September 13, 2011

Harvest Moon HIM Race Report

Or otherwise known as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly....

I was excited to do this race again because it was my first HIM I ever did!  Plus, there were 3 other TriBella teammates doing it, and we were all in the same wave, so I thought it would be pretty fun!
I'm going to do this race report a little different than my other race reports because I just didn't feel like this was an actual "race," but more of a LONG training day for IMAZ.  So, here goes...

The swim:
Time: 41:18 (Not too bad considering it includes a LONG run from the beach, up a hill, into transition)
If someone would have said that the swim would be the best part of my race, I would have laughed uncontrollably!  But, they would have been right.

My husband actually came with me to watch the start, and it was so nice having him there!  I was surprisingly, very calm at the start and was just READY to go!  The funny thing about IM training is that what once seems like a FAR distance, no longer seems so bad.  After doing the 2.4M swim race last week, looking out at the buoys for the 1.2M swim seemed completely doable and I LOVED that feeling!

The start was a little rough, but after awhile I was able to find my own space and just get into a nice groove.

I finished the swim, and saw my husband!  Yay!!  I gave him a kiss and headed towards transition.

Time: 2:58:59 (18.8MPH Avg.)
I hopped on my bike and headed out.  Right away I felt kind of weird, but didn't think much about it.  I got into aero and just made it my goal to ride at a good pace, but not push it too hard.  I didn't want to "race" this because I didn't want to risk having a long recovery and not be able to get my training in for IMAZ.
THE WIND....OH, THE WIND!!!  Mother Nature played a MEAN trick on all of us during the bike.  The course is pretty much in the middle of nowhere on country roads that have absolutely  no cover.  So, when the wind blows, you get blown around, and I got blown around A LOT!  There were times that I actually got out of aero because I wanted to have more control of my bike because I was afraid of crashing.

I got a huge HEADACHE that was pounding pretty much the entire time.  It sucked!  So, with all the focus on the wind, not crashing, and my head, I forgot to hydrate!  I don't know what happened, but I just wasn't paying attention to the time, distance, or anything.  In my mind, I thought I WAS drinking enough, but after the race, I looked at my water bottles and realized I ONLY drank about 48oz. of fluid!  WTF????!!!

I got into transition, felt like a TRUCK had run over me, and took my time getting ready for the run.  I almost thought about stopping, but that's just not in my character, so I kept on going.

The Run:
Time:  2:31:13 (11:33 avg. pace) 
Right when I started running, I knew this was going to be really tough.  My head still really hurt, and I just didn't have any energy at all.
The aid stations were roughly every mile, and THEY SAVED ME!  Normally, I don't even need/have to stop at every aid station, but this was not a normal day.

I decided to do a run/walk strategy where I would walk the aid stations, drink what I could, and run between them.  I thought this would get me through alright, but by mile 3 I realized I had stopped sweating.  My head was fuzzy and I began to think that I may not be able to finish.  It was soooo hot and the sun was beating down on me and I could feel my skin burning.

Then, my entire torso started to tighten and cramp up.  My stomach muscles ached and I felt like I was on the verge of throwing up the ENTIRE time!  IT WAS  HORRIBLE!  So, instead of running between aid stations, I just started walking as fast as I could and running whenever I could.

Finally, I had 1M left.  People were cheering and shouting, "You're almost there!" but I COULD NOT run.  It was so bizarre.  Then, I saw the finish line and started running, but my stomach hurt so bad!  I just wanted it to be OVER, so I pushed through the pain and finally crossed those mats.

My husband took this picture as I came in.  He said he barely recognized me because my "running" form was do different.  Look how tight and scrunched my upper body is...

THEN, the best part....THE SLIP-N-SLIDE!!  It was awesome!  The water was cold and it was just what I needed.  I got out, found my family, and immediately sat down.  I wanted to wait for my teammates to finish, but my family had been there waiting for me a LONG time, so after I felt a little better, I just got my stuff and we headed out.

When I got home, guess what I realized?

