Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Race Report

You know what they say, A perfect race means a boring race report.
Well, it wasn't perfect in the way I wanted, but pretty darn close. Race day started with my mom waking me up at 4:20 to get my lazy butt out of bed, eating, sunscreening, etc. Got my stuff together and she dropped me off at T2 to meet my team and catch the bus out to the lake. It was 33 degrees out. I was in flip flops and shorts and my toes were little icecubes.

My team of about 20 managed to snag a little mini bus all to ourselves and the 45 minute ride to the lake was a mixture of nerves and hilarity. I mostly rested my head against the cool window as the sun poured through onto my face. I watched Ilana braid Michele's hair as Ilana fought carsickness. I listened to Leslie and Tiffany singing funny songs at the rear of the bus and our theme song for the day was "Let's get it started. HA! Let's get it started in here!" I listened to Sherrie imitate Shannon's laugh. I watched Ali in the seat ahead of me trying to choke down her very thick oatmeal with a very dry mouth. I watched us all comparing our tattoos and things we wrote on our bodies in black marker. We had a bunch of tattoos made up that said "Suck it up Princess" - A quote from little Natasha, our honored teammate who is up in Heaven now. Some of us had written the letters PFM or RFM for Persistent Forward Motion or Relentless Forward Motion - remembering as long as we keep moving, whether it was pushing our bike up the mountain or crawling through the paths, along as we kept it moving forward, we were good.

Got to the lake and made sure all our T1 stuff we dropped off the night before was still there, that our tires were pumped up sufficiently and used the porta potties about 15 times each all the while talking about our pre-race bathroom troubles or successes of the morning ;o)
As we were finishing up a second breakfast and preparing to get in our wetsuits, the loud speaker announced that a bus hadn't arrived due to road construction or a wreck or something and that the race would be delayed as much as 45 min to an hour. GRRRRR.
After a few minutes of grumbling and realizing that it would be THAT much hotter on our run with a late start, we accepted what we could not change and started monkeying around some more.

Finally, we're off!! I had a fantastic swim and was sure that my time would be terrific. After the 2nd buoy, I had a terrific cramp in my right calf - I had been using my legs too much and when I lifted my head to clear some snot out of my throat I slowed down and instantly got the cramp. I almost panicked but then just kicked my leg out a couple times and continued swimming with my right leg hanging limp and continued on and I was good! Got into T2 and saw Diane and Dan and Sherrie and loved the energy. My only glitch was that I couldn't get my helmet snapped. I don't know if it was nerves or my fingers were cold or what, but it took me over a minute to get it hooked on. My swim time was 40:42 (I felt I had gone off course somewhat between the last two buoys and I think I must have. Diane confirmed that she also felt like she was caught in a current there. I don't think lakes have currents, but it definitely felt like I was being pulled off course). I came out of the water 248/477 so right in the middle is fine with me with this group of athletes!!
T1 was 3:09.

The bike ride was terrific as well. No problems. Powered up Mt. Bachelor only to see what looked like my truck right at the end of our middle (biggest climb) hill around mile 37. Sure enough, there are Steve, Mom, and the kids sitting in the back with TNT signs and big smiles and "I love you Mama" shouts, BUT IT WAS A HILL - I could not stop to hug them like I wanted to - I had to keep pushing and I did try to give Steve a high five and almost toppled off my bike!

Then a few minutes later, here they come up behind me with more words of encouragement. TERRIFIC!!!

Now I'm up over the hill and on my way
the mountain. Speeding along so fast that what I thought would be comfort after the hill turned out to be so painful trying to keep my bike from getting swept sideways by the wind - my upper body was tense staying down in my drops close to my brakes, but it felt SO GOOD!!!! to be flying along like that. I had passed a guy who was walking his bike up the big hill and at the bottom he finally passed me and said I was BOMBING down the hill and it took him the whole way to catch me. But catch me he did and away he went. I ended up pulling into T2 with a time of 3:45:49 and a placing of 422 out of 472 although at this point in the race I am still in 398th place. Again, with these athletes, I'm loving those numbers. I'm elated and bummed at the same time. The ride was pretty darn good. I took it too easy, though. I was trying to save myself for the hills and I was trying to save myself for the run, but at the end of it all, I see where I should have pushed harder during the first 27 miles - last year I got a cramp during that first stretch that stayed with me through the entire rest of the race and I was scared of that happening again. I should have gone for it - the hill had nothing on me this year! So, we lost 5 people somewhere there, but now I've really dropped in the rankings. I also see where I mentally kind of lost my motivation over the last 20 miles. I knew I was going to come in way ahead of my bike goal of under 4 hours and kind of again "saved myself" for the rest of the race.

