Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My First DNF

Silverman 70.3
I didn't finish.

I had a finish, but it was 8 miles before the finish line.
It was not my intention.

Over the past few years there were a few times I did DNS (Did NOT Start), and the reasons for that were various - family obligations, not feeling my best, just plain didn't want to toe the line because of whatever reason.

But NEVER have I EVER got to the start line and NOT made it to the finish line.

Until Sunday at Silverman 70.3

Yeah, don't even ask me why I signed up for this wicked race other than it was a half Ironman and it was inexpensive - $200 - less than my weekly grocery bill.
I figured it would be a day's training with some support and I would get a tshirt and a medal at the finish line and have a fun get-away weekend with my guy and YAA-HOOO!!!

I even talked four of my athletes into joining in on my craziness...good training, fun times, la dee da dee da....

Turns out Silverman 70.3 was the DEVIL!!!

First off, my guy got a promotion and couldn't do the event.
(WTC did let me pick up his $200 Silverman 70.3 tshirt during registration)

Then, WTC (owners of Ironman) threatened to yank our wetsuits. That threw some athletes into a panic.  If an athlete has an issue with open water to begin with, the threat of not being able to wear one is SCARY!!!!
Since I had never swam in open water without a wetsuit, I faced my fears and proved to myself the day before the race that I COULD swim the 1.2 miles without a wetsuit, IF I needed to.

(read about my first open water swim without a wetsuit by clicking above)

Come race day, they said wetsuits were legal...and I put mine on, along with everyone else who had thought to bring theirs on race day. Yeah, a few people were upset because they didn't bring theirs because they didn't know the water temperature had to officially be measured two hours before the start of the race to make the final call on wetsuits.
FYI - always bring your wetsuit JUST IN CASE.

The day of the race, I was loving my swim until I was hit in the temple by some relay guy coming in behind me. He hit me so hard my goggles cracked. I stopped and yelled "OUCH" so loud that one of the paddle boarders swiftly paddled over to check on me. I told him I was okay and I adjusted my goggles and just didn't open my right eye the rest of the swim because that side of my goggle was cracked and filled with water.

I may have had a concussion at that point...but like any racing triathlete, I was in denial.

Do I look concussed?

The bike ride was wicked, but I loved it....

I loved it until mile 12 when I really needed an ice bath. It was hot hoT hOT HOT!!!!

When I got the to the first aid station the first words out of my mouth were, "Do you have any ice?"
I must have sounded really desperate because I was directed to a BIG tub of ice and three people came over to put ice in (and not in any specific order) - my helmet, my sports bra, my water bottles, my jersey, and my tri shorts. Yes, I willingly just pulled open all of the above so any man or woman could use their hands to dump ice into my clothes.
And then I chugged a bottle of water and I poured another bottle of water on my body and I filled up my bike bottles with water and added my electrolytes to it. 
I ate my frozen Snickers bar, which was no longer frozen, and I rode on.....
3 percent, 4 percent 10 percent, 4 percent, up and down, back and forth....look at the above picture and you get the idea.
There were NO flats ( well, some people had flats, but I was NOT one of them) and even when the road looked flat it wasn't.

I was getting close to the turn around when a little blue car with the words "BIKE FIX" on it (or maybe I was already hallucinating from the heat) slowly drove by me and I yelled at her, "I have a problem with my bike." "What's your problem?" she yelled back. "It's not going fast enough," I yelled at her.
We both laughed and I rode on into HOT HELL!!!

Until the next aid station where I took on a bag of ice in my sports bra, jersey, etc. One guy even suggested I lay down on the ground so he could pour the bag of ice on me...

I didn't have that much time, so I just let him palm some ice down my jersey.

I thought I was doing pretty well. My goal was to ride 13 miles an hour. I know that doesn't sound like much, but you haven't seen this course...and you haven't see this course in the HOT BAKING SUN!!!!

I passed a lot of people, especially on the hills because they were trying to grind it and I was just spinning it at a high cadence and just before I got to the top of a hill, I would put it in a harder gear and take off and they would stop pedaling all together and coast and I would be BAMMM past them.

At least the view was pretty!

Until I stopped at the next aid station for another bag of ice...and they would pass me. 
But slowly I would catch up and pass them.
It was a game.

My game started to end at mile 35 when without any warning I upchucked, vomited, threw-up....on my arms, hands, bike, aerobars.

If only it would have only been in in my mouth.
For one short second I thought - GROSS!!!

