Monday, October 31, 2005

The day I thought my toes fell off!

This was a great race. My goal 3:05. I know that is a really bad time, but for me I would have been happy with it.

Amanda and I had to go to Morgan City Louisiana Saturday night for a client retirement party. One of my newest and coolest clients. We departed there and arrived in Natchitoches around midnight.

Daylight savings, a good thing to remember.

I set the alarm for 4:30 am and hit the sack. I have got to figure out how to sleep the night before a race. I literally wake every 30 minutes and look at the clock. This night was no different. Finally 4:30 arrives I wake, turn off the alarm, and head to the shower. I feel a little tired and sluggish so I decided to take a really cold shower.

As I am leaving to load my bike and double check my gear, I notice no one has left for the race as of yet and that there is not one sign of life milling around. Hmmm? I go back to the room, turn on the weather channel, 36 degrees, YES! But, the time says 3:50 am?

Then I remember.

I put on my biking shorts and hp back into the sack, then reset the alarm for 4:40am.

I rise, eat my banana and wake Amanda. She hates waking up this early, but she puts on a champs face for me.

I go back out and start the truck for her and my sister Natalie and my very good friend Mitchell. They are cold weather haters. I see Mitch on the way back in and couple other folks preparing for the race.

It is cold. I don’t mean chilly, I mean cold. I sweat in all circumstances. I was sweating this morning, but the problem with that was, I was freezing because of it. My toes were purple.

There were a lot of BRtri club members there and a few other friends. Butters from the BR Rugby team was there. He did his first Half IM last weekend. Go Butters! And then I spent a little while talking to Mike Pate, my mentor of the tri world.

Time to race.

As I stood there on the plank awaiting my entrance to the so called 72 degree waters I felt my feet disappear from my body. I checked to make sure they were there . . . They were, but my brain didn’t know it. I was laughing at people (on the inside) when they would jump into the water. I would see them jump in and then begin to flail around a bit, or side paddle, or breast stroke. I kept thinking to myself, “these guys are struggling already?”

Then it came, my time, my time to shine, my time to jump in a swim right off the get go with my newly trained “Fitbird” stroke from the Nat. I get back run forward, jump, hit the water feet first! I come up for air . . .

I CAN’T BREATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

I try and move my arms, but they are saying to me, “Screw you man, we’re outaa here!”. As I wrestled with my state of mind, I realized that I might be drowning! It was so COLD!!!!!!!!!!!!! I stopped moving all together and collected my thoughts. I said to myself, relax, the freak’n water is only 4 feet deep. I began to breathe slowly and breast stroke. Yes, like ALL the others I had seen hit the water before me.

After about 300 m into it, everything was fine. When I say fine, what I mean is, I couldn’t feel a thing! I put in a 23 minute swim on 800m. I wanted 19 minutes, but didn’t happen. Out of the water and to the bike.

I ran for the first time!

I said to myself that this race I was going to push it hard. I think I did, but I’m not sure. But, I did run from the water to the bike, where most of the time I walk it trying to gain strength.

This was the first race that I didn’t wear my signature Bermuda swim trunks. I decided to wear my cycling shorts the whole race. I really helped. I had the two fastest transition time of my short career BY FAR. My T2 (bike to run) transition was 2 minutes.

I jumped on the bike and immediately began to cuss (on the inside). It was cold, my toes were frozen and right after you get on the bike, I mean immediately after, you have to climb a little hill with no MO! (momentum) I was not happy. After almost riding off the hill into the grass I began to buckle down and Vanilla, a bad azz racer in of club was hollering at me to push it and pedal. I did and I made it up the hill.

The bike.

I am not exaggerating when I say my toes were frozen. After mile 4 or 5, I stopped worrying about them. Either they were going to fall of or not, I wasn’t stopping to find out.

The course was a little hilly, mostly rolling but, it still sucked because of how cold I was.

I am looking forward to losing more and more weight. I have lost 39 lbs so far the season (since May) and I plan to be down another 70 lbs. before my first race next year. That would put me right at about 300 lbs. I would have lost 105 lbs in one race season.

The reason I say that is because it is hard enough to do these races, but to have to pedal a bike while your knees are banging your belly having to lift your fat in order to make a full cycle, that takes its toll after while. I’m getting there.

The road was bumping in the beginning and end, but really smooth for the bulk of it.

Into the transition to the run my legs were sore, very sore. The insides where that muscle attaches to the knee area, burning.

I had the best transition of my life! I was in out and running. I have never done that and it was great.

As I was leaving the transition area I saw most of my fellow club members all ready digging into the meat pies, jambalaya, and beer. MMMMMMMMM, Beer.