I got completely BURNED out there!  I did put sunscreen on before the swim, but obviously, it wasn't enough.  I should have reapplied after the bike to avoid this.  It hurts sooo bad and totally could have been prevented!

All in all, it was a pretty tough day for me.  I'm glad I did it, but there were some pretty low points during that race.  I don't know what happened on the bike with my nutrition.  I KNOW how important it is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, but my head was out of was weird.

So, while I didn't have the best race, I did learn a some very important lessons!
1.  I just CANNOT get behind on my hydration/nutrition because there is no way to make up for it.  I think from this point on I am going to set my Garmin to beep every 10/15min.  That way even if my head gets fuzzy, that beeping will keep me on track.
2.  I learned that I'm a little tougher than I thought I was.  It was a total suck fest on that run, and I was in pain, but I pushed through as best as I could and finished!  I am proud of myself for finishing, even if it did take me a very long time.   :)


Dawn said...

WOW! YOU did great out there...considering heat,
THAT is one wicked burn...and to be able to run that far in sun like that is a true Trooper!
Great race report....
Isn't it neat when our "long distance" becomes training ground for our next (and longer) distance!
Way to go! And congrats on an awesome swim too!!!!

ShutUpandRun said...

Man that sounds brutal. You really pushed through, tho, despite feeling so badly. I think every race is a chance to learn something. Good for you for getting it done!!

I just signed up with Tri Bellas too!

Michelle Simmons said...

Congrats on surviving a super solid training day!!

Jon said...

Oh wow I hope those burns disappear QUICK! Talk about sleeping on your stomach for a week!

Glad that you are reflecting on what went wrong. Hydration is key x1,000,000,000 the longer the race gets. AND! There is a difference between having enough liquid in you vs having the right balance of electrolytes in you. Yeah, you can chug water all day, but if you aren't keeping up with the electrolytes, whats the point?

You still have tons of time to figure this out before IMAZ! Good luck!

Jon said...

Oh! And congrats on another HIM finish!!!

Velma said...

Ouch! It sounds like you learned a lot - that is what is important,

Molly said...

It sounds like you did GREAT to me! You toughed it out in hard conditions (holy fast bike time by the way!) and you finished!

I changed my Garmin for the first time for Sunday's race to beep every 15 min on the bike - it was a good reminder of when to fuel up and saved me having to watch my time and do the math.

Have you tried Scape sunblock? I bought it from Trisports and it's pretty waterproof/sweatproof - I haven't had any burns on long training days/races when using a ton of it first thing on race morning.

Recover well and congratulations!!!

Christi said...

Congratulations on your finish! It sounds like you learned a lot of good things for your big race. I hope you have a good recovery!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on your race, you are a rockstar

Julie said...

I knew something must have gone wrong for you when I "stalked" you and checked your times...So sorry you had such a rough time of it. But I'm certian the lessons will come in handy in AZ.

On a side note it had briefly crossed my mind to try this one next year..not so much now..Besides the hard ride becuase of the fact that I'm so slow and there are so few people I would be out there all on my own during the run I think.

Hugs to you and hope you are feeling all better today!

J. L. said...

Wow, I'm sorry about your race. But so proud of you that you kept going. I just finished my first HIM. That was my goal race for the year. But it seemed like every race leading up to it sucked...but I didn't train for those races. So, yes, I think it's just a really good lesson. Good tip about having your garmin beep. I'd never thought of that. Good luck resting and continuing training.

Jason said...

Way to push through kiddo. When the going gets tough the tough get going and you got going.

Not an easy day but it was a confidence builder and a lesson teacher. You now know there is nothing that you cannot handle and you also know that you need to hydrate and get that nutrition in.

I have my watch set to beep every 15 minutes. I don't need it to tell me I just passed a mile marker as I know that. I need it to inform me that it is time to drink.

My coach wears two watches actually. One for mile readings and the other for beeping and reminding.


Jill said...

