As mentioned, I didn't get to swim bike or run for two weeks leading up to the race so wasn't sure how anything would go to be honest. I stopped taking the antibiotics 3 days before the race in hopes that my tummy would feel better by race day. The heat was cranked up full force in St. Pete and even a 15 minute jog for me was a struggle.
Race morning rolled around and I was excited. Just like St. A's past, I pulled open the curtain and saw the palm trees bent over. It was windy. 20mph to be exact. Never fails for this race. They have actually changed the swim course due to this after having to cancel the swim twice before due to high winds. Thankfully the swim went on this year.
We were staying at the beach which was about a 15 minute drive to the race site. We rolled up and I realized just before hopping our of the car that I had forgotten my pre-mixed bottles. Both of them. I freaked out! It was hot, humid and I had no bottles. Rich told me to calm down but I was freaking. I didn't have time to find bottles. Transition was closing in 15 minutes. He said to call our friend Lance who lives near but I didn't want to wake him at 5:45 am, so I started asking everyone I saw if they had extra bottles of anything. No one did. Great. I finally called Lance and woke him up. Sorry about that Lance. He was a lifesaver. He got up and got two bottles and filled them with ice and gatorade and Rich flew by and picked them up. I got them just before they closed transition. All was good. Whew! Talk about pre-race stress.
Off to the swim start. The sky was beautiful that morning. I was ready to go. I was feeling confident and ready to start the day. I hopped in the water and it felt great. No wetsuit....yay! I got to wear my awesome HUUB SKN- 1 Swim Skin! My wave went off early. My plan going in as mentioned in previous posts was to hold back in the swim start. My face is still in the process of healing, so I didn't want to risk a kick or a punch. I lined myself up far right in the water start and it was perfect. The gun went and I eased into the swim. I just let the pack go. The swim was pretty uneventful except it seemed to go on forever. The wind was causing quite a bit of chop so I drank lots of salt water. Yum. We made a turn toward the end of the swim and it just seemed to go on and on. Once I got out of the swim, I was really shocked at my swim time but then noticed that the swim distance was 1.3 miles according to my garmin and several other peoples as well. I felt better about my swim time after that! Everyone thinks that buoys must have drifted due to the winds. Never mind. The swim felt amazing. I remember make my way around the last turn buoy and seeing the sun behind it and thought what an amazing sight and how lucky am I to be out here doing what I love! For some reason that image burned in my mind for the rest of the day.
Quick in and out of t1 on onto my love! The bike. I started off like a rocket and then quickly hit the wind wall. WOW! The first 20 minutes of the bike, I thought my heart would explode. The wind was so bad it felt as if I stopped pedaling for a second, I would actually roll backwards. It was a battle. After about 20 minutes, it got a little easier and I just tried to put my head down and power through. The bike nutrition turned out to be a bit of a joke and I can only laugh about it. I had two gels with me for the ride. I never thought about having a problem opening my gels since my crash but well, I couldn't get my gels opened. I tried ripping with my teeth like I used to do, but I couldn't. My teeth and jaw are still so weak I can't even rip open a gel packet. After a few frustrating attempts, I laughed and said screw it. It was something I didn't even think about. Guess my gels will be in a flask from this point moving forward! Anyway, only gatorade on the bike would have to do. The bike was technical with so many turns, I lost count. It was fun though. I had hoped and trained for a much faster bike split, but given the conditions I was still pleased with a 20mph avg.
Onto the run. I came off the bike and felt good. My legs felt fresh and I thought ok, let's do this! In and out of t2 quick but it wasn't long after I hit the blazing pavement, I knew it was going to be rough. The temp was 90 degrees and the humidy was at 90%. Sun was blazing and I started to felt sick. My body does NOT respond well in those conditions, so this run immediately became a struggle.
I think coming out of a cooler climate to these conditions was partly to blame too. When I have always raced IMLOU, I trained in exactly the same conditions so my body was semi-prepared for the heat. It's not hot in NC yet, so I think that made a difference in this race. Anyway, I really thought I may end up with a DNF because I simply could not put one foot in front of the other. It was a real struggle. I was overheated and dehydrated. Somehow, I pulled it together and staggered my way to the finish. Rich was waiting with Abby and he said take her. I grabbed her up and then made my way down the finishing chute. That moment with Abby made up for the lackluster run. As soon as I finished though, I collapsed. First time ever. Thank god they grabbed my little girl as I was going down. They dragged me into medical. I was immediately covered in ice while race volunteers entertained Abby. My blood pressure was out of the roof and my heart rate even while sitting was 160bpm. It would remain high for another 10 minutes so I had to stay in med. I had overheated and was dehydrated so they were trying to pump me up with liquids and had ice over my body to get me cool. I have raced hot before but never ended up in this shape. Maybe it was the meds, I don't know. Finally I was able to leave the medical tent and find Rich. Whew. What a day!
All in all it was a great week in our favorite place. It was wonderful spending time with our family and friends while there. It's always a treat to be back in St. Pete :)
Next up...CCTTA Time Trial #2!