Monday. Well my first triathlon of the year is over. Can’t say it was particularly pretty but all in all I made the most of it and my biggest goals were met.
Before I start on my race story have to brag about my friend/coach Jac who came in 7th in her age group. They called her name and gave her a plaque. Very cool. As I was going out on my run she was already done and cheering.
My friend Melissa made her big come back to racing as well. Two babies one almost 4 and one only 15 months and Mommy Meliss kicked some butt on her first Olympic in six years? I would hate to see what she would do with a bike that didn’t weigh a ton and without mountain bike tires….
The rest of my friends all had good races as well. Everyone had something they were happy with. Everyone thought the swim was hard but they all fought through it. Was a lovely bunch to hang with.
My number one goal for the race was to finish without feeling sick. My number two goal was to finish the race with being able to function the next day. What point would there be to finishing the triathlon and then being too tired to do anything for another two weeks? Right now I am spending considerable time trying to find my boundaries. How hard can I push without killing myself? Where is the wall? How do I get around it?
I had to keep reminding myself that I was not going to have the same results as 2007. That would be ridiculous. I had to keep reminding myself of that every 15 minutes because no sooner would I think “new year, new race” I would be doing all my but-what-ifs… .. This race was about relearning how to pace and to let the results reveal themselves. “Start where you are” and all that. For all intents and purposes I’m a different person now and I’m starting all over. That’s the mature me. The immature me was thinking, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna crush it, I’m going to be better than I ever was.” What ridiculous games I play in my head. I’m still carrying a lot of extra weight right now. I haven’t been training as long and hard, I am battling medical issues I didn’t battle then. Why oh why would I expect the same if not better results? Because I’m a nut job that’s why.
THE WAITING GAME
They start the triathlon with athletes going off in groups also known as waves based on age or some other characteristic. I race in a category called Athena (women over 150 pounds). The race was starting at 7 a.m. and my wave was scheduled to go off at 8:51. They close transition at 6:45 a.m. (transition is where you put your bike and gear and transition from swim to bike and bike to run.) Once transition is closed you cannot get back in until you are in the race and finish the swim. So obviously you want to make sure it is set up correctly.
We were all staying at the Pier Hotel which turned out to be a great location and really nice management. The hotel itself is a very old and shabby but I actually liked it. My room was nice and roomy with an old fashioned claw tub (original), fridge, microwave and internet. And the location was great. Melissa and I were up at 4 a.m. because we couldn’t sleep so we went down to transition, set up and came back to the hotel to eat and I took a nap. Yes I took a real nap — over 30 minutes I went out like a light and I needed it. (I had been very, very tired the day before and had not been not looking too well. Melissa was worried about me saying she never saw me like that — I kept saying, yeah this is how it is now. It will blow over.) After my race morning nap, I felt much better. Definitely felt well enough to do the triathlon.
We went down to the beach about 7:45 to see Melissa off. Then I saw Jac off. Then I waited for my wave to go off. And I waited. They announced that they were holding up the race and redoing the swim course due to wind. I guess it was too choppy far out and people were getting pulled out of the water. So they stopped for about 30 minutes and moved the buoys to shorten the course from .9 of a mile to .6. Instead of going off at 8:51 I went off at 9:21. The pros were finished as we sat on the beach waiting to start. I sat in the shade on the beach waiting for my start and had a nice long chat with a gal from Florida and have a long list of open water swims for my friend Deanne to do.
My swim took me 23.55 minutes which is about on par with what I usually swim. Figuring it that had been .9 instead of .6 it would come out to about 36 minutes and that’s in my ball park. It’s apples and oranges though, different course, different length, different conditions. You can’t really compare.
I felt fine in the water. No wetsuit for me (because the like the rest of my clothes it doesn’t fit!) and the water was really warm and beautiful so I probably wouldn’t have worn one anyway for that distance. I think they said it was 74 degrees. I tried to swim a little harder because I knew it was a shorter distance. On the way back I was fighting some current but I ended up with a couple of fellow blue caps at the end and we swam into the finish together. That made me feel not so terrible. I was not the last in my wave. I felt like I always do coming out of the water — wanting to swim more. I really love open water swimming and I felt like everyone else got the full Sundae and I got a small scoop of vanilla with a few sprinkles. I had to remind myself that I got a nice swim in the day before for a half hour and also the day before that (the day when Rob and Anne were being chased by a dolphin!)
Transition 1 (swim to bike). 4:26 I have no idea why this took so long. I didn’t even put socks on this time. I think it is because I took the time to sunscreen myself and then I had a long run out of transition.
