Sunday, April 01, 2007

Race Report - California 70.3 - 3.31.2007

Super long post.

What a F'ing disaster of a race. I am not even sure where to start this race report so I'll just break it down. Starting with the night before, to the post race visit to the med tent, and then onto the beers and burritos.

Night before:
I was very relaxed and was able to easily fall asleep just after 9pm. I never force myself to try and go to sleep too early because it always makes for a restless night. I had my alarm set for 3:45am. Tranisition opened at 4:45 and closed at 6:30. With the crowd I was anticipating I wanted to get down and take care of business with out any hassle.

Race Day:

I woke up at 3:43 without the alarm going off. Perfect. I was feeling rested and ready to go. I had my pre-race meal (see below). I hit the road, found a good parking spot and got into transition. It was cold down there. The thermometer in my truck was reading 44 degrees. I was pretty bundled up so I was ok. I got a really good spot at the end of my rack, set up, got body marked, and just tried to stay warm (wasn't really working, I was freezing). At 630 transition closed. I was in the last wave of the day and didn't start until 7:48 so I had some time to kill. So I took a bag with my wetsuit in it and left the transition area. I met my family down near the "hot corner", dropped off my bag and started to warm up. I was still cold but jogging around was warming me up. About 7:15 I put on my suit and proceeded to the swim corral. I had to stand around for another 30 minutes in my suit and I started to get really cold. By the time we were allowed to enter the water my hands and feet were already numb and was not really looking forward to the sub 60 degree water.

Pre-race brekkie:

It was as in-water starter and I got into a pretty good position. I could see there were a lot of slower swimmers from previous waves in packs along the course. The gun went off and we were cruising. I was in a pack and didn't get knocked around too much. I was trying, unsuccessfully, to find some good feet to draft off. I kept trying but couldn't get on any feet that were the right speed. So I pretty swam the entire first half solo and had to sight more than usual to weave in and out of the traffic from earlier waves. The swim back was brutal from a sighting stand point. We headed straight into the sun and without a good group to swim with I was swimming right into a lot of people. The traffic was thick and the cold started getting to me, but it was easy. The swim did not take anything out of me I just wasn't fast and didn't swim too smart.

33:25 - 1:45/100 (are you kidding me???) Horrible swim.

Usually I have some of the quickest transition times but my hands and feet were super numb. I was clumsy and fumbling all over the place. I ripped my race number off my race belt trying to put it on and then I couldn't buckle my helmet because of my hands. I had to ask an old lady volunteer to buckle my helmet. She asked me if I wanted to get some soup (they had soup in the med tent) before I headed out on the bike because I was shaking and looked cold. hahaha! Then running out of transition I dropped my bike. I hate being cold!

Nutrition I took on the bike:
2 x 20oz bottles - 290 calories each, mix of NUUN, Gatorade endurance and carbo-pro. I have been training with this mix and it works great for me.
1 x gel flask - 300 calories, 3 cliff shots

I finally got on my bike and was shivering like crazy as I pulled up my arm warmers and got into my shoes. I was all over the place and all I was thinking about was getting warm and couldn't really get up to speed. A couple miles into the bike you ride behind a strip mall on the base and the roads suck. I was getting ready to pass a guy when he hit something and swerved right in front of me. I quickly swerved and bashed straight into a pot hole going 20+ mph. I heard a super loud pop. I though I flatted for sure but I didn't. The hard impact snapped one of the bolts on my hydrotail (rear mounted bottle carrier) and one of my 2 bottles of calories was lost and I now only had one usable bottle cage (on the frame) and 3/4 of a bottle and a gel flask left. At about ten miles in I started to warm-up some and my legs felt great. Better then ever actually and I started to hammer. I was averaging 23-24+ mph and passing tons of people.

I got to the first aid station and decided to take some of my gel and grab a water. I took some gel out of the flask and put it back, grabbed a water, slugged some of it and chucked (I didn't have any where to put it). Then I looked down and I didn't close my flask all the way and get gel was spewing out. I started with 3 gels in it (300 cals) and now maybe had 100 cals left. So now I was through aid station 1 and I had 1/2 bottle of calories and 1 serving of gel left. I wasn't too worried about it because there were 2 aid stations left.

A couple of miles down the road I grab my bottle take swig and drop it as I am trying to put it back. Crap. Now I have no liquid calories and nothing to wash down the gels. I finally got to the next aid station grabbed a Gatorade, threw it in my cage, and then grabbed a water and downed as much as possible and then chucked it (nowhere to put it). I also tried to grap a banana but the volunteered juked me. So now at least I had some fluid and there were some calories in it (only 220 in 24oz Gatorade bottles). Even with the lack of fluid and calories I was feeling really good on the bike and just flying by people up the hills. Then it happened again. After one of the climbs I pulled out the Gatorade and again with my still numb fingers I fumbled and dropped the bottle and I had a long way to go until the 3rd and final aid station and it was starting to get really warm. My hands a feet finally thawed but I now had nothing... again., but this time for miles! I was starting to sweat and was really thirsty but still able to ride hard and actually felt great. I finally got to the last aid station and again put a Gatorade bottle in my cage, slugged some water and prepared for the next 10 miles of false flats into a head wind. The last section was tough mentally and I was starting to wear a bit but I was able still ride at a good clip. Approaching the end of the bike with about 4 miles to go you ride back behind the strip mall. For some reason I thought this would be a good spot to finish my gel. I grabbed the flask, finished what was left which was only about 3/4 of a serving. I needed to wash it down so I reached down, grabbed the Gatorade, and as soon as I pulled it out a hit a bump, and yep... dropped another bottle. What the hell? I never ever drop bottles in training and that made 3 and to make it worse I had just taken some gel and now couldn't wash it down.

