Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time to celebrate!

Ok Wow. Sorry. i have been disconnected from the internet since the race and have not had a way to contact anyone till now. All is ok, i am alive, and i am celebrating!!!! I do want to remind you that this again will be very detailed as i type as if it is a journal entry. Those of you that have read my adventures in the past from the Appalachian Trail to big races know i have a lot of details in my head so when i type it up it ends up like a book. Feel free to skim through or read all the details. As i have said in past adventures, makes for good bathroom reading.

(editor's note: Sorry for the rushed version -- I am in Germany for work and am crunched for time! I will add captions and edit later!)
RACE DAY: 14th!!!! Wahooo!!!!

Wow, What an experience that was. I certainly did better than i thought. i may not have seen the #s i wrote up, but when i write out goals they can very easily get adjusted due to the course and lack of knowing the course. but the goals serve then as a means to push 110%. If i go into a race without them i get well, kind of lazy. :-)hilly courses can certainly add lots of time in comparison to flat courses. And there were some surprises many of us did not know about.
So, Here is how it went:
We left at 4 am to get to race site. It rained for 24 hours and the roads and the air was very cold and damp. While setting up our transition area i was very jealous of the girl next to me that had a winter hat and gloves on. I was shivering. This was the first time flying to a event, and already feeling unprepared wanting my hat gloves and well junk clothes to keep on till the start.

The water temp was NOT wetsuit legal as i hoped, just missed it. But i knew the water would be warmer than the air (by about 25-30 degrees) so i would be fine as far as temperature goes but not for my swim time as i am much slower without a wetsuit. Seriously, to help those unfamiliar understand: with a wetsuit my best swim is a 26, without a 34-35. Meanwhile most only slow up 1- 2 minutes. I know Andie you know what i mean as you have seen the difference with me in training with and without it...LOL! So without a wetsuit i will be happy to see my best or better. i know if i see slower it is because i let nerves get the best of me and anxiety take control, which really takes the fun out of it for me. so my true goal here is to overcome that and swim my best. The day i see times i should have the ability to swim is the day you will see me jumping high up in the sky!!! :-)

Long before my wave we have to leave behind our clothes etc....i am down to just a tri suit. No sleeves, pants socks or shoes. Standing on a very cold wet ground waiting i can no longer feel my feet and my body is turning blue. I actually couldn't wait to get it the 77 degree water to finally be warm.  Today, i swam about a high 32 low 33 in the swim (+ a 1:30 - 2 minute run to the transition area with the timing chip, so official tiime will be 34). So i am happy about this as it is my best non wetsuit swim!! yes, i would rather see a much faster time that is more compatible wtih what others in my age group are doing, but i will take not being slower than my normal. Also, what really matters to me in the water is that i stay strong and confident and don't let anxiety take over. 

Today, it went smoothly. When we started i waited 5-10 seconds to let the overly crowded swim start get up a little and then i started out. About 1 minute into it i felt a bit of anxiety hitting me more so due to the strong currents slapping me in my face when i went to breathe, so i quickly used my visualization and pictured Andie and Leah swimming with me (2 awesome gals that have swam with me the last couple weeks and have helped me get a little more comfortable in the water swimming near others). So i quickly got out of that anxiety and felt strong and relaxed. So all in all, i am very pleased with my swim. I have to say though, it stinks that this is where i loose it. In comparison to the winners overall times are exactly what they beat me by in the swim. My bike and run aer very competitive with the winners. i am not losing hope with the swim yet though. Krista, a girl on the team and in my age group, she took 2nd (go Krista), great swimmer! she said it takes many years to master, so, maybe one day! :-/ confused
Transition 1:
ok. so i get out of the water and i instantly froze! instantly hitting that cold air with a wet body and hiar. My calf that i pulled felt horrible because it was frozen and trying to push up the stairs and hill and everything felt like it was locking up. You got out of the water and had to go up stairs and a hill to get to the first corner of transition. this is where the chip timer was and finally took the swim split. Then you still had to run the outside of transition all the way to the other side where you then entered and ran back tot he otherside to your bike and exit. It was a good half mile run that i actually was glad was long with the hopes it would warm me up by the time i got on my bike. but it didnt. My teeth were chattering so hard i thought they were going to break.

 I was a snowman by this point. the cold air and wet body and ground was not suiting me too well. More about this at the end....

Started off on the bike. And the air just got colder. The bike is 3 loops of about 9 miles. I did get to ride the loop once the other day with the hopes to be more prepared. I knew there were hills (which i love) and i knew there were some good winding roads that would limit your speed on the downhills. but since we road at a very slow leisurely pace, i didn't realize how bad it truly was. On the practice ride, i was just following groups as know one really knew where to go, so it was slow moving, stopping to look at map, the left turns stopping and waiting for it to be clear of traffic to cross etc....

