Wednesday, August 13, 2008

5430 Long Course Race Report!!!

Some people have asked what "5430," is...well, it's the elevation of Boulder, CO, and it's also the name of the company that organizes the race...and "long course," just refers to the Half Ironman distance. I had a few discussions with people over the weekend about races that are "M-dot" (or have the Ironman logo) and those that are referred to as "long course, or just the half iron distance". Basically, Ironman is a corporate name, and some races are "owned" by Ironman and others are not. I've raced in only two "Ironman" "owned" races and they were: Ironman Florida and Vineman 70.3. The other half ironman distances i've raced have all been individually owned. As one would imagine there is a lot of debate about racing a unique/mom-pop race such as the 5430 long course versus Vineman 70.3 . I know quite a few people who don't do races owned by Ironman because they don't care for the corporation and it's rules and its greediness. I personally like to race the mom-pop races, but, that doesn't mean I won't sign up for an "M-dot" race, I just like the more grass-roots races!

On to my report =0.

I made a few mistakes in this race, some of which I could control, others that could have been prevented if I hadn't made the initial mistakes. I'll start with the good of course!

As I wrote in my last post, racing with my sisters was awesome, nothing like lining up to the swim and looking over at Trinette and we both teared up, and then we hit each other and made fun of one another for getting all teary was awesome warming up in the swim with both of them. Many times I go to races and people are so focused and truthfully, I need to chat to be distracted, so they kept me in good company!

Pre race: woke up at 4:07 a.m. (not kidding, Trinette refused to set the alarm for 4:00, so 4:07 it was). I packed up all my stuff and grabbed a bagel and put honey/jam on it and grabbed a banana and we were out the door. We made a quick turn around since I had forgotten my inhaler and I was NOT going to race in Boulder without some extra lung support!

Warm up: I got to run around for a bit and my legs felt awesome, SO excited!! I went to the bathroom twice and had success so no worries for the run later! I had already eaten my bagel and a few bites of my banana. This was mistake #1-didn't eat enough before the race. Seriously, I ate like a Lender's sized bagel, so a small, all in all, maybe 250 calories. Bad Mer. Sometimes you learn the hard way.

Swim: 35:32 The absolute smoothest swim start I have ever experienced. Absolutely no one next to me hit me, I barely felt anyone else in the water with me, we had a wide swim start. Sun was shining right in my eyes, but it was slightly overcast, so not too badly. I found a rhythm pretty quickly and I felt like I was moving right along and it was a huge bonus that I had minimal acid reflux from the banana bites I took =0. I felt like I was flying in the water....and I exited without a problem. Come to find out later that I swam four minutes slower than Vineman. I shouldn't compare myself to others, but I was furious with my swim. However, when I look at other people's times, they all seem to be in my time range 30-35, in fact only one girl in my age group swam below a 30, so anyway.....i'm over it. Well sort of. I'm still annoyed...but moving on.

Transition: 1:52 AWESOME! Ok, so most people could care less about transitions, but let me tell you when you're typically at 2:00-3:00 minute transition person a 1:52 feels like buttah.

Bike: 2:41:49, Avg. 20.8 mph WOOHOO! This has been my fastest bike split ever, and I absolutely loved this course. The first 10 miles are a slow incline, like just enough to know you're going uphill, but in a car you'd probably think it was primarily flat. So, the first 10 miles I had a hard time going above 16-17mph, but then, I hit the first downhill and I freakin flew...I hit 40 mph downhill (though my sister Dawn hit 42..she rocks, and Trinette said her bike computer wasn't working!)....anyway, I was stoked to be flying. I tucked my head down and crouched as low as I could on the descent to gain speed. Came down the hill and hammered. My mindset on the bike: "Ok, are your legs tired?-NO? MOVE." "Is this gear too easy? YES. Harder gear and PUSH." I made sure at every single second on this bike leg that I was pushing....hard. My heart rate monitor didn't register. Why?

Because I was using my Suunto heart rate strap with my Garmin watch. I had grabbed the wrong strap leaving San Diego, so my heart rate never registered. Whatever, I had the the Garmin taking my mph and my pace for the run. Not a problem.

On the bike I drank: 2 full bottles of water with 2 scoops of carbo pro mixed with 1 Nuun tablet. So, each bottle had about 220 calories. Mistake #2: I finished my bike in under 3 hours, so I barely drank the 3rd bottle. So, that's another 220 calories I didn't take in before the run.

Coming off the bike, I left my shoes clipped in, put my feet on top of them and road into transition. Came off the bike, looked around, a few bikes in the area, but not many. As soon as I dismounted my bike, my head was feeling spacey and I was feeling out of it, but I figured it was just typical transition feeling "high heart rate and trying to get over to my spot to change into my running shoes.

Transition: 1:07 WAHOO-really excited about this short transition time! However, I forgot to grab my water bottle which had a Nuun tablet in it, little did I know how badly I would need that little burst of water! I pushed on my running shoes, threw on my visor and I was off!

I saw my dad immediately, that perked me up a bit, but I wasn't seeing very straight at this point, trying to get my Garmin (my watch/silly device to keep my pace). I need to figure out how to pace myself correctly so I don't waste time with my watch. Anyway, I start the run and saw my mom and Jeff, the little kiddo's and several of their friends. It was so cool to see everyone! I did my very very best to wave and give huge head just was feeling really "out of it."

