This month’s training is brought to you by: Oregon has the Highest Pollen Count. Lucky me! Let’s celebrate! Since the beginning of May, my eyes have started out burning in the morning, and if I’m lucky, by mid afternoon, still remain functional-albeit almost swollen shut and on fire. I submit for you, exhibit A:
While I deal with this every year, 2015 has had me questioning my choice of geography. By mid June, the allergy circus escalated to the degree that, BAM, I found myself sitting in front of Zoom Care, too sick to get out of the car. I managed to do so however, and a half hour later left with my every-few-month-dose of antibiotics, for the explosive sinus and ear infection that I seem to be fond of attracting quarterly. You see, training for my “A” race, Ironman Chattanooga, requires several hours per day running and cycling outdoors, inhaling the lovely and caustic pollen that coats my sinuses, lungs, eyes, and skin.
I spent the next three days in bed.
One week later, I was set to race the Olympic distance in the Clackamas Cove Triathlon. All week leading up to the race, I tried to take good care to ensure my nutrition, rest, and hydration were perfect. I slept a lot, took my Allegra, Flonase, and vitamins, and didn’t drink alcohol or eat anything outside of my Metabolic Efficiency Diet.
My training schedule is focused on Sept 27, 2015. THAT is the bulls eye. All of my training is geared toward that one race. I am stair stepping my racing schedule to MOSTLY include only triathlons, starting with the Sprint distance that I did in February. This Olympic is twice that distance. My next race in August will be the Lake Stevens 70.3 (a half Ironman), and then the BIG MAMMA, Chattanooga!
The day before the Clackamas Cove tri, Jeff (boyfriend and coach extraordinaire- with PRSFIT ) and I went to the site so I could run through some of the swim, run and bike transitions, and tour the course to set up my race plan. The swim was supposed to go from a cove to the spill into the river, and downstream to a boat ramp, where we were to exit into the transition area. The low river levels left part of that course without water!
I practiced swimming up to the shallows, running out of the water, across the rocks, and back into the river. We decided I would bring a pair of shoes to leave on the beach, so I could run across the rocks without hurting my feet, and then kick them off as I dove back in.
We drove the run course, and part of the bike course and I felt pretty good about the plan that Jeff and my coach SheriAnne mapped out for me.
The morning of the race, I woke up at 4:15, so I could eat my normal breakfast and do my, ahem, morning “routine”. Well, I’m a nervous type, so I did my routine 4 times before I left the house. Nervous? That’s an understatement.
Have I ever told you how much fun it is to put on a wetsuit?
(You have to slather the equivalent of Spray Pam all over your body, to aid in the rapid removal while you are transitioning from the swim to the bike.)
Due to the ever changing river conditions, the RD decided it was too dangerous to navigate the river portion of the swim, so they kept the swim in the cove. My race was now a two loop swim of approx 1600 yards. This created an interesting situation for the athletes, since we were no longer exiting at the transition area. Now we had to get out of the water and run .4 miles to T1. CHANGE OF PLANS. No problem. I brought some water sandals to throw on, to protect my feet. Running .4 miles in a wetsuit is pretty hilarious.
The bike portion was a 24 mile out and back, with some rolling hills and the promise of a huge hill at the turn around. While I had heard about this hill, I didn’t preview it the day before. THANK GOD. As I approached it at mile 11, I looked up and thought, “Are you freaking kidding me? I have to ride up THAT?” To be honest, I wasn’t sure I COULD. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded, and I managed to tackle it will all of my dignity in place. After the turn around, I let loose and rode like a mad woman back to T2. My legs felt great, and I was hydrating as planned. The only snag was the redneck in the F350, towing an RV, that didn’t like bikes on the road, who nearly ran me into a ditch, while cursing me out. Share the road!
Having severe allergies AND asthma presents some challenges for me, particularly in the run portion of a race. I struggle to keep the asthma attacks under control, especially when I am stressed. (I also have a seriously messed up intestinal system, as a result of years of undiagnosed Celiac disease, so fueling my body for long periods of intense activity is a constant challenge) Here I am heading out for the run portion, sucking down some GenUcan, while shaking up my Albuterol Inhaler.
How’s THAT for multitasking? I had two loops of the run course to go, which included running up these stairs (100+ of the buggers) TWICE.
That aint no Stairway to Heaven, let me tell you. The first loop went great, and as I ran back through the transition area, I didn’t get directed to the right place, and ended up going the wrong way. (oops, should have scoped that out beforehand!) At this time, I thought I was at least in the lead for my age group, and with every second counting, I got a tad bit upset. You DO know how high strung I am, don’t you? Well, this set me off on a lovely asthma attack, which had me wheezing starting to choke up and get dizzy, which escalated into me getting emotional, bla bla bla. Jeff was right there to calm me down and encourage me, which worked, and I just kept running. I managed to get it all back together, and finish well, even winning second in my age group of women 50-59.
Overall, with the changes to the swim, the hills, the maniac redneck, and the stairs, this was a fantastic race. I loved the challenges, and testing my body. I’m thrilled with how my training is proving to be spot on, and I’m looking forward to the next adventure.
Thanks for sharing this journey with me. As always, I welcome your comments, and I’d love to hear about your training.
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