Before the start of the race, people were making comments that it is more of a road bike course not a tri bike. I didn't quite understand until i was on the first loop. The left turns were so sharp and the road was so twisty that you could not stay in your aerobars much at all, there was a lot of breaking and slowing down. I have never seen so many accidents. After the race it looked like a battlefield with the numerous athletes walking around in casts from broken arms or bandages from horrible road rash, luckily i did not here of any horrible accidents, but the road rash on many looked as if they were burned in a fire. OUCH! There were many close calls by me but no wrecks! phew! I knew then it was not going to be a fast course even more so than  i thought before. but this is for everyone. Even the fast guys zooming by were coming up out of the aeros and hitting breaks. I used that as a warning to do the same. Those that didn't, well, those are the ones that caused the wrecks. 

Going back to the cold body issue. Ok. as i started i got colder and colder, my teeth chattered for 2 full loops. You can tell from my bike splits that i got warmer as i went along as my split was faster on 2nd loop than the first. My hips and back and neck and muscles were all locking up and not getting warm. It was real hard to push with this going on. My body was trying to pull close together to get warmer (shoulders to ears, and folded as close in front as possible) all this making everything even tighter. headache, stomach ache all set in in lap 2. in the first lap, i was having trouble steering my bike. I thought maybe the handle bars were on crooked. Then i was struggling going from aero to bars and back etc... i kind of felt delirious,ahhh, can't think of a good word to use here but i could not get my body to do what my head was telling it to do. So that made me think the inability to steer was not having to do with my handlebars at all. 

Later i learned of a couple people collapsing from hypothermia. And after hearing of their symptoms prior to i realized that i was on my way to hypothermic myself. Which explained the awkwardness on the bike at first. Luckily, i do feel i have a lot of power over my body from my mind that i was able to work through it and avoid any serious symptoms as others experienced. but here is the symptoms of hypothermia i copied and pasted below. Reading this was a bit scary as most of them was exactly how i was feeling. Ibolded and underlined all that i was experiencing.

  • Hypothermia occurs when more heat is lost than the body can generate.

  • It is usually caused by extended exposure to the cold.
  • Common causes include:
  • Being outside without enough protective clothing in winter.
  • Wearing wet clothing in windy or cold weather.
  • Heavy exertion, not drinking enough fluids, or not eating enough in cold weather.
  • Symptoms
  • As people develop hypothermia, their abilities to think and move are often lost slowly. In fact, they may even be unaware that they need emergency treatment. Someone with hypothermia also is likely to have frostbite.
  • The symptoms include:
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness and loss of coordination
  • Pale and cold skin
  • Confusion
  • Uncontrollable shivering (although at extremely low body temperatures, shivering may stop)
  • Slowed breathing or heart rate
HA. now that going to make this blog even longer for you!!!! So, The first lap was the worse! The Teeth chattering hard, the body was shivering uncontrollable!!!! The tensing and locking up. All very exhausting with the amount of energy it was using to try and get my body warm. I couldn't drink much water, my lips actually just couldn't feel the straw. 2nd lap was pretty much the same but i didn't have the confusion and inability to steerthe bike or change my hand positions. But the first lap it was as if i didn't know how to do any of that. by the 3rd lap, i wasn't warm by any means, but i was no longer shivering and chattering. Muscle Tension was still there though.

Ugh, i usually love getting out of the water and on the bike but this was the opposite today. I of course was upset that my bike split was going to be so much slower. And in terms of what i can do on that course in terms of the elevation it was but with the wet slippery winding roads it is expected for all to have much slower splits here. Later i learned my bike split was one of hte better ones, very competitive with the winners.

I did learn a lot here. I really wish i put on arm warmers or my team jacket. There was a lot of confusion before the race if i were allowed to do that or would i get disqualified for not being in the approved uniform. I didnt take the risk but  i wish i did.

Transition 2:
uneventful. Long run to rack the bike. Got my Type A4 Saucony shoes on and went out for the run.

Feeling a little beat up from the shivering all went really well on the run. There were some surprises though. Most of us knew about the 1 hill on the course that you did 3 times. but everyone was saying that the rest has to be pretty much flat. NOT!!!!! there was the hill we knew about but into the course that you couldn't see unless you ran the course, there was another. So really there were 6 good size hills on the course (2 hills that you did 3 times). For those that know the Savageman, i would say it was like running the campgrounds 6 times. I felt really strong. Like the bike, I was catching many athletes and getting into a better position overall. I ran about a 6:39 average. I am thrilled with this as normally with hills like that in a tri 10k i would not see that. It was a very exciting course as with each loop you ran down and back in front of hte grand stand where people cheered you on. And being from the USA you got cheered a ton as the other countries love the USA and would get very excited to see us and cheer us on. They seemed to love my last name too!!! HEEhee!

It was such a great experience! Even the cold hypothermia experience was an experience! I moved up lots as the tri went on... almost lasp out of the water, moved up into the top 50% after the bike and by the end of the run top 20%. 14th at WORLDS!!!! I will take it!
Thanks so much to all of you for your encouragement and support and for helping me get here! i can't wait to get back to the USA and see everyone!

Off to Hong Kong for a few days! will keep blogging about Hong Kong. And when i get home, i will probably continue to use this blog as my journal. Writing about all my adventures, whats next, races, training experiences etc....so feel free to read up here and there, especially since they won't be as long as this.

I will also put a blog out on how i feel the day after race. :-)

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