Added 8/4: Mood music.
Well, what can I say. Statistically, it was bound to happen sooner or later: I DNF'd due to equipment failure. Actually it wasn't so much equipment failure as it was realllllly crappy road failure, whose many flaws you could not see due to the dappled sunshine on the course.
But I"m getting ahead of myself.
I started my morning by eating a mess of Ramen about 3 hours before race start (lots of sodium, and simple carbs) They had already said it would be unseasonably warm. Right before the race I had a powerbar and an energy drink. I had a good swim. I swam at a steady pace, not really trying to haul ass, or anything. I also did not WALK in the river. I have a real problem with that; in my opinion, if you can't swim, do duathlons. So I did about 45 minutes on the 1.2 mile swim, without sinking.
Then I had another energy bar, and headed out on the bike. I went over the aforementioned crappy parts in the road around mile 14.5, and immediately I heard this noise: PDTHLPDTHPLDTHPDLTHPDTHLPDPLTHDLPDLTHPDTHLPDPLTHDL
I pulled over to the side of the road, staring down at my bike, but I couldn't get my feet out of the pedals in time and fell over, and--WHAM!
Have I mentioned how much I hate cycling?
I had cuts and bruises on me, but more importantly, I found a cut in my rear tire right along the rim. I have tubeless tires. Apparently, these can't be fixed, on THIS course, on THIS day, in THIS weather. I did not know this. I started walking, once I realized I couldn't change the tire. Several very nice people stopped and tried to help, and then agreed: this tire couldn't be fixed on THIS course, in THIS weather.
And, despite several promises by 1) a race official, 2) a race volunteer, and 3, 4, 5) several athletes to promise to let the sag wagon know that I needed help one never showed, so I hiked for about an hour, and then finally took a ride back to t2 and turned in my chip.
The people that picked me up seemed to have trouble finding their way back to T2, and so during that hour (It was now about noon) several things were going through my mind:
1) I really hate cycling, and here's one more reason why.
2) I'm always complaining about how I can't get to the run unless I do the cycling, and
3) I ate a buttload of food this morning, and now how will I work it off?
And I was pissed. I mean, I've never made a secret of how much I hate cycling, but it irks me that I have to endure it just to get to run. I was talking to someone before the race who was doing the aqua-bike, and thinking whistfully, why isn't there an aqua-run? Why can't leap into the river, swim my guts out, and then go running? No fair.
So, I decided to make my own aquathon. I was also thinking about how, last year, I walked off the course at Soma because I decided it was too hot. Maybe, at least in my own mind, I could put that half together with this half and make a whole half, and, hey, why did I always have such rotten luck with half irons? Maybe it's just not my race. So, I did what any idiotic stubborn Athena triathlete would do: I went and ran the half marathon.
The run course was surprisingly hilly, and it was 98 degrees. 98. Degrees. (Estimates were between 96 and 98.)
However, I had a secret weapon: my uber-cool Injinji's, yes, but more importantly, my keep cool bandana. This is actually two bandanas sewn together with an absorbant pad in the middle, and parts of the sewing left open so that you can load it with ICE. So you load it with ice, soak it in water, and then tie it around your neck, tucking the pointed part down the neck of whatever top you're wearing, and here's the result:
The ice melts slowly, and cool water trickles continuously down your neck and back.
I'm tellin' you, it's the BOMB. I can't wait to run in the heat again so that I can use it.
Oh, and be really careful about running under those sprayers. I realized around mile 9 that, um, you want to keep your feet dry when you're running longer distances. It's not a good idea to run in soaked shoes and socks and pound your soft, wet feet with nearly 160 (or whatever) pounds for 13 miles. Yikes.
So I ran the half marathon, and I ran in the company of a woman named Cory Churches from DC, and I was thanking her because without her I would have said, "crap, this is hot and I'm DNF anyway, so I'm quitting," while meanwhile, she said I kept her on pace. She told me that later when she stopped by to tell me, excited and breathless, that she was first Athena in the awards. I felt pretty good about that.
People during the run were all screaming and waving cowbells and it was just too much to say, No, I'm DNF, I'm not a real finisher but eventually I just said, "thanks". I did the half marathon in 2:56, not a PR for me, but considering the 98-degrees I was running in, I was pretty happy with my results.
So what have I learned today?
First, I'm switching back to clinchers. It's a very nasty feeling knowing that I can't fix my own tires, and I lack the crew to do it for me.
Second, Look-type pedals suck. I'm apparently much too retarded to coordinate getting my feet into them, and I've given it 2 years to get used to them, but I can't work it out, and walking in the shoes with Look-type cleats is nearly impossible. Not sure what I'll do next.
After I stayed to watch Sweet Baboo finish the iron-distance, I showered and ate.
Then I came back to chew on the skin on the sides of my thumb while DreadPirate finished her first Iron distance race. She finished at 10:51 pm, with nine minutes to spare since this very hot, difficult course closed down at 11 pm. After she crossed the finish line she looked at me, glassy-eyed, and I think--I'm not sure--she said something like, Holy Fuck Buckets. and I said, "Huh?" and she said that again. Her mommys, et al, whisked her away, wrapped in a mylar blanket and now I"m sure she's passed out somewhere, and can tell you all about her adventure.
Sweet Baboo got 2nd place in the Clydesdales.
DreadPirate went Iron!
21st Century Mom is, like, the best sherpa EVAR.
Keep cool bandanas are the Bomb. if you have to run in the heat, get one. Now!
My nutrition worked well, for what I did:
3 hours prerace: power bar and 2 servings of ramen
1 hour prerace: double latte, sipped slowly
post swim: power bar#2, lots of gatorade.
pre-run: power bar #3, lots of enduralytes, lots of water.
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