My training for this race wasn't as good as I would have liked because of work and family obligations, but I figured I had done well enough to PR this year over the 7:18 I did at Eagleman in 2010, specially with my running getting faster over the last two years. At Eagleman I had a bad swim of 1:05 and also figured hat, even though swimming is still not my favorite sport, I was better at it now. Ha!
my husband, daughter and I drove down on Saturday, registered, racked the bike and checked out the swim venue with the 1/4 mile run to the bikes. After dinner My husband Jim drove me over most of the course except for the two out-and-back legs at the far end. Sunday morning I had oatmeal with almond butter and banana and a coffee. I am very grateful to hubby for driving me to the swim start after dropping off the run gear in T2. The line for the busses looked way too long.
Swim (1:19). I have learned that trying to draft doesn't work for me, so I waded out the 150ish m to the first buoy wih the crowd and just started swimming at an easy pace, thinking to work my way into something a little faster. The first turn actually felt like it came up fairly fast, though everyone says this is where the buoy had let loose. As soon as I turned, everything went to heck. I was in the middle of a whole lot of people going every which way and two people were calling for help. I stopped and saw there was someone near them yelling for a kayak that was on the way, so I kept going. I couldn't figure out where the markers for the half were. From my vantage, it looked like randomly placed markers everywhere. I was also apparently rapidly drifting toward shore, because when I swam out for just a couple minutes, I saw a line of markers way to my left. I knew I was way off course. Dang. Nothing to do but swim out there and get back on course, right? Ha! I felt like I was swimming in place. I finally got far enough to see a big channel marker and I aimed for that big structure just to get me back on course. The marker wasn't getting closer either, so I put in what I knew was too much energy just to get off the dime and get somewhere. Anyway, I finally made it and turned more toward my right to head for the second turn buoy. I won't bore you with more details, but after drinking too much water from the swells (finally figured out I should breath only AFTER making sure my mouth was clear of the water) and having my arms feel like putty, I realized I could stand up and walk while I was still pretty far from shore. I forgot to mention that I was wearing my sleeveless wet suit. It was okay, except I was apparently arching my back too much during sighting and my back was hurting. I didn't even want to look at my watch, and was fairly disgusted at the time until my husband said that everyone had a rough swim. There were other ladies on the beach that apparently had pulled out of the race trying to reassure me also. So I just decided to make the best of the remainder of the race and not worry about my finishing time at all. Thus my 8 minute transition time.
Bike (3:25). The bike was fairly uneventful and I enjoyed the course, though not driving the upper part made me confused as to where I was for quite a while. I had been using Ucan, a modified corn starch drink, during training. I'm hypoglycemic and the Ucan is a very slow release energy drink that I seem to tolerate well. It's strange because I can take in less calories than normal but still have energy. It's supposed to help you use your fat stores for energy. I had about 350 calories of Ucan during the ride, though I started to feel a little bonky toward the end of the bike. I think it was because I used up way more energy on the swim than I had planned. I had 90 calories of Ucan 40 minutes before the swim and nothing else. If you use Gu's with it, it doesn't work as well. I did chew on some almonds during the bike just for the taste entertainment. I had planned on using Gu to get me through the run anyway, so I had a Gu from my emergency stash in the Bento box 5 miles from the bike finish. My goal for the bike had become to get back before they opened the course for traffic at noon. Check.
Run (2:23). My back was bothering me on the bike, so it felt good to start running. I had driven the run course, so I knew about the hill between miles 2 and 3 (and 8-9). The run was okay. I walked quite a bit the first mile just to get loose and then was able to jog easily up the hill without stopping. I ran into Amy K. just before the hill and we introduced ourselves and chatted a bit about the swim before I felt compelled to go a bit faster. She was on her second lap, and me on my first. I did the second lap just a hair slower and felt pretty good about it. The aid stations were great with the ice and cold sponges, except the last station had run out of water so I sucked on some ice cubes that I stashed in my ice carrier (bra). Thank goodness for bras on a hot run! My 14 year old daughter came out to great me at the start of the finisher chute saying Dad made her do it. It was fantastic running in with her and made me feel like finishing was worth all the effort. I love that Rev 3 let's you download the finishing photos for free. I'm sure this will be my favorite one. I felt pretty unstable at the finish so they let me cool off in medical with the fan and a cold towel for a while. My temp was okay at 97.8. I told them about the hypoglycemia and that brought out the glucose meter. It was fine at 140 from all the Gu's, but its not the absolute number for me that's a problem, it's how I feel when it comes down. I left medical promising to eat something, but all they had for post-race food was spicy meatballs and pasta. I made a meatball sandwich and choked it down with water. A banana would have been much more welcome. Then while telling my family about the race, I suddenly felt very strange and disoriented. Jim insisted I go back to medical and they swooped me into a bed and started an IV (after taking my "core" temperature at 100.6. My core is down there!?). My glucose had dropped to 120 already. I felt bad for Jim and Josette worrying about me. They finally invited them to come sit next to me. I'm very glad I got the IV because I felt so much better. The medical staff was fantastic and they let me go with a bottle of Gatorade (yuk) until I could find some more real food. Oh, and I had almost forgot to get a finishers t-shirt after all the excitement. I was bummed they didn't have any more small sizes left. But I'm going to wear this one proudly because I deserved it! The next day I managed to walk all around Busch Gardens with my family and even do a few roller coasters, so I'm happy I had the endurance to do that! I have to end with a big hug and thank you to my husband and daughter for putting up with my training, as it is, and specially for taking care of me during this race weekend. They're the ones that really rock. Oh, and I just now (really!) just realized that I finished about 30 seconds slower than at Eagleman. I'm happy that it doesn't bother me one bit. There's always next time, right?