Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Musselman 2012 and the Golden Shower

Sunday I raced the Musselman half-IM. It was my first half since Syracuse 70.3 in 2010. I am exciting to get back into the "middle distance" of triathlon racing because I feel like I can (hopefully) be pretty successful in this distance. Hopefully, someday. Although I am starting to think that my race career peaked at age 26. That is really depressing and I try not to think about it.

MusselBaby that came in the packet!!

Yesterday did not reflect on my "maybe I could be good at 70.3s" idea AT ALL.

Fair warning: this was not a good race for me. My race report will reflect that. Sorry that I can't spin it positively. Sometimes shit just sucks.

Pre-Race
I woke up at 4 am to get showered, dressed, eat, and hit the road at 4:45 am. I was wearing my new Johnson & Johnson tri kit! I got to transition about an hour later and saw Jill, Solveig, Jeremy, and John on my way in. I don't know how I can be so loud and excitable before 6 am.. it's just something about the race atmosphere that gets me going! I was setting up in transition and my blog friend Anne-Marie was at the rack next to mine, so we chatted about the race, the weather, etc. Soon after, it was announced that the water temperature was 78.8 so the race would be non-wetsuit legal. I decided to follow their call and swim without my wetsuit for 2 reasons: a) I didn't want to risk overheating in my full length wetsuit and b) if something crazy were to happen and I had a really good race, I didn't want to disqualify myself from any sort of award. That is just not a chance I am willing to take no matter what kind of shape I am in. Plus, it's good practice for races in the future where I really might be in contention for an award - at least now I will have one non-wetsuit swim under my belt! I was going off in the 6th wave, so I had like 45 mins to kill after they closed transition but before my wave was going off, so I stood around, talked to some people, didn't really get hit by any nerves. The weather was in the 70s already so it was promising to be hot and muggy, but at least there was cloud cover. There were also thunderstorms in the forecast.

Swim
Since I had opted to not wear my wetsuit, I was standing around in my tri kit, holding my cap and goggles, for 25 minutes because I was in wave #6 out of 7 total waves. I saw a few people at this point as well as was discovered by another Johnson & Johnson employee from New Jersey, and she was actually the woman that mailed my race kit to me! Such a small world! Anyways, they finally called for the light blue wave and I went into the coral, and then waded out into the lake - it felt cooler than I expected. Jeff yelled "GO" and we were off! Because I wasn't wearing my wetsuit and about half of the wave was, I started off to the right so I wouldn't get trampled. There were pretty decent waves coming towards the shore that were a little challenging to swim through out to the first two buoys and then parallel to the shore, but not too horrible. There was also LOTS of seaweed and I'm pretty sure I swam into a dead fish at one point (I could smell something rotting and something cold and nasty smacked into my face). Those two things would ordinarily cause me to completely freak out in open water, but during a race I can somehow tuck my fear of all things slimy in the back of my head and proceed to swim even with seaweed draped across my face. The water temperature was perfect for a no-wetsuit swim, and I would have been dying in my full-sleeved wetsuit, so I'm glad I went without. Once we turned towards the shore, we had the waves pushing us in, and then we had the current in the canal and the river. My swim time was only 2 minutes slower than my best half-IM swim time which I earned while wearing a wetsuit, so I was definitely happy with it.
36:15

T1
Awesome because I didn't have to struggle with my wetsuit!
1:31

Bike
I hopped on my bike and started out feeling good through the park. I was happy with my swim time and was thinking to myself that I might have a decent race after all! I was pushing pretty hard and passing a bunch of people as I was heading out of Geneva, and then realized that I wasn't racing a sprint tri and I should probably slow down. At this point, I realized I had no idea how to pace this thing because I hadn't raced anything but a sprint tri or an Ironman in 2 years! I was supposed to race by heart rate but it was totally spiking and I couldn't get it to come down. I'm not sure if it was the heat, the adrenaline, the fact that it was sliding down my stomach, or my stupidity that was making it so high.

Five minutes into the ride I knew it wasn't going to be a fun trip. I felt like I have absolutely no gas in the tank whatsoever. I could either cruise along at 16 mph and try to ride via HR, or I could try to push it a little and see if I could get my legs moving. I decided to go with the second option. It didn't help that the first 1/3 of the course is slightly uphill, and there was a headwind for the first long section. Even though I knew these elements were factoring into my slow speed, it was still discouraging. I was riding with Karin K. right in the beginning of the course (although it took me 30 mins to figure out who it was that kept talking to me as we played leapfrog!). She was riding better than I was so I decided to try to stick with her and at least that would give me something on which to focus. This worked for a while, and then we hit 414N which had JUST been paved and we had a tailwind, and I saw my speed hold steady in the 23-24 mph zone, and I started to feel better and that all hope was not lost. And then, the thunderstorms that were forecasted, hit. Hard. It started out with thunder, and then lightning, and then the rain started pouring down - I was drenched within 10 seconds. It was pelting me in the eyeballs underneath my sunglasses (thank god I changed the lenses to the less tinted ones), they were fogging up, and I could barely see. There was an inch of standing water on the road that was really freaky to ride through. Basically I just kept a death grip on my handlebars and tried to stay as far right as possible so that a car or other cyclist wouldn't hydroplane into me! It was at this point in the race where I just mentally gave up. I kept hoping that one of the giant lightning bolts would strike me down. Or that they would call off the race due to the thunderstorm. Or that I would flat and someone could drive me back to transition. Horrible, negative things. I just didn't want to be out there. I am not proud of this, but I guess it happens. But there I was, out in the middle of nowhere, in the rain, in the middle of a race, refusing to stop no matter how much it sucked. (Although I did consider stopping at one of the many wineries I was riding by to drown my sorrows).

