Monday, July 12, 2010

The Day I Played the Crabby One - Graham Beasley Triathlon Olympic Relay

The Stats

Graham Beasley Triathlon
Carleton Place, ON
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Olympic Triathlon Relay
Two Frogs and a Crabby Broad
Bike leg - 40km
Completed in 1:53:39, including transitions
Average speed on the bike: 22.3 kph
Maximum speed on the bike: 41.9 kph (fastest I ever rode at)
Number of litres of fluids drank before, during and right after the race: 3.0
Rank: 5/5 for Olympic Relay Teams

The tweets

6:00... Cr@p, I’m only getting out of bed and my lower back is already hurting.
6:30... Wow, everybody who’s out at this hour on a Sunday morning seems to be going to the same place. This is neat!
7:15... Here’s Jo-Jo! She seems to be in a really good mood which is quite unusual. I wonder why that is.
8:30... I will never have enough water to last the whole morning. We must go get some.
9.00... I really like hanging out with Jo-Jo. She's such a great person!
9:15... Time to go! I can’t believe we almost missed Cynthia. It's a good thing I know what she looks like when she runs with her wetsuit – I’m glad we didn’t lose too much time in transition.
9:25... Wo, it’s pretty lonely here. I usually follow other cyclists, but there’s no one around this morning. I hope I don’t get lost. I wonder if the road is closed.
9:30... Here come the Sprint people! Here they are gone. Geez, I’m slow.
9:35... I'm so glad I went to get water with Jo-Jo. It loosened up my lower back. I hope I ride far before it starts hurting.
9:40... Rolling hills, huh? I’m not sure I will like that, but if it stays that way, I'll be fine.
9:45... Woah! This stretch of road is rough. I really hope it’s not like that the whole time or I’ll never make it!
9:50... Turn-around point for the Sprint Tri. What a stupid idea it was to do the Olympic. Frick, I’m only 25% done and I’m already suffering from the heat. On the positive side, it’s awesome that I now consider a 20K ride short. It used to be a challenge for me. I’ve come a long way this year!
9:55... What a stupid idea to do a race in July. Seriously, it’s always + stupid in July. The odds are that it will be freaking hot.
10:00... FFS – stupid hill. I hate it.
10:01... OK, don’t look up. Look down and take this hill one stroke at a time.
10:02... Holy geez, I really have to train on hillier terrain. I'm not out of breath and my quads are not on fire, but I'm not used to that kind of rythmn.
10:08... NO WAY. Another freaking hill, even bigger than the one before. The race organizers must have had a good time when they decided to put the turnaround point on top of that stupid hill. I bet they thought it would be funny. Stupid hills. Stupid sun. I want some shade, I’m so hot.
10:10... I hope I don’t pass out. Stupid, stupid hill.
10:12... Turnaround! Woohoo, it’s all downhill from here. Thank God for the cheerful volunteers, they are making me a bit less crabby.
10:20... OK, I hadn’t noticed that I got some downhill on the way out. I must climb those stupid hills again on the way back. Sigh.
10:25... Seriously, this is the last race I do in July. It’s way too hot in July. I’m overheating!
10:30... Aaaaaaaaah, the freshness of water poured over one’s head. I don't care if I looked stupid getting the reservoir out of the camelback so that I could pour some water over myself. I don't care anymore. This being said, I need to consider a new hydration method. This is not convenient.
10:40... OK, I have about half an hour to go. I can do this. I hope I'm not making the math wrong.
11:00... Oooh, a downhill. Let’s see if I can beat my fastest speed ever.
11:01... Oh Oh. What’s that crazy noise coming from my bike?
11:05... I really have to get that rear wheel and brakes checked. I think there is a problem remaining from my bike accident - it's like the wheel is crooked. Yikes.
11:06... Bike accident… shudder.
11:07... Speaking of bike accident, I’m hurting everywhere. Who knew you could hurt so much just from exercising? My wrists are hurting, my shoulder and neck are hurting, my lower back is hurting, my hip is hurting, my quads are hurting and even my feet are hurting!
11:10... Is it ever lonely here? Where is everyone? Am I that slow that they’re all done by now? Stupid race, I’m never doing this again.
11:11... 2K left. I hope the course is not long or I’ll be very angry. You know, like when you train with a personal trainer and they tell you to do 10 reps and when you're done, they ask for 2 more? I hate, hate, hate those tactics.
11:20... Back to T-zone. It’s heaven - the faster I run my bike to the rack, the faster I can jump into the river. Wait, the girls aren’t there. Cr@p! Oh, there they are.. hey I’m here, come on, look at me, I’m coming your way and I’m done. A little enthusiasm, please?
11:21... F?%&%& man, that was so hard. Toughest bike ride ever.
11:30... Aaaaah, life is good again. That river is very refreshing. I could stay in here all day.
11:35... The awesome thing about today is that I properly hydrated. Woohoo! Not every race has to end in dehydration. That was a good learning experience today. Still, I really have a problem with exercising in the sun.
12:00... Aaaaah, sitting in the shade after being in the sun for so long. I hope Jo-Jo takes her time to finish. I’m rather comfortable here
12:20... Here she comes! Woohoo, well done Jo-Jo! Oh my God, she’s still smiling. In typical Jo-Jo fashion, she made a friend out on this lonely course.
12:21... Oh my God, she says she had a good time today. I guess this means I was the crabby one today. Too funny! Ah, how I love those girls! What a great team we make.
12:50... Next year? I wonder if I could ride for 90K?

