Monday, August 31, 2009

IMLP Race Report part Deux, LOOONG overdue

The Run

I haven’t wanted to write this part of the race report. Can we just say my race ended in T2, with me having what was (for me) a kick ass bike?! Quite a few friends have said they were following along online and kept thinking to themselves that I wasn’t going to make it…yeah, the run was that bad. Better yet, instead of calling it a “run,” let’s call a spade a spade—it was a roughly 20 mile walk, with a little 10k action to start it off.

Ok, so T2 went pretty well, and I got out the door just behind Cyndi and Deanna. Both were walking (Cyndi very quickly…) so I caught up to them before the ski jumps. I chatted with both of them along the way, Cyndi so upbeat and positive even though she must have been in such pain from the torn labrum. Deanna had her toe broken during the swim, but she was out there getting it done. I was feeling good at this point so I trucked on down the hills. I remember feeling pretty hungry, and at the first aid station surveying their offerings. I chose 3 orange slices which tasted good, and some water. It became pretty apparent at this point that it was not the “upper 70” degrees forecast. The cold sponges were hot sellers—people shoving them down tops and squeezing them over their heads. They did feel great!

I ran my regular pace (about 10 min miles) for the first 4 miles, then things started slowing down. I kept wishing someone would flip the OFF switch for the sun, but it was still pretty high in the sky and I knew it wouldn’t set until well into my second lap. Damn. Mile 3 or 4 I took in a gu and some water, thinking I’d keep this up for the duration of the run. They didn’t taste too good. I thought it might be those orange slices I had, and tried to shake off the nausea. My plan was to run the first 13-18 miles, so I kept on truckin’. Close to the turn around, I passed coach Mark, and that’s when it hit me how rough so many of us out there felt. The aid stations seemed like more than a mile apart—and I think there were only two of them on the lonely, dark stretch out River Road (the Hawaii and Christmas themes). Oh, and I think there was the one close to the message board sponsored by Ford. Anyways, I digress…

At the turn around, I saw Lynn and Bethany trucking along behind me—both looking GREAT!—but I had hit a wall. What previously felt manageable became almost insurmountable. The heat felt oppressive, and my mind hit that ironman spacey place. I didn’t feel this way until about mile 15 of the IMFL run. I started trying to just run between aid stations, and that lasted another mile. So I teamed up with some guy named Matt who was walking a brisk pace. We chatted along until Matt felt good enough to run again. I tried to pick it up and hang with him, but it was a no-go until just past the ski jumps. Another mile of perking along, then I hit that hill back into town. Augh.

I walked up that after trying a quick potty stop (that didn’t help), and just at the top I found Bryan and Karen. A quick stop to tell her my woes—at this point I could barely take in anything. For the last 3 miles I had been nibbling on some pretzels and ice chips, but nothing felt like it would stay down if I gulped anything. Karen reminded me that with just over another lap to go, I needed calories. So I bucked up and took in another gu—very slowly. Then I made it to special needs and Joe and Joey. Joe could tell I was looking pretty rough but was very encouraging. I grabbed my long sleeve shirt of the bag, but had forgotten to pack any salt tabs. Does this woman look happy to you?

The turn around up there was so far back, but I snagged a few more kisses from my guys and headed back out of town. If my first loop was ugly, this one got even uglier. At various points I tried everything the aid stations had to offer. The Gatorade (orange flavor, YUCK) was a no-go, the chicken broth was ok in little sips, and the ice chips were good. Everything else did not appeal. I can’t remember taking in any more gus, and it took so much mental energy just to keep making forward progress, that contemplating nutrition was going to overwhelm me. Cyndi caught me and we tried hard to figure out how much more time we would be out there. She was pretty appalled at my ironman math—I couldn’t keep up with her speed walking and my mind had checked out hours ago. Just after the turn around, Lynn and Bethany caught me and we had a moment in the dark, all peeing along the side of the road. Classy! They also tried to convince me to hang with them and pick up my speed, but I couldn’t do it so off they went.

I hated passing the Olympic oval, hearing people being announced, and knowing that I had to find that turn around somewhere about a mile away. But Heidi, Joe and Joey found me, urged me on, and said they’d meet me at the finish line. Coming into the finish felt very different from Florida. I was happy to be done, but realized that I was darn lucky to have done so. My marathon time was a whopping 6:34, so much slower than IMFL (5:48), and a whopping 15 minute/mile pace. My total Placid time was an hour slower than Florida, mostly due to the run.

Karen was at the finish line and after a quick hug, directed my volunteer to take me to the med tent. I passed some TriGirl/Maramarc folks at the athelete food area and gave them a quick wave. Joe was able to finagle his way in to find me, and after I had a couple of iv’s, he helped me do a quick change into some dry clothes and helped me home.

I’ve thought a lot about this race, and what I did right and where I went horribly wrong. While I am very happy to have done the race, and have it behind me, I am disappointed in my time. I know I could have done a better job (but won’t sign up for next year to prove it!) In two races now, I’ve had issues with my run in hot and humid weather after what was, in both cases, a strong bike portion. Jen and I have talked it over somewhat, and there may be a nutritional piece of the puzzle that I haven’t yet figured out. I have promised my husband and family that I will take at least a year off from full ironman distance races, so I think they are all heaving a big sigh of relief about that. I have plans for next year, but will write a separate blog post for that…

Thank you, my friends, for the support and encouragement! I carried you all with me on ironman day and knew you’d be waiting for each update as I crossed the timing mats. Hugs.


Molly said...

Wonderful race report. It's good to have a year off of IM and focus on putting a little zip in your legs on shorter distances! That kind of run happens to a LOT of people so you shouldn't feel bad as you certainly aren't alone. Keep working at it - I know Sherry is analyzing her sweat rates and nutrition stuff heavily for hot weather training right now. So excited to be racing with you at least once (and maybe more!) next year!

GoBigGreen said...

You did great. You are my hero and alot of people wouldnt have had the guts to even finish. You will figure that nutrition out but in the mean time, rest your head / brain trying to figure it out and get pumped for your marathon. Hugs, and talk to you soon!

ADC said...

You've done it, you perservered and finished. I am looking forward to hearing about your future plans. Great report.

TRIgirl Jackie said...

Great report! I'm sorry that you feel a little disappointed and hope that those feelings subside quickly because what you've accomplished is truly amazing! I, like so many others, are very proud of you!

Sherry said...

Kate, you are awesome. I know that this may not have been the highlight of your year, but darn, I just really admire you for gutting it out when many others would not have.

You are certainly not alone with having trouble in hot/humid weather. My sweat rate is ridiculously high and I haven't been able to run (without walking) off of any of my long bike rides yet. It's really, really tough for ... but know that you aren't alone. Like Jen, I also believe that nutrition is a huge part of the puzzle, but I'm also starting to think that there are some folks out there who just are genetically cut out to deal with the heat; while other people strive in it. It's not that we have to stay away from hot weather races (that certainly isn't an option for me), but that we have to know and accept those environmental limitations. Know what I mean?

I, for one, am SUPER proud of you. Lake Placid is known to be one of the more challenging courses out there... and girl, you FINISHED it! With time to spare! Very, very admirable!!! :o)


BreeWee said...

Nice finish hot momma! you did it and that is ALL we can do sometimes. I was bummed not to be there, but at the same time glad I wasnt with half the reports going around about the challenges, yikes, so here is a pat on the back to you!

AS for the REV3 races, I "think" I might do the Tenn. one, that is the one that will fit my plans best so far and THEN we can race a shorter race together and get some "zip" in our legs :)
Take care Kate!!!