...and, you don't throw a fit. This is a saying that my kids have learned in preschool. Apparently, it applies quite well to triathlon.
After racing Ironman Canada 2012 with bronchitis, I just wanted a good race. I trained really well. Hit all my benchmarks. Felt great about all three sports. And, then Thursday before Ironman Kansas 70.3, there it was. The dreaded sore throat. Since Ironman Canada, I have been on a drug protocol to try to control my allergies and asthma that inevitably lead to bronchitis and other respiratory stuff for me. It has worked really well, and my allergies have been under control all spring. No idea what bug I picked up, but by Friday morning, I knew my PR attempt at Kansas was in jeopardy.
By the time race morning rolled around, I was taking 7 different prescription and OTC meds. One of these includes Albuterol, which makes my heart rate high, makes me jittery, and makes me dehydrated. So, Kansas went from a PR attempt to another attempt to finish a race while coughing and wheezing. I knew if I could do it in Canada, I could do it here.
Swim - 36:33.
My plan for the swim was to swim nice and easy and keep my heart rate down. I knew if I did that, I could keep the coughing somewhat controlled and just get through it. So, I just cruised and worked on the catch and pull. The water seemed a little choppy, but didn't really feel that bad. Swam, and swam and swam. My original swim goal was 38 minutes. Now I was just hoping for under 42 minutes. I haven't done a half swim in under 40 minutes since having kids. When I stood up and saw36:xx, I couldn't believe it. I guess the new swim workouts I've been doing paid off! This was my second fastest swim time ever. Weird.
T1 - 3:00
This is a nice transition since it's so close to the water. Nothing crazy here. Coughed a bit, kept my heart rate down, headed out.
Bike - 2:52:44
This bike course is perfect for me. The further I got into the ride, the more disappointed I was that I couldn't truly "race" it. My new goals on the bike were to stay hydrated since I would continue to take Albuterol, keep my cadence high and gears light, and keep my heart rate down. As long as I kept my heart rate down (relatively speaking due to the Albuterol) and kept the effort easy, I was able to keep the coughing fits to a minimum. The roads were really nice and it was a great bike course. Just cruised it. The highlight of my ride was passing Judy going the other way. I managed a "Go Judy" and she gave me a "whoo hoo". I don't know what it was about it, but it was definitely one of the things that made me smile out there. Thanks, Judy!
T2 - 2:12
Nothing crazy here. I spent several seconds deciding whether or not to carry the inhaler on the run like I did at Canada. I decided not to. I felt like my heart rate was too high from it, and I was feeling a little jittery.
Run - 2:07:19
The run was going to be the most disappointing part of the race. I worked hard on my running all season and had been running really well off the bike. And, it was the perfect course for me - flat! The weather was absolutely perfect. The first three miles did not go well. I loved seeing all my friends cheering. But, I really thought I was going to drop out. I felt as bad or worse than I did at Canada. Definitely still coughing and wheezing. This was my 15th half Ironman and probably the closest I've ever come to dropping out. But, when I got up the to the top of the hill around mile 3, I decided to just finish out the first loop so I could see the fun part of the course through the campground.
I figured out that as long as I kept the run pace nice and easy - pretty much nothing faster than a 9:30 pace or so - I wouldn't get the coughing fits and trigger the asthma as much. So, I just ran it at that easy pace. This was the first time I ever felt sad during a triathlon. I love the sport. I love the training. I love racing. But, I found myself mourning this race already. But, I know that I am not a quitter. I finished Ironman Canada despite bronchitis, a 43 minute stop in the med tent, and the doctors advising me not to run. I could certainly suck it up and finish a half marathon. So, I did. Highlights of my run included some kind words from Damon, seeing Todd racing so strong and smiling the whole way, and hearing my friends yell, "Stay on yo side!" (I nearly died of a coughing fit when they made me laugh, but it was worth it!) What a fun run course. I changed my mindset from being sad about my race to deciding to come back and do it again so I could truly enjoy it.
Finish - 5:41:48
I pushed it the last half mile or so just to get it over with, so when I finished, I had a really hard time breathing. I was really hoping to not see anyone I knew since I sounded so lovely. But, UB and Tara were there and escorted me to the med tent so I could sit in the shade and calm my breathing. I took a little more Albuterol back at my transition area and got it under control.
I had several friends racing who had amazing days - several PRs, several first-timers finished, and lots of TNT friends completed the relay and got to experience the half Ironman distance. The weekend was a lot of fun, and I will definitely be back to really take on this course. I proved again that I'm not a quitter no matter how bad I feel and how off my race is. Thanks to Brian for putting up with my sick self all weekend! And, thanks to all my friends who were out there supporting me every step of the way. Thanks to Ed and Kathleen for taking great care of the girls so Brian and I can get out to race and enjoy the sport that we love.
Upsides to our race: Brian didn't puke. I didn't spend 43 minutes in a med tent. We had a B1 set up by our amazing friends (B1 = Beer 1). People ran in Wizard of Oz costumes. I walked in on a guy in a porta potty (dude, lock the door!). Everyone finished. Can't beat that. A bad race is always better than no race. I gave everything I had. I just didn't have much to give this time. But, I'll be back on that yellow brick road soon!
Thanks for reading!