So here’s the skinny on White Lake since I’ve gotten lots of texts and messages. It’s awesome of everyone to reach out – thank you so much!
I have felt generally unprepared for this race. Life has just gotten in the way lately and my long distance training just hasn’t been where it needs to be. I’ve been out of town or had reasons I could do a long ride / run it seems like every weekend since March. I’ve managed 10-12 hour training weeks, at best, but that’s just not enough for the distance on my plate.
That said, the weekend went something like this. Arrived in plenty of time Friday night, got packet, everything organized, body marked very reluctantly by Dawn who thought it was “breaking the rules” to self-mark (more about this later), chilled out, in bed at 9pm. Out cold in 5 minutes, slept pretty good after the party in the RV next door shut down.
Slept too good. Learned the hard way that iPhone alarms don’t work if your phone is off. Forgot my phone charger so I just turned my phone off, with the alarm set, to be sure I had enough battery in my phone for the alarm. I’ve had a Blackberry for years prior which will turn on, despite being powered off, when your alarm is scheduled . Clearly not the iPhone. Lesson learned the very hard way. 😦
So I awoke on race morning to “Kim, it’s 6:30” – when in fact, it was 6:32 when I looked at my phone. My wave start was 7am. O. M. G. With a couple “F”s mixed in. Second lesson learned, have your sister set a backup alarm.
I was up, brushed my teeth, put on my kit, ate 2 bites of Dawn’s left over pizza, took a gel, and were out the door in ~8 minutes. Our RV was about 1.5 miles from the race site, so we hopped on our bikes and I got my “warm up” for the race in (a.k.a a 1.5 mile all out time trial). My transition was set up in ~2-3 minutes, thankfully I was body marked (I said a big “I told you so” in my head to Dawn that we had “broken the rules the night before and did it ourselves”) and I went to grab my chip down by the water.
“#12 please” I say to the chip people. “We ain’t go no #12 they replied” – in those exact words. “You doin’ a relay?” Um, you’ve got to be kidding me at this point. I’m about ~5 minutes from my wave start, no breakfast, not one second to “gather myself” and mentally prepare for the day ahead, and now, no chip. Lord have mercy. Thankfully, saint-of-a-sister to the rescue, as always. She was in the building getting a new chip assigned within 2 minutes and I was on my way to the water. I got to the water just as the National Anthem was wailing “aaaaand the rockeeeets reeed glaaaare” which gave me just about 2 minutes to get my act together. And boy did I have to go potty. (TMI, sorry).
Potty break wasn’t on the agenda, so I just went on with my race. Gun goes off.
Swim: 36:08 / 22nd/172 / 1:42 per 100
One of my best half IM swims! Actual swim time when I hit the ladder was 35:22 but I slipped coming up on some goop (and almost busted my tooth, which would have fit right in with how the rest of the day went) but overall pleased with this swim. Previous fastest 70.3 swim was 36:48 (excluding Augusta, which doesn’t count) so getting faster. Very, very slowly. Did I say very?
Transition was fine. Nothing to report there, but could always be faster.
Bike: 2:37:49 /4th / 21.3 mph
Shitty. Ass. Ride. Nothing else to say about this. First 20 miles or so were golden. Felt great, power was spot on, averaging in the 23 mph range at sustainable watts. By 25 miles in, left leg pain starts creeping in. Wind is picking up. Horrific road surfaces are starting to wear on me. Course is flat, don’t get me wrong, but to my surprise it’s not pancake flat, as proven by my Garmin. A few barely noticeable long very slight uphills, coupled with some nice wind, 80-90 degree weather, and road surfaces that include cracks every 10 feet to make for a nice jostle every 1-2 seconds is enough to make anyone want to quit. Throw in some excruciating left leg pain, and you have my ride at White Lake. By mile 30 I was more than just uncomfortable. I was sitting up, wondering why on earth my leg hurt so bad. I was taking in tons of water because I couldn’t tell if what I was feeling in my leg was pain or cramping. I stopped peddling to “stretch” no less than 50 times. Can’t be good for your bike split – or your mojo. By 50 miles in I was honestly wondering if I would make it back.
