Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Typically Atypical -- (The Redman 70.3 Race Report)

I've come to just expect it at this point. Really. The chances of having just a regular normal race with no issues, what are they? 10%? 5%? Seriously.

So it really didn't come as a surprise while as everyone was in transition about 15 minutes before it closes, I felt the first, big fat drop of rain hit my shoulder.

I did the thing where you look around to see who or what just splashed you or where the water was coming from...and not until the next one landed on top of my head did it occur to me to look up..and there it was, in the still darkness of the morning...rain.

My fellow agegroupers and I simply stared at each other in disbelief as what began as few fat drops developed into a steady saturating downpour in just a matter of moments. Seriously? I was SO not prepared for rain. Cold? Yes. Rain? No. Well Damn.

Everyone began scrambling as we noticed that it wasn't going to subside in the near future. I turned my cycling and running shoes over so at least I wouldn't be stepping into a shoe filled with water, made sure my shot block and thermolyte baggies were zipped tight, then put my transition bag on top of the whole thing hoping that would keep most of the water off my shoes (which later proved to be a worthless endeavor....).

And then the temperature started to drop....and you know how I am with the cold. OYE! Fortunately, it was a wetsuit swim that day. And what better way to stay warm in cold water than to be in your wetsuit!!! So that proved to be an interesting activity...quick, EVERYONE, put on your wetsuit in the middle of a downpour..ready..GO! So. Humorous.

At this point, the rain had been coming down quite steadily and the transition area was literally turning into a lake. If your spot was one either end of the row, you were now completely underwater. And I mean, completely. If you were in the middle of the row, you too, were underwater. completely. under. water. I walked by one woman's transition set up..it was so sweet...she had her towel laid out all nicely (now completely drenched) and 4 orange shot blocks set equidistantly apart and centered horizontally at the top of the towel...these were now gelatineous blobs of orange disappearing into her towel...and her salt tab? down to about the size of a dime...that was going to suck for her.

As the racers huddled together draped in trashbags over their wetsuits, the first official announcement came: "Due to the inclement weather, we are considering changing the format of the race to a SWIM, RUN, SWIM. We will make a decision shortly."

That's right. A Swim, run, Swim. With Wetsuits. Everyone started cracking up. Seriously, have you seen how long it takes me to get into my wetsuit? And that's when I..and it..are dry and we aren't in a hurry. My T2 was going to be like 25 minutes! Seriously? We waited on...

After an hour delay (everyone's nutrition was so screwed and people really, really had to pee), the final announcement came. "Even though the rain has stopped (temporarily) there is standing water on the bike course." Groans throughout the crowd, heads drop, shoulders sag. I felt so bad for the full ironman athletes that were there today. Having trained for 6 months for this day only to have it turned into some ridiculous Splash-Dash-Splash or something.... "However," everyone's heads perked back up, "we WILL hold the full race as planned!" Cheers erupt, high fives and a few chest bumps go around. "BUT.." dramatic pause as you hear the intake of breath by several hundred triathlete bodies, "there will be a MANDATORY bike dismount at Mile 6 where you will then walk through up to 100 feet of standing water before mounting on the other side."

Huh? Well, sure....why not?? Let's get all cyclo-cross/xterra with it. Cool!

And so the race began...finally!

The swim course was a counter-clockwise oval that ran parallel and so close to the shoreline that you could, in fact, run the entire length of the oval and then swimming out for the turnaround. Some of the men in the wave ahead of us actually did just that. And yes, they kept pace with the fastest swimmers..at least until the turn.

I chose to stick with the spirit of the race and actually swim the swim part. I was in NO danger of breaking any records and making any podiums today, so I would use the race and all of its offerings to get a good bead on where I was in my half-iron capabilities this day.

I had no issue with the water temp (surprise! yay! CdA will do that to ya...) and so I was free to focus on having a good swim. In the last couple weeks, I have finally figured out that you are actually supposed to ROLL from side to side while swimming in your wetsuit. A fact that has somehow escaped me until recently. (I know, I know.)
I simply touch, pull, rolled my way around the 1.2 mile swim course. And go figure, I ended up with an awesome swim for me! My and my coaches goal was a 35:00 minute swim. Lo and Behold, I came out at 33:48! That's a 1:46 pace! (Exact same as my podium-placing swim at Jack's Generic - sprint distance and compared to my last half-iron swim pace of 2:56..let's not talk about it...and my best half-iron swim pace (excluding the short longhorn course last year) of 1:51) Suhweet!! I'll take it!

Then it was off to the bike in good spirits! YAY! Turns out my long ride in the rain the previous Friday was excellent practice for this day. It drizzled and rained pretty much the whole time I was out there. I remembered how easy it was to forget to stay on top of hydration when the temps are cooler, so I made sure I was drinking plenty of fluids. Even so, I ended up taking 4 extra thermolytes throughout the bike as several times I heard my calves trying to talk to me and I said, "oh no you don't. Not today...I don't want to hear shit from you. Have this thermolyte and shut the hell up." And they did. (ALL HAIL THERMOLYTES!)

The ride was adventurous. There was the mile 6 dismount/cyclo-cross run through the grass and water with your bike craziness and the riding through puddles and having your wheel slip sideways into a crevice and then pop back out which left me thinking "wow..that could've been really, really bad." And then there was the snippy set of men that came pacelining past me around mile 12 yelling "on your left..ON YOUR LEFT!" when there was no where right for me to go because I didn't want to ride through a tremendous puddle! I kept thinking "Look...don't get all pissy with me just because I passed you in the water and you had a 6 minute headstart on me......Ass."

And then about 6 reasons dawned on my why I don't want to turn 40....and they all flew and I mean FLEW passed me on the bike like I was standing still. Holy smokes, the master ladies are F-AST!!!

My goal was 3 hours on the bike...at the turn around I checked my time and I was behind. Holy crap! I thought to myself, I need to giddyap and quit lollygagging around out here! But then again, that did include the dismount/cyclo-cross craziness at mile 6..which was kinda fun actually...

I managed to pull it together and bring it home in 3:03:16 (including a bathroom pit stop). Sweet! I'll take it!

And then the run. Oh boy. I just had zero legs...and I mean zero. I was slogging my brain trying to figure out why I had no go power for the run. My nutrition was on, my hydration was on. I took some extra Gu and Thermolytes to see if that would help, but alas, no power to be found. I succumbed to a run-walk strategy (and two potty stops) that brought my run time in at 2:13:13. No where near my best time, nor my goal of 1:50. Well dang it. Two out of Three ain't bad I suppose.

And then I thought about it some more. Well, let's see, I've done two runs over 9 miles twice since CdA. That's right, twice. Since June. Yes, I've been focusing on the short and fast stuff (which worked out very well for the sprint races thank you very much) but I most definitely neglected the long runs and I paid the price for it this day.

Fortunately, I've got one more shot at bringing it all together in another month or so. I am officially rededicating myself to getting in my higher mileage days and long runs (probably good ramp up for Boston base work anyway..)! Let it be written, let it be done!!!

So if you need to run long...CALL ME!!!!!!

4 comments:

Coach Logan said...

We have a great long run every Sunday morning with T3 if you are interested. Maybe you've geard of it since you're a MEMBER!!!!!

Get yer ass out there woman!!!

Amit Bhutani said...

Nice race report Dionn! Well done!!You crack me with your sense of humor....am still laughing thinking of your "6 reasons to not turn 40..." line. LOL.

Shorey said...

Congrats!

etg said...

I'm going with my vision that it all has to come together for you sometime...maybe Perth is that time?! GREAT work in less than ideal conditions!!!