Well my first triathlon of the 2014 season is in the books and it didn’t quite go as planned…That’s one thing I’ve learned about triathlon – that this “not going as planned” happens often and the real challenge is how you get through it DURING the race and how you respond to it AFTER the race. My coach always tells me that I’m too hard on myself but I have to say for this race – I’m proud of how I got through it and my attitude about it all. It was one of the harder AND easier races I’ve ever done. Let me explain.
The big “storm” of 2014 hit SoCal on Friday before the race. The rain was dumping which was much needed in a long drought we’ve been facing. Amy woke up not feeling so well on Saturday and with the rain pouring outside she decided that it would be best to stay home with the kids. So I headed out solo and as soon as I got out of Temecula heading east, the rain went away completely and the sun was shining. I was in high spirits going into this race. I had just finished up three solid weekends which included a half marathon, a hard century ride/relay run, capped off with Wattie Ink / BDR Training camp last week. I don’t know what it is but I’ve been recovering really well lately -almost giving me an invincible feeling each morning. No matter how hard I went the day before I’ve been waking up without any soreness or mental fatigue – something I’ve NEVER experienced as a triathlete. So needless to say I was ready to start the season off with a bang and had high expectations of proving I’m ready to lay down this year.
Woke up and went through my usual pre-race routine:
1. Sweet potato with sea salt, and a banana with almond butter 2-3 hours before race start.
2. 10-15 minutes of meditation. Just a chance to visualize the race one more time, prepare my body for discomfort / mentally prepare for the race and enjoy the day.
3. 10 minute bike warm up to make sure all systems go
4. 15 minute run warm up, stretching, light plyometrics, 5 strides
5. Take in pre-race energy in T1. I’ve mentioned it before, T1 and swim start is my favorite part of triathlons. You can literally feel the glow and excitement from other athletes. You get to see a lot of friends, the sunrise is in full effect, the water looks amazing and there’s no other place you’d rather be.
6. 10 minute pre-race swim. I just like to get in the water, pee like 3 times (like everyone else does), put in a few 50 yd efforts, familiarize myself of where all the buoys are and just soak it all in. Again, no place I’d rather be.
7. Find the right place for me at the swim start. Depending on the race, I always have a plan of where I want to line up. For some reason I chose a terrible spot, especially since the plan was to go out fairly conservative then finish strong. I lined up 2nd row, middle which ended up being a bad choice!
Here are the details and I’ll also include previous years splits for comparison.
Swim – 1200 meters / 21:43 (Avg 1:39/100yd)
The water this year was the cleanest I’ve ever seen it. You could actually see your arms in the water and it didn’t have that horrible fishy smell that it normally has. It even tasted good – which is odd. However, it didn’t feel very good with copious amounts in my belly. At the swim start I got thrashed around a little more than usual and drank some water. No big deal, nothing out of the ordinary as I’ve swallowed water before in the nastiest of lakes. I started out fairly conservative and gradually increased my effort and pace as the race went on – something my coach and I have been working on. It was working by the time I made the turn to head back to shore ~500 meters in I started passing a lot of guys in my age group that went out too hard. We also started passing athletes from previous wave starts. I tried my best to navigate through the traffic but in one instance I had a wall of 5 swimmers in front of me. Instead of going all the way around I decided to just plow through them. I’ve done this before with no issues but on this occasion I ended up swallowing A LOT of water that stopped me in my tracks. I immediately started throwing up. Have you ever thrown up while trying to tread water? It’s almost impossible as your body kind of controls you with the contractions. I felt like I was going to drown! I was a disaster; goggles fogged up, snot and puke everywhere, swimmers running right into me. I was just trying to gather myself and move on.
I finished the rest of the swim with a few iff-y burps but actually finished strong, something I’ve never had before and was definitely one of the few positive take-aways from the race. Even though I was about a minute down from last year, I easily lost a minute with my issues…
Bike – 40k / 1:02:23 (AVG 23.9 mph)
As soon as I got out of the water and stood up I could tell my stomach was not happy and my heart rate seemed through the roof. I threw on my Rudy Project sunglasses, hopped on my ISM saddle and as usual I took a few minutes to gather myself, get some Herbalife Prolong down the hatch and then lock into my pre-planned SRM wattage plan. About a minute after I took some fluids in it came right back up. I was in aero position and throwing up literally swerved me off the road and into the dirt. It scared the sh*t out of me and thankfully I was able to recover and get back on the road as a fellow racer went by asking me if I was getting some cyclocross training in. I gave him a look and then moved on. About 5 minutes later some acid came up which was quickly followed by some more puke and swerving on the road. Sorry if this is TMI, just telling you like it is.
The rest of the bike was the same story. Losing all those fluids had my heart rate sky high and my wattage very low. I’m so stubborn that I refused to let this take me down and I pressed on. I just tried to stay as aero as possible and keep cadence high as there was no power in my legs. I was only able to average 180 watts which is what I average on my long rides! I am actually very pleased with my bike split despite what I was going through. I know a lot of people would have pulled the plug at this point. I still managed to average ~24 mph for the ride and I contribute a lot of that to my new Reynolds race wheels. It was my first time racing in them and not only did they handle fine in the dirt but also on these huge potholes and they gave the beautiful “hum” that I love hearing once you get going fast.
Run – 6 miles / 41:50 (AVG 6:58 pace)
Immediately leaving T2 I dry heaved annoyingly loud in front of everyone. It was very embarrassing and kind of funny. I felt absolutely horrible but I pressed on. I couldn’t keep any fluid down, nor was there any left so the dry heaving commenced. Finally by the 3rd mile I figured out how to make it subside and that was settling into a 7:30ish pace. The heaving went away and the rest of the race was just this weird feeling like I was on a training jog cheering on all the competitors that passed me. I knew I was no longer in the race and I had peace about it. I was proud of how I fought through this and I know this is going to help me once I race the real challenges in Ironman. I crossed the line, had a few more dry heaving spells – said congrats to a few team mates (congrats to David Lipke and Dusty Nabor 1,2 – two great friends and I wish I could have joined them on the podium!). I quickly packed up and went straight back to the hotel to clean up and collapse. I was toast. I made it home, slept for 3 hours then slept for 13 hours that night, took a 2 hour nap the next day and finally started feeling normal again!
Results: 2:08:51 / 9th AG, 78th Overall
2013: 1:54:02 / 1st AG, 14th Overall
2012: 1:57:56 / 2nd AG, 22nd Overall
For more pictures on this post, please visit my website at www.konajourney.com and feel free to leave any comments!