I knew on Wednesday morning I wasn't feeling right. I had a headache that I thought was related to coming back from Mexico to the dry air. I tried it all. Sudafed, Steam, Tylenol, Airborne, and sleeping with nose strips. I drank water like it was going out of style. Shane & I were both sleeping about 9-10hours from Tues-Thursday nights but each day I woke up feeling worse... but not quite sick.
My lungs were good, legs rested... but things didn't feel right. Thursday after some short bike intervals I went to the pool for my last swim workout before the race. Coach had me doing a ton of 50s, with the last set of 8 of them @90%. My times were close to my warmup times, but not the effort.
The drive up to Show Low Shane & I both were quietly sitting in misery. I think we were both afraid to say anything in fear of freaking the other one out. Once we got to our rental cabin there was no hiding it. It was 5pm and we were TOAST. DONE. Ready for bed. We both had body aches all over and just very uncomfortable We made a nice meal & watched a little bit of a movie and were in bed before 9pm.
And the rest of the night was awful. I actually fell right asleep....but was woken up by my exterminator (aka) Shane smacking the shit out of "YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW." Which means - a big effing spider... And, if you know anything about me, you know I am deathly afraid of those nasty things. So, of course I made him describe it to me anyway and thus any thought of sleeping was OVER.
I am pretty sure I looked at my clock every hour. I was hot, then cold, sweaty then cold again. Even the dogs were crazy restless and pacing. Shane finally left the room at about 2am to try to get some peace in the other bedroom.
Things didn't get better with the 4:30am "wake-up" call. Which really means, just give up on trying to get any sleep. Shane had a flat tire. He quickly changed the tire only to realize he had another bad tube. Plan B - I drove Shane down to the race start to try to get someone to help.... Then I returned to get my gear ready, feed the dogs & ride my bike to transition. I really wanted to get there before Shane started, worried his bike was even rideable. The first mile I was riding I was queasy. I had chills and was sweating. BUT, my legs felt good. I made it into transition, racked my bike & headed down to see if I could catch Shane. I heard his bike was fixed so he must have gone off with his wave. Pheww....
I got all my stuff ready trying not to thing about how I felt & went to watch the 1/2 iron swimmers come out. Shane came out in a pretty good time, despite how he felt - but you could tell by the look on his face he was not well..... Of course his lovely wife yelled "suck it up buttercup." Good thing he loves me :-)
Finally it was my swim start. I was sweating like mad in my wetsuit and still nauseous. I started a little further back than normal hoping I could just catch a draft. Surprisingly the cool water actually calmed my stomach. I felt so much better. I tried to push it at first but my stomach was not happy with that so I just cruised along. I could see the front pack of girls (pink caps) out in front but I was pretty lonely until the first and second buoys when I caught a lot of the men. I figured I must be doing ok if I was with that many boys and they took off 4 mins ahead so I just cruised in. I didn't run up to transition, used the wetsuit strippers (for an OLYMPIC - GO TRISPORTS!!) downed some gatorade (also something I never do but figured I needed all the help I could get).
As I mounted my bike a volunteer yelled out to me that I was the 12th female. I just giggled. Little effort, feeling like A-hole and I pulled THAT out. I think the elevation really got to a lot of people in the swim and I seemed ok with it. I cruised along at a good pace, but every time I tried to pick it up I felt sick... I passed a total of 5 girls, which put me into 7th place and couldn't help but get excited. But, then some hills started and the same thing with pushing it and making me feel sick so I had to hold back. I got passed by a couple of girls, then I think passed one more but any of them could have been from the half iron group we had just met up with.
I lost my waterbottle about 10miles from the finish so had to do a gel with out any liquids and wasn't able to take any salt pills. I really felt my weakness on the last climb and few miles into t-1 but figured I would give the run at least a try.
A quick T-2 and I walked to the water station to down some water & gatorade. I slowly started off on the trail along the lake. I felt like I was CRAWLING. My garmin was reading 8:30s-9:30s but every time I tried to move my feet faster I got dizzy. I started seeing stars, and dry heaving while running. I looked at my watch and had only gone 3/4 of a mile. I just couldn't go on. It wasn't worth making myself anymore sick. I stopped in the shade for a couple mins then started to walk back. I volunteer gave me a chair to sit in and some water until I felt a little better then I slowly walked the last .5mile back to transition.
I know it was the smart thing to do, but of course I am sitting here wondering if I could have held my place in the race. Deep down I'm pretty sure I could have finished it - but it would have been walking and dehydrating myself even more.
It is without a doubt I will be back at this race next year. The LaPans (Shane also DNFd about 1/3 into his bike ride for the same reasons) have some unfinished business in Show Low.