Sunday, June 24, 2007

Race Report (Bet you didn't see that coming!)

Soooo. . . I had a little race today. I didn't not post about it on purpose - I just honestly kept kind of forgetting about it. I viewed it as a hard training day and that's pretty much how it went. The outcome, however was somewhat in question after yesterday's swim. Its funny how in an instant your entire perspective changes - sometimes its in a minor "life event" like a race, sometimes its more major. Thankfully, this time around it was a minor event and a minor glitch. It still managed to occupy my mind for a good 24 hours.

I dutifully awoke at 4:30 yesterday morning to put in some much needed yardage at the pool. It was a beautiful, warm morning and the water felt fabulous after a week away from swimming. I decided to do sets of 300m to begin "peak phase" for my upcoming First Tri Ever. All went well (though much slower than I would like, as usual) until my 9th set. I was pushing of the wall for the last 50m when my calf suddenly knotted up into a ball of fiery pain. I couldn't move my foot and it was all I could do to not holler. I clung to the wall, attempting Lamaze like breathing and trying to massage my calf back to its normal, non-painful self. It just wasn't cooperating. After what seemed like several minutes, it loosened up enough to allow me to swim the last 50m at a snail like pace. I dragged myself out of the water and limped to my car. What the hell?!?!? I was hoping that after a nap and some hydration that it would let up and I could get in my long run as planned. I had already decided that I wouldn't taper for todays race since it was a training exercise and not a PR attempt. It didn't get better and only seemed to stiffen up with rest. I nixed my long run and hoped for the best.

Now, the race is in my home town of Ballwin, the same venue as my upcoming First Tri Ever (three weeks to go!). It also happened to be located along the bike course for my FTE so the plan was to do a brick. As of last night, I was just hoping I'd still be able to do the race.

I got up at 5:00am, ate some breakfast, packed my run bag and loaded it into the car. Hubby was going to meet me at packet pick up at 7:00. My calf felt stiff but seemed to improve as I warmed up. There was nothing left to do but give it a shot. So, I set out on my bike, rode to the race course and hammered out three laps (the race will only be two). I was pretty pleased with my speed - I timed two laps (total 9 miles) at about 32 min. My goal is to do it in 30 but I think with hammering the hills a little harder and airing up my tires (I noticed that my front was a little low going into the second loop) and with the excitement of the race that I can shave those two minutes off. I arrived as scheduled at packet pick up and Hubby was there to meet me. My plan was coming together.

The race went relatively well. I decided to try and start a little easier and save some juice for the end. That didn't really work out - my first mile was 8:08, second 8:48, third 9:37. Yeah, so I went for a positive split. I came in at 26:33. One minute slower than my PR. Again, not so great. My heart rate remained at 180 the entire time. I managed to get it to 184 a couple of times but I couldn't seem to maintain that effort. Everytime I looked for more juice, I just didn't have it. I felt strong throughout, passed a lot of people, encouraged a couple of runners who were struggling, but never felt like I could just "give a little more." I don't know if it was my cycling legs - which I felt in the second mile - or the fact that I gave myself "permission" to not PR or what. It just wasn't happening. However, I did have a fun race. I did race as hard as I felt able at that moment in time. I was able to dig a little in the last stretch before the finish line and that felt good.

And one minute off PR isn't too shabby for a race right after a 16+ mile bike ride that I hammered out. And, considering that my goal for the run in my FTE is under 30 minutes, that time is encouraging.

The worst news is . . .

I got beat by a kid and a guy running in this races' T-shirt. Not. Good. (click on picture to enlarge - that's me huffing it in the background)


Danielle in Iowa said...

Well all my 5k runs after bike rides have all been over two minutes off my 5k PR, so I'd say you're in good shape!

Vickie said...

Don't you just wonder how that happens? I once got passed by "Forest Gump" --a guy in a button down plaid shirt, khakis, and old Addidas, in a 5k when I ran a 21:17! Anyway, nice job. Very nice. You did fantastic after the bike and all. It does get easier getting over the bike legs, and after a few tris, you won't even notice! I think you're onto something here! (Shhh. Don't tell any of those IMs out there! They'll try to win you over to "their" side.)

Bolder said...

my old swim coach 'wolfgang' (before you started reading my blog, finished third in kona one year behind allen and scott) told me that most swim cramping is related to depleted sodium levels...

great results from a training race!

kudos to the kameraman too -- great pics!!

No Wetsuit Girl... overseas! said...

Why so hard on yourself? It sounds like it was a great race, ESPECIALLY after a gnarley bike ride and a nasty calf cramp! You'd be surprised how much biking can take out of your legs, so call it an "off the bike" PR! Remember, in Your First Tri you're not going to be running on fresh legs either, so it's not fair to yourself to compare times with other "fresh legged" races.

21stCenturyMom said...

Oh those darned kids! I hate it when they run so fast.

Great job on the race. I had a calf cramp like that once and I did yell - loudly. OW! OW! OW! and needed the lifeguard to tell me how to fix it (grab your toes and pull them toward your head). And Bold is right - you need more electrolytes. I take a bottle of Hydralyte or Nuun with me now.

Rural Girl said...

I second 21st Century Mom.
What's up with those kids and why do they have to make us look bad!
Great training race.

jeanne said...

damn kids!!! can't they play with their own kind?

good job! I'm so impressed!

I will add to the advice to eat your bananas. low potassium=calf cramps. so i hear. not that i would know.