Rather than drag one post out, I’m going to break it up into sections and provide a little more detail with each — learnings, interesting tidbits about the course, and the like.
Overall, Barb’s Race was a success. I spent the week with a black cloud hanging over the whole race because I missed my goal time by 2 minutes. Oh, and because my dog died. I appreciate everyone who came to watch me race, everyone who has asked me about it, and everyone who has congratulated me on a job well-done. I am a well-supported athlete!
I have several explanations excuses for missing my goal time. One of them is that I chose to use a porta-potty rather than gut it out (or worse) once I started running. But the bottom line is that my legs weren’t cooperating on the run and my mind wasn’t strong enough to get a compelling message to them.
Triathlon is a mental game. I have known this all along, but it has never been so in-my-face as it was last Saturday afternoon.
The packet pick-up process was a little cumbersome, but maybe that’s because we were there early. The race organizers set up a mandatory orientation meeting for all participants. This lasted roughly 30 minutes and was only marginally helpful. It was probably more helpful for first-time triathletes, but I honestly think it was a tactic to offset having a zillion people in the packet pick-up room at once. This was also ineffective. The meetings ended at 12:30 and packet pick-up didn’t open until 1 PM. Most people didn’t go to the expo to buy stuff, they stood in a long line for 30 minutes and tapped away on their phones…
Once we got back to our house, I went to work getting everything ready for the race. This was uncanny behavior for me. I usually screw around and/or socialize and/or have a glass of wine . But for some reason, I wanted everything done ahead of time while it was fresh in my mind. And thank goodness, given how the night was hijacked! I was so thankful I had done everything with a clear head and knew I had what I needed!
Race number: sticker for bike, sticker for helmet, sticker for T1 transport bag, bib for race belt
Nutrition: see below
Gear: tri top + shorts, HR monitor, timing chip, flip flops, Wet Ones, wetsuit, goggles, Body Glide, ear plugs, swim cap, Timex watch (for overall timekeeping), transition towel, sunscreen, race belt, bike, helmet, sunglasses, socks, cycling shoes, Garmin FR405 (for bike + run splits)
Argus got sick around 6:30 PM and died around 7:30, I think. I’m not really sure what time it all happened; time seemed to stop. We left Monte Rio to take him to an emergency vet clinic in Santa Rosa just as it was getting dark and arrived back at the house around 10 PM. Greg and I mindlessly ate dinner (I was nervous how this would affect my bathroom abilities at 6 AM, but needed to eat) and went to bed. I slept restlessly all night.
I changed my race day nutrition from what I did at Wildflower. I know that using gels (like GU, ClifShot, AccelGel) are effective during a race, but they really upset my stomach. Therefore, I never train with them. I decided to use “real food” nutrition during this race, similar to what I do during my long training sessions.
Pre-race Dinner: Homemade chicken parmesan + whole wheat pasta and sauce + red wine. I ate smaller portions than I would have earlier in the night, given I was eating so late. Some people are real sticklers about drinking booze during training and especially before a race. I’m just not that hard core. I train with wine. I race with wine. (See also: my dog just died.)
Breakfast: Leftover pasta + sauce, Chobani lowfat yogurt cup, 12 oz. low-cal FRS
Pre-swim: 5-Hour Energy shot. This was a race day gamble; I’ve never taken one of these before. It’s mostly B-vitamins and some caffeine and the packaging promises it won’t cause a crash at 5:01. Living on the wild side!
Bike: I brought two hydration bottles, one with plain water and one with full-calorie FRS. I train with this and like it. I purposely used two throw-away bottles in case I needed to swap one out at the on-course water stations. I ended up drinking most of my FRS and about half of my water. For food, I packed one-half PB+banana sandwich and four almond butter-filled dates. These were packed in separate snack-size Ziploc bags and stored in my bento box. I tried eating half of the sandwich around Mile 18, but I struggled to chew it and get it down so ended up throwing it out. I relied on three of the dates (Mile 19, Mile 38, Mile 51) and believe they did the job for me — protein + carbs and easy-ish to eat. They were a little messy getting them out of their baggy, but I think I can rig something better next time.
Run: I brought a handheld water bottle with Nuun with me and this helped tremendously to replace much-needed electrolytes. On the course, I took water at almost every station on the way out and none on the way back (first lap). On the second lap, I drank two cups of full-calorie Coke and loved it. This was a pleasant surprise. I also had a couple of cups of ice. I was having some GI issues, so the only thing I ate was peach slice someone gave me at the turnaround point. It was delicious.
Post-race: I was surprisingly hungry after the race — something that never happens because my stomach is usually so upset. I had none of that this time!! They had good food at the finish line. The pasta salad would have been inedibly salty had I not just finished a race, but it was pretty good because I was salt-deprived. I ate a few bites of grilled chicken breast and four pieces of fresh melon. I snagged cookies for my cheering section. Cocktails followed a few hours later.
Click here for Part 2 (where I actually talk about the race)! Thanks for reading!