Monday, August 21, 2006

Race Report: Degray Lake/CATS Sprint & Half-Ironman

We signed up to do the “double” in Arkadelphia and were really looking forward to the weekend. Justin’s dad was coming down to do his first triathlon, too, so it was going to be a great weekend. As the weekend neared, I was becoming less and less enthused about the weather predictions – over 100 degrees with humidity. As a consolation, I suppose, the race director posted that the half-ironman run would be shortened to 6.1 miles if the heat index exceeded 111 degrees. Luckily (hear the sarcasm fall from my mouth), the heat index was only 107 for Saturday’s race, the half-ironman…

To spare you the details in case you aren’t interested, I DNF’ed. I had a reasonable swim, although I was a little disappointed to not hang onto the lead women (my split was 32:06, and the lead woman’s split was 30:59), but I caught everyone on the bike. I went back and forth changing places (we were the lead women) at least 7-8 times (it seemed like a million times) with Caroline Smith on the bike (she ended up as the first amateur woman for the day). I wasn’t feeling fantastic on the bike…nothing I could really put my finger on, but a general awareness that I was surprised that I wasn’t feeling great was creeping over me. I came in to transition with Caroline right behind me. I dropped my race belt in transition and had to run back to retrieve it, so I left T2 on Caroline’s heels. The run felt awful. I was hot, and my stomach wasn’t feeling well. I took water at the first aid station and caught up to Caroline, and we ran together for a little bit before a chick ran right between us. Caroline said, “Who was that?” and we watched the girl fly past us into the sunset. I was feeling worse and worse and finally let Caroline go – she said a few nice words and took off. The next woman, Kristi Darby, passed me not too much later. At the second aid station which didn’t come an inch too soon, I was walking and trying to cool down as much as I could, taking everything they would give me. As I began running again, cramps set in (from drinking too much freaking water!)…I ran a bit further and then decided to call it a day since I was feeling so badly. It simply wasn’t worth it to me to spend hours in the medical tent afterwards if I was not doing well with the heat. I’m not sure what went wrong, but I may have pushed too hard on the bike, may not have drank enough on the bike, or some combination that also includes that I still need to learn a lot about racing in the heat. I hitched a ride back to transition in time to hear the announcer say to all of the spectators that I had pulled out of the race (talk about feeling like a loser!). Another really competitive girl and amazing runner, Amy Simonetta, also pulled out, and I went over to talk to her. One of the highlights of the day, in fact, as she was a really classy girl – she’s had a nagging injury in her calf, and it kicked in at about mile 7. As we were talking, the announcer reannounced that we both had pulled out, and then I heard the announcer say that Justin was out walking on the course…I guess the announcer wanted to give the spectators an idea of the conditions that everyone was racing in, but it seemed like it just reinforced my feeling of being a drop-out. I spent the rest of the day cheering for Justin and other folks I knew, especially the Tri-OKC contingent that had come to the race. Justin had a good race up until a few miles into the run, and the heat started to take its toll on him. I think that he has decided that his nutrition plan had been completely inadequate. We also agreed that we’d not willingly do a half-ironman in those types of conditions anytime in the near future (maybe never).

That night, I slept like crap. I replayed the race over and over and over in my head. Next time, I better get it figured out because not finishing simply sucks. I am probably too hard on myself. Luckily, I had the sprint race on Sunday to think about, so that took my mind off of Saturday. Sunday’s race was going to be Dave’s (Justin’s dad) first triathlon – we’re so proud of him. He has done several duathlons now, but did not start swimming seriously until just a few months ago, so this was going to be his first experience with an open water, mass-start swim. I was secretly amazed that he did not seem to be fazed by the prospect, at all, and I certainly didn’t want to bring it to his attention that many people are generally freaked out by the potential washing machine action. He had a great race, though, and finished 3rd in his age-group, earning him some hardware! He was racing against 7 other guys in his age-group, so that was a great finish! My race went well. I had a good swim (I think I passed Dave at one of the turn buoys) and was out of the water right behind Caroline Smith. She left T1 a few seconds ahead of me, but I passed her quickly and settled in for a hard ride on the bike. I felt like I was flying and passed a lot of people (the guys had started a few minutes ahead in one big mass start, so I was catching slower swimmers/slower cyclists). The course was flat and fast, and it felt like a time trial for me…I am much more comfortable on these types of courses, but hopefully will be doing a lot of work in the off-season to improve my bike performance on hillier courses. I came into T2 as the first woman, and took off on the run. I was not sure how far back Caroline would be, but after how well she stuck to me on the bike, I half-expected her to be close. She might have been tired or simply not used to hammering in the flats (which is what I had done), but I ended up putting three minutes into her on the bike alone. I had a decent run (it was 3.2 miles apparently), and finished almost five minutes ahead of Caroline, who ended up as the second female overall. I was pretty happy to actually be “only” 7 and 6 minutes behind the two racing monsters in the region (Greg Rouault and Chuck Sloan) – most of the time is due to their amazing runs. Justin had a good race, too, considering that he was tired from the day before. He won his age-group easily and also had a fun time on the bike. Then, we got into the car and raced home to try to beat my sister (who’d been driving from Seattle) to the house…

2006 CATS Half-Ironman Results
2006 Degray Lake Sprint Results


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home