"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Race Report: Barb's Race 1/2 Iron Distance

I am splitting my "Weekend with the girls and meeting blogging buddies" into a separate post since this race report is already entirely too long, but then again so was my race...

**Updated with official times at 10:45 am 8/4**
Mary's Race 2008 (9:22:19 yep, that is a nine)
Picture: My puffy paint race jersey. Classy? No. The reason I finished? Hell yes!

Quick Review of the Barb's Race 1/2 Iron Distance (Women's only)

If you were looking for the flames of Hell this weekend, they were busy heating Windsor, CA.

I am going to start this report by calling for the head of whatever asshole at weatherchannel.com who said that it was going to be 80-81 yesterday.

Ummm, hey buddy, let's try 98! Yep, 98 f-ing degrees! I don't think a 23% error is acceptable in anyone's profession.

Good news was that it only felt like 112, so ....yeah.

Overall: Great race, highly recommend, will do again, but prepare for heat (see above).

  • Raises money for breast cancer research
  • Volunteer force comes year after year and the race runs like a well oiled machine.
  • Beautiful course (clean, calm, relatively warm water. Challenging, but doable bike course. Pretty vineyard and livestock views. Run course has one real hill, but the rest are rollers)
  • Well stoked well supported aid stations on bike and especially run.
  • The community is very kind and supportive of race.
  • No cut offs for bike and run since there is a full iron distance at same time
  • Can be hot!
  • Long stretches of no shade cover on bike and run. Wear sunblock!
  • A stretch of run course (about 1 mile) from high school to first aid station where the running space for two-way traffic is REALLY narrow.
  • Point to point course, two different transition areas. This may be a pro to some, but I am not a fan.
Ok, back to me!

Swim (1.2 miles, 54:29 min.)
Picture: RBR girls, pre-race ham shot

As always, I was worried about the swim. This was my longest and fastest open water swim ever. Yay me! Water temperature was 74. I wore my wetsuit (full suit) I was concerned about being too hot, but I was comfortable for the entire swim.

It was a deep water start (start in the water where you can not touch the ground), which was a first for me as well. It was an out and back. My plan was to keep my face in the water other than brief sighting and breathing pattern of 1 stroke, breathe, 2 strokes, breathe. I find that counting strokes like this helps me calm down and just swim instead of constantly thinking about wanting to be done. It must have worked because I swam it in ~53 minutes (2:30/100 yd) which my fastest race swim. Go me!

When I got out of the swim I was surprised by wetsuit strippers. WAY COOL! It was almost a little disconcerting how quickly they ripped that sucker off, but versus wrestling myself out of the neoprene straight jacket, I thought it was AWESOME!

T1 (8:11, hey I just got over vertigo. Don't judge me!)

I started feeling a little queasy on the swim, but not until the final 500 yards are so. I took my time in T1 (thank you Jane, excellent advice) ate some fig newtons and drank some water. I started to feel better and I was off. My Garmin on my bike was dead when I came out of the water. Rats! I want credit for the race profile I worked hard for it! Picture: Run buddy setting up transition

Bike (56 miles, 4:18:06. Shade break to keep from puking ~3 min)

The bike was absolutely gorgeous and I felt fantastic for 46 miles. Now, I am taking that as a huge win. Really, I was only trained well enough on the bike for a 40 mile ride. I had only one long ride at 56 miles and it didn't go so well. The fact that I was laughing, joking and cheering people on, for 44 miles says that I felt much better than I expected. Chalk Hill wasn't really a laughing, joking moment. It was tough but not impossible. Had it not been 12 billion degrees I would have done it without stopping. I took a shade break about 100 yards from the top (I didn't know I was that close) but I really felt like I might throw up so I took a break. Even though I stopped, I did not walk my bike. I wanted to ride the whole hill and I did. The downhill following it was wonderful.

The last 10 miles were brutal, just plain brutal. No hills, just flat, but I got REALLY hot. I had goosebumps on and off during Chalk Hill Road, but now they were constant. I felt like I was panting even when I was coasting, which I did A LOT at this point. Picture: Random out of place picture to break huge block of text. RBR girls at pre-race meeting.

What I was happiest about on the ride was that for the first time I got my nutrition right. I never got to that dark place where I wanted to throw my bike in a ditch or fell victim to, what I have heard called, Cyclist Tourette's, where I scream obscenities at no one in particular. I ate 4 Fig Newtons (regular, I hate the whole wheat ones), 3 Cliff Shot Blocks, and one Gu in the first 3.5 hours on the ride. I also drank about 2 liters of water. I probably should have drank more, but I used another liter pouring water on myself instead of drinking it to keep from bursting into flames.

