Monday, July 31, 2006

I came in DEAD LAST !!!

Saturday's training:
Bike - 50 km, wasn't supposed to be that much but I, um got carried away ...

Run - after the biking, I mixed together a banana bread and stuck it in the oven, then went for a short half hour jaunt in the neighbourhood

Swim - finally got to Magog around 6:45 pm after packing all my gear and food and doing some maintenance on my bike. First time I ever degreased and cleaned my bike by myself. My hands got all black and of course, even today, I still have black around my nails. Good thing I'm not a girly-girl or this would freak me out ... I picked up my athlete's bag from the big tent on the race site then ran into another athlete from the YMCA. We went for a dip in Lake Memphremagog. Neither of us are used to open water swimming so it was a real adventure. So many weeds! And so much gunk on the lake floor, including old shoes and long pipes. I ended up swimming 40 min. and practised my sighting.

Total training = just over 3 hours

The Race - Magog Half Ironman
2 km swim, 90 km bike, 21.1 km run

Was nervous as heck the night before, so much so that when I eventually got around to eating and preparing my bags for the race, it was past midnight before I lay down on my bed. No go ... tossed and turned all night trying desperately to fall asleep. I got up to go to the bathroom before 5 am and my friend DR called me from Montreal to wake me. (Thanks DR!!) Then the alarm went off. My roomie, D., who was doing the sprint triathlon got up with me. She had fortunately slept like a log. Good, she'll be rested enough for both of us.

What a cold morning! We put on the heat in the car and covered our legs with my kids' little polar blankies. We arrived at the race site and I set up my bike, towel and gear, then checked my tires. All I kept thinking was ... am I doing this right? Transition is still a foreign language to me.

The Swim Leg

- We all got into the water, no wetsuits allowed, and I waited for the start at the back of the pack. I got more and more nervous as the minutes then seconds ticked down. I high-fived another athlete and wished him luck just as the start was called. Bad thing about racing is that once you start, you can't stop until you finish.

- I couldn't believe how fast they all went off. At first, I followed in their bubbles, then was quickly left all by my lonesome. Good thing about being the slowest swimmer is that if I started drowning, aid was immediate since the volunteers kayaked very close to me. Great for safety but a little embarrassing for my weak swimmer morale.

- I tried to sight every 3 - 9 strokes, but found it tough to keep on course, which was an out-and-back on one arm of a triangle followed by a complete lap of the triangle. Let me tell you, that lake current can sure carry someone far in a few seconds, as I found out unfortunately with lots of zig-zagging. Race was 2km. I probably swam a good 300-400 m more.

- I heard the start of the Elite Sprint Triathlon. Great ... these swimmers were even faster than the pack with which I started and while swimming the last arm of the triangle, I was quickly enveloped with arms and legs and torsos as the pack quickly passed me at their phenomonal pace, but I kept my cool.

- I swam until my arms stroked the sandy bottom then stood up and *tried* to run through the water then up the stairs to the path that would take me to the transition area. Whew, I made it and didn't drown, and I didn't feel tired.

The Bike Leg

- When I got to the transition area, there were only two bikes there, but I don't remember anyone behind me in the swim ... hmmm ... a DNF?

- I tried the nifty trick of rinsing my feet in a container of water. A #1. I wore a tri-suit that resembles a bathing suit, but with some padding in the crotch. Never rode such a long distance wearing this, but figured with enough BodyGlide on, I wouldn't chaffe. Off I went onto the course and promptly realised that I'd forgotten my cycling gloves.

- I never knew Magog was so hilly. Nary a flat to be seen because the short segments that seemed flat were all false flats that soon become a hill. This was an out-and-back course and while it's great to bomb down hills at 55 - 75 km/h, I realised that I would have to climb up them on the way back. Took it easy though to not mash my legs ... relaxed and climbed slowly knowing that this was just a long training day in sight of the Bigger Prize (IM Canada).

- It was a little unnerving having two police motorcycle escorts for a while, especially when I had to climb some of the longer hills and I'd be as slow as 10 or 11/km closer to the top. I could hear their motors revving slower and slower, almost taunting me ...

- I was so happy to finally approach the end of the bike leg but didn't remember that I had to stop and dismount before the line and ended up doing this about two feet past the line ... The officials blew their whistle and I said I didn't know. They made me lift my bike up in the air as a penalty (don't ask me why). Alright, next stage ... run 21.1 km. Yeah, great. I could feel the hot sun bearing down on me ...

The Run Leg

- When I got to my transition area, an official told me to run around the cone before heading out to the run leg. I said I had to go to the bathroom but he kept telling me to run around that cone. Sheesh! So I ran around the cone to appease him just so that I could finish getting ready in peace. Then off to the bathroom ... oooh, I just love that BodyGlide. This was not a particulary fast transition.

- The course was a 5 km loop that served all the race distances. The half Ironman racers needed to run an extra 1.1 km (4 x 5 km = only 20 km) so they designed one segment of this loop just for us and added a long hill. Great. Just what my legs needed. I walked up this hill every time - didn't want to destroy my legs and I felt lazy. We also had to run through a field and through a small section of woods on loose gravel. That was cool. Coming out of the woods, there was a volunteer with a hose to mist us ... AHHHH ...

- The unfortunate thing about being nervous for a race and then travelling is that my body gets thrown off balance. What I could not do for two days, my body told me that now, after running 4 km, was *the time*. Great. Mother Nature calling. What horrible cramping. I located a nearby public bathroom (why go port-o-let when there's a better and more comfortable alternative?) No luck. So I ended up running with cramps for the other three loops. Walked through the water stations when I took water and made sure to splash my face and arms. Felt good because the day had heated up considerably.

- Because I took it fairly easy during the race, I was able to pick up my pace during the last 50 km and "sprinted" in.

Yay, I am a half Ironwoman !!!

Overall time - 6:53:17

Swim plus run to transition area - 56:45

Bike plus transition - 3:36:04

Run - 2:20:28

      Check out the fast field here.

      No finisher's medal though ... Hmmm, I'm going to have to reconsider this sport. Humph!

      If I was to change one thing about my race, it would have been to put on sunscreen ... Oh the pain of a 7-HOUR SUNBURN !!!

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      Anonymous Anonymous said...

      so what ? You've got your eye on the prize, and its a big one. Three cheers for being so gutsy !

      6:31 a.m.  
      Anonymous DR said...

      Good job! Hope that you're more confident now about next month!

      BTW :

      10:05 a.m.  
      Anonymous mudmonkey said...

      ..... a nice read on a sunday am.... you'll be just fine when you get to BC..... go gettum gurl.... grom

      6:52 a.m.  

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