Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Eagleman 70.3 Race Report (Part 2) -- June 10, 2007

I just finished reading Holly's race report. This woman is so inspiring. For those of you who raced Eagleman with me you may have heard me cheering for her. You may have seen her barrel roll over the finish line (not too long after I finished). I had checked out her blog months ago, via Nancy Toby and I introduced myself to her at Eagleman. Holly is being treated for Malignant Melanoma....It is also her dream to one day complete an Ironman --which I'm sure she will.

I won't tell you any more....just go read it. It's the kind of report that will make you cry, so grab the tissue. Her story makes my journey seem insignificant...but most of it is already written.... so for the sake of not deleting it....here it is.

Bike 56 miles.
I saw TRIgirls Melissa, Margo, and Sandee at one intersection leaving the out on the bike... and TRIgirls Shawn and Karen at the next intersection. Man do these girls rock or what? They drove 8 hours in one day with insane traffic on the way back just to cheer for us. I think Melissa got up at something like 3:30 so she could be there for our first transition....and Margo drove in all that traffic!

Me and my TRIgirls after the race.....Mwwaahhh! LOVE you guys!

Starting out on the bike....

At the very next turn, my asthma meds flew out of my back pocket onto the street! Damn.

My main concern for the bike was not getting a flat (which maybe it should have been)....but getting lost if the support crew got distracted and wasn't pointing the way. I took Coach Grandison's advice and took the first 20 minutes easy, allowing my body to adjust, just drinking. After about 20 minutes I ate something and cranked it up a notch. I'm really not sure what when wrong next but I was having extreme back pain....not sure if it was due to the pull out couch or what but I was very uncomforatble. I tried many different things to stretch it out and actually I wish that I'd pushed it on the first 20 minutes because little did I know that that was the only part of the ride that was easy. As soon as we got out to the Blackwater wildlife refuge, the winds picked up hugely. And as many folks had warned me, it was head winds the entire time -- how is that possible? My heart sank as I was passed by more and more people. (I expected this on the run, but not the bike). Even people I knew I was faster than back at home passed me at a high rate of speed. And all I could think was "what is wrong with me?"

The conclusion I came to is simple, It comes down to this: I didn't train on flats. And with my body type it made much more of a difference.

I noticed that more than anything, I was distracted by the beauty of the nature preserve and the scenery. I had trouble focusing on my race due to the sheer longness of it. It seemed to go on forever.

The texture of the ride came only in fragments. When I was being passed by someone super fast. Or when I passed road kill with the most intense smell that I just chose not to breath. By a guy who passed me going over a small bridge that seemed to be a small favorite fishing spot. A 400-some pound woman in a bikini was sunburned beyond what could possibly be healthy. And the cyclist says to me, "That woman in the bikini -- she won Eagleman last year!" You know she thought she was going fishing in the lonesome, remote Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, not fishing in front of over 2,000 extremely health concious and body concious athletes.

The the texture of me wondering what the hell that pile of little yellow sponges in the middle of the road was BAM!!!!-- "S*@#!" I just figured it out. The biggest F-ing pot hole you've ever seen in your life. No wait, two of them in a row. And all those little yellow things in the road with some GU's and some water bottles to boot are the little spill-proof plastic spongy things that fell out of the triathletes Profile Design Aero bottles. Some eagle is going to try to make a nest of those things!

I drank my Accelerade, which was in my bottle cages but mostly preferred my water because I love my Aero bottle so much and it is so easy to drink from. I picked up a water bottle at every water stop but one (and yes, I slowed down a little to grab it). Each time I squirted it directly into my aerobottle. And tossed it back to the aid station. The volunteers (especially on the bike) were really nice. I made sure that I thanked as many as I could.

All this water was making me need to pee! Yet another dilemea. Even though everyone says, don't try anything new on race day. I had a plan. I was planning to try something new (peeing while on my bike) on race day. Mr. Preschool said it was OK to pee in his/our shoes. Again, just like the race it was way more challenging than I had imagined it would be. I don't want to get too graphic here but let's just say I peed 4 times on the bike. And each time I did it, It slowed me down quite a bit. In fact, I wonder if I should have just gotten off the damn bike.

Changing my wet socks before the run!

Run 13. 1 Miles.

Back in transition, I could smell people grilling and the feel the celebration starting. But I still had a long way to go. Nancy Toby caught up with me. After trying to leave out the wrong exit and thinking I somehow lost my race number (which I didn't) I was running in circles off to a rough start again. Nancy quickly passed me looking really strong on the run.

I ran when I could, but right off the bike, it wasn't for more than a few minutes at a time. I started to feel overwhelmed for the first time at what lay ahead for me. And each time I ran, I started to have an asthma attack. After using my inhaler, I felt slightly better but not great since it takes about 15 minutes to work. I walked a few more minutes. Then came Som and Mark and Rick and Amy, all passing me at my 1.5 mile point and they were coming down to the last mile in their race. Each one cheered for me but instead of feeling happy or feeling more motivated to run, I felt this overwhelming emotion and it would trigger another attack. I was a wreck! I think I was so moved that these incredible athletes (Mark, Michael, Jeff, Rick, Amy, Blake and Som) had so much left in them to chear for me even in their homestrech. I had nothing for them. I wanted to encourage them but I couldn't. I think that's why I got so emotional. It didn't cross my mind that this senario made sense. Eagleman was a taper for them. They were supposed to have plenty left at the end. They've been training for Ironman Cor d'Alene which is next week.

Wild turkeys that we saw on the run.

I was starting to see some of the faster TRIgirls - Liz and Suzie. I can tell I was out of my "fight or flight" mode that was triggering my asthma attack because I was actully able to cheer for them. By the time I saw Suzie she had just a 5 K left. Go Suzie! And then I stared to see my other girls... Cyndi, Deanna B., Lynn, Kate, MaryJo, Anna, Carmen, Molly, Sharon, and Deanna L. Still, they started the race before me (except for Molly and Anna) and they were faster than me. You put the two together and you get a long wait for them at the finish line before I will cross. I found a group of walkers to hang with...Some very cool girls Kristen Mylotte from Baltimore and Angie Yohey from Bloomsburg, PA. I tried my best to keep up with them.

Here's my walker gang...that's Angie on my right...I was so glad when I crossed the finish line and looked back I saw that the TRIgirls were kissing and hugging on her too!

And through it all Mr. Preschool rode his bike keeping tabs on me. Mostly he'd ride from water stop to water stop, making sure I was doing OK. He is the greatest!

When it got hot, I put ice cubes in all my pockets, down my bra, in my back and in my hat. When I ran, It sounded like I was mixing drinks!

Here's a photo Melissa took of me coming down the home stretch. It's a little out of focus, but I look happy don't I?

I think I'm happy that I can see the finish!


TriGirl 40 said...

You look happy - and wonderful! YOu finished a tough race with many challenges - I had no idea you were dealing with pain and asthma. That takes guts and willpower!

Melissa said...

it makes me so proud to read this. MUAH!

carmen said...

bonus points
for the supercute pictures
thanks for sharing this experience with me!

Vickie said...

I found your blog through Nancy's. You did wonderful in your race and have given me inspiration that I can complete something like this in August. Way to go!

Krispy said...

I just found my name in your report! Man I was so proud of you that day!! I hope you are keeping up the triathloning!! Love ya girlie!!
Kristen :)