Monday, July 20, 2009

Race Report: Not so Bad, Considering...

This Race Report is subtitled: Not so Bad, considering I crashed my bike and had a flat tire.

But, to leave you in suspense (haha) we'll do Mr. Darcy's 1st ever Triathlon race report first. I have not obtained permission to disclose times, so I'll just give you an overview.

Mr. Darcy's 1st Triathlon
When I saw Mr. Darcy at the finish, I asked how did you like it? And he replied: I hated it and I'm never doing one again. After time has passed a little, he has revised this statement to: I didn't enjoy it but I might do one again if I train for it. (He did little preparatory training for this one.)

Mr. Darcy says that he has a new found appreciation for what I do as a triathlete and why I train like I do. He said I was amazing and that I'm crazy for wanting to do the 70.3 which is 4x what he did Saturday, which made me laugh.

The swim: Mr. Darcy swam for about 30 yards and then did the backstroke for the rest of the 400 m. Safe to say he was not the first man out of the water that morning.

The bike: Mr. Darcy said he enjoyed the bike but that he was not fast and I quote "passed 3 people: 1 woman who was very short and looked like that was why she was having a hard time on the bike, 1 man on a beach cruiser, and 1 man on a fat tire hybrid like me."

The run: to quote Mr. Darcy, "I don't know why anyone would ever say they like to run."

But the girls and I had a great time cheering him down to the finish line and give him hugs afterwards. I must say I'm very proud of Mr. Darcy who didn't train for this event (other than about 3 runs and 3 bike rides and 1 trip to the pool) but still was able to pull things together to finish. When we got home, he slept most of the afternoon and then let my friend Anna and I go to a movie while he put the girls down to bed. (We saw "Public Enemies" - very good movie. Great acting!)

TriMommy's Race Report

Now for my race report. Overall my time was 3:36:55.05. So I didn't make my A or B goals, but I came rather close to the B goal... and the fact that I had a bike crash I think is justification for such a situation. I still consider it quite a successful race, which is somewhat ironic because my ultimate nightmare came true - I was dead last out of EVERYBODY. So here's what happened.

I woke up with that awful on edge feeling. The feeling I get when something not so good is going to happen to someone I know - either me or someone else. When I get this feeling, I am 99% right about something happening. I just am not psychic enough to know what "it" is. I even questioned if I should go to the race and then told myself I was silly, but spent the entire ride saying the rosary and hoping that no one would get hurt and that I would still be around for my children at the end of the race. To say I was nervous and jittery was an understatement. I could barely eat my breakfast it was that bad.... but somehow I kept it down. When I got to the race I found out my coach had a migraine and couldn't race and that another team member had a blood infection and wasn't allowed to race either. I thought, that must have been what I knew and had me nervous. Little did I know.

Swim (0.93 miles, 31:09.167)
A good swim, but not the best of my life. I still have troubles with swimming in the pack. This time I got kicked in the eye (thank God for goggles) toward the start which gave me some pause for the swim. But then I got into my rhythm right as I rounded the 3rd buoy in the first lap of the lake, and it seemed to go better. I still hate not being able to see at all in the water at Moss Park, but I didn't panic this time which is an improvement. I also need to work on sighting when I'm in a throng of swimmers... I end up doing the breast stroke instead of my normal way of sighting and I'm certain this makes me a little slower. Overall, I was relatively happy with the time but think I could have gone faster.

T0 (run from the water to the transition area, 2:29.737)
I was discombobulated when I got out of the water and ran through the sand instead of my plan to get to the pine needles as fast as possible. Oh well. I got there and was hitting a good running stride once I got to the asphalt in the parking lot.

T1 (2:10.665)
Definitely needed to be faster, and even felt slow in the transition area. I had a terrible time with my socks which decided to get stuck on my toes twice before I could get them on. Life goes on.

Bike (with crash and terribly long tire change after the crash, 1:40:39.84)
Normally I would be horrified at my time. In reality, I'm thrilled with it. I was having a great ride during the first loop. The slowest I saw on my bike computer was 16.1 mph and I was hitting 18 mph at times. For me, this is a good ride. And then, I'm on the last loop before the 2nd lap. I'm doing great. Going 18 mph and only been passed by 2 people (who were not in my age group anyway). And then. It's really hard to peddle the bike all of a sudden and I look at my bike computer and see the mph dropping like mad while I'm peddling the heck out of my legs and it dawns on me - I have a flat tire. But I'm coming up on a turn and there are people who are now coming up on me because I'm slowing down because of the flat. I decided I would make the turn and pull over since it would be too dangerous to just stop right there.

