Sunday, July 13, 2008

Race Report: Diamond in the Rough 2008

Okay, so I'm actually writing a race report.

Can you believe it!?

Me neither.

It's going to be short, because it's still before noon and I have an entire day to fill with lovely things like sitting on my butt and maybe napping. I lead a tough life. I call it "recovery."


This was my least favorite part of the day. Not because it involved getting up at 4:30, although that's always fun. Nope -- it was because I've been feeling a wee bit ill recently.

Friday night I had some serious, omg can you PLEASE not break that hard Mighty M, nausea on the way home from his parent's house. Out of nowhere, just major car sick. I think it was because I was working on stuff in the wedding binder while he was driving back roads.


When I woke up Saturday morning and got the car loaded I realized I was still feeling it. Chalked it up to nerves.

But then a real indicator happened. I could barely look at my DD coffee.

Me. Having a hard time drinking coffee. If you felt that jolt in bed on Saturday morning, it was the world abruptly stopping spinning the moment I thought "coffee, ew."

For the next hour, I battled my inner voice telling me to head back, crawl into bed, and sleep the sickies away. The other half said, "LOSER" loud enough to confuse me into driving all the way to Perryville without a u-turn.

Once there, I learned it was a no wetsuit swim. FREAKING SWEET!! Part of my nerves were because I still hadn't resolved my zipper issues. (More on this another time. But basically it loves to unzip (splitting, not from the top) the moment I start swimming. And yes, it's as fun as it sounds.) No wetsuit meant no worries.

Setting up transition was easy peasy. Last year I won an entire year worth of Nuun with one good idea for transition. Here's the nugget I submitted: split your transition into two sides, the run gear and the bike gear.

It's particularly easy when you've "borrowed" a towel from you Y that has a strip down the middle. Thanks Y guys!

Now I have managed to get my transition times down to something totally acceptable. Whew.

After setting up transition, hitting the pot, and stretching by the water's edge for a while, it was time to race!

1 mile (37:13 including short run, 34:?? in water time ~ 1:58/100)

This was my best swim ever. EVER. The water was wonderful! Clean, calm, and nicely marked. I actually felt like I was cruising for this swim. For the first time in a long time I actually had a group to swim with as the entire field of women (including Athenas) started together. Thank goodness! It helps spotting and it's always nice to find some feet to draft off of.

By the time I got out of the water I was happy, loosened up, and ready to ride.


That split transition idea, no socks, and a nicely planned transition gave me 1:20 total. Not bad at all for me. I'll definitely take it!


27 miles (13.2 amph)

So, I kind of forgot that this ride was pretty hilly. In all honesty, I totally forgot. I knew there was a killer grade at mile 21 ish, but I forgot that the rest of the course was challenging, too!

A handful of miles into it, after we had ventured away from the river and inland a bit, we had been climbing a bit when I actually stopped.

It was my back. A few weeks ago, when Nana was first in the hospital, we babysat the nieces so my FSIL and FBIL could both go to the hospital. Sometime that day -- who knows when -- I pulled something in my lower back, on the right hand size. Kind of right where those dimples are. It basically has healed, but decided to SCREAM at me for the beginning of the Diamond ride.

Apparently my back was so totally not on board with the idea of doing climbs in the tri bike.

BUT, I plugged on just to see what a 7.5% grade for a mile would feel like. It made sense at the time.

Before I made it there, I did the first of two dangerous descents on the course. Sobering, indeed. Another rider had gone down hard. When I passed, he was being collared and already on a backboard, bloodied up and clearly not doing well.

Sobering. I thought of him often for the rest of the day. I hope he's alright -- if anyone knows what happened, comment or email me, okay?

So, the big climb. It sucked. But I did it, and made it over the top without totally losing my legs. For future reference, it's in two parts...the first is 1k, then there's a brief downhill (get some speed back!) and then another spike.

Everything from there on was cake. Just running the horses back to the barn.


Hmmm, can you say a good transition? Me, too. Sockless rocks, visors are better than hats, and putting a race belt on in T1 is best.

5 miles (13:01 avg)

Let's be honest here -- this is like my marathon pace. NOT my 5 mile pace, even 5 miles after a swim and bike.

But I'm okay with it.

I decided that I wanted -- FOR ONCE -- to have a relatively pain free run. I wanted to be able to run over the finish line and not feel like I've done more damage to my body.

So I took the run course with the plan to run 5 and walk 2. I've never used this strategy before and it was actually weird. I didn't like it totally, but it worked.

When I ran, it was strong and my knee didn't disintegrate by mile 2.

And this I consider a success.

What I wasn't happy with is that there was a super nice woman I was pacing near. I walked a small upgrade at mile 3 and she passed me. No big deal, right? I kept her in my sights for a while, but she turned it on a little at the end. I considered chasing her but thought, I'm not a strong runner. Best keep things to a moderate pace and finish.

