Sunday, May 16, 2010

Racing Minus the Mojo

So the Bonelli Triathlon #2. Little did I know when I committed to this race that it'd fall at the end of yet another crazy week in which my training (including the rest/recovery aspect) would take a back seat to everything else.

In fact, it's time to be honest with you guys, I haven't been able to train as well as I'd like for several weeks now. I do what I can: I get in key workouts and enough volume/intensity to maintain fitness, but I have a growing number of commitments that often take priority over a workout, over rest or whatever. I don't want to give up any of my commitments, and I don't training to be a source of stress, so I'm ok with life as is.

Anyways, on Saturday, I noticed online that Bonelli #2 is pretty much an Olympic distance (1k/40k/8k), not another sprint. Oops. I just laughed. My body was not race ready and I knew it (I've made these mistakes before), but I decided to pretend it was... I refused to miss out on another scheduled triathlon, dang it! Stubborn. I know.

Overall, the race was fun and a decent attempt at s-b-r all things considered--AG podium and top 10 overall--but on the other hand it was a bit of a disappointment because I couldn't kick it into that next gear (a gear I know exists) and fell flat. Truth be told, I called my mom after and started whining, but then this guy, Will, came up and introduced himself and said he reads & likes my blog. That quickly changed my attitude. Thanks, Will.

Here's how it went down...

It started off on a good note: I didn't hit snooze on Sunday morning!

I headed to the race sans-sherpa, as all my sherpas (there are 3 in the mix these days) had prior obligations. No biggie, except that means no pictures, sorry. Ran into Molly from Zoot, which was awesome because it was her first tri and she was smiling from ear to ear. I hung out with her and a few other fast SD chicks who made the trek up before the race start.

Ok, anyone who knows me knows the circulation in my feet blows and my toes are always a lovely shade of "frost-bitten black/blue." This is always an issue with the swim because my calves and feet cramp up even in mild conditions, and I don't know what to do. If you have a suggestion, chances are I've tried it. I think the biggest problem is: I do a warm-up swim, but then I wait for my wave to go off and I cool down, toes turn blue, feet/legs tighten up--even if I jump/jog around. Is it even worth a warm-up swim? I don't know.

So, like clockwork, we started the swim and I felt a little sumthin sumthin in my calves and feet (particularly my L calf that's been giving me issues lately). About 2 min later everything below both knees seized up into cramp mode. Ugh! I spent the entire 1K swimming in that state; in other words, I had dorsiflexed anchors attached to my torso. Not good.

People were saying the swim course was long, and yea I cramped, but I still was PO'd seeing my time as I exited water. Typical. I had to brush it off.

I love this course and wanted to show it who's boss. (My usual post-swim anger!) There are lots of hills and it's not boring even though it's loop repeats. I was amped to get goin and play catchup, but wait...

...where were my legs? They definitely didn't show up to ride a bike! Several miles in, still. No legs. This was a big red flag that my body was in no state to be racing. Even on my worst days I still get by alright on the bike. I sucked it up, and just did what I could. (Sure enough, later on I checked iBike data from from this course and and my average mph per loop was significantly slower.)

Something else odd happened soon into the bike. My tummy kept grumbling as if I were starving. Um, no way. For a race that was to last 2-2.5 hrs, I went above and beyond to eat good meals starting Saturday (when I saw race distance), consuming enough as if I were doing a 70.3. How could I be hungry?! Long story short, during the race I consumed double the amount of GUs I'm used to for that time span and had no ill effects. Thankfully I always over-pack my nutrition.

Anyways, 40k flew by. I just enjoyed the ride, enjoyed the pain I was inflicting. I had no idea where I was in the rankings because I never rode with any girls. Literally. I laughed at my "loner-ness" because I thought of "The Hangover" and decided I was my own wolfpack. (Ya know... the crazy bro... "I consider myself a bit of a loner, a lone wolf with my own wolfpack."... I was the chick version of him.)

Grabbed my Garmin in T2, run out, go to turn it on and it's frozen on a screen that says "battery charged 98%." My dumb arse actually wasted time to try and get it unfrozen--I spent close to 2 mins just jogging, not running, because I was messing with the Garmin. What was I thinking? Um, something like this: "well, if I have it with me and it's going to be with me for 5 miles, then I might as well try to make it work." Never happened... and that was just dumb logic on my part.

Although the run hurt, it ended up being super fun for two reasons:

1) The course was poorly marked in a lot of areas so I, nor anyone else around me, knew which way to go when the road branched of in 3-4 directions. At that point I knew my race wasn't a "top performance" so I found it comical that we were guessing the route. I laughed.

2) Roughly half of the run was on tree-encompassed trails surrounding the lake, and I imagined that I was racing an Xterra triathlon in Maui :) That fantasy helped give me some mojo.... until we'd get back on pavement in the park. Then it was just a matter of arguing with my legs and HR to pick it up. Wasn't happening. I never knew my true pace, but I felt like the run went on longer than 8k.

Turns out I had the 3rd fastest female run split of the day. But all of our paces seem a little slow, so I'm wondering if the course was mismarked. I think we ran 10k not 8k :)

The End
Crossed the finish line pleased that I didn't let all that extraneous BS get the best of me. Looking at the results and doing my anal analysis of times I conclude that had I been rested, tapered and A-gaming this race, I probably would have been at least 5 minutes faster. But being within 10 min of the top ladies, and finishing 10th overall was ok with me.

The final red flag came when I got home... after shower, food and an attempt at work/studying I crashed hard. I napped for nearly 3 hours! I don't even do that after a half-Ironman. But after that hibernation and more rejuvenation, I felt like a new woman. A new woman who was doomed to a Monday of work, school work and more studying :(


  1. Nice job at the race. Had some fn and you did really well with all the BS.
    I think you're much more fit than you think you are.
    Enjoy summer.

  2. Nice job on the AG and top 10 finish even on an off day. Don't forget, stress on your body is stress on your body, whether it's training or just being overloaded with work, etc. Don't minimize the effect that a brutal schedule can have no only in terms of direct impact on training time but also in terms of indirect impact on overall rest and wellness. You've been working hard- go easy on yourself, would ya?

  3. Congrats on the race! You did a great job overcoming all the hurdles thrown at you.

  4. Congrats despite the bad day. I'm definitely feeling the same pressure of other commitments competing with increased training.

  5. Good race at Bonnelli. I competed in the same event. My thoughts were the same on the swim, as it seemed longer than usual. Using Garmin w/o gps only pedometer had the run at 5.5 miles (about 9K). I am heading to Boise next month also for my first half. Maybe we will run into each other. Derek Couse (