Sunday, August 03, 2008

Barb's race: DNF

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.

Results: DNF.
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.



  1. Sorry about the DNF but hell you learned something about your tubless tires and the look pedals. Personally i heard bad things about look pedals so I have speedplay. LOVE EM!

  2. tubies are easier to change than clincers. I'm just sayin....

  3. I have had the pedal saga recently too, as you know. Haven't really had enough time to say, but I gave up the Look ones at the beginning of July with HUGE relief, having realized that they were enormously contributing to my fear of cycling. (It's the combination of the sharp distinction between being clipped in or out plus the awful surface of the shoes - makes me feel very skittery stopping to have to put down the heel and feel that the whole rest of the surface of the shoe is so slidy.) I got the SPD ones and I really, really feel so much better about them. Will paste in links: the pedals have one side regular pedal and one side with the cleat thingie, but the bike shoes will work perfectly well on the ordinary pedal side also....

    I think this is like your observation some time ago about the sharp aero position & the fact that speed benefits cannot offset mental and physical discomfort if one is more middle-of-the-pack. The serious roadies would never use these pedals because they are a tiny bit heavier and perhaps slightly lose you some power, but even some very fast triathletes I know dislike Look pedals...

    Good luck, and I am hugely impressed and pleased by your decision to run the half, that was very sensible!

  4. It may have not been as expected by great training day. And to run when it's 98--you are tough. Great job and lessons learned.

  5. That really sucks about your bike - H had the same issue with the "support" people there. Hey-you ran the half marathon-we could have run together-that was my time! You had a true Ironman response I must say...
    What's up with the weather? I looked up the weather there and it was suppose to be 82 degrees-WTF?? You did it in my book!

  6. Sorry about the DNF, but you made the day count by doing the run!!

    I don't think I'd ever switch to tubeless tires. You are now the second person that I know that had a slash in their tire stop them from finishing a race this year.

  7. Well, you certainly managed to make lemonade out of the lemons! Good job getting out there on the run!

  8. Anonymous7:59 AM

    Well, crap....for the flat and the pedals.

    Pretty impressive you went on to run the half mary!! You're tough. That's a great time in such HEAT!!!

    Way to stick with it :)

  9. I've always been an SPD gal myself. And I don't know much about tubeless tires, except that if I've got something that works, I'm not changing it except under duress.

    That sucks about the DNF but I'm glad to hear you made something of it anyway!

  10. Sorry about the DNF, but you definitely made the most of the day.

    I've got a fabulous deal for you. I'll give you some of my cycling love (I'm a bike freak) if you give me some of your kickassness (pretty sure that isn't a real word, but it should be) in the swim/run segments, mmmmkay?

  11. DNF's suck but at last you got to finish the race. Try some speed plays. They are easy in easy out and you don't unclip by accident.

    Congrats on finishing up the race! I might have just gone for some ice cream instead :)

  12. Yeah ditto on the speed plays. They've got adjustable float and they are not too hard to walk in. You feel like a waddling duck with the look pedals. They make little plastic covers for the speedplay cleats to that you can stash in your pocket to keep the crap out of them.
    Sorry about the DNF, but you really made the best of the situation! I'm the opposite of you, love to bike, hate to run :)

  13. First of all-Congrats. i know you're not thrilled with a DNF- but equipment issues are sometimes beyond our control. The fact that you went out and ran the half marathon in that heat when you were a DNF-amazing! I would have said fuck this and sat in the shade drinking a beer! But I guess that's why I don't do half ironmans...and I hate swimming-probably the reason I don't so tri's! Maybe one day!

    You went out there and did it in the heat! You get kudos in my book for that!

  14. Anonymous4:20 PM

    Bugger about the DNF - but what a hard ass chick to then go out and run the half marathon - totally legendary. Now I know why I love your blog. Total inspiration!!!!


  15. Why thank you, Maam. I had a great time hanging out with you.

    New pedals - yes. Clinchers - yes. I'm not sure that will make you like cycling but it might make you hate it a lot less and that would be good.

  16. Sorry to hear about your equipment issues. At least you made the best of it. There's always another race.

  17. Lack of SAG = disturbing

    Good work to squeeze the positives out of the day!

  18. What a PEST! But top effort working off that Ramen with a half mara!

  19. That stinks about the bike but way to persevere and do the 1/2 marathon

  20. I just found your blog! You're awesome. An inspiration! I went road bike shopping for the first time today, was feeling rather out of place. Such a great accomplishment for you to finish the half!!!!! I just "met" you - but I'm excited to have found you. Keep up the good work!

  21. A) You ran a 1/2 marathon in 98 degree heat...YOU ROCK...

    B) Injinju's are awesome!

  22. Well, you fell & recieved no injuries, had a good run. Sounds like a decent day considering:) If you want to sell your look pedals I'll buy them.

  23. Yeah, bikes are kinda like technology....great when working properly. Left high and dry when not.

    But ONLY YOU would still run the 1/2 marathon...only you! And that deserves a big "wow" and "congratulations" anyway!

  24. I follow the blog, and so I looked for you on the run Saturday. When I saw you going the other way within my first couple of miles, I thought you were having an amazing PR!! So, I was disappointed to find out today that you'd had trouble on the bike.

    I hope that this doesn't put you off of the Vineman course. Honestly, there can be really great days out there too!!

    I linked this posting on my blog - - so that my friends would know that we weren't alone in struggling out on that course Saturday!

    Great job on the run!! Your determination and mental strength are such an inspiration to me!

  25. great way to hang in there!

  26. I came across your blog. I too DNFed at Barb's. Major bummer, but I know that there are other races out there.

  27. One more thing. I know two other people who DNF'd and I talked ot my swim instructor Carrie who said it was horrific bike course. I don't know if that makes you feel better or not, but sometimes knowing you are not the only one makes it a teeny tiny bit better.

    BTW--HI ROSE!!!!

  28. I like my Speedplay pedals. They are a bitch to walk in though. Glad you did the run anyway! And with the swim in the bag...your Aquathon!

  29. Wow, that really sucks. But it sounds like you made the best of it (and still got in a workout), AND then cheered on others! Great!!


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