Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Liberty Half Iron Race Report

I've been putting off writing this for a few reasons, none of which has to do with my placement or my performance. But to be honest I left this race ready to give up long course racing. No joke. Sometimes the elements, that i know i have NO CONTROL over, are just enough to put you over the edge. I am glad to say i stayed on the edge and other than some VERY SORE calf muscles that are still reminding me of the elements, I am back wanting to keep racing, well at least training...ideally in sunny and 80, no  lets make that 90!

Ok so on with the report:

Even before the wetsuit dance and walk to the water we had a 30 min " grab your stuff minus your bikes and take cover" break. At that point I had started to plan my workout for sunday. A nice day of getting in the distance without the aftermath of racing a half.

Pre Swim: We were delayed an hour or more. The rain and storms were pretty obvious if you looked at a radar and when I woke up i could see the waves of colored blobs that were supposed to come thru at race start and thru the morning. So we were warming up and the RD said he was going to start us even later bc " the roads are flooded and the police arent sure about corners. " GULP. um ok.

Swim: So in the elite wave we are cleared and the rain is SORTA letting up or maybe i just got used to it. Swim was fine, uneventful. I usually find myself swimming with elite guys that may or may not be good open water siters, so i tend to not trust feet. These are the same guys that blow by me like they are late for a wedding about 2-5 miles into the bike. Hi Guys. I was fine, worked hard but not hard enough that it didnt cross my mind that i wouldnt mind another lap bc it was 70 deg in the water and i was pretty comfortable.

T1: a soggy run to the bikes and the onset of the " OMG its cold " I had everything in bags so i just grabbed my wind vest, stuffed my food in the back pocket and then some arm warmers. My problem was that i couldnt get them on. They are soft and fleecy and have hands ( which i hadnt planned to use) but i kept getting caught up even tho they were rolled into donuts. So i took off, glasses on too.

Hey Kerry, you caught me with my nouth full.
Picture from Yndecam

T1 + 1.0 miles: Damn it i need these arm warmers, and i cant see a thing with these glasses. So i pulled over and took off the glasses ( they were tinted for darker days but there was too much road spray, etc) and the arm warmers needed both hands plus some to get on. Finally i was rolling along.

Bike: Did i mention that I was hitting 1200 Watts leaving the park? Yes my bike fitness has been strong and i feel really good about my bike right now, but not that good. So out goes the need or guide of a powermeter, and maybe that was ok. Every so often i looked thinking MAYBE it settled down but i was averaging 6-700 Watts. Go me.
Since i couldnt see too well it was ok and i realized that my best bet was to stay upright, follow my fuel plan and try to get this thing over with as fast as i can. The problem was i was dropping stuff. And a half iron bike isnt really one you can "wish away," so while i wanted to be all " bada$$" about my bike i had to be smart too.
I couldnt see much other than being passed alot, and there were ALOT of cars, not sure what that was about but it created more road spray. Just when you thought you had a break from mother nature the skies would open up and the wind would pick up with a turn. In hindsight i stopped 4 times. I dropped a bottle, i dropped a gel. I hit a lip in the road ( construction) and my fast air popped out. So while waiting for cars and other bikes I would turn back to get what i dropped. When i look at the times i get frustrated with that, but it was the best thing for me to do since going into a 13mile run underfueled AND FREEZING wasnt smart.

"Ok now i cant feel my feet and my hands are pretty numb too. How is this dismount going to go again?"

T2: Thank the LORD i am done and safely. I knew my legs were really cold though as my adductors had cramped a bit and i knew i was riding at a lower cadence to keep the bike on the road. I had to ask a guy a few racks over to unbuckle my helmet. Thanks dude. Then i had to sit down to get my shoes on. I couldnt feel my hands so I ALMOST ditched the socks but knew better. These socks are super easy to put on but not when you lack fine motor skills.
" Squish Squish Squish" was a common sound as we ran out of the grassy Bog known as Transition onto the path which itself had a few rivers forming.

Run: I hoped i would warm up. Core temp had been ok after about 30 miles of biking but my feet, lower legs and hands were still really really cold. This obviously made me feel like i had NO rhythm at all during the run. By mile 4 i was already doing the countdown game " 9 more miles, you run 9 miles all the time. " I made a math error at mile 7 somehow telling myself i had 5 miles. Duh. I had no GI issues at all, cant stand the HEED that seems to be prevalent at our races, so stuck to water and Powergels on target.
I really had no energy highs or lows, and at no point did i think I was going to " drop, cramp, slow or lose it." But by mile 9 my Glutes were feeling incredibly tight and I was starting to feel like my chest was really tight. The last 3 miles is pretty uphill and i passed a few people and that was a good thing, alot of women dont race elite though so i knew i wasnt really passing them in the chronological sense but it still feels good to finish strong.

Finish: Finish strong i did and when i stopped both lower legs SEIZED. I have never had that happen before. So i limped my way to the water and since i had really fueled like a champ all i could stomach was some animal crackers. Plus i started to have the uncontrolled shivers.

Aftermath: The Aftermath i would have liked to avoid was driving home with the seat warmers and heat to 80, a hot bath that finally got my core temp up but likely did nothing for my sore and seized soleus mm, and a headache that lasted 24 hours. ( I thought maybe it was caffeine induced but then i had some caffeine sunday and it didnt go away so i think it was from squinting in the rain for 2 1/2 hours ++ While riding)

On the Plus side....." crickets..."

No really I finish what i start. Had they called it I would have been fine. I didnt end up in an ambulance like a few did, or with road rash. I learned that i need more clothing and i need to have every sort of outfit and gloves and calf sleeves available. I learned that I dont need to sign up for races in MN in June:)  Kansas looked pretty nice!

I hate to sound deflated and sour grapes but all i wanted to do was cry after that race. I Am still really sore and i will likely be moving some workouts for this weekend bc i cant stand on the pedals yet. Was that worth it when i have an IM in 7 weeks? I dont know really. Im pleased i had a great swim, felt strong on the bike despite the conditions and that i folllowed my fuel plan and have had no nutritional issues. The run was a run done on cold legs, not much more to say to that!

The party for my dads 87th was postponed due to our crappy weather. ( YA... he is a rockstar) That was ok. Im a great hostesss but i dont think my pool was inviting to family when it was in the 50's and raining. Oiy. Why do i live here again?

Well there you have it. Thanks for reading!


Betsy said...

Yes! You should have come to Kansas! And then move to CO (although it's been awfully rainy here this spring!).

Your report made me chuckle because it was so much worse than my race but we both had an "alright then, glad that's over. Moving on!" kinda day!

Ange said...

ohhhh..... Julia. I could feel it... the way you described all that and living in ME and having similar conditions at times... oh man. I know how how that must have been!! UGH! GOOD for you for staying tough. Honestly. After doing all this so long, sometimes it's Harder in those conditions to keep going b/c you talk yourself into the "what's the point? I"ve done this a million times!" YOu sound like you're in Awesome shape. hey 1200w!!! :) :) SO, I'm way behind on everything it seems ...what Ironman??? Seriously, rest up and I hope you're feeling great next week. You do sound very very strong right now. :)

Damie said...

I can't imagine still having such bad weather. I think this will just be one more reason you will enjoy the ironman. You will be able to think back to some suffering you did to get there, including racing time and time again in crap weather. xoxoxo