Pre-race darkness and smiles
Hmm….this race. Where do I begin? Well, first, I went into this race with low expectations. I had returned from Hong Kong less than 48 hours prior, and jetlag had wreaked havoc on my body. For the past three days I’ve had continual nausea and basically no appetite until 7pm each night. When I did get around to eating, my body did not want to properly digest food. The night before the race I woke up three times completely soaked with sweat. Needless to say, my body was not 100% going into the race. (Fingers crossed I didn’t pick up a nasty bug in Hong Kong). But enough about my Asian ailments. Onto the race!
Up at 3:10 and did my usual coffee and oatmeal with egg whites and soy sauce. The night before I french braided my hair since I wanted to test out a new way to keep the hair in check during the race (it worked!). My ride came at 3:45 and we were off to check-in. Transition was pretty uneventful. I was in and out in less than 10 minutes. Then it was time for the big wait. And wait. And wait some more. My wave was going off at 5:54 so at 5:15 I went out for my warm-up run. During the run I knew my body was off. I started getting sweaty and clammy immediately and the nausea boiled up again. No bueno. I tried to do race-pace pickups but my body yelled out an emphatic “NEIN!” A few minutes before my wave went off I jumped in the water. Man, the water felt awesome. My body instantly cooled down and I felt my nausea disappear. My arms felt surprisingly strong too. Would I have a good swim?
The swim: I lined up in the sea of swimcaps and headed towards the front of the pack. My goal was to try to find feet to stick with for the swim. Oddly enough, pre-race nerves never kicked in during the race. I think it was because I was feeling so lousy.
Sea of swimmers!
Before I knew it we were off!
The start of our wave
Do you see me? I’m in royal blue.
See me jumping in? In the middle behind the black and white
See me taking a super high stroke in the chop?
I tried immediately to get on the feet of the fast girls but I ended up placing myself behind two super slow girls. By the time I got around them the pack was gone. I tried staying on some feet but knew I could go faster solo. I saw the main pack up ahead and spent the rest of the race trying to catch them. I got closer and closer but then would get sidelined when I caught up with the people from the prior wave. So I basically failed at my plan and did the whole swim solo. Not what I wanted to do. But despite swimming solo I swam a 23:57, which I was super stoked about!
Coming out of the water
After a quick transition (helmet, shoes, race belt, sunglasses, GU down the bra, GO!) I headed out for the bike. Win: I ran through the transition area holding my bike by the seat (instead of the handlebars as I’ve usually done. I was smiling at that small victory). But perhaps the most notable is that I did the race on my BRAND NEW QUINTANA ROO CD0.1! I’m going to do a full review of it soon, but aside from a quick 15 minute spin after my bike fit Friday night, this was the first time I rode her. And she is FABULOUS. Since I rode on a borrowed disc, I didn’t have power data for the bike, so I just went on feel. And I felt great. I pushed pretty hard the whole ride and had an average HR of 168. I ended up riding at 23.7mph and had the third fastest female bike split!
Coming to the mount line
Beginning the bike
Probably the only time I smiled in the race
See ya in 40k!
Smoking the course
Aside from a few guys who were jerks and refused to let a chick pass them (and once I did proceeded to draft off me for 15 minutes), I had a really good ride until the last 10 minutes. That was when the Olympic riders merged with the sprint riders and it was chaos. I was jealous of the elite wave athletes who didn’t have to deal all that traffic! It was frustrating that I couldn’t go any faster since I had to weave through the traffic. I can’t help but wonder if I’d have the fastest bike split if I didn’t have to deal with all those other weaving riders! Ah well, we can’t have it all… It was an awesome feeling to rack my bike on a row that was completely empty though! I think I might have yelled out “F yeah!” in transition. My apologies to anyone I offended.
Oh geez, the run. I knew it would be bad. I knew my body was NOT feeling running. But I still headed out hard determined to learn how to suffer. In past races I didn’t suffer enough, so the mission for today was suffer. And suffer, did I indeed. I don’t really remember most of it. I remember hurting, wanting to vomit everywhere, and getting passed by about 50 gazillion dudes (and some smoking fast chicks too). Although my pace was way slower than I wanted, I’m proud that I refused to walk, even as I choked back the vomit I was burping up. My heart rate averaged 175 for the whole run, which meant I was thoroughly suffering. I think these pictures do a great job describing the run:
Mile 2.3…starting to hurt…and getting way overheated
Mile 2.3…still hurting
Mile 3.5: Probably the funniest sequence of race photos I’ve ever had taken. Take a look at the facial expressions.
A close up of my face in the last image. Like I said, I learned to suffer.
Mile 4.8: I might be hurting, but at least my form is good.
Godzilla calves to the rescue!
Finish chute montage: No smiles here. The announcer called me out on it.
Finish mat is 5 feet in front of me. That’s all I can think of.
Usually I’m all smiles at the finish. Today it wasn’t happening.
Final stats: 23:57 swim, 1:38 T1, 1:03:19 Bike, 1:12 T2, 47:06 Run. 2:17:09. 2nd in AG. And zero puking!
Post-race: After waiting nearly 2.5 hours for awards (WTH?) I finally got my award…which I didn’t get to keep. We won a “placeholder”, which I think means we’re getting a framed race photo. My money’s on one where I look like I’m going to cry:
Walking to get the award
Let me clarify: the photographer made me push up my sleeve so they could see my number.
I’m not trying to rock some sort of new fashion trend
After the race my stomach was a MESS. I tried to eat but ugh, nothing tasted good. I finally headed to the 7-Eleven and got some chips which helped settle my stomach. Unfortunately it all came out about an hour later. I really need to get my digestive system back on track. Although nothing says “race weight” better than some sort of intestinal beastie picked up in China!
**Update: After more days of awful GI issues and rapidly dropping weight, I finally went to student heath and based on “samples” they determined I picked up a strain of Salmonella in Hong Kong. My colleague who went onto the East Coast also got diagnosed with the same strain. She ended up in the ER, I ended up feeling miserable in a triathlon. It just goes to show you how being fit can really bolster your immune system.