Monday, June 25, 2007
Summitriathlon (Who's idea was this????)
Sunday morning on the 24th of June, 2007 and my alarm clock wakes me at 4:45 a.m. for my first triathlon. I push snooze and go back to sleep. At around 5:45 a.m. I awaken with the realization that I need to get my ass in gear and get over to the race. I start the coffee. While the coffee is brewing I lube Amaterasu. She was degreased the night before. I get dressed and load the car. I look around the kitchen for something to eat and there is absolutely nothing. I planned on picking up a bagel on the way to the race, but since I slept until almost 6 o'clock I don't have time. Transition opens at 6:00. The elite wave start is at 7:00. Gotta go. I grab an extra gel (nice freakin' breakfast) and head out the door.
Since the race took place only a few miles away I arrived quickly and with plenty of time before the start, although I really wished I'd have gotten at least a bagel. I racked my bike, set up my transition and talked with Paulie and Julia in between trips to the latrine and back to my transition to look everything over. Got body marked. Looked at my transition set-up again....and again.
I was glad when the elite wave started because I was tired of obsessing over my transition set-up. A few minutes before my wave's start I got in the water for a brief warm-up. The water felt great, warmer than the air. Paulie and I made our way towards the starting line in the chest deep water. Many thanks to Julia, Paulie's wife, for the pics, her impromptu volunteering, and picking up my race packet.
I lined up for my first competitive swim near the front. There was probably 30 or 40 folks in my wave. I shivered in the crisp morning air waiting for the horn. And we were off. I kept my eyes above the water for much of the start, because I was a bit uncomfortable with the idea of kicking feet near my head. My hands got kicked a few times. I kicked a few hands. The course was an out and back in the lake, around 460 yards. Halfway down the pack started to thin out. At the buoy we had to swim under the lane line that was still in place and swim back in the lap lane. I dove under the lane line and when I came up my heartrate jumped and I was looking for oxygen. I flipped on my back for a few seconds and continued to kick hard while taking in as much oxygen as possible. When I flipped back over things were better. Nobody passed me whilst on my back. Around the 300M mark I started to warm up. I felt really good. Everything was under control. Long smooth strokes. Then we hit the shore. I got out of the water towards the front of my wave. Suprise, Suprise....
T1 went smoothly. Dried my face and feet, grabbed essentials and was off. The bike course was rolling hills with quite a few turns, all at the beginning and end of the loop, and a long, straight, hilly section in the middle. My cadence pickup wasn't working, the only thing I was really concerned about on my computer, but I continued to try and spin a high cadence and forget about it. I took an Espresso Love GU gel halfway through the bike. I rose out of the saddle to crest many of the rollers in order than I could keep my momentum up. I started passing folks from earlier waves here, and I got passed by a couple folks here. On the back half of the loop I was dueling a bit with a young chap not in my age group. He was 22, will never be in my age group, and he'd pass me on the downhills or flats and then I'd take him on the climbs. OK, they weren't really climbs, lets say I'd pass him on the uphills. I felt o.k. about passing him on the uphills because my HR was staying down. Finally with a couple miles left in the bike portion I put him down and didn't see him again....on the bike. 11 mile bike portion in about 35 minutes with a 19.9 mph average pace.
Came into T2 feeling ok. Didn't feel really strong today on the bike, but no major problems. T2 went smooth. Shoes, hat, racebelt....go! A group of very young volunteers gave us water upon entering the run course and I took a cup to pour on the back of my neck and it felt great. I noticed as I was trying to settle into my run pace for this 5K that I felt a little....funny. My legs were a bit heavy, sure....but something else was off and I wasn't sure what...yet. I've done quite a few bike to run transition runs and did a duathlon last year so I thought I knew what to expect out of T2. Ha! right.
As I approached the half mile mark of the 5K run portion I noticed I was feeling a bit queasy. I had to slow my pace a bit as my body was telling me to slow down. I slowed a bit, then on the uphill portion of the run (the run was a bit hilly) big problems began. I felt a side stich coming on. I never get side stiches, but one was coming. It came fast and I continued to slow my pace. Got passed by one or 2 runners. The pain got worse and I kept slowing. The slow pace wasn't helping and the stitch kept getting more painful. So I started to walk and try and stretch. Never have I walked in a race, until today. I was suffering with this side stitch and I still had a couple miles to go. Whilst walking I got passed by a few people and I was trying to stretch my side out. Then, a woman running past me looked over and said "C'mon, you can do it. Just a bit more to go." Well, I kept walking for a few paces and thought I'd try to run slowly. My right side was still hurting, but she was right. I just wanted to get to the finish line. I was running very, very slowly. I got passed by the 22 year old cat that I was leapfrogging on the bike. Those in my wave that were passing me were putting space between us quickly, because I was CRAWLING along.
Then, around the 2 mile mark things started to get better. I was no longer in pain, just uncomfortable.
So, I picked up my pace a bit. I quit getting passed. I kept it here until about the last half mile when I picked it up in hopes I might see someone in my age group that had passed me while I was walking. Nope. My legs were feeling fresh as I approached the finish line from most of the run being taken at such a slow pace. I crossed the finish line at 1:07:??, good for fourth in my AG. For most of the run I was in pain. I attributed all of this to nutrition. I know what a bike to run transition should feel like and that wasn't it. I knew no breakfast was a bad idea, but I didn't think I would be subjected to pain and suffering because of it. Live and Learn. It was my first tri and what kind of experience would it have been if something didn't go wrong?
What does a rational person do after waking up at sunrise on a Sunday morning and inflicting pain upon themselves so that they can evaluate themselves against a clock? Register for the NCN Summer Triathlon on July 8th. Another sprint with a swim in Lake Erie. I've gotta see how I feel on the run if I eat breakfast.