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Rev3 Portland . . .

July 12, 2011 4 comments

. . . or having the race you deserve.

Two days ago, on Sunday, I raced my second Rev3 race, this time in Portland, OR.  For those of you that know me a little more, Portland is number one on my list of places to move after law school is done in May, so this race doubled as a reconnaissance mission for me to see whether I could see myself living there.  There was little chance I wasn’t going to love it, and, as the weekend was going to show in more ways than one, it was something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I loved it.  I loved the forests, the mountains, the people, and the weather (and yes, the weather was beautiful which I know is not necessarily the norm for the city).  I had a conversation with a friend that Portland feels like Austin but with better weather (i.e. not 150 degrees in the summer).  All that to say Rev3 picked a fantastic venue for the race.  Portland is awesome.  As for the race itself, Rev3 puts on amazing race experiences from the expo to the kid’s race to the personalized transition to the race itself.  While I didn’t put up a race report about Rev3 Knoxville, both of these races are absolutely my favorites as far as overall experience.

Now as for how my race went, that’s a whole other story, so here we go.

Pre-race:

I have had some trouble this season really getting my mind right for my races.  I have struggled with really being mentally there in the days leading up to the race.  Once I get started, I’m usually alright, but I haven’t had that bit of urgency that usually precedes a race for me.  That’s not to say that I don’t love racing, but my mind just hasn’t been switching into “race mode” as readily as it has in the past.  This race was no different.  While I loved exploring Portland Friday and Saturday, I just didn’t feel like I was there for a race.  I was pretty blasé about the whole thing regardless how I tried to get my mind right.  This was going to bite me in the a** before Sunday was over.

Sunday morning I woke up at 5 (not a huge deal since for me it was 7 . . . kind of nice racing west of me) and went about my pre-race routines.  I listened to some music, showered, ate, and headed to the race site.  Now the venue was changed not too long before the race, which caused some amount of furor in the interwebs.  I will say that the aplomb with which the organization handled the nay-sayers made me proud to be a part of Team Trakkers and the Rev3 series and that if this was the “B” site, as beautiful as it was, then the “A” site might have been unraceable for me because I’d have been too distracted by the beauty.  I got to the race site at about 6:30, when transition opened.  My wave didn’t go off until 8:35 so I had more than enough time to get my area set up, relax, talk to some of my Trakkers teammates (which is always my favorite part of a race), and mosey my way to see the pros start at 8:00.

Swim:

The swim was a beach start.  Like I said, my wave (under 40s and Clydesdales) started at 8:35, which was behind all the pros and the women.  It was kind of nice starting that late because we got to see the first pro men and women come out of the water, which I can’t say I’ve ever seen.  Promptly at 8:35 (another thing I love about Rev3 is that the race goes when they say it will) we went off.  I knew I was not going to be at the front of the back and I didn’t want to get plowed over by the fast guys, so I let the barracudas go in front of me and got into my rhythm.  The water was warm but not insanely hot (not like the Playtri race here in Las Colinas).  Being in a wetsuit made it a little warmer, but when you get used to 100s, anything less than that doesn’t seem too bad.

Here’s the thing I’ve realized about my swim, I just don’t know how to maintain a consistent fast pace.  It’s not that I can’t swim faster, I just let my mind wander while I’m swimming and my pace slows way down.  It’s pretty aggravating.  I’m moderately certain that if I could focus a little better on the swim I could be under 40 minutes, which for me is a big deal.  As it was, I found myself wandering on the swim both physically and metaphysically.  Other than the frustrations of that, the swim was relatively uneventful.  I got kicked a couple times including a glancing blow to the jaw, but nothing worse than I’ve had in other races.

