Friday, July 1, 2011

Sea Level Is For Sissies Race Report Part 2

If you missed Part 1, you can read my Pre-Race Report HERE.

Ok...here goes. I've had some time to gather my thoughts on Pac Crest "Long Course" (this race isn't part of the "Ironman" series and therefore Pac Crest is no longer called a Half Ironman, but rather "long course" now). Here is what you'll get out of me:

The good, the bad, and the regrets.
I guess I'll just take it leg by leg.
First...I better share my time:

Total: 7:23:20
Swim: 42:58
T1: 5:03
Bike: 3:48:23
T2: 5:13
Run: 2:41:42

I have raced this course twice before and this was my best race by far. I'll start with saying I PRd by 35 minutes. I will also say that although that makes me happy, I am pretty pissed that I didn't come in under 7 hours...but we'll get to that.

The Swim:
I headed into the swim with some concerns. My goggles had given me great problems on the fun swim the day before. They were leaking bad and fogging horribly. I could not sight. I mistakenly assumed someone would have defogger with them on race day and so I blew it off. No one had defogger on race day until I was in the water and ready for the gun to go off and Diane said she had some. Too late... this race is starting NOW! Fortunately I did not have to sight much at all as I was usually in between two people and could just stay with them without much effort. The leaking did prove to be troublesome once I got out of the water. My left eye was almost blind. This had happened weeks earlier at the Hagg Lake Swim so at least this time I knew I wasn't having a stroke...which is what I thought had happened at that swim. I think the water was just so cold that it froze my eye a bit. Within a couple minutes, it was fine, but it did make for some added fun at T1. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. I did have a few issues in the water in the form of calf cramps. I experienced my first cramp earlier in the morning when we trying to get a group shot and I stood on my tip toes. Then my right calf cramped again going around Buoy #2 and Buoy #3. This was a sign of things to come.
As I came out of the water, Coach Glen captured my first moment of disappointment...

...when I checked my time: 42:58. My slowest swim ever at Pac Crest and about 3 minutes slower than I had planned. I thought I had a great swim, so this was frustrating.

Ok...on to...
T1:
I had considered my previous transition times in other races and figured I would be out of this one in 2.5 minutes or less. However...I had some clothing difficulty. I put my shirt on backwards not once, not twice, BUT THREE times. By the time I got out of T1, over 5 minutes had passed. Grrrr. I have to share that although this clothing mishap was pretty funny to I'm sure everyone who was watching, at least I finally got it on correctly. My teammate Nic came into T2, put his shirt on and then tried to figure out why Laura was yelling at him that his "bike was on backwards". After struggling to figure out what she meant by that, he went on his merry way and did the entire 13.1 with his shirt on backwards :-) hehehe.

The Bike:
I was SO prepared for this bike ride. I thought for sure I would finish between 3:30:00 and 3:45:00, but really felt that 3:30 was going to happen. You can see here that I'm feeling pretty good about things...


...however, my back hurt from THE MOMENT I got on the bike.

What I can say about climbing the hill is that it was truly NOT that hard. I've done it twice before...the first year getting off to walk at one point and the second year staying on the bike but struggling. This time I passed a few people on the steepest part. I felt prepared physically. What I was not prepared for was the leg cramping that started at about mile 20 or 25. My calves in particular were cramped pretty good and my right hamstring was screaming at me. I also had a stitch in my side that proved detrimental once I hit the top and thought I would scream to the bottom. For the first couple miles down I could move pretty fast - close to and over 40mph sometimes, without much pedal effort but eventually I needed to really speed up my cadence and my side was causing me some concern. If I had known that the side ache would go away on the run (which it did) I would have probably pushed harder at the end, but I cruised in much slower than I wanted to.

