Tuesday, April 27, 2010
RACE REPORT ST ANTHONY'S
SWIMMING 2:00 (4 swims, 3 open water)
BIKING 4:15 (3 days)
RUNNING 2:35 (1 day with 3 bricks)
The days leading up to St Anthony's wasn't a typical race week. Normally there's a taper period where you minimize your activities, but you still do something to keep your body from going stiff. Since I wasn't doing this race for time and was really just practice for me, it didn't make a difference what I did to my body the days leading up. Tuesday I had an interval bike workout and Wednesday was an interval run workout. When I woke up Thursday morning my body said, "OUCH." My legs were super tight and kind of sore. I had an easy spin on the bike to do which was a good thing because it really loosened my legs up. I also got an amazing massage to loosen me up as well.
Friday when we got to St. Pete I went for a nice swim in the bay. I was amazed at how calm the water was. It was clear as glass. I felt great in the water. I wore my new wetsuit for the 1st 1/2 of my swim. I was pretty bummed because I didn't love it so much. I took it off for the remainder of my swim and was amazed at how much better I felt. Most people like a wetsuit because you're much more buoyant and usually you can swim faster. I felt too constrained in it and claustrophobic. This put me in a bit of a dilemma. I will wear this wetsuit at IMLP, so I really should wear it every opportunity I get. However if I'm super uncomfortable did I really want to wear it for St A's? Andrew told me to try it out the following day and if it's still not comfortable to go without.
There were a couple of things that I needed to focus on the days leading up to the race. Getting enough sleep and eating enough protein were my most important things to focus on. 2 nights before any race the sleep you get is very important. Usually people have a difficult time sleeping the night before the race, so it's best to be well rested the night before. I made sure I was in bed at a reasonable hour and didn't set my alarm for the morning so I can sleep in if necessary. I was able to get 9 hours of sleep which is way more then I normally get. I also made sure that I had protein at every meal. I'm not the biggest chicken fan, but now I have to force myself to eat it. I was able to get a burger and a steak sammy which was definitely a good source of protein.
Moving onto Saturday, which unlike Friday did not have smooth waters. Ugh, the water was super choppy. I'm known for a couple of things when it comes to swimming. I'm a great pool swimmer, but my time in the open water is typically 10 minutes slower then it should be because I suffer from open water anxiety. It usually takes me a little while to recover and get into my rhythm. The other thing is I am prone to becoming sea sick if the waters are rough. It's such an odd thing to happen, but it does. I've took Dramamine once before and open water swim and it didn't really help with me being sea sick. Plus it knocked me on my ass for the remainder of the day. I literally slept for 6.5 hours after taking it. I decided against taking it this weekend. During my practice swim I didn't feel sick and my wetsuit felt so much better. I still wasn't a fan of the rough waters, but I felt ok about it.
I had a 45 minute ride and a 15 minute run to do as well, both with a couple of accels. I went out later in the day and it was pretty hot. My run was slightly difficult because of the heat, but it was only 15 minutes. I then went back to my room and took an amazing 2 hour nap. I rode my bike to transition to drop it off and then went to the TNT Inspirational dinner. This was a pretty big dinner, about 500 people I think. There were 15 TNT chapters from across the country. Dave Scott, 6 time world champion Ironman, spoke at the dinner. It was pretty cool to see someone who shaped the sport speak. Even bigger then that, my friend Mike Stashak who is a cancer survivor spoke as well. There is always an honored hero to speak at the inspirational dinners and we were lucky enough to have Mike speak. He did such an amazing job adding humor, seriousness, gratitude and inspiration in his speech.
After the dinner I went back to my hotel. I went through all of my stuff for the morning and tried winding down. I didn't want to think too much about the race because I really didn't want to start getting anxious. I knew if anxiety started creeping in I wouldn't be able to get to sleep. I was somewhat successful. I got into bed, double checked both of my alarms for a 4:30am wake up and relaxed. I think I fell asleep at 11, but then was up from 2-3:45ish. That did not make me a happy camper.
My alarm went off and I immediately started drinking fluids. I wanted to make sure I was hydrated enough for the race. I had my peanut butter and bagel, got dressed, double checked my tri bag and was off. I had about a 10 minute walk to transition. I set up my transition area and then went to the swim start. I got to the water and let out a big sigh of relief because the water was calm. Hallelujah!!! My only goal for this race was no open water anxiety. I didn't care what else happened, that was the most important thing to me. Looking at the waters, I felt like this was an achievable goal. I went in for my warm up and felt fantastic. My stroke felt good. The wetsuit felt comfortable. I had no anxiety. Awesome! Let's get this race started!!!
