mile 6 that i had totally messed up all my hydration and food so i started drinking Gatorade at the aid stations.

i don’t like Gatoraid, neither does my body. I didn’t know what else to do. There was no other food out there. I could tell i was dehydrating . . . my stomach started looking like I was 4 months pregnant and it was cramping. at about mile 11, just after the aid station, i was running feeling like my guts might just pop out at any moment, feeling like i needed to burp, when to my surprise i puked up Gatorade. what was so weird about it, is that it did not taste at all like throw-up. it tasted just like Gatorade. it was like it had just gone in and my stomach was like NON (you have to say it in a French accent) and pushed it right out. for some weird reason, the puking was energizing. i just felt like i had arrived into some great camp of triathletes who push the limits of their bodies. it was weird.

the last mile was the hardest. i started walking and felt like there was NO way i could run a step more. then a voice behind me, a deep grandpa sounding voice said “come with me, you can do it”. i can’t remember his name, but i think he was 67 (your age is written on the back of your right calf). he was talking really loud to everyone telling everyone we could finish. he told me to stride out and we ran together for about half a mile. then i could start to hear the finish line announcer.

i wanted to go fast to the finish, but i also wanted to walk. i wanted it over, but i didn’t know if i had anything left. the neighborhood streets were packed with spectators. one of them said “only two more turns. girl your almost there. you’ve done it”. i tried to find my voice to say “thanks” & i burst into tears . . . it was a weird confluence of misery, amazement, happiness, relief, accomplishment, silliness, hysteria, spirituality, joy, pain, . . .

i ran through the last half mile or so. i kinda cried and laughed the whole way to the finish. i think i picked up a bit of speed, but not much. i have to figure out how to get the info from my garmin onto my computer . . .

lesson 10 – i have got to become a better runner. which means i have to start running LOTS more.

i could hear the announcers voice get louder. then i could see the finish. then i could see the first chip pad. i ran as fast as i could (probably 15:00/mile). then i heard the announcer say “and from Washington DC. Teabelly, you’re an IRONMAN” and i burst into tears again . . . just thinking about it makes me tear up, and i still can’t figure out why.

i crossed the line into a bizarre, anti-climactic world. someone put a medal around my neck (which is now hanging in my office). someone else asked if they could take my race chip. someone handed me a bottle of water (God bless all of you race volunteers!) and then it was over. I just stood there. someone asked me if i’d like to sit down. so i sat on a chair. someone else asked if he could take my photo: sure. hot French man finished a few minutes after i did. we got a photo together. i sat back down. and someone suggested i go to the first aid tent. so i did . . . i wasn’t sure if i could walk, but i could.



if you could see the whole photo you could see my four month old pregnancy tummy

see, it wasn't just tri-eyes that thought he was hot

they asked me what was going on. i wasn’t sure. i just didn’t feel good at all. my stomach felt like it was going to tear open. they told me they were low on IVs and asked if they could try tablets and water first. so i said yes.(but i probably should have insisted on an IV) then i just started farting like a banshee. all that bloating made for some true fireworks. no one warned me of this phenomena so i’m disregarding decorum so that you can know that it turns out, when you are dehydrated your body starts to convert all sorts of stuff into gas, who knew. they kept feeding me tablets, i kept farting and eventually felt well enough to sit up, and then stand up, and then go get a massage. i put my name on the list and then went to change my sopping wet clothes.

lesson 11 – pajama bottoms sans undies are the best post race cloths, just make sure the elastic hasn’t completely given out.

i got some food and then got a massage. man did that feel good. i took my food over to wait for liz. her start time was 45 minutes after mine . . . i can’t tell her story well, but i know she did a bunch of her run all alone (not very many people left on the course) which would have sucked, and she had great run splits! she is a better runner.

it was really cool to be able to see liz cross the finish line. she was a bit weird . . . she pulled a sarah and just had to get out of there. i don’t even know if she got a massage. we just bolted to get out of dodge.

lesson 12 – stay the night where you are after a half ironman . . . or at least go get some food and chill out because the traffic is going to be atrocious

cheryl said i look like a sporty rendition of a victorian underware model
must be the socks
the whole outfit is attributed to the eagleman expo


??

5 comments:

Heidi's Hodgepodge said...

That was a good story Kim! I even teared up a little at the end there. Congratulations!

ginger said...

Hot socks and great story. Congrats T.

ginger said...

Hot socks and great story. Congrats T.

Amy G. said...

fascinating! i'm thinking i'll stick with my sprints.

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