On my way down the hill, however, I looked up to the right to find the most wonderful rainbowish thing in the sky. It was more like a rainbow cloud and it took my breath away (and made the news that night). I thought maybe Michael was watching from above and decided to brighten our race day with a sky painting. Whatever it was, it awed me.
I made it the 58 miles (rather than the normal 56) and pulled in to T2 with 3:48:23 in the saddle. Not thrilled, but glad to be off the bike.

T2:
I had planned on this being a long transition because I had brought my foam roller and planned to roll my back out. I knew it would be hurting, but I didn't realize how badly it would be hurting. I think I could have gotten away with a 3 minute transition here, but as I headed out, I realized I hadn't put on my chapstick, so I went back. Then I started out again and realized I forgot my music, so I went back. Stupid mistakes. T2 took an unnecessarily long 5:13.

The Run:
My original plan had been that if my swim, bike and transitions went off as planned, I could run as slow as a 12:00m/m and still come in under 7hours. I still had hope at this point because I was able to run the first 5 miles pretty well...and by well, I mean I was moving forward but my breathing sounded like a freight train.

Highlights of the run were seeing Dad, Mom, and Mai out on the course. Eventually the altitude, hunger, and back cramping managed to get me down to a walk/jog and that got me to the finish line and this...


I crossed the finish line to find family, friends and teammates waiting. The first tears started falling when my daughter grabbed my hand to run me in, the ugly cry started when coach put the medal around my neck, and then it was time to try to compose myself as I hugged my friends and family. I'm proud of what I've accomplished this year in fund raising, healing my body and mind, and in my 35 minute PR. I DO have regrets about this race and I know I promised to share them, but now the kids want breakfast!!...so there will have to be a part 3.

Love you all...thanks for reading and supporting and following along my journey.

28 comments:

Shelby said...

Congrats! Having the perfect race is what we all strive for, is it possible? No one knows, that is why we keep trying!!!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats!!!! Nice race and a HUGE 35 min PR!!!

Spit is the best anti fogging agent I have used, just lick the inside of your goggles.

Question, this is from the pics, did you do a 56 mile bike not in tri or cycling shorts? I am impressed

Julie said...

BDD, I usually use baby shampoo or spit in a pinch, but the spit was not cutting it at all! I think they are permanently fogged.

Yes...I did the bike in running shorts. I've NEVER worn bike shorts. I have worn tri shorts on occasion but I find they don't do much better than my running shorts, so I just wear whatever is clean :-)

shannon said...

Congrats on great race! I love your "happy" cycling pics, but I must admit, the one with you and your daughter crossing the finish is the best!

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

So very proud of what you accomplished on a tough course! I admit, I'm a bit choked up. I love that finish area in Sunriver, and think it's so neat that kids can run their parents in. So special.

Isn't this course LONGER than a HI? Oh, and that altitude SUCKS!!!

Way to go!

Can't wait for the Eugene Women's Half...

Kate said...

Oh, Julie, that picture of your daughter running you in brought tears to my eyes. Way to go!! A 35-min PR is awesome!! I loved where you said that the hill wasn't bad after all your training. Seeing your progress is such a great feeling...especially when it helps you pass people in tough places. And three times putting your shirt on backward...lol.

Jenn said...

SUPER congrats on the BIG PR! I can't even imagine exercising straight for over 7 hours!! Awesome job!

The picture of you and your daughter at the finish-LOVE it! How awesome she could run you in!!

Wish you had a video of T1!! Frustrating at the time but I'm sure funny to look back at later.

Again, such a great job! I'm so in all of triathletes. So much work goes in to all that training. You deserve to celebrate BIG time!!

P said...

Why, yes, you DID make me cry with that picture of you and your daughter holding hands! What a wonderful moment.
Congrats on your HUGE PR!! Sorry about the fogging and other issues, but 35 minutes is incredible and definitely something to be proud of!
And I finally got a chance to watch yesterday's video, that was some funny stuff!

theAlmostRunner said...

This is incredible. I have such respect for triathaloners! You did amazingly- a 35 minute PR!

