Kat’s Double Header Race Report
A tribute to Seth – Whom I want to be like when I grow up : )
Saturday – Pacific Crest HIM
A. 5:15-5:30 finishing time (this is before I found out the bike course stayed at 58 miles vs the 56 mile change the website had listed) – failure – Finished in 5:44:19
B. Achieve course PR – mission accomplished – sub 9 min+
C. Achieve HIM PR – Failure… although this might have been accomplished if the bike course was the traditional 56 miles.
D. Rank in the top 3 AG – mission accomplished, as I placed 2nd. Rock on to the 26 year old that passed me at mile 3, she ran a wicked sub 8 min pace. Great job Alana for coming in 4 mins behind me in her first HIM – you had a very strong race.
Pre race -
I sat next to Moaner on the ride up to Wikiup – just like good old times. I kept quiet through most of the ride and mentally prepared myself.
Swim – Delayed by 30 minutes as the last bus/transportation got lost.
I thoroughly enjoyed the swim. I started front, dead and center and somehow managed to hold on and draft off the front of the pack until we hit the first buoy, which was a nice little bit since there were only 3 buoys. I got dropped after the first buoy, this was all due to my little detour off course! Not sure how that happened. Out of all the tri’s I’ve done I’ve never swam so far off course….I managed to swim way outside of the yellow sighting buoy, WTF!? Finished the swim in a 36:15 – far too long for a 1.2…stupid sun
T1- Very disoriented, much more then normal. Maybe altitude related? 2:03
Bike – The first 10 miles I took my time to find my comfort zone. I passed a few women who recognized me from one of our local tri store Athlete’s Lounge; we exchanged friendly words of encouragement. Within the first few miles I felt my head start to grow hot and swell. I know it wasn’t my helmet as I had raced in it with heat before. I think I was getting an altitude/heat headache. The hot, pressured pain in my head lasted through the duration of the ride, something I could have easily done without. Mile 15-25 or so were a lot of rollers; these were a ton of fun. Somewhere around 26 or 27 the first of the three climbs started. I took each one easy and just spun them out staying in the saddle. There were a few gentlemen that decided the aggressive attacking approach. I reached the crest of each hill at the same time that they did and was able to sustain that energy. The attackers fell behind on the 1st and 2nd climb; I never saw them again. One of the many wasteful time errors I made was stopping at the 2nd water aid station for water in my aero bottle. I should have just grabbed the water and put it in my water cage, instead I opted to stop my bike and allow the volunteer fill my aero bottle. This resulted in a 2:10 delay, eh, oh well. Upon cresting Bachelor I was a little surprised, that was it? Climbing was over? Hot damn, on to the descent. Hehe, descending is my #1 weakness in triathlon, BUT not on race day….as fear is completely eliminated. I managed to sustain 35mph for a good deal going down, this is REALLY good for me. I finished the bike feeling good about my effort and happy to take my helmet off as I felt the heat was going to make my head combust. Final bike time was 3:03:14 – 4+ minutes off of last year, plus I took an additional aid stop, so riding time was 6+ minutes off of last year. Woot! Woot! Avg watts 145 / normalized watts 155
T2 – 2:27 – Woot! Woot! Cut 2 mins off of last year! I saw April as I entered transition. We exchanged a few %^#%^ $@$# words as we fumbled with our transition gear. She ran off with a quick transition and since our goal was to pace each other (different race AGs) I told her I’d catch up to her soon.
