Thursday, July 21, 2011

Musselman Race Report and Whining :)

Okay, Okay, it's been a while since I've blogged. The honest truth is that I've been struggling with training, motivation and, well, just life. I wax and wane. I ebb and flow. I rock, then I suck ... you can see a pattern here. I WANT to be hardcore and consistent. I WANT to follow my training plan to a T and not avoid it. But life gets in the way ... I'm WAY, WAY over-extended. I'm going to whine here, so feel free to eject, or scroll down to where I do my Musselman Race Report ... it get's more positive there!

So here, in the "Whine" section, I will admit to struggles with time management, commitments, motivation, self-loathing when I fail, and all that other crap that many of us go through when attempting a diet, an exercise regiment, or a significant change in behavior. You set goals, you start off stoked, motivated and energetic, only to, for whatever reason, lose your way. Then there comes the guilt, the anger, the denial, the depression. It's a vicious cycle. Because, truly, if I would only pick myself up and go for a run, I'd get that potent endorphin release and subsequent "runner's high" and feel better. Yet, I can't get to that point sometimes.  I've got 3 kids. They are now a bit older, which comes with the independence of maturity as well as the blossoming of their true personalities. It's an exciting, fun time ... most of the time. Also comes THEIR activities. Band. Meetings. Swim practice. Football practice. Football games. Swim meets. Church youth group. Birthday parties - typically announced at the 11th hour so we scramble to fit it in, get a gift and get them there. I know that most of you feel my pain. Yes, I'm whining. It's not just about me ... I have family! Kids. A spouse. Pets. A house that needs to be maintained. Yard work. Grocery shopping. And the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE: Dinner!  I hate planning, making, cleaning up after dinner. There's always someone who doesn't like it. There's prep time - and I hate to cook. Call me anti-american, but damn, I hate to make meals! It's wholly unrewarding on every level. Factor in the complaints, my issues with food, the fact that we can't all sit at a table and eat as a family ... these things make me loathe dinner. So, I basically suck as a Mom. I don't cook.  Ever.  My kids must forage. I will shop, but beyond that, I just don't have it in me to deal with dinner. And the sad thing? It's EVERY DAY!!  I can do without "dinner" myself - I'll grab a Larabar and I'm good. But my kids need nutrition. I know I'm failing them here! Ironically, my oldest eats healthier than anyone I know. Has a tiny sweet tooth, but does it in moderation. And she's string-bean skinny! Who is her mother?? Because those aren't my genes!

Okay, so training ... I ebb and flow. I've not been on the bike much at all. A few "longish" rides, and a few 20-25 miles. I've logged less than 200 miles I'd guess. My swimming - I get in the lake at least once a week. If I could find time for the pool, I can easily put out 4000 yds. That's the one leg that comes back quickly and without much work. My OWS techniques have greatly improved with the weekly swims, and we are getting 5 and 6 swimmers weekly now!  My run.  Total ebb and flow! I can put down 13 miles then not run for a week.  I shoot for 7 miles 3 times weekly, then a 5K race. It's just not enough for an IM. I need to do more 13-18 runs. And I can do this. It's probably the simplest thing to improve and do consistently. I can run early or mid-day some days. I like mid-day, as it gives me a chance to practice running in the heat.

Now if I can only get to look at, and execute, the training plan!

I work six jobs. Yes I do.  I teach at 2 colleges - this summer/fall I will be teaching 9 courses. Now 4 of them are doing surgery, so, little to no prep and grading. Bonus. Makes it doable. I have a small house call practice. I am not presently taking new patients because I can't. I will reassess in December. But I have about 10 clients I see regularly. Some with cancer, some with chronic disease. These clients can call me at any time and are flexible, knowing my schedule and willing to work with me to find a mutually agreeable time. When the end is near, I do my best to do it on their timeline. No one wants to make the decision to euthanize because the doctor is unavailable because she's racing. I tell them my unavailability (classes) and other than that, I try to go when they need me. I do relief work - think substitute teacher for vets. I've recently notified them I am unavailable through December. I'm also saying "no" when I need to. A triathlon friend wanted me to see his cat, as it had a lesion. I had NO time to offer ... I taught until 10 pm then headed to NY the following day. It was my first time saying "no, I'm sorry, I can't"  It was hard. But it's what I need to do now.  I have 3 online jobs - 2 classes and an "ask the vet" business. If I have down time (what's that? I should be cycling!) or need some extra money, I can do that and pick up some cash flow. Fortunately the "ask the vet" is something I can do when I want, leave it for 6 months, and do it at any time ... including nights wrought with insomnia! Way to multi-task I suppose. Not like I can cycle or run at 3 am. Lastly, I'm working on a project I feel passionate about - a pet first-aid/life-saving kit. It's not a huge time suck, and, I'm excited about it. Oh, and there's Triabetes, too. While my Captainship is over, I feel connected to the diabetic community and want to support my T1 and T2 peeps. YES, T2s are just as important as T1s!! Not only that, I think in some cases T2s can adopt fitness and nutrition and become NOT-diabetic! I want to help people with that! I want to inspire and motivate and educate the sedentary over-weight middle-ager who is complacent and resolved that this is the hand they were dealt. Bullshit! :)

