As I drive to Chicago I am reflecting back on yesterday's race. Reviewing the good, the bad, how I felt etc is an important part of the race process. I am still all over the place when it comes to triathlon these days. I still say this may be my last season, it is time to move on and then the next thoughts are Just doing sprints seems appealing as well. As I put on my bathing suit, I said to Stewart this may be the last time I wear this suit as I will not wear it in ironman. I hope to squeeze in one more sprint before I close the season out with Chattanooga
So 4 weeks ago when I would think about this half, I was excited, I was ready to race, I wanted a PR. I felt like my performance at Waterfront was good but not what I wanted. I had trouble with getting my body to race after so many months of aerobic training. I thought the half would be perfect because I could race at just slightly higher than aerobic pace.
After Chattanooga, my work outs begin to really pick up. Two things happened, I lost about 4-5 lbs. even Riley was shocked when she saw me and my long bike rides begin to go to hell. Losing 4-5 lbs on me is huge and as I look back I think this could possibly be a contributing factor in these rides. I love junk but since marrying Stewart we just really don't eat it or buy it. My eating has really cleaned up but I have found with the type of training I have been putting in, I need junk. I have a high metabolism and pretty much clean eating and high miles were leaving me pretty lean.
On each long ride, I was getting nauseous, sick, headache, dizzy, clammy and just kind of out of it by the end. Most of these I pushed through. In Arkansas two weeks ago I knew pushing through was going to lead to an ER visit. I have done this sport long enough to know the difference between I am hot, tired, cranky, and ready to be done between something not right. After each of these rides I was scared. Scared because I knew I was looking at a big ole DNF in Chattanooga in the face. No way would my body have let me complete an Ironman
Nothing like an email from Liz with a big Fix it NOW to let u know u better get your butt in gear. Luckily I went on a big taper week and Riley was in town and I ate poorly and I ate a ton like I was still training high miles. This resulted with me going into the half closer to my old race weight. Believe me like any girl seeing low numbers on the scale is awesome but wisdom and maturity I also know that sometimes it is not ideal. I also began to quiz everyone on their nutrition and think back to years past and what I did then.
After talking with Liz, we decided that I wasn't getting in nearly enough calories on the bike nor enough electrolytes. Of course I wasn't because I felt sick and bloated and food and water just made me want to yak. We also decided That I was riding too hard and my hr was too high so my body could not properly digest the food
Believe me I stressed about it all week. Was I going to get my first ever DNF? What should I eat, what should I drink?? After a week of stressing, I was walking down in downtown Springfield and passed a beautiful cathedral. I told Stewart I need to go in here. My catholic upbringing took over and I was in there lighting a candle and saying a prayer. Yes praying for a triathlon. I did throw in some prayers for others who needed them for serious stuff so I wouldn't seem too self absorbed. Mostly I prayed for peace and a calm mind
That night I told Stewart I need to not think of this as a race but a long training day. I need to work on my nutrition, dial it back, relax, and if my fitness is there I will still have a good race. My mind was now relaxed and at peace
So I did not get a PR and I was 10-15 mins slower than hoped but the course and conditions were harder than I expected. The swim was a disaster. I am not sure what happens to me swimming in a large body of water but I just suck. I can't swim straight, I can't sight, I find myself swimming towards the bank instead of the buoys. The water was rough very rough and I was having a hard time getting a rhythm. It seemed I still kept running into people almost a mile into it. In fact you swam right at the beginning turned around and headed left. At this point, I swam head onto someone. Liz had told me with your fitness, you can swim this under 40 minutes. The thing is I don't get tired or winded, I just swim slow!! As I hit the turn around bouy for the Olympic distance race, I looked at my watch and saw 33 which I knew under 40 was not going to happen. In fact I swam my slowest half iron swim ever!!! I think it was long but of course I did. I did hear others say it as well. I decided that ironman swim straight down the river was going to be easier.
As I exited the swim I told myself to forget it. Nothing I could do now. Another girl racking her bike must have had the same thoughts because I heard her husband yell don't worry about it. The sad thing is in that mess of s swim I still passed many men who started 4 minutes ahead of me
The bike started and so did the head winds, the rain and a few slight rollers. This was a tougher ride than I anticipated. I saw lightening in the distance and really dark clouds but luckily we just got rain. One thought was in my mind eat and drink. Relax. I was already upset because with the head wind I wasn't riding as fast as I wanted. I let everything settle for about 15 mins and took my first gu. I was also using base salt because Liz said enduralytes were a no goal. Every 5 miles, I was suppose to stick my finger in , get some salt and lick. I also used this 5 miles to drink as well. Of course I drank at other times too but I liked this scheduled drinking. I did great on my fueling took in 3 bottles of water, bottle of scratch, Gus, power bar and honey stinger waffle. I also would feel hungry which was a good thing, my body was processing food. I met a guy on the ride and we rode the whole thing pretty much close. We often would ride side to side talking. This worked well with my dial it back attitude. Yes we could have got a blocking penalty Around mile 10 on a really windy section, my speed started going all over the place. It was showing me biking 3 mph. This proved to be a Godsend. I thought it was the wind blowing against the magnet but whatever the issue my computer was worthless. I had no idea how fast I was riding. Gone was the stress about holding a certain pace or I should be riding faster I just rode which felt right. It also was nice because at one point, I thought I was about 25 miles and realized I was at 37. Felt good on the bike. Caught and passed quite a few girls and people and as I began to approach the end of the ride, I decided since I was having no issues I would eat and prepare for the run. Smartest thing I could have done.
Got off the bike and had to pee ( here comes TMI ) but was thrilled to relieve myself all over myself during transition and at every water stop for the next 5 miles. Boy was I hydrated. Could not have been happier as I knew I fueled correctly.
I never run with a garmin but decided I would this race and once again great new decision. I knew I could run an 8:15-8:30 pace safely. I started out fast and remembered Liz saying everything feels easy the first 3 miles don't do it. With the help of garmin, I backed it down The rain stopped just in time for the run and came sun and humidity. The run was hilly but I could not have felt better. I continued with ice down top, ice over head, water, salt , gu and felt amazing!! The miles clicked off. Never walked the hills, never walked because of heat, tired, etc. Did walk through aid stations as planned. People were dropping like crazy , walking saying it is so hot and I was like thank you Memphis!!! Nothing more encouraging to have everyone cheering u on and saying u look so strong. Continues to pass more and more people to have a guy say I think u r 8th overall. I was more than pleased. It didn't even matter because I was having my race and I was winning. Before I knew it I was done! Came across the line, I was sore but hungry! Yes ... Body was using my food. I didn't need to take any anti nauseous meds as had been the habit
I am ready to tackle the last 9 weeks of ironman. It isn't going to be easy but I don't expect it to be but first a couple of R and R and no training in Chicago!!!