Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink

Black Diamond race report (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run)

Tough race, not so much because of the course, but because of – well everything else.

Pre-race:

Up at 5AM, get dressed, pack and head out the door by 5:40. Hit SBUX for a bagel and coffee. For some odd reason our local SBUX has decided to replace the plain bagel with a “Hawaiian sweet bread” version. Quick bagel review: There’s a reason Hawaii is not known as the bagel capital of the world.

Mistake #1: Only having a bagel for breakfast at 5:45 and nothing else until I was on the bike at about 10-10:30

Arrived at Nolte State park around 6:30 and got inline for packet pickup and body marking. It was about now that the rain stared to pick up from a light drizzle to a steady downpour.

Hauled all my stuff to transition, found the bike/run exit gates, and spent some time looking at the course etc.

The swim is 2x around deep lake (twice around the 4 red buoys in the picture below)

IMAG0025

Side note: Somebody knew what they were talking about when they named this deep lake. Not even 5 feet from shore and the water was already over my head. Thankfully being in deep water doesn’t bother me.

Swim: 37:28

They start all the Olympic men together so there were 173 of us in the water at the same time. When the horn goes off to start swimming there are a ton of people around you. I lined up near the right-front of the group. First 200 yards or so were brutal. Got kicked a couple of times, and was swimming between two people. We kept hitting each other with our arms until the field got a little wider and space opened up. After about the first 1/2 mile the course opened up pretty well so the last 1/2 mile wasn’t bad at all. Raining lightly when we started swimming.

T1:

Here’s where the race started going south… When setting up my biking stuff, I put my shoes down, helmet on top of it, then glasses inside. Covered the entire thing with a grocery bag to keep them dry while it was raining. When I got to T1, I took the bag off and – no glasses. I only ride with glasses occasionally so if it had been a decent day I would have left w/o them. But today it was raining pretty good so I wanted to make sure I had glasses to keep water out of my eyes. Opened my gym bag where I keep everything, no glasses. Open the side pockets, no glasses. Was just about ready to give up when I noticed the grocery bag I had used to keep everything dry had a pair of glasses sticking out of them. Turns out when I pulled the bag off everything, somehow the glasses got stuck and came out/off with the bag. Wasted about 2 minutes looking for those things. Finished getting shoes on and headed out.

Bike: 1:28:47

Somewhere between the time I got clipped in, to the time I finished one complete pedal stroke I noticed – it hurt. Everything, quads, hamstrings, calf. My best guess is that because of the cold water and rain I needed far more of a warm up than I had because the first 10 or so miles were just painful. Legs felt dead and my hamstrings were cramping a bit. Not fun. And even though I finally warmed up, I never made up the rest of the lost time on the bike. The rain kept up for much of the ride.

Mistake #2: Long story short, I have only one water bottle cage on my bike. I have another cage (two in fact) on my mountain bike that I keep meaning to put on my road bike but never have. Well, I’ll be putting that second cage on ASAP. I finished my water bottle by about mile 15, and didn’t have anything to drink for the remaining 10 mile ride. By the time I finished the bike I was pretty thirsty.

Mistake #4: Only had one Shot Blok on the bike, so my total nutrition for the morning was 180 calories. Which would have been just fine if I had more for breakfast.

Happy to get off the bike I was hoping for a good run.

T2:

Never really have challenges in T2, this one was no different – helmet, bike shoes off, running shoes on. Except this time because I was pretty thirsty, I took a huge swig of water from the bottled water I keep in the transition zone (to spray water on things if needed). Then grabbed a cup of water and took a gulp from that one on the way out of the transition zone.

Mistake #5….

Run 58:57

Water sounded so good in transition, then about 1 minute into the run the big gulps turned into stomach cramps. Not really a side stich, but actual cramps. So instead of a good run, I slowed to a pace that let me keep running but not make the cramps any worse. Worked fine as I could keep moving forward but I skipped getting water at the 2nd and 3rd aid stations because my stomach was still a bit flakey so no water then either. By about mile 4 my stomach was fine but by then I think the lack of water, food various other issues through the day had its affect. I never really picked up the pace.

Post race:

Happy to be done, and it was a tough day, but totally enjoyed the experience of the longer distance. Had a headache until about 5PM (I’m guessing from the dehydration) and am still kind of thirsty today. Lots to work on over the off season, but a big part is going to be understanding and figuring out proper nutrition and hydration for the half IM.

I’ll take the next week off completely. Will probably hit the Dr.’s office though as I’ve started to have some pain after running that I think needs to be looked at. Off season training and setting next years race schedule starts in a few of weeks.

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