Sunday the saga continued with another race. I have to say, I am looking forward to a bit of a break from racing. My training has really suffered with all this racing interrupting my training plan.
And while my race at Racine went about perfect, I continued my streak of bad luck at Tri-ing For Childrens. So I'll get into the report...I'm going to try to keep the humor as I go through things starting earlier in the week.
So Sunday was the Racine 70.3. Monday I had my bike fit. I was pretty sore after Racine but John got me warmed up and stretched out. I was on the bike that day for about an hour. Almost all zone 1. Tuesday I was still really sore. But I wanted to ride the new fit. I stayed on the trainer to make sure I stayed aero the entire time...but got interupted and only rode about 30 minutes. Wednesday I ran for an hour, it was burning hot. I was still a little sore but pretty much better. I swam that morning too. My neck and shoulder had been giving me a lot of trouble so I wasn't in the water much all week. I haven't done real intervals in quite some time.
Thursday afternoon I was going to run but the storms and tornado's put that thought to an end. I was busy manually starting my sump pump every few minutes with all the cats in the basement.
Friday I was a zombie from not sleeping. Did nothing. Saturday morning I did a 1 hour ride while watching the tour. My diet all week consisted of going out to eat a lot. Really crappy.
Onto the race:
So for those of you who were at the race, some of this you will know, some of this you won't. I don't like to make excuses for performance...so at the end of the day I went as fast as I could that day.
I woke up and things were already wrong. I had a splitting headache and my guts were a mess. I suspected my stomach would be a problem as I had a larger meal later in the evening than i would have liked. But I rarely ever get headaches. So I went down stairs and took a couple tylonol and a bunch of digestive enzymes to get things moving.
Normally I would have had some cereal, but I wasn't feeling good enough for that. So I grabbed some water and got in the car as it is a 45 minute drive. I started to feel a bit better...at least my headache was going away. But my guts were giving me some trouble and I was worried about the race.
I got to the race sight and was hoping to go to the bathroom as I normally do before a race. Alas, it was not meant to be. At that point the thought of a race-time crohns attack started going through my mind. Afterall, there are only a couple things that can prevent me from going to the bathroom!
Anyway...I tried to go through my pre-race rituals. I went for a little warmup run and finished getting my gear together in transition. Said high to a bunch of grinders. Got into my wetsuit and went down for a warmup swim. Things felt pretty decent other than the water being very warm. Fortunately the air was cool. As race time approached all my other issues seemed to fade away. Competition does that for me.
My goal for the swim was to stay with Will and Scott who were going to be the lead swimmers. From the start everything was going fine. The horn went off, we started running and Will, Scott, and I took off. They were side by side and I was drafting of the two of them as I had planned. The pace was fast, but not ridiculous. I knew I'd be breathing hard after this swim. We made the first turn and i was still with them, and right before the 2nd turn they were gone. I still don't know exactly what happened. Either I slowed or they hit an acceleration. Maybe I went off course a little and just lost the draft long enough to lose them. I'm not sure. But as I took a sighting they were about 30-40 feet in front of me. I briefly thought about putting in a hard effort to catch up, and then did. Took a sighting after a bit and wasn't any closer. They were gone. UGH!! I apparently led a pack of 8 into the finish after that.
My biggest question right now...what is happening to my swimming. At Elkhart I swam a low 19. At Pleasant Prairie I was in the 20's. At Racine I swam a 30. And at this race I swam a 20:40. I've been getting slower and slower. Perhaps Childrens was a bit long. It was certainly longer than last year. But in any case Scott only swam a low 19, something I know I am capable of. I suspect my race schedule is a big part of the problem. I've been taking rest prior to races and recover after races. I also hurt my knee. As a result my training has not been consistent at all...and I need to correct that.
The other issue is my neck and shoulder. For the last 3 weeks they've been aweful. Fortunately I think I may have this resolved. My old bike fit had me a bit cock-eyed and putting a lot of pressure on my right side. funny thing, my shoulder has been slowly getting better and better since the new fit.
Prior to Elkhart when I went for Nationals I was working out a TON and loving it. But in the last 7 weeks I've had 5 races including a half iron. While it's been a lot of fun and I've had great results compared to last year...it's also been very disruptive to my training and I think i've slowed down in all three disciplines as a result.
However I feel I must say something. Scott B, damn nice swim. Even though you went to Point and I just can't stomach the thought of a Pointer beating me, especially slacking lazy sprinter, its obvious you're the better swimmer (at the moment). You and Matt have both been good enough to answer all my questions, no matter how stupid. So when the season is done I figure I owe you both a beer.
Anyway, onto the bike.
T1 went pretty well. The trick to getting out of my wetsuit is putting lube on my leg and the inside of my suit. done it twice now, beautiful.
So I come running out of T1 and just based on not feeling 100% I decide to not do a flying start...thank god!!!!! I run past the mount line get on the bike, kick the pedal to the front to clip in...and my chain drops. I felt like Andy Schleck!!
According to eye-witness accounts I said, "Oh shit"! Dismounted the bike, put the chaing back on, sliced my thumb open, got on the bike and off I went. By that time I think I was laughing with a volunteer about it.
Seriously!? I check my gearing when I rack my bike in T1. But some wonderful person in transition must have hit the shifter because instead of being in the big ring, it was geared into the small. So in 5 races I've crashed twice, hyperextended my knee once, and had my chain drop out of T1. At least they are getting less severe!
