Monday, April 23, 2007

Getting Smarter?

For those of you that know me, or for those who have been reading my blog for a little while - you know that injury has been a big nuisance in my life over the past few years. It has nearly

"Will I ever run again?"

"Why me?"

"This is NOT fair"

"Maybe I was just not meant to do this!"

Well, until now I have always taken those thoughts and used them to power me through pain, and finish.. Whatever the day was. A race, a workout, brick... whatever.

Yesterday, at the Rage in the Sage Triathlon, I finally got a little smart. And, the best part. I feel fantastic about my decision and have no regrets. So, here you are folks, my Race Report...

Saturday afternoon, once we picked up our Race Packets, we headed down to the lake to do our practice swim. I was all prepared to enter the ice cold water with She-Rah's super insulating, super buoyant Zoot Wetsuit....

Only, when I got in the water it was NOTHING like last year. It was actually, quite pleasant. We swam around for about 10-15mins. I practiced drafting on some speedy guy that went by us. I was ready... Only, I was a little HOT. Are you kidding me? I didn't even BRING my sleeveless wetsuit.... Oh well, I thought - Maybe this one will make me faster...

We decided to bag the warmup bike & run. We were pretty tired, hungry, and just wanted a shower.. So we headed to the hotel to check in.

The previous times we've done a Las Vegas Race, we stayed at the Host Hotel, the Hacienda Casino. It's only about 5mins from the race, but the accommodations are less than ideal. You have to walk though the smokey casino to get to your rooms, which even if they are a "non-smoking" still wake up congested from the lingering smoke.

So, this year, we decided to pay a few extra $'s and stay at the Boulder Dam Hotel. It is a cute little OLD hotel in the middle of the Boulder City Town Center. They also have a pretty good restaurant. We were hoping to get a good, QUIET night's sleep...

That was until we discovered there was a PARTY going on in the courtyard, right outside of our rooms.

The front desk said it was just a 16 year old party, shouldn't be too loud, and would shut down about 9:30. No big deal....

Until at 8:30, when we are all ready for some sleep and the DJ, (yes, they had a DJ - BTW, when did turning 16 become such a BIG deal?) started blaring the music so loudly we could of had our own dance party in our rooms.

This is not an exaggeration either. The funny part was (and funny being used lightly as all I wanted to do was SLEEP) the music was stuff I was dancing to in HS & college... some even junior high. We had some....

Ice Ice Baby
Baby Got Back
Return of the MAC

These kids were like 2 when those songs were out. At one point S looked at me and said, "Well, I guess THIS is the new "classic rock."

The party finally shut down about 10:30, after a few phone calls, and a little "threat" that we would be calling the cops at 10:02! I know, a little dramatic, but we were SO tired!

Sunday we woke up & started getting ready. I heard S say, "It's WINDY out there. Really windy." Great, I thought... on those hills, again???

We got down to the transition area about 6am.... "Where are the buoys?"..... "Maybe they are late putting them out." This is NOT a good sign. We got to our slots on the bike racks. The person next to me says, "Yeah! There is no swim, it's cancelled."

My heart sank... I was REALLY looking forward to this...

One of the race directors came up next & said, not to get our wetsuits on, there would be an official announcement shortly.

Apparently the wind tore the buoys that were set off the anchors... We were expected to have wind gusts from 30 to 50 mph. The Park Officials did not feel it was safe to have the swim, so it was being cancelled.

Several people packed up there stuff and left....

I considered it. I was GRUMPY! This threw my whole game face off. I never really feel ready for a race, but this one... I was ready... I was ready to push it, ready to SWIM.

The decided to do a bike/run, and start us in waves of 25 according to our race numbers. That put momo & I in the same wave. We decided to do the "race" together & just treat it as a tempo workout.

Here's the before race picture. From left to right - Heather, Momo, Me, Sara & S. My smile is TOTALLY faked... I was not happy about this whole race thing at the time... Our shirts are cute though, huh?

Next thing we new, they were starting the big waves. Heather & Sara were first off.... Momo & I shortly after. We were taking our sweet old time getting up there. Momo's watch was beeping like mad, I kept telling her to stop & I would take it off auto start. Next thing we new we were at the start & the guy was telling us to "GO!"
Huh? Shoot...guess we better get on our bikes. Momo crossed the timing matt first, then me... I got clipped in and slowly started pedaling UP the hill. But, M was still back trying to get on her bike.... I looked back.. she's STILL there. I don't know what the heck she was doing...

So there I was, balancing on my bike, annoying everyone around me cause I wasn't "racing".... She figured out her watch, or clip...or whatever it was & started heading up the hill.

About 2 or so mins later.... my legs were working, but something in Momo's weren't quite yet. After looking back a few times, I decided to just GO for it. It wasn't my idea race anyway, but I could use a good bike split, so I headed on out the course trying to power up the hills. About 10mins into it I reached Heather. She said, Sara was up ahead, doing really well. I asked her to tell Melisa that I would wait for her in transition to run.

