Monday, July 11, 2011

Couples Triathlon "Race" Report aka "Breathing is NOT overrated"

Connie and me post race. Photo by Tom Marek

I had been feeling major sinus/allergy and breathing issues for a couple of weeks before Couples. I went to the doctor today and it turns out I have bronchitis and a sinus infection (no wonder I've been feeling so crappy). I kept hoping it would get better, but if anything I was feeling worse the weekend of Couples. Cassie is taking a break from racing this summer, so I posted on the Tri Zones forum asking if anyone needed a Couples partner. Connie replied and we raced as "Heather & Connie's Excellent Adventure". I had never really met Connie, so we met at packet pickup and had lunch at Blue Dahlia on Saturday. We had a great time and decided we'd make a great team for Couples!

I slept great on Saturday night (I guess that might be the one perk of racing sick!). I had packed everything the night before so I was ready in just a few minutes. I got a good luck kiss from Jeff and headed out to Decker. I got body marked before I saw that Tom and Carolyn were body marking! I saw Julie W. right away in transition, then Connie saw me and I racked by her. We had lots of time to hang out with the other Tri Zoners pre race, which is always fun.Connie and I pre race. Photo by Tom Marek

Goals for this race- Just to have fun and finish! Based on how I was feeling I knew I couldn't PR, and even if I could, I probably shouldn't try. So I planned to take it easy and have fun.

At the swim start, wonder what I was saying to Jess to make her do that? Photo by Tom Marek.

I lined up where I usually line up for swims, just a couple rows back from the front, in hindsight, that might not have been so smart. The gun went off and just like always, I took a few fast hard strokes to get out of the choas of the swim start, but wow, every time I tried to breathe I wheezed and felt like I couldn't get any air! I felt like I was about to have an asthma attack, I never have asthma issues in the water so that was scary! Post race Katherine told me "Breathing is NOT Overrated!" Very true! I stopped and treaded water for a minute to catch my breath and get my heart rate under control. Ok, lesson learned, if I say I'm going to take it easy, I really should Take It Easy!! I started swimming again, extra slow and felt better, after the first turn buoy I picked it up to a moderate pace and passed lots of people. I felt good getting out of the water and slowly jogged up to transition. I didn't see Amy, but obviously she saw me!Coming out of the swim. Photo by Amy Gawlik

I saw Katherine and Linda, Jody, Brian and a few others on my way up the hill. I didn't want to walk all the way up the hill, but I was breathing really hard by the time I got to my bike, so I sat down and took my time wiping all the mud and dirt off my feet, might as well make good use of my extra recovery time! :)

I felt good starting the bike, but I knew the hills would feel tough, my legs have felt super tired biking and running lately, something about not getting enough oxygen to the muscles, again, "Breathing is NOT Overrated!" I could feel it on the small rollers on Decker Lane, so I knew the bigger steeper hills would hurt, but I had fun saying hi to people who passed me and people I passed (but there weren't too many that I passed!). Photo by Tom Marek
I really like the Decker bike course and I hadn't ridden it since Longhorn last year, so even though the hills were tougher than they should have been, I had fun. My legs were on fire by the time I got up Little Tard, but I made it. I took it easy the next mile or 2, knowing I still had a couple of hills and Big Tard left. I made it up Big Tard fine too. Then I saw Annette, Linda, Katherine, and Tom on Hog Eye just before the bike finish. I took my time in T2.Almost finished with the bike! Photo by Tom Marek.

I'm pretty sure I walked more than I ran, but I'll call it a run anyway. I started off at a super easy run pace, ran down the first little hill and saw Linda and Katherine near the fence. Linda yelled for me and I heard Katherine (who was sitting with her back to me watching the bike course) say "that's not Heather, she already came by" and Linda reply "No! Behind you, she's running!" It may have just been my hypoxic state, but I thought that was really funny! I watched for Connie coming in on the bike course while I ran/walked along the fenceline, but I never saw her. At the 2nd water stop I was very happy to see Elizabeth, so happy that I considered stopping and chatting with her until Connie came by and finishing with Connie. But I only had a little over a mile to go, and there were plenty of people to chat with along the course, so I decided to keep going. I walked all the way up MOFO and even a little of flat past it, mostly because Breathing is NOT Overrated! But I picked it up and jogged in to the finish!Running to the finish. Photo by Tom Marek

Post race
I had a really hard time catching my breath and getting my heartrate to come down. I walked over to chat with Katherine, Linda, Laura, & Becky, but I couldn't say more than a few words without having a coughing fit. That's when Katherine told me "you know Heather, breathing is really NOT overrated!" You're so right Katherine!

Connie and I had planned to finish together (so whoever finished first had to watch for the other and run in to the finish with them). I walked out to where Tom and Carolyn were taking pictures and we watched for Connie, when we saw her coming I walked out to where she was and ran to the finish with her. Connie and I finishing together. Photo by Tom Marek
Connie and I blowing kisses to Tom, thanks for being out there and taking awesome pictures Tom! Photo by Tom Marek.

Thanks for letting me finish triathlon number 4 with you Connie! And thanks for being an Awesome Couples partner!
Tri Zones post race. Photo by Tom Marek

I hung out post race for a long time, watched awards (Congrats Little Pam and Julie W!!) and then helped with tear down. I had committed to tear down before I started feeling crummy and I didn't want to back out. So I put my big girl pants on (as Amy would say) and helped with tear down til about 1:00 pm and then went home, showered and slept through the first 2 hours of Stage 9 of the Tour de France.


Anonymous said...

I hate the Decker Bike course, in fact the run course and the warm swim water, but the Couples race is so much fun....

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, well done Heather :-)