Time: 46:10

T1:

The interesting thing about T1, and the reason why my time was 3 minutes slower than T2, was that you had almost a half mile run from the swim exit to the transition area.  The question became, for most athletes, was whether or not to have a bag with your shoes waiting for you at the swim exit so you could run that 4/10 of a mile to T1.  Being the tough (read idiotic) dude that I am, I forewent shoes for my ever dependable bare feet.  I was a little worried that I might hurt myself, but the truth was it wasn’t too bad.  I don’t even remember feeling any rocks or anything else that would have hurt my feet.

Time: 7:42

Bike:

This was where the wheels started to come off for me (no pun intended).  As I said, my mind wasn’t really right going in to the race, and I kept fighting a somewhat losing battle against negative thoughts and reasons why I shouldn’t have been racing in the first place.  This continued through the swim (thoughts like “why aren’t you swimming faster? you are going to be last out of the water” and “you’re tired anyway. you didn’t sleep well. just volunteer and watch the race.”) and on to the bike.  More on that in a minute.  I liked the bike course on the whole.  It was flat as a board and there really wasn’t much wind.  This was a PR dream of a course and the conditions were ripe for many records to fall.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t what was in store for me.

I made a decision earlier in the week to race without any watch.  This wasn’t only in regards to my Timex, but any watch at all.  I raced Lonestar that way in April and loved it, but that was simply because I left it at the house where I stayed.  This was a conscious decision.  Looking back I wouldn’t do it that way again.  I didn’t know how far I’d come or how fast I was going and once again I found my mind wandering in an uncharacteristic way for me (at least on the bike).  I felt like for as flat a course as I was riding, I should have felt faster.  Once again this opened the door for negative self talk, a door which the pessimistic side of me was all too happy to walk through.  This made the rest of me pretty pissed, and on raged the internal battle between the fighter and quitter inside me.  While this battle continued, I kept on rolling.  There wasn’t much else to do.  I took in the Columbia river and Mt. Hood in the distance.  It really was an amazing thing to view while racing.  Then two incidents happened within the span of 15 minutes that almost ended my race.

The first happened somewhere between mile 35 and mile 40.  I was rolling along and had mostly quashed the negative thoughts and was determined to finish the race strong.  There was a maroon SUV sitting on the side of the road ahead of me.  I have always hugged the right side of the road to the extreme while racing (and riding in general), which has led to issues in the past (namely, me actually riding off the road in my first 70.3).  I didn’t think much of the vehicle and made an adjustment to go around it as usual.  Just as I passed the rear bumper, the driver’s side door opened.  I hadn’t even seen anyone in the driver’s seat and was fortunately able to miss the door by inches.  This shook me a little bit, as expected, but I just kept going.

Not even three miles later I had once again let my mind wander, but noticed two manhole covers coming up, and I moved to avoid them.  Suddenly I hit what I can only assume was a pothole and found myself veering all the way across the road while having my left knee literally inches from the ground.  How I managed to avoid laying the bike down and being done right then (or worse, ruining my front wheel) I’ll never know.  It was the closest I’ve come to a real accident and I was shaking (and cussing a little bit) for the next few miles.  From there the battle really was on to finish the race.  For the rest of the bike I argued myself into just doing the aquabike (i.e. DNFing on the half).  I told myself that my left knee was hurting and I was beat up.  I had actually convinced myself to quit as I rolled in to T2.

Time: 3:03:13

T2:

As I rolled in, I didn’t even plan on putting my run shoes on.  I had made up my mind that I was done.  As I ran my bike in (or hobbled anyway), I saw that I was right at 4 hours on the race clock.  This wasn’t too bad but for a course like that it was pretty slow.  I decided to go ahead and put on my run shoes since they were more comfortable than my flip flops.  As I started walking toward the tent to turn in my chip, I found myself unable to walk further.  I physically couldn’t make myself quit.  I don’t know why.  It wasn’t pride, Louisville and the last of 2010 scrubbed me clean of that.  It wasn’t to prove anything.  I still have no idea, but I looked once more at the tent, told myself in no uncertain terms to HTFU, and began the trek out to finish the race.

