Let me explain. I have a huge sweat rate. Many of you have seen me struggle in the heat over the years and in all the years of racing I have actually been able to pee while riding my bike DURING a race.. once. Yep, once. There are multiple reasons for this but the two biggest are hydration issues and well, stage fright.
I'm sure there are some friends and family members reading this blog right now that are totally appalled with that last paragraph. Trust me friends, at one point I was pretty taken-aback myself. I remember before my first IM in Kona looking at my coach and saying "WHAT, I don't even understand what you saying trying to get me to do pee on my own bike! Won't it go in my shoes?!"
It's not pretty, but it's what the people who aren't willing to give up ONE second do and of course, pro's do like it's normal everyday business. Last year at Placid was the first time was able to make it happen and NO ONE was around. No one.. so I could finally you know.. ease up and let it flow! I was smiling ear to ear when I saw the sign that said "SMILE if you've peed yourself today!' I smiled so big and happily!! I even cheered! Yep, total dork.
For me that's a huge sign that I am actually where I need to be to be able to run (which I was able to do at Placid decently well, so that was just another confirmation). Anyway, that was the #1 goal for this race - pee on the bike. Sure, I had other executable items for the swim, bike and the run that I was supposed to NAIL and NONE of them had anything to do with setting me up for a final time. In fact, not ONCE during the race did I actually try to calculate my final time nor did I have a total running watch on my race time. I didn't have a clue. I knew my numbers for each and what I would be doing all day long. I wasn't there to race anyone else. In fact, it was to be looked at more as a chance to execute a plan more than even a race which is why I didn't plaster it all over my blog or FB that I was headed there. I just needed to focus and not worry about anything else or anyone else except for what I was there to do. Showing my coach I could do exactly what he said to a T was important to me and whatever the outcome was didn't really matter much. We didn't even really talk about it, it wasn't the goal. Peeing was!
I looked down to see
SWIM TIME 31:25 (ok.. not horrible, not great for me either...., moving on).
I head out on the bike with a specific goal wattage for the first half and then the second half. Feeling pretty good.. cadence is up and 10 mins in I start drinking as much as humanly possible for me. After the first 45 mins I'm through my first bottle. AWESOME.. I have 15 mins to try to consume another 1/2 (that's 36oz for those of you counting). I don't quite make it, but have it in by 1:07, decent I think. Passing lots of people, no sudden surges... stay consistent Kim.... nail that wattage, nail that wattage.. keep drinking.. keep drinking..
Somewhere in the second hour I end up with these two men who insist of staying right together (a little too close for MY comfort) and they keep passing me and then slowing DOWN forcing me to drop back and bringing my average watts down.. mother of pearl. I drop back.. wait a minute and then put on a hard surge to get the heck out of there.... 10 minutes later.. they are back.. they pass me and we're in the same place again. I almost feel like yelling at them - "I"M TRYING TO HOLD A WATTAGE HERE can you PLEASE stay consistent or just let me GO!" I keep my cool. We go through that at least twice more and I just finally back off enough to let them go in the 2 hour range.. I saw a Marshall pull closer to them up the road, I can only hope they got the one guy constantly hanging on to the other's wheel.
I see Kyle and he's cheering and I get excited!! Yes! We're doing it Kyle!!
It's 2:07.. I have to pee.. slightly.. I've made it through 3 bottles and am starting on my fourth from the course.. We make a turn and suddenly I'm alone.... I try.. I try!! No dice. This just isn't happening. I keep drinking and just hope to make this happen in transition.
We head in and it's time to run. I still feel good and despite the men and the surging I manged to nail the wattage averages for the ride. I'm optimistic about making my goal happen when I sit down in T2 to put on my shoes.
As I'm wheeling the bike into T2 I start to hear the announcer talking about the third women racking her bike. He's talking and talking and all of the sudden I'm sitting to put my shoes on in the grass.. relax relax.. you got this!! GO KIM!... and I hear his voice talking about my colorful shoes and purple socks and I know.. he's right behind me.. great. I tense up.. yep, still gotta go but not going to go in here!