Run – The run started off fantastic. I was happy to be off of the bike and my legs felt really great in stride. What didn’t feel great was breathing. I forgot my inhaler at home and the altitude was kicking my asthmatic tail. I couldn’t get air to save my life, this resulted in sticking with a lower then normal run pace. I ended up catching up with April around mile 3ish…I think. We ran together for a while. I really wanted to talk the whole time, as that is my thing when I run but the asthma and altitude prohibited this. Plus I think April might be going deaf as each time I said something she’d reply with “What” then I’d have to find the air to repeat myself. Haha! Kidding girl, well not really : ) Love ya anyway. I ended up running ahead on mile 5 or 6. Another time wasting error was my naps at each aid station. I probably stopped at each one for a 1:30-1:45. I took my time, filled my sports bra up with ice, doused myself with water….which I think at time threw my body into shock, ate a GU and drank some water. 7-8 aid stations of wasting 1:30 or so adds up, I could have easily taken 10 minutes off my run, oh well. I was dehydrated on the run. I didn’t take any additional electrolytes in besides the GU; this was a racing fatale error. The ice from my sports bra helped cool my core and I was able to store ice and suck on it when my mouth got dry. You can only catch up with so much H2o on the run without getting the sloshing effect, so the ice played a nice illusion of hydration without over bloating. I found Jane around mile 7ish with the super soaker, she got me smack dab in the torso, it felt GREAT! Thank you Jane! Mile 8 some lady was on the course yelling out “Go get em girl! You look strong! You’re running tall, leaning forward, nice strong core.” I yelled out “Wow, were did you come from? Thank you!” I ran in to David from the PDX tri club and Riccardo from TNT around mile 9. David tried to talk a bit but again my breathing was so poor nothing could come out. Off he ran as I decided to take another nap at aid station 9. The funny thing was people would pass me as I’d stop and “mingle” at the aid stations but then I’d catch them a minute or two down the road. My pace was decent, my hydration was lacking. Around mile 10 I felt a lightening bolt shoot up my calf. Immediately I thought ‘WTF was that?!’ Hoping it was just a one-time experience I tuned out the throbbing it left behind. ½ a mile later it happens again. Ouch! WTF? It then dawns on me, electrolyte imbalance calf cramping. This continues on approx every ½ mile on the right calf. Right before mile marker 12 the other calf ignites. Boom, Boom, Boom, electrical currents start shooting up my lower legs. This was a first for me, I’ve never ever experienced calf seizing before let alone muscle cramping via electrolyte depletion. The pain stopped me in my stride, it was debilitating. They cramps would force me to walk at which point I started to swallow my pride. I’d start running again only to have another set of fireworks go off, which provoked me to shriek in pain. April, Riccardo and Sue all ran by me asking if I was ok and giving me words of encouragement. All the positive words were very thoughtful but sadly I was at a point that nothing would be able to help me. The last mile I was passed by an obscene amount of people…I ran with my head low in shame. Fortunately for me my lead was far enough to keep my AG position across the finish line. Run time, a dreadful 2:00:20 – Ha! 7 second PR over last years 97+ degree heat.
Finishing time 5:44:19 – 9 min PR over last year.
I went into this race cool, calm and collected. As I reflect I don’t think this is a good way to feel. I made a lot of errors on this race. All errors made were errors that I knew and could have prevented.
A. Swimming off course to Egypt
B. Electrolytes – I could seriously kick myself in the ass for this. I managed Pac Crest at 97+ last year and this year I fricked it up at 88 – blah. I know my sweat rate and should have taken electrolytes on the run; this major error ruined my run.
C. Taking a nap at each and every aid station. Really, WTF was I thinking? Apparently I wasn’t.
Sunday – Pacific Crest OLYMPIC
A. Use the event as RECOVERY only. Take each discipline easy and aim for lactic release – mission accomplished
B. Focus on keeping a positive attitude, not allowing fatigue to bring me down – mission accomplished
C. Have fun! – mission accomplished
Now this “race” I went into with great fear. The night prior I did everything I could to maximize recovery
A. Ice bath with 28lbs of ice – at first this felt sooooo good as I was sooooo hot from racing. Then it was painfully cold! Finished off with a hot jacuzzi soak.
B. Massaged or some might say “beat” my body with the foam roller and stick. Ah yes – I had some nice muscle knots.
C. Horded (literally, time was limited) down recovery food/carb loading nutrients.
D. Took additional aminos, calcium and magnesium.
E. Slept in my badass Zoot compression recovery tights – my hero.
Event morning I work up feeling ok, much better then I had anticipated. My body was tight and just a tad bit sore, I was expecting to feel like I had been thrown up against a wall, so this was a pleasant surprise. I rolled, stretched, ate and off I went to meet Moaner for a ride to Wikiup. Thanks buddy, it was nice having a quiet, peaceful ride to start.
Pre start – Forgot my salt tabs for the bike and left them at T2. You must be kidding me! Super Jane came to the rescue with pickled salt packets. Jane, you know you’re an angel right? Muah!
Swim – Was delayed by 30 minutes due to lost buses/transportation again!
