Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Quassy: Race Report

Quassy. Oh, what a weekend.

Last year I suffered pretty bad on the run and I went into this race with a plan to have a much better run.
All my training and planning with Coach has been about nailing this run.

I woke on race day feeling a quiet confidence and feeling very well prepared. I am a lot leaner and stronger this year and I was ready to show that run course a little revenge.

In the days leading up to the race, the weather was predicting HOT temps and I knew this would not be good for me. The weather here in Maine has basically been 40* and rain for the last two months. Knowing how the heat effects me and how much I sweat, Coach and I had a pretty solid nutrition plan in place. Early on we chatted about using salt tabs this year (I'd never used them before).

On Friday, the weather was predicting mid 90's for Sunday and I was getting a little nervous. We got into CT on Friday and it was HOT HOT HOT.

Saturday was HOT HOT HOT but the weather reports were changing to 80's and winds for Sunday, race day for the half.

Ok, I can deal with wind and I was pretty happy to see the temps drop to the 80's, even though that is a 40* variance from what I have had...

Race morning I was a quiet calm with a dose of good nervous and knew that the only thing I could control was me and my reaction to whatever the day handed me. I was ready to swim bike and run. I was excited for my first tri of the season and psyched to be hanging with my Rev3 peeps. My team mates wife, Ashley, said a nice little prayer with me before heading to the swim start. I really needed that at the moment and it helped to bring me a feeling of calm peace.

Happy: Photo Credit Charlie Abrahams

I spent a lot of time race morning with my team mate Kelly (whom I adore) and her presence really kept me calm and focused. We reviewed our plans for the day and swam a bit. It was go time.

The Calm before the Swim 
Photo Credit Charlie Abrahams

The swim was pretty uneventful this year. I was in a pack right away and it was just bodies over bodies, kicking, chaos. I swam hard to get away from the mess and the first turn buoy came pretty quick (but dang! it looked so far off from the shore!). Once you turn, you are swimming into the sun and you cannot even see the buoys so I just found some feet and followed. Steady effort...then it was another group of us all together. I really can't stand all the melee so I got away from this pack and found clean water...put my head down and just went. Steady effort...
Next turn buoy and it was homeward bound. It was an OK swim and certainly did not think it was my fastest swim ever...the effort was comfortable and I know I went longer because of my quest for clean water but the plan was steady effort and I gave steady effort. Out of the water in 36:04 and a lot faster than I thought (I did not see any time results until Monday).

and time for some fun on the bike. Let's go have some fun.

Ahh, the bike. I've ridden this course three times and I know exactly what to expect out there. The plan was to pull back a bit on the riding and set myself up for a great run. Keep the hydration and nutrition plan on point. Keep cool...I had nothing to prove to myself here. I know I can ride this course and it was a matter of checking my ego at the door and riding smart....
and I Nailed it.
Dare I say that this bike was EASY? Because it was. I floated up the hills and hammered the flats. My heart rate was controlled and I felt amazing. I am so much stronger this year and enjoyed this course so much. I really had a blast out there and I just LOVE this bike course!!

What goes up must come down, right?

I was thinking to myself out there how I love climbing and hills don't scare me and I love it but I'm kind of conservative on the descents. It also felt like there was waaay more downhill this year (even though it was the same exact course). I hit 45 mph on one descent and slowed it down, I know there are some sharp turns and you cannot really hammer on some of them.
I was thinking to myself that I would get more comfortable with a fast descents.
Then I saw my team mate on the side of the road with an ambulance and my heart broke for her. I had no idea what her condition was or what happened. Right then and there, reality hit me. It's dangerous and a couple seconds gained on the downhill is not worth the risk to me.
Sure enough, another descent with huge CAUTION signs and volunteers shouting "SHARP TURN! SLOW DOWN" on the side of the road and two guys had crashed.
It was heating up and I could tell I was getting HOT> kept the fluids flowing and kept myself cool with water over my head and down my back.

The bike was done and it was time to run!

happy and heading out to run-high fives from Lola! 

Right out of transition I saw Lola and got my obligatory HIGH FIVE from my girl.

And another high five from Dutch

Running felt good. I was hot already but the legs were moving. I was ticking off the first few miles at 8:30's --the HR was a little high but I kept going.
After several miles, the wheels started to wobble. It would be several miles before they came off.
I broke out in goosebumps. Chills. It was weird. I was HOT but cold.
Then I noticed that my hands were really puffy. My fingers were swollen. Really swollen.
I slowed the pace a bit and then I saw my team mate, Ryan, sitting at the aid station. He has just been shut down by the heat--literally. Passed out and blacked out. NOT GOOD.
Ryan said that I was likely suffering from the heat and told me to take it easy.
I dumped some water on me and walked for a bit. The HR was not coming down and I was starting to feel strange. Dizzy. Kept walking. Arms started to tingle a bit...hands felt weird.

About five miles in I seriously considered calling it a day. I was feeling really strange. I bargained with myself to go to the next aid station and evaluate how I felt. I tried to keep to the shaded parts of the course when I could and would jog the downhills when able. I walked with a very nice RWB gentelman named Eric for a few of the miles and he was very kind, concerned.
I would try to cool my head and body with water and hold ice in my hands. Walk, jog when I could.
I then saw my friend Eric (yes, another Eric) who was walking as well. He was having a nutrition/fatigue failure and was struggling.

About 7 miles in was the worst of it. I had been in the sun for a while and I was feeling pretty dizzy and light headed. I stopped on the side of the road, felt like I was spinning a bit and just grabbed the guard rail. Puked a bit and moved along. I saw Kelly out there and she shouted to me to hang tough. I was trying my best to just keep moving forward.

