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Monday, August 18, 2008

Reflections on the Big Pig Gig - Pigman 70.3

Saturday morning Mike and I headed to BFE Iowa (formerly known as Cedar Rapids) to get all signed in for the Pigman Long Course Triathlon (70.3). After taking the pups to Bonnie's, my new pet sitter - who was awesome BTW- we were off. I could not imagine a more boring drive...... For what seemed like days we wandered along Hwy 11 towards Dubuque through 3 million little towns with a combined total population of 12.
When we finally crossed the Mississippi River and got into Dubuque, I waited patiently for the scenery to change, we were in Iowa after all. Somewhere along the line, I got it stuck on my head that Iowa was flat and we were headed for downtown Pancake to race there. Illinois is pretty flat, so is Indiana, and Nebraska and a whole shitload of other states in the general Midwest area......
W.T.F. ?? I thought to myself as the terrain seemed to get hillier and hillier. Where are my flats?? You must be kidding! I watched that last couple hours to Cedar Rapids in utter amazement.
We finally arrived at the Marriot for the "expo" which was actually a place where you got your packet and shirt, and Gear West had 1 table and a rack of tri clothes to check out. Not exactly what I was expecting.
We got checked in and talked to Tri-Dummy who was still a ways away driving in with the whole family. We decided to check out the water at the lake and then drive the bike course. The water was nice. The bike course not so much. Rough roads, heavy traffic, gravel everywhre, a temporary bridge through road construction, you name it it was out there. The kicker for me was the roads. Anything paved is a highway with no shoulder, any other less traveled farm roads are gravel - no shit. Iowan bikers have gotta be hard core. I was nervous about the bike now, not so much of the hills but the traffic.
We went to supper with Blogland Superstar Tri-Dummy and his lovely wife Aimee and their kids. It was a great time, with great food. What fun! and the kids - very funny and so well behaved! It was awesome. (I do have pictures, but was asked not to post them. It DID really happen).
Back at the hotel we got ourselves together for race day. The Marriott nickel and dimes you for EVERYTHING, and provides not much - no fridge, no microwave, no WiFi (without depositing an arm and a leg onto your bill.). The alarm clock? Holy crap, it was so complicated we never did get it figured out and it never went off in the morning. Watched the marathon on the Olympics and went to bed.

Race day was there before you know it. My eyeballs pooped open at 4:40 and we got our cracks out of the sack, got checked out, and we were off to the park.

Got set up in transition quickly and found out that we were wetsuit legal for the day - SWEET. Mike and I were in the same wave which really was ideal. We got our wetsuits on and headed to the beach, hopping in to get acclimated to the water temp. We took a few strokes out and I said to Mike that we were just sitting there, where we couldn't touch, and he was NOT sinking, just floating, hoping that was the reminder that would help him calm down.

The Swim:
We were in the first wave after the elites with a single file time trial start into the water. I swam steady just ahead or next to Mike, then I got ahead a little bit and kept an eye back for him for a while longer. wasn't long til we rounded the buoy and were on the second leg of the triangle. I got caught up for a while in a pack of swimmers, then moved to the outside a little for some breathing room. I saw a big yellow buoy to my right and mistakenly thought it was the corner, swimming over to it and realizing too late that it was the halfway marker. I took a quick punch in the jaw from the swimmer I cut off to get to the fake turn buoy and kept it going. Finally reached the beach and tried to remember to take off my cap and goggles first thing so I wouldn't look as dorky in my pictures this time (you know, the important stuff....).
Up the beach to transition, I was changing and heard Mike behind me saying "I am SO proud of myself..... I just swam a mile and a quarter....I did it...." and I smiled to myself at that. How cool.

The Bike:
I took off on the bike and out of the park. I got a couple miles and realized not only was this a hillier bike than anticipated, it was also WINDY! awesome.
Mike passed me about mile 8, and about mile 20, TriDummy trucked on by me. There were several railroad tracks (a/k/a bottle launchers judging by the carnage on the other side of the tracks), rumble strips in the road, and the metal grate construction bridge was especially interesting. Everything on this course was up or down, no flats and I do think that there was way more ups than downs, although I know logically that is not possible.
There were plenty of bottle drops and the volunteers were great. I saw nothing but beverages on the bike course - would have been nice to have a banana or something but whatever.
The traffic? every bit as bad as I feared. Lots of near misses and scariness. About 8 miles from the end, there were 2 cars coming towards me from the other direction and a lady coming up behind me. Instead of waiting, she tried to swerve out around me and nearly had a head-on collision right in front of me, close enough that I was looking all over frantically looking for somewhere to bail out to. The last stretch into the park was up a long steeper hill. It was long, and getting hot, and I felt like I had a saddle sore the size of Texas. About a mile from transition, the girl on the bike in front of me starter to weave, slow down, and then just fell over in a daze. There was an ambulance right there and as I passed her talking to them, she said I don't know what happened, I just fell over......

