Saturday, October 11, 2014

Redman 2014 #dying

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Hello my friends! Well, to be honest, I've been avoiding writing this post because the Redman did NOT go well for me.  In fact, it was the worst race of my life. I literally thought #dying during the run. I guess I use twitter too much! However, the reality of triathlon (and of life) is that you won't always PR and sometimes things don't go according to plan.  I believe God gave me this experience to prepare me for the Full Ironman that is now 35 days away!
Team Oklahoma!

The Weather


Unfortunately, the myth is not true that meteorologists can control the weather. I wish! I would have chosen light winds, highs in the low 70s under cloudy skies.  Reality was the opposite!  A few days prior everyone was fretting over a rainy race as we were predicting remnants from "Odile" to bring heavy rain to the Sooner state.  Well, tropical systems are notorious for changing paths and it did, bringing all of the rain to Texas and leaving us with hot, muggy, sunny and windy conditions.  In Oklahoma, triathletes train in all kinds of weather but I think this really caught a few people off guard, including me!

Pre-Race
Team huddle before the race! Scott the yogi is stretching!


My Beyonce is so supportive! It's like
he's doing an Ironman too.
Singing the National Anthem!

The morning of I ate what the nutritionist told me, toast with pb & j and a banana. I drank my usual glass of lemon water and two small cups of coffee. I had the honor of singing the national anthem again this year and it went well!  I zipped up my wetsuit and anxiously waited on the "red carpet" to the swim with my training buddy JoLynn.  All of a sudden I had to go to the bathroom.  JoLynn said it was nerves but I knew I had to go. So I dashed to the bathroom in the nick of time! All I can say is that they were out of toilet paper in the port a potty (TMI alert!) but you do gross things in triathlons. At least I don't pee myself on the bike like coach told the guys on our team to do. Ew!

The Swim

Ummm. Lake Hefner? More like the ATLANTIC OCEAN! I thought that 3 minutes into the swim and couldn't wait to say it at the end. When I did, it wasn't very satisfying.  The winds were strong that morning creating not only whitecaps but SWELLS. Now, I've trained in choppy waters at Lake Arcadia before but never like this.  The swells would sway your body back and forth. It made it very hard to spot the buoys ahead.  Small buoys to the side of me sometimes looked like people's heads. Whenever I would get in a groove and zone-out like I love to do swimming, someone/a wave would splash next to me and I would get a mouth-full of water. It happened three times. The first time was a bit scary and happened early in the swim.  I went to take a breath, inhaled water, sat up to take another breath and inhaled water again! I thought, "Oh my gosh! I'm going to drown in Lake Hefner! No way!".  Thankfully I just kept swimming and coughed in the water to get it out. I consider myself a strong swimmer so I wondered how many rescues there would be with newbies.  From what I hear, no one had to be rescued except two kayaks that flipped over! A few people needed assistance.  So needless to say, the swim took more out of me than usual. Not a good start to the race.



We had quite a bit of running across the beach (due to drought!) to get to transition.  I went to the "strippers" - no, not dollar-bill strippers but volunteers that help strip-off your wetsuit :) I went to our local professional triathlete Dan Tigert and he was busy with another person. I just layed on the ground and yelled "STRIP ME DAN!!!!"...so that could have been easily taken out of context! ha!

Transition 1 went well. I hurried to get on my helmet, sunglasses and run with my bike to the mount line.

The Bike

We had the wind at our backs heading north to Waterloo Road.  I knew riding back would be a little tedious so I tried to take advantage of the tailwind but at the same time conserve a bit of energy.  I ate about 3-4 gummies every 30 minutes and tried to drink as much water and Skratch as much as possible. Later in the ride I tried some gatorade but lukewarm, super sugary yellow gatorade just doesn't settle very well.  I used some water to wash my face after lots of snot rockets (yes, classy, I know) and the water went into my nutrition box on my bike and made all the gummies sticky and goopy (spelling?).  So I used more water to wash my hands because all the sugar made them sticky as well.  Looking back, I should have been drinking all of that water instead of wasting it!


Once we made the turn south, we had a strong headwind.  As I went up the hills on Council Road, I did a few standing climbs and realized how fatigued my legs were getting. This was a bit concerning heading into the run.