I finally got off the bike. My plan for the bike was to take in about 800 cals and 50-60+oz of fluid. Doing the math I figured I actually took in about 450 cals and only 30oz of water/fluid. Not the way you want to start a half marathon.

2:44:43 - 20.4 mph avg (again... horrible.)
I am pretty sure if I took the first 5-10 miles out when I was shivering my ass off my avg would have been a lot better, but who knows. I did feel really good on the bike. The legs were there and again the distance felt easy. I could have probably ridden harder.

1:29 - Really quick in and out after long run in transistion. Finally something went right!!!

So yeah... I started the run with a gnarly calorie deficit, was feeling very thirsty, and have no idea how down I was on electrolytes/salt. I hit the aid station on the way out of T2 and chucked back some water. My legs still felt good and I got through the first mile in 5:58 and then started downing calories. I took a gel with water at the first aid station and then started taking in Gatorade endurance at every aid station trying to get some calories in me and electrolytes. I was still feeling ok and was averaging 6:15 min/miles. I started adding cola to the mix along with another gel at the 6 mile mark. Everything I had been taking in was just sitting in my gut and not emptying. My stomach was knotting up and I was super bloated. I then got a vicious cramp on the left side of my gut. Things were getting bad between miles 6 and 8. At mile 8 the wheels came off and I felt like I hit a brick wall and needed to puke to empty my stomach. At mile 10 I stopped at a port-o-john and tried to throw up. After and unsuccessful couple of minutes I exited and tried to get up to speed but couldn't. The last 3 miles were brutal. All I could think about was the finish line. I was so bloated and full that I could barely even get some water down. I didn't want anything. It was rough but I never walked even though I really wanted to. I was so stoked to finish and was super dizzy. I guess I didn't look good because they walked me straight into the med tent.

1:28:47 - 6:46/mile (I am not happy with this at all, but considering what happened and stopping for a couple of minutes at the john it's not too bad.... ok.. yeah it is.)

just wanting to finish:

4:52:47 (very disappointing, at least 20+ min slower than I know I am capable of)

Med tent:
They sat me down, gave me fluid, and ice packs, and offered me food. I couldn't even think about eating my gut was jacked. They put me on a scale too. My pre-race weight was officially 133lbs and after a bottle of water, everything I took in on the course , and a severly bloated gut I was at 125lbs. Not good. After a while in there I was feeling better. I started to milk it a bit because the nurse helping me was pretty hot. Then it was on to get my gear and meet up with my family.

None of the distances felt hard and after I got some food and fluids down I felt great. Jim definitely had me in shape for the race. This morning my body feels just little more beat up than normal. Not too shelled, but that could been from all the beer and food I consumed last night! I am pretty disappointed in my performance, especially after training as hard as I did. Now it's time to focus on Xterra and building up my speed. Xterra season opener in 3 weeks.

Lessons Learned:
1. I will never, ever, ever do a cold weather race again. I am just not suited for it. I am a scrawny SOB, and I hate being cold. I will only do running races or duathlons in the early season from here on out.

2. There is no rectifying blowing your nutrition plan. I tried to make up for it on the run and I suffered.

3. I need to swim smarter/harder (still).

4. The bike is still something that needs to be worked on (again, nothing new here), but I really felt good on the bike after the 10 mile mark and was able to sustain a good speed.

Post race:
I hung around on the beach for a while and even felt good enough to have a beer. I had a blast hanging out with my family all night and really didn't think about the race at all. Just knocked back some beers and good food, which is what I am planning today as well.

Post race, on the beach. Having a beer and still trying to get warm.

This what I have remember the race by:

The next week will be about recovery then I would put in solid block for the Xterra on 4/21.

Post race indulgence:

and some more:


Rachel said...

Try not to be so hard on yourself. I know you did "poorly" for you but considering all the chance obstacles you had to overcome yesterday, you did really great. I had a tough day too with similar nutrition issues but my times were MUCH slower. Try to rest and be happy it's over and not beat yourself up too much about it.

barndog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
IMmike said...

crap happens out there, especially with the nutrition. it seems like it should be easier than it really is.

anyways, way to hang in there and finish. i'm sure you'll get another crack at this distance.

Habeela said...

Oh my word, that just sucks! For having such an awful day, 35th in your age group isn't bad at all! And you finished! Way to stick it out!

Mallie said...

Sounds to me like you took a "difficult" racing experience and looked at it in its entirity and came away with some good thoughts and a positive attitude. Sure, I know you wanted to "do" better...but you had some rough patches to get through and you made it through them like a champ. Xterra better watch out. I see you kicking it in the pardukey!

Drew Holmes said...

put on some fat you slacker, I love cold and rainy events. AT least you learned a lot from the race., too bad, even with all the mishaps you would have cranked past me for sure

Cliff said...

Sucks about the bike accident.

Glad u still do what u can given what u got.

At least ur stomach ease up to have a beer after the race.

guentherishere said...

Wow sounds like a rough one man... at least you stuck it out and made it through. Wish I could have been there man.


Matt said...

You just scared the hell out of me. Just more stuff to worry about in the first race.

Jessi said...

Great job overcoming some tough obstacles. I can't wait to see what you pull off at your next 70.3!