Monday, September 8, 2008

Curse of the Big Kahuna (Triathlon)

I was going to do it, I wasn’t and then I did.  I was able to back off my training enough between Timberman 70.3 and Big Kahuna Half Ironman in the past 3 weeks to leave a little something in the tank.  Unfortunately between the co-workers who brought their colds to work or Greta who got it from hers – I became the next victim.  We got down to Santa Cruz where Ian, JP and I crashed at JP’s in-laws’ beach house, about 2 miles from the race start.  The weather was perfect – but I was feeling bad. 

I figured with some hot salsa I would feel better. 

I didn’t.

I went to bed and layed there and drifted – nap like – a bit but not really any sleep.  It was a long night and for once, 4:20am was fine with me for a wake up. 

I drank coffee, instant, ick. 

Went through all of my pre-race rituals and thought I could use positive mental power to make my increasingly stuffy and worsening headache go away.  It did, sort of. 

I got set up in the good racks – the kind that hold your back wheel.  This was good and I had done everything I could to prepare.  We got suited up and headed for the ocean. 

The water was flat and cool (I love 60 degree ocean swims!).  The race started and for once – it was good.  I didn’t get thumped, I swam in the same direction I thought I was which is pretty good because it was a LONG LONG swim way out into the ocean where I  know there are sharks and sea lions and seals.  My goal was to swim solid, straight and panic as little as possible.  I only sighted once (swimming next to the Santa Cruz pier for about .5 miles makes it easy) and when I peeked for the bouy it was about 20 yards away – I turned and headed home.  There were some swells – but it was worse going back in than heading out.  I just swam and got freaked out by the occasional shark, no, not a shark, it was seaweed but it looked like a shark at first.  I got close to the shore and swam through what felt like a bowl full of seaweed.  But I swam and didn’t get dragged under by a shark (which I wondered about and hoped that if I did get bit, he’d grab me after I got a breath of air and not after I exhaled). 

I got out and looked at my watch.  Blank.  It was dead. 

I ran the .3 miles to the transition.  Dropped my goggles, shoved one guy cause he was running all slow and like a baby.  Dumped a cup of water on my head cause I thought it would be something to do. 

My stomach didn’t feel good. 

I hollered at 2 girls doing the relay who were standing in front of my bike just chatting. 

and THEN I SAW IT!  Ian’s bike.  He was in the wave behind me and I knew he’d get 5 mins on me if I swam my ‘average’.  So that meant I didn’t give up 5 mins to a guy who can put 5 mins into me while he’s sleeping.  YEAHOOEY.  Since I don’t have a watch, I don’t know what I swam.  But it was less than 5 mins from Ian’s swim time.

I got my bike, not with the near blistering speed I normally use, but I still got out ok.  My coach always says to get strapped and settle in for the bike and not to go like crazy at the start – take a few miles drink water, eat and then get ready to throw down. 

I forgot to throw down cause I threw up.  Ick.  It was pink and went all over my arm.  It was foamy. 

That was 21 mins into the bike. 

I rode and remembered that Ian said he rode 22.5mph last year.  The course was rolling – the entire thing was up and down and up.  Mostly stuff that was 2-5% grade and nothing you had to get out of the big ring for.  See below – I’m not lying. 














So the entire way out I’m trying to drink or sip and eat but it’s not working.  It’s not staying in.  There’s still pink foamy stuff on my arm at mile 36.

Since I ‘enjoy’ the swim – I tend to ride faster than a lot of people for the first half of each race.  This allows me to pass lots of people.  I usually say something to the people who are drafting.  Some guys are so blatant that I usually go after them.  I slowed next to one guy and said he should just ride up the guy’s keister in front of him and he looked at me all stupid-I-cheat-at-sports-and-I’m-wearing-a-headband-under-my-aero-helmet-like.  Jerk.  Then I ride on, since I’m fast and spewing pink stuff. 

I then had another shadow creep up behind me.  It just stopped and I knew there was a guy sitting on my wheel.  I then blow my nose a lot and spit more pink stuff and the shadow goes away. 

Then 2 guys pass me.  Nose to tail.  I said something really not nice.  The guy with his nose in the guy’s tail said to mind my own business.  It then took me 30 more miles to drop them both hard. The whole time I’m thinking of Ian’s 22.5mph avg.  I was pushing like 20.5mph.  It turns out he didn’t have the wicked headwind (it was about a 10 O’clock headwind).  I hit the turn around – having no food or water in my stomach at 1:19.  I could ride hard and then I could feel my stomach get into my throat and I’d have to slow down.  Then I saw Ian. 

He was about 4 mins behind me or so which for me is like getting chicked because after all he is fighting cancer and the bike is what I do. Food or no food, it was go time cause I’d never ever ever ever hear the end of it.  Generations of my family would have heard about it (through generations of Ian’s family of course).

I threw down. 


I rode like a scared little squirrel.  I negative split the bike by almost 8 minutes (out in 1:19+ and back in 1:12).  Bike time was around 2:31-2:32.  No official times yet. 

I grabbed a bottle of water figuring I could get some plain water down.  One sip, it was lemon Heed.  Ick.  I threw it back so fast that I scared the hell out of the water handing out people.  Sorry. 

It was about mile 45 when it got really sunny.  (I forgot to mention the fog cause from about mile 10 to mile 45 it was foggy.  Sometimes, it was so foggy that you could see about 20 yards ahead in places.  I also got honked at by a redneck in a jacked up truck when I rode in the traffic lane so I wouldn’t draft people I was passing.)

I decided about that time (when the sun came out) that I was done.  I hadn’t got any water in (I still had 2 full water bottles on my bike and a full load of GUs) and no food and 13.1 miles of running in the heat and not feeling good and knowing I had life to live after the race meant I was going to drop out. 

I did go through T2 and walked out onto the run course to cheer on Ian and JP and take some more ibuprofen. 

THE NICE ENDING: I felt like a big loser but not finishing the race doesn’t define me.  Finishing Timberman 70.3 with Sada next to me and seeing Ian finish two half ironman races while fighting cancer was enough to remind me that racing is only a part of life. 

THE LORPEEDO ENDING: I felt like a loser.  But I still had a good swim and even without food or water I still crushed a ton of people and drafters.  I’ll be at the start line at Oceanside 70.3.


Sarah said...

I like the dual ending. That reminds me of Wayne's World.

Anyway, I'm sorry you were sick, but you totally made the right decision. I'm glad you yell at drafters too, because I thought I was the only one and they all think I'm a raving bitch but I couldn't care less.

Great job on the swim and bike!

Greg Remaly said...


I'm proud of you for a good swim and a good bike, but i think the best part for me was your raging against the drafters - what tools.

if one of those tools told me to mind my own business i would've said, 'mind THIS, motherf-er' and taken a frame pump to his spokes and send his cheating ass flying.

enjoy your off-season!

Soda said...

well I'm impressed you kept going after the first stomach tossing episode. But then if I throw up it means I am so severely sick I almost need a hospital so... any how good job. Glad you yelled at people, people need to follow the rules.

Is this the first time you swam in a straight line???

Kelly said...

i'm always so paranoid that someone's going to think im drafting because some asshole passed me and then slowed down and i didnt know what to do. so yeah.

that sucks about getting sick. nice job on the bike though

Chris Westall said...

Nice work Bud... I'm looking forward to some training sessions in the "pre-season". And a bottle of wine or two.

Hope your feeling better.