I head out and for the first 5 minutes my Garmin won't go to "RUN" it's just stuck on the bike screen!!ARRRGGGHH!!! Will anything just go right!! I finally go so slow I'm almost crawling once I'm out of the crowds and turn it off, start over, and get it to go to the run screen.. finally.. still have to pee.
The woods are right off to my right.. and you know what.. I gotta go for it. I hauled off into the woods and grabbed a tree. SO much better.. So I'd say I 1/2 completed my goal. I've GOT to get this figured out though.. and SOON!
Finally out on the run course and the heart rate is good and the legs are turning over! I don't feel too bad!! FINALLY! Weather was in the 70's so not too hot either! I click through the miles trying not too worry about pace, only HR and what I think I can MAINTAIN. I start to wonder how close I am to the second and first place girl.. then I let it go.. I'm used to "hunting" but today isn't about hunting, it's about the plan. I just stay calm and stick to it. When I finally see #2 a little after the first mile I give her a good job and keep going. OK.. that felt a little good.. but back to the plan. Miles are coming in 6:25, 6:10.. we go uphill then down around, then uphill again on the three loop run course. Definitely not a flat course! My legs don't enjoy the downhill but I try to be quick and light on the feet! I finally catch at glimpse of the final girl right before we head into a wooded section and I follow her until we come out on the other side where we snake along the river to finally finish after lap 3. I try to pass confidently and head uphill to look for Kyle. He doesn't tell me a thing.. not how close she is once I pass, my time, nothing. He knows it not about any of that.. his only comment "follow your plan Kim!"
Two more laps and trust me, there were some lower parts! During the last lap when I knew there was no one to catch and I was starting to really feel the pain I talked to myself about how this was going to be a very common theme this year and next and how I'd better get used to pushing when I was alone (because plenty of times it will be because I'm at the back of the women's pro field) so it's either keep pushing even when there's no one to see or give up. "Whatcha gonna do Kim? Are you gonna go easy? Get soft? Let up? What do you want to teach your body and your mind?"
Man was I a happy girl. Not so much about the time or place, but just that it's been TWO years of trying to put together a solid half IM distance race and it finally happened. Nothing was spectacular and I still want to run a lot faster (moving time was actually 6:45 pace / 1:28 but I had that little watch problem / woods break!).
So thankful that Kyle was there to keep me on track and support me 110%. He's my rock and without him none of this dream chasing would be possible. He's there in the good times, the bad times and everything else. So glad that everyone from Pittsburgh was there and my Ballou Skies teammates were out there so we could cheer each other on, and just so thankful to have a great plan to execute and learn more about how to race consistently and put the pieces together. No it was not a big race, no it was no a pro race field, but it was just what I needed to gain some confidence and find my mojo to feel like with some work over the coming year and learning about the mental fitness it is going to take to show my physical fitness that eventually I have a chance to put a race together. It's there, it's just going to take time and energy to have it come together.
I believe in the plan.. I love to race no matter the outcome and I think it's a true blessing to get this chance ANY time I race, big, small, pro, amateur, first, last or otherwise. The hard ones teach us so much too and I know those are just as necessary. I'm committed to the process, whatever that is for me over the next few years!
I got to meet Ellen FYP athlete and she is on track to have an awesome season!! So great to finally meet you Ellen & plenty of other new friends/ bloggers - Katie T (who had an awesome race & placed 3rd with a time of 4:45!).
This was long as all get out.. sorry Kyle.. I suck.
Next time, I'm getting that goal done. Anyone else have issues with that part? How did you overcome it??
Friends Matty Mo & Billy also had great races!! Way to go boys!!!!!!!!!!
Kyle catching me taking a lake shower post race so I didn't have to ride home stinky for 7 hours!!
Ballou Skies for allowing me to be part of this great team that does so much good for boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Power bar for fueling me with delicious products that never fail me on race day. Newtons for helping me run with good form and hopefully, get speedier with time. Top Gear for outfitting me with a bike that works and helping me learn how to fix it along the way. Jesse my coach at QT2 Systems who I cannot say enough good things about! You are providing the tools to make this dream possible. Blueseventy for supporting our Ballou Skies team with super fast wetsuits and speedsuits!! You all keep me in the game, faster, longer and stronger – I can’t thank you enough!