Monday, July 7, 2008

Burning Balls & Turtleheads: Lake Stevens 70.3 Race Report


Before I fill you in on Lake Stevens 70.3, please do me a huge favor and add my new website: http://bengreenfieldfitness.com to your blog links. Share it with your friends! Hang it on the wall! Feed it to your dog!

I'll owe you one. This site will remain my race report site, but BenGreenfieldFitness will have more blogging, podcasting, and other freakishly cutting-edge content.

So Lake Stevens is an interesting little town. We (my wife and our twin chihuahuas) actually stayed in Bothell, thanks to the Steve and Tia Rupe family and their hospitality.

The race time was a ungodly 6:30AM. But since the bikes have to be checked in the night before, you just kinda show up, put on your wetsuit, and race.

I made sure to use my special Greyhound muscle warming cream and in my haste of preparation, put it on *before* applying vaseline to the rest of my body. Yes, vaseline is what I use when I don't have any Bodyglide handy. It helps prevent chafing and keeps the wetsuit slipping and sliding off your body as you slip and slide into transition from the swim.

So anyways, I also put vaseline on other more intimate places as well to help with chafing from the bicycle seat. But my muscle warming balm was still on my hands when I did so. So about 5 minutes before the swim, my testicles were seized with cayenne pepper fury. Nothing to make you swim fast like the feeling of little piranhas nipping your crotch.

The pros started 5 minutes prior to the age group waves. Lake Stevens is unique in that the buoy line can be seen under the water, so you really don't have to sight or look where you're going. It's just like staring at the bottom of the pool, except without random lost goggles and sunken YMCA membership cards. Just dead fish and rotting seaweed.

So I was a bit scared going into this race that I wouldn't be fully recovered from Ironman Coeur D' Alene 2 weeks ago. I've had no hard workouts since, not because I didn't want to, but because my body simply wouldn't cooperate. So this would be the first time I really pushed myself outside what my body wanted to do, other than when I smoked the pack of cigarettes last Monday and tattooed my Grandma's name on my left inner thigh while I was still on my nicotine high.

Off we go. The swim felt OK, but I experienced that breathlessness you get when you haven't been working out hard, and then say, "Hey lungs, time to get really big, really fast." That feeling stayed with me the whole swim, but from what I could tell, I came out of the water with the leaders, for the most part. Of course, there are always a few Mermen up ahead. This is what I call the triathletes who have great big upper bodies and swim like mermaids, but get out of the water and hey, guess what, no legs!

So I came out onto the bike all excited and hot under the collar to go hard, but it wasn't to be. It took about 20 miles before my legs felt even slightly warm, and twice leading up to that point I nearly quit and limped back into transition, thinking I was completely smoked from Coeur D' Alene. But I kept pedaling, and eventually the legs came around.

I rode up on the back of the pros by the end of the first loop and finally encountered the first water station after being out of water for nearly 15 minutes. As I zoomed past and attempted to snag a water bottle, I missed the first, missed the second, finally grabbed the third, and was 50 yards away from the station before realizing it was about 1/4 full.

I spent the next 5 miles of the second loop riding up on fellow cyclists and asking for water. Some female age grouper (bless your heart, you know who you were - me, the guy on the black-red Specialized pro, you, the woman on the grey bike with the yellow shorts) gave me a full bottle. Amped up that I was no longer going to dehydrate, I pressed on.

To my amazement, I came off the bike strong, and in first place among the age-groupers. I think the bike course was slightly long, but I didn't mind because it's easier to bike after Ironman than it is to run! As a matter of fact, I passed many of the pro men and headed out on the run with confidence that I need to throw down a conservative half-marathon to qualify for the World Championships in Clearwater.

3 miles down the road, however, I thought back to the swim dock at 6:30am, and how I felt like I had to go the bathroom while I stood there in my wetsuit. Not a warm-me-up pee, but a nice big number Two. I had managed to hold it in the whole swim and bike, but once the body starts jarring up and down during the run gait, stuff doesn't stay tucked up inside very long. As Fat Bastard would put it, I had a turtlehead poking out.

With no porta-potty in site, I made a beeline for a group of trees in a field, yanked down my pants, and let 'er rip.

60 second later, I was off and running, with very little time lost, all things considered. Besides, I run much faster when I'm not massively clinching my butt-cheeks.

It felt really, really good, people. That's why I'm blogging about it. Probably the highlight of the weekend, really.

My run was a bit slow. If you scroll through the results, it's obvious that I really need to work on my half-marathon pacing. I was passed by one age-grouper from Argentina at about mile 10 (he beat me by well over a minute, so he was obviously flying), and ended up 11th overall, 2nd amateur, 1st in my division.

Here are my splits:

Total Time: 4:24:03.64
Swim: 28:47
Bike: 2:24:45
Run: 1:28:11

So anyways, that means I get to go race Half Ironman World Championships in Clearwater, Florida in November!

Hopefully I'll be able to hunt down some pics of this race and get them up. In the meantime, remember to go to www.bengreenfieldfitness.com and PLEASE link to it from your blog if you get a chance. Thanks!

Ben
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