The bike, the bike, the bike. For me it’s all about the stupid bike. I measure everything about my fitness on the bike. I kept reminding myself to not expect the same result as last time. Frankly not sure how I ever did 19 miles per hour last time. But once I was out on the course I remembered how. It is flat as a pancake. About 10 miles in I started to explore pushing it a little harder. I wasn’t sure exactly how hard to push to have something left to run with so I just focussed on a nice cadence and noticed that my speedometer spent a lot of time saying 17. There were some downhill grades where I saw 21 a lot, but for the most part I saw 17. My final time was 1:25 which comes out to about 17.4 and six minutes slower than last time. I’d like to say it was the headwinds but I remember there being a lot of headwind last time too. I’m just slower now. I’ll get there.
The part that meant the most to me was about mile 10. I was hunkered down (in aero the entire race), starting to feel like maybe I could push a little harder and I was overcome with that old familiar feeling. I LOVE THIS. I love, love, love to bike. I love to bike like this. I love to race triathlon style. I love the goal, I love the people ahead of me, I love passing people, I admire people who pass me. I love playing tag with a couple of people. I love how my legs feel when they are in that perfect cadence and I just love how I feel when I’m doing this. In almost all of my triathlons I have this moment on the bike. A feeling of being totally present — one with my endorphins and happy as a clam.
No incidents on the bike. I was cautious on the corners (saw a couple of bleeders out there). I practiced my shifting. Coach George in my head to increase my cadence before I shifted to a harder gear — something I don’t really do. For the 1:25 minutes I was out there I really tried to focus on that and accelerating out of the turns. A lot of turns on this course. No hills but a lot of headwinds and a lot of turns.
T2 (transition from bike to run): 4:55. Another slow transition but I think this just may be my lot. This time I paused to put socks on before the run. Balega socks. Coach Earl told me about these socks and I can’t say enough about them. Balega, Balega, Balega.
My run was pretty miserable. It was basically a walk. I walked 85% and ran 15%. Here is how it went. Hot, couldn’t breathe. I was sucking deep, deep wind. Made it to an aid station, covered myself with 4 cups of water. One on my head. One down my front. One down my back, One in my face. A nice breeze would come and with the water I would cool down enough and my breathing would calm down and I would start a nice little jog and think I can do this, I can do this. Within 3 minutes the water was dried up, the heat was killing me and I was sucking wind again. Walked to the aid station. Repeat.
My heart rate was fine — 138 most of the time which means I should have been running but I didn’t trust how hard I was breathing. The heavy breathing made me nervous that I might be doing something bad to myself and I didn’t want to end up sick at the end. My legs felt fine. It was my chest and I decided I needed to respect my limits and my inner fear. Whenever I could, I jogged. I walked mostly. It was not a good run but for a walk it wasn’t bad, lol. 1 hour and 32 minutes. This was a far cry from my last showing at St. A’s in ’07 where I did an 11:35 (still not where I would like to be). This was a 14 something. Total time 1:32. Walking pace. Oh well.
After the race I felt okay and that was the big goal accomplished. I did not feel sick, I did not feel nauseous, I was not in pain, I was not going to pass out. None of the symptoms from the previous week at Hook mountain were there.
Things I did right. I’m on week 2 of the mega vitamin doses.
I took my mega doses before I went to bed. I think that maybe all the iron is making it hard for me to digest some of my food in the morning. This way I figured it would be out of the way.
I stuck to almost all liquids. Heed seems to be easier on my stomach. It tastes blah but I don’t get any queasy when I take it.
- 6:00 For breakfast I had a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter (compliments of the hotel).
- 6:30 banana.
- I drank another bottle of water.
- 8:30 I took a gel and drank a small bottle of orange gatorade thinking I was going off at 8:51. Nothing else until I got out of the water.
- 1 gel in transition before getting on the bike.
- I did two bottles on the bike (more concerned about getting enough fluids than calories). I drank 2 bottles in 1:25 which is good (Normally I drink about 1 bottle an hour). Each bottle had 100 calories so I got in 200 cals for the bike and more importantly, plenty of water.
- On run I carrried another bottle of Heed with another 100 calories and drank that during my run.
Felt fine. No bonking. That was enough calories for the day.
Sleep. I got six hours the night before plus a nap. I think the nap did more than the six hours.
Total time 3:30. Add another 12 minutes if I had done the complete swim. Eh, not great but not unexpected….
Biggest goal was met. I completed the race. Today I feel 100% okay. Will need a nap but that’s okay. Muscles are fine. Ego is okay. Love for the sport of triathlon renewed.
Abundantly grateful for the opportunities to do what I do and for the fantastic friends I have to do them with. I was so happy to share this experience with friends from all stages of my triathlon “career.”
I’m starving, time for brekkie.
Name: Constance Carpenter
Race number 3578
Total Time: 3:30.49
mile 1 13.40.05
mile 2 14.34.25
mile 3 15.34.58
mile 4 15.03.27
mile 5 15.53.28
mile 6.2 17.28.60