Well dangit, I am sorry it didn't go better, but you learned a lot out there and those lessons will save your butt for the IM!! Way to push though and not stop, that takes a lot of character and I am so so sooo proud of you, girl!! Congrats on finishing the race strong. And a slip and slide to finish? FUN!!!


Heather @ The World Through My Eyes said...

Wow, congrats! I just found your blog and I'm exciting to keep reading more about your training. I'm debating between Harvest Moon and Boulder 70.3 next summer for my first EVER HIM. Any thoughts?

Congrats again!!

Betsy said...

I'm moving to denver in a few weeks...I was hoping to be there in time to do Harvest Moon but not this year. Maybe see you at a Tri Bella group ride some time?

Jennifer P said...

Yikes - way to hang on and smart thinking to walk instead of run. Your bike time is great (at least I think so!) Recover and rest!


Looks like a good training race...
HYDRATE was the lesson of the day?
Lack of during the bike probably caused the headaches and lets not forgot about the electrolytes (for IMAZ).

Any time you can cross the finish line its a good day!


Teamarcia said...

Wow tough day put there but I so admire you for pushing through and finishing! That's what counts and you did it! Congrats!

Megan said...

Well, you can take this as a good nutrition learning experience for IMAZ - good work though!

goSonja said...

It wasn't the easiest of days out there on the course for most competitors, but Ironman can do that to you too. The important part is that when the going got tough, you kept going. That's an important thing to learn about yourself. One foot in front of the other when times are tough.

you are strong, and you are preparing for AZ mentally AND physically. 10 more weeks!! you go girl!

Ironman By Thirty said...

Way to push through!

On the bike, one thing I recently discovered that really helps with nutrition is wearing a watch with a timer. I just have a cheap Timex that I set at 15 minutes. Every 15 minutes it beeps at me letting me know it is time for fluids. Every other time it beeps, I eat as well.

And scratch that... haha... I typed up the note and then continued reading and see you had the same idea with your Garmin :)

Yikes on the sunburn! Lots of aloe is in your future.


Wish it had gone better, but I think you did awesome. So excited to follow your IMAZ adventures!

Michael said...

Wow, I can't believe you got through that. I was agonizing with you through every step of that run while reading your recap. That sounds tough! You are one tough chick! Congrats for getting through it. Hope your sunburn is better!

Regina said...

You had a rough day! Way to hang in there, it sounds awful. Well, except for the swim ;). Hope your sunburn is feeling better, those hurt! Way to go, tough lady!

joyRuN said...

I have a whole new appreciation for the HIM distance after swimming the 1.2 then watching the rest of it.

Geez - brutal!

Congratulations on getting through that :)

Anne-Marie said...

I think you did really well, considering everything you were up against! The most important thing right now is to learn so you'll be ready to rock it at IMAZ!

I LOVE the idea of a slip'n'slide at the finish! So fun.

Hope the sunburn is healing!!

Jessica said...

It's funny because I would actually be ecstatic with that swim, bike, and run time! :) Great job moving forward!

Kevin @ HalfTRIing said...

You are REALLY lucky you did not get hurt. Sounds like you had heat exhaustion and that can be really serious. Hope you burn feels better.


Heidi Austin, PT, DPT said...

i hate those races where we learn those kinds of lessons. never fun... especially suffering through the run. i guess what doesn't break you makes you stronger right? hope all is well and you are feeling better since your race.

Caratunk Girl said...

OUCH on that burn!!

You know, the hardest races, the ones we all have and all learn our lessons from are the ones that give us the tools we need to have our best races.

You did awesome, it sounds like it was super tough out there and suffering on the run just is not fun. Congrats on powering through!

Stephanie Anne said...

Glad you stayed safe & managed to finish. I find it difficult to always remember to drink fluids on the bike too. Cant wait to hear about your ironman when you race it!

Andrea said...

Just found your blog - what a great read!

Way to "embrace the suck" at your recent race. Sorry you had such a hard time. Looking forward to reading how you learned and grew stronger from this experience.