|So happy to be finished!|
I knew things were not going my way for this race starting at about 3:00 a.m. I woke up with an upset stomach. Then, about 45 minutes later, my daughter had to come home from a sleepover due to throwing up. I decided that my stomach upset was not due to race nerves, but probably something viral. Despite this, I decided to go ahead with the race. There aren't many opportunities to complete a 1/2 Iron in Tempe, and I really wanted to finish another one to boost my confidence.
The swim also started badly for me. I jumped in and hit the bottom scraping my foot. I have never hit the bottom of Tempe Town Lake before and I suspect it had something to do with the new swim start set up, but I can't be sure. This swim was also my first race in a full sleeved wetsuit. While I was happy to be wearing a wetsuit (the water temp was a chilly 64 degrees), I am not accustomed to swimming in one. Also, I never really felt like I warmed up during the swim, which made me feel stiff throughout. About 1/2 through the swim, I felt like I was hitting my stroke--then came the turn around. I really felt like I was swimming against a current (though I shouldn't complain--Tempe Town Lake is really about as calm as they come). There were also 2 swimmers who were swimming at roughly the same speed as me that were particularly frustrating (actually they were probably swimming faster than me, but weren't swimming straight). One swam next to/on top of me for about 1/2 the race. Finally, I said to her, "SERIOUSLY!!!" and she apologized and then moved to the outer edge of the course for the rest of the race. The other swam in a zig zag from the inner edge to the outer edge for the whole race. This meant that she plowed into me each time she zigged or zagged the other direction. I think I swam by one or both of these ladies when I did Soma--I recall the zig zagging particularly. My new swim goal is to improve my swim speed so that I am faster than these ladies in future races. Now, how can I be sure that I wasn't the culprit? One of the highlights of this race is that it was my first tri with my new Garmin 910XT--so after the race I pulled up my swim and I could see that I swam a pretty straight course. :) It's a great toy and I got really accurate splits and transition times with it. Also, I spot throughout the swim (probably too much, but I'd rather slow a bit with spotting than swim a bunch extra by veering off course!!).
Then, it was time for the bike. Let's just say that I was significantly under trained. I didn't feel good at any point on the bike. My shoulders and back were sore after the first 12 miles and I was so tired of being on the bike at the end that I could have just screamed. What did I learn from this? Well, if I am going to under train in any event--DON'T under train the bike!! One, it put me significantly far back in the pack and two, it put more pressure on me for the run. I need to get some serious miles in if I am going to finish the 112 during IMAZ and feel good about it.
Finally, it was time for the run. I have to say that this went better than expected given how terrible I felt after the bike. Now, by this time, my stomach was truly unhappy. I was taking Coca Cola at the aid stations in an attempt to settle my stomach instead of for energy. Still, I managed to run a large portion of the course, unlike during Soma where I walked most of it. One of the best parts of the run was that the temperature was still pretty cool. Red Rock Company does an awesome job of keeping aid stations stocked and staffed for everyone still on the course. I know that I (and probably the few racers that finished after me) truly appreciated that they still had plenty of supplies at all of the aid stations until the bitter end. And, I was motivated to keep going because there was a racer in my division still behind me that I didn't want to catch me. I still managed to finish with a nice padding between my ending and the course cutoff, which was a good feeling.
This race was largely about perseverance for me. There were so many points where I wanted to quit (or not even start). I kept thinking that no one would fault me for giving up since I wasn't feeling well or under trained, but another part of me kept telling that part to "shut the f*%$ up!" and keep going. I can't help it--I just can't quit--it's not in my DNA. So, I've kept up my streak of finishing every race I've ever started--and I don't intend on ending it any time soon!
I was completely exhausted after the race. I took a nice long soak in a Dr. Teal's Epsom salt bath (thanks again to Fit this, girl! for hooking me up with that). I had met with the nice folks at South Mountain Nutrition on Friday who set me up with a test run of Herbalife 24 products to use before, during, and after the race, which I think really paid off. Other than my stomach bug, I could tell that I felt pretty good in terms of energy and endurance. As a result, I am feeling pretty good today (still battling the stomach thing though). I can even walk up and down stairs like a normal person!
I'll let the other Ironmoms update you on the Marquee Olympic race--they all did great! One of the bummers with the way the race was set up (with the transition areas staggered as well as the start times--though I have to say I really appreciated this as it kept all portions of the race less crowded and more organized) is that I didn't get a chance to see them before the race--though I did catch Annette and Kate in passing during the bike. I think Kristin was going too fast--I am sure she passed me in a blur of speed. :)