Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cozumel HIM race report

So I know I'm supposed to be thankful I finished and had the opportunity to use my whole body to achieve a half ironman but  to be perfectly honest, I'm disappointed.  At my last HIM (6/2011) I had been training for only 6 months and had only been active (i.e. not a couch potato) for a couple years and I remember hurting So Much on the run I couldn't believe it.  With another year of training under my belt, a winter dedicated to the run and personal bests in the runs I've done this year, I really thought I would have a very good run at this HIM.  I have been doing 1:45-1:50 for my 100s in swim and figured at the SLOWEST I'd be at 35 minutes and maybe even faster considering that Cozumel is supposed to be a "fast" swim due to help of currents.  I haven't been swimming all that much but I figured I could, at a minimum, hold 1:50s for each 100.  I've been putting a lot of time in the saddle and average 30-32 kph and figured it wouldn't be a stretch to go under 3 hours but I wasn't sure how the winds on the island would compare to ours.  I had gone 3:01 at Veracruz, however, and figured with another year of training I should be able to best that.  Lastly, I figured with the wardrobe changes I'd done in my last HIM and the fact that I was doing no changes of clothing in this one, I'd shave a TON of time in transition alone.  So I had pretty high hopes for a 6-hour finish.

I felt like I swam pretty hard.  I was breathing every stroke from the start for quite a ways and actually found feet to follow and draft off unlike last time.  I did manage to draft for quite a long ways and kept the same ladies (yellow suit and red suit) around me.  We traded back leading and drafting and I figured we must be doing a good time.  This triathlon started in waves.  We old ladies were in the very first wave (after the pros) and then the old men, then younger men through all the age groups.  I didn't recall getting swarmed with any other caps (but did notice the yellow ones) so I figured we were doing pretty well.  Again, the swim seemed to take forever and I was *done* about half way through until I was thoroughly warmed up and then started feeling good about halfway through the back side of the loop.  I take a LONG time to warm up and since we started so early I had no chance to warm up.  I got out of the water and RAN to transition and got on my bike - just before the mount I noticed another lady in my age group and eventually she got away on the bike. 

I did not remember anyone in my age group passing me on either the bike or run but I couldn't see every calf as many people had compression socks on, obscuring their numbers and AG on their legs.  The bike felt good, I definitely worked it and my goal was to keep the average above 30 kph as that would give me a 3-hour bike and I knew that was definitely do-able from my last HIM in Veracruz.  I felt like I worked hard but didn't exhaust myself.  Likewise, the first loop of the run I felt pretty good, ran the whole way and felt pretty much in control.  I was not having fun though and this was the first race I've done that I wasn't enjoying myself the whole time.  I was dying of thirst.  I had gone through my first two bottles of Perpeteum under 60km and even ate a bag of gummies.  I wasn't hungry but I was going through liquids quickly for, what seemed to me, to be an overcast and not as hot as it could have been day.  Again, I refused to throw my bottles away and instead filled my jersey pockets with empties.  I finally saw the family at the very end of the bike and got rid of those empties just before hitting transition.  They had a hard time getting from the swim start back to town.

I started feeling incredibly tired and hurting feet the 2nd run loop.  It felt like it was taking forever and I finally got to the point where I couldn't even resist walking between aid stations.  I tried negotiating with myself but even on the very last half of the last loop (only some 5km) I couldn't stop myself from walking.  I knew I wasn't going to make a 6-hour time by 15km but thought I could still come in under 6:10.  I had no idea what my transition times were but I figured they HAD to be faster than Vercruz, where I changed clothing.  Unfortunately, transitions were pretty much exactly the same.  In Veracruz, transition was very small and at Cozumel T1 was quite spread out so I guess that made a huge difference.  Afterwards I was more spent and sore than I was after the full IM last November.  I think that was the most disheartening thing.  I expected to have been faster and I was shocked at how wasted I was on the 2nd loop of the run and how totally wasted and hurting I was after the event.  Even my shoulders and arms hurt. 

So now I need to figure out why my expectations and reality were so far apart.  Nutrition was pretty good but I was about ready to hurl during the last 5km so maybe not so much.  Dunno.  Also no breakfast but I just didn't feel like it.  Just really disappointed and wondering what to change now or maybe this was just a Very Bad Race.  Hard to say...

1 comment:

Jody said...

Well, it looks to me like you had a really good race. You got 6th in your age group!! and that is pretty cool in an IM sanctioned event girlie. Maybe your expectations were set too high this time, time wise? Shaving 30 minutes is a lot. I know the feeling on the run when you are absolutely done and have very little left, but you finished it and still placed in the top half of your AG. Perspective. Pull back and look at the whole picture. You may be focusing on your goal time too much.

Could have been a nutrition issue. You needed some gels, banana or something easy to digest. Small intake at timed intervals throughout the course. Set your watch and have it beep when you need to eat. Also, gotta eat before a race or you will crash. I used to get up at 4 a.m. and eat (rice with rice milk and a bit of sugar) then a banana before start. Even a piece of toast and peanut butter around 4-5a.m. would have helped. You know the song and dance. I think real food and real nutrition trumps the sports drinks. You have to take in so much of the liquid and eventually it just sits there and pools in your gut. This year has taught me so much about how the body processes sugar and how to eat and keep blood sugar levels at a nice even level during exercise. It is surprising what a small bite here an there will do during exercise.

Also wondering about the remote possibility that you might have overtrained. You have been sick, so that can screw things up. It isn't so much the increase volume as is the increase in power + volume + sick body that will cause issues. One of the first signs of overtraining is a weird increase in performance (superman complex) followed by repeated illness and stagnant times. (This can be spread out over a long period of time) Keep an eye on this as you move forward to November. Have Jamie watch for the signs and talk to you about them. When it is happening to you, you are clueless until it is too late, but others around you can see it and notice stuff. I know I talk about this adnauseum, but you don't ever want to go down that road if you can avoid it. It is THE WORST thing to go through and is never ending in its reaches.

Now, enjoy the 6th place AG, rest and move on to getting your nutrition down and a great race in November.