Ahead I went.... The wind was BRUTAL. Fortunately, it was pushing us UP the hills on the way out. I saw Sara right before I reached the first turnaround. I wondered if I could catch up to her. She was maybe a mile ahead of me? Had I not been goofing around the first min or so I would probably be right up with her. I got to the first turnaround and my AVG was 20.5mph. WOW..... Then came the way back. Headwind.

Do you all know what it's like to be going DOWNHILL in your small gears? Holding on so the wind doesn't blow you over.... Man, that is humbling. 11mph downhill.

I started to fill the twinges in my hip flexor. Ugh oh... I noticed the only place I could get power was on the tip of my saddle. Not exactly comfortable. I started to think this whole hip problem had nothing to do with my running Ragnar or blisters, or shoes.... I think my bike fit must still be off from the saddle change.

I decided about halfway into the race, that if the pain continued, I would not do the run. There was on point where you actually pass the transition area on the bike, but still have about 5 miles left, including a mile uphill, 8% grade. I considered ending the ride there, but I was having fun, so I decided to keep going...

The pain moved from my hip flexor/TFL area to the outside of my hip.... Thankfully, I had just made it up the last hill & had a nice decent all the way down....

I finished the bike in about 1:25. That is over 7mins off my last year's time. Including a couple minutes of messing around at the beginning. I don't think I have ever passed so many people on the bike. Particularly not on this course...I was extremely happy with this... and was leaning even more towards not running at this point.

I got in the transition... walked to rack my bike. Slowly put on my shoes & visor. I saw Shane come in next.... I yelled to him that I wasn't sure if I was running yet. I was waiting for Momo.

She came in next... looking a little confused, "like where is my bike?" I started waving to her so she could see me. First words out of her mouth:

"If this is what CDA is like, I am in TROUBLE!" I just laughed.....

I told her I wasn't sure if I should run. I must have been looking for someone to tell me not to. But, no one did. She said she'd do whatever I wanted... She headed into the porta potty & I was still debating. We started off on the trail. Instantly I felt a throb in my hip. It had moved further out to the side. All I could think of at this point was my upcoming 3 hour run this week. That was my important goal. That is what I was focusing on.

It has been 3 and a half years since the New York Marathon. That is the last time I did a LONG run like that.... With that thought in my head. And with the upcoming training for CDA, particularly this week, I made the decision to stop the run, only about 100yards into it.

M' said she would walk with me. I told her no... there really was no point. I didn't NEED to finish this day. The no swim had already thrown off my game face, and I just was not into it. I wanted to stop before I really hurt myself, and be ready for this week's training. She said, ok... I'll do whatever you want. I said, "NO - you go run!" Have fun.. and off she went with her PERFECT running form...

As I walked back to transition, I actually felt a sigh of relief. I didn't care about not getting a medal. I didn't care that I was ending my day right here. I felt like I had finally put my goals in front & made a GOOD choice.

You know, it's funny.... Although it will say DNF next to my name on the results, that is not at all how I see it. I am happy with my decision, and for me.. thing it was one of the best I have made for my self (related to training) in a long time, possibly ever.

I went straight to the massage tent, which happened to be an ART therapy tent. Oooh, I've heard how well this stuff works. I bet THEY can help me.

I got on the table & the therapist began poking around on my hip. He asked what happened. I explained that I had been having hip flexor issues, but on the bike it got a lot worse. I told him I was training for an Ironman and that I decided it was best to not run in pain.

Even though the look on his face said it all, he still said. "Uh, I think you made a very good decision."

The therapist, including second one he called over to assist (was I really that bad?) did a piriformis, glute, hamstring AND IT band release. It was terribly painful, but I instantly felt relief.

I got up from the table, grabbed momo's camera & headed to the finish line to take some pictures!

First came Sara - she was rocking the course, not to mention the time she took off from last year! She placed 2nd in her age group:

Then came Shane (although he was the first time finisher, he started after us, so he wasn't the first in....)

Then Momo.... I yelled at her to pass the guy in front... She gave it what she had. Notice the pink race belt? Since our uniforms are blue, she needed to add a little momo to it :-)

Then, surprising us all, taking a LOT of time off of last years bike AND run was Heather!

So, there you have it. The 2007 Rage in the Sage Race Report from Tri-Dog mom.


momo said...

you totally made the right decision! your hip will thank you this week when i take you up happy valley on a little three hour tour. i'm thinking since it wasn't officially a tri, its not officially a dnf either.

and i am pretty sure there was an expletivie between "in" and "trouble" in my comment, thanks for keeping me clean. :-)

sara said...

I agree with momo... no point in hurting yourself for a race that was all messed up anyway... plus you placed last year, so now you're on to conquer bigger and better things : ). Getting to CDA healthy is definitely the goal here!