Really, this is the tale of two races for me: the one until mile 10 of the marathon, and the one after mile 10 of the marathon.
I stayed pretty relaxed the car ride to Sandusky, Ohio—the site for the Rev3 Full race. It is about a five and a half hour car ride. The only thing that was troublesome for me about the trip is that my nephew packed the back of his Subaru Forester like he was going on an excursion across the Americas for a undetermined amount of time. He packed several cameras, a tripod, clothes for every conceivable natural disaster, and enough homemade chocolate chip cookies to make the Keebler elves envious. The ironic part is that Nicholas also has the family "vain gene" which necessitated him a black tank top most of the time. My bike was also IN the car with us, so I could not really put my set back to ever stretch out my legs. Being 6'2" has some slight disadvantages.
I ate great all weekend. By great I mean a lot of carbohydrates a lot of the time. It was as if I had died and gone to Italian Culinary Heaven. Friday night, a bunch of Trakker teammates and friends got together for some good food and conversation. I was feeling pretty relaxed. Nicholas and I got to our hotel around 9:30, put on my Recovery Pump, and decided to call it a night.
Saturday morning, a bunch of Trakkers teammates went out to the shores of Lake Erie (and do I mean erie!) to spray athletes down with "Magic in a Bottle," otherwise known as TriSlide. I had strict instructions from Coach Mary to stay off of my feet as much as possible. Luckily, my awesome teammate Kelly was there to make sure that I was diligent about this.
Unknowingly, this is where everything started to go completely wrong.
I felt really relaxed. I filled up my aero bottle, pumped my race tires. I headed out to the beach with Kelly's husband, Kelly. Here we are getting ready to head out on the beach race morning. Yup, those are the pants I wore. I was warm, and I match. What can I say. MC Hammer would approve. The only thing that completely messed me up was that when I got out to the actual beach near the start, I had suddenly realized—with less than twenty minutes before the actual start—that I forgot to take all the nutrition out of my backpack and into my swim to bike bag. Not good. Needless to say, I got the nutrition in the bag. Let's just leave it at that. I am confident that there were several USAT rule violations happening that magically made my nutrition appear in my bag at transition. I put on my wetsuit and got into the water for a little swim. This is a picture of the view the entire swim:
I am not exaggerating a little bit. I could literally not see an inch in front of my eyes. Perhaps this was the reason that my heart rate spiked and I thought I might drown on the way out to the first buoy. Or, perhaps I was completely psyching myself out. I have never swam a more physical swim than this. All the way out to the first buoy, I was being hammered, pulled, dragged, kneed, slapped, and moved. Of course, I would be lying if I did not admit to moving a few bodies aside to get to where I needed to go.
Once I got past the first buoy, it was clear sailing. I got into a rhythm and felt pretty good... I even kicked a little. A little.
My swim time last year was 1:24:57. I definitely had a better swim.
My bike time improved as well. Last year my course average was 19.16, and I biked a 19.26 this year. I even biked a faster split despite the fact that I stopped during special needs to grab two water bottle—something that I did not do last year. The bike was fine, except for the fact that about 40 miles in I suffered some unbearable pain that I had not experienced biking all season. REALLY?! Does this have to happen NOW? The pain was shooting from what I believe is my IT band straight down to the right side of my right knee. I do not know that I would have necessarily biked any faster (although I would like to think I could have), but being free from the pain would have made the next seventy miles of the bike a heck of a lot more enjoyable.
I did make a critical error on the bike and that was that I started drinking Gatorade more than I usually do. Even as it was going down, it is a lot more sugary than my First Endurance. I am not use to it. I had brought two bottles of EFS on the bike with me and picked up another two bottles during Special Needs, but I dropped a bottle somewhere—who knows where it is now—on the bike and was without my last bottle of EFS for the last hour of the ride.
Okay, The End.
Dammit, there's more!
Yeah, so, again let me just state the obvious: I'm an idiot. I started out feeling really good on the run. I walked every aid station fueling up. I guess this is where I made my second mistake. I brought a bunch of EFS mix with me in my Fuel Belt that I did not end up drinking. The reason why escapes me. I guess I was feeling so good that I did not bother to do everything that I trained with that got me to this point. I was effectively changing my game plan midway through the run. I was maintaining 10:00 minute miles throughout the run until I got to mile 10. All of a sudden, I started feeling reall, REALLY nauseous. I was not dizzy, I just felt like I was going to hurl. I looked down on my Garmin and I was at mile 10 somewhere around 1:35. I knew right there that it was going to take hurling, or a miracle to start feeling better. I was optimistic that I would feel better soon. Unfortunately, my optimism did not last long. I got to mile 13 and had to sit down. My body was dehydrated and exhausted. Wonderful! I knew my "race" was over. Then it happened. I started puking between mile 14 and 15 of the run. I thought I would feel better immediately. Not the case. Around mile 18, I sat underneath a tree to get some rest and contemplate the meaning of life. In about 20 seconds, I was surrounded by volunteers and medical staff asking me if I was alright. They took my vitals and said my blood pressure was running a bit low (100/60) and my oxygen was about 88%. I figured that had to be about right since my muscles were probably using every bit of it. They offered to take me to the hospital or to the finish line. I knew one thing. I might not have the race I intended on having, but there was NO WAY I was NOT getting a FINISHER T-SHIRT!
From that point on, I knew that this race was all about the t-shirt. I can honestly say that I have never worked harder for a t-shirt in my entire life than I did at Rev3 Cedar Point Full on September 11, 2011! The good news? I DID get that awesome t-shirt. I am now a two-time Rev3 Full Finisher, and although I did not have the race I had anticipated, or that I know in my heart I still have in me, I learned a lot this season from my coach. She should definitely shoot me for not implementing the game plan come race day though. I had a great time amongst friends, teammates, and my wonderful nephew Nicholas who spent part of his vacation with his uncle Mark. I think that was the greatest part of the whole experience. Nicholas and I got to share some really special time together. He was so encouraging the whole time we spent together.
I am retiring from Iron distance racing for the foreseeable future. I have children to raise, and music and performances to work toward. I will continue to race with nothing more than a half-Rev3 in my future. I know this sounds sick, but I will miss the training. What's wrong with me?
Since the Ironman diet is still in full effect, I think I better get out there again and start swimming, biking, and running. I just did a swim with Musselman race director Jeff Henderson. We swam in Seneca Lake sans wetsuits on Sunday morning. Holy smokes, was that water cold! I swam fast.
Thanks to all of my Trakkers teammates and friends who encouraged me to cross that finish line... run, walk, or crawl!