Samantha said...

Congrats on a big PR!! That is one very long race - you should be proud of such a great accomplishment! There's always little let-downs, right?

CautiouslyAudacious said...

Congrats! Cute Shorts! I had the elastic on a pair of goggles bust on my right before a "long distance" once it rattles your nerves but it seems like you had an awesome race!

Alma said...

Congratulations! I can't imagine being active like that for 7+ hours! Nice job! Considering your back & leg were cramping, so impressive that you still got a PR!

ajh said...

I absolutely love that your daughter ran in with you and you have wonderful pictures of it. Congrats on the huge PR. Sorry you were disappointed overall. I guess in a race this huge (you are incredible to do it) there is a lot of chance for mishaps. The cramps really suck. Too bad! It sounds like your bike ride up that hill really showed all your training. Way to go!

SupermomE12 said...

YOU ARE AWESOME!!! Great job! congrats and hugs!!!

Lisa said...

Great race!! Sorry about your back ache and the long transition, but a 35min PR is awesome and it is so cute that your daughter ran you in!! I am in awe of anyone who competes in a tri. Congrats!

Julie said...

Oh Julie! What a fantastic race! 35 Minutes!!! I think you kicked a$$ and I am thrilled for you! I can not believe that you don't wear tri/bike shorts, you are hardcore for sure. Eagerly awaiting part 3!

XLMIC said...

You are amazing! This is like an episode of Survivor: Pacific Crest! So impressed with your dogged determination and huge PR!

Megan said...

Holy cow - 35 minute PR?! You better be proud of that!

Nikki Kendall said...

You look amazing in purple! LOVE IT! How awesome to PR with the Team! You are amazing and have accomplished something amazing!

Beth said...

Congrats Julie!! So great to read about your race. We got really lucky with the weather. 35 minute PR is huge, way to go!

Small Town Runner said...

Julie, I am SO impressed with your effort and determination. 7 hours, 7+ hours is a LONG time to be in movement.....and you must be exhausted! I fully appreciated every word of this report from my non-tri perspective. Your heart was there, and the training was too.

I loved the part about the rainbow and how your daughter and hubs could be there at the finish line.

The PR is HUGE- don't let anything diminish it. Use the experience to learn and share with others.

You ROCK!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Holy PR Julie!! I'm sorry I have been MIA for a while--craziness. So freaking proud of you!!

Fantastic photos--you looking so good!! Athletic!!!!

Mike said...

A pic of you and your daughter finishing a HIM together....priceless.

Michael said...

AMAZING Job Julie!! A 35 minute PR - that is incredible. I know the race didn't go exactly as planned, but when you consider your recent back injury I really think it went amazingly well! I'm glad to read your next post where you said you've decided you don't have any regrets :) You shouldn't, you rocked it!!

I love that Mai ran across the finish with you....awesome!

And what??? You don't wear bike or tri shorts on the bike, HOLY!! I think my butt would die!

You are AWESOME!! Congrats!

Penny said...

CONGRATS on a great race. You are one strong girl. As I'm reading this I'm getting tired before the swimming part is over. How do you do these Tri and I thought running a marathon was tiring. You are amazing in my book. Loved the picture of your little girl and you crossing the finish line.

Sherry Sutherby http://russ-stickacres.blogspot.com/ said...

Julie ~ I am so glad you found my Blog and connected, which led me back to your wonderful Blog. I wanted to show you, for motivation, a video that my eldest son directed about Scott Rigsby, who is the first double-amputee to compete in the Kona Ironman triathlon. Scott is an amazing man...(as is my son, Charlie Matz, who is a Christian filmmaker).
http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi3645114137/

The Green Girl said...

Aw. I'm sorry you didn't meet your goal time but congratulations on the impressive PR.

Nelly said...

I probably should have commented a while back on this post, awesome job! That sounds like a tough course, sounds like you did great on it! That is a huge PR!