Monday, December 27, 2010

August 2010 and Wiesbaden 70.3 Recap

*** This is post 1 in a series of 5 posts meant to catch up on five months of blogging absence*** 

So August was the month of many transitions. We moved to the Netherlands on August 1st, spent a few days, then went to Slovakia for a 1-week vacation, to Wiesbaden for my race. After coming back (and a nasty bout of norovirus), Ondrej started working and I got the keys to our new apartment. A few days later, I also started my new job. So yes, August was very very hectic, but also very rewarding.

Race of the month: Ironman Wiesbaden 70.3

I went into this race with zero expectations. I had not really trained in a while (due to life getting in the way). My last swim had been on July 12th, and my last bike training on July 11th. I had kept up the running a bit longer, but in the three weeks preceding Wiesbaden, I logged a grand total of 11 miles. So yes, I had one hell of a taper. I was hoping to finish and that was about it. I realize now that planning my first 70.3 during such a hectic period of our lives was maybe not the best idea in the world.
You know the rule of "nothing new on race day"? Well, that only can be applied if you had the opportunity to try things beforehand. I had many new things on race day, fortunately everything worked out. "New on race day" items are marked with *. I'll spare you further details, but here is how the day went down.

Race Morning
I  woke up, ate a chocolate croissant* and drank hotel provided instant coffee (disgusting).
I took the bus (got motion sick) and made my way tot T1. I realized that apart from uncovering my bike, changing into my wetsuit and surrendering my clothes, I had nothing else to do but stare at other people doing a zillion other things and feel clueless.
A torrential downpour started. But really torrential.
While waiting for the start, I made small talk with fellow triathletes. I waas amused by how threatened they felt by my size (I am pretty tall) and their disbelief when I said I was completely untrained.
Fortunately, this race had a wave start, with the women starting straight after the pros and elites.
The Swim Start
I made my way into the water and my brand new, never tried before goggles* broke. Mild panic set in, but I fixed them. I decided to start on the far end, where fewer people were waiting. The swim was U-shaped, so everyone was keeping as far to the left as they could. I was happy to have the right side to myself. This was a great move, as I was surprisingly fast. I had never used a wetsuit to swim before* and had never realized how fast those things make you. Score! I passed a lot of people on the swim, even a few elites from the wave before. However, 3/4 in, I was starting to look forward to getting out!
The new wetsuit got me out fast!
I must have had the slowest transition ever. 8+ minutes to be exact. I was really thinking very hard whether I wanted to go on the bike... I also took a long time changing into a dry pair of shorts and a dry top.

The Bike
I eventually decided to start the bike. My HR was 180+ after running to the mounting line. I got passed a lot during the first 10 miles. They were flat-ish miles, but I wasn't in a hurry, I had not been on my bike in forever, and I knew I still had 5000+ ft of climbing.

Eventually the climbing started and I stopped being passed. Despite weighing almost 150 pounds, I am a pretty good climber. I just am terrible at the downhills, so I got passed a lot during those. I did not help that it was pouring again (really pouring).
Like I said: POURING
At some point, with 10 miles to go, I really needed to pee, so I decided it was time for a potty-break. The porta-potty was very precariously perched and kept wobbling, I was soaking wet, so the process took a lot longer than necessary. When I got a out, a guy was desperately in need of a pump, so I kindly lent him mine, which took him forever to figure out. Total length of the break: about 12 minutes. Needless to say, the few people that had not passed me by then, zoomed by.

When I finally got to T2, I knew there was a good chance I would finish. A volunteer took my bike, another one gave me my T2 bag, and off I went to the tent. I had put too many choices of clothes and food in the bag, so it took me a bit too long to decide on what to change into.

The Run
The run consisted of four laps through downtown. The course was flat-ish, but VERY muddy. The first two laps were fun. For some reason running off the bike came easily. I slowed down considerably at each aid station to eat.

The third lap was a lot more painful.The course was getting boring, and I was only half-way. Fortunately, I spotted my buns cheering, so that made me want to go a bit faster, so that I could see him again :-)
The last lap was hard! My legs were really cramping up, so things were a bit slower. There was a lot of walking in that last lap. Fortunately, it was also the last one.
And no, it wasn't me that finished in 5:55 (that was a relay team). It took me over 7 hours to finish.
So what did I learn: I need to plan my training better around major life events (duh), I need to work at my bike handling skills (I really only got passed going downhill), and perhaps I could save up for a carbon bike (I must have been the only person racing on a steel bike). But it was a complete blast, and I was very proud of myself for finishing.

Training for the month
Not much. Except for Wiesbaden, I logged one 5 mile running workout. That's all folks.

Travel for the month
 Loads and loads. Moving from State College to Breda. We also went for a week to Slovakia to visit Ondrej's grandparents. We had loads of good food, nice walks through town, and some museum visits.

My all time favorite Armenian Honeycake

Another delicacy including poppy-seed, butter, and powdered sugar
Loads of good coffee
A long weekend at the cottage in Modra
After Slovakia we went to Wiesbaden, where we visited some cool places.

Life Events
We moved and started our new jobs. Ondrej started on the 17th, while I started on the 23rd. We got the keys to our apartment on the 19th. So, the end of August was packed with IKEA visits, and furniture assembly.
Our apt building, in the middle of a park
The living room
Our first (and only) piece of furniture: the sofa bed
 For the first two weeks we slept on the sofa bed in the living room. Finally, we also got a bed.
Our tiny bedroom (the master bedroom became the hobby room)
Towards the end of August, we also had our living room area done
 Next up: September

1 comment:

  1. the pic of you riding your bike in the pouring rain & the coffee are awesome. Happy new Year!