Here we go! This is going to be very long. If you want the short version, check out my previous post:)
I woke up on Friday morning with a sore throat, chills and an achy ear. Oh, no!!! I normally do not take any medicine when sick. I believe the body is good at healing itself. However, this time around I took mega doses of vitamin C, airborne, kefir, and garlic pills. I also did salt rinses (throat and nose) and drank hot liquids. We left on Friday afternoon, dropped Petru off to his grandfather's house (thanks Papi), and started the drive to Vermont. We arrived in the evening, got some takeout, and watched tennis the entire evening. I went to bed still feeling sick, woke up still sick, but pretty much in denial. I only mentioned this in passing to Chris. I kept doing my home remedies, hoping that I'd feel better by Sunday morning.
On Saturday I did a 10 min swim/bike/run and practiced transitions. The swim went great. I felt amazing. The water was clear and the swim was effortless. The bike and run felt great, too. Although I was achy and feverish, my energy was not affected. I met a few triathletes at the lake, and that was fun. I got lots of great advice and encouragement. Later on I took a nap, Chris went on a little hike, and we met up for an early dinner (I did not go to the pasta dinner because I don't like pasta) and a movie. We ended up seeing "Eat, pray, love" and it was boooooring (I loved the book, at the time!). Next up to the hotel, packed, got everything ready, and went to bed.
I did not sleep that well. I had dreams about falling teeth and water (???). But, at 5am when the alarm went off I felt rested. And I did not feel sick anymore. Oatmeal and coffee got things moving and I was so happy. We drove to the race, I set up my transition, did a warm up swim, and chatted with some people. Next I sat by the water and collected my thoughts about the race. I felt calm and ready. I met a nice woman who told me she tried to race Timberman but she panicked in the water and got pulled out. She was scared and I got very motherly with her (I love to encourage others at races, somehow it is like encouraging myself too!). She ended up doing well in the race.
This race was very small, with less than 200 people registered, and they had 2 waves for men and one for women. I don't quite get it why they are using a timing mat, when they have you wait around for over 2 minutes before starting to swim? I lined up in the back, hoping that we would cross the mat when our wave would start, but that did not happen. Oh, well.
SWIM: 35:13; 1:36/100
People talked about the swim being short. I believe it was. There is no way I can swim a 35. I mean, I swam hard and felt great in the water, but did not figure out how to draft (I tried, but I ended up bumping into the person's feet), and had lots of slow people in front of me that I had to pass.
My plan for the swim was to be aggressive. You see, every time I panic in the water, i feel helpless and vulnerable. It's like the water is big and strong and I am weak. I did not want to feel that way. I decided I am going to own the water. I also decided that if you hit me more than once, I am going to hit back. And I did. There was a woman, larger in size, who kept bumping into me and swimming over me and than slowing down, and I kicked her and swam hard for a while and lost her. That felt amazing in an odd kind of way. I was owning the water.
When I wrote that this was long, I did it because it was in comparison to other people's. Some had T1s as short as 56 seconds, because he transition area was close to the bike and run starts. I thought I moved quickly, but maybe I did not. I did put my bike shorts over my swimming bottoms, but otherwise I don't know why my T1 was so long?
BIKE: 3:12:30 (17.45 MPH)
I felt great as soon as I mounted on the bike. No dizziness. I started eating after 10 minutes. I managed to eat 650 calories on the bike (ate a gel before the swim, too), and drank about 60 ounces of water. I also took 8 Endurolytes (no Nuun since I figured the sorbitol might be bad for my stomach).
My initial plan for the bike was to stay at 16 MPH. You see, most of my training was done at 15 MPH, and only in the past 3 weeks did I pick up the pace during my long rides. But. I felt soooo good!! So I decided to go for it. Not crazy, but just go and see what happens. I took the downhills really hard (that was fun) and the uphills at a cadence of 80 or more (except a few steep climbs). I also stood up on my bike at the top of the hills. I know standing up is a no-no for triathletes, but I have been reading about how for someone my weight it is more beneficial to stand up on hills when MPH are lower than 12 and or cadence lower than 60.
The course is a lollipop, and you have to turn around 4 times in the middle of the road. At the second turn around, which was in the middle of a hill (about mile 20sh), there was a guy in front of me going very slow, and I decided to make the turn from the road into a driveway and then back on the street. Except the driveway had sand and gravel on, and I slipped. I got up, told everyone I was fine, and proceeded to pick up all my nutrition from the ground. I had a large cut under my knee, and a few scratched on my quad. No biggie. Then I try to mount on the bike, and realize the chain fell off. I put it back on, and off I went.