T2 was uneventful and took me way too long at 4:45, but I felt good. My legs were good and I was happy as I reached my family at mile 1. I kind of knew at that point that the run would be similar to last year. Although my legs and lungs were good, my back was starting to spasm and I was feeling lightheaded and nauseated, getting goosebumps off and on in what turned out to be somewhere in the upper 80s that day. Sheryl caught me around mile 2 and we decided to run/walk together until we got to her house which was on the route - she called it her T3. She was going to run in and change from bike shorts to running shorts and said she would grab me something to eat. By the time we met up again, I realized my nutrition was off. I felt yucky and the bar she got me was so dry and I couldn't even produce enough saliva to wash it down my throat. Got rid of the bar and tried an apple pie gel. BLECH! I got it down and it didn't come back up, so that was good. It was also the only calories I got into me during those 13.1 miles. I think I managed 1 cup of Heed or whatever the course had at one point but otherwise, I just ate A FREAKING TRUCKLOAD OF ICE!! I'm so thankful for the aid stations at every mile and all the ice they provided us.

So, I finally told Sheryl, listen, this is killing me to run - you have to go on without me - so off she went. I played tag with a nice guy for quite some time. I would run and pass him then he would run and pass me then he would stop at a porta potty and I would pass him again. We had lots of good laughs. Tim caught up with me around mile 5 or 6 and we stayed together for quite some time talking and laughing until some friends of his showed up at mile 10 to bring him across the finish I let them leave me as I still couldn't bring myself to run other than a jog here and there. The thing I realized was that if I ran, I felt sick and in pain. Not just a suck it up princess type of thing. If I ran, I was going to be very ill. I also realized that if I walked, I was having a good time - enjoying the beautiful scenery of Sunriver, the river, the horses, the animals, and so rather than worry about anything, I just enjoyed.

And that Persistent Forward Motion got me across the finish line with my kids on either side of me holding my hands and hearing my name called out as a finisher!! and tons of hugs from my teammates and a final time of 7:58:35 which I believe was about an hour faster than last year!!!!

Right after the race I told my mom not to let me do this again next year. She promised.
I bet she'll read this... Mom...It's like having a baby - you immediately forget all the bad and remember the good...I'm just sayin'...


Pandemonium said...

I need some bike tips from you. I want to buy a road bike, but I have NO IDEA what to buy. I'm not looking for expensive, but I do want a decent bike. I currently have a mountain bike. Ick. What do you know that you can share with me - a know-very-little. :)

Julie said...

Hey Steph! Are you going to get new or used????? And I'll have some advice for you...
but my best advice is to get a triple crank vs a double if you'll be doing any hills whatsoever.

Krissa said...

I loved reading all about your race. ONE HOUR FASTER!!! WOOOHOO! That is awesome.

"Suck it up Princess." My new quote. :)

So where was this race at? I was thinking, "33 degrees in the morning and 80s after noon!!!" Wasnt the water freezing!

This makes me excited about my race which is nothing compared to yours. But it will be a fun starter race.

Did you meet your goal for the fundraiser?

You rock :)

Julie said...

Krissa, we were in Oregon's high desert. It's so cold in the mornings and really hot during the day. Last year I was dealing with heat exhaustion going up the mountain and it was so weird to look around me and see snow everywhere. Snow and upper 80s before it got up to almost 100 degrees. Now that was a weird race!
This year I would head outside at about 7:30 in the a.m. and it would be in the lower 40s, but with the hot sun shining down, I would lay in my swimsuit on the lounge chair and read my book and get too hot! I love it there! Strong sun!

I got very close to reaching my goal. I think I ended up having to donate a little over $100 to finish it off :o)
Thanks again for your donation!!!

Pandemonium said...

New or used? I don't know. Haven't really thought about used, but that might not be a bad idea! My only concern with used is that I truly am CLUELESS so I wouldn't necessarily know if I was getting a good deal, a good bike, etc.

Julie said...

I had a really tough time finding used for that exact reason - PLUS, the fit is hard to determine if you don't know much about bikes. Each brand seems to have their own way of measuring, so if you're a 52 on one bike, you might be a 54 on another. I knew the person I bought mine from, so it made it a little easier.

Here's the advice I was given for buying a new bike. Try out several different shops. Make sure they let you test ride them outside of the store. Ride some different brands and go ahead and try a triple crank vs a double crank and find a hill to ride up and you'll see the difference in gearing. Don't go out and buy the first day you're shopping. Try them out and see how different bikes feel to you and your body.

The great thing about buying new is that they'll fit the bike for you when you buy it and make sure everything is adjusted the way it should be for your body. MAKE SURE THEY DO THIS.

You want to make sure they have good components. Most use Shimano but if you go for a cheaper bike, you might have some really cheap parts on it. I would expect you to pay close to a $1000 for a "decent" bike. I know some people last year found a good bike for about $800 but after they got on the clipless pedals, the bike computer, etc - it was still around a $1000 and I wouldn't say they were thrilled with their bikes in the long run. A couple hundred more dollars can make a big difference.

If I were to get a new bike right now, I would get a triple crank and I would expect to spend around $1500.

Julie said...

Krissa - the lake was about 60 degrees which is PERFECT in your wetsuit :o)

Pandemonium said...

Thanks, Julie!

QuilLight said...

Woo hoo!!!!!! Way to go, Julie!!!!