Triathlon Season is Over, What’s Next?

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely divinely aware.–Henry Miller

I’ve gone from 0 to half Ironman in a little over 4 months since I completed my first sprint triathlon and 9 months since I started training. WOW!

It’s such a feeling of accomplishment! I managed to do a half Ironman Duathlon (doesn’t count as a triathlon since the swim was cancelled)

Big Kahuna Summary

I was lucky before I even got there… I had free crash space, thanks to Ric and Peter, and got a ride to Santa Cruz and back with Gary (a teammate from TNT summer team who later rolled over to Fall to do Big Kahuna with the fall team).

I was also worried if I was going to get there on time to register and if there would be slots left by the time I got there… call me paranoid but I’ve always preferred to do things way in advance. It was not a problem… I got my stuff (bib # 1110) and headed to the hotel to connect with roomies.

I love hanging out with Peter and Rick. They are really cool and a hoot to be around.

We started Sunday at around 4:30am. It was kinda funny to see 3 guys packing bottles, getting dressed and off to the transition area a Depot Park. I ‘m glad to report that It’s taking me shorter and shorter to setup and prepare for transition.

We got to the water; it was foggy as all hell and I could barely see 20 feet. They kept us waiting for an hour before canceling the swim altogether.  I know there were a lot of us who were really upset but Drew reminded me that I still have a shitload of work to do… as usual coach knows best. The challenge was still up and damn it if I was going to walk away from it.

We ran from the beach (to the right side of the pier if you’re familiar with Santa Cruz) to the transition area at Depot Park and then onto the bike. We biked out to Highway 1 and then began the roller coaster. I was concerned that I hadn’t previewed the course but it ended up not being as hard as everyone had painted it… doesn’t mean it was a piece of cake, it was the hardest ride I’ve ever done in terms of course difficulty but it wasn’t like my legs were falling off. I knew that was coming in the run.

The ride was so amazingly beautiful. We had the ocean to the left on the way out and to the right on the return. There were lighthouses to see (although we didn’t bike to the one in San Mateo county, but it was visible from our turnaround. It was still a fast ride, perhaps too fast, but I felt good about it regardless of the cramps that started at about mile 40 to 42 on the bike. I had lost my salt tablets so I knew that cramps this early were not a good sign. I had to play with stretching and massaging the cramps the best I could and pray for a somewhat ok run/walk half… the one bright spot is that it wasn’t my calves that cramped; it actually was everything but my calves 😀

The run started ok… It was a 6.55 miles out and back .  The amount of pain I was in the last time I ran more than 8 miles was still very fresh on my mind. I wasn’t wondering if the pain would come in but where I was going to hurt and how bad it was going to get before the end.  Drew had warned me that pain would be there so I built into my mental picture.

I did ok until about mile 5, that’s where the cramps came back on all their painful glory. I thought I would be able to massage them and keep going but that only lasted for another half a mile or so before the cramps became too painful to run.

I had decided when I had mentally committed to the race that the swim and the bike were the important parts because they are the ones with time limits… I could always walk the 1/2 marathon if I had to.

I admit that, more than once during the walk back, I considered the possibility of just saying fuck it and waiting for someone to pick me up. But to me pride is a very weird concept… mom has always told me that whenever I set my mind to something I’ll move heaven and earth to accomplish it. I so hate it when she’s right.

When I got down to the beach I saw Drew, Stephanie and Stefany. I can’t really tell you in words how much it meant to me to see them there. Drew offered to support me when I said forget it one last time… Pride kicked in (wonder if that was the plan all along) and I managed to jog to the finish line and to my last accomplished goal of the season.

The coach from Fall team was just as worried as Drew was. They kept feeding me water and Gatorade.  All I needed to know was that I was done and that the race/season was over. I took my legs back to the ocean for an icing (yes, the water was that cold) when I came out, I had to ask the EMTs for extra ice for my knee but I was ready to head back to the transition area to get my stuff.

There were so many conflicting emotions: I made it! Now what? Oh shit my legs are hurting! Where is the beer? Thank you God for giving me the strength to finish!

I made it back to transition right before they closed it. Barely had energy to throw all the shit into the transition bag and walk back to the hotel, shower and go hunting for food (a beer, a bacon cheeseburger and piles and piles of fries.

I don’t think any of my roomies, original and adopted, had any energy to move much after the big ass race so we stayed until Monday morning. Breakfast was awesome… Thanks for the idea Keeley!

As of today, Wednesday, my legs are still in recovery mode. They are feeling well enough that I may go for a swim tomorrow… easy 8 laps is the plan. We’ll just have to see how things work out.

Season Thank You Notes

There are a lot of people that I need to thank and wanted to do it now before too much time passes.

  • The TNT summer team coaching staff for giving me a great foundation to build from and the motivation to keep going
  • Gary and Peter for more rides home from Bike and Beer than I care to remember
  • JF for rides to and from practice/events
  • Peter and Rick for letting me crash their bedroom at BK
  • Keeley for being there throughout Pac Grove and BK training and for being such an awesome friend
  • Stephanie and Stefany also for being such awesome friends
  • Drew for training, advice, the 42 mile ride with crampy legs and for just being there to listen
  • Mom for all kinds of support, that which I realize and that which I have yet to

What’s Next

I’m slowing down training for a few weeks. Body needs to recover and I need to think and plan which events I really want to do for next year/season both physically and financially. One way or another I know I can do spring with either cycle or tri TNT teams without having to fundraise again but the question is what is it that I really want to do.

Over summer I had mentioned wanting to do cycle and run teams before deciding if I wanted to do the Iron Team for 2011. That still holds true so I guess it would make sense to do cycle for Spring. It would also allow me to continue to improve my bike technique… as much as I’ve rode it can still improve a lot.  On the other hand I would hate to miss the Wildflower party 🙂

As far as Triathlons, these are the ones I would like to do, subject to money and physical limitations

  • Ironman 70.3 California (if there are slots open) or another half ironman around that same time
  • Wildflower Long Course
  • Silicon Valley Sprint or Olympic
  • Pac Grove Olympic
  • Big Kahuna