I’m one of those people who is very strong in the beginning and an end of a ride/run/swim, etc. I am good when I’m fresh, and I LOVE the idea of the end. The middle is my usually my struggle…usually. By mile 50 at every other half IM I’ve ever done, I’m jazzed, ready to get to running, ready to get to the finish. By mile 50 at White Lake, I was ready to be a spectator. At one point, I saw a sign than said “White Lake – 6” and I thought I might cry. I pulled into transition with cheers from all around. My sister was going nuts, and a few friends/clients were also there cheering strong. The announcer notified we had our 3rd female in off her bike. I chuckled in my own head – I knew how I would feel standing up. I was right – I could hardly move. I was beyond stiff, beyond uncomfortable, and the muscle that runs through your inner thigh was tugging HARD.
I transitioned and headed out to run. I knew deep down I would not make it. I didn’t have it in me.
Run: 1 mile. DNF
I ran about .5 miles before I had to walk. My leg was killing and I just “didn’t have the suffer in me today”. There’s no other way to say it. The minute I walked I knew I would not finish the race. Could I have walked/jogged the next 13.1 miles? Yep. Would it have absolutely sucked, dehydrated the hell out of me in that heat, and perhaps made whatever going on in my leg worse? Yep. So I opted to be smart and call it a day.
Calling it a day and “quitting” is NOT something I take lightly. My Dad has taught us since about 5 years old to “finish what you start” and I’m 100% certain I am the way I am because of that. I hated it at the time, but it’s part of who I am now and I appreciate it. I ran 24 miles at IM Louisville after throwing up for 5 1/2 hours on my bike…cramping, dizzy, with zero calories in my body…just to finish what I started. And I ended up in an ambulance. I don’t like to believe that I am a quitter.
What I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on is two-fold however. First and foremost is why on EARTH my leg hurt so bad. I thought for the entire ride, it was simply because I haven’t ridden my new bike (with a new fit) more than 35 or so miles and haven’t ridden any bike, for that matter, further since March. I have since somewhat revised those thoughts. Maybe.
My buddy Jim pointed out after the race yesterday that my wheel cover (that makes my back wheel a disc) didn’t have the “cover” that goes over the nozzle, which is left open so you can pump your back tire. I tried to get a picture of it below.
Given how windy the ride was, coming from the left side rather often, and how flat the course was, I’m staring to think the constant pressure, over and over on my left leg to compensate for the increased resistance from the air seeping in to the disc (rather than around it, thus making you go faster), may have caused my left leg to just “work its ass off”. The pain I was feeling was 100% muscular in a very odd place that I’ve never had pain before. I have no idea truly what caused my leg to hurt, nor will I ever, and I’m certain it is a compilation of lack of fitness, the course, etc, but I think this might have contributed.
I will honestly admit, there have only ever been 2 other times when I’ve been in such deep dark hell on my bike. One was after a long 6 hour ride in 100+ degree weather totally bonking and having to pull over just to sit down and not pass out. The second, much more prominent, was at Ironman Lousiville in 2010 when I vomited for 80 miles wondering why on EARTH I was so sick, and how on EARTH I was going to run a marathon. That day ended in a DNF, which did not make me feel that great about the outcome of how White Lake.
That said, I think I’ve learned my lesson with pushing my body to the absolute limit (IN Lville). This wasn’t my first half Ironamn, it won’t be my last, it wasn’t going to be any sort of “PR”, there was no Vegas, no Kona, no anything on the line, really. It was a “B” race on my calender and was planned so I could gauge my fitness before Eagleman.
Fitness gauged. Gauge reading – LOW.
DNF’ing at White Lake, in a sick way, is exactly what I needed pre-Eagleman. I’m more excited for the race, now that I have something to prove to myself. My schedule is a bit more manageable over the next 4-5 weeks so my focus can shift a bit more back to my training. I even have a 3-day training camp planned at the beach with the one-and-only Cliff English that will be ideal timing and conditions for Eagleman. I’m excited!
My fire is lit and if your are looking for me for the next 5 weeks, I will be off training somewhere. 🙂