Time: 4:15

Run:

The run, as the bike, was flat.  We ran along the same route as the bike, so I knew what to expect.  I actually started out pretty strong and felt good all things considered.  My left leg was still throbbing, but I was able to find a pace that didn’t cause too much pain.  I had decided when I chose to continue that I would walk the aid stations, which ended up being a huge help.  After about mile 5, I began having some pretty serious pain above my left knee, and walking the aid stations helped alleviate that.  This continued until the final turn around between miles 8 and 9.  At that point, all the little pains in my left leg congealed into one nice big pain.  This decided to team up with my latent frustration and built up negativity (which to that point on the run I had kept mostly in check) and use my heart as a punching bag.  At the mile 10 aid station Carole and Charlie drove by and asked how I was and I was almost too frustrated to answer.  I tried to make light of the situation, but I’m sure I failed miserably.  They were great and gave me a shot of positivity that I needed.  They had to stop to answer a volunteer’s question, but I was able to keep going.  As I slowly ambled into the finisher’s chute, I let some of that frustration go.

Time: 2:21:24

Total Time: 6:22:46

It wasn’t the race I really wanted, but it was the one I set myself up for.  I can’t find any fault in the venue or the execution of the race.  I absolutely love Rev3 races and Portland will most likely be my home before too long.  I went in with my head out of sorts and it got me.  I wasn’t mentally prepared and thought I could just fake it through.  I guess in some way I did, or maybe I just gutted up, but it reminds me that mental preparation is, as always, at least as important as physical preparation.  While I will not complain about finishing a 70.3 nor will I diminish that feat (as many can’t or won’t ever do one), I will say I was disappointed with my performance and humbled by the experience.  As I have now had a couple days to reflect, the truth is that it was just a race and I wasn’t going to win, but for me it’s about testing myself and pushing myself to see how far I can go.  In some ways I failed that test on Sunday, but I guess maybe in not quitting I showed myself something new.

I’ll see you next year, Rev3 Portland, and who knows, maybe it will be my first hometown race in my new hometown 🙂

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Categories: Race REcap, Team Trakkers

The Monster Tri

October 25, 2010 Leave a comment

And my triathlon season is officially over.  I decided to sign up for one last triathlon, even though I ran Chicago two weeks ago and Redman two weeks before that.  I figured this was a spring tri so I didn’t have to worry too much.  I figured I could run 3.1 miles with whatever sort of pain my legs brought on 🙂  This also added agreeable symmetry since my first tri was the St. Patty’s tri on the same course.  I was looking forward to seeing how my times compared after a season of racing (excepting my race related fatigue and injuries).

Swim:

The swim started out great.  I hadn’t been in the water since Redman, but that meant my shoulder felt great.  The first 100 meters were good, but at the turn I had a coughing fit and slowed down drastically.  I still felt alright, but I slowed down.  I came out of the water at 7:05, which was about a minute slower than I had anticipated, but 30 seconds faster than the spring race.

Bike:

The bike course was a two loop, 12 mile course.  It felt so short compared to my last race that I didn’t even feel like I got into a rhythm.  I actually felt my IT Band a little on the bike, but was able to push.  There were some nice hills on which you could build up some speed.  Even with that, though, I wasn’t able to break 17 mph, which was a little frustrating.  I wasn’t really racing for speed, but I was hoping for a little faster.  I came into T2 right at 45 minutes.

Run:

This was actually my favorite part of this race.  I didn’t know how my legs would feel on the run, but other than a little residual pain, they felt pretty good.  I mean, I felt the IT Band still, but I was able to run through the pain.  I didn’t have my watch so I didn’t know how fast I was running, but didn’t care.  I just ran.  I passed quite a few people that passed me on the bike, which is always one of the greatest feelings.  As I crossed the finish line, I knew I was around 1:20 for the race, but didn’t know about my run time.  When I saw the sheet, I saw that I had run a 26:00 5K with 8:30 miles.  Not too bad for a guy who ran a marathon two weeks before 🙂

Total Time: 1:21

So I beat my spring time by 5 minutes.  Not too bad for one season.  I’m excited to see what happens after a strong offseason program and time to heal.  I’ll run St. Patty’s again and see how my time compares and then go from there.  It was a great season.  I learned a lot and am excited to go on and learn more about how to be a great racer!

