Monday, July 18, 2011

Musselman 2011: Walking through Fire.

Well stick a fork in me.  Musselman cooked me up, chewed on me, then spit me out.  Time goals?  What time goals??  I finished.  That’s a victory. Shall we start at the beginning, then?
I'm a BEAST!
Pre Race
Woke up at 3:30, showered, had coffee and pb english muffin.  Feelin’ good!!  Out the door and at the race by 5:15.   Car thermometer= 72 degrees at 5am.  Crap.  Breath deep, Rae.  YOU GOT THIS.
I set up my transition, filled my water bottles, did some stretching, body marked, and said hello to a few friends.,  Pit stop times 2.  Munched on a banana and mini clif bar.  Got unmarried (don’t be shocked, Greg gave me back my rings post race Smile).  Liberally applied sunscreen to my legs, face, arms, ears, and neck (yes, that was important to note) and put on my race kit (again, key), headed out of transition at 6:40.  Wriggled into the wetsuit, said hello to the ‘rents, quick dip in the bathwater lake, then out for the National Anthem.  And IT’S RACE TIME!!

The Swim
My wave went off at 7:20, and at 7:15 we lined up.  The start of the swim is in thigh deep water, which is rough (you can walk to the first buoy essentially), but I was determined to start swimming ASAP.  and BAM-the horn sounded, we were off!  I did a few quick dolphin dives then started swimming.  Apparently, a lot of the women in my wave opted to walk for a bit….let me tell you, there is nothing quite like swimming by many many pairs of legs.  Weird.  Anyways, the water was quite choppy for the first half of the swim, and after swallowing a bit of the lake, I found a decent rhythm among the waves and rode it.  Not fast, but comfortable.   As a stroked through the water, I sighted every 10 breaths or so, and simply enjoyed the beauty of the swim.  The sun was shining, the water was perfect, what a gorgeous day.   I thanked the man upstairs for allowing me to do these races, because it is such a privilege.  And I also knew that the race can turn on you at any time, so I wanted to savor the happy quality while it was there Smile  Into the canal..a few feet here and there, some nasty smellies, and before I knew it, the dock was in sight.  Out of the water in 40:26, into T2 at 41:10.  Goal Time: 42:00.  10 minutes off my 2008 swim time.  SWEET!!!
T1:  2:19.  Not badSmile
Warning….(don’t eat dinner while you read the rest…)

The Bike
Soaring outta T1, I felt fan freakin tastic.  Onto 96A, the first leg of the bike, I knew there were some false flats and a decent headwind, so I pretty much spun for the first 30 minutes.  About mile 10, I started to get some wicked cramping.  Took in nutrition, swig of nuun, and just stretched out.  The next half hour was kind of a blur….I was making decent time, averaging about 18, which is not too bad for me!  However, the heat was getting to me a bit.  Tried to stay on top of hydration, but I couldn’t get the damn cramping to go away.  Water and Gatorade was starting to lose it’s appeal.  About mile 18, the course takes a left and you really can fly.  I buckled in and tried to gain some time..hangin’ in there.  We turned off to some rough road and another aid station, and I just kind of lost it.  Pulled over, threw up shortly after the aid station all over the side of the road.  Not pretty.  Dammit.  I refilled my aquacell, took a few deep breaths, then climbed back on the horse.  I rode the horns down the descent before the lake, sharp right turn and knew I was about halfway done.  This is where my game totally fell apart.  I was dizzy, nauseous, and wanting to throw up again.  I dialed the speed back, drank some water, and tried to save face.  I don’t remember too much of the rest of the bike.  I leap frogged with a train this teammate for awhile, talked to a Mom in Motion up the one hill on the course, and averaged maybe about 15 for the last `25 miles.  Crap.  I kept looking at my watch, knowing I was gonna have a crap bike split, but unable to pull much of anything else out.  The heat, the wind, my stomach.  Not a good combo.  I need to shape the hell up before I take on Chesman.  Something to work on!!  Rolled into transition in 3:25:xx, 3 minutes faster than 2008, but nowhere near the 3:13 I wanted.  Deflated, I shored up for the half marathon, dumping water on my head, grabbing salt, race belt, shoes, get me the heck outta here!!
T2:  2:21.

