A tale of two races (musselman 2017 – total time: 7:25):
it was the best of races. It was the worst of races.
The day began with that damned alarm clock sound followed by a tight/achy quad. I dismissed it because I’ve had lots of minor aches the last few weeks that I treated as phantom-tapering aches. Morning went smoothly. Food, nutrition, bags packed the night before. Out the door within 10 minutes of our goal. We settled into transition, set up, enjoyed clean, available port-a-pots, and chatted with folks. At the designated time we headed to the water. We continued chatting with DC trip folks and I asked B. Frank’s a question on the buoys – he confirmed that the first orange buoy was way offline and just ignore it.
swim (37 minutes):
this was so comfortable. I had no stress and knew I could do it. My plan was 45 minutes and my goal was 40, so I crushed that (wetsuit – yes). I accepted my pace and just swam it. Each time I sited I saw the white caps (my wave) get further away but my goal was to finish, not win. I had total comfort with the water and the minor current/tide.
T1 (6 minutes):
yeah, I took my time here. I mostly walked from swim out to transition because I wanted to keep my body under control. Then when I was finally ready I really to grab my bike I had to pee.
Finally hit the bike and rolled out. Immediately realized that my HRM was not working so I had no HR to gauge effort. Apparently my internal F-bomb was actually out loud because suddenly I heard “just ride by feel” from a bystander. This also happened at Peasantman but not at Rock Hall so I thought it was a fluke. Having driven the bike route Friday I was expecting a long opening slight downhill which turned out to be a flat with a headwind. So low speed, high cadence, and lots of folks passing me. Which is fine because I’m doing my own race (and I am a slow cyclist anyway). But I kept the cursing internal for the first 14 miles until the turn out of the wind. But my legs were not feeling strong even this early on. By the midway point I was out of 2 bottles, replaced with Gatorade, and starting to stretch out on the bike. There were some minor hills but the overall ride was only ~2/3 the climbing of the Saturday ride to the “T”. But I was really dragging at the end – just waiting for it to end. I was not finishing strong.
Funny story – I finally caught Kelly at the 15 mile mark of the bike and gave her a comment as I went by. A bike judge passed and yelled at us for colluding and working as a team and he better not see us together again. Matching DC trip kits. I couldn’t really tell him that we bike at THE SAME SPEED! And we finished the bike within 30 seconds of one another.
T2 (6 minutes):
Took my time again, swigged some really warm water, and pre-emptively hit the toilet. No go. Jogged out of transition to get a head start on the run. My favorite part.
Run (nearly 3 hours):
As I was leaving transition the announcer was wondering aloud if the female winner had broken the course run record (I.e. She was done). But she is not my competition – I just want to finish. By the way, remember that sore quad I woke up with? Yeah, it started seizing around the 0.25 mile marker. This happened on one of the training runs and I shook it out successfully. then around 1 mile the UC kicked in and I barely hit the water stop toilet in time. So all that was done and time to get a moveon. And then my quad completely seized up. I tried to shake it out and stretch. It felt a little better so I jogged again. I continued this and walked the next 2 water stops and a hill. After the hill both quads seized and I couldn’t move or relax them for some time. That was around mile 3 or 4. Let’s just say the next 10 miles were hell. This was, by nearly an hour, my worst 1/2 marathon. Every mile was a combination of jog, cramp/seize, walk, stretch, maybe a few curse words. Kelly caught me around the 10-mile mark and helped talk me to the finish.
I really don’t know what went wrong. I drank lots of Gatorade on Friday and Saturday. Drank and ate on the bike course. Kelly thinks some of it was due to us volunteering Saturday on the swim exit boat ramp to pull people out of the water which may have stressed the quads (she had some issues too). I am just at a loss. Running is usually what I love most.
Overall I feel like the bike was harder than expected and harder than it should have been. I think I have a lot of work to do there – both endurance and speed. had my run been anything like normal, even a slow normal, I would have been ecstatic. But I met the primary goal – finishing. I’m glad I finished and proud I got through it; thrilled with my swim. But it feels, off, somehow.