RUN: 1:56:49 (8:55 pace). UGH. I shook off any bad feelings and focused on keeping my legs on a high turnover and the first mile went rather slow, but I just attributed it to shaking off the bike and trying to get my head focused.

I won't even go into the "mile-by-mile" description of the run, but it went something like this:

Running, looking at my Garmin and seeing 8:55 for a pace, getting pissed at running so slow, pushing harder to run 8:35, biting into a wet sponge that they handed out and discovering it was coated with some sort of distgusting film-note to self "sponges are literally just to keep cool, not to hold any water for drinking.", gulping water and gatorade at every aid station and realizing I didn't have enough calories in me, getting angry with myself for lack of calories, eating shot bloks like nobody's business but realizing that what I really needed was Chili's french fries or some serious calories, I plodded on while my head was pounding and my legs felt like huge lead weights. My head was still doing something funny, the entire time, that feeling usually I shake after the first mile....and it was so weird, my legs felt great during warm up.

The run was two loops, both loops were just as miserable. I've gotten over it, but you know, it's just frustrating when I think back to hill repeats or just.....god, training and everything and then you get into a race and you're thinking "why are my legs dead, i've done this so many times."

However, a miracle happened on the 1st loop, and if you're at all about "privacy while going to the bathroom," or you get shy, or think athlete's with bathroom issues are weird or you think i'm really "dainty" because I like to shop...then don't read the small print below......

I made the conscious decision NO stopping at porto potties...however, I couldn't pee on the bike and not while running. So, there in broad daylight, in the middle of the run path. No trees, no bushes. In fact I was kind of on a berm sort of sandwiched between water and a wide open field......I stopped, pulled over, put my back to the water, and leaned over like I was stretching and peed. And......I didn't even care. I was feeling so "out of it" and loopy, I actually had two guys pass me and I actually thought "Maybe they'll think i'm cool since I just peed on myself, i'm really tough."

Rest of story read below:
I tried to wave hard and smile for a strong finish and I totally appreciate that my family was standing/sitting out there forever and the last thing they need is an irritated athlete grunting or looking annoyed!

I tried to smile as I crossed the finish, slowed down and I wanted to cry. I felt like I had such a great race and then it all fell apart because of stupid calories. I get that.

Jeff was there to give me a hug at the finish and I was so happy to be done and he was so excited for me and we went over to my parents to say hi and give hugs. I was mid-sentence talking to my sister's friend and I said "I have to sit down, i'm going to throw up."

I've never felt like that after a race. The entire rest of the day I had an awful headache, I drank a ton of water and peed a lot, but that "spacey" feeling never went away until I finally went to sleep that night.

My sisters and Amanda think I may have had some altitude sickness, which i've had a bit of before, but usually it's a small headache that disappears with water. This was pretty bad, just spacey and feeling nauseous. Lesson learned: eat more calories before and during the race.

Final Stats: Finish Time: 5:17:08, 10th in Age Group.

I like races when I learn something, especially because it reminds me that I don't "have it down," as far as race routines and I should have accounted for the altitude and added more calories and water. I didn't want altitude to be a factor in the race and it wouldn't have been as much as if I had prepared better!!! Dave was saying on the phone after the race how awesome I did, and then he mentioned how I had just done Vineman 3 weeks before. I don't even really think that way, I don't account for a race 3 weeks ago, in my head it's already gone, but it was really cool to be able to race both and i'm mostly excited about my performance in both.

Nothing can beat racing with my family though and i'd rather have that any day than a lonely "just another race."

I'm doing great, back in training full swing and looking forward to counting down to Ironman =0. Almost 3 months!


Anonymous said...

YOU did soo great, Mer! But, I know how frustrating it is when you physically feel soo good but the calories are off...and it is amazing how just a couple of hundred of calories in the deficiet comes back to bite you in the butt! Good practice and lesson for IM...but your race was great and GOOD for you to stick it out - you still did GREAT! AND congrats to your sisters too!! Enjoy your R&R (well, you are probably done w/ that by now!). :) JEN H.

Lauren said...

You did awesome! As always, you learned something and that is so important. I am still amazed by what you can do. I am so glad to finally read the race report :) I can not believe Iron Man is only 3 months away.

Lauren said...

You did awesome! As always, you learned something and that is so important. I am still amazed by what you can do. I am so glad to finally read the race report :) I can not believe Iron Man is only 3 months away.

Jennifer Yake said...

Wow Mer.....that's an awesome race. Way to hang in there and salvage the day. Finishing with your sisters must have been priceless. It sounds like you managed to throw down a great time even if you could have gone faster with a few more calories and maybe some more time to adjustment to the altitude. You ripped it up.

Gould said...

it sounds like you still did awesome despite some mishaps along the way! i suspect you probably need more calories to race at altitude but you handled it so well! you're so tough! i would not worry about your swim - it sounds to me like the course was long in that regard! way to kick ass on the bike!!!

you have such an amazing attitude. :)

we need a celebratory fro-you and some fun easy riding time. :)

Gould said...

hhehehehe. i wrote fro-you. :) way to spell check that one!

Dave said...

Sounds like a great race, with some things to learn for next time. Even with the issues on the run, you still hung in there.

And I laughed out loud at the thought of biting into one of those sponges! :)