Categories: Race REcap Tags: ,

Chicago Marathon and the Maniac

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

I had committed to running the Chicago Marathon back in March.  I had several friends both in real life and in the twitter sphere who were running, and I was looking forward to meeting up and running with them all.  This was the first time I’d been to Chicago, so I was also looking forward to seeing the city by foot!

The expo was fantastic.  I mentioned in my IMKY post that I love marathon expos.  This, being one of the premier marathons in the world, did not disappoint.  The nike run wall with the names of every racer was especially impressive.  I spent almost three hours at the expo, seeing friends and making new ones, visiting the lululemon booth and getting KT Tape on both IT Bands, and taking in the sights and sounds of so many runners gathering to do what they love.

Race morning I felt a little naked.  It was the first time I was in a race situation where I didn’t have to worry about a bike, goggles, and all that fun stuff.  All I needed was my fuel belt (another review coming soon), my nutrition, my glasses, and my vibrams.  It was nice, don’t get me wrong, but weird nonetheless 🙂

I wasn’t in a seeded corral, which was fine by me.  After Redman two weeks ago, I knew this was essentially going to be a fun run.  I had some time goals, but had a feeling that finishing was going to be the ultimate win.  We started out of Grant Park, just me and 45,000 friends.  My primary focus at the start was to not run too fast and not get caught in the adrenaline of the other runners.  I did a pretty good job.  I kept my pace at 9:00 a mile for the first 4 miles and felt good.  I could feel the pain in my legs a little, but it wasn’t debilitating.

The course absolutely lived up to its reputation.  Having only run this marathon, I don’t have much in the way of comparison, but I can’t imagine a better race to run.  You run through so many different parts of Chicago, seeing places you’d never see otherwise. Running from brownstone houses to little Mexico to little China, all the while with spectators screaming and cheering; I have very few memories that match what I experienced there.  There were times I was jogging while staring up at buildings and people.  It’s amazing I didn’t trip and fall over anyone 🙂

The first half of the race was pretty good.  At mile 10 I started feeling my left IT Band more and I slowed down, but I hit the half way at about 2:15, on pace for a 4:30.  At mile 14 I started really feeling my IT Band though, and started walking some.  I also noticed at that point that I was feeling blisters on my feet.  It had warmed up, not compared to Texas heat, but enough that people were spraying the runners every half mile or so.  Being in my vibrams, my feet didn’t get the chance to dry out.  Turns out I had two of the largest blisters I’ve ever had on my feet, and that is after running in my vibrams for a year at this point.

At mile 17, my left leg started really hurting.  I was determined to finish, but knew that the time goals I harbored were gone like the shade from the first half of the race.  I had to walk progressively longer increments, but was still able to run some.  At mile 22 I thought my IT Band was going to pop off my leg, and as I turned up Michigan Ave. my left leg started spasming.  I slowed down for a moment and stretched, gritted my teeth, and resolved to finish the race running.  I slowly shuffled for a few steps and had to walk.  I started again and picked up some momentum.  So many people were walking at this point I was having to bob and weave through them.  I kept pushing and moving at what must have looked like a fast walk, but I was going.  I made the final two turns and saw the finish line.  I crossed in pain, but I crossed running.  I finished in 5:30.  Quite a bit slower than I hoped, but I finished.

The secondary outcome of the race was that I qualified to be  Marathon Maniac!  There are many levels of qualification, but mine was running two marathons in 16 days!  So I am Marathon Maniac #2889! I’m so excited!

