Friday, July 25, 2008

I am half of an ironman

In true Tri-Rob fashion I am going to post this in installments.
I am purposefully going to be a little long for my own sake. I suppose there are multiple purposes for blogs but this particular report is mostly for me to be able to go back and remember, as well as to fix the things that fell apart.

Spirit of Racine Half Iron Triathlon: Race Report- Part 1

Pre-Race: I left home at 6:45 am on Saturday morning. Mr KT was on a church mission trip and so I was flying solo on this one. I drove the 8 1/2 hours to Racine, WI and listened to Harry Potter (#7) on my ipod. It was uneventful really, until I got to some of the county roads just before Racine. Apparently, Jimmy Buffett and all of his best 40 to 60 year old friends were having a "little" outdoor concert Saturday night. The good news is, they were ready to have a good time, the bad news is, they were way drunk at 3:00 in the afternoon. I, of course, was driving against the grain and the sheriffs were annoyed. I thought they might detour me (problem, because I would have gotten soooo lost). They just directed me on through the chaos and told me to be very careful as people were randomly getting out of their cars into the on-coming traffic and then falling over. Hmmmm, can you say, "over the legal limit"? Anywho, I drove very slowly by one particularly rowdy group of concert-goers, who were definitely in the vicinity of my parents age and heard whooping and yelling, I looked over instinctively and no kidding, I got flashed by some guy who was twice my age. Ewww. That was not ok. His buddies of course, thought it was hilarious. This happened not once, but twice. Seriously, ew.

I got into town and found packet pickup. This was the only time that I was seriously overwhelmed and extremely nervous. It was loud and there were a ton of people. I had to drive through a shady part of the city to get there and then park and walk alone. I couldn't figure out how to get to the transition area from there and was moments from tears. It was the only time on the entire trip that I desperately wished I had someone with me. I made a few phone calls to familiar voices and calmed myself down. From then on, I was fine. I saw Jenny and Mike as I was headed to drop off my bike and chatted with them briefly. They had graciously offered one of the two queen beds in their hotel room the week prior, due to Orbitz and my hotel totally dropping the ball. I felt a little uneasy about it at first but finally gave in so that I didn't have to sleep in my Saturn! (Well, that and Mike assured me they practiced good hygiene and didn't snore). They were very easy going and just plain awesome. That initial meeting is always a little awkward but after the formalities, things were more comfortable.

I dropped my bike off, put plastic over my aero bars and bike computer and got my timing chip. I climbed back in the car, found the hotel, and went and got a little dinner (pizza, the pre-race dinner of champions). Don't dis it, it seems to work for me.

I spent the next hour and a half going through all my gear again. Checking and rechecking everything including my nutrition to make sure I had exactly what I needed and it was exactly how I wanted it. I felt like I was being a bit on the OCD side but it was making me feel confident and that was what I needed.

Jenny and Mike came back from dinner and we hung out and laughed and talked triathlon and everything else under the sun. Here was the quote of the trip:
Mike: "My only goal for this race is not to chafe." Hahahaha! Not something that I would ever have thought about... EVER. They got organized, pulled their nutrition out of a tackle box like case with a combination lock on it (dang teenage boys eating all the sport beans), and we were all ready for bed.

Morning came early and I was up, dressed, and ready for breakfast by 5 am. I have discovered that pancakes with butter and syrup are the perfect pre-race meal for me. I am a little weird about food and I had made my own pancakes and had them in my cooler with butter and syrup from home. I popped two of them in the toaster and breakfast was ready and very yummy.

Race morning was very foggy. I followed Jenny and Mike to transition. (Thanks for not taking me down the bike path, Mike).
Walking to transition.

Looking at the swim course (what you can't see it) from halfway down the beach at 7:30 am.

A picture taken in almost the same spot at 3:00 pm after the race was over. Quite a difference!

