Monday, July 28, 2008

Race Report: Chisago 1/2 Ironman

This weekend was the first true test of my racing wills. I will toot my own horn and say that I blew last years race out of the water...literally.

Swim: 0:34:07
Pace: 0:01:46/100 yds
T1: 0:01:37
Bike: 2:53:17
Pace: 19.2 mph
T2: 0.01:32
Run: 2:05:00
Pace: 0:09:32/mile
Overall Time: 5:35:35

I placed 9/20 in my age group, 47/95 female, and 181/299 overall. Awesome. I shaved an hour off my total time from last year. When I got out of the water, I looked at my watch and couldn't believe my eyes! I thought maybe my watched stopped while I was in the water. I took 7+ minutes off my swim time from last year. I jumped on my bike and was soon cruising down the nicely paved, flat course.

I started having stomach cramps on the bike. I thought all hope was lost for a good run when in the last 6 miles of the bike, I didn't think I was going to make it. My stomach hurt so bad every time I took in calories, and not because I was hungry, but because everything felt so harsh in my tummy. I had cramps up both sides of my stomach, and every time on my down stroke on my right side, I thought I was going to double over in pain. This was incredibly worse pain than what I felt at my Afton ride with Captain Cartwheel and Dr. B. (See previous post...) The worst part of the whole ride was being down in my aero bars because I get low enough that I can actually bump my abdomen with my legs. Ouch, ouch, ouch...ugh. I lost some momentum on two separate occasions when I launched a bottle off the back of my bike. I know I probably would have been just fine leaving the bottles on the side of the road without getting a penalty, but I feel bad littering and it's against the rules! It didn't take that much effort to stop and pick them up, and the second time it happened allowed me a little break from kneeing myself in my cramping stomach. I finally made it back into transition in under 3 hours which was my goal.

Mr. Fury waited by my transition area, and when I rolled in with tears welling in my eyes and a big frowny face, he knew something was not OK. He asked me if I was alright, and I answered with an assertive, "NO!" and I told him all about my lousy, yet PR, ride. I should have acted like everything was fine because I just worried him as I ran out of transition favoring my front-end and crouching forward to help the pain. I ran to the port-o-potties to relieve my bladder because I figured 10lbs of heavy bladder may help relieve some of my tummy pain. I figured right, but it took me a couple minutes to find a not-so-nasty privy. None of them had toilet paper except one that had unmentionables smeared all over the seat. Seriously, COME ON PEOPLE! Have a little control, eh? Thankfully, one of the nice spectators waiting for an open/clean potty let me cut in line and fished out some toilet paper for me from the johnny-that-must-not-be-named.

After a relieving pit stop, I was off to the run course. To my surprise and dismay, the course was not changed to the double loop through the shaded neighborhoods as promised. We went out on the country road to grit and bare the hot pavement for the middle 4+ miles of the course. Ugh. Thankfully, the sun stayed incognito the whole race. Thank you overcast clouds! I was met along the course by the world's most enthusiastic single person cheer squad, and for my purposes will refer to him as Sir Random Guy. Here's the thing about Sir Random Guy, he was all over the course. When I say all over the course, I mean all over the course! I saw him on the bike and the run, all. over. the. place. He was so enthusiastic and every time I saw him he yelled and screamed and jump up and down and pumped his fists and told us all how much of an inspiration we were. Oh, he also informed us that we were his legs for the day because he has bad knees. Sir Random Guy just brought a smile to my face whenever I saw him, and he still does just thinking about him. He was so excited for me every time I saw him and cheered me on, "Go Team! Alright Team in Training!" Finally, he asked me my name so I told him and from then on his cheer when something like this:
Oh, here she comes! RRRRAAACHHEL!!!! Alright, Rachel! You can do it, you're doing great! Keep it up! Go Team! ::insert Sir Random Guy's jovial laugh here::

I don't know how he had so much energy left after so many miles of cheering! It amazed me, and I was the one that was racing!! Another racer ran up next to me and said, "Wow, you have quite the cheer squad!" and I laughed saying, "Yeah, and I don't even know that guy!" Sir Random Guy cheered me all the way in to the finish line, and I would not have done it with nearly as big of a smile without his support.

About a half hour after I finished, I saw Sir Random Guy talking to all my teammates and friends. It was then that I found out that Sir Random Guy is the dad of one of my friends on the team! My friend, Sean, was entertained listening to me tell the story of his dad cheering me into the finish line. Thank you Sir Random Guy!

Overall, it was a great race and great day despite the stomach cramping. I'm glad it happened though because if it happens at Ironman, I know I can work through it. A big congratulations to all the halfsies: Dr. B, Dana Banana, Tri Chick Kris, Captain Cartwheel, B-Rad and Sean (aka Asspounder). Everyone had an amazing race!! Great job guys!!

