Thursday, April 23, 2009

Still waiting..

I tried to find my legs at track on Tuesday night, but they never showed up. I decided I need to cultivate new ones. So I've been riding more the last couple of days. Because that helps the running legs, right? Wednesday night we rode out to the Forest, rushing to beat the sunset, but being stalled briefly by a slow leaking tire. While Jonathan was busy at work...

Laura was busy modeling her cracked sunglasses...
..taking pictures of me...
...and Charlie's mud-splattered helmet. Unfortunately, the photo doesn't do the mud justice, but Charlie's looking particularly Zoolanderish here.

Just after the Xterra race on Saturday, Charlie had mud streaks similar to Andrew's facial mask.

Twelve hours after starting Wednesday night's ride, I showed up at the Peddler ride. Unfortunately I got stuck behind some particularly conscientious riders who stopped at a red light. We never caught back up to the main group; I think I was one of the few who wanted to. But it was a nice ride nonetheless. I thought maybe my running legs were starting to find their way home, but my run afterwards proved they hadn't. So I taught a hard spin class, trying to coerce them into returning. I'll give them a few days off, maybe until my Saturday brick. I trust they're still out there somewhere, hanging out, relaxing, enjoying their vacation. If they don't come back soon, I'll just join them there.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Missing. Reward.

One pair of running legs, 1977 model. Short, stocky, top-heavy, a nice shade of winter white. Small dent in left one. Usually very responsive to requests to run faster. Can stay on pace for numerous 400m repeats or during Ironman marathons. Last seen Nov 1, 2008 in Panama City. Owner is distraught over loss. Reward or trade for pair of sitting legs.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

naked racing

I didn't do the race naked, as in, without clothing. It would have made it slightly more interesting, I'm sure. I'd have gotten much more sunburned and would have surely been cheered for a bit more. I realize that lots of people race with power meters, garmins, and heart rate monitors. I usually race with just a watch, but managed to forget it for the NOLA 1/2 IM. I was halfway across the mile-wide field on race morning, heading to transition, when I realized what was missing from my attire. At that point I was in no mood to traipse back across the wet grass in my flip flops to dig it out of the car. It's a good thing I didn't waste any time doing that, since the half hour porta potty line made me officially late getting out of transition. I did take the shuttle the mile+ to the starting line, and got there just in time to yank on the wetsuit and find my age group clustered in the corral.

The swim was actually pretty nice. I didn't panic even once, and found a good rhythm right off. I knew to look for the "sausage-shaped buoy" to direct me in to shore, but it never seemed to appear. I swam for an eternity before finally finding the unmistakable buoy. Having no clock at the swim exit, I turned to a girl near me and asked her time. A little slow, but I found out later that the course was long.

The most interesting part of the bike to me was the section that was actually on a small piece of interstate that had been shut down. Now, I've ridden my bike on an interstate before, going the wrong way no less, when somebody took me on I-55 before it turns into Riverside. The race wasn't quite as exciting as that ride, especially since we weren't riding in the dark, but I found it to be slightly entertaining. Except for a couple of bridges, it was completely flat, which makes for some good winds. During the first long out-and-back, we had an excellent tailwind, pushing me to easily ride at 24-25. So I went 26. I thought maybe, just maybe, I was feeling good because I was in decent shape even considering my lack of training for long course. But turning around killed that idea quickly when I realized 16-17mph was going to have to be good enough for this "back" section. I guess that was even pushing it hard, or my stomach was just voicing its opposition to the aero position that hadn't been trained since October; it decided to empty on my leg. At least it was mostly Gatorade. I couldn't decide if I should be proud of myself for riding hard enough to throw up during a race (a first), or worried that I wasn't going to be able to get enough calories in. I decided to be proud, despite the fact that I wasn't pushing all that hard.

Finally back to transition, and out of the wind, I realized that it was getting hot. My face had turned into a salt lick, and having forgotten the beloved tablets, I considered scraping some off my face and reingesting it, or picking up those two that somebody had dropped on the ground. I did neither, and probably suffered just that much more for it.

Not having my watch particularly affected me during the run. I was walking within the first half mile, with cramps taking over my body. At some point along the way I tried to think positively. I went into assessment mode and tried to identify muscles that were NOT seized by cramps. Let's see, cramps in the feet? Check. Calves? Yes. Quads and hammies? Definitely. Skipping the abs, they've been cramping for days. Forearms, shoulders, chest, and back all taken over by cramps. I know, I know! You don't run on your arms! It still makes you suffer! I decided to stop thinking altogether at that point; it just wasn't helping. I think I turned my brain back on with a mile to go when a guy next to me said, "One more mile!" I snapped back to the race and felt hopelessness come over me again. I thought surely I'd just missed the 12 mile mark and was well beyond it. No such luck.

At the finish line, knowing I had started 40 minutes after the pros, I could easily calculate that it was my worst half Ironman finish ever. I didn't really want to run into anyone I knew at that point, but when I saw my teammates, and learned of Maggi's overal WIN!, I got pretty excited. I bragged about her the rest of the day to friends of friends I chatted with while waiting on Gary.

I felt a little worse (I was really THAT slow?) and a little better about my race when I looked at results. Not only had I had an especially tough run, but just about every Memphis guy who raced had trouble as well. There were at least 10 of us who ran in the 1:55-2:05 range. Ouch! There really is something to heat acclimation, and I'm finding the nearest Bikram studio to find out just what. Bring on the Memphis in May heat. I'll be ready.