Monday, June 29, 2009

BSLT Race Report from a somewhat cranky middle-aged woman..

My tri friends are the only real friends who would tell me to STFU about how crappy my time was at BSLT 70.3 yesterday so I will refrain from being negative here. I will do as my granddaughter Lane says: "I am not complaining, I am just telling the facts here Grandpa" (yes this is a four year old going on forty)..

We arrived in Lubbock on Friday kind of late but managed to get in bed very early, like before the sun went down, so as to get that "night before the night before good night's sleep". H & I were well, how do I say two really, really cranky triathletes the couple of days leading up to the race. Which can make for a fun ride or really LONG ride to Lubbock in the car...We both kept catching ourselves and apologizing because it was all so pre-race nerves and we knew it but kept being mean anyway..we managed to get to the start line without killing each other so I consider that a small success alone..I am so spoiled. I am use to H being the "Observer"
and me being the pre-race "bitch" so this both being bitches thing is fairly new to me! I love that he is racing the end sharing the stories with my partner in life is, well, the best!

Saturday, I rushed us out to Buffalo Springs Lake as early in the morning as I could because the heat index was about 100*. This had made me panic the few days before as I watched the fickle weather reports for race day: one day it was 96*, the next 88* and rain..Made me nuts.
On Saturday it was REALLY F*ing HOT!! So I took a test drive in my long sleeved wetsuit in the really warm water and was immediately too warm. On to my Point Zero Skin suit that I have never really worn in a race before. It felt infinitely better and more comfortable. So I went back and forth as to which to wear. It seems that most folks think the wetsuit is faster but I do not think I am really faster in it at all. So I called Coach Eric, who encouraged me to go with the Skinsuit, since I do not train in a wetsuit and swim just fine without it..thus not overheating..OK, I finally made the wetsuit! We ran around the course, biked a bit. It was windy (of course) but this seemed to cool things off a bit so I expected wind. The run was HOT, as expected..OK, we are in for a HOT race I told myself...

We connected up with GeekGirl, S. Baboo, Johnny Tri and some other folks from here and there for a great pasta dinner at Orlando's in Lubbock. We all laughed at the weather and excitedly talked about running, racing and stuff.. Off to bed at again an ungodly early time, then at 3:30 AM Sunday AM, the phone rang and H announced, It's race time!! I convinced him to get to the transition area early since I ha
ve been stuck in the clusterf*k of cars trying to get into the parking lot before and knew how stressful this can be. H relented and gave into my OCD, although his tendency is to wake up later and show up a little more on time. So we were at the parking lot in the front row, in the dark at 4:30 AM. I had my handy flashlight but did not see the cute little ant hill we were standing on and got bit HARD by a damn little ant in my foot. That hurt for some time..The usual PIA stuff..could not get air in my Zipps (oh they're OK, they feel full after my tune-up, etc), should I drink this, eat this gel...on and on..

At last I realized the wind had picked the dark I could see the lake stirring up quite a bit and in the distance lightening..uh oh, there is a storm a brewing! It felt humid but not hot yet. The wind was whipping pretty good by the time we were setting up in one seemed to care in this bunch. No one was even talking about it. The announcer went on talking about the pros going off at 6:30, us going off at 6:35, while it appeared on the lake that a storm was approaching..Finally with about 2
5 min to go, the announcer went quiet for about 15 min. I really think they were trying to decide whether to delay the race or cancel the swim or what..The lake was pretty choppy, no whitecaps but really close..we took a warm-up run. It felt great. I was surprisingly calm even with the weird weather conditions..I started vacillating about the wetsuit again..I finally decided that I needed the safety factor of the wetsuit in case I needed to float in the choppiness. So safety over comfort won..The lightening seemed to go away but the wind was still intense..

At 6:35, they announced the pro men and women would be going off. It was so cloudy and dark I could not see hardly anything with my tinted goggles...uh-oh.. Oh well just going to wing it I guess. Again very calmly I lined myself up front, as planned and when they said GO to our wave, I took off like a bat out of hell. After about 100 yards, I looked up and saw something new and different, There were only 10-20 -people ahead of me-are you kidding? I have always been afraid to start out fast but we have been practicing this so I just went for it. The only problem with this is there are not that many folks to spot to stay on track...I was veering off to the right alot because of the wind and waves..It was a tough few hundred yards until we turned..I still could not see shit but barely could make out the huge triangular buoys and managed to actually draft a few folks. I felt very strong and just kept pushing myself as hard as I could and stay aerobic. I got VERY HOT, in the wetsuit, as predicted but I pushed on....As we headed back to shore, the wind seemed a little strong
er and waves higher. I knew I was still having a pretty good swim, esp. after the last fiasco in this lake..At last I was done! I forgot they would strip my wetsuit so had to backtrack to get that done. At last I stepped over the mat and boom..into T-1
Swim: 39.51
T-1: 2:13
(note the darkness-yep that is how dark it was..)

