Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Belated White Lake Race Report

So here it is . . . very belated. Work has been crazy busy with travel to Chicago and initially, I had been chewing on my race few days hoping I might figure out how I feel about it and what I want to share. To be honest, I've had mixed feelings. They still aren't all sorted out, but its so late now, and I've done my first century since WL that I need to get on blogging.

I slept terribly the night before the race. I was in that twilight area of not quite asleep but not fully awake either. And I stayed there all night long. Even my natural sleeping pill that usually puts be out didn't work.

My alarm went off early. 4:45. Since I was already sort of awake, I got up and started breakfast. I've been working on more pre-race calories so at 5 am, I ate breakfast - a cup of rice, a banana, 6 oz juice and a UltraMeal chocolate smoothie. I managed to get most of everything down and was feeling pretty good despite my less than ideal night. I had high hopes and was ready to race.

At 6 we headed to the race site to set up our transition area. I liked having all my stuff in my pseudo transition backpack (my tennis backpack) so I could ride to the race. I got unpacked, organized, body marked and as usual, took a few trips to the porta potties. TG40, Bart and I started to get suited up around 7 in time to warm up as the initial race waves went off. The water felt great like it had all week and I was ready to get started. Pre-race for me is always the worst part. I just want to start so my nerves will settle and I can start enjoying the experience.

At 7:30 when our race wave lined up, none of my fellow navy caps seemed to eager to go to the front of the pack. So to the front I went. I figured getting caught in the initial rush would be good for my mass start experience and I can throw a few elbows if I need to. The horn sounded and our group was out of the gate fast. I quickly moved from the front to probably the front third and just headed for the first buoy. Unlike last year, I couldn't find a great pair of feet to follow, so I just plowed on through the water, buoy after buoy. The back stretch got a little choppy and I laughed to myself because on the previous days, the water had been like glass. I thought about one of my favorite pros Bree Wee and her love of the choppy water and just kept swimming along. At the final turn buoy, I found a draft. I stuck like glue to a girl to the right of me and matched her stroke for stroke on the way into the pier. At the last buoy, she accelerated and I tried my best to follow. Out of the water and down the pier without slipping, I let myself look at my watch. It said 38 something. The timing mat was still a ways a way, so I ran hard to cross it in the 30s. My swim time was 39 flat. Far better than what I expected and definitely my strongest leg of the day.

T1 was T1. I struggled with the arms of my wetsuit but got it off, got my bike and ran to the mount line. Time for my favorite part - the bike. I had practiced my shoe trick a couple of times the day before and it went smoothly again after I got on my bike. I checked my HR - 165 - a little high so I let myself settle in as I rode easy through the small town of White Lake and over the first stretch of bumpy road. Soon I was on the road out of town and the wind was friendly. Again, I felt like I was riding easy and really just concentrated on keeping my HR in zone. About 10 miles in, I realized I had to use the restroom. Unfortunately, I was in the country, on my bike with no bathroom in sight, so I just pedaled and turned the corner to the next 20 miles and THE WIND. At this point my nutrition was okay. I was following my 10 minute plan - a bite of bar or a shot block or a luna moon every 10 minutes and a few sips of Gatorade/Carbo Pro every so often.

After the turn to the back 20, things changed. The wind was right in our faces, my stomach was starting to reject everything and I still had to go the bathroom. At this point, I backed off on all food and just tried to get my drink calories in and let my stomach settle. I tried to go like the pros but couldn't so ultimately stopped by the side of the road. That didn't work either and so after watching about 20 riders (including TG40) go by, and taking a salt pill, I got back on my bike again! My stomach still wasn't cooperating, and every time I got liquids in and started to push again, I gagged it back up. I will admit I let the back 20 get to me. I had to work to repass folks and I felt like crap. My legs had it but my stomach and heart didn't. And I was seeing my goal of a 3 hour bike slip.

After what seemed like ages, I turned the corner to head back into town and the wind eased some. I worked to get some more liquids down, knowing I needed the calories for the run. Seeing TG40 at the out and back and the wind at my back for the out portion gave me the boost I needed to finish the ride. My speeds picked up again on the way back into town and I was able to eat a gu. Even the bumps on the road at this point didn't seem as bad. I was almost done with the bike and if I pushed hard, I would still be under my time from last year. Definitely not the bike I had in my mind when I set out, but that's I guess part of racing. Time - 3:08:35

I got my shoes off in the final 1/4 mile before transition and ran into T2. After racking my bike, I tried to move efficiently through T2. Body glide for the feet, socks and my new racing shoes. Garmin, visor, race belt, running belt, and I was off. My T2 time would say I need to work on my efficiency.

The beginning of the run felt awesome. My hip didn't hurt at all and my legs felt like all the bricks I had run during training - strong and ready to run. My goal pace was 10 min miles and my first mile felt so easy. I stuck to water and oranges at the water stops because that was what tasted good and my stomach still wasn't great. Not a smart move. At mile 4, things started to change. My HR started to climb into zone 4 and my pace slowed. I passed Bart going the opposite way and kept pushing from water stop to water stop. At mile 8, I started to get chills so I downed a salt tab and some enduralyte strips. At that point, I realized I was behind plan on my gus and hadn't drank much gatorade. My pace was definitely slower and I was feeling the run more. But I still wanted a strong finish as close to 10 minute miles as I could. In the last mile and a half, I gave what I had left I pushed past three gals in my age group that I had been playing leap frog with during the back half of the run. I ended up around 10:30 pace average.

As I neared the finish, Bart was there to greet me with a big smile and I cheer. Total time 6:11.07.

One one hand I have really positive thoughts. I had a great swim and an overall 15 minute PR. On the other hand I still struggled with my nutrition and missed my goal times in both the bike and the run. I let my head get to me on the back 20 miles instead of staying positive. And in retrospect, I wonder if I should have pushed harder on the run. Overall though, I think I'm just tough on myself. My HRs were generally where they should have been and I raced a strong race and improved over last year. I have my list of things to work on and will be racing a few more times between now and Placid to try and iron out the kinks.


TriGirl 40 Something said...

You had an awesome race and a huge PR even under less than ideal conditions. Was great sharing the race with you.

SusieQ said...

Ditto what DB wrote - what an incredible PR!!

Kate said...

FABULOUS race! You are going to have such a great season!