Now I know I should have chased.

She got the #3 athena spot.


Anyway, lesson learned.


I've been battling a lot recently with race distances and my physical limitations and where and when to push -- push my body or push the registration button.

I *love* longer distances and I love the commitment needed to train for them.

But I hate racing them. There, I said it. The pain eclipses the joy of racing and I find myself swearing off the sport in the car, on the cellie with Mighty M, on the way home.

As soon as the memory fades, I'm there clicking "register" for yet another long race.

But yesterday was different. I wasn't dead last. I wasn't in terrible pain. I didn't swear off the sport. And I was even pleasant to be around when I came home.

In fact, I was singing with all the windows down at the top of my lungs the entire way home.

I think I found the joy of racing again. And I think it has something to do with the Olympic distance. It's manageable for me.

The other day, I had disclosed to Megan that I had a super secret plan to do another half in early September. It's close and gives me another opportunity to do that "build" I've been so looking for. It's the urge for more, more, more. As if I have something to prove to myself.

But I'm wondering now if I really need to do that. Maybe I should just have some fun for a while with Sprints and Olys. I already know I won't be doing a full Iron next year because of our desparate need to save money for a new house. So why not just have some fun and race a little. Work on getting stronger, not longer.

It's a thought. Possibly a good one.

Yesterday I fell asleep with my legs propped up on pillows and with a huge smile on my face. I fell in love with triathlon again. Maybe it's time to just let that be for a while. Enjoy it as it is.


Andrea said...

Good for you IM Able! You knocked this one out of the park! And you made friends with yourself, your times, and racing in general.

Doesn't that feel good?

You've battled through some challenges and come out on top! THAT alone should make you one very proud ATHLETE!!!


Andra Sue said...

Congrats! Any race that makes you smile on the way home (or sing at the top of your lungs) is a good race. :)

LBTEPA said...

Aha! You don't NEED to prove anything ! You can HAVE FUN!

Brent Buckner said...

Olys are endurance events!

Anyhoo, lots to be said for training with more intensity and less volume. Leaves more time for the rest of life!

Kevin said...

Great job. Its great you were able to have fun and find the joy in the race

Wes said...

Yea, well done, Able! It's wonderful when everything comes together. You don't NEED to do a half this year, but that too would be part of the fun. If Olympics is where its at for you right now, then I say Tally-ho :-)

Alili said...

Kudos to you!!! Enjoy the rest, you did GREAT out there!

Megan said...

Dude - Nice race!! Sounds like everything from the swim to the run went smoothly! I will say I am jealous of the those transition times - I apparently use mine for a coffee and scone break, given the times I put up. Perhaps I need to consider the no-socks thing...

I totally sympathize with the back thing - I feel basically crippled this last week because of mine. I am at the OD point of Alieve. Aaahhh, all in the name of this great thing we call triathlon.

Anonymous said...

Great job on your race! I am glad you got your love of triathlon back too. I LOVE that you are so honest and you talk about loving the training but not the racing. Honestly, a lot of people are like that!!!! It is more than you think. And, the whole forgetting what it is like after the dust settles sounds like my pregnancy!!! HAHA, congrats again! Jen H. :)

Pharmie said...

Congrats on a great race and falling in love with tris all over again!

Calyx Meredith said...

So glad you've rediscovered your love of racing! Your RR was full of joy. Hope the back is better and I hope you get some time to discern what level of racing suits you right now.

elvoy said...

Well done, congratulations on a great race. And good job on the last big hill. I live in Perryville and have climbed that hill on my bike several times and it always makes me hurt. Enjoy the rest of your summer and Happy Training. Cheers.

Jeff said...

Congratulations on sticking with it through that bike. I was at the race and I'd much rather have a flat bike too! It's fun searching for other blogging triathletes! Good luck with the rest of your season!

Leah said...

Congrats on a great race! You're smart to re-evaluate the races/distances you take on. It's supposed to be satisfying, if not enjoyable, and picking the ones you can feel good about can make a huge difference. Btw, the long-course pool I swim at is the Emmaus Community pool in Emmaus, PA. Employees from my company are allowed to swim on certain mornings (crazy early!), but I think there's adult swim on Tues/Thurs nights from 8-9. If you Google it, I think there's a schedule online and I'm pretty sure nonresidents are allowed to swim.

Duane said...

Very cool!

Erin said...

Many congrats! I know the feelings you're talking about -- the falling in love with the sport all over again -- and there's nothing like it. Now, on to that HIM in September!!!

Trishie said...

Great race and your last paragraph is wonderful :)

MAJ said...

Hey hey hey! Now you sound like me "just a little faster and I could have gotten a trophy."

What a GREAT SWIM!!!! I will never swim that fast!!!!

You should be proud of yourself.

Steve Stenzel said...

YEAH!! Great post! Nice race! GREAT ATTITUDE!!