Redman Full Distance Triathlon

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment

This was the race that should have happened in Kentucky.  I spent the last three weeks training my butt off to make up for the DNF at IM L’Ville.  Admittedly, I probably shouldn’t have run this race, especially given that I am running the Chicago Marathon in two weeks, but what can I say, I am as always a “go big or go home” sort of guy 🙂  I also couldn’t stand the thought of a race beating me.  Like I said, I will be back for Louisville either next year or the year after.

The race was held in OKC, which isn’t my favorite place.  After this race, though, I have a newfound like for the city and the people.  I can’t say enough about how great the volunteers were.  I love that both here at Redman and in Louisville the volunteers were so encouraging and helpful.  Even though this was a non-branded race, it was organized and staffed like it was the IM Championship in Kona.

Swim:

This swim was a two loop counter-clockwise swim.  The strangest part of the swim was that the front end of the loop was in about 4 feet of water.  This meant that you could stand for at least the first 500-800 meters of the swim, and plenty of people took advantage of it.  This also meant that the people walking the swim created a bit of a traffic jam.  It was a wetsuit legal race, which was the first time I’d been in a wetsuit since Lonestar back in April.  I thought that maybe I could beat my 1:34 from IMKY, but all I was concerned with was finishing the race and not bonking.

The first loop went well other than the people walking at the front end of the race.  I felt good and, at the beginning of the second loop, I was at 45 minutes, on pace to beat my IMKY time.  The beginning of the second loop saw more people walking, which slowed me down some.  I kept rhythm though, and the remainder of the swim was uneventful.  Well, that’s true save one thing.  At about 750 meters out, there was a fishing boat sitting a few hundred yards off the course.  She had been sitting there for a while and her gas has created a film on the water.  Breathing through that meant that I had the gas taste in my mouth for the rest of the swim.  Not cool at all!  My swim time was 1:45, slower than I wanted, but alright nonetheless.

Bike:

The bike course was a four loop, 28 mile out and back from Lake Hefner out to Deer Creek.  I was cautiously optimistic about this aspect of the bike.  I figured that going on the same roads four times would give me a knowledge of the course and would make it faster, but also thought the redundancy might make me bored.  Going out, the course was gradually down hill which meant that it was moderately uphill going back.  The only down side to the course in the end was one stretch of road that was really rough.  It was a one mile stretch at about mile 11 going out.  The worst part of it was having to cover that same ground 8 times.  The warned us though, so we knew what was coming.

The first loop was great.  I was very focused on my nutrition this time around since that was the weak link in Kentucky.  In addition to taking the Hammer Gels, I added Endurolytes to the mix.  This helped immensely.  Coming back in to the lake, it was a bit more of an incline than I anticipated, and I knew that last loop coming in for the run would be a challenge.  I made it through the first half in about 3:05, which was the fastest 56 miles I’ve done to date.  I felt good and was staying on top of my nutrition.  I was watching for the wall around mile 90, and it came.  I felt my body wanting to stop riding and get off the bike so I stopped at the last aid station for a moment to stretch.  I still felt alright other than being saddle sore, and was right on track for my nutrition.  While the last 10 miles were a little slower than I’d have like, I was still able to finish strong, coming in at 6:15 on the bike.  It was an hour fast than IMKY, and I still think I can drop that time with more training.

Run:

This was the test.  This was the part of the race I was anticipating with equal parts dread and glee 🙂  Like the bike, it was a four loop out and back course, taking you within 100 yards of the finish each time.  Unlike the bike, I had no problem with it being a loop.  One of the things that made Louisville so hard was the long stretch of the out portion where I ultimately bonked.  I liked that I would see the same people four times and know exactly how far from aid station to aid station.

