Yesterday, I tackled the Ironman 70.3 in Racine Wisconsin. Going in I was neither particularly nervous or particularly excited. I knew it was going to be a hard day. I knew that I was undertrained compared to my fellow athletes. I knew that it would test my limits. I knew that I would want to quit. I knew that I would have to “dig deep” in order to finish. I knew that I REALLY wanted to finish.
What I didn’t know was that the wind, which brought in that cool front, would be blowing hard and that Lake Michigan would be a total beast. It was the kind of day on the lake where hubby and I wouldn’t have even bothered to take out the boat. Large rolling waves which resulted in white caps up near the shore. I knew that was bad. I knew the swim would be super hard for me since it was already my weakest event. I kept wondering if it were even safe to swim out there? But they were sending out swimmers, wave after wave after wave and eventually it was my turn. I entered the water toward the back of my wave because I am a slower swimmer. We walked out, no running today because the big waves were coming in so fast that they were knocking us backward. We walked out to the point where it was inevitably “time to swim” and a few people got started. The ladies in front of me however were a bit “nervous” and just looking at one another. I yelled, “Let’s DO THIS” and that seemed to get us down and into swim position. The swim course wasn’t very technical with only two turns and long parallel to shore swim. This should have been somewhat easy.
Yet, it wasn’t easy. I can’t really say that I swam much. I would take a few strokes and then have to look up to see where the waves had pushed me. I would readjust, take a few more strokes, get swamped by more waves, then put my head up to look again. I was either floating up, or down, or to the side. My stroke was more of a flail than an actual swim stroke. Had I been a person prone to seasickness, I would have vomited. We were definitely rolling up and down with the waves.
Then when I could finally see the end, I started to kick. Hadn’t done much kicking before that point, and I almost immediately got a nasty cramp in my left calf. I had to roll over onto my back and massage it out, only to start swimming again and have it come back within minutes. I was not happy and was trying not to panic because I was SO close to the end. I just wanted to get out of the damn water. The lifeguard came to me with a surf board and let me hang on until the cramp passed. Not cool. Not normal. Not fun.
I did finally got out of the water and walked slowly to transition. I was thankful that I got out of the water on my own power. I was trying to catch my breath. Trying to recoup a bit. But my calf was very sore from the cramp and today it feels even worse. So the first, and most painful What Hurts? award definitely goes to my sore calf muscle.
The second What Hurts? award goes to my neck and shoulders. Apparently, all that flailing around in the water, keeping my head up to see where the heck I was going, and just the general roughness of the swim put the hurt on my neck and shoulders, which already suffer from limited mobility on a “normal” day. This was very noticeable as soon as I got on my bike and got down to ride in aero. OUCH. Now magnify this over 56 miles and 3.5 hours and wowzers, I can’t move my neck much at all today.
The third What Hurts? award goes to my left knee. Apparently my left calf muscle checked out after the swim portion of the race. It didn’t get the memo that I would be needing it for the entirety of the 70.3 miles. So since it withdrew from the race early, my left knee took over in the bike portion. Well, left knee started screaming at me about mile 30 and it hasn’t stopped screaming as of yet. Left Knee and Left Calf are having a major battle right now, playing the blame game and just being generally very pissy with one another.
The last What Hurts? award goes to the chafing department. What chafed? Hell if I know but I felt like I got burned while I was in the water. Both underarms are red, raw & have swollen patches. It could have been my sleeveless wetsuit, which has never previously caused a problem. It could have been my tri kit, which has never previously caused a problem. It could have been the waves beating the living shit out of me. Who knows but it hurts to wear clothes and put my arms down. No worries, I’m going to work “nakie” today and plan to hold both of my arms up in the air and pretend like I just don’t care!!! The super sexy photos are below if you care.
I’m going to take minute here to thank Mission Athletecare for protecting my skin so that I don’t have a 5th What Hurts? award. I do have a little bit of a burn on the back of my neck but I did swim 1.2++++ miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles over the course of 6 hours & 50 minutes in addition to running thru 10+ sprinklers/hoses, getting shot by several water guns and dumping at least 24+ cups of water over my head. All that with one application of sunscreen. So I’m super pleased that I’m sunburnt too! Thanks, Mission Athletecare!
This was a long day. I must say that I can normally walk away with minimal soreness and nothing really lingers. Today however is a bit different than the norm. No worries, I’ll be back at it soon enough but not today. I am resting, relaxing, hydrating and eating whatever the heck I want.
** Everything Hurts ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **