I signed up for the Olympic distance race at Wildflower this weekend — not the half. This should not be particularly shocking. Pretty much everyone agreed that since I haven’t run 13 miles since the beginning of March and the whole four weeks off running I probably shouldn’t do it for the first time in the middle of a race. The new swim-run-bike-run format should help me too. Maybe. Hopefully. And, the Olympic race is hard enough and competitive enough that it should be more than enough of a first race back.
Of course, I also sort of have a terrible relationship with the Wildflower Olympic race and did not enjoy the two times I’ve done it — one of which ended up in a DNF and the other with an IV in my arm and me swearing off the event. The whole starting at 10:15 a.m. and having to be stuck at a campground with limited food and water did not work well for me. I’m still not excited about the fact that the 29&Under and 30-39 year-old women have to start after all the men, all the older women’s age groups, the Team-in-Training group, and over an hour after the collegiate women’s wave at 9:05 a.m. And, then they throw everyone back together for the overall results, as if some people didn’t have to deal with more heat and crowds than others. That’s some bullshit.
Ideally, I’ll do well enough to be in a position to actually care about the overall. But, that may not end up being a problem. We’ll see.
Yesterday, I went for my hard(ish) run around 5 p.m. when it was about 90 degrees. HEAT WAVE. I figured it’d be good practice for stupid Wildflower. I tried to do a series of 4′ efforts at tempo/half-marathon pace mixed with some shorter, faster things. It did not go well. I didn’t necessarily feel that hot, but I did feel that heavy and drained and awful. I had to bail halfway through the third round. Then, after a brief walk/rest, I jogged the three miles home. That was when I realized I was messed up. But, I told myself ‘I’m going to feel terrible at the end of Ironman. If I can’t run IM race pace now, I won’t be able to then.’ So, I did. It hurt and the whole thing was ugly. Usually, I probably would have shuffled and maybe walked given how I felt, but I didn’t. And, then, my heartrate didn’t go below 100 for about 30′ after I stopped running.
Even jumping in the pool for a few minutes didn’t help much. And, then, today, I tried to go for my bike ride with some short 1′ and 2′ race efforts. My heartrate and power numbers said I was still physically messed up, though. I cut the ride short and thought I’d feel better to go for a swim later. I never felt better. In fact, I felt worse all day. I couldn’t do anything. I, evidently, went through some minor heatstroke yesterday and still have a very mild cold, which is turning into a cough and making it hard to sleep at night. I don’t think I’ve been eating well either. I also, evidently, picked up the ability to really fuck myself up in training at some point, which was not a skill I can say I had before.
At this point, right this second, I don’t think I could even finish an Olympic distance triathlon, much less worry about finishing it quickly. Usually, I don’t feel that way until after a race, not four days before. Guess it’s good I decided not to do the half.