THOSE DANG CONES

So, if you read my post last year on the full aquabike, you know about my first crash.  It happened on Council Road due to a construction cone.  One lane of Council Road is blocked off by cones for us and the other lane is for traffic. Occasionally there is a cone in the middle of the lane to (what I assume) stop traffic from turning into our bike lane.  Well, I was by one of my teammates, Mark Walker, and this guy in front of us all of a sudden rides RIGHT INTO THE CONE! He swerved, lost his chain and miraculously didn't fall. I swerved and barely missed the knocked over cone. My heart was RACING for a good 5 minutes after that incident. I think I had PTSD from last year's crash. Naturally, I said aloud (not proud of this), "not the f***ing cones again!!!" I hope that guy is alright.

I stopped at the dam on Lake Hefner to use the port a potty, figuring the transition toilets would be full. I picked up my speed for the last 5 miles to try to make my bike time from two years ago. Looking back, I probably shouldn't have pushed it so much and saved my legs.

Transition 2 went well. I swapped my helmet and glasses for a visor and race belt and switched to running shoes.

The Run (from hell)
Help. Me. #dying

When I started running my legs felt like bricks.  This is a normal feeling in triathlon, that's why we do "brick" workouts where you ride and then run.  However, I could tell something wasn't right and that my legs were especially fatigued. I tried to ignore it and move on.  I started getting into the groove on mile 2 or 3 but by mile 4 I could tell this was not going to be easy. It was partly cloudy and I kept praying for a cloud do cover the sun. It did a few times and made it feel much better with the breeze.
Encouragement from the GMG founder himself - John Whitaker


I was so happy to see my cheering crowd at the Go Mitch Go tent by Louies (mile 1 or so?) and tried to mentally use that as motivation.  However, the heat and humidity started to take over.  I knew my legs could keep going but my body was getting more and more dehydrated by the minute. Once I looped around at mile 5, I hugged my fiance and said I was already hurting.  Later he told me I was felt a bit cool and clammy when I should have been hot. He says (thank you firefighter/EMT fiance) this is the first sign of heat exhaustion. I looped around and told coach I was really having trouble running.  Coach told me, "you only have 5 miles left! Anyone can do 5 miles!". I just kept that in my head and ran about a mile before I started feeling dizzy.  I tried to ignore it and walked for a few minutes.  Then I decided to walk through waterstops and then run to the next one (there is a waterstop every mile).  At mile 9 or so I met up with Scott Hines. He was battling IT band issues and was also run-walking.  We decided we would finish out this race together. We would run a bit and then walk a bit.  When we got to the Go Mitch Go tent the last time, my fiance's parents handed me Okie and I decided to take him with me to the finish line. I really don't know if that is allowed but at this point I knew I had a horrible race time and didn't care about being disqualified.

As we approached the finisher's chute, Scott grabbed his neices and I grabbed Okie and we had a great time crossing the finish line together.  This was Scott Hine's first half Ironman! I am so proud of him.  I met Michael, my fiance, at the finish line for a sweaty hug.  Ali Meyer and her entire family came out to cheer on our finish as well. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such great people!



I am so proud of all of my teammates! A BIG congrats to my training buddy, JoLynn. She won FIRST PLACE in her age group with a sub-6 hour race finish! She is a kick-butt grandma and truly, an inspiration. YOU GO GIRL.

Post-Race


For my last two half Ironman experiences, I went to the medical tent to have my knees iced. This time my knees were fine (woo hoo!) but I felt crappy.  Walking out in the sun was like walking through a desert. My stomach bothered me as well.  It seemed like forever, but Michael helped me pack up my belongings and put Clark Kent (my bike) in the car.  We went to get ice for an ice bath and I started drinking gatorade.  We ate some Johnnies for dinner (one of my fave post-race treats).  Usually I pig out after a race but this time I didn't eat much.  I took a nap and forced myself to wake up to drink more water. I drank a bunch of water and then all of a sudden, I ran to the bathroom and barfed up all of dinner. EEEEWWWWWW. I HATE THROWING UP. This confirmed that something was terribly wrong. I can know this for sure because I've done this race two other times and never felt THIS crappy.  I ended up having to get a bag of fluids put in me. Even after the fluids, I did not have to pee. I was told this meant I was SUPER dehydrated.  The entire next day I felt hungover and I hadn't had a drop of alcohol.

