Sunday, August 20, 2006

Know When TO Say When . . .

Know when to say when . . .

I have been called many things in my short lifetime. Hard Headed has been amongst them.

Amanda and I pulled into Arkansas around 3:30AM Friday morning. I had been driving since 6:30AM Thursday for meetings with clients and then a retirement party in Lake Charles which was so much fun.

I didn’t sleep well and was up and slowly moving around 9:00AM. I worked on the computer and was up and around about 10:00AM.

The BRtri Club members that were racing this weekend in the ½ Ironman were swimming around 5:00PM. I joined them and swam about 500 meters. The water was a little warm, but not as bad as River Cities a couple weeks ago.

I began feeling a little yucky while eating dinner at Pizza Hut.

Saturday morning I woke and went to see the ½ Ironman and root on my club friends. It was HOT. I felt bad for those racing. I was a ball of sweat and I was only standing and watching.

Our club really did well in this race. Konaboy came in 5th overall with a sub 5 hour race which is awesome on this course. Rust Queen came in third overall female AND sub 5 hours pace too.

Vanilla was the stud of the weekend. He raced just minutes above a 5 hour ½ IM, I think it was like 5:07???? He came in 4th in his age group which is very competitive and THEN HE raced today in the Sprint Tri and came in 4th AGAIN!!!! Kudos brother!

About 2:30pm my friend Ashley suggested I head out and keep hydrated. I am not sure if she saw I was feeling a little yucky, but I was. I just hate not being there to support everyone in their finish. Most times I am one of the last to finish so I never get to cheer people in and I like to take advantage of that when I can.

I saw everyone but Big D and Michelle finish. Sorry guys.

As I tried to rest Saturday evening I found myself continuing to sweat. I made a little pasta and Amanda saw the sweat all over the cooking mat in front of the stove. I overlooked it and continued to drink my Gatorade.

I have a difficult time sleeping before a race, but last night was an exception. I didn’t sleep. I laid my head down at 10:00PM. I was up at 2:00AM and I think I was able to get in an hour sleep.

As I arrived to the race course I felt tired. I wasn’t in a good mood. I wasn’t talkative as I usually am. Amanda sat beside me on the boat ramp and made comment on my looking a little rough.

I have a suggestion for everyone.

If you are not ready to race for whatever reason, KNOW WHEN TO SAY WHEN.

This will be repeated a couple times in this post.

I saw Caroline Smith, a tri stud form Team Earthquake, and a hottie across the field of racers. She waved and I actually began to feel a bit better. As I tread out to the start in the water I cooled down and was ready to race.

The under 34 males went off first, my group went out 5 minutes after them in a wave start. I started off slow to get my new stroke that I have been working on down and about 200 meters in I began to pick it up.

I was feeling pretty good about 400 meters and turned it up a little more going 4 strokes to one breath. I cruised into the boat ramp and jogged into transition.

My Dad said he thought I had a great swim. I figure I came out of the water middle of the pack in my age group and my Dad said that I passed a few of the yellow swim caps from the below 34 racers. Woo Hoo!

I felt my first signs of dehydration or whatever it was as I entered transition. Just before I arrived at my bike I began to feel light headed. I took my time at transition and headed out on the bike.

Just out of transition about 500 yards there is a nice hill that you have no momentum and really your legs haven’t adjusted from the swim yet. I focused and climbed as hard as I could. It took everything I had to get up that hill. As I topped the summit of the hill I knew I was in trouble. My legs were done. Not even one mile into the bike and I was shot.

The good news is there was a down hill to a spillway and I cruised down it hitting 39mph! I passed more than 10 people going down it. I am telling you, that the day there is an ALL down hill triathlon I am winning that sucker!

The wind seemed to be behind us on the spillway since I was cruising at about 18mph which is very fast for me. We went across another spillway in the resort area and the road was pretty rough.

Then came a little bit of stress for me. I was sweating bullets and there were fairly decent hills all along the backside of the golf course there at the resort. I wanted to stop several times. I continued to remind myself that I had conquered hills much harder than these in Birmingham and more of them. It worked and I chugged along.

Then there was a sweet downhill on the back side of the golf course and I was flying again passing three of four folks.

Then I had a mental laps. As I was flying down this hill I saw bikes going to the left, a HARD left. I freaked out and slammed on the brakes slowing way down. There was also a small laps in the volunteer as well. He was talking to his friend and didn’t see or hear me coming down the hill until I had started slowing down. He yelled “GO straight through!”

Oh CRAP!!!!! I blew my speed thinking I had to turn. My bad, I should have known the course better. I saw the loop and turn on the map but, I just flubbed it.

After several more little hills it was back across the main spillway.

Remember the hill I almost reached 40mph on? Yeah, well, I now had to go up that hill.

I were not to excited. (The bad grammar is for my little sister Natalie)

I tried to push in a strong gear as far up as I could and then slowly shifted into easier gears as needed. I only had about 3 miles left to finish the bike.

Finally I hit the point on the hill where I had to stop and walk it up. I clipped out of my pedals and swung my foot over and began to walk up the hill.


I was a little dizzy at this point. It was hot but more it was so humid. I was actually leaving a sweat trail.

I decided to stop and take a swig of Gatorade.

“Big guy! Big Guy! Talk to me big guy!”

As I opened my eyes I saw a little man in a red T-shirt standing over me slapping me in the face.

I jumped up. I think I freaked him out a second time then. I leaned on the metal railing beside the highway. He was pouring water on me and then I head the sirens. The ambulance pulled up and the two EMT guys came over and started asking me questions to which I think I aced!!!!!!

I don’t know how long I was out but I had a nice cut on my knee and I had dirt all over my left arm. When I looked on the ground where I was passed out you could see my body marked in sweat!

Tonight my left elbow and shoulder are very sore and my knee is a little banged up, but for the most part only my pride was permanently scared.

They put me on the bumper of the ambulance and took my blood pressure and gave me an IV. About 15 minutes later they were ready to haul me back to transition. I didn’t want to go in an ambulance. I was persistent. They made me sign a waiver. I did.

I rode back in the truck of a really cool volunteer fireman with bike in tow. I was so embarrassed.

I was a little pissed when I got to transition and threw a little bit of a tantrum that really no one would have noticed. I continued to sweat like a horse and I was becoming really hot.

As soon as they opened transition for exiting I was out of there and didn’t care if I ever saw De Gray Lake again!

After a few hours of cramping and trying to drink enough fluids I have decided that I will be back next year.

When I did Buster Britton in 2005 it took me around three and a half hours to finish and I walked 90% of the hills. This past year at Buster Britton I finished almost an hour faster and walked only a small part of one hill.

Next year I will conquer the De Gray Lakes Sprint Triathlon!

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