I asked Matt for a bite of his jambalaya as I ran by, but he wasn’t prepared for that particular aid style service, so I trotted on.

Just as we had to bike up a little hill on the bike, we had to run up stairs to begin the run. Half way up OI felt great, then the legs cramped up in the same spot as the bike, were the large muscle attaches on the inside of the knee. So I walked about 200 yards over the bridge loosening them up.

The run was great. Lots of shade. Flat. I couldn’t ask for anything else, EXCEPT for maybe one thing.

It would have been nice to feel my feet. I felt as though I were Dempsey, the great SAINTS field goal kicker with half of a foot. My foot would come down, but I wouldn’t be able to tell it until about my heal. This went on for the first mile and a half until it slowly began to thaw.

About two and a half miles into it, I began to feel my foot, but not the toes.

Again I tried to push myself to the limit. I walked very little and when I did I immediately began looking for my “return to running” spot 50 yards or so ahead. I was struggling. My run looks like most peoples leisurely walk.

As I came into view of the transition area from across he river, I could hear my wife, Mitchell and Natalie screaming for me. Man what a feeling. One to hear that encouragement and two knowing I am so close to the finish!

I turned the corner and hit the bridge towards the finish. I could hear them giving away awards over the PA. I wished I was there to see so many of my club members accept awards. One day I will make it there in time for that. I trotted along with a purpose of finishing and beating my goal of 3:05:00. It was 3:01:02 when I turned onto to the last road before the finish. I saw Clay from our club run up the hill to root me on and push me AND THEN I heard them announce he had won or placed or something. I was very happy for him

I tried to kick up my snail pace and I did and it hurt. As I turned to run down the hill we rode up on the bike I looked at my watch and it said 3:03:59.

CRAP! I was trying to keep a smooth run going but it was hard going down that little hill. I was about 25 yards away and I was freaking because I was not getting anywhere fast!!!!!

As I got close to the finish I looked at my watch again, 03:04:40. I knew I was going to make it but, I wasn’t positive so I tried to go faster and I know I must have looked like a dork, but my legs just wouldn’t go along with the plan.

I crossed at (according to my watch) 03:04:56.

I sat down. I drank some liquids. I talked to Butters for a second. Clay came over and then I saw Matt. They congratulated me. I thought about taking a nap.

After about 5 minutes or so I walked over JUST AS they were announcing the BRtri and won the State Champ trophy AGAIN!!!!

I know I didn’t have anything to do with it, but it felt good to be apart of the group as it always does.

We have great racers and great people in our club.

That is my season. I had a total of 7 races, one DNF, and a lot of great experiences. I’m looking forward to next season.

Thanks to all that have been so supportive in this endeavor of mine.

God Bless!


Anonymous said...

Great Job Chris. By the way, You DID have a part in helping BR TRi get the trophy. Every competitor got a point for finishing the race. You did make a difference. Thanks for posting your struggles and success. Keep us posted on the winter. You are an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

An an even bigger part than the point that you accrued...the inspiration that you are likely giving so many by getting out there for so many races and achieving your goals. Haven't had a chance to meet you just yet as I've been away from racing for a little while (since GC in May), mostly slacking but getting married and such. I'm back training and your story and posts have been an inspriation to me for sure. Look forward to meeting you training and racing soon.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. It is couregeously honest.

Anonymous said...

The hardest part of life is just showing up! Guess what DUDE... you did and with a big smile on your face and a great attitude! Thank you for your participation and presence in BRTRI!

P.S. Maybe you can get some bike tights made with the bermuda short print?

Anonymous said...

CHRIS! YOU FRICKEN ROCK DUDE! Some tough times came for you in the middle of the season, but you never gave up. Not only did you do an awesome job in achieving your goals, but helped many others in the club to achieve theirs'. I had a ton of fun in the races I did with you and can't wait to race and train next year with you. GO BRTRI!

-Andy E

Anonymous said...


No doubt you did great Sunday. Keep working hard. You've got a fan in Lafayette.

John Fell

Anonymous said...

Road Trip,

The third hardest thing I have done this year was my first triathlon (the 1st Abitaman w/ a pool swim). The second hardest thing I have done all season was finish a Half-distance race 6 months after my first tri ever. The hardest thing I have done in my life is understand that this is a lifestyle. You are living it. Every step you take forward, whether running or walking, is one less step backwards. Keep up the training, but, more importantly, maintain your positive attitude and you will remain an inspiration to us all to work just a little bit harder to be who we really are. You have done a great job this year, and it was my pleasure to be there when you finished at Meat Pie. You are lucky to have such a great support system, from Amanda to the Br Tri Club. Congrats.
With you,

Robert "Butters" Corley