What did I do?
I just took my extra bottle of electrolytes and squirted everything off the best I could.

And rode on.

At the next aid station I did a repeat of all of the above...
including the upchuck...and then I upchucked again, but this time I turned my head.

By this time my head was hurting. At first I thought it was just from riding in aero-position for so long. But the back of my head and the front of my head were aching.

That's when I rode by one of my athletes, Barbara W., who was sitting on the side of the road with a couple of people around her.

I yelled out, "Barbie?" 
And one of the ladies around her said she was okay and in good hands and they all waved me on.
(I have BIG guilt for riding on...but I think by this time I was in the throngs of heatstroke and not thinking straight).

 I rode on for another three miles before I had to stop and take off my bike socks because my feet were so hot.
They bottom of my feet felt as if they were on fire.

Did I mention before that it was HOT, HOT, HOT!!!
The actual temps were in the mid-90's and there was NO shade to be found anywhere!!!

In the last 10 miles of the bike, I passed lots of people...but that's because it was so HOT most were slowly pedaling or on the side of the road trying to stretch out their heat cramps, or..I don't know, but I just wanted to keep riding my bike. It was the easy thing to do...just keep turning the legs and riding on, and on, and on, and on...
and then I caught up with another one of my athletes, Shirley. I told her we were were almost there.

Then I passed her and pulled into transition.

Transition was HOT! Somehow I managed to get out of my helmet and bike shoes and into my running hat and running shoes without throwing up on any of it.

When I exited transition I was with Shirley and we stopped at the first aid station to generously apply sunscreen and fill up the water bottles on our run belts.
My headache was bad and it hurt to look out of my eyes.

We started on...
The first mile we walked together and Shirley told me how she had rode up on Barbara W. on the bike course and Barbara had told her how she had thrown up a couple of times and had the chills. Shirley said how she had rode on and found the first police officer and told him to get someone to go help Barbara.
The talk was good but by mile two, I knew I was hurting bad and I told Shirley to go on and we talked about how she was going to finish by walking up the hills and running down and she went on.
I saw a few friends along my way - Tony, who went out of his way to cross the street from his path to say a few words; Ross, who said - yeah, I don't know what he said, but it was probably positive or not....

And then I saw a guy go down...limp-like. 
Scary limp-like and three other runners propped him up and started yelling for help. But help wasn't there, but they helped him off to the side of the road.

I kept on walking 50 steps, running 25 steps, until I was so dizzy I though I would faint.
And my head hurt so much.
And then I turned into the bushes and puked again.

It didn't matter than I had drank a boat load of water and electrolytes and every hour had consumed my allotted amount of salt tablets and electrolyte pills and three HoneyStinger waffles and two packages of GU watermelon chewies and three Snicker bars and I lost count of how many bananas and orange slices and pretzels I had consumed during the day.
My nutrition was ON!!!
But my nutrition could not protect me from the sun and the heat!

At mile five, I realized that no medal was worth my health.

I'm willing to push it to the limit, but when I hit that limit, it's time to stop.

And I did.
I stopped with my butt on a curb and my head between my legs with me puking AGAIN.
I just wanted to be able to make it to another day.

I sat there for a long time and I recalled a similar instance about 13 years ago when I was a chaperone for my daughter's synchronized swim team. They had a meet in Scottsdale, Arizona and it was HOT HOT HOT and the sun pelted us with it's harmful rays to the point that I was sitting in the pool steps with an icepack on the back of my neck trying not to vomit while another mom chaperone was laying on the cool tiles on the bathroom floor trying to cool off.

I was scared that day for us and our health.
And I was scared on Sunday for my health.

One guy asked me if I was okay.
I had a horrible headache and I was barfing in the gutter and every time I lifted my head I thought I would pass out and only one person around asked me if I was okay.

And I was NOT okay!
But I was still okay enough to know that.

I know the USA Triathlon rules - you can run, walk or crawl across the finish line.

I was NOT going to crawl. I am NEVER going to crawl across a finish line.

young-girl-crawling by kenneth-agnello


Finally, I pulled myself up and wobbled down the street and back into transition where I found another of my athletes, Orietta, who had finished. We gathered our stuff and took it to the car where I pretty much passed out in front of the car's air conditioning.

It took a cold shower and a long nap (during which I am told I snored) to get rid of my headache and chills.

This was my nemesis on race day.
You won Sun!

But I'm not done!

Congratulations to everyone who finished this beast!!!!
And congratulations to everyone who gave it their all to TRY to finish this beast!!!!

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