Saturday we headed up to Racine for registration and bike racking. It was icky and spitting rain, which made me nervous about race day, so I tried not to think about it and cranked up the tunes...
We went to the expo to pick up our packets. I had packed several options for race apparel, but while we were there I bought one more pair of bike shorts, just because you never know....
We checked into the hotel, ate some bad pizza at Rocky's (I didn't know it was even possible to have BAD Rocky's, but I guess it is), and headed down to North Beach Park to get our bikes racked. I was glad to see that Mike and I were racked within a couple rows of each other to make it easy to see that we had been in and out of transition and keep track of each other.
After racking we headed down to the beach to check things out. We had intended to swim - we brought the wetsuits but forgot the swimsuits. I was game to go in anyway with the bra and underpants as a suit substitute, but Mikey vetoed that. I didn't cry about it. We walked down to the shore to find a lot of nervous folks trying to brave a dip in the water. We saw lots of blue lips and shivering - YIKES!
Walking back to the car, we ran into KT, who we had invited to room with us after hers fell through. After a little chitchat, we went our separate ways so she could get her stuff done and get to the hotel to get settled.
Mike and I went to dinner at Infusino's with the SWAT folks, while Kate went to supper with some friends. Dinner was great - Orange Roughy, baked potato, and salad (and soup I didn't eat). Too much food for next to nothing (our bill was $15 for more food than we could eat in a week)- the theory of the night was maybe there were mob connections or something. Who cares - it was awesome!
We went back to the hotel where I could check the lake temps repeatedly. We messed around a while, then Mike got to sleep with two women, which is not as much fun as you might think... :-)
We were up at 4:30 and got ourselves ready. Breakfast, packing, and down to the lake to get worked up about the race.
We were set to go off at 7:24 (Mike) and 7:27 (me), which was quickly delayed an hour as we were socked in with fog so dense they had to move the buoys closer to shore and wait for it to lift some. We milled around the beach trying to get psyched up for the swim. Official temp: 56 degrees, warmer than last weekend but still colder than what we can get from the kitchen tap. I waded in the water on our way to the start and was happy to note that it felt a lot warmer than the last time I was in it. I was focused on keeping Mike from freaking out, so I spent a lot of time framing our conversation in positives which kept me from focusing on freaking out myself. The last thing I remember before we were all in the water was looking at Alison and saying "I have no business doing this - is it to late to rethink it?. I must be the stupidest f'ing person alive." And then we were off.
It was cold, no doubt about it. We were able to touch the ground for most of it which was both good and bad - lots of people starting and stopping and walking. But when my hands went numb and when some chick powerkicked me in the ribs, I was able stand up and recover. The stroke was ugly. I did some freestyle with my face out the water (OMG cold) some breaststroke, and some other screwy strokes to keep my head up and warm. The first quarter mile was take-your-breath-away cold. About halfway down the beach I caught up with Mike. We swam together a while, then I got a little ahead and then I lost him. The last time I remember seeing him I stood up and was walking backwards in the water trying to find him. he waved when he saw me looking and I turned around to see the last buoy. I swam around it and in to shore. I think I was 35 minutes from shore to shore plus a staggering walk up the beach getting my bearings back. I watched for Mike to come into transition and was just buckling my shoes deciding that I was waiting until I saw him before I left so I wouldn't worry. And then there he was. I ran out and gave him a quick hug, and then got my bike and took off.
This felt a lot like the bikes we ride around here all the time. It was not nearly as flat as I was expecting, but I was able to stay in aero bars for much of it. I haven't taken near enough bikes by myself this year and I found myself waffling around between self-pep talks and telling myself I was too slow, couldn't do it, whatever. The last 15 miles or so my left foot was burning an numb, something new and different.
I need to work on another combination of seat and shorts - my HoHo was a hurting mess (thanks Kitty for that phrase).
Garmin has me at 3:32 for 56 miles. It felt faster, but it is what it is. I haven't been on the bike as frequently as I did last summer and I can tell.
Getting off the bike was a treat. I thought I was going to fall over going under the arch back into transition. I was still bike woozy after getting my running shoes on so decided to walk the first half mile to get my bearing. I still couldn't feel my left foot much and when I did there was a great big cramp in it. I walked up the hills, the few that there were, and I did a run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes pattern for a while.
That's about where the run went to hell on the express train. As I got feeling back in my foot, I felt like I had a marble in my shoe, right in the middle of the ball of my foot. I bet I took my shoe off to try to clear that non-existent pebble 15 times. The more I ran the worse it hurt, so I was doing a LOT of walking, trying to go as quickly as I could. I knew if I didn't keep moving under 15 minute miles I wasn't going to make the cutoff. So, I walked quick, ran what little I could and kept at it. Emotionally it was wearing. I was hot, sunburned, and tired. When I would see someone coming that I recognized I got all teared up, not sure why. I took water at all the aid stations, ate my sports beans, and filled my hat and bra with ice to try to keep cool.
I thought I had a handle on things until I got to the halfway point, where you can see the finish line and then have to turn and go out on your second loop. That started a pity party as I walked down the road trying not to cry. I saw Darin and he asked how I was doing and I started crying. I was definitely not "TRI'ing for fun" at that point and was thinking about punching the next person who asked me if I was having fun yet (The back of the SWAT shirt I was wearing said "SWAT TEAM we TRI for fun" ). Pretty soon Kitty ran up beside me and walked with me a while. I had thought I saw her finish, but really she was going out on her second loop too. We walked a little while together and that really helped me out. I kept at it trying to run/walk. End result was a pathetic run time of 3:13, 45 minutes slower than my stand alone half marathon time.
End result: I made the cutoff with about 25 minutes to spare. So I am happy to have made it, but I can see I have work to do.
On the way home I checked out my foot. The "marble/pebble" I was feeling was a huge blister forming on the ball of my foot, like an extra toe growing out of the bottom of my foot. Part of my foot is still numb yet now. here is my theory in retrospect: I put my run shoes on with numb feet and the sock was wadded up under the ball of my feet, creating (or maybe exacerbating?) a blister. I think maybe there is some nerve impingement somewhere in the foot, given the persistent numbness and the type of foot pain I was having, like knives cutting through my foot.
Boneheaded things not to do next time:
- I forgot sunscreen. I have some wicked bad sunburn. I feel like I am on fire.
- Find better shorts. My ass hurts.
- change socks between the bike and the run. I think it would have made a big difference in preventing pain
- Focus on running between now and pigman.
- I continue to be frustrated by the number of people we knew were there and never saw- Erin, xt4, Megan, Ironpol, Running Jayhawk, etc. I would have loved to have met these folks in real life and have some awkward weird meeting with folks we blog with. I do that at every event - it makes me feel like an idiot for missing these opportunities.
The good stuff:
- KT was a great roommate. Awesome.
- We did it. It was harder that I thought it would be, but we did it. And made the cutoff with time to spare.
- No real nutrition issues despite not planning it too well or practicing it much. I just went with what has worked in other events and kept the water coming.
- I did finally pee for the first time since about 6 am, about 5pm when we stopped to change clothes and buy cold drinks at Piggly Wiggly. I was beginning to convince myself my kidney had shut down, so that was good.
-There were at least a dozen people behind me at the finish. Wasn't last...
- The spectators and volunteers were great.
- As usual the SWAT folks lifted me up when I was down and mad me feel better. I am so thankful to have that great bunch of people in my life. THey are simply awesome.
Pictures and race results should be forthcoming. I am just too tired now to work all that out.