Monday, March 4, 2013

Desert Triathlon

The Desert Triathlon was challenging and I finished. HAH! We arrived in La Quinta and had a momentary heart attack when they said the reservations were for February and not March. They found us a room but – really – the reservations people must be morons because I remember confirming the date with the lady on the phone.

I had a flu last week and ten days before that the back spasms so I was going into the race feeling slightly less prepared than normal. In addition, the weather was predicated to be in the 80’s and I just am terrible running in the heat. I look like a big tomato and I just cant perform in the heat. I read once that this is worse in women and worse as you get older – double whammy! So I was stressing about that.

After packet pickup on Saturday, they let people swim the sprint course that was still set up. The sprint was Saturday and the Olympic was Sunday. I decided to swim it without my wetsuit to acclimate faster to the temps as I had not done any open water swims for months. There were about 150 people there and everyone in a wetsuit. I packed (for some obscure reason) my super skimpy racing bathing suit. Awesome. I thought it cannot be colder then Catalina in the summer. Well now – it was about the same. You basically cannot breath for a wee bit until you calm your body down from the shock. After a couple of minutes, I was fine and had a lovely swim. Getting out is tough because the difference between the air temp and the cold water is so great it gives me a head rush.

Race morning arrives and my husband drops me off at race start and goes back to the hotel. I don’t know why he doesn’t want to stand around in the early morning dark to see me set up in transition. Haha. I see my friend Rebecca and we are both excited although she keeps making cracks about not finishing even though she is super prepared and a serious competitor. I figure I will be 10 to 15 minutes behind her. She rocks in the swim and is solid on the bike but fast on the run. They sort us in transition according to our bib numbers which I think were assigned by age. My rack row is full of ladies my age which is weirdly nice. We chat nervously and we are all about the same level of accomplishment.

Desert Morning
The swim was COLD. Colder then the day before but I had my wetsuit so I was ok. I frankly had a problem getting my lungs opened up so my first 300 yards was jerky and uneven. I finally found my rhythm. My brain is screaming finish this and then you can get on your bike Katie! I rocked the final half even though the 55+ men (in the wave behind me) started passing me. I came out of the lake and had the same dizzy head rush from the temp difference.

I pushed too hard in transition and came out to the bike out and mount up line feeling spaced and I tried to mount on a hill going up and just fell over. WOW. Totally embarrassing. I scrambled up shouting “I am ok” and tried to mount up but my seat was twisted. A guy came out of the crowd and twisted my seat straight while I held my bike and mopped the blood on my arm off. Thank-you whoever you were and I was off. First 2 miles – I saw 2 severe bike crashes. One guy was being strapped in a board in a neck brace. Uggh my heart goes out to them. But I was freaking so happy to be out of the cold lake doing something I am good at – I was flying the first 6 miles. I had to throttle myself back. The most challenging part of triathlons for me is finding the right pace in the different parts of the race that will produce a good time but not kill me for the next section. It was still cool on the bike and I was worried about the run during the early morning heat. About mile 12, I hear something rubbing and I realize something got wonked during the fall. I think the water in my ears prevented me from hearing it earlier. I decide to go and not stop to twiddle figuring the time lost fixing might be more then the speed I will gain. I made mostly awesome time. 

The Desert Mountains were a spectacular backdrop to a great flat ride. My husband found a spot he could get to on the loop section of the course so he could cheer me twice! That was fun and made me do good time on the loop so I could say “hi” one more time! Lovely people riding around me and they helped me keep my pace. I chat with them – oh that was my husband, aren’t the mountains cool blah blah. On the loop, the high performance guys are finishing their second loop while I start mine. It’s kind of cool when they come humming by on their crazy high end bikes and they are like muscled tanned super athletes and for one nano second we ride together and then BAM they are gone.

Waving hello to my spouse!
I get off my bike and I have decided to wear socks because of the heat – I totally blow my transition 2 time…..and I can nott find run out. Humm…..I call that race stupid. I think less blood flows to my brain when physically pushing myself.  The run segment is something I did not research at all. It is fracking dirt and sand path around the lake and you do it twice. I have the wrong shoes on for a trail run. It’s super hot and I think oh shit and I get nervous. I drink and I try to eat but nothing goes down well and I spit my tiger’s milk bar out. I eat some salt and keep my legs moving.  At mile 3, two freaking 70 year old men pass me. Leathery and muscled and I read their age on their leg and I am just pissed off. Really not one but 2 old men pass me – thank-you for just rubbing my nose in how pathetically slow I am. Awesome. On the other hand, I pass people too.  On the second loop I come up on a woman run/walking and we run a bit together. She is having a hard time and is breathing funny. I offer her some salt but she refuses. She is only on her first loop. I try to cheer her up and then I take off. At this point, I know my run time is off as the sand portions of the run are slippery and my time is off by 40 seconds a mile. I dump water on my roasting body at every water stop. I accept a goo packet on the final loop and as much as I usually hate goo – I can swallow it in the heat and it gives enough pep to finish. I am headed for the finish and see the archway.  I am running beside a woman my age who confesses to me as we are huffing to the finish “I HATE running!” We giggle like mad and sprint to the finish.

My husband clicks some pictures at the finish. I see Rebecca in transition and she is glowing and bouncing.She had a great race. Me – I am dizzy and confused after a race. Humm….I pack quickly and I have to hit the road so I can check out of the hotel and shower – not in that order…..

I am sunburned, my arm aches where I fell and I have some weird bug bite on my foot from when I was waiting for the swim start and something scampered across my foot and bit me but I enjoyed it. A good way to start the season. It was a race I can build on. I need to focus on some more aggressive bike/runs in different temps.  Swimming – well I didn’t suck as bad as I thought I was going to so I guess swim practice is paying off. I think I need to warm up before either a little run or some in and outs to get my lungs open before the race will help my performance. Or I just freaking pack it in and just bike… tempting!

1 comment:

  1. This is the same swim/T1/T2 location as my Ironman last December... I know that first 2 miles of the bike is GNARLY. Glad you made it mostly safe. Congrats on the finish!