Thursday, September 17, 2009

Was it really a month ago...

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." - Juma Ikangaa

For most this statement means to “compete” or just get to the starting line.

It’s taken a few weeks to really think about the lessons learned from Lake Stevens 70.3. Did the work leading up to the race amount to what I was expecting as a result? Did plans work out w/ energy, nutrition and pacing?

The day before at the expo I was mostly calm, figure I’d have plenty of time the following morning to be really nervous, and trying not to get too excited over helmed. I can’t explain the relief I felt when we made it out to the lake and saw the buoy’s set up of the swim. It seemed small, my first thought was, “I’m going to hit the bike just fine”

Morning of....

Getting to Stevens was fine and the urge to throw up was just below the surface so I just went into an auto pilot mode of steps to get ready. Days before I visualize how transition set up is and how the bike will be set up. I go over it, over and over again in my head so it becomes like a picture, then on race morning instead of trying to figure out transition placement I just recreate the picture w/ very little thought needed. Like coloring by numbers...

Talking w/ the gang before the start was great, several had recently done their first 70.3 so it was very calming to hear their stories and advice before the start. I walked out to the swim w/ Joe Tysoe and he talked about relying on my training and not to panic in the swim. Stay to the outside and not to get caught up in the sprinters at the beginning of the start, that die out in the first half mile...

In short the swim went well and was uneventful, perfect! At one point I was right in the middle of the pack and had to tell myself not to panic. Although with about 20-30 people swimming to my left and right sides and just a sea of caps in front of me I was right where I should never be, right in the middle. I made my way to the left side and tracked by the buoy line about 4 feet under water. The fog had not cleared and you couldn’t really see more than 15 yards ahead of you. Creepy, but kind of calming.

Swim - 40:21

T1 went well, I wanted to slow in up a bit and make sure I didn’t forget anything for the long bike. Coming out of the water the legs felt great and I run hearing the cheers of the gang supporting. So much fun...

T1 - 1:55

The bike had lots of levels to it, I looked at it as the main course to deal w/ for the day. The plan was to ride the first loop like a training ride, no aggressive moves, just steady and make sure to take advantage of the down hills so as not to make too much work for the up hills. Second loop was going to be the same accept I was going to rush the last three hill sets on the course.

Energy was great on the bike, my paper number on the bike came loose early, about mile 3 and started to cut my inner thigh on my right leg. It felt like a razor blade hitting my leg every 3-4 pedal strokes. OUCH!

On the second loop going up the “hill” I guess most people call it I was surprised to see my gang cheering me on up the hill. Cow bells and screaming and even a giant Deviled Egg! I was maybe too focused I seeing them really cracked me up and reminded me what great friends and family I have !

The bike was going well until about mile 52-53, the last kicker hill back to transition. I could feel a change in energy and a feeling in the stomach that this was about to be a long day.

Bike - 3:00:36

T2 I slowed up a bit because I could feel something coming and ready to jump on the system. I was really hot coming off the bike so opted not to put socks on for the run. Figured it was a bad choice, but was willing to live w/ it.

T2 - 1:14

Running across the transition zone to the out gate was where I felt the slipping start. I hit the street and heard my name being yelled and the adrenaline rushes forward and you forget about the aches of the body for a few seconds, it’s great! I got about 10 minutes into the run and was hitting 8 minute pace and just tried to keep my mind off of the meltdown that I knew was going to happen. The legs left heavy and the lack of any shade the run pretty difficult, I hit the 3 mile mark and left a wave of dizziness wash over and wondered at first way it took so long to hit. That sort of left the door open for the wheels to start coming off...

I walked for a few and at mile marker 4 picked up a jog and started again, which was good cause I saw Tony seconds later and told him a was doing OK and about 2 minutes later I rounded the corner and saw the gang screaming and cheering and egging me on. I ran by giving a thumbs up as my stomach was in full revolt and the dizziness was creeping back. Down the road from them only about a half mile was the water station that my team was working.....UGH! Can’t stop and walk here either....Big smile and thumbs up here too...

The run is a loop course so I’d have to go through the same area again, but at least I knew where I could walk and not be seen. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had to walk plenty of hard races before, I just didn’t want to worry any of gang out cheering and having a good time. They come out, early, and cheer for you, that’s amazing, I just don’t want them to worry and have their day of cheers turn to concern and survival reports.
At mile 8 or 9 I saw Tony again and told him I was in bad shape, I joked a bit, but I think he could tell I was down in a hole. I kept tell myself, “energy is coming back, stay in there and this could pass and you’ll get your legs back”. The truth was my legs were feeling better every 5 minutes or so because my pace was down to 10 minute miles and I was walking every 100 yards or so, my stomach just wasn’t giving it up.

I saw joe out on the run about this time and he waved and said something quick like “ stay in there” At mile 11 after the last big hill on the run course and it was just back to the finish. I had a plan to ease down the hill, don’t make the legs work, walk the turn about 20 yards, then let’s see what’s left.

I could see the mile 12 marker coming and went from a walk to a job. I closed my eyes for a while and just told myself to be calm and breathe. I hit the 12 mile mark in full stride, the stomach started revolting the legs felt great, I was focused. I looked at my forerunner (watch) and had pace at 7:40. Legs left light and I was feeling great! ...Just stay in there... I hit the last turn and saw Joe again, done w/ his race walking down the sidewalk w/ a piece of pizza and he said “ hurry before the pizza gets cold “. I cracked up, but seeing Joe and remembering what he’s done for my running over the last year I went into track mode and just focused on leg turn over and form.

I hit the finishing shoot with my forerunner reading 7:04 pace, 7:40 for the last mile. 9:06 ave. for the overall run.

Run - 1:59:05

Overall - 5:44:01

Lessons Learned -

There are plenty of things to learn from and build on.

Swim - just get in the water more, I should of gotten to the point of 1.5-2 mile steady rather than just 1 mile swims 1-2 times a week. Also, more swim/bike bricks...

Bike - Much more time on the bike, no questions. Rode the course 4x and that was my longest rides. never when over 60 miles.

Run - I throw so much at the bike and swim in the last 5-6 weeks that I let the run go down to just 3 runs a week of about 6 miles each. Have to keep the run miles up to at least 30 miles a week.

All in all, it was my first one and I can’t beat myself up too badly. I know where I fell short and where I can be proud of, sometimes they are the same things...Go figure...

Thanks to everyone that came out to support and sent well wishes. Crossing the finish line takes so much more than just you being out there by yourself...

I'll post pictures in a few days...

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