Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Timberman 70.3...The Rear View

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to 'close' a race course...?  Welcome to The Rear View...

Race Day - August 22, 2010:

I got up at 3am. This wasn't in the training plan !

The swim was actually my best open swim ever!  No panic!  Did maybe 5 mins - if that...of breaststroke.. the rest was all freestyle.  Very good swim for me ;). Some poor woman from my wave was afraid of drowning and doing sidestroke!?. I offered her my feet she was too scared... Kept my eye on her.  She made it :)

Transition 1. Lol!!  All laid out. Perfect. Came in. It was raining...  I was prepared and my clothes were in a garbage bag to stay dry. Put shoes on grabbed bike ran out.  Shit!  Where are my glasses???  Volunteer held bike I ran back in.  Found oakley's where I had dropped them. Yay. Ran out...  Glanced down --Aaargh!!!  Forgot to pull bike shorts on over my run compression shorts!!! They were in the garbage bag so I didn't see them... Back I went again...  By now I had my own cheering section...  I was laughing my head off...

Bike out...  Omg why weren't my legs working!???  Big hill at 10mi. I had to get quads firing and get warmed up...  Slogged on...  At 10k, First sharp left turn I slowed right down... And wiped out. Aaargh!!! Ow!!!   Nice police officer helped me up...  Shit  shit!!!

Walked 10' to avoid everyone else that flew around the same corner easily and nearly took me out ...  Got back on... Front wheel messed up--bang!!!  Again!  This time in the path of oncoming traffic!!!  Could not disengage feet.  Lying in middle of road  one leg in the air...Same nice police officer... 'what happened this time?!'.  I don't know!!!!  I'm a spaz!!!! Almost burst into tears...   Didn't.  Why bother?  Lol!

Got back on. Carefully and afraid.  Seriously questioned whether I should just call it off.  Kept going.

Saw Chrissie (Wellington) on her way back in.. She didn't wave or notice I had blood running down my leg and gravel in my arm... She was in a hurry ;)

Marsh Hill. 9% grade. 1.2km. No #*&^@&*^  way!. Not even on a bet!!!  Walked up. That was hard enough!! Sigh...

Kept going very discouraged ... And so it continued.. For 5 slow and hard hours...  Gears were acting weird.  Shifting large to small ring - 9/10 times chain dropped...  Aaaaargh!!!!  On and Off the bike to fix the chain... and so it went... on... painfully... ;)

Got passed by many... Ok... Most... fine - nearly ALL... But saw some good people busting their butts for charity and who weren't giving up :)  I didn't give up either. 

When I walked the other huge hill on the way back I paused to scream and encourage the people who were riding up it while I had a gel. There were NO spectators on that stretch and they needed the encouragement :)

I seriously was scared of a DNF on the bike - I made it within 30 mins...rode small ring more than large. I was so tired!  My right knee felt like it was seriously injured...I honestly thought I'd be off training for a while after my race day but I kept my cadence up and metered out my effort... Followed all of JJ's instructions  Even splits!

Came in to T2 just thankful to be on feet I couldn't fall off ... I have no clue why that transition was nearly 8 minutes!!???  It felt quick!!  I think I blinked and lost a chunk of my life...

Off I went. First 5 km was spent trying to convince legs to RUN. They were just too tired. Not sore. Just not firing... Second 5k a bit better. Started cookies and cola at aid stn. It helped.

Third 5km was HELL. Felt like 10km. Ugh. Pissing rain. Free shower. Yay. The nice lady with '70' on her calf was 10k ahead of me. Bless her. She smiled encouragingly. I slogged on...

I knew the last 6km would be my best. My hips unlocked and finally I was running. A bit ;). Lol.  So close but time running out pardon the pun. 45 mins for 5k that had extra walk breaks... I trundled on...

I decided with 3 mi to go that I didn't care about the medal. I was going to finish it with or without a medal :) and that was just fine!!

Eric came to meet me on the course. He was worried... Lol. I did warn him I'd 'be a long time'...

Finally - there it was. The chute!  Sprinted laughing my head off like a child and it was over!! Lol!!!

9:17 -- OMG... I never want to be that long on a course again!  Unless it's a full Ironman!!  Lol!!

But. Not broken!  I didn't quit. Wanted to... it felt futile at times...  Anyway finish line photographer had left within 20 minutes of the course closure (thanks for that...)  and ... Drum roll... They ran out of official 70.3 medals?!!. I got a sprint medal from the race the day before... Oh well!!!  Lol!!!

How do you run out of medals at an IRONMAN race, when you know who is registered!??  Lol!!!

The Good:

  • The race venue is INCREDIBLY beautiful.
  • The race volunteers were better than GREAT - they were FANTASTIC!  Still smiling and encouraging and standing out in the rain while us slower athletes raced at our own pace :)
  • There was FOOD at the end of the race - yes, I kid you not...!  I actually had plenty of food waiting for me... that's a FIRST.

The Bad:

  • The finish line photographer abandoned his post before the course was closed (very disappointing)
  • The race organizers did not have sufficient 70.3 medals for those who were racing the event

The Ugly:

  • My finish time was 9:17... -- ROFL!!! 

End result:  I am a superstar ;)  Never in my dreams would I have imagined that I could do what I did - whether in 6 hours, 9 hours or 12... I have pushed my internal boundaries and conquered!!

What's next...?  NO - not Ironman!!  I'm getting excited looking at all of the other 70.3/half-iron distance triathlon courses for 2011...

Life is good. 

Huge waves of gratitude go out to the following:

JJ Neely, my coach -- You rock!!  You trained me and prepared me for this HUGE event in my life and I DID IT!! 

Steven Hill, my physiotherapist -- You rock, too!!  It's been a long road of trying to get me 'balanced' but I finished the event (albeit slower than the average bear) UNbroken!!!

Tara Postnikoff, my nutritionist -- for arming me with all of the knowledge I needed to fuel properly and stay healthy and fit throughout my training and racing this summer!

Eric D'Arcy, my husband, partner in crime and father of my furkids -- Honey, next time you have to wait for me to finish on a course, in the pouring rain, or scorching sunshine... hungry, thirsty, trying to take 'decent' photographs... just remember one thing:  THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!!  LOL!  If it weren't for you, I would not have taken up this insane sport in the first place! 

All of my friends from FMCT who were there with me in New Hampshire and made me feel as though I had won a GOLD MEDAL when I returned to the rented house we stayed in, with loud cheering, applause, hugs and champagne!! 

All of my friends from childhood, from the Mississauga Triathlon Club, the staff from the vet clinic and from my workplace - WSIB -- you all encouraged me to go for it and live my dream...

THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU for making my life so much richer!!

 - Shanti