Thursday, August 25, 2011

Could things get any worse?!?

Gulf Coast Triathlon

After a good half ironman in New Orleans about three weeks ago and a great camp last weekend to prepare me for Gulf Coast Triathlon, I was confident that I would do well in my upcoming race. Sometimes you can be too confident.

After getting to Panama City Beach, I was gathering all that I would need for my race the next morning. See, instead of having it all in one bag, I had clothes, gear, etc., in 3 bags. Bad idea! I realized that I forgot my Snapple Triathlon Team tri shorts. Boo! Fortunately, I had an old pair of black tri shorts as a back-up that I could use, but they’re not nearly as comfortable as my Snapple shorts.

Race morning, I woke up with my stomach bloated and uncomfortable. I looked like I was 5 months pregnant. Great! People will be whispering and wondering how a pregnant lady was able to race a half ironman. So, as I waddled to the swim start, I knew I would at least float. Even with my big belly, I had a P.R. in my swim, knocking off 5 minutes off of last year’s time.

Because I race by heart rate, I had my Garmin on my bike ready to go. I started the bike portion, knowing that my heart rate always spikes at the beginning of the bike. Looking at my heart rate, it was lower than my resting heart rate. Uh oh. What does this mean?!? I rode a little bit farther and checked my heart rate again. Still way too low. So, now what? I didn’t have a back up plan. Just the weekend before at the camp, Coach Dan told us to always have a back up plan if things did not go the way you plan. Way to listen to the coach, huh?!? So, I tried my best to keep my bike pace similar to what I rode in my half ironman in New Orleans. The course was flat as a pancake, so it was easy to keep the pace consistent. My stomach still felt big and full, so I did not take in the nutrition as planned. Another no no.

Going out on the run, I was hoping to feel as good as I did my last race. Of course, it always hurts the first mile or two, but then I would get into a groove. I decided not to go by my heart rate on the run, since it was so off on the bike. I tried to just go by feel and occasionally glance to see what my run pace was. I never did feel like I could get into a good steady pace. The weather conditions were almost perfect, so that wasn’t the problem. My run pace kept getting slower and slower with every mile. All I kept telling myself is to keep moving forward. The finish was in sight and I couldn’t have been happier to see it. I was happy I didn’t drop out when I felt so bad. It was also a good lesson for me to always make a checklist of items you need for your race and always have a back up plans if things don’t happen the way you plan.

In the end, I was lucky to win my age group, 7th female overall, and my finishing time wasn’t as bad as I was sure it was going to be. Even better, some of my very good friends had fantastic races and I was so proud and happy to see them finish.

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