Somehow the fall gave me an adrenaline rush because my pace got higher and higher. This was my first fall ever, and I was dreading it. It was such a relief to actually "get it out of the way". Plus it made me feel so badass (in retrospect it should have made me feel like a rookie, but I am glad for the badass feeling I had:)
I knew that toward the end of the bike there is a one mile climb. I knew that once I see a corn field on my left I need to be in a high gear and hammer before I get to the hill, to get some momentum. I did. But the hill was still tough. My average MPH was 18.5 before the hills, and was 17:96 after the hill. Honestly, I did not think I was going to make it up that little bastard, and a couple of people were walking it. But I did. But, I was fried after. I considered hammering it to get my average MPH to 18, but than I realized that my computer would not account for the fall, so I stretched my legs instead.
Something else happened on the bike. I got major back pain starting at mile 10. I knew this could happen. I get it only when I go over 17 MPH, and when I try to sit tucked in on the bike. I have a men's bike with a long tube; I have long legs and a short torso. So, I am too stretched out on the bike. I will change this before my next race. Needless to say, I had to ride standing up most of the time. I took 4 tylenols (more than I took the entire year!!) but they did not help (or maybe they did?). In any case, I did not pee the entire day, and I think the Tylenol might have been the reason.
Again, some people took 30 seconds...
This was long because I cramped when I put my socks and shoes on (I biked sock-less and it was great). Chris was there asking about my leg, but honestly I am so focused when I race that I don't want to talk to anyone. Chris's face reminded me of Petru's birth when he kept asking what to do and I told him to let me be:)
RUN: 1:42: 39 (7:48 pace)
I started the run very fast, at 6:45, than 7:16. I felt like I was running slow but apparently I was not. I tried to slow down, but I could not find my pace. My breathing was out of control. I could not breath. I got frustrated and turned the Garmin of. I walked a minute while taking deep breaths, and telling myself to just run. And I did. It was hot, about 95, I think , by the time I started the run 12ish. The run was shaded, but there was some areas that were very sunny. Lots of people were walking. Some were using headphones (which frustrated me because we were told no headphones and man, I would have loved my headphones). I took both my gels, I drank water and tried Heed (that stuff is gross, sorry!), and thought about every climb how it will be a downhill on the way back (it was an out and back course). By mile 10 I felt somewhat detached from my body. I could hear my breathing, heavy and snoring like (I don't know how to describe it, I was making a funny noise). The last couple of miles were downhill and I could see a woman in front of me, and I was getting closer and closer to her. She ended up being first in my AG, one minute overall faster than me, with an 18 minute slower run!
Somehow I made it to the park. I did not even look for Chris, I wanted to step on the mat and than sit down. I did, and it felt great.
Then I got tired and hungry. They had a nice spread of pizza, salad, bagels, cookies, bananas. But I wanted meat. I was done with carbs, I had tons during the race. But I had some of the food, chatted with some people, and checked the results. I was so tired and my back was hurting.
We left after the awards. We stopped so I could get some meat (for me) and icecream (for Chris - after all those gels, I have no interest in sugar/chocolate) and then we went to pick Petru up from his grandmother (thank you Margaret!).
I am so excited about this race. It was the perfect first HIM for me. It was small, not very competitive (1st place woman was 4:50), with an easy swim (you could see the bottom on 1/2 of it), and not too tough of a bike (that's what everyone said, I have no comparison).
Now it is back to marathon training (after recovery, of course). I confess I am not that excited about running now. I want to become a better swimmer. I want to get someone to look at my stroke and give me some pointers. It seems like swimming technique has changed over the years, and some of the things I read are contradictory (like entering with your pinkie versus flat hand, etc). I want to get my new bike, one that fits me well, and a power meter, and spend winter getting stronger on the bike.
I decided I am not going to do Boston this year. I want to race half marathons and see if I can go sub 1:30, and do some fun running races. I also want to do more running without my headphones. It was hard for me to race without music, and I think I need to practice that since headphones are not allowed in triathlons.
I want to end this by thanking you all for reading, for giving encouragement and training tips! I thought of you all during my race and that kept me going during those tough moments!
Building a clock
8 months ago