 The rain continued until I reached Cayuga Lake (so I crawled down the steep downhill as slowly as possible) and then it started easing up. I was able to pee once on that downhill.. the rain just made it that much easier! By this point, I had lost Karin and I felt even crappier. I felt crappy for a long time. I tried to stay on top of my nutrition, although the deathgrip for the 30 minute deluge might have hindered that a little bit.

 I started to feel good at mile 50. Seriously? Six miles left and that's when my body decides that it is ok with racing. Of course, this had NOTHING to do with the tailwind that we were getting as we were heading north back to Geneva! By now, the rain had been gone for a while and the roads were actually starting to dry. As I was riding, I felt a few drops hit my face, so I wondered if it started raining again and looked up. Turns out, it was not rain, it was the guy that had just passed me peeing.. and it was blowing onto my face. I GOT PEED ON. Yes folks, it was my first (and please god hopefully my last) golden shower. As grossed out as I was, I do this as well (although I try to check behind me first) so I couldn't really be mad. Only in triathlon.....
3:06:57, 18.1 mph

T2
Not much to be said here. My shoes and socks were already soaked despite my having covered them up with a Wegmans bag.
 1:42

Run
photo by Solveig who did the AquaBike
I saw Matt K. immediately after leaving transition, and he took a photo of me waving at him (which I am still waiting to see!). I felt really good running through the park. I cheered for the top guys who were coming in (and also was very jealous that they were almost done!). I also saw my friends Erin and Steve (they raced the day before) at the Ramada and they cheered for me both times I ran by which was super awesome of them! I actually felt good running for the first 5 miles or so. And then I started to get hot and my legs hurt. My longest run this year has been one hour and six minutes long due to my knee injury, so I was worried about how long I would be able to run strong. I was also worried that my knee pain would flare back up. It didn't feel 100% while I was running, but it didn't do anything alarming enough to cause me to stop. I was running right with Jill for a while but she was running better than me and eventually passed me for good. I also sprained my ankle (for real) running up Barracks Rd., which is a steep, rocky, dirt road right around mile 7. I ran halfway up then rolled my ankle, then walked the rest of the way. I am no stranger to a sprained ankle, so once I got to the top, I just ran on it. So that was fun. By this point I knew I wasn't going to beat my 2009 Musselman time (my first 70.3 ever and slowest 70.3 time) and was looking at a PW. I just was hoping to stay under 6 hours. Which I managed to do.. barely. The downhill sections were ok, but I am not a great downhill runner and I had 2 sore quads, a bad knee, and a bad ankle to contend with! Running back through the park is always 1000x worse than when you're first starting, as well. It's flat but it's soooo boring. I guess I just don't have many positive things to say about this run other than I didn't screw my knee up which was my main concern.
2:06:42, 9:32 min/mi


Finish: 5:53:07, 13 AG, personal worst time by 13 f-ing minutes!!!


The good things about the race.. well the race itself is fantastic. The packets always have awesome stuff in them - this year I got all natural peanut butter, a tech shirt, shampoo/conditioner, and an adorable stuffed "MusselBaby." It's always well-organized and runs smoothly. And I love seeing all of my triathlon friends that I really only see either at Kershaw Park or at races. I got to meet some new people too!

Also, it was a COMPLETE reality check about where I am this season. I am NOWHERE near where I was supposed to be due to circumstances that were not my fault. However, maybe I can stop screwing around and actually get some quality training in.. and maybe Timberman in August won't be quite as bad? I have to stop comparing races. I raced a 5:16 at Tinman 4 weeks out from IMLP but that was at Ironman-level fitness. And I had a perfect race. This was not a perfect race, and I am not even in half-IM condition, let alone Ironman shape! I have to learn to look at a race for what it is relative to my training and not relative to every single race I have ever done in my entire life.

And luckily, I found some fun post-race things to do too. So that made my day better and I didn't sit around dwelling on a bad race! :)

7 comments:

  1. Chalk it up to weather and you didn't crash! So, you had a great day! And as I have learned this year (and will confirm in 3 weeks) there is no substitute for training..

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  2. Funny, I had similar thoughts to the the wineries :-P

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  3. I did my first 70.3 in the rain and it does suck! Way to finish!

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  4. For what it's worth, I'm proud of your efforts...not proud about the fact that you got peed on, but...whatever floats your boat :-)

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    1. I'm not proud of that either! haha

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  5. The golden shower sucks!! Oh my - I never worried about that before but I will now!

    It was a crappy day for a race - at least you finished in one piece! Bad races are frustrating, but I think they are a necessary evil to make you really appreciate the good ones. Way to hang in there!

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    1. all I could do was laugh about it! you had a GREAT race!! I'm glad other people had better days than me!

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