Folsom Lake Long Course Triathlon Race Report – DNF
The race was located in Sacramento, so, Claire and I traveled via the I-5 in the Prius all the way there. We left on Friday after I got off work. It took a bit longer to get all the final preparations ready for the trip, which led to a late start of around 3PM. This meant that we ended up arriving to Sacramento at around midnight, with the last 80 miles of the drive being a total nightmare from being so tired.
The next day, Saturday, we went to pick up the packet and pay for the registration for the race. This was the first time I had traveled so far without having previously registered, fortunately, there were no issues. Then we scouted out where the beginning of the race would be, a task harder than one might think.
It was nice to be able to spend some time with the family. The night before, Molly, made a wonderful dinner and was able to load-up on my carbohydrates. I had been reading a lot of information on-line about getting nutrition right, eating before 6PM was one of the recommendations that made most sense to me, so that is what I did.
I rose very early at around 3 AM to make sure I would have time to digest my breakfast. I tried to keep it as simple as possible, ate 2 bags of instant oatmeal with honey and a banana. It might seem like very little, however, it made me feel great for the race.
We left bright and early for the race start and managed to be one of the first cars to enter the parking lot. I got all my stuff ready and headed on over to transition. The transition area was long and narrow, luckily I was able to find a nice secluded spot in one of the corners. I set up my equipment and then proceeded to go for a warm-up swim.
At this point, Pinkman, my dog, was going nuts from all the commotion and for the first time he wanted to jump in a body of water.
The Swim – 38:00
I soon found out it was a deep-water start, my very first one. Admittedly, I went way too hard at the beginning of the swim and decided to attack from the get-go, something that I was certainly not trained to do. Within a few minutes I began to realize my mistake as I was gasping for air and unable to keep a good rhythm. Looking back, I was overconfident in my abilities; this was a theme that would run throughout the entirety of the race, leading to my eventual voluntary withdrawal .
After I was finally unable to continue, I stopped in my tracks and simply floated for a few seconds, trying to lower my heart rate and breathing. A few seconds later, I continued at a more relaxed pace and would eventually, towards the end, would manage to find a good rhythm.
Note for Next Time: Be as relaxed as possible during the swim, try to find fast feet to draft behind, do not get over-enthused. CONSERVE ENERGY!
I made sure to be careful during this transition, so as to not forget anything, leading to a slower than possible transition.
The Bike 3:16:26
The bike leg started off nicely, with rolling hills, leading up to increasingly bigger hills. At this point I was very thankful that I had decided to get a bigger 12-30 cassette and compact crankset. I had all my nutrition on board, which included: 2 Bonk Breakers, each having about 245 calories, I believe; a flask filled with GU, about 6 or 7 gel packets worth; salt capsules, with magnesium, sodium and other important electrolytes; 2 bottles of water.
I wanted to switch around my nutrition a bit to try and avoid my GI distress problems I had while racing at Wildflower. So, instead of using the Hammer Perpeteum with pancake batter consistency, I opted for gels, a very important mistake, I believe.
In hindsight I was pushing way too hard on the bike, as I wanted to make the best time possible. I definitely tried to avoid chasing after people, however there the competitive nature of the race made me lose sight of how my body was responding. I did not take advantage of the Gatorade offered at the aid-station, only the water, this caused many problems, I began cramping about half-way through the bike leg.
It started out as a small twitch, slowly ebbing and flowing based on my electrolyte in-take, until reaching full-tilt at around mile 40 of the bike.
At this point, one of the worst possible scenarios played out: I dropped my only water bottle!
This was a terrible mistake and made me fall back on my nutrition schedule, I was very thirsty and unable to do anything about it as we were riding through the middle of nowhere. Luckily, I only had to endure this for about 30 minutes, however, the damage was done, I would not be able to climb back out of that hole and I didn’t even know it yet.
Finally, I saw an aid-station and made sure to grab 2 bottles of Gatorade and immediately down two salt capsules. My legs were on fire at this point, burning with each push of the pedal. It would alternate between one leg and the other, even having to clip-out on one side to keep my leg straight while the other one pedaled along in order to avoid intense cramping. Within about 15 minutes, I could feel the salt capsules start to take effect; it was like ice-cold water on red hot coals.
As my legs began to ‘cool-down’ a little I tried to push the pace a bit, sharp cramping pain would explode in my quadriceps causing me to slow down to a very slow pace. The last 10 miles were grueling, flat landed and hot. Nevertheless, I made it to the end of the bike leg in one piece.
It was quite a relief to lay me sight on T2, I approached trying to convince myself that I was still able to go strong. I tried to down as many fluids as possible without making me feel bloated. The cramping was subsiding at this point.
The Run 00:00:00 DNF
I was able to complete the first lap of the run, by the end of which my legs simply seized-up and it was almost impossible to even continue walking at this point, at least without causing damage or injuries, in my opinion.
At first I was able to run for maybe the first mile, at about a pace of 9:00 min/mi, slowly passing people and seeing the rest of the race that were doing shorter distances of sprint and Olympic. Then as I started on my second mile, it turned into more of a run for 2 minutes, walk for 30 seconds. Slowly but surely, the little energy I had left began to fade, fast.
The trail consisted of rolling hills the entire time, going all the way out to about 3.5 miles until the turn-around. I managed to finally start heading on my way back, confident that I could continue with the run/walk combo. Then, as I approached the 5thmile it became impossible to keep running, all I could muster was a walk. Needless to say, soon thereafter I could no longer even walk and would have to stop in a futile attempt to stretch my legs and stop the pain.
By the time I arrived at the turn around point, which was only 3 feet away from my transition area, I could no longer find the energy to continue. Sadly, this would be my first DNF.
Even though it was technically a DNF, I feel that I learned a tremendous amount from this race. It was what I consider to be a training race, exactly for that purpose. I gained valuable insight into my nutrition, pacing and became more comfortable with the 70.3 format. I am eager to keep training and look forward to July 12, 2014 when I will be doing Vineman 70.3, hopefully for a PR.