Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"I just digested the bad guy"

You got your TomKat, you got your Bradjolina and now, Tacmama. Thanks to Steve in a bowl full of sunshine for the pic.

It's midseason for most in Triworld, however, for us racing in November the year is just getting started. Especially for me, who spent the early season with Tac in training and the family vacation etc. So life went flying along to the end of July and my first significant race in 20 months. And I trained how? Sporadically at best. Some weeks focused, others working like a dog and racing kids all over town. For six months I've been rehabbing my knee, every little workout a new discovery in how I could push those tendons and muscles. I looked at Chisago Half as a marker for where my training was at. I'd won the entry at a banquet last fall, which was providential- I needed to do this race and I wouldn't have done it on my own volition. Tac sensing how totally jacked I was racing this distance signed up to be my rabbit. We raced side by side pretty much through the entire day. Cool. My plan was to apply constant pressure like an accelerator on a road trip (you see, I have that down) watch my nutrition (why does every race burp make me think of that line from Innerspace?) and secretly hope to secure a pr on the bike.

Check, check and check.

Swim 40 ish minutes including my waterside wetsuit strip and run up the grassy knoll. Pretty much the usual here-2000 yards, fairly straight and to course. Chatted with some HIM newby's including a friends hubby from work. The water was beautiful and the race vibe was there. When I hit the turn around my mind had still not settled into racing, so I spent the final 1000 yards counting up and down to 100. You do what you gotta do.

Transition I had a great run up from the water- that always makes me feel like I'm racing even on days when I am just finishing. A couple minutes- more clothes then a shorter race. Swigged some nutrition and we were off.


Bike 3:02 18:49 avs PR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I broke 18 for the first time ever and that just plain rocks. Nutritioned well, geared well, not much else to say. The course is flatter then anything around her, and therefore fast. Oh, yea, except anyone who happens to find themselves in Arizona in November, feel free to come up and say "Chamois Butter" if five or so hundred people remind me, I might actually remember. There were several moments I was certain I would never enjoy marital bliss again, so Chamois Butter is the key word here. Especially on hot and humid days. Blah. I did groan at mile 40 with the thought we still had 16 miles to go. My bike computer wasn't working and I thought we were closer. Then it occurred to me that I would still have 72 miles to go in an Ironman and I sighed (darn I have a lot of training to go).

In MInnesota we repair our roads by A) tear the whole thing up and start over thus creating a season entirely unto itself (fall, winter, spring and road construction) B) repeatedly fill in the cracks with tar goo C) let the road go to hell until A is necessary thus securing the state of the unions for decades to come.

The final five miles of the bike road were "C" and really made me wish I'd gotten that cracked tooth/filling fixed before the race. Although it was handy that it had shook completely loose-made the dentist job easier on Monday.

I've always wondered (and feared) what would happen if the fatigue and stress of racing threw me into a PTSD state. I've come close many times racing and training, but always regained control, it's not great. Had I respected the distance and nature of this race, if I had thought longer about mental training, if I'd seen the warning signs of a week of intense nightmares and subtle daytime detachment I might have had a better run and avoided the total meltdown that ensued.

I didn't

Run 2:33 (mind you a 2:10 would have PR'd my HIM time-was that asking too much?)

Block 1: Ok, let's go, yea! Let's PR

Block 2: I feel like crap. I want to puke, my calves are cramped and my legs feel like lead and I'm tired of racing.

Mile 2: I don't want to do this run Tac

Mile 3: I'm ready to quit. Ok, let's get to mile 6

Mile 4: Pretty much no nutrition is getting to my brain, and my race focus is shot. (not that it was there all along) We had gone out in the last wave of the HIM'ers so there weren't a whole lot of folks out on the run with us. That stunk, especially as I am a race talked. I need stimulation and Tac didn't feel like talking-the entire time. Too much quiet and too much brain activity is not a good idea.

I told Tac I was definitely entering a zone where this is no longer profitable. I don't think he understood me. He was busy scooping his jaw off the ground. It never occurred to him that I would bail. I had a sense mentally things were getting a little dicey.

Miles 5-7 not so bad- we picked up speed and we'd made the all important turn around point of no return. I mean, you're standing in the middle of a cornfield six miles from town, there's not a lot you can do but move forward. Unless of course you have to "go" in which case you dive into a ditch and water the weeds.

PSA brought to you by me.

There is a lovely roadside grass that looks not unlike the stuff that grows in your yard, only longer and taller. Handy cover when you need to "go". It's called "sawgrass" That name was not by mistake. It's not particularly helpful if you carry a few blades in your spandex either. Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream in my new best friend.

And now back to this weeks Lifetime Drama (damn I wish my life didn't read like a chick flick sometimes)

I was fueling as best I could, but the brain needs carbs and the muscles need carbs and since moving forward as fast as you can is the goal when you really suck as a runner the muscles got priority. So the brain says, all right, fine you want to roll that way, how about a nice movie? And that is PTSD in a nutshell.

I started crying at mile 7- cried to mile 8

Got mad. Sucked it up, ate some jelly beans, stopped crying.

