Monday, June 11, 2012

June 4-10: That Was Not the Plan

Last week was relatively light, with the intent of building up to an awesome performance at the Eagleman Aquabike on Sunday. It was one of the three target races I’d set a goal for at the beginning of the year, and I was excited to go fast.

In reality, however, I wound up doing the 1.2 mile swim-56 mile bike 11 minutes slower than I did those same legs at Charleston seven weeks ago.

I’ll write in more detail on Thursday, but I swam alright, biked pretty well for 20 miles, and then gradually fell apart thanks to a combination of dehydration, asthma, vomiting, very low blood pressure, dizziness, and who knows what else. I would have dropped out at mile 45, when my vision started coming and going, but I was 5 miles past the nearest aid station and figured that the easiest way to get some kind of medical attention would be to just slowly bike into the finish.

The thing about failing in this race is that I can’t toss it aside as a non-target race, and I can’t go and say that I was close to my goal time, since I finished in 3:50 instead of 3:25. Earlier in the week, I’d even said that it would be really sad to be slower than 3:39 because this is when I went into T2 at Charleston. But here I am, with a 3:50 finish time from yesterday sitting in front of me.

I spent a lot of my drive home from the race contemplating whether or not continuing to plan on racing IM Louisville is a good idea. Yes, the Eagleman course was hot and 100% exposed to the sun yesterday, but Louisville can be hot, too. And I have to bike twice as far that day; starting to feel like I might pass out at the side of the road about 45 miles in isn’t going to work for a 112 mile bike right before a marathon. And the issue yesterday aside, I really have been getting slower recently, and only have 11 weeks of training before IM Louisville to get into better shape. Maybe I was overly optimistic signing up for it, and maybe my body isn’t cut out to cover 140.6 miles. Maybe I’m not pushing myself hard enough when I’m training and it’s too late to make up for lost time.

Maybe I should just shut up and train for the rest of the summer.

Physical and mental breakdowns aside, the weekend wasn't a complete dud. I did manage to master the water bottle grab on the bike, which gives me one less thing to fear. And I also got to see a couple of Ironman World Champions while I was at the race.

Crowie on the left, Rinny second from the right.

The rest of the week:

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: 3600 meters of swimming in the morning, 40 minutes of strength training in the evening.

Wednesday: A 5 mile treadmill speedwork session, including a 3200 at 17:03 and a 1600 at 8:06. Oddly fast for me these days.

Thursday: Six loops of biking around Hains Point in the morning (yes, again), 9x400 meters swimming in the evening (it seemed like a good idea).

Friday: Another rest day.

Saturday: 2000 meters of swimming with DCRP Masters in the morning before driving over to Cambridge, a quick 15 minute bike at check in to make sure that it was functional.

Sunday: 1.2 miles of swimming in 32 minutes and 56 miles of biking in 3:15 at Eagleman in the morning. Got to enjoy the hospitality of the medical tent, complete with supplied breathing air and cardiac monitoring, at the finish. More details on Thursday.


  1. Uuhhhh, on Thursday? How about NOW!??!

    1. I agree. I hope you're okay. Being asthmatic myself, this sounds like seriously scary shit.

  2. Holy crap! This sounds dramatic! Yesterday was hot as balls. Stop being so hard on yourself, chalk it up to that, you'll do great at Louisville. I have heard nothing ever about Eagleman other than it sucks so hard. So you're not alone.

  3. "contemplating whether or not continuing to plan on racing IM Louisville is a good idea"

    I don't know the answer, but I do know that you should wait a week or two before debating this question.

    Also, I've had some really bad races precede my best ones.

    I'm glad that you seem to be OK.

  4. I am so glad you are ok after Sunday's race! As to the other question, I question myself as well, and I am very scared of the heat on race day...

  5. I DNF'd on my first attempt at a 70.3 and I had the same thoughts you had about not being aboe to do it, but we are triathletes and endurance athletes and are greatest weapons are the mental toughness that comes with our training. Chalk it up as a learning experience and have apln to prepare for the heat and the other issues, you can get through it

  6. I'm glad to hear that you're okay! And I hope that you can figure out why you fell apart and make adjustments for future training and races.

  7. Okay. Yes, you had a horrible race. but you FINISHED, you bad ass! You are so ready for IMKY....even more so now. With the crap the race handed you, you didn't quit. Everyone underestimates the mental $hit you need for IM and you have it in spades. I remember my 70.3 before IM....I got kicked in the swim, blacked out, grabbed a kayak and floated for a half hour (yup, you read that right) and then did the slowest bike ever followed by a run walk. 7:23 finish. And then I did Placid and had a blast. I had the same thoughts you did, but at this point in the game, don't second guess your training. You got your bad race out of the way, look at it that way. Go have a blast in CAN DO IT! (hows that for a book?)

  8. Wow - what a tough race. I agree with Rae - despite the fact that it was touch, you finished.

  9. As I was struggling to finish Eagleman Sunday, the doubts entered my mind, "how am I possibly going to finish double this distance in 3 months from now", "...shoulD I just bail now and save all that travel and hotel and coaching money?". Now 2 days later i am allowing the positive thoughts to start creeping back in- that there is plan that will work, that my coach can help me prepare to achieve it, that I can still have some fun getting ready for it. I think this your underlying fitness is very high, and that you are still right on track,and I look forward to watching you cross the finish line live on!

  10. Wow. I am just glad you are okay. It takes a lot of courage to suck it up and finish something that is painful and unpleasant. Kudos. Take some time to reflect before making any decisions. Recover well.