Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Luray Triathlon Race Report

The Luray Double (sprint + international distance races in the same weekend) quickly became a favorite of mine after my experience and success in the 2011 races.  With Ironman on the schedule I had to forego Luray in 2012, but I knew it would make the race schedule in 2013.  The Luray Double consists of completing the International distance race on Saturday morning followed by the Sprint distance race on Sunday morning.

I was lucky enough to be able to adjust my work schedule to be done by 3:00 on Friday.  After couple snafu's and a crazy metro trip I met up with Adam and we battled some traffic on our way to Luray.  I've become quite stubborn about my pre-race meal and if I have the means to have my usual, then I'll make sure I get it.  Thursday evening I prepared pasta and veggies and packed it up in some Tupperware to take along on our trip.  As we rolled into town we went straight to packet pick-up and the grocery store to get some small necessities ( a pot to heat our pasta on our camp stove).  Once at Lake Arrowhead park we scoured the camping area, apparently since the 2011 races camping has become much more popular!  We were able to find some lakefront property, with no one else near us (quiet!).  The tent went up, air mattress inflated, and we soon started heating up our pasta.  Best idea ever, dinner was easy, peaceful, tasty, and we got to watch the sunset over Lake Arrowhead as we ate.  Great pre-race night.  After dinner I got my #'s on my bike/helmet/race belt, sorted out my nutrition, and got ready for bed.  Camping this year was a bit more sophisticated with a queen sized air mattress, blankets, pillows, etc.

I woke up to the alarm at 6am and headed over to the car to get my breakfast ready.  Honeynut Chex with sliced banana (I know crazy, but I think Special K Red Berries was causing a stomach issue...).  Camping at the race site is pretty much the best, I walked over racked my bike and set up transition with no problem.  Returned my bag and extra stuff to our car and used the restroom before collecting my timing chip and getting into my wetsuit.


The Swim - 1500m - 31:36 (14th AG)
I was appreciative of the fact that I was in the 2nd wave - starting at 8:04 am.  It's so nice to have a few races every season where I'm not starting 2 hours after the 1st wave (M-dot).  I tried a bit of a new tactic once in the water before our wave went off.  I usually line myself up front and center - why do I do this?  Because I'm not a great swimmer and I need to start as close to the front as possible to get the time benefit.  WRONG.  I've become a better swimmer, but I'm still no where close to the best in my wave, so I started in the 2nd row of athletes = AMAZING.  I didn't get swam over once.  I was able to draft almost immediately and sight a little less.  I don't think this hurt my time at all.  My wave was not very physical, especially for the size of it.  The Luray swim course is odd, kind of like and M (but with a flat top added), but I love it.  The next buoy is never super far away and there's pretty much always other athletes near you.  As I made the last turn toward the beach I was passing a guy who had started in the wave ahead of me.  As I passed him he stroked and pushed my head down into the water - I have no doubt this was intentional.  Most times when when you take a stroke and you hit someone you move your arm, shorten your stroke, find space, etc.  This man did this not once, but twice - palmed my head and dunked me, awesome (but I'm still kicking your butt dude and now I'll just pass you faster! Thanks for the motivation.)  I felt strong the entire swim.  My Garmin Data actually comes out to 1.01 miles, so I swam a bit far.  Overall, I'm happy with my swim - at least I'm consistently in the 29-31 minute ranger.  Now to get to the 27-28 minute range....

T1 - 1:56 (1st AG)
Yes, I enjoy the fact that I'm fast in transition.  I know I lack speed in the swim so I can't let the swimmers put anymore time into me during transition.  It was quite simple - run across the beach, up the stairs, through transition, get into bike shoes, helmet, sunglasses, grab bike, and roll out!

The Bike - 41k - 1:17:44 (2nd AG)
It was a gorgeous day.  Sun was shining, roads were dry, and I was on my bike!  I didn't feel as great as I usually do.  I felt lethargic and slow.  I spun my legs up and settled in.  The very first part of the course is uphill.  I was able to pass some fellow athletes in transition and in the first couple miles of the bike.  I've been working on hills - a lot this year - and I've been getting better at them.  I've also become well acquainted with my small ring and the benefits it offers.  I rode the 1st loop of this 2 loop course almost entirely in the small
ring.  Once starting the 2nd loop I dropped into the big ring and pushed it.  My 2nd loop was super crowded compared to the 1st where I felt like I was basically alone.  I passed some friend and fellow athletes as I grinded through the wonderful false flats.  I was soon headed straight through and back toward the park while almost everyone else seemed to be starting there 2nd loop.  It was a somewhat lonely ride toward the one big climb.  Once I started climbing I saw Adam and he promptly ran up the hill alongside me.  It felt good to be rolling into transition.  As I made the turn into the park I took my feet out of my shoes and did a moving dismount as I headed into T2.

T2 - 0:58(2nd AG)
Ok, somone got me by a few seconds, bummer, but I'm happy with my time.  Helmet off, run shoes on, Gu's stuffed in shorts, and race belt with visor in hand.  I headed out of transition and onto the run!