The Run:
What can I say? As I was going out, I saw the first folks coming in from the run to the finish. I saw Jaime from Endurance House fly by me towards the finish, then a couple other EH folks. It was really hot, and I thought to myself "Put a fork in me I'm cooked." That pretty much sums it up. I ran the downhills, walked the ups (not much of either, it was a really flat course) My plan was to run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes on the run...... which quickly became run 1, walk 3......... then run 1 walk 5, then 6, then 7, .......... then "oh screw it what am I losing 3 minutes a mile maybe to walk? Yep I'm walking, it's just too f'ing hot, I am too tired, what idiot thought this race would be fun? Oh yeah, that was me..."
There were plenty of water stops. Only 1 porta on the run course ...... ONE. I took some water here and there, and always made sure to get some ice and throw it into my bra. Then I would munch on the ice chips from my shirt if I needed one (gross, I know, but I really didn't much care at that point).
Not only did this take place on the highway, but parts of it were covered in gravel, thus creating a huge cloud of dust to walk through. As I got near the half point, I saw Mike coming by the other direction and talked a couple seconds. I was feeling OK, just couldn't run. Every time I tried, my HR just skyrocketed to 160's or higher and I could not sustain it. The turnaround was at the top of the only other hill on the course. No timing mat. .....I told the guy standing there that had I known there wasn't a mat I would have cut the course long ago. He thought I was kidding, I thought I probably wasn't.
On the way back, I decided to count roadkill on the course, since there was so much of it I thought it was a perfect way to occupy my time. I lost count at 5.89 million piles of stinky bones, guts, and fur. Then I started trying to figure out what animal or reptile they used to be.
Got back to the park, way later than planned, but I finished. I mustered up a slog for the last half mile through the finish to save face (like I fooled anyone :-)

What was left to eat? warm yogurt and brown bananas, yummy. They must have had pizza judging from the dozens of empty boxes in the supply truck, but none left for me.

The Good:
- Got it done
- Got to spend an enjoyable meals with the TriDummy family. They are great!
- Swim was awesome, perfect water, nice course, felt great

The Bad:
- Hilly bike, awful roads. I was scared to death or getting hit, flatting out, or falling over the entire time.
- Forgot about chamois butter......nuff said.
- my run plain sucked
- Hot, hot, hot. Absolutely NO shade on the course which definitely took its toll.
- i forgot to strip off my bike clothes for the run, so I ended up wearing my tri shorts, topped with my heavy shebeest bike shorts, a heavy sports bra, a long tri tank, and a sleeveless bike jersey. I was a tad overdressed for the run.... duh.

Would I do the Pig again? The shirt was cool, and we are apparently being sent a really cool original print with our finish picture mounted on it. Despite that, I will never be back to BFE Iowa to race. No Way.

Would I do another 70.3? Yeah, I think I would. I do like the distance and I knowingly sacrificed a lot of bike fitness, and a TON of run fitness to focus on the swim. It was just what we needed to do or I never would have seen Mike toe the line in the first place. So, yes I would do it again, but not without spending more time and effort on biking, running, and bricks.

The goal for the next one would be to arrive at the finish line before the pizza is all gone and before the massage people have packed up. Or at least have someone save me a slice...... sounds like a good job for a sherpa- any volunteers??


cindy said...

You rock, woman!! Finishing your second HIM this season - awesome!

*must remember chamois butter ;)

Mike said...

Congrats! It sounds like you guys definitely picked a tough one this time. Hot, hilly and lots of traffic doesn't sound like much fun. But you didn't quit and you made it to the finish line and that's what counts...even if there wasn't any pizza left.

Robin said...

You totally ROCK!! Sounds like a fanastic swim! But, man...what crappy bike conditions!!! Congratulations on your second 1/2HIM!! YAY! was so great to finally meet you last week...wished we had had more time to talk!! I'm going to try and be a better SWAT team member!!

Steve Stenzel said...

It was SO COOL that you 2 could do the swim together!

Windy AND hilly? Sweet. Add in some heat and you have the trifecta. Oh wait... it WAS hot. Sorry.

One potty? That sucks.

I'd come to a race and save you some pizza! Hey, you 2 should come do Chisago next year and I'll save you some pancakes at the finish!

Nice job!!!!!

kt said...

Wait a minute...
Your eyes "pooped" open? That CANNOT be good. :)

Congrats on finishing your second HIM this season. That is so awesome!

Jeff said...

I'm in awe. Through all of the comical stuff, you absolutely rock!

blink said...

Wait a corn pick'n minute! Nebraska is not flat! The only part of Nebraska that is flat is I-80.

OK, now that that is out of my system, congrats girl.

I was really hoping that you would even the 1/2 iron score, but, I know you will beat him next time.

I also know that you were unselfish in your pursuit of the dream again by spending so much time in the water training.

for your sportsmanship, I'm sending a Domino's pizza your way and I'm guessing it won't be there in 30 minutes so it's on me, or them, whatever.


Duane said...

Iowa! Yes, BFE and hilly! But you got it done! Congrats!

Dan Seifring said...

F-ing fantastic J-Wim. What a great year you have had. 2 HIM and a full Mary to boot. Very inspiring to your blog fans. That shirt is very cool looking.

Hope TD is doing well. I miss his writings.

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