T2 (13:41)

When I got into T2 I was hot and cranky. The thought of running 13.1 miles was about as appealing as lighting my hair on fire. I decided to sit in the pitiful shade of one of the trees in transition before heading out on the run. Random observation: Did they plant all of the trees in Windsor last week? Those are the skinniest-ass trees I have ever seen!

Run-ish ( 13.1 mi, 3:47:51. Hey, at least I beat my full marathon time. I wasn't sure I would for a little while out there)

I am actually a little embarrassed to call it a run. I probably only actually ran for about 3-4 miles of the 13.1. After running out of transition, I made it for about a mile before I had to walk. Not a good sign. I ran a marathon 2 months ago. Running is my thing. If I can only make it a mile without walking, I am in trouble for the next 12.1.

Truer words have never been typed. I was seriously in trouble. I took ice, water and coke at the first and second aid stations. I saw my LA run buddy at about 3 miles. She was about 2.5 miles ahead of me and hurting as well. We reluctantly separated and went on our way. After the turnaround I had a brief running stretch of about a mile when there was a long down hill. It was my last continuous run stretch of this length. I was so hot. So, so, so hot. My skin felt like it was on fire. My brain felt like it was on fire. I was heading back in to the transition/finish area and could not imagine heading back out for the last 4.4 mile loop. Mentally, it was very getting dark and thoughts of not being able to finish flooded my brain.

**Cool inspirational moment read this** (I know you are skipping stuff. It is really ok!)
At one point during this dark hour, one of the full iron athletes started walking next to me and asked me who Mary was (from the back of my shirt). I said "She is my friend with breast cancer and why I am doing this race. She died on Wednesday. I have to fucking finish, but I am in trouble." He told me words that turned my run around, "You are moving forward. That is how you finish. You keep moving forward. You will be fine. Mary would be proud."

Yeah, yeah, I cried a little. Big sap. Whatever.

I don't know if it was the coke and ice, iron dude's cute ass as he ran away,... ummm, I mean his inspirational wisdom, but I decided right then I was going to finish no matter what. I had until 11 to finish this fucker and finish it I would, even if I had to walk every last fucking step.

I started cheering and joking around again. I asked the ANGEL (some Windsor resident) at mile 2 that was spraying runners and playing rock music to marry me. I made the photographer retake my picture so I could fake run and gave him a high five as I went past. The volunteers at the aid stations were AMAZING. Let me repeat AMAZING. Fun, friendly, excited, efficient. Just plain AWESOME!

I wasn't running, but I was having fun again. When I came back in to turn around for the final loop I heard "Run Baby Run!" It was Willie!! So exciting! He came out to cheer me on and it was like a shot in the arm I think I ran for about 50 yards that time. Seriously it was WAY cool to see him. I ran off course (shh, don't tell the race officials they make take away my age group award) and gave him a hug then went back out to the surface of the sun to do another 4.4 miles.

I saw LA Run Buddy when I was about 1.5 miles into the second loop and she was about 3 miles into her second loop. She decided to wait for me at the Mile 1 aid station so we could finish together. We had both had a long, tough day and it was very touching that we finished together and is one of the MANY, MANY reasons I love her to death.

I had really wanted to finish in under 8 hours so that I would have made a cut off if there had been one, but when you pretty much walk the entire run that is not going to happen.

I was here to finish. I had to remind myself several times that I was here to finish and I had to get "other people's 1/2 iron distance" times out of my head and run my race. That is what I did and with help of my best friends, my new blogging friends, 1000+ awesome volunteers, citizens of Windsor, and the Barb's race race organizers, I was able to finish my first half iron distance triathlon. Plus I set myself up for a pretty sweet PR on the next 1/2 iron I do.

Thank you all! Your encouragement, inspiration and support are very much appreciated and were instrumental to my finish!

Bloggy friends and heroes coming soon!


JenZen said...

What a GREAT race recap! Loved every minute and yeah...teared up at cute-ass ironthlete's inspiration. Awesome. Way to go girl!!!

Lou said...

CONGRATS! We all knew you could (and would) do it! And, you did it under incredibly rough conditions. I can't wait to read more.

Angela said...

Great job! I'm so proud of you! I know Mary is too. I don't see how you even attempted it in that heat. I mean, those are the temps we have here and I have trouble walking to my car somedays. I have huge trouble trying to run/walk my 4.42 miles. You are still a rockstar!

