Kirkland race report

21 09 2009

I survived the Kirkland Triathlon, but it was not my best race.

While I pushed hard on Sunday morning, I had three things going against me. First, I somehow messed up my nutrition and my stomach was upset throughout the race. I really need to figure out what I should eat in the days and hours before a race so that I feel my best. This time, I did not pay much attention to what I was eating on Saturday and I probably tried to take in too much on Sunday morning. This was after taking in nothing before my 10k in August and bonking 6 miles into the 6.2 mile race.

Second, after the swim I was warm and I decided not to put on a coat for the bike – big mistake. I ended up colder than I have ever been in my entire life. Although I felt okay on the bike, I was shivering so hard all I could do was focus on getting through the course. I dropped my chain and had to get off the bike to fix it around mile 8. At that point, I could barely stand up because my body was shaking so hard. After nearly slamming in to a Range Rover who decided to drive across the closed course, I made it to transition where I put on a coat for the run. I was numb from my knees down and I couldn’t feel my hands. Through the run, as the feeling came back to my ankles, feet and toes, I was in a lot of pain. I stopped at one point to take my shoes off and try to help my toes.

Third, I was probably coming down with a cold or something last week. I think my body held it off through the Sunday race, but by the time I took a nap on Sunday afternoon, I felt terrible.

I finished in about 1:41, considerably slower than is possible for me. My swim time was about 19 minutes. While I can swim 800 meters in a pool a little faster, I am happy with this time considering it was my first half mile swim in open water. The bike took me about 48 minutes, although maybe 3 of these minutes were spent fixing my chain. I am not thrilled with this time. I know I could have finished in closer to 40 minutes, but I was so cold I couldn’t focus on anything but surviving. My run time was about 28 minutes. Considering I stopped for a minute or two to help my toes defrost, this means I kept up a 9-minute-mile pace at the end of the triathlon, which is good for me. My transition times were both a little more than 2 minutes, which is okay considering how numb my hands and feet were. The biggest disappointment in all of this is the bike. If I had worn my coat and not been so darn cold, I could have shaved close to 10 minutes off my overall time. And I probably wouldn’t be sick today.

I am thankful to be done for the season and ready to rest and recover for a few weeks. I am hooked and I will continue to train through the winter. I am curious to see what I am capable of after a longer period of consistent training, when I’m not still recovering from bed rest and pregnancy. Next year I want to try an Olympic distance triathlon (1 mile swim, 26 mile bike, 6 mile run) as well as a half-marathon. Two years from now, I hope to do a half-ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13 mile run).

A few lessons I’ve learned:

  • I do not want to train hard past the middle of August. I want to spend the last weeks before school starts just hanging out with my kids, so my last big race of the season needs to be in August not September. Furthermore, I want to avoid races where I’ll be too cold and the weather is generally the best in the summer.
  • I need to keep up my specific triathlon training throughout the summer – keep swimming in open water, biking outside, and doing bike-run bricks.
  • I need to do more strength and core training to avoid injury and be stronger overall.
  • I need to figure out race nutrition. There has to be a happy place between bonking and having a stomach ache from eating too much or the wrong things before the race.
  • I want to buy a heart rate/speed/cadence monitor of some sort. One of the challenges of training this year has been that I’ve been going entirely on how I feel. Going into next year, I want to be more specific in what I need to accomplish in each workout and some sort of monitor would make this a lot easier. My goals include getting faster and building endurance in all three sports and I think being able to measure my progress would be helpful.

The best moment of the whole Kirkland Triathlon was when I came around the corner by Lake Washington Technical College on my bike. There I could see Evergreen Hospital. This time last year, I was in and out of the hospital in preterm labor. Last year I spent two months at Evergreen Hospital, first on bed rest and then with our son Zephan in the NICU. Looking at the hospital reminded me just how far I have come in the last year. Our whole family has survived an incredibly difficult season. On Saturday morning, Micah told me that I was “the best mama.” He then looked at Mark and said “Daddy is the best mama too.” And it is true – for much of the last year, while I was on bed rest, Mark had to be mom and dad to our boys. Asher and Micah had to deal with mom being on bed rest and then in the hospital for six months. Zephan was born two months premature, but from the first day he has been determined to breathe, eat, thrive. When I saw Evergreen Hospital, I was reminded that it didn’t really matter how fast I finished this race. The fact that I was there – riding a bike in a triathlon, with a healthy 10 month old baby and a happy family cheering me on – was victory enough.




2 responses

23 09 2009
Amber Weiseth

Wow! Sara, you are amazing! Your post confirms that I never ever want to do a triathlon. :). I am proud of your family. You are right when you say you survived a difficult year. Praying for God to continue to show you his plans regarding adoption.

23 09 2009

Really? Never? Didn’t I make it sound fun?

Honestly, that race was not so much fun, but I do plan to keep at it.

Mark’s reading the book Adopted by God and we’re continuing to talk. Thank you for your ongoing prayer.

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