Foggy was an understatement. Originally the first wave (pro men) was to leave at 7:00. We were on a 15 min rolling delay and I didn't leave until 8:30 or so. In addition, to the fog, the water was very cold, read 55 degrees. I am not exactly sure of the reasoning but the race director moved the entire swim course in. We walked a mile and a quarter down the beach and then swam back to transition down the shore line. I lined up in the front quarter of swimmers although I should have moved up even more. I heard the siren go off, took a deep breath, and ran into the cold water. I hadn't gotten in earlier, I knew it was cold, nothing was going to change that. The run out to deeper water was longer than I had anticipated. I dolphin dove under some of the waves. That first moment when your head submerged was shocking. It didn't take my breath away but I was definitely glad for all the ice bathes I had taken prior to this race. I pulled my wetsuit out a bit to let some water in and took off swimming. Although the race director swears it was safe, I couldn't see from buoy to buoy. I was trying to stay straight, follow some feet and try to sight as best I could. The water temp was significantly lower than the air temperature or my body's temperature and that caused some fogging issues with the goggles. The thing that I was most surprised by though was not the cold or the fog, it was the waves and the chop. I heard someone say as we were walking over how calm the water was but this Midwestern girl felt like I was bobbing around in the ocean. I was breathing to the right only because the waves were coming from the left and I was getting a little green around the gills as I felt myself rise and fall with the water. We were also pretty shallow. I could see the sand at the bottom although don't think I could have touched for the most part. There were men who were walking and I would only have had to swim in about 5-7 strokes to touch the bottom. There were a couple of times where I got swam over and got pushed under and used the bottom of the lake to push myself back up to the surface. Speaking of, men, I just have to tell you... it does not make you more manly to swim over top of the females in the wave ahead of you. I didn't have much clean water but I wasn't clobbering anyone. Girls, as a group, just seem to be less violent in a swim start. If I take a stroke and end up with my hand on top of someones swim cap, I am not going to pull, I will pick up my hand pull back gently and stroke with the other arm. I had a handful of men in the wave behind me literally dunk me and swim over the top. It doesn't frazzle me or make me nervous but I do think it is ridiculous. We aren't even racing each other. Besides you are going to smoke me on the bike so cut it out. *Stepping down off soapbox.*

Anywho, finished the swim a little dizzy but no worse for the wear.

SWIM: 1.2 miles
1:32/100 yds average

Had a 200 yd run up the beach to get to transition. Had a little trouble getting my wetsuit off because my hands were so cold but once I got that taken care of I slid into my tri top, cycling shoes, helmet, and clear lens glasses, grabbed my nutrition and was off.
T1: 3:22

Bike: The bike out of transition was an immediate up hill. People were falling all over. Hello people, check your gears before the bike starts. The bike ride for me was really uneventful. I tried to watch my RPE to keep myself solid throughout. There was some wind but it never seemed to affect my ride. I felt strong on the bike and although I did get passed by dude after dude and some girls too, I had to remind myself to stay steady and strong because there was quite a run after that. I stayed between 18 and 21 mph on all the flats. I would say the course really was quite flat. There were some rollers but nothing huge to climb. I ate 1/2 Snickers Marathon bar immediately which was not part of the plan. Then every 30 minutes I ate. 1:00 - 1/2 bag of fruit punch sport beans (yes JWim, they turn your entire mouth including teeth bright red), 1:30 - 1/2 bag of Cheezit Gripz, 2:00 1/2 bag of CheezIts, 2:30 stomach starting to hurt so skipped the solid food. In addition, I drank Gatorade Endurance every 15 minutes from bike bottle and water throughout from CamelBak. More on nutrition later. The bike was bumpy, my shoulders were starting to complain of all the jarring they were enduring. Nothing too exciting to report. The first 2 hours went really fast and the 3 seemed to drag a bit more. Cruised into transition and was set to start running.
Bike: 56 miles
18.7 mph average

Next, T2, run, nutrition and wrap up.


blink said...

We want the rest of the story, C'mon give it to us already, sheeesh! Sandbagger.

HIM sandbagger ;)

bigmike600 said...

O.K. 2 things.

First at 3PM the race was over for you speedsters. I, however, was still "racing" (I use the term racing very loosely).

Second (and most important) chafing goal was NOT MET. I need a better plan.

Third (and ever more important) You were really great to meet and in person and it was our pleasure to be able to help you out.


Jamie said...

Great race report (so far)!

You eat the wierdest things on the bike. Do you just stash little baggies of snacks in your pocket? Haha.

Mark said...

Very solid bike ride, and good job on dealing with the swim conditions and idiots!