Well, this is starting to be a bit frustrating….
After the run disaster in Coeur d’Alene it seemed to be a good idea to sign up for another half IM race to redeem myself. Post-race endorphins made me not think clearly and sign up for IM 70.3 Calgary just 4 weeks after Coeur d’Alene. Realistically not enough time to improve on any issues related to lack of fitness, especially with a 2.5 week family road trip to California in the middle of the 4 week period.
I know, I should have known – but here it goes:
The mess starts race morning – given that Calgary is a point to point course participants have to bus for about 30 minutes from the finish line to the starting point. Naturally we get slightly lost on the way to the finish line and miss the bus to the start point. We catch the last bus which is really meant for later starting groups and leaves me only 30 minutes to set up transition, get dressed, drop my pre swim bag, stand in the 200 people line for a porta potty and warm up.
Miraculously I manage to do almost everything at running speed. Stupidly I forget my pre-race gel and my 10 minute casual warm up gets reduced to a frantic 1 minute splash in the lake before I have to run back to the start line and the gun goes off. Calgary has not adapted the self-feeding swim start (one of the many points setting Coeur d’Alene and Calgary apart – amazing how two races run by the same franchise can be organized so differently) so there is the typical elbowing and foot to the face kicking until I find some open water. The swim is an almost clover leaf shaped mess along the shore of the tiny community lake so lots of navigation is needed (not my strength) and often I wonder where I am at all, but I make I to the end of the course and off to the bike I am. This is my strength, right? And I have new fancy wheels, so I should be superfast today, after all it is all about the equipment 🙂
Disappointingly though my legs feel super heavy right from the get go and I soon feel like this is going to be a horrible day. I feel no urge to eat or drink at all, and it is fairly cold – cold enough for my feet to freeze to the point where I cannot feel them. Somehow I make the mistake of talking myself into believing that it is cold enough for me not to drink as much as my nutrition plan prescribes, and I also only eat half as much as I was planning to – that in combination with the missed pre-race gel spells disaster.
I am surprised though, despite the sluggish legs and the lack of nutrition I make it through the bike at fast speed. Turns out I biked the 54th fastest time overall and the 4th fastest split in my age group. Coming into T2 and parking my bike in an area almost void of bikes is a cool feeling. There is literally only 1 other bike in the racks. Am I actually second in my AG? Okay, don’t repeat the mistake of the last race, stick to a slower pace, enjoy the fact that it is getting nice and warm now…I have a bunch of really great and sensible thoughts. But it is no good; my dehydrated and malnutritioned body does not want to run – at all. I find myself walking after only 2 kms. This is going to be a horrible day. I am seriously considering dropping out. The run course consists of a small 4k loop which leads right by the finish line before going out on a longer loop. So I could conveniently just stay right at the finish line but really quitting is not something I am good at, so I ignore the temptation and soldier on. Trying to alternate running and walking. Somehow I still do not clue in that I am running on empty – I have only eaten 2 gels all day and had only 1 bottle of liquids on the bike. To make it short – I naturally never recover on the run and force may way through the 21km at crawling space half running half walking. Still enough to finish sub 5 hours, which is extremely frustrating because if only I had run half decent I could have done quite well. This way I only finish 12/106 in my AG and 113/926 overall.
How dehydrated and hungry I am I only realize after the race. In the post-race food tent I drink roughly 1.5 liters of coke and 1 l of water and eat 7 or 8 bags of chips along with a bunch of bananas etc. (yes somehow post-race food has taken a turn to full out junk food levels). After about 1 hour of sugaring up I feel like nothing ever happened, no sourness or any other ill effects. A clear sign that all this was just due to a BIG mistake in nutrition seems like getting bag into longer distance racing ia a bit of a steeper learning curve than I thought.
The good news story of the day is that Brynlee not only beat me (I had it coming) but she also beat everybody else in her AG. She comes first in her AG, 19th out of all females and an amazing 85th overall. She also sets a new course record for her age group and already qualifies for the 70.3 world championships in Chattanooga in 2017. This is the race I am planning to qualify for in Coeur d’Alene next year. All that in her second half distance Ironman ever. If she keeps it going like this she will punch her elite card in no time.
On to Kelowna next – back to Olympic distance racing in preparation for worlds in Cozumel in September. Time to focus on speed rather than endurance for the remaining 6 weeks of the season.