Not my PR but in that swim , pretty good. Second out of the water in my AG. I was so happy when I got on the bike, I was practically in tears..Yes!!! I did it! One of my friends who was not racing yelled YOU ROCKED THE SWIM!! That was all I needed to keep going! The first thing out of T-1 is a very steep hill. I used this to just calm down and "spin" up..(not much spinning but slow churning more like it)..The race plan was pretty simple: negative split the bike, do not spend all of my energy on the bike-hold back a little...
I chose not to wear a watch in this race. Was this a good idea? I don't think so looking back. I may have pushed more on the bike, run, who knows? First thing I noticed on the bike, besides the damn hills was the was gusting probably 25 MPH at times, the course is a big square with some funky out and backs so about half the time the wind was in my face. I just tucked into aero position and went. I took it easy up the big ass hills and just kept it steady on the flats. I felt like I was PRing the bike . My legs started to get really tired by the end and pain was setting in. At about mile 40, the rain started..It was not pouring rain, just steady and the roads were way wet. We had just missed the worst of it I think as we were heading back into the park. As I pushed myself up the last big incline, I asked someone what time it was: 10:50! Oh damn! That meant I definitely was not PRing this bike. How could I be so way off on perception? Could I have pushed harder?

Bike time: 3:32.
2007 bike time: 3:32-no kidding!
, god bless him, had the brilliant idea to put our running shoes and socks in plastic bags in T-2 in case in rained. That rocked!! Except that my transition rug was SOAKED. My feet were squishing everywhere and the towel was soaked. I somehow managed to get my shoes on relatively dry, even though it seemed to take forever. Do I need sunscreen? Isn't it raining? Should I bring this goo bottle? All these thoughts and questions that don't make any sense in the moment at all.
T-2: 2:13
I took off on the run to "warm up"the first mile as planned. What I did not plan was the intense pain I had not only in the inner thigh that has been bugging me for weeks now, but in both my legs. Bad pain...I stopped and dumped the goo bottle and white arm warmer thing. I took some Advil and electrolytes. I then proceeded to have the mental fight for my life to stay in the game. Every time I landed on my feet, my legs were screaming...Whoa, I do not remember this run hurting this early! My feet did not go numb..that was one positive..I only had to go to the BR twice...that is another positive..all my mostly liquid no roughage diet was paying off now...But I was was suffering to the point I felt like crying..The "plan" was to go easy, then all out the last 10k. Say what? My plan shifted to "run for 60 seconds, walk for 60 seconds"...I ran probably more than I walked but not really sure..I just know when I saw that I had 11 miles to go at mile 2, I thought I would throw up..Then I thought about switching off the negative thoughts with push, push, push, you can do this....etc..In between the Zen moments, I was cursing the f*ing race and why the hell was I doing this and my competition just passed me going to the finish line at mile 3..It was a sufferfest...I saw H at one point..he was only about a mile behind me and I begged him to catch up with me (little did I know he actually raced the plan and went all out with energy to spare the last 10k)..The last 2 miles of BSLT are I DO remember that part from the 2 previous years I have done this race..but never the pain the whole run like was a pure test of my endurance..The sun came out of course out on the "energy lab 2" as they call it (energy lab 1 is in Kona)...So then I was frantically looking for sunscreen and taking more Advil. Trying coke, Gatorade, gels anything to keep me going..I finally took a disgusting chocolate Power Gel at mile 12, which they must have had a sale on or something..It was disgusting!! That did my stomach said shut more, I am done..then my stomach was swelling..great..
Finally, finally after about 50 people told me I was "almost there' I heard Mike Reilly say Debi you are done!! Really??? Holy crap that was hard..I felt like crying again but went back to see happy H in, who could have run another 10 miles it looked like!! We jumped into the lake and hugged...
Run time: 2:54
Run time 2007: 2:56

Total time: 7:12...It is a PR for BSLT for 3 minutes..probably my transitions..
I was 6th out of 8 in my AG although there were 12 women signed up so I would rather say I was 6th out of 12, since those women did not show or did not finish! (not sure what the protocol is for that)..

Given the really difficult weather conditions, I would say I did really well. I REALLY wanted to get a better time, especially in the run. I do not know what happened, I probably pushed too hard in the wind on the bike, will all come clear to me someday I am sure. I think my BSLT days are over though. The competition there is the best of the best and I am tired of getting my ego beaten up each time I go there..I need to find nice flat 70.3s at sea level, where I can do Beach to Battleship in November!

One really cool thing was to have dinner with a gal from Santa Fe, who was in my AG and got the Kona slot with a time of 5:30!! (But I did BEAT HER IN THE SWIM!)..

P.S. At mile 40 or so, I stopped to take an electrolyte. Some kid was standing there with an obvious new tube in his hand and asked me do you know how to change a clincher? I looked long and hard at him and thought for what seemed to be a minute and said Yes, but I have to go-I am so sorry! He said he understood, he would wait for an official. Oh great, now I have really bad bike karma because I did not help this poor kid change his friggin' tire!! I did mumble something to him about practicing this before the race...I felt guilty the rest of the race and maybe the run was my punishment? Or maybe someday when I need help, no one will stop? It was a split second decision...H told me later I could have gotten disqualified for helping him..I hope this is true..