Sunday, May 9, 2010
Race Report - Rev 3 1/2 Ironman
If I were to name my race reports, which I might start doing, this one would be called OYE!!! St A's would be called ROUGH SEAS. Knoxville was an interesting race for me. To me, this was just another long training weekend. I tried setting my expectations as low as possible. I didn't want to go too hard on the bike and have nothing left on the run. I wanted to make sure my nutrition was dialed in. I honestly had zero nerves until we walked to the swim start,. Normally I get major anxiety and nerves days leading up to my "A race". Since Placid is really the only race I truly care about this season, I think I've put the other races out of mind. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. As usual, this will be a novel. Feel free to read or pretend like you did with a "nice job" reply.
I made the drive up to Knox Friday after work. Luckily I got out a little early to beat rush hour traffic. I wanted to get a swim in as well on my way up there. My plan was for there to be no traffic and I would do a quick, 30 minute swim and be on my merry way. Yeah, not so much. I hit traffic on 285 and then once again on 75. So much for that swim idea. I thought about maybe going to the YMCA right across from my hotel once I got to Knox and picked up my race packet. Then my GPS, I'm referring to her as stupid B*TCH until I come up with another name for her, took me off the highway to go on some back roads. I should've just been smart enough to stay on the highway and not get off, but I listened to "TBA GPS name". So much for that swim. There were 2 scheduled swims @ the race site Saturday morning, so I figured I would get it in then. I got to the hotel, checked in and immediately went to pick up my number. I got there just in time because they were about to pack up and leave. I picked up my packet and then I had to go over to another booth to make sure my timing chip worked and take a picture. I glimpsed at my packet and walked over to the booth. I stopped before I got there to make sure I knew what number I was for the booth people. And there it was. It was like this bright, beaming light saying "AHHHHHHHH". I am all about race numbers. Somehow in my mind I think a race number can make or break a race. Is that being superstitious or just downright silly? I'm going with superstitious. I, Pamela Robyn Wiener, was given the number 420. If you know what it means and you know me well enough, you'll understand the significance of this number. If you're still confused, go ask a stoner friend. So here I am psyched that this is my number and ready to wear it with pride. It was also a great conversation piece with the cute guys @ the booth. So I picked up my fantastic number and went to Outback so I could get a steak and sweet potato. I tend to have problems getting my protein in before a long ride or race, so I made sure from Friday's dinner through Sunday's breakfast, protein was a component in it. I went back to the hotel and got at least 9 hours of sleep. Not bad.
I woke up @ 8 for the swim. Luckily I ran into a friend from NY in the lobby of my hotel and he told me it was cancelled and there would only be and 11:30n swim. I totally thought he was messing with me, but he wasn't. So I decided to go for a ride and then I would head over to a mandatory race meeting (which really wasn't mandatory and I could've skipped), get Lucy to put her in transition and then swim. Well, this didn't exactly go according to plan. On my wonderful 30 minute ride, I managed to take a minor spill. I attempted to ride up a pretty steep hill and instead of shifting to a lower gear, my dumbass went into a higher gear and I realized this a little too late...PLOP! Poor Lucy Roo got a little banged up and she started making some crazy noises in addition to not shifting properly. Luckily I was fine. Really? Right before a race I had to do this! After the fall I decided to grab some breakfast because I needed to make sure I was getting my calories in. Funny to think I might have problems getting calories in. I do usually have a problem eating the day before a race. I then headed over to the expo area for the mechanic to look at Lucy. Unfortunately the mechanics were late, so I went to the All 3 tent for Alex to look at it. He said there was something bent on my gears, but he didn't have the tools to fix it. I honestly have no idea what the proper bike term is for what was wrong. Like I always say, I just get on the thing and ride it. Finally the mechanics got there and said there was something blocking the chain, blah, blah, blah, but they fixed it. I tested it and she was all good. I was only 45 minutes off schedule. I took a nice dip in the water. I felt a little tense on the way out in the swim, but much better on the way back (I think it was the current). Once again, no anxiety. Cool, I like that! I headed back to my hotel, got a burger and mashed potatoes then took a 2 hour nap. After the nap I met some friends for dinner (chicken, pasta and veggies in an olive oil and garlic). I came back to my hotel and was asleep by 1030. I got a pretty decent night's sleep. I think I woke up once, maybe twice, but only for a couple of minutes. My alarm was set for 5:30, but the people next to me decided gently closing the door at 5:10 wasn't necessary. This was the 1st race I've been to where transition closed when it's light out. It opened at 5:30 and closed at 7:40. I got there around 6:15 and set up my stuff. Amazingly, still no nerves. It was a little chilly out so I put my wetsuit on earlier then I normally would to warm up. My friend Carmen was right across from me in transition so I had someone to talk to. The girls around us were really nice too.
My times aren't actuals because the results haven't posted and who knows if I actually know how to use my Garmin properly.
Swim ~40:00 (was hoping for 35:00)
We made our way over to the swim start and that's when the nerves kicked in, but nothing too bad. Because this was an in the water start we wouldn't get the opportunity to really warm up. I wasn't too pleased with this, but luckily we got 5 minutes between the men and women's 1/2 wave. There were only 80 women racing, which is super small. I started somewhere in the middle and was ok with that decision. I felt pretty good during the swim. Actually, this was the best I've felt in open water. My stroke seemed like it was on point, my breathing was good and all in all, felt like this was the start to a good race. I went off course a little. I was usually a little too far left from the buoys, so I made my way over to the right a few times. I don't think that added a lot of extra distance, but I'm not 100% sure. This was the 1st race EVER that I didn't have to stop in the middle of a swim because I was freaking out, nervous, tired or whatever. I also normally don't draft in races. It's highly recommended, but I just don't feel comfortable with it. I noticed that the next wave was creeping up on me so I decided to draft on one of the guys. Yeah, big mistake. I didn't get kicked, but man did I get a mouth full of water. Damn that sucked. For that, I stopped just long enough to stop choking. I decided to do the rest of the swim on my own. I was actually very disappointed in my time. I expected it to be at least 5 or 6 minutes faster based on how I felt and how I swim in the pool. I really need to think about this race and see figure out what I did wrong. All of the signs were pointing to a good swim, but that didn't exactly happen.
