26 March 2006

I've begun

to build the ark.

You would not believe the rain we are getting here. It has been going on for like 2 months now. Everytime it rains something horrible happens. We've had flooding, mudslides, dams breaching, contaminated water, tornados, you name it - it's happening here. I got back from my tri at noon and it has been raining since then, nonstop!!!! I am so sick of the rain!!!!!


I knew things would be wild today. Just before the alarm went off I had a dream that I broke a wheel on my bike. When my alarm did go off I shut it off because I figured I had a broken wheel. I woke up about 10 minutes later and totally freaked. I jumped out of bed screaming, " why did I shut the alarm off, it was just a stupid dream" only to realize I had only slept for like 10 more minutes. So once I got myself together I got ready and by 5 a.m. was out the door. It had just started raining here.

When I got to the race site on the other side of the island, it was pouring buckets and as I was parking my car I saw lightening. That made me stop and think, did I really want to do this. But hey, I had driven this far what the heck.

Setting up my transition area proved to be a problem. I had no plastic bags with me and my tri bag is mesh, not very water proof. By this time it had stopped raining and holding an optimistic attitude I just set my transition area up as usual. If it got wet, it got wet - big deal!!

I then walked down to the water to see what was going on. Okay, it did not look good. I heard the lifeguards talking about cross currents and how we were going to have a helluva time getting from the 1st buoy to the second. Bummer.... I decided to leave and not listen anymore.

We had our race meeting and the director explained that due to rain the course was super wet. There were large, deep puddles and be super careful when turning on the bike. Oh right, the swim was 750m not 500. Oh yes, this was getting better and better. He then sent us off with 5 minutes to start to get in the water and get ready. So off I went.

After my last tri experience where I totally freaked in the water, I was a little nervous. So I jumped in and swam around for a few minutes and realized I was cool. I was totally going to be able to rock this swim, I could just tell. We lined up and the gun went off.

Now I seeded myself at the back of the pack cause I ain't fast. So I took off and was feeling good and totally relaxed. I was following people and not freaking cause they were around me. I even got hit and it totally didn't bother me at all. I even thought to myself, "Dude, I just got hit and didn't freak!!!!" So I'm chugging along at the back of the pack feeling really good when all of a sudden it hit me.

Now, I've had 9 hours to dwell on this and I think I have it figured out. What happened this morning was I started having trouble breathing and then totally started to freak. I looked back to the shore and I was halfway between the shore and buoy #1. I knew I could not make it and was totally ready to turn back. However, I managed to talk myself down. I kept swimming and even though I was freaking I kept going. What I figured out was every time I swim in the pool, after about 5-7 minutes I start to lose my breath. I read somewhere that it's your body switching from the aerobic to anaerobic systems. In the pool it generally lasts for about 2 lengths (50m) then I'm over it and fine. I'm used to it in the pool and it doesn't bother me at all. In fact, until I sat and thought about today, I forgot it happened. I think that's what happened this morning. I hit that 5 minute mark and started to lose my breath but instead of realizing what was happening and riding it out, I started to freak. Once that began it was tough to come down from it. Also, the excitement of the race probably made it worst than it normally is. Oh yeah, did I mention the waves were about 3'???? That didn't help either.

Okay, so I'm talking myself through this thing and bound and determined to keep going. I do whatever I need just to keep moving forward; the side stroke, the backstroke, whatever. After a couple of minutes I start to feel fine and so I start swimming. Once I started going I was fine, just swimming away. About halfway between buoy #1 & #2 I got slammed with a wave and it moved my goggles. I had to stop and fix them only to find out I could stand here. Okay, that made things much, much better knowing I can stand. And so I swam in and was not the last one out of the water :)

I get to the transition area and apparently it had rained while I was swimming cause everything is soaked. Lovely. I change and grab my bike and head out. Now the bike is my thing. I totally rock on the bike and I thank my mother for these monster thighs everytime I ride. I get out and am just hauling butt - my average speed was 16mph on a 20 year old Bianchi!!! God, if I had a good bike there'd be no stopping me. Anyway, on the way out it was great and I was flying. On the way back, eh, not so great. There was a strong headwind and it decided to rain again. Actually, it poured so hard the roads flooded in front of my eyes. Oh yea, having fun now.

Back to the transition area. I am so soaked it's not funny. I change and head out for the run. The start of the run is a total mudbog. My shoes were making that sucking noise as I tried to move through it. So I'm running, kind of. I'm laughing and asking myself why the hell I do this, but at least it wasn't raining. Hit the 1 mile mark and the sky opened up, literally. All of the intersections were flooded, some up to 6" deep. I would walk through the flood, then run to the next corner, walk through the flood, then run......... for well over 2 miles. It was big fun.

I finally crossed the finish line and I wasn't the last one :) I was soaked to the skin and everything I had brought with me was soaked in the transition area. I had dry clothes in the car but no dry towels to dry off with. Oh joy!!! Luckily I had to pop into work and there were towels there so I finally got to change.

The numbers:

Swim: 29:30
T1: 3:44
Bike: 51:38
T2: 2:28
Run: 49:14

Total time: 2:16:32 and 2nd in my age group. WooHooo!!!!!!!!

What I've learned:

* I have got to work on the swim. I need to work and on getting over this freaking thing and I think the only way to do it will be to keep doing these things.

* I need to work on my aerobic base. For some reason I've lost some ground there and I need to get it back. Maybe due to my heavily swim focused training lately. Time to switch it up and get my aerobic capacity back up to where I want it.

* Learn to run through water.

* Find a sunnier place to live :)

I have spent the afternoon working on a new training schedule. I'm going to focus more on aerobic work. I'll still be swimming 3x a week but only 2x in the pool. Once a week it's an ocean swim for me, no matter what.

Okay, my next event is a biathlon, swim and run, on April 23rd. Followed the next weekend, 4/30, by a metric century.

So, I've got my next race and I've got my training plan. I'm good to go. Now I have to figure a way to do some laundry, the washer and dryer are outside - great!!!


Backofpack said...

Sounds to me like an awesome race! You get extra kudos for being tough and racing in extreme weather. Way to go!

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Wow. So your triathlon consisted of swim, swim and... swim.

Great job! And I hope you get some sunny skies soon!

Anonymous said...

Excellent! I always say on race days that we all get the same weather. Way to keep at it. And a silver medal too! Congratulations!

Nancy Toby said...

PODIUM FINISH!?!? Congratulations!!

You totally rock, you sandbagger!!

Rain? No problem! You're wet already! Rain and 40 degrees might be a problem, but warm rain just means "caution on the bike". That's all!

You did great!!!!!!!!

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