I started out with a nice jog.  My IT Band was still hurting, and it got worse during the run.  Not to the point that I had to stop, but enough to let me know that it was there.  I had my endurolytes with me and took advil in T2, but still needed some more at mile 12.  I was able to run between the aid stations and walk the aid stations for the first half, and then switched to run/walking after that.  My body was obviously hurting, but I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was going to finish.  I had been on top of my nutrition and took what I could at the aid stations, including grapes, pretzels, coke, and gatorade.

Once again I felt myself tearing up at mile 23 when I made the final turn to head home, but this time they were tears of joy.  I felt strong and my adrenaline kicked in.  I ran the final three miles, only stopping once at an aid station to take my last nutrition.  The volunteer at the last aid station were directing people to the finish line and even though it was late, there were still people cheering.  There weren’t as many as in Fourth Street Live, but at that moment it felt like the crowd at Cowboy’s Stadium!  I crossed the line strong at 15:24, making it a 6:00 marathon. Not as fast as I’d have liked, but finishing strong was worth the walking.

Total Time: 15:24

I can’t describe how much I loved this race.  Obviously it will always have a special place in my heart since it was the first ironman that I finished, but I can’t rave enough about how great the organization was, the volunteers were, and the overall experience was.  I will absolutely do this race again in the future and have already been talking it up to other triathletes.  It also confirms that the non-branded races are just as well done and worth the time as the branded races.  I am also planning on having at least one non-branded race on my schedule each year.

Ironman Louisville

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s been a couple months since I’ve posted.  Training has been good and I have been focused on IMKY.  There hasn’t been much to report until this point, but this might prove to be a long post.

This has been my first foray into the triathlon world, and I have loved it.  Triathletes are a special kind of crazy, so I fit right in 🙂 Up to IMKY, I have not had any huge setbacks.  My training, while sometimes intermittent, stayed on track.  I was disciplined and excited to see how far I could push myself.  I got so much encouragement from everyone around me, even if they thought I was crazy for ever attempting an Ironman, let alone in the first year of my triathlon career.  No matter how hard I tried not to, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make this a great race.  Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Arrival and Expo:

I flew in to Louisville two days before the race.  I was unbelievably excited to get there and race.  I went to the expo on Friday to get checked in and see what they had to offer.  The check in process was moderately painless.  We got wristbands, got weighed and our body fat was measured (13% – not too bad for now!), and got our bags (pretty sweet SWAG).  The expo itself wasn’t huge, and there were so many people there!  I have to say that, although I love the triathlon expo, marathon expos are much better.  There is a wider variety of products and people to interact with.  I know this is because more people run than tri, but I wish the expos were a little better.

I didn’t spend too long at the expo.  I bought the obligatory t-shirts, the M Dot decal and the 140.6 decal for the car, and went on my way.

Saturday:

After checking in my bike to transition (and having a good conversation with a volunteer from England who is racing IMFL) I took the day off.  I went and saw The Expendables thinking it would be a good movie to get me pumped up before the next day’s endeavor, but it was kind of a dud.  I should have seen Inception.  My pre race dinner was Qdoba.  Not great, but they didn’t have Chipotle, so what can you do 🙂

After setting up my bags and laying out my kit, I got to bed.  Of course I had trouble sleeping, but I got to sleep knowing that I had to be up in a scant few hours to take on the biggest challenge of my life.

Race Morning:

I got up and had my normal bowl of cereal with almond milk (I need to write a review of Bear Naked soon – absolutely my favorite cereal).  I added a bagel with almond butter and a banana to the routine, knowing that I needed all the nutrition I could get before the race started.  I showered to get my body warm and then headed to the Great Lawn to race!

Dropping my transition bags off was a different experience.  I have never been in a position where I couldn’t set up my own transition and know exactly where everything was and how to get to it.  Trusting the volunteers to get my bags to me in transition was going to be challenging, but I figured they knew what they were doing and I just needed to go with it.  After dropping off the bags, I walked the mile to the swim start, found my teammates, and settled in for the wait.