Bike ~3:40 (wanted to do no more then 3:30)
It took me about 15 miles in order to fully warm my legs up on the bike. I knew going into the bike I wanted to save as much energy as I possibly could in my legs for the run. I didn't want to push it too hard, but I still wanted to ride at a decent pace. While I was on the bike figuring out my pacing I realized there are at least a dozen excuses on why my time wasn't great, but I decided there's no need for excuses. I just didn't perform to the best of my ability and I was slow. It's as simple as that, I was ssslllllllooooowwww and that's ok. While I was on my Tour De Slowville I made sure to take note of a couple of things for my race report.
The scenery was absolutely beautiful. There were peaceful streams and beautiful green trees and pretty land. It was really a gorgeous ride and I appreciated every second of it.
I almost took out a volunteer while she was trying to give me a bottle of water. I didn't slow down enough and knocked the bottle out of her hand with a lot of force.
I made sure I thanked every policeman and volunteer at all of the spots where they were giving us directions.
I also thanked the people who said on your left to me. That would be probably 3 people out of the large number that passed me. I just don't get it. How difficult is it to say LEFT?!?!? A**holes!!!
I realized that I don't drink enough on the bike when it's cooler weather out. I maybe had about 1.25 of my Infinite drink (that's supposed to be my main source of calories/nutrition) and 2 aero bottles of water. I did supplement my liquid nutrition with a couple of gels.
I also told myself that it really doesn't matter if I'm slow. At least I have the opportunity and am healthy enough to do this. And as much as I ask why I put myself through this, I really enjoy it.
Oh and I realized that through Ironman training, 56 miles seems like a super short ride.
And that is the end of today's segment of Tour De Slowville.
Run ~ 2:02 (that is such a fake number which you will understand if you read the rest of this report)
I missed the run out because the volunteer was flirtng with some chick. I wasn't too happy about that when the dude at the front told me I was going the wrong way. I probably shouldn't have, but I made sure Mr. Flirty Pants knew he screwed up. Once I got going, my legs were feeling A OK. I realized I was going way too fast for me, so I dialed it back a bit. I wanted to keep the 1st 6 miles at no less then a 10:15 pace and then I could go nutso after that. At about mile 1.5 my achilles felt a little tight, which really was to be expected after a hilly, 56 mile ride. I stopped for a second to stretch them. Then I started getting a bad pain in my arch. This hasn't happened in such a long time and I forgot how excruciating it is. I couldn't figure out what was causing this. I didn't wear flip flops for the days leading up to the race so I could avoid a problem like this. I thought maybe my racing laces were too tight or maybe my calves were just tight. I decided to loosen my laces, stretch some more and walk it off for a bit to see if maybe the pain went away. Yeah, not so much. I stretched again. I even took off my sneaker to massage the arch. None of that was really helping. At that point I thought if I have to walk this whole thing I will, but I'm not turning back. At about mile 3 the arch pain turned into hot spots. If you've never experienced this, I don't wish it on you. Your feet start to burn. Like crazy, painful, ouch, holy shit why is this happening type of burn. The burning then turned to numbness. Throughout all of this I would try and run, but it never lasted long. I remember seeing a girl at St A's running with her sneakers in her hand so I decided to do that. Why not? I started off with walking sneakerless. Then when I started feeling some relief I ran. This all lasted for about a mile or so. I put my shoes back on and ran some more. Wow, that really helped. The frustrating thing at this point was that my legs felt ok, it was my feet that weren't allowing me to run. Oh well, at least I'm capable of walking unlike a lot of people in this world. I had to make a pit stop around mile 4ish. There were no port o potties on this course so I made my way into the bushes. I think this is the 1st race I've ever peed in. I guess maybe I did drink enough on the bike. Then I got to the mile 7 water station and realized that I was only at mile 4.75 according to my watch. Crap, what happened? Did I miss a turn somewhere and had no clue??? Yes, that is exactly what I did, hence my 2:02 or whatever it was run time. I was so baffled by this and not happy. I guess that's what happens when you have number 420, you start acting like a burn out. The funniest thing is normally I forget or lose something during a race. It's been a race number, nutrition, etc. I guess this go round it was 2 miles of my run. I saw a Rev 3 person not too long after this realization and I told her that I missed a turn and I was off by about 2 miles and wasn't sure what to do. She told me to just keep going and finish. I could've gone back and run another 2 miles since I have a Garmin, but I decided against that. I'm not sure if at this point I was feeling defeated or my body was giving out on me, but I ended up walking a lot more. I would tell myself no more walking, just keep going. Every time I said this, I walked within seconds. Kind of a bummer, but it happens.
After this race it makes me want to do another 1/2 before Placid. There is one in Macon at the beginning of June and I am highly considering it.. There were definitely times during the race where I second guessed my decision for Placid. Really, why should I though? So I'm having a couple of crappy races. Does it really matter I'm not super fast? Honestly, none of it matters as long as I finish Placid. I still have a little over 2 months to go and I will get the job done. I will continue moving right along like I have been. Hopefully with a good taper and more training I will be successful during this journey.
Thanks for all of your support during this. It means a lot that you're interested or at least pretend to be.