Foot note

Following the redaction of this race report, I had a discussion with a friend about the negativity in what I had written. She told me I would have had a much better experience if I had thought positive thoughts. I told her that I really did not feel like thinking positive thoughts and that if I had done so, it would have made me even crabbier, because I would have known I was in total denial.

Today, I can think about the race and laugh about how negative I felt when I was out on the course. I think the important thing is not to think positive thoughts no matter what, but to accept those negative thoughts when the going gets tough and let them go as soon as things return to normal. This is one of the lessons I learned from this race: it’s OK to think negative thoughts, just don’t hold on to them for too long.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Canada Day Bushtukah 5K Race

I participated in the 5K event at the Canada Day Bushtukah Running Race this morning. It was a really well organized race on a flat course and it was not crowded - those were the perfect conditions for me to establish my post-injuries 5K baseline. Having been surprised to pull a sub-40 at NCM a few weeks ago, I was wondering what I could do when I was not stuck following a big crowd.

Things didn't start up too well. I got a major IBS flare-up last night following the BBQ we had at work. I may have eaten something or simply eaten too much, and this did not go well with the stress of the race. I could not eat a regular breakfast this morning, which I knew was not a good idea. I only had a granola bar and some water and hoped for the best.

I sent JF off on his 10K race and waited for my race to start, 45 minutes later. It was pretty lonely out there - it seems like I was the only person who was hanging out on her own. I'm really not used to that, because there are usually a bunch of Running Maniacs to hang out with at races. Today, it seemed they were all running the 10K! Eventually, my friend Nancy found me. It was awesome to see her there, because I was really nervous. Nancy is the one who ran with me when I achieved my 5K PB so it was good to see her before the race. :-)

When the race started, everyone was passing me even though I was closer to the back of the pack and I told myself that these people were going out way too fast and that I would catch up to them later. I mean, I was running 6:33/K, it's not as if I was going super slow! It turned out I was wrong - I never caught up to most of these people.

My plan was to run 3:1s, considering I'm up to 4:1s in training. I followed my plan for most of the race and I only took a longer walk break close to 4K when I got a very bad side stitch. I was trotting along, doing my thing and at some point, I turned a corner and the finish line was in sight! My Garmin said I was 36 minutes into the race, so I dug deep and kept running towards the finish line. I saw JF 100m before I crossed the finish line and he was encouraging me to do a final push, but I honestly had nothing left in me for that push, so I just kept going. I crossed the finish line in 37:38, which is my third best official 5K time ever.

I usually have emotional races, where I try to run with joy or to think positive thoughts. At some point, though, I usually crash mentally because I can't keep up with the positive thinking. Today, I ran a "rational" race where I was working towards a quantitative goal (get as close to my PB as possible). Although I didn't feel the joy I usually feel during my races, I didn't crash mentally and I concentrated on getting 'er done. As a result, I enjoyed the present moment more than I have ever done in any race. I wouldn't run, or even race, that way all the time, because I really enjoy the emotional experience I get from running, but it was good to experience a different way of racing today.

I now have a baseline, and a new goal: smash that PB!