Swim:

The swim was a time trial start with athletes going in the water every 2-3 seconds.  The line to the start snaked for quite a ways back from the dock, but we were fortunate enough to get decently close to the front.  As the sun rose in the east, we heard the national anthem played.  It was one of those experiences that gives you chills.  The cannon went off for the pros, and you could feel the excitement/tension continue to build.

The line started moving forward and I looked at my Global Trainer (another review waiting to be written) and saw my HR was already in the 90s.  What can I say, I was pretty excited 🙂

Once we reached the end of the dock, the volunteers told us to put on our goggles and jog to the entry point.  From that moment, there wasn’t really anything thinking to do, you just ran and jumped in!  It was probably good that way.  I didn’t have any hesitations, or if I did it happened so fast there wasn’t any time to think about them.

I found myself in the water and quickly got into my rhythm.  I felt good during the swim.  I was trying to push a little bit but no so much that my shoulder would start hurting.  I remember at several points looking up to sight and thinking I was close to the last buoy and realizing what I thought was the red buoy was really an orange buoy in the shade.  I didn’t get discouraged though, and just kept swimming (and singing the Nemo song in the process, I’m sure) 🙂

As I came out of the water, I checked my time.  I had been shooting for a 1:45 swim and looked at my watch and saw I was in with a 1:34.  I was ecstatic!  This was the part of the race I was most concerned about.  I did not want to DNF at the beginning of the race, and I had shattered my previous expectation!  I really loved the point to point swim.  While the straight away once you turned around the island seemed interminable, it really was a good swim in the river.

Bike:

After a quick transition (and seriously, I keep getting better at my transitions, even in this instance), I was out on the bike.  My plan was to go out at a moderate pace, not getting caught up in the adrenaline, and hammer at the end.  I failed.  I flew out on the bike and, for the first 10 miles, I was averaging almost 23 mph.  This was a HUGE mistake, one of many to come.

They advertised this course as a rolling course.  Maybe it is.  I’m already signed up for IM CdA next year, which is supposed to be a hilly course, so we’ll see.  There is an out and back in the first part of the course that is particularly challenging, but I tried to moderate myself as much as possible.  I was still doing alright and had eased up on the speed through that point.

As I went through LaGrange the first time at mile 35 or so, I felt good.  I was staying on top of my hydration and nutrition, and the crowds in LaGrange were awesome.  It definitely lit a fire and I drew strength from them as I passed through.  Through the mile 57 aid station, I was feeling good.  I stopped there to stretch and replenish my water and sports drink and I was off again.

It wasn’t long after that aid station that things took a turn for the worse.  I was in the middle of the two loop section and was so focused on the hills that I stopped eating and drinking.  I knew I was falling behind on my nutrition, but I desperately wanted to be done with the bike and figured I could catch up once I was done with the hills.  That didn’t happen.  I just kept digging myself into a deeper and deeper hole.  By mile 100, I was struggling to keep going.  I stopped at the last aid station at mile 105 and had to sit for a few minutes before I could go on.  The last few miles seemed to drag on forever, but I finally finished in 7:15.  Not a great bike, and the deficit in which I put myself was more than my body could ultimately handle.

Run:

T2 took a little longer, both because I had to put on my vibrams and because I needed the extra time.  It was 5:20 in the evening, and I knew I could still make the midnight cut off if I just got going and kept a decent pace.  As I walked out of transition and started running, I knew immediately I was in trouble.  My body felt heavy and my left IT Band was hurting, which had never happened before.  I jogged to the first aid station and ate a banana, an orange, and had water and gatorade, but I knew I still had a ways to go to make up for the nutritional mistakes I made on the bike.

I slogged my way through the first half of the run.  I would run as much as I could before my leg needed to slow down, but I was keep about a 13:00 pace.  Not at all what I wanted, but finishing was the goal.  As I passed the 13.1 mile mark, I knew things were getting dangerous.  My body still hadn’t caught up and I couldn’t eat enough to fix it.  My stomach hurt so there were aid stations in which I didn’t eat anything.  There was a turn around at mile 14, and at that point I started to consider the fact I might not make it.  I felt the tears well up in my eyes, but wiped them away and vowed that nothing short of collapse would stop me.  Little did I know how prescient I was in that moment.

