Friday, September 27, 2013

Vegas Baby!!

Last weekend (that's how long I've been trying to write this!!) was the 70.3 World Champs in Vegas - a race that I qualified for last October in Austin.  At that time, it sounded like a great idea - of course, who wouldn't want to race in 110 degree heat with not a hint of humidity??  Actually, no.  I think anytime you qualify for a World Championship - you really ought to go and see how you measure up against the best.  So I signed up! Especially after missing last years Vegas race due to injury, I was excited!  That was last year.....

And this year has been such a strange race year for me - Sunday wasn't really any different except this time I was just ready to accept anything that came my way.  I had been sick in almost all of my races.  "Racing" just hasn't been in the cards.  So I came into Vegas with a pretty relaxed attitude and I was somewhat excited.  Whatever the day may bring.....I had been running for weeks in 90+ degree weather with varying levels of success (not).  But I've also been having some strange breathing issues - thinking maybe my allergies have gotten the best of me this year.  Or maybe I just forgot how to breathe.

PIC and I arrived into Vegas on Friday morning and it was already hot.  As expected.  After realizing that it has been YEARS since I've been to Vegas (did you know the slot machines no longer accept actual quarters????), we made our way to the race site.  Driving the course the car temp hit 109.  I am not kidding.  This meant a readjustment to the race plan.  Like I had a race plan.  Whatever.
Finish line silliness

The rest of the weekend was the typical pre-race stuff...sleeping, going to the M&M store in Vegas, pre-race warm-up but not in the icky waters of Lake Henderson, pre-race meal at Whole Paycheck.  And I actually had sherpa support at this race - Sonja's parents were out there (pictures courtesy of Eric - thanks) and my friends Lesa and Anita came out as well.  Still really relaxed at this point and slept really pretty well.
Getting the Tamale all ready for check-in (notice front tire not flat)

Probably the only time you'll see me jumping at a finish line

But the one thing I/we hadn't planned on was......rain.  I mean really - all week it had been predicted to be about 100 for the race.  Nothing about rain. In Vegas?  Yet Sunday morning we woke up to rain.  A nice, steady rain.  Enough to get you pretty wet in no time but not coming down hard enough to piss you off (well, me anyway).  Take the day for what it brings right??  And when it comes down to it, I'm pretty sure that I would prefer rain to 100 degree heat.

Even though I've done who knows how many races, this one had a lot of firsts in it for me!  Yay!!  Starting with the rain - haven't raced in the rain before.  The second first was having a flat tire in transition before the race start.  But I calmly got my bike through the puddles to the bike tech and they fixed it in no time.  Plus they were under a tent so I was "dry" for a couple of minutes.  Not a big deal, I was ready to go.

On the way to the race my tummy started its now "normal" pre-race, don't feed me don't put any liquid in or I just may give it back mode.  This has been status quo for my all my races this year and has really been a mild pain in the arse.  But I hadn't actually been sick before the race.  Until today.  Gawd, so final porta-potty stop and it all just came up.  Into the urinal.  Not my finest moment and another first.  And totally gross.   But the good news is that I started feeling better!  I lined up for the start and right about the time I started to get cold from the rain, it was time to get in the water.
I"m the one in the orange cap.  No really, on the far right messing with my goggles:)

Funny thing about the swim start at Worlds...everyone is positioning at the front line.  And getting pretty aggressive about it.  Now, I figure I'm going to be top 10 and hopefully top 5 out of the water.  Yet, I'm getting elbowed and kicked before the gun has even sounded by way more than 10 women.  The gun finally sounded and we were off.  Then it's kind of a game of who's hanging in the swim?? Is it you right next to me that just hit me in the head?  Yep, I didn't think so......anyway, that's how the first part of the swim was.  The water was choppy and pitch black....I didn't like looking down - it was a big black abyss.  Once I started feeling comfortable is right when I started hitting traffic from the earlier waves.  On the way back in it was really choppy and really traffic-y.  But I spotted the bridge and just finished it up.
Just a little bit of water to deal with!

The run from the water to T1 was really long!!  And it was still raining and it was really slippery.  There were puddles of water everywhere and lots of slippery mud.  As I was making my way conseratively to my bike, an aggro 50-54 male comes charging around me and slips and falls right on his arse.  There ya go.  I found my bike, put on my wet helmet and wet shoes and tried to put on my wet and foggy sunglasses.  I wanted to leave them in transition but I have "special" eyes and have to wear them....
I could NOT see out of my sunglasses!

So the bike begins. Very wet.  But the temperature was very comfortable!!!  Now I just needed to remember to keep drinking since I wasn't hot, it was easy to slip my mind.  Let the climbing begin.  Funny thing was, when we hit the national park for the ride, the course we drove on Friday was NOT the right course.  Oops.  So it was a new ride with new scenery and new surprises.  The biggest surprise was that it was uber hilly. Up and down and not a flat to be seen.  But it was also straight and not too technical so I felt OK about getting some speed on the downhills.  Plus I love going fast on my QR - it is clearly meant for high speed!!!  I was eating and drinking but all of a sudden (after dropping my chain - doh!), my tummy started revolting again.  Grrrrr.....keep eating.  Keep drinking.  But I would get burpy and liquid kept coming up.  Of course, I didn't figure it out right away so I kept drinking.  And trying to eat.  And trying to tell myself that I would be A-OK on the run.  I knew this bike would be not my greatest effort and towards the end of the ride I felt a bit tired.  But coming into T2 and seeing my friends was just awesome.

Coming out of T2 (BTW, I just love it when your bike gets valet parked at worlds!!), my legs felt decent!  This was strange since it was the first. time. all. year. that my legs felt good and maybe even a bit springy.  My tummy was not rumbling and I thought for just a moment that maybe I can run this entire thing!!!!  Yea....not so fast hot stuff.  About 3/4 mile in the tummy took a turn for the worse and I was looking for a place to uh, pull over.  There were so many great cheering people on the course that I really didn't want to start puking on the spectators - a little dignity please?!  So I went into manage mode. Run when you can and for as long as you can.  I stopped at the aid stations but didn't take anything at first.

It got really bad the second lap, I got passed by lots of people.  Sonja passed me half-way through that lap - she was cruising!!!!  I yelled at her to go go go.  By the top of that hill, I started feeling better.  Just 1 more lap to go.  I ran the downhills as fast as I could trying to make up time now that I had a green light from my belly.  The last downhill I just kept going and thought of the finish line and my dear friends who were waiting for me (lots of love to Anita and Lesa for coming to watch).

Best race?  Nope.  Decent race?  Yes! I managed my tummy through the bad parts and kept talking positive to myself.  Since I had no expectations I really couldn't be disappointed.  And 13th at Worlds? I'll take it!!!

Best part of finishing?  That's right.  Time to partake in some Vegas fun!!  Well, not Sunday night.  Sonja and I talk a big game but by about 10:00 it was time to call it a night.  We did however do some good damage at the pool the next day.  Went to Zarkana that night, hit the blackjack tables to lose not that much money, and have a couple of cocktails:)  When in Vegas baby!

Of course, none of my racing adventures would be complete without thanking my sponsors and supporters!!!  Kompetitive Edge keeps me looking good and taking care of my bike.  I love just going in there and talking shop with the boys!  Quintana Roo - seriously love this bike.  It is so super fast and fits so well.  And Punky and Punk Rock Racing - well you are da bomb.  And it was great seeing you on course:)  My parents, PIC and her parents, my sis and my family and friends - you are all there when I need an ear or a smiling face.  Thank you!!!