I don’t have a whole lot more to say about the race. Anyone who has been reading these Wildflower stories over the last couple days probably gets that the courses be they long course or short course are tough. The environment is tough. You take about 8500 athletes, cram them and their friends and families into a hot, dry dip between a bunch of big hills, provide them with next to nothing in terms of amenities and then send them off to swim in cold choppy water, bike over high hill and rolling dale and run up dusty, dirty trails under the blazing hot sun. It’s awesome! If nothing else you know you are alive when you’re done because what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and if you get to the end and you’re not dead you have a great sense of vitality.
When I finally found my way out of Lake San Antonio I ran to my transition area which was not too too far from the swim out. I had still not conquered the art of getting my wet suit off and it took me quite a long time. I almost called over to some guys for assistance but I’m glad I didn’t because I do believe they were DQing people for that. I finally got the damned thing off, dried my feet, put on my bike shoes and ran about a mile to the bike out area. Seriously – we were way far away from that. T1: 7:12 (!!!!!)
My ride was good. I had plenty of water and I drank some Gatorade endurance here and there. I had Nuun but never drank it (big mistake). I also had Cliff Bloks in my Bento Box and managed to eat 2 or 3 (which doesn’t even come close to how many calories I needed).
I loved the ride, though. I thought Lynch Hill would kill me but it didn’t. None of the other hills killed me, either. I just spun up and pounded down and had a great old time. When I got back to T2 in 2:06 (by my Garmin) I was happy. Not everyone would be happy with 25 miles in 2:06 but I thought it would take me longer because I’m not a really strong rider. So happy, happy, joy, joy – its time to run.
Of course I discovered that my running shoes were still tied. I guess I was nervous when I set up – doh! I didn’t realize how bad off I was until I took off without my Gu that I had carefully decanted into a gel flask. I had grabbed a protein bar and downed a couple of Sports Legs caps, though. I ran toward the mats and noticed my HR was at 146 and I thought that was high to start a run so I stopped, still in the transition area, and drank water. I just wanted it to come down to 125. I waited. I was panting. I was hot. I kind of knew I was in trouble. Finally I crossed the mats – T2: 7:22 (!!!!) So about 15 minutes of my total time was just in transition. Total rookie maneuver – live and learn!
I started running but that didn’t last long. It was hot and my heart rate kept jumping back up. I walked. I got to the mile1 aid station and drank water and got hosed down. I tried to eat some protein bar but I couldn’t swallow it. My stomach started going south. I tried to run. I walked. I tried to run… and on it went until I pretty much gave it up and just walked. I was so sick by mile 3 I couldn’t drink water any more. I just kept moving. Mile 4 – yeah! Mile 5 Hooray! Downhill soon! I got to the top of the hill and started running down. I ran, I walked, I just wanted to make sure I could run the chute. And then there it was – the chute! I ran and they called my name and I ran and I knew no one would be left in the stands for me because I took so long getting in. I was a little sad but what could anyone do? There were a lot of long drives to be taken.
Total stats (and I won’t be 53 until 12/29 but USAT uses your age as of 12/31)
ouch – I’m proud of doing it but still.. ouch
I was so happy to be done. I got my medal and my washcloth and went down by the water. I was going to get in but I didn’t want to walk barefoot back to my stuff so I skipped it. Then I had to take my stuff and bike and face a steep set of stairs. This was my undoing. I got up the stairs and my heart rate was through the roof (at some point it went to 217) and I was so sick – so incredibly sick. I stopped, leaned over and put my head on my saddle and scared a lot of people. A really nice man stopped and asked if I was okay and I said “yes – I just need a minute”. He offered to get me over to the medical tent but I demurred because it was too far to walk. A couple minutes and a few feet later I put my bike on a rack, put my bag on the ground, l and laid down with my head on my pack which scared some more people but I just needed to lie down.
I finally managed to get back to my tent and the campsite that had been packed the night before was empty. Someone had taken the stakes out of my tent, presumably as a nice gesture and it was. I decided I would just lie in the tent for a little bit until I felt strong enough to pack up the car. Not too long after that a stiff wind came up and blew the tent over, door side down – with me in it. WHOA! I had to jump up and save myself from being blown away! I scrambled out and quickly took the tent down and realized that I felt fine – I was ready to pack up and go.
Driving home I felt shamed and humiliated and hateful and loathsome of my participation in endurance sports. I was sure I would never try anything like Wildflower again. I’m all better now. It does take courage to attempt a triathlon of any distance and Wildflower is an especially demanding event. I signed up, showed up and I finished and of that I am really proud. I’m already looking for my next Oly and thinking about how I want to do Wildflower next year. I got the fevah baby and I need more cowbell. More triathlon cowbell.
Stay tuned for “Wildflower – the Movie” coming to a blog near you early next week.