Miles 15 through 18 were more running followed by walking.  I kept checking my watch, knowing that I was running low on time.  It was just past the mile 19 aid station when it finally happened.  My body, which had been trying to tell me to fuel it, finally gave out.  I was shuffling on about 100 yards past the aid station when I collapsed.  I caught myself with my hands, but was on my back.  Two volunteers came up and asked if I was alright or if I needed the SAG van.  I told them no, got back up, took five steps, and fell back over.  I dragged myself to the curb and told them to call the van.  It came and took me to medical, where I got a saline drip and was able to moderately recover.

Total Time: DNF

There is a part of me that is ashamed to have to put DNF anywhere near my name, actually it’s a pretty large part of me.  People keep telling me that it’s alright, that most people don’t even try something like this.  I understand what they are saying, but that isn’t a consolation.  I wanted to finish.  I will be back to Louisville.  I will stay on top of my nutrition and I will conquer that course.  As it stands now, I am signing up for another iron distance race.  I am doing the Redman Full Distance Triathlon in 24 days.  I will finish that race, even if I have to drag my no good carcass across that finish line 🙂  This is a setback, but not a fatal one.  I know my limits, and I haven’t reached them yet!

Categories: Race REcap Tags: ,

PlayTri Olympic Distance Triathlon

June 7, 2010 Leave a comment

This was the second Olympic Race I did in preparation for IM L’Ville.  Texas in June is a hot situation, no matter how you cut it.  Yesterday lived up to that.  I had a late night Saturday night, which seems to be pretty normal even when I try to get to bed early.  I woke up before the race seriously considering pulling a no show.  I dragged myself out of bed, though, got up, went through my pre-race rituals, and headed to Las Colinas to race!

Swim:

I have to say this was the worst swim of my young triathlon career.  The water was crazy hot.  It felt like swimming in a bath tub.  The tiredness from the night before didn’t help either, and the cumulative effect was that it felt like swimming through jello.  I muddled through it, knowing that any ground I lost I could make up in the bike and the run.  I finished in 40 minutes, 10 minutes slower than TexasMan.  It was a little discouraging, but I had my two strongest legs in front of me so I knew I could still put together a decent race.

Bike:

The bike course was good.  It was fast and flat (again not atypical for a Texas race). I actually had the best bike leg I’ve had so far.  I was averaging about 20 mph, which is a solid 2 miles an hour fast than my average for a 26 mile ride.  I was very happy.  It was vindication to pass several people who I saw pass me in the swim.  I came in with a 1:35, with which I was very happy.

Run:

This was the hottest part of the race by far.  There had been cloud cover during the bike, which alleviated the heat just a little.  Unfortunately, the mid morning saw the clouds burn off and the heat really take hold.  The run was a two loop course and maybe the first mile was in moderate shade.  After that it was all sun, all the time!

The run went well.  I wasn’t pushing too hard but was still able to keep up a decent pace.  The first loop I ran the whole way and switched to walking the aid stations during the second loop.  I finished right at an hour, which isn’t horrible for a 10K, but I have a faster race in me.

It’s funny thinking about the 10K as a race run when in two months I will run a marathon after biking.  I can’t wait!

Total time: 3:15

Other than the swim, I enjoyed this race, and the swim sucked only because I was tired.  The course as a whole was great, and the volunteers and organizers were very approachable and helpful.  It was nice that the race was in Las Colinas, which is a little closer to me than some of the other races in the area.  Depending on my race schedule next year, I will probably do this race again.  Play Tri is a great group of athletes and they put on a good race.  Hopefully I will be able to participate in their races more in the future!

Categories: Race REcap Tags: , ,