I should have stopped. I took the corner pedaling, hit gravel and the bike (and I) hit the pavement and skidded about 3 feet. Doesn't sound far but it's far enough to sustain shoulder to just past the forearm road rash, a road rash like bruise under my arm and on my side (it was under my tri-top), a skinned and bruised knee, a 4 inch road rash down the side of my right leg, a bruise and road rash that is about 3 inches in diameter (and circular) on the outside of my upper right leg, a bruise on my butt, and bruises and cuts on the inside of my left leg where the bike pedal cut me as I fell. I let out a scream that I didn't realize was coming from me as I skidded and my 1st thought was "this was what was going to happen" and my 2nd thought was "pick your head up so your face doesn't get mangled. " Not pretty. It looks like my bike only got scraped up on the right side handle bars - the tape got ripped up and the bar underneath has some grooves etched into it. (I'll know more today. I took her to the bike shop right after I left the race.) The rest of the cyclists were able to avoid me so no one else went down. At first my right foot felt really wierd like I might have broken it and then it was fine and I was able to walk on it. So I got up and looked at my bike.

And yes, my tire was flat. Luckily, I crashed at the turn right before the end of the 1st loop - right in front of a race official and a police officer. Police officer Curtis was awesome. He came over to see if I was okay and when he saw that my hands were shaking like mad as I tried to change my tire and I couldn't get anywhere because my mind was shaking too, he took my tire and tried to change it for me. He's not in the habit of changing bike tires so after a minute of my calming down we did the change together... and the race official, other than joking that we were not the pit crew at the Daytona 500, didn't penalize me. I introduced myself to both of them and thanked them for their help even though we weren't finished with the tire change. They were awesome. At one point when we were having so much trouble I said "maybe I should just call it a day." Police Officer Curtis told me "don't quit. You were doing great. You can do it." The race official shouted over "Kate, don't quit. You can do this."

And so, after all was finally right with the tire and we got the chain to get back on to the gears with the derailleur, I decided to finish. I was last and I didn't care. Ok, I cared a little, but I realized that it was out of my control that I was last. It was what it was, and I was going to finish. Yes, I got beat by the guy who was morbidly obese but was out there doing it. I cheered him on as I passed him going into the turn around (he was on the 2nd lap already, I was finishing my first because I just got back on the bike), and he shouted back "I feel like dying." I told him he was doing great and that he could finish. I hope he did.

The course officials tried to wave me into transition and I told them I had another lap. They looked at me like are you sure? So I told them I had crashed, and they said "ok. Go again." So I turned around and kept going. I was slower because I hurt, but I still was at the slowest 15.7 mph and the highest around 18.0. But I got it done. Unfortunately, toward the end something in my ribs seized up and I couldn't tell if it was my ribs themselves or some sort of cramp because it was in my rib cage not under it.... I'd never had that before.

T2 (3:46.806 - much too slow, but understandable in the circumstances)
So I asked if there was a medic tent when I dismounted, and cried. I wasn't crying because of the pain but because I didn't want to DNF. I didn't want to stop. I hated being last.

When I got into transition, people were packing up their stuff to go home. Luckily for me, Josie C. (my friend Ryan's wife, who was watching and who I think is awesome) and 2 guys in my row were there packing up their stuff. Josie came in and asked me what I needed and talked me through it all. She told me I could do it. The guys realized that I was the one who crashed (remember, pretty much everyone passed me on either their 1st or 2nd lap while I was crashed and trying to deal with my bike) and told me that if I had been able to finish the bike, I could do the run. And I believed them and said, "quitting is not an option and if worse comes to worse and I have to stop, I can stop on the run."

Run (5.6 miles, 1:16:39.596 - slow, but understandable in the circumstances)
So off I went. I hobbled a few feet and then walked a bit. I got some water and drank it down. Threw my bike gloves that I forgot to take off to Josie and her boys for safe keeping, and wandered past. Then I decided to try to run and I did a little. Slowly of course. I caught up to my friend Ryan who was on his 2nd lap. So I ran some with him and walked some when the muscle in my leg would cease up on me from the crash, and then ran some more. I lost him at one point when he was approaching the finish, but my leg was too ceased up right then to run to catch up.