Here is one of my favorite pics of the day. My friend Karlene let me carry her new puppy across the finish line. He's an adorable 7 week old Golden Retriever named Dodger and he's the closest I'll get to having a puppy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Official Man Report

I received word of the manly, manliness that went on last night with the manly men, and I'm please to report that there was no nose picking. Turns out my mom was right: "You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose." I'm glad we got that straightened out.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Good Food and Good Friends

Tonight, the 70.3 ladies got together to have a little carbo load. It was great to sit down and just chat about tri and non-tri related things. We, and when I say we, I mean I, made WAY too much pasta. I have what looks like an extra 5 lbs of spaghetti sitting in the fridge right now. I'll be eating pasta for the next week for lunch. I guess it saves me from cooking later, right? Mr. Fury caught wind of the ladies coming over tonight and bolted to his buddy's house for some man time. I'm sure they chopped wood, picked each other's noses or whatever it is that men do together. He missed out on my delicious homemade cream sauce. MMMmmm, yum. There's some leftover so maybe I'll share with him if he's lucky.

Three of the ladies that came over tonight are halfsies first-timers so Captain Cartwheel and I were fielding questions about the distance and what to expect. It brought me back to last year and the unknowns and questions I had about the race, and then it ended up feeling like a piece of cake. It helps that I raced a flat and fast course, but still, it's unnerving not fully knowing what you're getting yourself into! I'm excited for them and I can't wait to cheer for them on the course on Sunday. There are a bunch of other TNTers racing the sprint distance, so when they finish, they're going to have a pot luck picnic and then cheer for all of us halfsies.

My exciting news for the week: I MADE IT THROUGH A WHOLE SWIM MANAGING MY SIDE PAIN! I haven't done a full 1 hour swim in about a month and a half, and I have finally gotten my side pain under control. My massage therapist and chiropractor think I have a hiatal hernia: insert acid reflux and side pain here. I had the same issue last year and was able to get it under control about half way through the season. This year, I started out without the pain and then it gradually got worse about half way through the season. I have FINALLY figured out how to manage the pain and get rid of it when I'm on land. Oh, did I mention it only hurts when I'm swimming? I think it's all the twisty turny motion of my core that makes it flare up. Ugh. I just wish it would go away entirely. After the season is over, I will go to the doctor to have it checked out, but not until after Ironman! I read up on hiatal hernias on I don't know why I did that, but I did. Basically, all told me was the only way to get rid of the side effects of a hiatal hernia is through surgery. D-U-M-B, DUMB! Surgery, huh? Maybe this pain is all in my head...

Well, that's all I have for now. I'm finally going to succumb to my food coma I was warding off earlier. Goodnight moon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Did you miss me?

Ok, don't answer that. Apparently I had the "grass is always greener..." syndrome because moving to a different blogging site was not as good of an idea as I thought it would be. I liked being able to track my workouts, but I never actually followed through with it. The other reason I came back is because I would get SPAM! Spam on my blog? I never got that on good ole' blogger! So I'm back, and I apologize for making you change your links again....for all 2 of you that read my measly little site.

So, I guess I could actually tell you about my workouts today. Captain Cartwheel, Dr. B and I went out to Afton to ride the monster hills. This was my first real ride out in Afton because my last attempt was with the team and it got cut short. Just so Captain Cartwheel doesn't have to re-live the events of the day, I'll just tell you that it involved a crash, bang, and a skid (or two..). Back to today's ride. Hills. Many, many hills. I was told by my ride-mates that the hills we rode were not even close to as long as the hills we didn't ride in the area today. I was thankful for that because I was done with the all the hills by the end of the ride! It was fun though, and I'm really glad we went out this morning. It was really nice to finally get out and do a long ride with other people. It has been lonely doing all my long rides alone. I really don't have anything interesting to talk to myself about. I think I just told myself I think I'm boring. Anyway, we rode 77 miles of hilly countryside and I felt pretty accomplished when we finished.

Today I tried a product called Carbo-Pro, and it is a flavorless powder that you can put in any liquid to add calories. I put it in my bottles of Accelerade since I need to figure out a way to pack more calories in during my rides without having to carry a sack of groceries with me. I really liked what Carbo-Pro did for my performance today. I didn't feel hungry, I had a lot of energy I know I wouldn't have felt on a such a long ride, but there is one side-effect that Captain Cartwheel warned me had happened to her when she first used Carbo-Pro. (Warning: The following is not for the faint of heart!) I can spell out what Carbo-Pro did to my body in three letters: G-A-S! Holy buckets. My tummy started rumbling and I think I realize now why I felt so strong on the bike. I did about half the work with my legs and the other half with my bum. I could have powered a jet airplane, and I'm really surprised I didn't launch off my bike! So, if you can handle it, I have some Carbo-Pro that I will not be using and you can have it! You may want to take some Gas-X first..just a suggestion.

Happy trails!