Okay, whine over! I know it's not pretty, attractive, glamorous. But it's who I am right now. Someone recently said to me that Triathlon is my hobby. No way. It's WAY more than my hobby! It's my sense of self-esteem, self-worth, pride and joy.  Other things rank up there, too, like my family: my kids, my spouse, my BFFs (you know who you are!!!). But TRIATHLON is so much more than a hobby to me. You may "get that", or you may not. You may think I'm way off base in my priorities, but this is how I feel.

So, Musselman. I was far from prepared. Far from being trained to do 70.3 miles! I wrestled with even racing. Ted suggested I simply volunteer - which I truly love to do. I seriously considered it. But, I also wanted to use it as a yardstick for if I could succeed in Rev3 full this year. So, I made the decision to compete. I did a lot of self-talk: set my expectations low. Don't be upset with a disappointing time ... you've barely trained! Enjoy it! Why do it if it's going to bring me grief??  So, I was resolved to do my best and feel okay with it. Worst case, it's a training day.  So off we went!!  We had a nice contingency of CTC peeps there! And, I got my new CTC kit, so I was excited to finally wear something other than Triabetes kit.

Remember, expectations are low. I'd be pleased with a simple finish. In the past, I've not gone under 7 hrs. That's the reality of a middle-of-the-pack AGer!! :) I'm okay with that. Sure I shoot to PR, but not to podium place or earn a Kona spot! I'm just a girl doing triathlon! 

Dinner was ... a debacle! Ken Beech had reservations for our group, but the restaurant was completely overwhelmed and it took us 2.5 hrs to get our food. No apology, just an angry, overwhelmed waitress. Many were frustrated because they wanted to drive the course, rack their bike, etc.  This didn't bother me much. I was more miffed by staying at a sucky hotel in a SMOKERS ROOM (awful!) with NO INTERNET!  How did I survive?? :)

In the morning we headed over. I, being anal, like to arrive the second transition opens. Usually 5 am. That meant leaving 4:30. We did. Ted was a good sport! Plan was he'd drop me off, then go golf and relax, and return in the 2 o'clock hour. Well, brilliant me set up the GPS to take us back to what I thought was transition. The previous day, I stood at transition and pulled the location and labeled it "Transition, Musselman" ... well, apparently that didn't work, because we were way off course! I should have just gone back the way we knew. My thinking was this was a more direct route ... but in time that quickly became more clear, as my window of preparation dwindled down, panic set in, and I prepared myself for the real possibility that I wouldn't be able to race. Plus, I didn't have my chip! Some (well-intentioned) volunteer told me there were no chips for the race when I questioned her. However I learned at dinner that there are indeed chips. I was assured that I could get mine on race morning. Wow - how they knew that ... maybe, let's see, they attended the mandatory athlete meeting that I always feel I'm too experienced for!!! HA! I did learn that you MUST have 2 bottles on the bike ... that could have been a problem (it wasn't).   Those meetings are just so ... inconvenient. Put it in writing and let me enjoy the town. I didn't want to hang around for these inconvenient meetings. Blah. Someday it's going to bite me in the ass :)  They'll have a sign-in sheet then on race morning they'll say, excuse me ma'am, but you did NOT attend the MANDATORY athlete meeting - you cannot race.   And I'll NOT be indignant, I'll hang my head in shame.

Finally got back on track and arrived at 6:30. Yes, for me, this is preposterous!!!  Got my chip (easy and fast). Racked my bike (had numbered racking - LOVE THAT!!) I was ironically racked next to Ethan from Cleveland! Used the portopot, returned to set up, scurried down to the water to get a 5 min swim in, and I was calm as a cucumber! Who knew??!!  I'd have lost $100 dollars on that bet. I was wave 2 and I was prepared!

Swim went off, water felt good. Sighting issues at 2 points - one was purely my fault, I didn't sight enough and found myself yards off course :( The second was in swimming into the harbor. The sun glare was brutal. I was swimming blind. Another dozen or so yards off course :(  BUT - exit swim at 38:00! (not sure where the mat was, I looked at the top of the exit ramp. My T1 was lickety split, too - no more than 3 minutes, probably closer to 2.5. Things were going well!

