HITS Sprint Grand Junction…race report

I can’t believe that it’s already been three weeks since race day!  The transition from Spring to Summer has been pretty crazy for my family.  My father has retired, the kids (my younger siblings) are doing VBS and summer camp, and my hours at work have finally come up a bit (as high as they’re going to thanks to Obamacare).  I am ashamed to day that i haven’t logged a single triathlon-training workout since race day because a. exhaustion, b. twisted ankle, c. crazy life, d. HEAT.  I did finally do a pilates workout yesterday, and think that i will soon renew my gym membership, but i’ve been regrouping and considering what my next race (if any) will be.

But first my race results.  My goal was to complete the race, certainly, but more than that to finish it with a faster time than in my first race.  I did finish the race, but with a time that was not as good as my last race.  So i have mixed feelings about this race overall.

This was a small race, in its first year at this venue.  I came in 85th place…the last triathlete to finish with a time of: 2:54:05 overall.  I know there were people who started the race but were unable to finish but i have no idea how many and if anyone was disqualified for slow times.  There was one woman that was doing better than me on the bike (i was following her most of the ride out) but her bike broke down before the turnaround.  There was also someone i passed on the ride that passed me in the last half mile of the run.  I was the first and only registered Athena to complete the race but took so long that i missed the awards ceremony and only received a finished medal (which is actually a first for me).  I was passed by 2-3 Olympic distance runners in the last mile of the race.  Overall my times and places per segment are as follows:

Swim   00:28:59.607    78    3.86 min/100m
T1         00:05:59.610
Bike     01:09:10.014    81    avg. 10.8 mph
T2        00:02:42.300
Run     01:07:14.014    84    21:37 mi.

Okay, to start out with…i had a great swim.  I am a slow swimmer that was averaging a 4min/100yd throughout most of my training, so i surpassed that.  I didn’t put my face in/swim the crawl as much as i wanted to because the water was choppier than i expected, even when i was way behind the rest of the pack.  I had a hard time not swallowing water most of the swim even doing the breaststroke, any time i started to swim the crawl i would get a mouth full of water or my heartrate would go up too high.  It was a cold swim and a lot of people were going off course.  I was the only woman not in a wetsuit but didn’t feel too cold except for my hands and feet.  Last race i was in the middle of the pack, so that was odd, but i just focused on my breathing, keeping an even stroke, and totally did awesome on this leg even if i did barely meet the cutoff.

hitsbikeThe ride went almost as well as i could have hoped.  I was aiming for an hour but actually expected it to take me between an hour and fifteen to an hour and a half.  So i was happy with that and felt strong until mile 10 or 11 where my energy kind of bonked.  I had a package of bloks and some water and felt better after that, but i know that i still need to work harder on this leg.  The trouble is that i really don’t enjoy it as much.

The run is what i’m really unhappy about.  I know i’m not fast, but i generally run about a 16:00-19:00 mile depending on the day and distance.  Just before we got in the water we were informed that the run course had been changed from one that was mostly flat to one that was all hills.  I knew at that point that my run was probably going to be bad even though i’ve always had some hills in my runs.  The hills on the East side of Highline Lake are just insane, i climbed two of them twice on the bike last time around (and was understandably so much happier with this ride course, which was on the South side of the lake and had more reasonable hills).  What i didn’t anticipate was that i just could not keep my breathing under control on the run at all.  I’ve suspected for a couple of years now that i have Exercise-Induced Asthma, but this is the worst it has ever been.  Last race it was worse than i had hoped but i still managed 8:00 run 2:00 walk intervals.  This time i was forced into 1:00 run 2:00 walk intervals.  It was extremely demoralizing.  I kept trying, but like clockwork my breathing and heartrate would get away from me after 1 minute.  I was able to walk at a good pace, but was verging on anger because i was so frustrated about my body just not working right.  Furthermore the hills were so steep that if i tried to run down them i risked falling flat on my face.

So it seems that i need to worry about my asthma in the future while running if nothing else.  It usually only got bad after prolonged mountain biking but i think that it is worse than it used to be while road cycling now.  In addition i am not 100% sure that i didn’t contract mono from one of my students at the end of the semester.  I probably shouldn’t have even attempted this race and i’m relieved that i didn’t sign up for the Highline Hustle (which occurred two days ago) because i simply was not recovered enough to keep training or compete in another race.  I can see now that there is no possible way that i can complete an Olympic distance this year.  So after careful consideration i think that i am going to keep training, see what i can do about my asthma, and hopefully complete another race in October…which might mean a wetsuit unfortunately.

My condition after the race wasn’t so hot.  I was nauseous, wheezy, and it hurt to carry my transition bag and push my bike at the same time.  But i got the car loaded up (my mom loaded the bike in the trailer, i’m so grateful that i didn’t have to lift it) and hung out with my mom and aunt who were doing the Open distance.  They had an even smaller playing field than i did and did a lot better than they expected.  They’re planning to compete in a mud/obstacle run later in the year so that’s impressive.

Right now i’m still feeling a bit demoralized.  Of course i’m glad that i finished, but the competitor in me isn’t happy.  I want to do better.  I know it’s not realistic for me to beat people who weigh half as much as i do, or even 3/4 as much, but the athlete in me finds that hard to take.  A part of me just wants to quit, my body is already in better shape than it was, i weigh more but fit into most of the clothes i wore after the last race.  But i know i’m not doing as well.  I weigh more, i didn’t meet or beat my old time, so i didn’t meet my goals.  I don’t expect to ever be thin, and maybe never weigh less than 200 ever again, that’s not my goal right now (if ever), but right now it just feels indicative of my entire life, how i keep trying but things don’t ever get better.  They’re better than they were while i was still in college in a way, but that’s not saying much.  I still live with my family, i don’t have a post-college career, and however foolish it may be i keep expecting my life to be more than this.  Every time i try to make my life better it doesn’t, in fact it usually gets worse.  I just wish i could figure out what i’m doing wrong, what i’m supposed to try next, because i really don’t know anymore.  But i suppose i’m supposed to just continue being patient.  I’m not good at patience at all, i don’t know how to be patient, it makes no sense to me, and its been over fourteen years now that i’ve been working towards losing weight and waiting for this Dark Night of the Soul to end.  Things haven’t become clearer, they make less sense than ever.  I don’t expect them to ever make sense, not now.  The trouble is that i don’t know how to stop trying, i get stir crazy, and i think that sometimes i make foolish mistakes as a result, but i don’t know how to be anyone else.  I just don’t know.

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