Sunday, March 28, 2004
Driving down a very.... lumpy freeway with a hastily assembled bike rack is not much fun. You end up learning to drive with one eye on the road, the other locked onto the bike in the rear view mirror. The bike bounces around in it's mounts, each bump in the road a potential catastrophe. You drive slowly, turn gently, and pray you don't lose the bike. Needless to say, you don't do 100 mph.
You do 80, because otherwise you'll miss the start.
I got there with about 10 minutes to start time, jockeyed around for a spot in the transition area - where some people were taking up the space for 3 bikes with all of their stuff laid out on a towel - put up the bike, stripped off my DCUs, and got my numbers sharpied onto exposed skin. I had about 2 minutes to stretch before we were called to the start, which wasn't nearly enough.
I started in the back of the pack and worked my way up, trying to get the iPod going as I ran. It eventually started up, then died again. That was a disappointment. Apparently the iPod and running don't go well together, as this has happened to me several times before.
Around mile 2 I managed to get the Mother of All Cramps. The Accelerade I had sipped on the way down was made a little heavy, and I was feeling it. I had to slow down a bit to work the cramp out with some breathing exercises but made up for it in the last mile of the run.
The bike portion was about 99% road bikes, and the rest mountain bikes and 1 or 2 hybrids. The course was on a road, which gave the road bikes with their eraser-wide tires and aero bars an advantage, but the course also had hills. I dominated the hills on my StumpJumper. Some of the turns were tricky, the knobby tires I was running just didn't corner well at 25 mph which made my turns extra wide no matter how much lean I got into it.
By the time I got to the swim I was running on a lot of adrenaline and endorphins. Walking to the pool wasn't easy, my legs only wanted to pedal more - which doesn't do much for you once you're off the bike. Into the pool feet first and start doing the crawl, I was rocketing along.
For about 50 meters.
After that, my body started to shut down. I went from the crawl in fairly good form to doing the combat swimmer sidestroke. By the midpoint of the second lap I was doing some backstroke, the third and I was doing the breast stroke. I was doing the best I could, switching strokes to use muscles that still worked. With the finish just a few laps away, I was starting to really feel the whole race catch up to me.
When I finally pulled myself out of the water, I almost wanted to get back in.
Throughout the whole race, I never thought about quitting. Days ago, I told myself that DNF (did not finish) wasn't going to be an option. I'd finish if I had to walk the run, portage the bike, doggy paddle the swim. When I cramped up, when I saw strong runners in distress, I thought about walking. I never thought about stopping, never thought about quitting.
I just forgot how to fail.
[ 3/28/2004 11:11:00 PM ] [