Tuesday, March 19, 2013

IM Los Cabos Race Report

The calm before the start

Writing a race report from a DNF is not easy....but necessary ( I think anyway)  The day was not as I hoped.... to put it mildly.   It is hard to put my feelings into words.... I DNF'd my first time in Kona (blacked out on the run) and it was devastating...I could not face anyone, I was in tears for days and I thought I would never get over it.  Since then I have completed 4 Ironman races and 3 of them well, so it is not that I cannot do Ironman.  My plate has been really full leading into this race and there was a part of me that questioned whether I would get to the starting line (not due to injury) but some sort of life issue would prevent me from traveling... hard to explain without getting too personal.  But that being said....I had a near (note near) perfect lead up to IM Cabo.
dorky aero helmet!  

I was tired beyond belief at the end of December and traveled for 2 weeks and returned fresh and ready to finish off my training (or at least I hoped so anyway) Physically I was fine but mentally I was struggling for the first time with enjoying the training.  I felt like either I was going too hard or too easy and there was so much thought into what had to happen when that I was not enjoying it.   Mid January I contemplated pulling out....why race if I am not passionate about it?  Well I was traveling with good friends and that kept me going.....

Palm Springs was the turning point- I had a great weekend of training/racing and fun but also due to my saddle slipping I had the beginning of a hamstring issue.  But I was mentally committed to Cabo.  I also took on some new coaching responsibilities that I knew would be time consuming but post Cabo would be okay. So I was definitely stretched thin.. but loving what I was doing.  Once my saddle was fixed my hamstring settled, did not go away, but was in control.  That is until 2 weeks pre-race when I went off a curb inadvertently and felt a pulling sensation in my hamstring that was just not right.  KP said no running until race day, the only way to deal with it really....that and ART, Massage and Acupuncture  I did all I could to protect the injury.
188 my Felt waiting for me to get out of the water

I was optimistic but realistic.... I felt great race week on the bike and swimming and was feeling like I could pull this off.  That was until the gun went off....it was a beach start and we sprinted into the water and the 1st step in deep sand and it was the same sensation as 2 weeks prior, as if someone pulled the muscle hard and then stuck it back in my leg.  But I was in the swim and it was great..... the first 400 meters were hectic and I was getting beat up but soon it opened up.  It was a 1 loop swim and soon I found a group of 4 and we were cruising.  It was a lot of fun and by incredibly fast....I was surprised when we were rounding the final buoys.  I felt like my swim should have been a 54-55 and was a bit disappointed with the 57.  Although it seems everyone was 2-3 minutes slow...so maybe it was a bit long or the current was stronger than expected.   By the time the swim ended I had forgotten about my hamstring and I was loving racing... until I ran up the beach and I was worried.
this is the beautiful part of cabo
swimmers are off! 

T1 was up a hill and a steep set of stairs, across rocky dirt and into the changing tent - i was in and out pretty quickly and onto my bike. Running with my bike was painful....but on I went.  The bike was much harder than ( all of us thought) It was over 6000 ft of climbing, very, very windy and hot (garmin said 90) NOT a fast course and not a very pretty one..we were on the highway so no spectators other than a few turn arounds.  The roads were in great shape- clean and smooth. Aid stations well stocked!  My nutrition was going well... I using Osmo in my bottles for sodium and electrolytes coupled with Power Bar (Cookie Dough) and Bonk Breakers.  My goal was mostly solids (which is how I train) and to see how that would work on race day.   It was working fine...but without the run I don't really know how well it worked.  


getting my bike
My hamstring was achy from the beginning but tolerable and I was feeling good. My power numbers were spot on and my HR came down and I was settling in. Around mile 20 the ache went to occasional pains and with with 20 miles or so it got worse... around mile 80 the hamstring swelled to a point it was pushing on my sciatica and the pain radiated down my leg and my foot was numb. This was not so fun..I tried pulling harder with my left leg and so on..... the last 10 miles were painful and all I was hoping was that when I hopped off the bike, the nerve would release and I could run.  Around mile 90 a girl in my AG passed me....bummer now in 2nd place.
note to self....apply sunscreen in T1 and T2 

As I rolled into T2 I saw John and immediately started crying.... I hopped off my bike and the pain was worse - he was encouraging and suggested I get my run gear on and see how I felt. So i limped into T2 and sat down and had a pep talk- IM is not easy, suck it up, put on your shoes and get out.... so I did and I was limping and jog/walking and he came up along me and I just started sobbing, it was hurting so much. It was pain and emotions all at once..... I just sat down and started rubbing it.   It was awful.... John got me some ice, we found some shade and I knew...there was really no way.  I could have walked the marathon but elected not to.... I let the pity party pass and channeled my energy to Amy, Jen, Beth, Michelle, Nalani and the others racing...soon I had a new mission.  Make sure Amy got her Kona slot, see if Jen could hold onto 2nd place and cheer on my friends....

I will admit I had 2 margaritas and my perspective was much better!!!  with the ice and tequila  I was feeling better and managed to be all over the course.  It was so amazing watching everyone fight so hard, dig so deep and achieve their goals or simply finish a tough day!  I cried for my defeat at first and then the tears were of joy and admiration for the girls racing..... It ended up a great day!!!

I learn from every experience as an athlete and as a coach...I have more to share, more to offer and for that I am thankful.

I am not sure IM Cabo will make it....the split transition and the finish line being even further makes logistics a challenge.  The support was good but the language barrier can be a challenge.  The volunteers were eager but not trained on how to help.  It is NOT an easy race and the heat adds to the toughness.  I miss the Ironman feel..I love the feel in Kona, CdA, Placid and WI...the tows are alive with Ironman. In Cabo it was spring break, tourists and Ironman mixed in.  I like seeing athletes all over and Cabo is simply too big.   Time will tell....
racing with friends is what I love most! 

So now what..I am taking a break from Ironman and structured training.  I will race ITU Oly ( assuming my hamstring allows) and some other local races.  I want to try some new things on me and if they work will integrate them into my coaching... I need some time to swim when and if I want to swim, ride for as short or long as i feel and as easy or as hard as I feel and the run..once my hamstring cooperates I want to run alot of trails with Mako- I have my new Zoot trail shoes and I want to put them to good use...no garmin, no speed no worries. I also am committed to getting my core strong and build strength in other ways.  Vineman is a maybe right now... time will tell!

Thanks to Nytro for being an amazing sponsor....Zoot for the rocking kit, shoes, wetsuit and support!! Betty Designs for making us look so cute! Giro for the dorky really fast aero helmt, Oakley for the shades and PowerBar for the best tasting bars! And to coach KP!!! for all you do and have done for me