The Run

IMG_1177The first 3 miles were probably the most painful miles I have felt in a long time.  I had a stitch, an angry stomach, and just no desire to make things worked.  I passed a *ahem* friend out of T2 who yelled “Go Rae, just 13.1 to the finish-nothing to it”!  Why thank you.  remind me to pay you back next time I’m spectating, lol Smile.  Interestingly enough, though, my legs felt fine.  Just chop off from the waist up and I woulda rocked that run!  At this point, I knew my A goal was long gone, but was hoping to pull a 6:15 out of my you-know –where somehow.  I hit mile 3 at 32:40. Puked again.  Ridiculous.  (For me.  I can run a 1:50 half standalone and usually run pretty close to my open run time in tri’s….I was going for a 2:00).  Ok, deep breaths, Rae.  You got this. I was running for about 3 minutes, stopping, running to an aid station, lather rinse repeat.  Though, speaking of “rinse” I do owe a friggin lot to the AMAZING people of Geneva who brought their hoses out to their front lawns to cool us off.  I think there were at least 10 “misting stations” along the course.  Awesome.  It was a total mess, though.  I’m about a middle of the packer, and I have NEVER seen such carnage of a run course at mile 4 of a half marathon.  People were doing the death march, which was super scary to know that they still had 9 miles to go.  Yowtch.  About mile 7, after the ginormous hill that would have normally bothered me (a rocky ascent that is nearly impossible to run up-yesterday, who really friggin cared?  lol)  I started to get some of my mojo back.  I ran most of mile 8 and 9, stopping for a 30 second break between aid stations, and then fully stopping to hydrate at the aid stations.  Lost a little more of whatever I had left in me at mile 9.  I knew at this point it was just about getting my sorry self across the line in one piece.  I tried to take some clif bar, but couldn’t handle it.  I kept up with the electrolytes and tried to hit some coke, which didn’t totally kill me.  Mile 10-11 is mostly downhill, and I ran as much as I could.
At this point I was playing
Ice time!
leapfrog with a new friend I made on the run course (Hi Andrea!) and she and I basically got each other to the last aid station before mile 12.  The volunteers urged us on….telling us it was only a mile to go (or 1.5 miles, according to another).  At this point, I knew that a 6:30 would be possible, depending on which volunteer was just kidding about the distance left (as it turns out, the wrong one.  damn).  The hubster met me at 12.5, and I basically asked him to carry me in.  No suck luck.  Dammit.  I summoned up my sheer grit, then “ran” to the finish.  6:33.  Nowhere near what I wanted to do, but at this point, finishing was just awesome.  Grabbed my medal, water bottle, then collapsed in an ice pool with Kristin, and that was all she wrote.

Post Race
New blog friend Chloe!
Tried to get some food in me post race, as I knew I was seriously in the hole.  Hung out with some tri friends.  Went to find Chloe (poor thing got two flats!  But she finished her first 70.3-yay!)  Packed it in, then headed home.  According to the weather, the high hit 96 degrees, with stupid humidity, a.k.a, the hottest day of the year.  So….the two times I have raced this course, it has been under weather advisory…once for heavy rain and thunderstorms, and once for sever heat index.  Lovely Smile with tongue out
CRAZY DAY!!!!  And the aftermath?  Well, remember when I discussed my sun screening?  Yeah, I forgot that I race in a racerback tank.  Totally did not lube up my back.  That was good for blistering, red, raw skin, and probably did not help my nausea during the race.  I’m a moron.  Luckily, the hubster has been putting aloe  on me every hour, and my boss is super wonderful and allowed me to work a half day from home and take a sick afternoon.  I can’t even put a shirt on.  I know you needed to know that.
CLEARLY, I messed up a few things.  But CLEARLY today was not a day for my dream time, even if I did bring it all throughout the race.  It was just too damn hot.  The funny thing?  I actually PRed by 3 minutes, ‘cause my HIM PR is so old.  So now what?  Aww heck, who knows.  I’m kind of a blur of thoughts right now.  I had two pretty ambitious goals this year-my marathon and HIM.  I fell short by a bit for my marathon, and A LOT for the HIM.  I know why for both, and I know what I need to do.  So where to go from here?  “Tis the age old question Smile  I need to sort a few things out, then I’ll come back with thoughts.
In the meantime, it’s time to rest a bit and de-sun poison myself!  Thanks for reading my epically long race report if you made it this far Open-mouthed smile  Bike rack says it all:
Damn straight. 


  1. That is great about the swim, but that bike sounds like torture. You're amazing for persevering through that.

    P.S. I swim with Chloe a few mornings a week.

  2. YAY to us finishing!! Keep the aloe going!! OUCH!

  3. Thanks for ALL of your support throught the ENTIRE day Rae! I am so glad that we connected before hand! And thanks for letting me know about the dinner haha