So... I finally raced again this season. It seems like forever ago that I did Cedars of Lebanon and so much has happened. I was more than looking forward to this race because anytime I can be in Chattanooga it is a good thing! We could not have asked for a better day as the day was just absolutely gorgeous - one of those where you just want to spend all day outside and guess what I did!!
So Ironman training is going and even though some days it is annoying, I am mostly enjoying it. A lot has happened and I feel like I have just kept plugging along and knocking off one day at a time. The week of Cedars, I was sick. I was on antibiotic, received a breathing treatment, and a steroid shot. I felt better for a day and by the time race day dawned, I felt like total hell and was running a fever. I could not decide rather to race or not but since it was super short I went ahead and raced and had a great day. From there on, I just could not get well. Went to see doc twice more, received another steroid shot and some other meds and just still felt so tired and could not quit coughing. When we got to Arizona, I was exhausted and just quit training the whole week and slept a ton. I also started running a fever and decided that I really thought I had pneumonia. The doc sent me a prescription for Levaquin which is used to treat pneumonia. The good thing was after two pills, my coughing was done completely! I was more than ecstatic!!! The first side effect listed was tendonitis. Stewart went to pick up my meds and I was like please talk to the pharmacist. The pharmacist said she has nothing to worry about. Ha.. since then I have two PT's tell me an athlete should never take levaquin. It can do some crazy things to athletes.
So, we return from Arizona which was awesome even though I missed out on some good eating because I was just not feeling my best. This was a true bummer especially the night we went to a restaurant that had over 60 kinds of homemade pie! I ran one time the whole week but my leg was feeling a little weird and so was my foot. Hmm.. odd? I haven't even done anything but had been hiking and climbing at slippery rock so just figured that was the culprit. Sunday morning in Memphis I ran a great 13 miles. The last couple of miles, my foot was killing me!! And it was even worse after running. A few days later, I had a tempo and some hill repeats. The run was great but as I was running my cool down, shooting pains were stopping me in my track. It felt so weird and not like any IT pain I had before. I limped back to the house. I could not have ran if someone was holding a gun to my head. After some doc visits, we decided that this pain was tendonitis and we think it was definitely med induced. I stopped taking my meds immediately and started treatment. It is better but still having some major foot pain especially AFTER running. It takes about a day or two before I can run again. This week is going to be interesting as I have some back to back days of running so fingers are crossed.
So forward to racing. I was looking forward to the Olympic as I have not raced one since 2011. It is not my favorite distance and the hardest for me to race. With the mile swim, I have such a disadvantage. No matter how long I swim or how much, I just never seem to get faster. I am no longer waiting for the breakthrough. My endurance gets better but speed stays the same. I feel like my form has also improved hugely but I am just not a swimmer. The half I can race, the bike and the run are longer so I can make up the lost time but with the oly, I just don't have the time on the bike and run. Liz just told me to try and finish each event stronger than I started.
Stewart and I were 660 and 661. You get bused up to the swim start and swim down the river to transition. The day was beautiful so we had fun just hanging in the field waiting for our time to start. It was a time trail start. Stewart says I am going to just swim right behind you. Even with a 3 second time trial start - it seemed the river was packed with swimmers as soon as you entered. At one point, I remember thinking I wonder if Stewart is with me because I was definitely not holding a line very well. Next thing I know I get whacked in the head, I look up to see who that was and it was Stewart! I continued to get hit a couple of more times, leg, head, shoulders so I just kept Stewart in my sights. We both finished the swim together in 23:30 which was good for both of us but placed me 17th in my AG and Stewart was 34th leaving the water. Ugh!! Just let me be a swimmer!!! ( on a side note, Stewart went on to kill the bike and run and finish 12 in his AG and 90 overall for men) This race has over a 1000 racing. A little more training and racing and I have a feeling - he is going to be one hell of a triathlete!
I knew the bike had a lot of long hills and I just wanted to start out steady and not blow up. And I did that pretty much the first 13 miles to the turn around. I was passing a ton of people even though I was not pushing and not even breathing hard but felt pleased with my ride as no one had passed me. At the turn around, two girls and a guy passed me and I was like go with them but at that moment, I was switching water bottles around in my cages, taking a gu and the moment passed. I didn't go and I still regret that I did not chase. They were the only people to pass me on the bike. As I neared the end of the bike (which is slightly longer than the regular 24 miles in an Olympic but is 26 miles in Chattanooga. It seems all the races are long in Chatt. ) and I reminded myself it was time to GO!! I began to stand up on each hill and try to push but it was like it was just not there. I felt like I was on one of my Saturday am long rides. My head wanted it but it was like my body did not respond. Not once did my legs burn, not once did my lungs burn and more than once the thought went through my head that I was kind of holding half iron pace. The good thing was that if I needed to bike 30 more miles, it would not have been a problem. I averaged just slightly over 18.5 which was quite a bit slower than my last race but this was super hilly and on this course I was going to take it but I still felt like I needed to do more.
The run started up the big hill - same big hill we will run at the start of Ironman but I felt fine. In fact I felt fine the whole run, I felt strong and nothing hurt. I was passing tons of people and no one passed me on the run. I kept asking myself - is this it? you are really not hurting? My answer was well you are passing tons of people - yes but maybe they are just slow and all the fast people are up front? ( they were, they started in the 1-200) I definitely was not in pain as I was able to talk to others along the way and respond to those who yelled at me about my suit. Once again, the thought went through my head that I felt like I was holding a training pace or my half iron pace. I finished and definitely could have ran more if needed. I averaged 7:57 - much slower than I wanted so my thoughts were confirmed, today was pretty much one big long training day. I even had a man that I met at the start of the race say to me I saw you come off the bike, I saw you finish - you looked great! Yeah - I guess great should not be the word you should describe yourself in racing. I ended up being 7th on the bike and 4th on the run in my age group - not complaining but I think I could have done more. I am calling it a successful day as I was hoping to be in the top 10 and I was number 9. I did make my goal and there were superfast ladies ( I guess all way in front of me) at this race as it was the Southeast Championship but I was disappointed a little in myself. Today my foot hurts and I am concerned. I am in Chattanooga and Mont Eagle until next week so I can't even get to the doc. I keep hoping that it is going to heal itself. I am motivated and enjoying training but I am tired of all the road blocks. I did receive a nice quote from the ironman page the other day " A road with no obstacles is most likely a path that leads nowhere"
I am excited and ready to keep moving forward. I am looking forward to some great bikes and runs this week in Chattanooga. I was able to visit the local Y today to get in a swim which is always fun to me. I love to see different facilities and swim in new places. I am also ready for this old body to just hang on a little bit longer!!