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Friday, July 27, 2012

Overcoming Obstacles

Sunday, July 22 I completed my 4th 1/2 Ironman Distance event at the Chisago Lakes triathlon...1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.  Each race is filled with new experiences and challenges...this race was no exception!!

I woke up mentally focused and ready to have a great race and have fun!!  I had my race bag already loaded and decided to put air in my tires before leaving the hotel.  The rear tire inflated like a champ, but the front tire was not cooperating...obstacle #1.  I decided to hold off on doing anything more with it until I got down to the race site hoping there would be bike support who would be more knowledgable regarding the Presta valve stems in my race wheels.

After loading up our gear and bikes, we headed down to the race site.  We had to park about a 1/4 mile from the race site location, so we wanted to make sure we had everything we needed for the day with us.  We got into transition, I set up my transition area and then took my bike to the bike support area.  The bike support crew said I would have to completely deflate my front wheel and then inflate it again to get the pressure up to about 105 pounds.  With only 2 hours before the race, this is not a good idea.  They did say that I had enough pressure in the tube and should have no problems with it on the bike leg during the race.  I then went to get my body marking before heading back into transition with my bike.  As I was returning to transition, I was stung by a wasp on my right ankle...obstacle #2.  OUCH!!!  Off to the med tent I went.  Med support asked if I was allergic...I have NO idea...I've never been stung by a wasp before. They cleaned it up and sent me on my way.  I have been stung by many mosquitoes and a bee a time or two, but the pain that comes with a wasp sting lingers for days!!

I had plenty of time before the start of the race, so I decided to take my bike for a spin to make sure everything was working properly and to know which gear I should be upon leaving transition after the swim.  My cadence sensor was not working on my computer...obstacle #3...back to bike support I went.  This time, they were unable to help me...Oh well...I've gone without cadence before and I'll do it again.  I put my bike back in transition and did one last check over my transition area before heading down to the swim start.  OH CRAP...I forgot the water for my bike bottle in the car...obstacle #4.  Easy husband and I were sipping on water bottles, so I used both of them to fill my water bottle on the bike.

I gathered up my wetsuit, goggles and swim cap and headed down to the beach.  After struggling with my wetsuit to get into it (the air temperature was too warm to be struggling to get into neoprene, but the water temperature was suitable for struggle continued), I conducted a prerace swim, which felt really good.  At this point, the nerves started to build...what is going on?!?!?!?  I haven't had nerves before a race in quite a while..."YOU ARE STRONG!!  YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT RACE!!  YOU WILL HAVE FUN!!"  I repeated this over and over to myself...mental fortitude and motivation!!

As the horn blew for our wave to enter the water, there were a lot of people around it is going to be that type of in the water...I can play this game!!  I felt like I swam really well despite a little trouble siting on the way back into the beach.  Overall my swim was strong and I finished the swim in 43:33.  Not my best, but I'll take it!!

When I got to my bike, I had a pretty fluid transition from the swim to the onto the open road!! cadence sensor is working...I don't have to go without cadence after all!!  I knew it was going to be a hot day and proper hydration and electrolyte intake would be key, so I immediately took my salt tablets...obstacle #5...stomach cramps.  UGH!!  I should have taken in some nutrition first and not taken my salt tablets on an empty stomach...I am NOT going to let this get me down!!  "YOU ARE STRONG!!  YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT RACE!!  YOU WILL HAVE FUN!!"  Once the stomach cramps hit, I started to drink more water to dilute those salt tablets in my stomach.  I would need this with the hot weather conditions we were experiencing.  As I approached mile 20 on the bike, I had nearly consumed all of my water and was looking forward to replenishing my water at the first water station just ahead...obstacle #6...they were out of water.  YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!  "YOU ARE STRONG!!  YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT RACE!!  YOU WILL HAVE FUN!!"  Problem solving mode...there were many water bottles that had been thrown on the side of the road with some water still in them...yes other athletes have drank off of them, but it is water and there is no way I can ride 36 more miles in this heat (did I mention it was a hot day...ambient air temperature was 92 degrees Fahrenheit and full sun) without water.  So I stopped on the side of the road and refilled my water bottle with a few of the partially full water bottles.  I kept moving forward and was having fun!!  I continued to drink my water since there would be another water stop at mile 32.  On the way to this second water station there were a couple of really fun descents, which also made for some rather challenging ascents...part of the fun of cycling are both the ups and downs :)  As I approached the second water station, I heard the volunteers stating that they were out of water...obstacle #7.  UNBELIEVABLE!!  I was nowhere near the back of the pack, so this was very poor planning on the part of the event director!!  I again stopped on the side of the road and refilled my water bottle using some of the water bottles that were partially full and had been thrown by previous athletes.  I was shocked to see that more people were not taking advantage of this and were completely passing by the water altogether.  "YOU ARE STRONG!!  YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT RACE!!  YOU WILL HAVE FUN!!"  I pushed on and got back to transition in 3:22:29, which I was pretty happy with.  

After a rather quick transition (2:07) I went out on the run.  I felt really strong off the bike and knew that I would do what it took to continue to have a great race.  At about mile 5 I started to feel the effects of chaffing...EVERYWHERE I had clothing...obstacle #8.  I was chaffing in places that one should NOT chaff!!  That burning sensation was rather uncomfortable, so I decided to try a run/walk method...the burning sensation was present whether I was running or walking, but with the heat and full sun, I decided to continue with this method.  I was feeling really good...other than the chaffing.  "YOU ARE STRONG!!  YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT RACE!!  YOU WILL HAVE FUN!!"

The clock time was from the start of the event.  I was in wave 4, so there was an 8 minute delay between the clock and my timing chip.

I came across the finish line in 6:32:44, which was a 3 minute personal record (PR)!!  I was VERY PROUD and HAPPY with my MENTAL TOUGHNESS and RACE EXECUTION for the day...the PR was just icing on the cake!!

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