I got to the start of the 2nd loop and the race officials tried to send me down the shoot. I told them I had a 2nd lap. They said "WHAT?" And at that point with my leg in pain and my goals for the day shot to heck, I said "I crashed my bike and had a flat tire, and I'm gonna finish this damn race. What do you want from me?" At which point the guy suggested I try to run a little, and I told him I would once my muscle in my leg stopped ceasing up. Hello? I crashed my bike and was covered in dirt and road rash on one side of my body. You can't see that? And you want to give me a hard time because I'm LAST? As I passed the opening to the finish line I heard over the PA "in about 3 minutes we're going to do the awards ceremony." So I put my HR monitor up to the front so it would show me the time and I had been out there just under 3 hours. There was hope for at least more than my E goal and I decided I was going to do my best to come close to my B goal if I could.

Not long after that I got a cup of water from the last station and the ladies there (including some racers) cheered me on and I heard one say to the other, "that woman crashed her bike. I can't believe she's still out here. That's awesome." I wish I knew her name and address so I could send her a thank you note. I needed to hear that right then, and a few minutes later when my leg relaxed again, I ran. I ran 3/4 of the last 2.8 miles. I had to walk some because my leg muscle kept ceasing up, but the one thing I realized during it all was that other than being in pain from the fall and from sweat stinging my open wounds I felt good. My lungs felt good. My left leg felt good, and if I hadn't had such a problem with the crash and the pain afterward, I would have been able to run way more than I was - if not all of it.

As I was coming up on the 2 mile marker for the 2nd lap, a very nice guy named Rick came running up and asked me if I was Kate. I said yes, and he said Brandi (a team mate of mine) sent him out to look for me because she was worried about me. She had seen me crash and then heard that I was determined to finish. He ran and walked with me and chatted and was wonderful. I teased him and called him my sherpa because he took my gu arm band that was falling off and my camelback which was pretty much empty. Brandi found us and asked if I wanted to run it in. I told her I wanted to run it when we hit the turn for the finish but I needed to walk some because my leg was ceased up. When we hit the turn for the finish they ran with me the whole way and there were race officials cheering me on. (I had chatted with some of them along my way and they all knew I had crashed but was wanting to finish.) Z, the guy in charge of the race, was cheering me on because they told him about me and he gave me a high 5. Josie, Ryan and their kids were there cheering for me. I love each and everyone of those people who helped me finish with their belief that I could do it. They rock!

So I finished. Last. And it wasn't so bad being last after all. I'm scraped up and bruised. My muscles in my right leg and my right arm are sore and stiff in spots, and certain places on my left leg are bruised and sore too. But I feel good. I could have quit. I almost quit. But I didn't. I believed in myself (with the help of some friends) and I finished.

The irony? Only 2 other Athena category women finished the race. So by finishing, I took 3rd place in my race category. I got a call last night from Z, who told me that they fixed the error in the listing (they had all my times listed but said I DNF'd... it made me cry and I sent a somewhat strongly worded email about it because I was a bit upset. I wasn't rude but it was kind of bordering on it, which I apologized for when I talked to Z.) They're mailing my 3rd place plaque to me today. He told me I did the right thing in finishing because never giving up is the most important thing, and I needed to hang my plaque somewhere that all could see. Normally, I'd be upset about the fact that I only got hardware because I just finished. But not today.

Today, I'm happy. I got my first piece of hardware in a race. I crashed my bike and felt pain, and was last, but I finished. And not only did I finish, but I finished with a PR. 3:36:55.05 to be exact. I also finished with the knowledge that I could have been even faster if I hadn't crashed. So maybe, just maybe, sometimes being last is OK.


  1. I'm so sorry that I'm late to reading this RR. Kate... AMAZING stuff! Simply inspiring! Way to go... really! 99.5% of other athletes would have thrown in the towel if this had happened to them at an Oly or Sprint... heck, I'm nearly positive that I would have. You are now making me think twice about EVER doing that. Amazing stuff! You are the rockstar of the MONTH!!!!

  2. unbelievable, inspirational ... don't really have much more to say ... well done for hanging in there, fantastic example for the rest of us

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