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Race Report: Clear Lake International Triathlon

Posted Aug 30 2011 5:33pm
Saturday's Weather as we left the race!
After the Friday night banquet and hearing Dave Scott speak I was raring to go.  I got to transition and setup. Did I mention I was just 6 bikes away from Dave Scott in the same rack?  Well, I was!

Anyway, checked and double-checked everything and headed inside to the hotel's lounge, which was air conditioned and empty at 6am, to just relax and visualize my race -- of course keeping in mind the new things I learned from Dave's talk the night before.

My wave start was 7:21.  I left the comfort of the hotel lounge and headed to the swim start.  I decided to take a quick confidence test of the 9ft ladders swim and warm up.  The first thing I noticed was how salty the water was.  It was surprising to me.   Anyway, the ladders didn't fail me, though I did pity the athlete who would get stuck be hind me climibing up!

My wave actually went off at 7:28.  We all started staging around 7:15 and I felt good.  Almost instantly it seemed like our wave was called to the dock and it was our turn.  I'm not sure why, but the women were taking their sweet time!  DR was telling the women, "I have to start you in 8 seconds... get in!"  I was in and ready to go -- right up towards the front.  No fear!

We actually started right in the marina; we jumped in off the fuel dock.  Of course there was lots of whining going on about water quality because of the fuel (Blah, blah, blah...).  It was extremely salty, but other that that, I didn't feel like I was swimming in an oil slick and I didn't smell fuel.  I think people just tend to have a negative bias on everything.  It's easier to rip something apart and be negative, than it is to focus on the positive (the water being calm and a bearable temp).

When I was less experienced swimmer, I would be alone pretty quickly.  Now I'm a MOP (middle of the pack) swimmer and I have people around me, for what seems like the duration.  The first 250m I got completely beat up by the other women.  After that, things thinned out.  I did a great job taking the shortest distance between points, except it meant picking up a couple cuts and scratches from cement pilings under the water which you couldn't seen initially.  We had a little current against us on the way out, but on the way back we had a little push in.  At the end of the swim I had to climb that ladder as part of my swim time.  Boo!   Anyway it wasn't too bad.  Swim was done in 38 mins.  Again hoping for 2:15-2:20 swim pace, but had to settle for somewhere around 2:30 for the 1500m.  It was actually 4 minutes longer than my Kemah swim in April, which I find hard to believe because I'm a much better swimmer now than I was then!  The real swimmers say the course was long.  Whatever!  It's always long... never short.

T1 was pretty quick -- a quick rinse of my mouth from that nasty salt water, shoes and helmet, and I was off on my bike.

I remembered the climb at the start and was glad I had my gears set in the right place.  After about 10 minutes I started my nutrition.  I downed 2 Thermotabs with some water and took in some Perpetuem.  I had my watch set every 15 minutes, but also set it to give me a halfway beep.  At the half way points I would take just a small swig of water.  everything was going well.  Target HR for my ride was 140, but I couldn't get it that low.  Guess it was race day excitement and some cross headwinds.... I worked really hard to keep it under 150.  Twice over the Kemah bridge brought it to 160 the first time and 158 the second, but I didn't start again until it came down under 150.  I averaged a 149 HR and 17.6 mph for my 28.5 mile bike.   While it wasn't my exact race plan, I was happy with that because I really did practice restraint.  I just kept remembering that I needed to "run the run", like MC said.

T2 was a tad longer.  Socks, running shoes and then I realized there was no water on the run out! I was glad I had extra on the bike; at least enough to get me to the first rest stop.  Quickly, I took the water I had, and filled my run bottle containing the Perpetuem powder.  I was really glad I could think on the fly, since the first aid station was a mile away.  Problem and solution. 

I look like I'm ready for high tea!  I was waving!
As soon as I started the run, my kneed was filled with a stabbing pain I cannot even describe, and unlike anything I experienced before.  Generally speaking, when I run I have twinges of knee pain which fades away as I run longer.  But this?  This was way beyond a twinge.  I couldn't run, couldn't walk.  Tried pushing it the first loop thinking maybe I could shake it out, but nope.  I was so frustrated; I felt good and capable of doing more, outside of the pain, but I couldn't.  I started to get emotional because I didn't know if I should quit and not risk further injury, or tough it out (because what if I had a like situation at Redman, right?).

On the 2nd loop, I kept stopping to figure out how to stretch to get some relief, but nothing was working.  Eventually I figured out my glute was the cause, so once I started stretching that, things improved a little. I still had to stop frequently to stretch, but at least I could jog.  That's where "Do what you can do in this moment" came in.  I just played that over and over in my head.

I had a rabbit to follow on the run and towards the end of the race we became friendly and chatted a little.  She was able to run it in to the Finish; I tried to keep up, but then essentially undid all the good I did!  Ouch!  I crossed the finish to my fellow BAM! chicks cheering me on!  The BAMily was all over that race; it was so awesome!  In fact, that was probably the best thing about this event  Thankfully, another DailyMile friend who I learned was a massage therapist, was at the finish and took care of me.  She was my savior! At first I was like, "Huh?" when she asked me if she could massage me -- then she explained she used to be a massage therapist.  Quite frankly though, I didn't care who's elbow was jammed in my glute if it was going to ease the pain! 

There were so many compassionate and supportive folks on the course.  A bunch of athletes I met through DailyMile and athletes from Tri4Him were all so supportive.  Not to mention my own BAM! teammates who made more offers than I could count, willing to stop their race to help me stretch and figure out what was going on with my body.  There was one Tri4Him athlete, a woman, who ran past me and said she was praying for me and that she read my blog!   Whoever you are, thanks!  I sincerely appreciate the sentiment. :)

The frustrating part was, I did my job on the swim and bike.  The heat was bad, but truly it wasn't killing me the way it seemed to be killing others.  The aid stations were perfectly spaced for me to keep cool and my nutrition on the bike proved to work, because I felt good on for the run!  Had I ran at least my regular post ride run, I probably would have been right in the middle at 4th or 5th place, instead of last.

Eh, shouldda, wouldda, couldda.

And remember what I said about it being so easy to focus on the negative?  Truly, in the end I'm not upset that I finished last.  I'm grateful that I was able to finish at all.


Oh, totally random!  Guess who won a pair of KSwiss Blade Light Running shoes for doing a Ford Ironman challenge on DailyMile?  Moi!  That makes 2 gift cards, a wetsuit and now a new pair of running shoes I've won, just by logging my training!


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