Next thing I knew, I was at mile 10 and ran into Julia. She had been vomiting and having issues so we teamed up and got ourselves through the next few miles as a team. The final bit of this run course is this nasty bugger of a hill and then it's only 1/2 a mile till the finish. We were almost there...

When I came through the shoot, I was looking for Lola and my husband. I wanted to finish with Lola...but I knew that my projected time and my actual time were way off and I was not sure where they would be. I did not see Lola and Julia and I finished together.

There at the finish was Lola and Casey. They had both been very worried about me and knew something was up since I was more than 40 minutes past my projected time.

I said goodbye to my team mates and made my way back to the car for the long drive home. Severe thunder storms were on the way to our route home. After the car was packed and we were on the road, it was time for me to reflect on the day.

I would be lying if I said there were no tears.
I was very disappointed.
This was not the race I trained for...everything about the day was setting me up for the run I wanted. The run I planned for, the run I needed. But the day had other plans for me.

I had a long talk with Coach on the way home and I had a chance to digest the day. I cried. I so, so wanted this today. We went over what we learned and what we are going to do moving forward.

I am stubborn. I realized that I would have likely crawled to the finish line if need be... but I'm not stupid. Had my condition deteriorated, I would have called it a day.

I have never encountered this issue before and I am glad that I did not beat myself up mentally over what did not go as planned. I cannot control the weather, I cannot control my body's response to the heat, but I can control my reaction to it. I kept positive and at the end of the day it was a learning experience.

Monday morning I woke up to rain and 60's. I wanted to drive back to Quassy and do the entire race over again. My team mate Ron even said he'd join me :)

I know if I can get through Sunday, I can battle on another day. And I will...

QUASSY! I will be back in 2014 seeking revenge, yet again!! 

speaking of battles!

I finally got to meet my cyber-buddy, Leslie!!

Congrats to Leslie for the division win!! And more congrats to my run-comrade, Julia who nabbed third!!

Leslie (left) and Julia (right). Not sure who is in the middle.


I woke today and felt the burn. My neck and shoulders are pretty fried even though I doused in sunscreen. I'm pretty sure this added to the overheating yesterday. There is a small part on my head where my hair parted and my scalp is nuclear level fried! At least I had a bit of a base tan on my arms but my scalp? No way...

There are more Rev3 Weekend adventures to share which I will in another post! 

A big, giant, enormous THANK YOU to Rev3, Powerbar, Pearl iZUMi, Quintana Roo, Reynolds, Blueseventy, SBR Sports, Biotta Juices, Compex and Normatec for their support. I am lucky to be able to represent such amazing products!


John Young said...

Awesome post Jen. So glad we got to connect after my race on Saturday. We will surely race the same course someday. Take care!!!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

When we ran our half marathon and I had the heebie-jeebies afterward, (you know, a combination wanting to heave and poop yourself at the same time, all while falling to the floor and hitting your head on something?), when I finally felt better and was walking to the car, I guy said the sun makes you dehydrate. The sun was fierce this weekend. Can't do anything about that. You did the best you could in the situation, but, dang, you were lucky!! Hope you're feeling 100% again!

Dutch said...

Great job on making through an amazingly hot day! Those conditions took their toll on everybody. I even heard the pro's talking about how tough the course is normally but with those conditions thrown in...it killed THEM.

RockStarTri said...

I learned while racing in Arizona that goosebumps= "Danger, Will Robinson." Not specifically because of overheating (but you are) but for me my ability to actually think gets impaired.

Triathletes are hard core and will fight through it. Congrats on a well earned finish.

PS: I shut myself down on a Century Saturday. Thought I was a wimp but in retrospect was probably wise.

B.o.B. said...

Congrats on competing in such tough conditions! You are a badass Jen. For reals.

middleagedrunner said...

Really good job on a brutal day! I was dying and only had to run...

Marnee A said...

I can relate to this post. My first REV3 race in Portland last year was like that. So flippin hot! You did a good job at taking care of yourself on the route as best you could. Glad you were able to finish as well. Take care of yourself!

TriMOEngr said...

Sounds like you powered through on an insanely tough course/day. You are awesome and I know your redemption will come soon enough. Hope the sunburns heal quickly. Ouch!

Carolina John said...

That's a fantastic report! We had unbelievable heat too. it completely drained me about halfway through the bike. You did the best you could through those conditions, and I'm battling the same mental things that you are right now. We should form a support group.

ajh said...

That sounds like one tough day with horrendous conditions. How is your friend that was in the ambulance? You toughed it out where many would have quit.
I loved your initial smiling picture and your high five from your daughter.

Missy said...

Heat is not fun to race in. You were smart in slowing down and racing smart.
Way to stick it out and you get it next time!


head high..
heat is it's own animal and unless you train in it, you really can't prepare

Tara Martine said...

I'm so impressed you finished the race despite the tough conditions! Going from training in 40s & raining to racing in 80+ is crazy! Congrats on finishing and don't let the run get you down - you can't control the weather & you crushed the other two parts of the race, and I know you'll get your revenge on that run course next year!!! Oh, and love that super smiley pic of you :)

Chris said...

Jen, don't get yourself down. It was TOUGH day out there, plus you had zero acclimation to it yet this year. For what it's worth I suffered BADLY on the run this year, my slowest run split ever there, and 7 min slower than last year! Keep you head up. Was great seeing you and catching up.