Again I started the swim smack, dab, dead center….why not? As the 10 second count down starts I opt for a quick Hail Mary, may God be with me today. The swim was fantastic. The water was chilly and woke up my sore, tired body. I took it uber easy and my body dance throughout the water. I was sad when it ended, I knew my HR would sky rocket as soon as I got out of the water – 27:51
T1 – Was slooooow which didn’t really matter : ) I hobbled out of the water and slowly jogged over to my bike. Woah, breathe Kat breathe…. I almost tripped over myself getting out of my wetsuit, coordination was not happening. But then again look whom we’re talking about here. Coordination is never really there. I put on my denim skirt, “wife beater” Harley Davidson Choppers tank over my black sports bra, rocked the aero helmet and obnoxious massively big white sunglasses and I was on my way onto the next adventure. 4:33
Bike –The start was challenging. I forgot to set my bike up in the easy gear out of T1, OUCH! Quads screamed, I listened and shifted down. Breathing took awhile to get under control. I finally felt comfortable around mile 6-7. I got lots of comments on my denim skirt and Red Bull cans (empty, purely aesthetics) in my bottle cages. I replied with “Yea, I thought the Red Bull would give my bike wings.” In all honesty I kind-of believed that, tells you how delusional I was at this point. Mile 12-15 was pretty much a steady climb. I came across Thunder Cat around mile 12. We exchanged a few words of encouragement and went about our way. Mile 14 or so my quads started yelling at me. I was spinning up in my smallest gear yet still pushing 190-200 watts, this was not ok with the amount of lactic build up I had stored. I decided to focus on the scenery. Alana once told me that when things get tough to appreciate nature and the beautiful animals. I did so and my attention was drawn to all the butterflies. I first found it to be demoralizing as I realized the butterfly I was following were going up hill fast then I was! I then convinced myself that I could “draft” off of the butterfly. Drafting off of butterflies was not against the rules! Score one for me….another part of my delusion. The butterflies also reminded me of Emily. Thank you Terry. Once I hit the crest we had a fun descent. This was good times! The course was 80% chip seal and by mile 20 I found myself between a rock and hard place again. The road vibrations became pretty painful. Pascal and Julie drive by at this point and scream out words of encouragement. Then I see Pascal hanging out the window with his camera. How could I not smile? They totally hit me at the right time and turned my frown upside down. Right after that I hit new pavement and it was smooth sailing from there on out. Who do I see at mile 25? Just my favorite mentor Darrell. He rides by and encourages me to push it at the end. Damn it Darrell, for you any thing : ). I finished the bike feeling good and strong. 1:32:14 – Avg watts 125 (true recovery!)/ normalized watts 134
T2 – Take 2 – nap time. My-oh-my, I FEARED the run. I feared the calf cramps. Again I took my time. I slowly put on my “racing flats” w/ speed laces, kind of ironic isn’t it? I pulled my hair up in a side pony tail/ to accompany the outfit of course! Threw on a visor, my ridiculous sunglasses, grabbed by zebra print clutch and I was off! 3:48
Run – Joie lent me her inhaler, which I had left at T2. This drastically helped my run. The entire run I could breath! This feeling was amazing. Coming out of T1 I grabbed some ice and poured what I thought was water on myself, turned out to be sticky HEED, more awesomeness. I pretty much took the whole run really easy. I ran with my baby strides and kept my turn over quick. I stopped at each aid station for a minute or two, did the normal routine. Ice down the sports bra, water on my head, drink a little, stretch a little and off I went. I did that little routine at every aid station, this was all about comfort. Along the run I was surprised at how many people were out cheering and spraying the athletes down with water. Yesterday’s race was 15+ degrees hotter, there were only a few people on course cheering and only one person along the 13.1 miles with a super soaker. Around mile 4 my HR started to rise, I’m assuming from the heat since I never really changed my pace. As soon as it would hit 165 I’d walk until it reached 155 and then start running again. Luckily my HR stayed at the lower end and I only made myself walk 3 or 4 times. It was really nice to walk out of choice and not discomfort or pain. It was also a proud moment that I was willing to walk to make sure my “race” stayed in recovery mode. The last 800 meters came up fast and I decided to have some fun and sprint through the finish. I flew and it felt AMAZING! 56:31
I finished in 3:04:57 – 15th out of 50 in my AG….amazes me with all things considered.
Post Recovery – Was done drinking and eating the night away with wonderful friends. Somehow I managed to conserve enough energy to bust out a dance to Salt N Pepa’s - Push It…Ha! Maybe I should consider vodka in my race strategies.
Post race thoughts
I am so blessed to have such amazing supportive friends. Thanks MJ, Joie and LeAnn for being my roommates, you girls are the best. MJ you make the BEST Pina Coladas. “If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain”. LeAnn – Sweet Tea Vodka girl! Joie I have seen so much of you this weekend – literally! ☺ Thank you TNT for everything! Scott, you saved me with my visor at T2 on Saturday. Jane, you saved me with the salt packets and super soaker on both days. Moaner – thanks for sharing a wonderful pre race dinner and riding up to the races on both days. Michelle, thanks for your endless support – I <3 you. Mom, thanks for constant msgs, even through you couldn’t make it to the events you were with my in heart and soul.
Seth – thank you for fueling my fire.
I think fear in racing is important. I didn’t have it in the HIM and in the end was humbled. I had great fear going into the OLY and didn’t allow it to get the best of me. I’m not sure how I want to race anymore. I’m not sure if I want to aim for podium finishes. I found much more gratification racing Sunday….I’m not sure why that is.
I’m not sure if I’m going to keep my IM time goals, I think I may change my goals to an emotional level. It’s something that I need ponder over for the next few weeks.
Anywho, I’ll leave you with two photos…
Pre Race – Saturday – rocking the S’10 Louis Garneau 1 pc Elite TriSuit – LOVED it BTW.
Post Race Sunday – rocking the denim skirt, wife beater “HD Choppers” tank, silly sunglasses and zebra clutch….all raced in : )