Monday, July 7, 2008

Desert Half Ironman aka The Race I Took Back and Made My Own

Oh yeah folks -- I came into this race with some serious inner demons to face down. Two years ago I had a nightmare of a time -- the heat was 36 degrees Celsius plus, and sucked the life right out of me. During the run I actually started to cry, I felt so terrible. I remember talking to myself: "JULIE! If you have enough energy to cry, you have enough energy to run. Now run!"

When things got worse, the self-talk changed to: "Even if you run very slowly, do NOT waste any energy crying -- use it to move forward." As the heat became more and more intense, I hunched over and felt like total crap.

Thus, Sunday, July 6 2008 I had a bone to pick with myself -- No more excuses, no more whining, no more. Time to do the best I could do.

To save those pressed for time -- I scorched a new PB for the Osoyoos course by 35 minutes and 30 seconds. This year, the tears across the finish line were of an altogether different variety!!!!!!!!!!

Old Osoyoos time: 7:04:17
New one: 6:28:47


Swim: 38:32
Bike: 3:35:54
Run: 2:09:58

But, oh my GOD is that ever a hard course!!!!!! Doing Richter twice in a race -- I kept thinking to myself, this is awesome training for IMC!! OK -- below is the race report:


Was busy talking to friends when I realized I had to poop! I got into the long porta-potty line noticing how everyone else had their wetsuits, caps, and goggles in hand. EEKK! I left everything in transition and kept nervously checking my watch. I finally did my business and jogged back into transition and squirmed as quickly as I could into my wetsuit. I didn't have much time, but headed straight down to the beach where the first wave started at 7:00am. Women and guys 50-55 started in the second wave at 7:05am. It was a terrible start -- lots of jostling - no one was rude except this one person. He actually yelled "GET OUT!!" HAHAHAHAHA!!! The second lap was MUCH better and I actually got into a groove -- could this be??? I can actually swim!!!! YAY!!

To be honest, I even thought of Jenna and Kelly swimming at GWN!! I was channeling you guys and it worked!! YAHOO!! 7:53 off my swim time!!! FINALLY!!!!

The bike course at Osoyoos is VERY challenging, to put it mildly. There is no grace period, no flats, just Richter right as soon as you emerge from transition. The wind was blasting against us the whole way, which was a treat for the return trip. However, like all winds, it grew fickle and didn't remain a tail wind for the entire time. I kept up on my electrolyte tabs but did make one MAJOR error -- I ate a Nutri-Grain bar during the latter stages of the bike and it didn't have time to digest. This was to cause me no end of trouble on the run.

Since my first Osoyoos race, I have made it a point of running out in the heat when I can. I knew that I would have to hold myself back for the first half -- because of overheating issues. At each aid station, I grabbed a Gatorade and water and three sponges. I would tuck two sponges down my front, and one would go on the back of my neck. I repeated this the entire race and my core was AWESOME. In fact, my legs felt great too -- I wanted to RUN, but my guts started to revolt. It was a terrible feeling. I was in the retaste zone and it was not a good feeling.

Running in Osoyoos is like running in an oven -- a dead heat -- remorseless. Even running in the Crowsnest Pass on the hottest day imaginable doesn't come close to what Osoyoos can dish out. There was a couple who sat outside their home and sprayed runners as we went by. It was the most wonderful temporary relief!! To whoever you are out there -- THANK YOU!!!

My guts became so bad I had to stop, pound my chest, and then burp. Then I could run again. I tried burping myself as I ran, but my belly would have none of it. I had to slow down too -- if I went any faster, mt guts started to clench up. I started to think thoughts that would relax my mind and hopefully my belly -- I thought primarily about Peanut sleeping on my head!! LOL!!!! There was a brief stretch where my belly felt good, and I thought to myself, "Take advantage of this now!"

Because I had run this race before - I knew the hills to expect too -- they can suck the last vestiges of positivity out of anyone -- especially coupled with the heat. But, on Sunday, I knew what to expect and plodded along -- dripping water from my sponges the whole way. :) :)

Coming down the last bit to the finish line was really emotional for me. I knew I had beat my time, but more importantly, I knew I had decided to keep a positive outlook instead of giving in to fear -- Jenna, that book is so wonderful!! One of the basic premises of this book is that your brain can physically only deal with either fear or love at one time. It cannot experience both at once. We have the choice to decide what our brain focuses on. If you recognize you are slipping into a stream of thoughts prompted by fear, you can CHOOSE to catch it out and instead think of something you really appreciate. Hence, my race-day imaginings of my Little Nut!! Hahahahahaahahahahaah!!!

I met a couple of friends at the finish line: Iona (her first 1/2!) and Jamie (his first too!) and I kept hugging them and crying and blubbering!! It was after the third or fourth time I hugged Iona, that she pointed out I had a chunk of silicon ear wax still dangling off my ear. Hahahahahaahah!! Perfect -- a class act right to the end!!!! LOL!!

Iona and I went into the lake afterwards, She paused to take her shoes and socks off, whereas I walked right in -- race number, medal, shoes and socks and all. There is something so delicious about abandoning what you are "supposed" to do -- like taking off your shoes before you go into the water. I dunked my head underwater and just floated on my back and felt so freaking happy!!!

Next stop...IMC!


By the way -- Hi Leslie!! You looked awesome in pink out there on the run course!! You saw me before I saw you, but I was cheering for you!!! :) :) :) :)


Alan Keller said...

Way to rock the race and shave some serious time off of your previous time!

Susi said...

YAY!!! Awesome slashing of your PB! I'm so happy for you for overcoming the fear and staying in the positive - it can be a challenging thing but one that will get you to the finish line happy!

Great job!!

runningman said...

good job Julie, awsome work! What a good training race for IMC. You'll be so strong, your body and mind will remember the lessons learnt on July 6th.

Jenna said...

Richter TWICE? That's crazy. Oh, but then this is YOU! You had a great day and handled it all as you should have (damn the nutrigrain bar! that was like my cookie on my run - no good!) You always amaze me and I am so happy you are getting something from that book :) that you can use to make you happier when the chips are down !!! Way to go and love the earplug wax at the end - that seems so fitting!!! Every time i saw pink at GWN I thought of you...

Keith said...

You didn't just beat your demons. YOU TRAMPLED THEM!!!! Right into the ground. Squish. That isn't sweat on your feet, it's icky demon ichor. Payback big time!

What an incredible race! You will have an awesome IMC!

Rest now. You are not invicible, much as you might feel it, but you've been down that road too. Looking forward to your blog bits that are NOT about training for the next little while.

Cath said...

You are AMAZING! I'm so proud of you! xx

Shannon Keith Wicks said...

I agree with Cath, you are truly amazing and inspiring individual. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Streaker said...

I'm so proud of you! You are totally going to reach your goal next year!

Shannon Keith Wicks said...

Julie, how did you fix the tears in your wetsuit? I have a bunch in mine that I need to patch up this week before leaving for Lake Placid.

Charlie Browne said...

you never cease to amaze me...with both your physicality and your rock!!

Leslie said...

Hey!!! Just to let you know, I couldn't even tell you were hurting on the run. You looked strong so way to go on the push through the heat with stomach problems!

PS. I LOVE PINK TOO :) :) :)