ShirleyPerly said...

YOU DID IT!!! Fantastic job on the race and race report. I love, LOVE, how you kept finding ways to keep going. That is the key to finishing *anything*. Mary would have been proud and I know for damn sure I am. YOU ROCK!!!

SWTrigal said...

Wow-you did it! Under some unbeliebably tough conditions. I too, saw that weather report. WTF? You made the most of the whole thing and your friend would be proud...

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

WOW! Great report. The heat sounded brutal. Finishing is good no matter if you are running, walking or crawling! You did it!

Jaime said...

You are amazing. Your race report made me cry... oh yea and you are amazing.


Aileen said...

Wow was that an AMAZING post! Congratulations...true bad assery!

Stef0115 said...

WOW. I am crying too. Hell girl you did it!

Huge Congratulations!!! HUGE. Not sure I would have persevered in that heat. But you kept going. Until you were done.

How AWESOME is that. Great pictures too. Amazing race and report you should be proud of yourself for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

Great job out there in the heat!!! I love the shirt :)

You are a tough gal...way to persevere. That's guy's words were inspirational for sure!

Mary's proud ;)

E said...

What an amazing report! Congrats to you - you did it! To do all that in the heat like you did makes you a winner in my mind, and I'm so proud of you!

Lindy said...

Whew! I'm tired just reading that report, girl! CONGRATS to you and your awesome race buddies!

Herself, the GeekGirl said...

I really love your attitude about the whole thing. It sounds like you had a lot of fun, and that's the point! Great job!

Sarah said...

Yup. Tears at work. Check.

Nice job!! I am just so loving this race report and you had me cracking up at points. I love the skinny ass tree comment.

You rock Half Ironman! Mary would be proud!

Jane said...

What happened to my comment?
Half down- whole one to go! It won't be as hot in CdA. Yay! Froggies all around.

Aka Alice said...

Oooohh...HAAAATE running in heat. Am completely impressed at cycling AND running in heat. I bow to you!

Willie said...

Whatever help you through that race doesn't matter. You did it and my God it was HOT. You had such a great attitude at the finish and I was INSPIRED.

In your words, you are a rock-star. Awesome job.

Anonymous said...

Great job! Congratulations on a great race. The temperatures were killer...just walking around in 90degree weather can be fatal and you were doing all this stuff--great job!

Jane said...

Reading this again and more thoroughly. I love the line "and finish it I would, even if I had to walk every last fucking step." Yeah - that's the attitude I like! Seriously, good race. I heard the bike course is pretty hard. and running in the heat makes it 10X harder. Really happy that you finished. I know you were worried. But you've overcome more difficult things than a lil'ol' half iron race!

Steve Stenzel said...

Wow, that "friend" you met on the run really said some great words.

Nice job out there, and I wish you had larger trees to cool yourself under!! Way to go!!

Pharmie said...

Great job under BRUTAL conditions. Mary would most definitely be proud :)

S. Baboo said...

It was nice to meet you at dinner! Way to hang in there under some very tough conditions, it was a real struggle.

Southbaygirl said...

Mary would be so proud! She is VERY proud of you! You ran a tough race in shitty conditions and finished! That's exceptional! Mary's race will probably go down as one of your best for so many reasons!! Way to go!!

Unknown said...

Nice race report. I agree that moving forward is how you get to the finish line. I'll need to remember that myself at the end of September. :)

Formulaic said...

Way to go Girl! It was tough and you did it.

You ran your race and you overcame what I think would shut down a lot of other people.

Just last week you couldn't stand and now your on your feet for 9+ hours.

9+ hours! That is a feat right there. It's easy to stay moving for 5 or 6 hours, but you overcame it all and did 9 hours.

That's like...two metals!

Calyx Meredith said...

I love your race reports!! Anyone would be proud of the effort you put out, but Mary would be overwhelmed I'm sure. You are such an inspiration to me! (Especially now that I know how amazing you look the day after - fully recovered! All you RBR girls! What is your secret?!)

Erin Leigh said...

So he was smart and had a good ass??

You rock chica, seriously!!

Anonymous said...

You are so totally awesome. It was great to meet you. I can't wait until the Pacific Grove triathlon. You definitely inspire me.

Alisa said...

One year later, you're ready for that sweet PR. Mary would be proud!

You are so inspirational, really, you are! I'm really bummed I didn't get to meet up with you in SF.

Meghan said...

Wow, I just discovered this blog as I was searching for Barb's Race reviews. I am a Windsor resident and am planning on doing it this year! You're post is awesome, thank you!