Saturday, June 19, 2010

Quassy disaster to Eagleman success

Yes, I know it has been way too long...just when you think things might slow down a little they get even more hectic. The only excuse I have is I moved to Boulder, Co. fell in love with it and have neglected my blogging. Well, I plan to get you all caught up...let's start with Rev 3 Knoxville and Quassy

Ok, so we all have worried about our bikes and/or training and racing gear making it to their final destination; especially when it comes to a race. I never really worried about it too much, aside from the fact that it would totally suck. Well, after having first hand experience I wouldn't wish it on anyone...

The one race I was really nervous about and unsure of my performance was the Rev3 Quassy 70.3. I not only was intimidated by the distance but also the terrane. It took a lot of mental motivation to convince myself I was ready to race a 70.3, especially a challenging one like Quassy (first one since World Championships 70.3 in Clearwater last Nov). Us Flatlander's in Florida have a hard time wrapping our heads around hills on the bike and run. After finally getting the confidence I needed to have a successful race, it sure seemed as if it wasnt in the cards to race.

Really... one disaster after another occured, all beginning the day I was to fly from Orlando to Miami and Miami to Harford, Ct. To be brutally honest, I had to sit down and think about all the stops and obsticals I had to overcome to make it to Middlebury before I could put it on paper. so here is how it all unfolded; no exaggeration...After my flight from Orlando to Miami was cancelled I managed to catch a flight out of Orlando a couple hours later to Chicago, where I had to stay the night to catch a flight to Hartford in the morning. I guess it wasnt too much of a surprise when I found out that all the flights to Hartford were oversold or completely full that next morning, when it was already comfimed that I wasnt going to have a problem getting out...Just the way my luck was rolling for this trip. So I declided to be a bit resourceful and managed to get on a flight to White Planes, NY where I was going to change my original rental and drive the hour to Hartford to get my luggage; which I knew deep down wasnt going to make it anyway, but I had to think positively and try to make it there just in case.

After I got to White Planes, NY and hassled with my rental, which turned out to be another nightmare; but in the end I managed to get a car. On the road finally, on the wat to Hartford I got stuck in about an hour of traffic...once again, just the way my luck was going. I eventually made it to the airport, bet you can guess, that's right, my luggage and bike were no where to be found. However, I was told they knew where it was at and it should be on the next plane; only 2 hrs from now. Great, I thought to myself, I will hang around, grab a bite to eat and it'll be on the next flight. Still plenty of time to do what I need to do to get things ready for my race at Rev3 Quassy on Sun; So I though. Well, not to surprised to find out that the last plane came in for the night and still not luggage or bike to be found.

Luckily, I was staying with a friend in Ct. so at least the entire trip wasnt a waste. To make along story short, I never received my luggage or bike until Sun night around 5pm. For whatever reason the airlines managed to miss place a small piece of luggage like my bike box; hmmmm. Neither here nor there, not being able to race in Quassy was a blessing in disguise.

I was able to spend quality time with a very dear friend of mine. As well as take advantage of the recovery time, so i could get myself ready to race the following weekend in Cambridge, Maryland at Eagleman.

Everything at Eagleman couldnt have gone smoother. All travels were simple and without a hitch. Not to mention the fact that I had the best homestay family every! They took me in as if I was there own daughter; Thank you sooooo very much Darrell and Jan Butcher for your support and hospitality. At the very least, I hope to see you all again next year at Eagleman.

There was a lot of talk the day before the race about temperatures and wind. coming from Florida, I wasnt too intimidated by the heat; I actually welcomed it, thinking I might have a slight advantage. Well, they were right, race morning it was quite windy and very warm, only to get in the upper 90's throughout the day. I tried not to let any of those outside factors influence my thoughts; I knew deep down I was ready to race and race hard. It was a confirmation that the day was going to be warm when they announced the water temp was 80 degrees; no you could see concern cross peoples minds and read it all over their faces. I still was prepared for anything after the chaotic travel disaster for Quassy...I was itching to race.

Just before the race started, I made sure I stayed hydrated by drinking 24oz of EFS drink and pre-race. Before I knew it the the fog horn sounded and we were in the water swimming; it seemed as if we were going no where due to the current. It was a battle initially, arms and feet flailing. But within about 5min the group spread out and I was able to get into my groove and stick to my stroke. I was thinking, just get around this first turn bouy and the current will let up. to my surprise it only got worse. I had to take into consideration the direction of which the current was flowing so I could account for how much it was pushing me off course. Sure enough the current was consist throughout the entire swim. I remember looking and sighting much further to my left than the swim exit so i could stay on course and not swim longer than I needed to. I was just few seconds off the first and second girl out of the water. As I was going into transition I managed to pass one of the girls that was out of the water before me.

The bike was harder than I anticipated it to be. Yes, the course is very flat but the wind was very brutal. I felt great up until the last hour of the ride. About 1.5hrs into the ride my lower back and adductors felt like they were on fire and eventually going to fall off. I was racking my brain trying to figure out why I was having such pain. No matter what position I was in, I only got a few minutes of relief before it came back. The only conclusion I could come to was, since there was so much wind, I was having to fire so many small muscles to stablize on my Kestrel Airfoil, that I was just out right fatiguing muscles I typically don't have to recruit during a ride. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get to the run. Just to get upright again, was all I was thinking about. Well, I take that back, I also kept telling myself, this race was for my Golden Retriever, who just passed a few days before the race. She kept me going.

To my surprise, I didnt have any hydration issues. I almost expected a little something due to the heat and humidity. But my 48oz camelbak filled with the rightstuff (sodium), EFS drink (electrolytes), and my 30oz water battle filled with EFS drink (electorlytes), rightstuff (sodium), and pre-race got me through the bike portion without any hitches as far as hydration was concerned. I also ate a lara bar that was chopped up in bite size blocks for calories.

Then it came to the run. I transitioned well; grabbed my EFS flask, Tyr Visor, slipped my nike luna racers on, and off I went. I never felt so good going into a run. Being upright again was a blessing. I told myself to hold back a bit; this is a long run and it is very hot out here. good thing I did...there were a couple of times I took a glance at my Garmin and realized I was off my pace. I didnt panic though because I had a good idea where I was in the race and knew it was hot. Sure enough the heat took it's toll and slowed everyone's paces down, both on the bike and run. About every two miles (every other aid station) I took a sip of my banana, rightstuff, and EFS mixture from my EFS flask. All other aid stations I took a few sips of water, but mostly poured it over my head and stuffed ice down my sports bra...anything to cool me off. It wasnt until the last 3 miles did I really begin to feel the heat and fatigue setting in. Those last three aid stations I did everything I could to keep myself moving and not stop. I moved just enough to keep a shuffle going while I grabbed water, soda, and ice those last 3 miles. At that point, a little caffine pick-up would do the trick; sure enough it did. I had enough in me to finish the race hard and cross the finish line first in my age group and second overall.

What really made the race for me was the mere fact that I didnt have any nutrition issues; ultimately no GI issues. that in it of itself is a feat. This was my first 70.3 where I didnt have any nutrition or GI issues. I strongly believe it all comes down to my supplements during the race as well as keeping on top of my paces and not pushing too hard for too long.

In the end, a travel nightmare ended in a successful race.

Thanks to Joanna Zeiger for all your help, without your coaching expertise I wouldnt have done as well as I did. Thanks to Kestrel, First Endurance, CycleOps, Tyr, RightStuff, Profile Design, without you all, I wouldnt be able to do all the racing and be as successful as I have been this year. I hope to continue to race hard and finish at the top throughout my season.