I got into my corral and stood there with a couple of girls I know. I started in the middle of the pack, but to the right because there was some current pushing the swimmers to the left. This was a big deal for me to start in the middle. I slowly made my way into the water and didn't rush it. So the good news is I had NO open water anxiety, but that's pretty much where it ends for good news on the swim. On the way out I was fine & it was pretty calm, but like I said with the current pushing to the left. We made the 1st left & that's when it started going downhill. I was having a hard time sighting & definitely went off course slightly. I was also starting to get a little nauseous, but nothing really bad. Just enough to let me know I didn't feel 100%. I noticed my stroke was a bit off, but at that point I didn't care, I just wanted the swim to be over with. I only stopped once or twice to make sure I was on course. Then we made the last turn & it was not a pretty sight. The waves were pretty bad. No matter what I did, breathe left, breathe right, breathe every other stroke, every 4th stroke, nothing helped with me being sea sick. It was awful! I ended up breathing to the right since that was most comfortable. I was getting light headed too, I couldn't see straight & didn't feel right. I stopped a lot to try & gain my composure. I did my fair share of cursing too. It just sucked!!! Once again, the good news is I had no anxiety & that was my goal for this race. I'm pretty psyched with that. My time was 38:22. I'm pretty embarrassed by that, but no open water anxiety! (staying positive)
I took my time in T-1. There was no rushing coming from this girl. I was really just trying not to pass out at this point. My T-1 time was 4:33.
I think it took me @ least 10 miles to fully recover from the swim. I tried drinking some of my sports drink and forced myself to eat a couple of chews. It wasn't easy. The head wind was pretty strong. It gets pretty frustrating with headwinds because no matter what you try and do, you're going to be slower then you should be. @ 1 point on the beginning of the bike I was like screw this, I'm not pushing it. I even saw someone walking and thought, I don't care why they're walking, I wish that was me and then I don't have to finish the race. I eventually snapped out of that mentality and pushed myself. I felt really good the last 12 miles, which was a nice feeling. My time was 1:26:56. Initially I was disappointed in my time. I was hoping to be under 1:20. The more I thought about it I was actually kind of psyched by my time. It took me awhile to recover from the swim, there were heavy headwinds and a month ago I was struggling on the bike to maintain a 15mph average and here I finished with a 17.1 average.
I took my time getting off the bike in T-2. Once again, there was no rushing this girl. As soon as I got off my bike I felt light headed again. I slowly walked to my rack and then slowly took my time getting all of my bike gear off and running gear on. My T-2 time was 4:03. I had no idea I was that slow. I thought I was under 3:30 at least.
My run was ok. Actually, I'm disappointed in my run. I know I could've done better and I didn't push myself as hard as I'm capable of. I walked through all of the aid stations and probably walked longer then I should've. I poured water over my head every other station. It was actually overcast and not too hot, but I don't do well in any heat. My sneakers got wet from pouring water over my head and my shoe laces kept coming untied. I could've double knotted them the 1st time it happened, but I didn't. I'm wondering if I subconsciously didn't do that because if they came untied that meant I could stop to tie them. Of course once I started going again, my legs really didn't want to move too much. Towards the end of the run I ran into a friend who was cramping up big time in his legs. Since I wasn't going for time I hung out & walked with him a couple of times. With less then a .5 mile I saw my old TNT coach from NY who told me I had a lot more left in my tank so run it in & move faster (he was right). My run time was 1:03:52, which is a 10:19 pace. Yeah, I could've done so much better then that. I'm definitely capable of it. I guess when it comes to the run I would rather feel comfortable and talk to people along the way then to feel like shit.
Total time was just under 3:17:44. This is definitely not the number I'm capable of. I'm not going to lie, this was a tough race for me. It does make me wonder how the hell will I be able to do an Ironman if an Olympic was tough? I know I have 3 months of training to go and I will have a proper taper period. I have a 1/2 Ironman in 2 weeks and that race I will be trying to prove something to myself. I think I've gotten past my open water anxiety so my new goal is to push myself on the run.