I won entry into Columbia through volunteering with MMTC. I was excited for the race and hoped for dry weather because I had heard in years past it typically rained at Columbia. I have done many sprint distances and 1 half ironman distance but skipped the Olympic and was happy to try it.
Six weeks before Columbia, I hurt my foot running. A week after that I ran Clyde’s 10k and my foot was excruciatingly painful to bare weight on. A club member recommended a specialist for me to see. The first available appointment was 2 weeks away. I stayed off my foot as best I could, mostly biking and swimming. I finally saw the doctor who told me I had peroneal tendonitis and must stay off my foot. I could not run in Cascade the week before Columbia when I sadly took an intentional DNF (but I least I had some swim, T1, and bike practice). The doctor told me he would see me again a few days before Columbia to see how I was doing.
At the follow up appointment, my foot was feeling fine. He told me I could start running a few miles at a time a few days a week on the outside lane of a track. I should not do hills for a few more weeks and absolutely no racing. I said “ok” and left the office. I was going to run at Columbia.
Nothing out of the ordinary. It was pretty congested until the 2nd turn, I had a piece of seaweed stuck to my goggles that I couldn’t get off but since it wasn’t effecting my vision I didn’t worry about it. I felt confident in my swim. I was 5 minutes faster than I thought, but I credit the wetsuit for that.
I had a great racking spot. The first time I wore a wetsuit in a swim, I had a wetsuit stripper. This time I knew I had to do it myself. (I was glad I got a little practice the week before, though I took a lot of time then since I was not really racing.) I sprayed my legs with TriSlide and the suit came off easier than I expected.
As with many biking events, I passed many on the uphill but they all passed me on the downhill. One of the disadvantages of being light. One girl said me that I guess we will be “cat and mousing” the rest of the way. I need to work on going around corners at a faster speed. Also, because I have such a small frame, I can only carry a small water bottle in my cage. On long rides, I use a camelpack but I knew my water bottle would last about 25 miles. With 5 miles left to go, I was out of water. I drank more than I thought and did not realize it was as hot as it was.
I’m usually very quick here. I forgot the ClifBloks I wanted to take with me but I was already out of T2 when I remembered.
My plan was to keep between a 9 and 10 minute pace and walk the hills so my foot would not hurt. I did run up the first hill and my foot was feeling fine. I was able to keep under a 9:30 minute pace until mile 3 (that’s what happens when you haven’t run in 5 weeks). Up until leaving the park, I was only taking in water. I don’t really like Gatorade. When I got into the neighborhood, I needed Gatorade and the water stops didn’t have any. I was drinking as much as I could but I was constantly licking my lips to keep them wet. I did not realize how hot it had gotten and I was really starting to drag. I knew there was Gatorade going back up Gatorade Hill and I couldn’t wait to get there. Drinking that little bit of energy was what I needed to get me through. I didn’t quite finish as strong as I would have liked, but I was able to sprint the last .2 in strongly.
I took in a lot of Gatorade and water at the finish line to rehydrate me. I started to feel a little better. The MMTC tent was very helpful too. I had a hard but delicious bagel with nutella and plenty of orange slices. At the tent, I also changed to my compression socks, hoping that it would help recovery with my foot. Both my feet did hurt me on the run in different places, but as soon as I stopped running, it went away. Luckily today my foot doesn’t hurt me either. I guess I can start running again and ease back into it.
Thanks to my mom for being a body marker and coming to support me. And thanks to all the volunteers at the MMTC tent and waterstop.