IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Steelhead 70.3 Race Report 2006

AUGUST 5, 2006

This race sort of snuck up on me. It was over a month since my last race, which would normally mean I’d be completely nervous, however, the rest of my life has been so hectic, and I hardly had time to worry about Steelhead.

We arrived the afternoon before the race with just enough time to pick up my packet and do a little expo shopping before the first course talk. Kristin and I spent a few hours together that afternoon and it seemed she was much more calm this day than the weeks leading up to the race…this was good. After the course talk, we hopped in the lake to test out the water. It seemed too warm for me, but they already told us wetsuits would be allowed. Then we took a short bike ride, just to make sure everything was working properly before we racked the bikes for the evening.

The hotel was a dump, but does it really matter? As long as it’s clean and QUIET, I’m fine. And being close to the race site wasn’t so bad, either! After a quick, excellent dinner with some friends at Schu’s, we headed back to the hotel where I meticulously laid everything out for the next morning.

What should have been a solid 9 hours of sleep turned into stressful worrying about oversleeping! I was up at least once an hour looking at the clock. Why do I do this before EVERY SINGLE race? Well, 4:30 came around quickly, but I wasn’t sleeping much anyway, so let’s get the show on the road! I noticed it was rather warm out for this time in the morning and I thought we would be in for a really hot day. This comes back to bite me later.

Everything moved along quickly and I was in transition setting up by 5:15. The only problem was, the girl next to me on the rack (who was supposed to rack REALLY close to me) hadn’t shown up yet. I was afraid to walk away because I knew when she would come in to set up her bike, my stuff was going to get trashed. I set up my stuff, walked from swim in to my bike, to bike out and from bike in back to my bike. Easy. I saw many, many people I knew and found it hard to focus. As much as I love racing with my friends, I sometimes get caught up in chatter and forget what I’m really there to do: RACE. I looked for Russ, who I promised to give some salt tablets, but I never found him. It’s time to go get on the shuttle…girl next to me hasn’t shown up. Oh well, I thought, I can just hope for the best!

The shuttle to the swim start was very quiet. I talked to the young guy from Colorado sitting next to me and was happy we were about to get things started. The time went quickly as I had to get in line for the rest room, get my wetsuit on, find my husband and get on the pier for my wave. There was little time to worry about the race.

I’m not a big fan of jumping off the pier. Sure, it’s different, but I’m always afraid the person/people behind me are going to jump on me. And what if my goggles fall off? And what if I jump on someone else? Well, all that didn’t matter much as the gun went off, I jumped in, and it went pretty smoothly. Within 200 yards, I knew there was some stiff competition out there. I knew I was not in the lead. I knew there were at least 3-4 women ahead of me, maybe more. OK, just chill, find someone to draft off of and conserve for the rest of the race. It’s not an Ironman, but this is still a really long race. A fast swim doesn’t really buy you much.

I got hit a few times, but found a good draft and stuck with it for about the whole second half of the swim. The run from the swim to T1 was BRUTAL! Running uphill in sand is just painful on the quads. I was so happy to reach the boardwalk. I passed several men, just walking to T1, probably trying to catch their breath. I got to my bike, the girl who was supposed to rack right next to me was a no show! Sweet! I made what I felt was a pretty quick transition and off I went!

My game plan for the bike was to give it maybe 80%. Stay in the heart rate zone 3. Don’t make it hurt. Conserve for the run. Ride comfortably. I even had a goal time I was shooting for. There were LOTS of pack riding and LOTS of drafting and I didn’t see one official. Women I would jockey back and forth with would finally pass me…because they’d be drafting of a couple of guys. HEY, I thought, ANYONE CAN DRAFT AND PASS ME, YOU CHEATERS!!! How frustrating! It was tempting to jump on the back wheel of these people, but you know, I didn’t want to be a cheater. What’s the point??

The bike was great. Steelhead is really a nice course, with a mostly flat bike on roads that are so smooth, you wonder how come the roads here in Illinois are so crappy. As I neared the end of the bike, I was right on my goal time. I was happy, headed in for a very quick T2, heard my husband yell some encouraging words to me, and I was off on the run.

The beginning of the run felt slow. But the runs always feel that way for me, and I was pleasantly surprised when I got to mile 1 and I realized I wasn’t all that slow!! It’s a mind game, these races, and I need to remind myself of that some times. But as the run went on, the miles got slower…and slower…and I was reduced to a walk around mile 10. What had started out as a great day became miserable and felt like torture. Though I never felt like quitting, I felt like the end was never going to come. I became dizzy and nauseous and my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. And it wasn’t that hot. In fact, I remember earlier in the run thinking about how PERFECT the temperature was.

In looking back, that perfect temperature was my enemy. I thought it was going to be so hot, I loaded myself up on the salt tablets. The truth is, I probably OD’d on them. I didn’t know there was such a thing, but there is. And how I felt toward the end of that run verifies that little fact. I kept making little “deals” with myself. OK, run to that next guard rail…or you can run to the next aid station. Why do I DO THIS TO MYSELF, I thought.

I saw many friends on the out and back run and they looked great. I knew it was just a matter of time before most of them caught me…and several of them did. But I finished. With my 3rd slowest ever half ironman time. Am I happy about it? No. Am I angry? No. It is what it is. I can’t change it. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful course and I was able to finish injury-free. All I can do is focus on doing better next time…yeah, next time!


RT said...

Excellent report - congratulations on hitting your swim and bike good. Sometimes the run just catches up with you and sometimes you beat it.

Keep working on it and keep posting. Just need to remind the old guys (like me) to check your blog.

karen said...

Cool, I'm the first to comment on your blog. I was amazed to hear about your salt tablet problem. No matter how many races we do, there's always something else to learn (too bad we are always learning the hard way!)

I have had several bad races because of heat. I've been trying to take Enduralytes on training rides and it seems to help. But taking the capsules on a training ride is easy when you can stop and take your time digging them out of your bag. How do you manage the salt tablets during the race? How do you decide how many to take, especially after this race?

Love the Blog - keep it up!

RunBubbaRun said...

Nice race report, yeah, how tempting it is to draft, I think you only cheat yourself if you do it. What's the fun in that if you do that.

I think the nutrition thing is the hardest part of the long distance triathlons. Let me know if you figure it out.

keep posting, aquagirl

Sheila said...

Congrats on another HIM finish! They never get easier, do they?

Sand running sucks! Just like at Racine, although for me it is more of a calf-fatiguing thing.

On the salt thing--I sweat very concentrated, but unless it's in the upper 80's, I can get away with 1 Succeed per hour. Or, I might do 2 per hour on the bike and then none on the run (for a 1/2). I do make sure that in the 2 days leading up to the race that I add a bit more salt to my food, and the day before I drink extra Gatorade instead of clear water, so that my body is all loaded up before the race starts. This allows me to "fudge" a bit on the salt intake during the race, but I always carry enough assuming I will take 2 per hour.

For Karen, I use what are commonly known as "crack baggies" for the salt tabs. These are small Ziploc bags you can buy at a craft store. I buy the ones that are 1 1/2 x 2 1/2". One baggie can hold at least 12 tabs. You don't seal the baggie, and then you put it into your Bento Box or bike jersey open side up. And then while riding you just grab the bag and squeeze 1 or 2 tabs out. Just make sure you don't squeeze on the locking portion of the bag, because you don't want it sealed. Cheap and easy!

Crack baggies are also good to put things like Swedish Fish or other goodies in them that you can tuck into your running shorts pockets (assuming you use the long distance shorts by Race Ready) for an IM.

Quinn said...

Nice report. I feel you regarding racing with folks that you know. I too found it tough to focus.