Off I went and hit the course. For the first 5 miles or so my power felt fine and I was looking pretty good. After that things started to fall apart. My power started to steadily decline from about 310 watts. My legs were burning and aching in places they had not hurt before. At that point I realized I was going to pay for that new bike fit.
I knew it was going to take time to get used to, I was warned it would take 3 weeks...and that after only one week my legs would possibly revolt a bit. What I wasn't prepared for was how much they would revolt.
In my pea brain I figured 5-10 watts lower, no big deal. I'm tough, I'll puch through. Oh no. I wanted 300-305 watts...295 would have been a dream at that point. At the mid-way point of the ride I had dropped down to 280. By the end of the ride I was sitting at abot 278. My speed at the Racine 70.3 was higher than at this Oly race. I was not pleased.
In my defense I will add two things.
#1 it was a bit windy. Nothing horrible, but it felt like the wind was in my face the entire way.
#2 the course is not flat. Don't get me wrong, it is a fast course. But not nearly as fast as Racine. While there are no real climbs at Childrens, there are several areas of rollers and I found it difficult to really maintain a steady power output. It just felt like a constant barrage of ups and downs. Nothing big, but enough to disrupt a steady power output.
Got into T2 and was tired. I spoke with Nate who said I looked wasted already. For the most part I was. My legs were not there...and I was happy to be off the bike. Normally I love the bike.
T2 was pleasanly uneventful. I didn't trip and fall or do anything equally stupid to embarrass myself. That's not really a high standard to live by, but hey...beggers can't be choosers.
Hit the run and was doing okay. I started off running 7:05's. Considering how I felt I was pretty happy with that. My stomach was giving me some trouble, but not serious. The first lap was uneventful, however I didn't take any liquids or calories. I just couldn't stomach anything at that point. By the second loop I was just tired. My legs were aching, probably from that ride and I just wasn't holding my pace. At that poing my stomach started getting more and more bloated. I took a cup of water and took a sip, spit it out and put the rest on my head. It was around then I felt the first hint of a cramp and knew my crohns was acting up. Not the best of timing.
At around mile 5 Larry Lanza ran me down. As he went by I told him he wouldn't be running me down like this next season. There will be lots of running for me in the off season. He'll probably still beat me overall...but this running me down like I'm standing still has to stop.
Anyway, I finished with a 2:14 and change. 13th overall. The swim was longer than last year and the run was challenging due to several muddy sections that slowed everyone down. W/out those two changes I was probably closer to a 2:12+. But everyone gets the same course.
After the race I started to get progressively worse. My stomach was hurting. I had a sandwich and coke hoping that would settle things a bit. It helped for a little while, but not much. I stuck around at the GG tent for a while and chatted with a few GG's. But there came a point in time when my guts were giving me a lot of trouble and I had to leave. So I did, no good-byes or anything...I just had to go.
Started driving and things got progressively worse and worse. The waves of cramping had begun in earnest. I finally made it home and unpacked a little bit. Went to the bathroom and threw up the sandwich and coke. So much for getting in a few calories. I decided to risk taking some prednisone hoping I'd keep it down. Thankfully it did stay down as I went to bed with a heating pad after I took them. I fell asleep for an hour or so and stayed in bed most of the afternoon. By the end of the day I was feeling good enough to eat some solids and went to...you guessed it...McDonalds. Double cheeseburger, fries, shake. To this day it boggles my mind that when my Crohns flares like this that the crappiest food on the planet is what makes it feel better.
Fortunately by the end of the day I was actually able to go to the bathroom. I won't get into any details, however it was glorious in a way which only another Crohns patient can understand. :-)
Now I have to do a little thinking. Over the course of this racing season i've had four or five seperate crohns attacks. That is more than I have ever had for a given time period. Thankfully none have been serious, but they've all caused a certain amount of rest/recovery disrupting my training and life. They've all required prednisone too. My original plan was to call my doctor and get in to see him earlier, but I have an appointment in 3-4 weeks and he's got nothing sooner. So I'll have to deal with it until then.
There are only a couple things I can think of causing this trouble.
First is my job. I don't like what I'm doing or the company and it is causing a lot of unnecessary stress. Stress is a killer for me. I work hard to keep it under control. That is tough in my current position.
Second is my race schedule. All of the fluctuations in my plan coupled with the rest/recovery and then racing hard could be causing trouble. Last season I kept my races to a max of two per month. They were also spaced out. This year I did 3 in June and now 2 in July.
Third is diet, but realistically my diet has not changed enough to cause this. I've actually stayed away from things like peanuts, popcorn, and raw veggies which are the most likely culprits.
So we'll see what the doc says in a month. I'd rather not go on any more long term medications.
Anyway, that as they say, is the rest of the story. So for those of you that saw me on Sunday and thought I was acting a bit odd, (massaging my stomach a lot) now you know why.
I skipped my swim this morning due to the attack. Cold water and crohns do not mix for me. I plan to make it up tomorrow. Beyond that I have a nice normal training schedule planned. I am feeling good enough to bike tonight, and I obviously need to. I may try a short run depending on my guts.
I'm happy to be done racing for a little while and will hopefully get some solid training under my belt. My plan is to focus on biking for the next two weeks. I want to make sure I get my bike fit really dialed in and my power back up to par. After that I am going to really focus on swimming and running in preparations for nationals.
Unfortunately Nationals is the same weekend as the GG end of year party...so i won't be there to accept the jackass of the year award which I so obviously deserve.