Monday, June 06, 2005

Race Report: Seahorse Tri

It's a statistical certainty that in any race season, one race will be the worst. Yesterday I had my worst race, not just of the season, but worst race ever. Better to get it out of the way early, I guess.

Actually, I accomplished one good thing: I set a targeted time for the 1,500 swim of 30 minutes and I was actually out of the water in about 32 minutes. Even better, I faced down the "OMG, I can't do this, I'm hyperventilating" demons that plagued me last time out. It was a decent swim (for me) and should've set me up for the rest of the race.

But I've been experiencing lower back pains lately when aero on the bike, and it only took about 12 miles for the phantom knife blade to be plunged in. Way in. If I don't find out what's going on soon I've never gonna make it through a half-IM. I'm having my bike re-fitted this week (Karyn thinks I'm too aero,) but any suggestions from you exercise physiologist types out there are much appreciated.

The back pain caused me to slow WAY down on a flat, fast course that I should've really blistered. Oh, and I discovered too late that I hadn't washed my water bottles out after my last ride, 4 days before. The slimy life forms growing in there were not amenable to washing under a concession stand's bathroom faucet. So I drank very sparingly on a hot day. Note to self: stop being a dumbass, you dumbass!

Arriving in T2, I was in some pain, probably dehydrated, and pissed off that my goal of 2:30 was officially WAY out of reach. I walked a third of the run and wasn't helped by the fact that the 2nd water station, which the double out-and-back loop format had me passing 4 times, ran out of cups and stopped dispensing water and/or Gatorade. As I headed out for loop #2 and passed the first water station, I grabbed several empty cups and took 'em with me but by then the damage was done.

My legs felt wobbly, my stomach felt queasy and I never got anything going at all. Crossing the finish line, vertically, in around 3:01 was all I could do. The Tri-Wife, Tri-Inlaws and Intrepid Training Partner were waiting for me (ITP having wisely chosen the sprint-distance race that day.) All remarked that they'd never seen me look so bad at the end of a race. I guess I looked how I felt.

But I didn't quit and I gained some confidence for my next swim and I'm gonna build off those. My target time of 2:30 would've had me winning my age group. Instead I was in 8th place out of 11 racers. Onward and upward.

Official results here. If you care, and you probably shouldn't.


Wil said...

"So I drank very sparingly on a hot day. Note to self: stop being a dumbass, you dumbass!" LOL!!!! Hilarious, creepy crawlies will do it every time.

And you busted that swim! WTG! That time was awesome - it will only get better for Steelhead. Nice job on the race!!!

One more down :)

nancytoby said...

Like I told Wil, every race is just a learning experience for the next one! I seem to find that in just about every race, at some point, I get mightily pissed off. These days I just expect it - and try to use that energy to get myself going a little faster. Sometimes it works, sometimes not! Anyway, great report, solid middle-of-the-pack finish, and on to the next one!!!

nancytoby said...

I wanted to add - let us know when you figure out the back/aero issues! It might be position, flexibility, core strength, who knows? I've read that it takes 600 miles in aero position to get more or less comfortable in it. I've got about 350 to go....

Vertical Man said...

As I said in an e-mail to nancytoby, I'm betting it's an issue with core/leg strength; the pain seems to be coming from the lower back attachment points of what I refer to as the "butt" muscles that are so crucial in biking.

It's definitely not the sort of pain that happens when you have a disc or spine problem. I also think flexibility (or the lack thereof) is an issue.

mipper said...

wtg on this race! you lived up to your nik name even on a bad day. you rock completely!

Jack Jenkins said...

About that back pain; not to state the obvious, but there are a lot people doing bike fits, but not all that many who really understand what they are doing. If you're still having pain after new fit, don't give it too long before you try to find another "fitter," preferably one with a good education in bio-mechanics. We're lucky out here, cuz Bolder Center for Sports Medicine is in our back yard and they are awesome. If you don't find somebody good, it might be worth a call to BCSM [] and ask if they know anyone in your area. Todd Carver or Ann Trombley are awesome bike fitters with backgrounds in bio-mechanics and physical therapy for athletes. Both are avid, expert bike racers themselves (Ann's an Olympic Medalist) and fit lots of triathletes.

Good luck! If I have any personal advice (and it's worth what it costs :)) I'd say sacrifice some aero for comfort, then gradually work down into a more aero position.