Mile 9 started crying again. Couldn't stop. It sucked.

Miles 10-11 must have got some sugar to my brain- the gatorade, jelly beans, and Quench gum must have worked.

Miles 12-13 Good side- we are almost there-finally. Bad news, my brain wasn't finished. Blah. I was getting angry now. I didn't want to be crying at the finish line, hell I didn't want to be crying at all. Tac was doing his best keeping me moving. I just needed to get food. Solid food.

Saw Jumper again (he just plained rocked the day cheering all over the course) He could tell I wasn't doing so good. He thought it was my knee.

Very Bright moment-my body felt awesome. No knee pain, no hip pain, no nothing. Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love my massage therapist, she is a miracle worker.

Finally finished

6:2XX something. Not my best HIM, not my worst. Could have been better. I'm sure I learned something- like bring your own buffet, bring your ipod and above all else, get in some mental training before November.

Ate PB & J, talked with Training and Bloggie friends like IronJenny (second AG hardware woo hoo) Erin and Mark (their first HIM-Awesome) and I met Ironmom who flattened the course with a 45 minute PR enroute to IM Louisville next month.

I apologize to my friends who thought it was my knee. I needed to focus on something other then what was going on in my head, so the knee was an easy default. You all helped immensely, being out there, cheering and I refocused quickly. I love you guys.

So, that's my race report. I'm feeling pretty good about what I can get done between now and Novemeber. I feel great about the first 2/3rds of the race, especially sustaining a rocking good speed on the bike for 56 miles.

The run is the run and it will get better. Now I know what PTSD racing looks like it, and I got through it. I supposed the imagery of sawgrass kept me from going all fetal in the weeds :-)


Jumper 2.0 said...

I DID think that it was your knee. And I'm glad it's not (because its better for you IM training), but I'm sorry you had to go through so much of that crap instead.

If you are not too fast for me, I want to join you for a couple of your workouts this fall.

Also sorry that I couldn't see you at the end of the race. My sister was visiting from Montana and felt the pull to get home.

Danielle in Iowa in Ireland said...

Sorry to hear your run sucked so much, but yay for the bike PR!

Unknown said...

Sawgrass! Ack!

Good for you for plowing on through the tougher moments, Tri-Mama. Getting through these things is often a bigger feather in the cap than we realize at the time.

21stCenturyMom said...

You LOOK great! Really great. Sorry you had such a rough time but better now than at your IM, right?

And one other thing - Aquaphor is your new best friend. That stuff works really well. Triathlon and marital bliss = happy TriMama

Kevin said...

Great job of pushing through and finishing. That what this sport is all about. It may not have been your best, but you will be stronger for it

Unknown said...

i just had a run like that too at SORT. - sucks yeah, but great when its over!
Way to stick with it - YEAH TRIMAMA!

Steve Stenzel said...

WAY TO WORK THROUGH IT AND FINISH!! Sorry I couldn't stick around to be there when you came in, but it was great seeing you and Tac!

Onward and upward!!

Spokane Al said...

It is good to hear that you got that one out of your system. Now you are ready to move out of the sawgrass and forward.

Although I suspect the rest areas on the side of the road in AZ are a bit less sheltered.

Herself, the GeekGirl said...

WOW, >18mph bike! I'm hoping to reach that some day. You say the flat courses help? Way to rock the course! I've been there - crying and wishing it were over and wondering why the hell I was out there. Good job seeing it through!

Fe-lady said...

Hope you are smiling NOW...a " 6:2XX something" is great. From my perspective. And considering what little training you have had. It's really awesome..really.
Now, no more crying and get busy! :-)

And sawgrass?'s hide in the prickly pear cactus here! Toughen up! :-0

greyhound said...

I'm not sure I believe this report. Now, Tac Boy crying? Yeah, that sounds right. But after seeing that tattoo video, I don't believe this mother of four gets that weepy.

MissAllycat said...

BUT you toughed it out and made it through. And that's why you're a rock star.

Great to meet you (briefly!) at Chisago!!

Pharmie said...

Sorry I couldn't be at Chisago! Would have loved to see you and Tac in person again! Awasome job on the bike PR!!!

TriDaddy said...

Way to tough it out. You guys like great in the pic! It's the year of the bike... Nice PR!

Brent Buckner said...

Well done to grind it out!

Glad your knee rehab has come along.

TriShannon said...

You PRed the bike - that is awesome. So the run didn't go as planned. You fought though and that is what counts. And that is what prepares you for AZ!

TRI-ROB said...

Ya know... I just LOVE this race report. Kari... nice job. Any idiot can go out and finish. The adversity is what gives it meaning and makes it beautiful.

One step. One breath. Good job.


p.s. Rockin vocabulary girlfriend!

triguyjt said... the run was an adventure, but the bike...yikes...the bike...

great job.....

got anymore of that gum???

IronTriTim said...

Ouch tough race, way to gut it out and finish. Glad you knee is feeling better.

Unknown said...

Sawgrass. Ouch. I don't want any part of that.

Way to hang tough and get through that run...and awesome PR on the bike!!