My bike was ... well, just awesome! Especially considering my lack of training. It was my strongest bike race. The course was flat and fast and I was hydrating at EVERY MILE. When I heard the Garmin beep off a mile, I sipped water or Amino Vital.  There was one, steep climb. Yes, I dismounted and walked. I was the only one. Of course, this is the PRECISE 30 seconds that Marie Rote chooses to pass me and encourage me with "good job!" ... What??  I'm walking a hill?  :) But I appreciated it. I never regret the dismount because in the end, I've got more energy and I always catch up to the position I was in before. Hey, that's a strategy, right???  It's MY strategy!  I felt strong the entire ride. I was kind of floored!! Not sure what my time was, as my bike computer wasn't working - magnet must have moved, and I didn't want to focus on my Garmin. I'll upload the race here when I get a chance and know better, but I think was under 3.5 hrs, like maybe 3:15!

T2 was a bit slower. I checked my CGM - HYPO. 53. UGH!! Plus, my water was hot. I needed cold water and SUGAR.  No potty break for me - it was hot and I wasn't making urine. (Oh, and no PRP, which I thought was the sign of a catastrophic race!) The guy at transition exit ... well, he's just a liar! I said I need water and sugar, where's the aid station? (I was prepared to go back and get my own from my bag!) He says: Just outside ...  Well, apparently "just outside" means 1.5 miles!!!  By half a mile in, I was in TROUBLE! My BG was now below 43 and just saying LOW.  Might as well say WTF??? Give me sugar!  I started becoming belligerent and vocal at my frustration with no aid station (hypo makes you agitated ... I think I dropped some F bombs!).  Athletes around me came to my rescue!! I had cold water and shot blocks immediately. THANK GOD!!!  Thank you, to those kind, understanding, generous people that came to my aid!  I finally felt better and began my run. Mike Bucher came upon me. Apparently he was struggling with profound cramping due to dehydration. I was thankful that I didn't have that as a major issue today. And it was HOT!!!  I had some cramping, but it was minor.  At the first aid station, I really loaded up: coke, 2 packs of shot blocks, ice, sponges. The works! Then I was ready to go.  I'd been warned about mile 3 - a brutal climb about 60 yds straight up. Walked it - no ego here. Then it was walk/run and battling hypoglycemia. By mile 5, I was feeling GOOD! Settled in. Started looking at my watch ... hmmm. I COULD QUITE POSSIBLY GO UNDER 7 HRS.  This would take tremendous effort on my part and little room for rest and error. John Mack came upon me, having a better race than 2010, and warned me about mile 7. Yikes, he was right! Gravel incline a mile long. It was a hard mile!!. After that, was the turn and homestretch.  I was continuously doing the math ... I could do this! I saw Tim Walsh all over the course and he was truly energizing! Met another CTCer around mile 8. Kept pushing, pushing, pushing.  at mile 11 it was clear I had to do 10 min miles for the last 2 miles.  Man, this was going to be hard!!!  But I REALLY, REALLY wanted it. I kept positive and kept pushing. If I walked, I ran harder to make up.  Last mile, Andy passed me. I met him at dinner Sat. night. I glommed on to him and fell behind him. He was moving faster than me so another person was between us in that last half mile. I then saw Ted! I smiled, waved and excitedly said "I think I'm going to go under 7 hrs!!! But I'm hurtin' ... gotta push it, it'll be close!"   Finally saw the finish line and chute. That's when the pain leaves and the mind is in control! I passed the man between Andy and I and I followed him into the chute, hearing his name, then mine! Time: 6:56!  Yes!!!  What a super feeling!

I really needed that. More than I can say in words ... I needed it mentally, emotionally, physically. It rejuvenated me! I don't know how I did it, but my base must have pulled me through, and the planets aligned that day.  Most of my friends, that are far better athletes than me, didn't have a great race that day. They finished ahead of me, but for them, their time was disappointing. Well, the conditions WERE pretty dang brutal. Had to have been 96 or so. Katie Shaw did 5:55!!!  Rock on chickie!! Katie Z ... that tough chick, kept pushing and pushing, but her body pulled the trump card: heat stroke. Dropped a mile before the finish and landed in the hospital getting 6 liters of fluids!  Weird how it was great day for some and crappy for others. Weird how I was late, unprepared, untrained and PR'd. Just a gift, I guess. But I DID work hard for that!!! I never said, eh, it's okay if I'm over 7 hrs, it's hot out.  I wanted it and when I saw it COULD happen, I found the strength to do it. That means the world to me!

So, I'm UP. I'm excited. I'm ready to ride this wave and continue to build for Rev3.  I will try to make time to train. It's possible. And I'm giving myself permission to say "NO" to stuff. There's only so much time and right now, I'm spread too thin.

Peace out!

1 comment:

  1. First off, congratulations on your race!!! That is huge!

    Really I don't know how you do it! And I think saying no is really what you need to do sometimes!