Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkinman Report - A learning experience...

Well the race didn't go so well. I was exited for it, prepared for it. A couple ladies were there I was looking forward to racing. We made the 7 hour trek down the day before which wasn't so bad. I was happy to be out of the car, but not sore or stiff really.
Normally we camp at the venue or I go to the race alone so I can get there as early as I'd like to. Well this race the hubby and kids wanted to be there, but not the 2.5 hours early I like to be. Luckily transition racks were assigned so you know you can't get stuck with too bad of a spot. Well we got off that morning a bit late and didn't end up getting to the race site till 45 minutes before the start. 45 minutes! That gives me anxiety just thinking about it. I had to sqeeze in a not so great spot, but it worked. I quickly got set up, ready to head down to the water when hubby and the kids met me at transition and informed me they weren't sure if they'd make it to T2. What? Why? Well, you see, my hubby broke the car key in half. That's right, snapped it right in half. He's a strong guy ;) Just a little bit more anxiety filled me as you might imagine. Luckily it was not jammed in a door or ignition somewhere and the car wasn't locked, but it's kind of hard to start a car with half a key eh? I worried for them and how they'd get out of that lonely dessert, but he reasurred me they'd be fine (and they were, he found a spare somehow), so off I went to the water.

So their pre race announcing was horrible. Lots of funny humor, but I never heard a pre race meeting or directions for the swim course -and there were 3 different races, so it's kind of important to know what's going on. Also didn't hear a "Go!", a horn, nothing, for any of the 3 waves before me, INCLUDING my own!! Yep, started 3 or so minutes after all the ladies after a nice man pointed to that pack swimming 200 yards out. Panic, more anxiety, crap. I had a stellar swim though, warm water, 20ft visability, feeling great, still coming out quick (4th out of the water), but those extra 3 min would have been nice. I did want a good swim out of this, and got it. The whole late start was discouraging, but my mind was just fine, still in the game.

Bike was very hilly, and I knew that. Very big rollers the first 18 miles, then a constant uphill to T2 7 miles later. We wound through the dessert for most of that which got discouraging at times when it seemed we were only heading away from where we needed to go. BIG climbing, definately one of the toughest courses I've done. Held onto it well, but ran out of water and had to ration too much till the end. And its Freaking HOT out there! Like 90 degrees. I just did not expect that even out of Vegas seeing as it's late October. I was too concerned about weight and figured I had enough water. Dumb mistake. The thirst got bad too, I even asked a couple spectators for water. On a flatter course with cooler temps I would have been fine, learning experience for next time.

Going into the run I only had 2 ladies to pick off to podium overall and knew it wouldn't be a problem . . . . .that is till I started running. Just could not push. My legs really weren't the problem, the engine was. I just couldn't go. The heat was oppresive. Didn't think about it till it was pointed out to me after the race, but I didn't get any real training in the heat this summer with the whole broken foot thing, and it showed. My lungs were also a bit tight, asthma-ish which is wierd, just couldn't open them even though I was fairly calm and running slow. I had water sloshing in my stomach but still took in at least a mouthful or two at the like 5 aid stations. I knew it wouldn't help, that it'd probably make it worse, but it felt so good, even just dipping my lips in the cup. After the second mile I allowed myself to go to the mentality of "one foot in front of the other, I just want to finish". Thinking that way didn't upset me at the time, it's what I needed to do to keep going, but now I regret it, I think. I want to say I should've pushed harder, moved through it, but honestly, recalling how I felt, I just don't know that I could have. But I will get mentally stronger so that this doesn't happen again.

So I guess todays run was just a case of dehydration and heat, discouraging to say the least. I didn't even podium in my age group which hasn't happened in a long time. 5 women 25-29 years old within 7 minutes of eachother in a 3 hour race, and those 5 (I was 5th) made up over half of the top 10 overall! I finished 8th overall, 10 minutes slower that I should have. That 10 minutes would've gotten me what I wanted, but alas, just didn't happen. IMSG has many of the same characteristics: heat, hills, wind, etc, so it's coming time to prepare myself for my even bigger challenge. I hate to have to learn lessons in races, but if it's going to happen, I'm going to learn and gain from it.
  • Continue to arrive early
  • Bring more fluids than the anticipated need
  • Use Heed on the bike, seems to absorb better than gel/water/endurolytes
  • Consider the climate - train for the conditions


Crystal said...

Sorry you didn't get the race you wanted. Still finishing 8th overall is awesome. You did great, even if you didn't finish where you wanted. I think you are simply an amazing athlete and I secretly wish I was you.

Jill said...

Sorry, Leslie, that things didn't pan out the way you wanted - I've been there so many times and feel your pain. Way to hang in there, though; you're such a tough fighter - you will come back so much stronger!!