The Run - 10k - 48:49 (5th AG)
The 1st mile of this run is downhill.  It's easy to get carried away and run a bit fast.  The 2nd mile is slightly rolling and the 3rd mile is all uphill (it's a double out and back 10k course).  It was great to see so many familiar faces both racing and cheering.  Ignite, Kgo, and Adam, and fellow DCTCers were everywhere.  I have a bad habit of not looking at my Garmin during races.  I will start using it during the run.  It helps me a
lot during my training runs - therefore I should let it help me in races.  The 3rd and 6th mile on this course were tough.  When I got off the bike I was running in 2nd in my age group.  I was passed around mile 4.5 by the eventual 2nd place finisher and passed just after mile 5 by the eventual 3rd place finisher.  I'm most disappointed in this, though my run was the best I've had all season at this distance so I'll celebrate that.  On a tough course nonetheless!

Overall Result: 2:41:00 - 4th AG, 14th Female

I got a bit of food in me and got out of my running shoes.  The weather was great there were plenty of DC Tri and other people to cheer in and hang out with.  We got to see a ton of friends stand atop the podium and collect their hardware.  It was every bit as great as I remember it from 2011.  I look forward to being back in 2014 (though maybe not for the double...I have quite a big race in July ;) )

We originally had big ideas of going to The Caverns, tubing the Shenendoah, hiking, etc.  Honestly we didn't do too much.  We went for an awesome swim in Lake Arrowhead, got cleaned up and headed into town for a bit.  We picked up my race packet for Sunday's race (it'll be nice when they figure out how the combine the 2 - so double participants don't have to get 2 sets of #'s and bags and everything else).  We also got some chicken to add to our pasta and some dessert form a local bake sale.  We headed back to our campsite and had a very similar evening to the one before.  Since we were eating dinner a bit earlier we sat near the bonfire area and chowed down - once again delicious!  We relaxed on the our blanket as the sun went down over the lake before preparing my #'s for Sunday and heading too bed.

I didn't wake up to the 6am alarm - I had been up, tossing and turning most of the night.  Very unusual for me, as the past few times Adam and I have camped I've slept like a baby.  Not this time.  I was excited to race, but  man my energy was just not there.  I had the same breakfast, went through almost the same routine at the previous day got my myself situated.  I thought I was just exhausted from the Saturday's race and the camping so I didn't say anything.  Admitting I was tired and exhausted would make it real.  It was overcast and rainy, and a great day for a Sprint Triathlon!


The Swim - 750m - 16:03 (9th AG)
This swim was a bit more physical than the day before but still managable.  I wasn't able to find feet early and the feet  I found towards the end led me a bit astray!  Garmin record .54 miles of swimming...whoops...about a 10th of a mile too far.  Lesson my own sighting.  Swim straight and my swim times will get better, faster!

T1 - 2:01 (1st AG)
I didn't get a bike rack toward the middle aisle of the transition area so it took me a couple seconds longer to get to and from my stuff.  Same routine as the day before.  Helmet, sunglasses, shoes, grab bike and roll out!

The Bike - 17 miles - 53:03 (1st AG)
Unlike Saturday the sun was long gone and the roads were soaked from the overnight and current rain.  It rained all morning on Sunday - with little reprieve.  Just like on Saturday I felt tired and it took me a while to feel good on the bike.  Oi, I didn't know what was wrong with me.  Spin the legs, get comfortable, and then push it.  I was able to do that and eventually pass most of my competitor's in my AG.  When I got to the big
climb back toward the park I expected to see Adam again, he hadn't made it out there, but our friend Joe was out there with his camera being an awesome fiance, sherpa, and fan!  Usually I love the bike, but I was actually loving the fact that I was about to be off the bike in the rain.

T2 - 0:57 (1st AG)
Simple, helmet off, run shoes on, gels in shorts, and race belt in hand.  Head out to the run course!

The Run - 5k - 24:43 (6th AG)
I should have run better.  I came off the bike running in 2nd in my AG, but I knew Jenny would not be far behind and that she'd probably close the gap quickly.  Close the gap she did, at mile 1 - and then she opened it back up.  One day, I'll run like her.  For now, I'll just chase her up and down hills.  This was 1 out and back of the run course from the day before.  I should have been able to run this faster, I know I am capable of faster, but it was tough, and I was still feeling exhausted.  I held on for the last couple miles and finish strong.

Overall - 1:36:45 - 3rd AG, 9th Female

Tuesday morning, I arrive at work.  I had noticed the night before a cut on my elbow that I got in a bike crash the weekend before wasn't looking to good. I had also noticed lump developing my right arm (same arm as wound) on Saturday evening. By Sunday night and Monday said lump was so painful I could not sleep and had trouble doing much manual therapy on my patients at work.   As I changed into my work clothes on Tuesday I noticed red swollen bumps down both legs, around my elbow wound, and on my side.  Oi, I'd seen these before! A few days after IM Louisville in 2012 I had the same symptoms.  This time I knew not to wait, I promptly got in to my doctor's office and relayed the story - fall, triathlons, camping, dirty elbow pads on bike, sweat, and tegaderm falling off.  Shortly after I was sent on my way with some new antibiotics and advice to take it easy for a day or two.  In short Staph Infections - 2, Holli - 0.

At least, I now have an explanation for the lethargy and crumminess I was feeling.  I don't think it was the camping or racing, it was this infection brewing and getting throughout my entire blood stream as my lymph node in my right armpit fought to keep it at bay and swelled and swelled and swelled!  Had this infection not been present I'm not sure my results would have been any different.  Odd my 2 episodes were 51 weeks apart, here's to hoping I never get another.