I’ve got my first real injury of the past three years of training. My left knee has been achy/sore and painful when running the past two weeks, so I’ve been taking things very easy. My guess is that I changed my gait to compensate for the bruise on my right foot’s big toe, and in so either twisted my knee or aggravated my ITB or something. It’s a bit of a weird situation – my mind says push harder, but I know that isn’t really helpful. Injury isn’t something you can take a giant hammer to. It’s a sign to take a bit of time to ease up on the running a little until I’m better.
Other things that have been bugging me: Before Eagleman (and before the TT before that), my legs just felt heavy and deadish. Just no power underneath, especially on the bike. Don’t know if it’s the heat or improper nutrition or what. Same thing happened this weekend doing hill repeats (3.8 miles at 6.5%). Felt like puking on the second one, so I bagged it after that. I’d show the data, but Garmin’s Edge 500 is a piece of shit and keeps eating my workouts (first Eagleman, and now the climbing repeats. Sent a pissed off email to Garmin. We’ll see what kind of lame response (“Please read the owner’s manual,” “We’re aware of this problem and working on a fix”, “We’ll look into it”) they send.
THIS REPORT IS LONG. SO WAS THE RACE. THIS REPORT IS MUCH COOLER THOUGH.
I tried to prepare myself for the heat by camping out the night before. My tent turned into a miniature rain forest, with small squalls of rain developing by my feet. I slept outside of my sleeping bag the whole night, and slept restlessly at best (interestingly, I had been talking to my friend in El Salvador about how she was managing to sleep in the heat and humidity there, and she said eventually you just accept being uncomfortable and go to sleep). That’s what happened to me. I eventually just accepted things, and slept fitfully throughout the night (which is to be expected the night before a race, no matter how warm, cold, comfortable, uncomfortable you are). Woke up at 4:15, rolled out of my tent and got my breakfast on (wheat thins and gatorade). Broke camp and changed into my gear for the day, organized my gear bag (including the unnecessary wetsuit) and headed over to the shuttle site. Shuttle ride over to transition was uneventful (as are most non-race things on race day… or at least they seem to be for me, knock on wood), and consisted of me trying to remember the route so I could get home later in the day.
As I rolled into transition, I heard the “no wetsuits today, the water is 79º” (or whatever it was) call. I was surprised a bit, but that’s life. I wasn’t really phased by that. I had been swimming well at the pool the last couple of weeks, so I figured maybe I would lose 3 to 4 minutes from a decent 1.2 mile time (for me, that’s like 32-33 minutes). Lots of waiting around, doing diddly-poo, waiting for the start. In hindsight, I should have had some water to drink. Of course, transition was closed so I couldn’t grab any water from in there, and I didn’t even think to look whether they were handing out water.
I thought I was swimming decently well. Front middle of the pack, which I guess it was (35 out of ~90). Started running into a lot of traffic on the second leg, and the current kept pushing my south of the buoys there. Turning for home, I had problems sighting the red finish kite (and the portapotties in the vicinity), and having seen the buoys for the home leg off line earlier in the day, it seemed necessary to sight off of those. I think, though, that they had corrected the buoys by that point so I could have saved a few seconds by sighting off of those instead of searching for the red flags (and swimming a bit too far east). As I neared shore, my hips started to get a bit tight, but it wasn’t anything worth drowning over. Got out of the water, wasn’t sure what my time was. Didn’t really care (I typically don’t know what my swim time is, so I always figure I’ll wait until I get finished with the day. Turns out I swam a 40:something.
T1 is T1. Uneventful. Bike mount was a bit hectic (almost ran into the first W25-29 as we left transition).
The bike was pretty decent, although I don’t have any data on it because my Garmin Edge 500 decided that it didn’t want to save said data. Actually, scratch that. The bike was not decent. It, for me at least, was a struggle with a body that didn’t want to push very hard. I was never able to get my HR up to the levels I wanted, and the few times I could get my power up to the wattage I wanted, my legs would feel very heavy. As I started out on the bike, I vomited a bit in my mouth (I think from drinking the choptank) and my hips continued to be a bit tight. The ride was pretty uneventful – not much in the way of excitement, just kind of disgusting feeling. Lots of traffic on the course and a number of times where passing was difficult as you’d have a slower person in front of you making a pass of a slower person (and sometimes I was said slower people). Shortly before we got to the turn for Old Field Rd (which passes the Blackwater Visitor Center) there was a fellow rider on the side of the road asking for CO2. I gave him my CO2 and inflator (I had unthreaded, he needed threaded). Apparently, this is illegal according to WTC rules. If anyone would like to turn me into the RD, feel free to. I would (and will) do it again in a heartbeat. As we turned onto Egypt road I was trying to take in as many liquid calories and liquid liquid as possible, thinking I was either under-nutrited or under-hydrated. So that’s the bike, or as much as I care to discuss about it. It was what it was. 2:36:something.
T2 is T2. Almost ran over one of the aquavelo peeps who was just kindof standing in my path. Other than that, uneventful. Grabbed my water bottle and immediately started pouring water on my head. It was not cold. Tossed the water bottle as I passed the finish line.
As soon as I started the run, I removed my Garmin 305 and put it in my pocket. I decided I really didn’t want to see how slowly I was going and psyche myself out. I stepped off the curb around mile 1 and twisted my ankle, but no serious damage was done and although it would have been a good excuse to stop for the day, I kept going (and any excuse to stop for the day (yesterday) would leave me regretting it tomorrow (today) so I’m glad I didn’t. I walked probably 75% of the aid stations, making sure to grab 1 or 2 cups of ice along the way, and here’s where a 1 piece suit rocks. I’d pour the ice down my top and it would congregate at my crotch, which has some major arteries and bits and likes to not be 300º. Anyhow, I really credit the ice down the shorts/suit for helping me stay coolish. The rest of the course I ran, save for one point where I decided slamming my right foot into the front of my shoe was probably not a good thing and finally tightened my lock laces (I had been running with them loose, which is probably equivalent to running in shoes a half/full size too big). At one point I was passed by one of the W25-29 and realized that her pace was not only matchable but maintainable, so I would end up passing her in between aid stations and getting passed by her at aid stations. I’m not averse to getting chicked, but she was one of two people I saw all day who were running past me and having someone to pace off of is incredibly useful. (She would end up beating me to the finish by a few seconds, and seemed to have had a good day. So kudos to her.) Tried to cheer for every DC Tri person I saw on the course, even though I race incognito. Last couple of miles felt like they took forever, but I am pretty sure they didn’t, as I eventually finished them. Turns out I negative split the run (52:something out, 50:something in). Could I have gone faster? Perhaps/probably. But I had fun out there and aside from tingling sensations in both arms and the sun beating down relentlessly on my shoulders, face and calves, I was never in a spot of bother/danger. Run time: 1:42:something.
Al those somethings and transition times added up to give me a nice round finishing time of 5:04:00. Not my fastest day, but only 5 minutes off of NOLA 70.3 earlier this year, and in much more difficult conditions.