Florida Challenge Olympic Triathlon
September 12, 2010
It’s been a few weeks since I raced my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. 2010 has been a great year for me with my weight loss and my health in general. But the Florida Challenge would definitely live up to its name.
I picked this race because it was in my neck of the woods and it was during the right time for me with my training. I gave myself a good year to get into the kind of shape where I could complete the race and not die or pass out.
I planned to complete around 350 hours for the year. This is low for an Olympic and mid range for a Sprint distance season from what I have found on the interwebs.
Two weeks before the race, my family and I went to Washington D.C. to visit the sights and the awesome Smithsonian Museumsdf. The trip was great but on the way back we all caught a serious case of food poisoning. It was horrible. I have never been so sick. Eight hours of constant vomiting and diarrhea. Not fun. I don’t think I ever really recovered from that food poisoning when race day came. I realize now I was dehydrated and sick.
I picked up my packet early so I didn’t need to be there super early for transition. I set up my stuff and went to the swim start. Summers brought the kids with her and bless her she is 5 months pregnant and they weren’t great for her at all. The swim start was delayed because the Half-iron race started first and they needed to move the buoys in from 1.2 miles to the .93 miles. A lot of the spectators were saying that the half-iron swim was long. The best female was at 35 minutes or so. They brought the buoys in but it seemed it was still longer than normal. The swim started, we were to swim in a weird square counter-clockwise. I positioned myself to the far right of the start to stay clear of the fast swimmers. We started and it was alright at first, the water was warm and the visibility wasn’t great but it was a lake so I expected that. I got a little panicky after 5 minutes or so. The swim seemed so slow. I was swimming at my race pace I thought, 2:15 per 100 or so but it took forever to get to the first buoy. I settled in and didn’t really have a problem sighting since the buoys were nice and large. For some reason Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody came into my mind so that helped me get through the swim. Turns out I was like 4 or 5 to last. At the end a black guy in a TYR speed suit passed me doing a breast stroke which was disheartening. The swim took 53:25 or so. Now if do the math that means 3:14 per 100 pace for the 1500 meter swim. I don’t think I can swim that slow freestyle if I tried, maybe breast stroke or back stroke but not that slow. I think the swim was .25 mile long. Which meant the swim the half-iron was long too, I was proud of myself I finished it. The swim always makes me apprehensive before the race.
Transition 1 went fine. Ran in got my bike shoes, helmet, socks on and headed out. 24.85 miles awaited me. A really big hill was immediately after the exit and I was in a big gear so that sucked. Not a great start to the bike. And it would get worse. I had a bagel with peanut butter and oatmeal for breakfast on race day. Pretty soon on the bike I started to burp up the peanut butter and bagel. Not good. I started to drink to try and hydrate, but the drinks were orange Accelerade with Crystal light extra flavoring. I usually do fine with that mixture but that day it was undrinkable. I drank about half a bottle on the bike but couldn’t drink anymore it was too sweet. All I had besides the drinks was GU gels which were gross too. So I was unable to feed or hydrate and my stomach was not cooperating with severe stomach cramps. My head got super heavy and I almost passed out on the bike a couple of times. I got to the last turn around and got a fresh bottle of water. I dumped most of it on my head and it felt so good! That helped, but only temporarily. About five miles from the Transition I started having worse cramps and I knew I needed a porta potty ASAP. Of course none were found on the bike. So I had to settle for a big oak tree off the road. Hopefully no one saw me but I couldn’t help myself, I was very sick. I got back on the bike and tried to make it to the bike finish. The hills of Clermont were no joke. It was 95 degrees and the heat index was 121 degrees. I almost quit on the bike. My head was hard to keep up and I felt nauseous and gross after the side of the road incident. But I made it in. I went to transition and thought about quitting so more. I was really close to calling it a day but I noticed that my heart rate wasn’t skyrocketing or super high. It was high but not so much that I needed to quit. So I decided to coat myself in some more sun screen and head out on the run which would be walk.
For the run/walk, I decided I would walk for at least the first two miles. Maybe for the last four I would feel better. But the first two miles had me contemplating quitting still even after the T1 revelation. But I made it to the first aid station and dunked my head in cold water, drank a little coke, drank a lot of water, and starting taking Endurolytes, which are electrolytes in pill form. Those I think would save my day. I started this routine with each aid station. It got me through. I finished in 5:15 or so dead last for the Olympic distance. In fact on the results they didn’t have my run time so maybe they closed the race and didn’t realize? I don’t care really I finished it and met one of my goals for the year.
Things I learned…
-do more bricks! I don’t think I was ready for the Oly distance switchover from swim to bike and bike to run. I did some bricks but with short bikes after swims or short runs after bikes.
-ride the race course earlier or close to the race course. Clermont is not Florida. Florida is flat and Clermont is NOT! Over 3k of climbing on a 25 mile course, I was not prepared for that.
-food poisoning is serious business and it kicked my butt and altered my race. Don’t know what I could have done with that.
-change my nutrition for Oly or longer races. My nutrition sucked and didn’t help my weakened condition on race day.
But overall I’m happy with it in perspective. It didn’t go my way or anywhere near where I’d hoped. Especially since I hoped to finish in 3:30 or so and I ended up at 5:15.
I didn’t quit and I finished so I’m satisfied. Two weeks later I’m thinking that although I finished I hurt myself more by keeping going. I lost a lot of fitness. My bike and run splits are down, down to what they used to be. I guess I am recovering but man it sucks.
Next year, a half-ironman distance race!