In conclusion: I was screwed before the ride started. I was severely dehydrated and likely had heat exhaustion.  I have since spoken with my nutritionist through Go Mitch Go and she has me taking two salt tabs per hour on the bike. I wish I would have taken a salt tab!  She also suggested that I may have over-hydrated the day before. This was a light bulb! I have always been told before a hot and muggy race to HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE the day before. Well, apparently, if you drink too much water the day before, you flush out your electrolytes.  She told me on race morning that I have to only have 24 ounces of fluid, including my cups of coffee.

The Redman really shook me up.  It shook my confidence and made me a little scared of the Ironman. I think God gave me this experience to make me serious about my nutrition about the Ironman.  I believe my body is physically fit but nutrition is key in a 15-16 hour race!

I just looked at my Redman time a few days ago. I didn't even want to look at it because I was so disappointed with the race. But as coach says, you're not going to PR and do well on every race.  These races make you appreciate the good ones.  I also think this was a serious learning experience.  My time wasn't as bad as I thought. Given the wavy swim I was happy. I think I could have done better on the bike and let's not even talk about the run.  Overall, I was only 15-20 minutes slower than my first year.

Last 35 Days
I eat all of this and salt tabs on the bike. LOTS of eating.


From here on out, I'm not just training. I am practicing for race day.  The next few weeks will be our toughest training. On Thursday, Jolynn and I swam for an hour in Lake Arcadia and then ran for 2.5 hours at Lake Hefner. I sincerely don't understand how someone with a 8-5 job can do this! Last weekend our team rode 90 miles! It was a chilly start too with morning temps in the upper 30s! I'm not used to that yet! We had to wear layers and gloves. Thankfully, Coach took some of our layers along the way as our SAG vehicle.

The nutritionist has me eating about 250-300 calories per hour + 2 salt tabs + 1.5 bottles of water. I eat something every 15 minutes...so I feel like I'm just eating and eating the whole bike ride. Now, don't get me wrong, this girl loves to eat (why do you think I do endurance sports?) but by hour 4, I am sick of eating on the bike. I mean, you burn thousands of calories on a long bike ride so you have to replenish...especially if you are going to run a MARATHON after!

Scott has "junk in the trunk" after shedding layers on the ride!
Since I am still paranoid about getting dehydrated, I drank the full water amount per hour. It's not easy drinking that much water while riding the bike. However, according to Coach, riding in the cold makes you pee more (because you're not sweating as much?).  All I know is that I had to stop and pee two times on the 40 mile ride out and 1 time on the way back.  And when I had layers on the way out, it took me a good five minutes to peel off the layers and then squat in a field. Yet, we do snot rockets and pee in random fields. This is what happens when you're training for an Ironman...no shame.

Anyway, we did it! I'm so proud of Scott Hines for his new milestone of 90 miles.  The most I've ever done was at the aquabike last year with 112 miles.  Next weekend we are supposed to ride 90 miles and then run an hour!!! My legs are still fatigued today so I bet that will be tough.  Wish us luck!
Ain't that the truth!

Thanks so much for reading and remember, we are doing this for a cause - to fight against leukemia and lymphoma. Keep fighting! 

Please donate HERE to help fight leukemia and lymphoma!








3 comments:

  1. Awesome race report, Emily. Keep us posted on your training leading up to the big day.

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  2. I'm totally impressed, especially having experienced heat exhaustion. You ROCK !!!

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  3. Hi Emily,
    I had a similar experience at the Austin sprint tri last Labor Day. I got dizzy, lightheaded and blacked out after the race. Although the it was nothing like the distances you have accomplished, it was still a race that was >2 hrs in the September TX heat. I ended up getting a few bags of IV fluid and a ride to the ER to make sure everything else was functioning properly (ticker was good).
    Looking back, almost all long distance races I've done end with a trip to the med tent with lightheadedness and sometimes nausea, Iv fluids twice, Austin being the scariest experience.
    Anyway, from researching dehydration, etc and reviewing what I did, I figured out that I had over hydrated (I had gotten into the habit of drinking >100 oz water/day. And I ate the wrong thing for breakfast (small yogurt and half a banana..I know I should have consumed carbs and protein--I've run half and full marathons, my tummy was upset out of nervousness and I ate what sounded good). I love it that you explained what your nutritionist recommended. My questions for you are 1. What exactly are you eating (during training, pre race, during race, post)? 2. Who is your nutritionist? Do you have any other advice?

    I'm so impressed with your ironman journey. You are my idol! Good luck with future races!
    Allie Stuart

    alliestu@yahoo.com

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