Training for this race started way back in January! Cold swims and bike rides early on, which was very different from last summer's training for Augusta. I had high hopes this time around. I knew what to expect with training. I picked a slightly tougher training plan this go around, since I felt like I need longer bike rides. My swims were longer in distance, and I tried to keep in more running days. I had more events during this training cycle, also. A couple of half marathons, some 5Ks a 15K and some longer organized bike rides, which included my longest ride ever, 70 miles! What I didn't expect from this training cycle, was for my Ankylosing Spondylitis to flair up! I have had this chronic condition for over 7 years. The pain has been managed by low does of anti inflammatory medicine. Well, something happened in March to cause a flair up that left me in extreme pain. I had a hard time sleeping. Every time I tried to swim or run, I got painful spasms across my back. My rib cage just did not want to expand for me to get in a good deep breathe. My doctor put me on a new medication. After a couple of weeks of no relief, he switched me to another medication. It took a good two weeks for me to start feeling any positive benefits of the new stuff. Even then, I was adding advil on top of it to get through some workouts. So my last 2 months of training was painful, when I could do it. I did give up on some training days, and scaled back the intensity of other days. Every once in a while I would have a decent day, which helped to boost my spirits a bit. I had a lot of dark, tearful days, though. I had my last swim in May 7th, about a week before the race. It was tough conditions and I could feel the tug on my mid back during the pull phase of the swim, so I decided to not swim at all the days leading up to the race, to give that area some time to recover.
|Normatec boots. These are awesome!|
|Wendy heads out with the KLR boys.|
Friday morning, after going to the local Walmart (we thought there was no better place, we now know better!) to get some snacks and drinks, we headed to the beach, so Wendy could get in a swim. We met some other KLR peeps there, then they headed in. The surf was rough. A storm would be moving through later in the day. Wendy said it wasn't that bad. It had been worse for us at Siesta the weekend before. Word was going around that the temp had dropped. So with that, and the incoming storm, it was pretty much a given we would be wetsuit legal the next morning. I wasn't very worried about the swim. I felt pretty calm. Knowing I would wear my wetsuit, helped a lot. Later, we drove the bike course. We were happy we did, as we discovered an overpass bridge that is similar to the Ringling bridge. Otherwise, it was mostly an out and bike ride, with little to look at. We met up with Bob and Stephanie for dinner at a pizza place (yummy gluten free options), then headed back to the room to get everything sorted out and rest.
|Transition on race morning.|
|Me, Nina and Wendy, checking out the high and dangerous surf race morning.|
Race Morning: Wendy was up at 4am and I was up 10 minutes later. I had plenty of time to eat half a bagel, drink a cup of coffee and scroll through facebook. It was there, that I started seeing posts about the swim being cancelled. Transition had opened at 4:30am (race start was 6am) and people were posting about the news they were hearing once the got to transition. I kept checking out the official race page, where they had said they would post the water temp by 4:30, but nothing. So, just before 5am, we decided to leave our wetsuits in the condo, and head over the pedestrian bridge, to the transition area. As we crossed the bridge, we heard the announcer call out over the loud speaker, that the swim had been cancelled. The race would have a later start, to give the volunteers and race setup crew, time to get the bike course finished. We went to our bikes, left our gear, then walked over to the beach, to check out the condition. Yep, the water looked very rough. The rip currents were very bad. It would have been very tough to fight the waves and current, in order to swim out almost half a mile! We found Nina and some other Sarasota people, chatted with them a while, before heading back into transition. The bike ride would start with the lowest bib number, and the next cyclists would roll out every 4 seconds. I went to my bike, got my gear set up, added some lube to my bike chain, then sat around for a while. After one more porta potty stop, I was ready to get this thing started. I didn't feel nervous at all, just ready to go. I was #501, so it took a while to get to my row in the coral, but soon we were all lined up and walking over to the start. I got up to the line and then pushed off, clipping in and not falling! :)
|Just after coming down the overpass.|
|The bike course.|
Transition: Not a great transition time! But, I needed to use the porta potty. Since my bike rack was in the middle of the huge area. I placed my bike against the porta potty as I came into transition, tried to get in and out of there fast, before heading to my spot. I guess I should have hustled a bit more, but I was feeling the lack of nutrition on the bike and I was very hot. I racked my bike, took off my helmet and gloves, then pulled on my shoes, belt (with bib) and visor, then headed out. Time: 5:16.
|Heading out on my first loop of the run.|
Finish time: 5:42:19
So, not the race I had really wanted, but, I did take off 6 minutes on my bike from Augusta. Added 6 minutes to the run though. :( I really enjoyed seeing the other KLR athletes on the course. All of them were supportive. I've got a lot of things to work on over the summer before Augusta in September!
|My "jump" at the finish.|
|Wendy and I in the KLR tent. We did it! Again! :)|