Friday, August 10, 2012

What's a girl to do?

Race Report from LPTRunner, Christine  Crawford...

Ice Age 50 mile 2012, sick, miserable time. Kettle Moraine 100, sick, miserable time, DNF. After KM I was feeling pretty burned out with Ultrarunning. I love it but I wanted something different. Twelve years ago, I was biking with a friend who was a talented athlete out of Madison. I was on my Trek 930 mountain bike and he on his road bike. After riding with him he convinced me I needed a road bike and that I should race. With his help I pieced together a nice little ride. I raced for exactly one season in 2002 and would only participate in Time Trials. I didn’t have a TT bike but I didn’t want to race in a pack so I went solo. The bike sat in the garage for 8 years only to resurface last year due to running injuries. I found I quickly adapted and was performing well for a runner and was thrilled to have completed a 90 mile race averaging 21.4 mph. I’ve never had a running coach or a cycling coach. No one ever instructed me on proper run or bike technique. I think I just asked Kevin Grabowski 2 years ago what a “stride out” was. Is that what you call it? I don’t even know for sure yet.
I have the same problem most of you have, I need an endurance fix. Some of us also deal with perfectionism and a drive that leads us to burn-out or injury. I’m absolutely one of those people. It’s never good enough and my drive to perform leads me to do really stupid things. Sitting at home one evening after KM100, icing my hip which was beginning to give me grief, I decided to sign up for another event. I’m not sure what I was searching for, I think I typed in Ultracycling (go figure) and all these amazing events surfaced! One of them was called 24 HOURS OF TRIATHLON. I immediately checked it out (come on, you KNOW you would too; it’s 24 hours of something!). They had a duathlon option which I wanted to try. The course consisted of ¼ mile swim (for the triathletes) 11.2ish mile bike (out and back) and a 2.6 mile run (out and back). The format is hard to wrap your brain around so bare with me. The idea is to complete even number of circuits but with the duathlon, you can complete one extra bike circuit over your run circuits. I couldn’t go out and bike 25 circuits and run 10 because my official results would read 10 full duathlons plus 1 bike credit. I would have lost credit for all the additional bike circuits. For triathlon, you can have one additional swimming and one additional bike credit. Obviously if you added on one more run credit, you would have completed another full triathlon. Confused yet? Additionally, you had to follow the swim-bike-run format or for me the bike-run format for your first circuit only. After that, you could swim bike or run as much as you wanted keeping in mind that you want to have your circuits pretty much even after 24 hours. Now are you confused?? Well, they also had an 8 hour version and team categories in addition to solo. After signing up, I posted the information to Facebook asking if anyone would like to crew for me not expecting a SINGLE person to respond. Marty KC responded immediately and seemed more excited than me. Marty served as my coach and training partner and voice of reason when I felt doubtful or when I was training too much. We spent miles on the trails and miles on the bike and then I spent more miles on the bike on my own getting in 200+ miles a week. I only had 6 weeks to train! Throughout training, I dealt with a lot of hip pain to the point where I had to stop running two weeks before the event. I was now more worried about the run portion than the cycling.

In the meantime, Joel Lammers thought my pursuit was an interesting one and he signed up for the 8 hour triathlon event. Since he is not OCD his training consisted of a few rides, a few runs and a couple of swims…training done.
As the event approached, Marty and I discussed strategy and also what to pack! The parking lot of the beach venue became tent city which was really neat. We had a list a mile long of what I might need and we actually used most of what we brought. At one point, we ran out of our favorite PowerAid because it was hot so Marty drove to get more while I ran. I was excited to get started but also a bit nervous because you had to dismount the bike after every lap, run across a timing mat, run back out then remount and take off. I’m not really good with clipless pedals but in the end, I became a pro. My strategy after the first bike/run circuit was to then get back on the bike for 5 more circuits, run 5 circuits, bike 5 circuits, run 6 circuits which I did. It was pretty hot and I needed to sit for a while after that. I missed Joel’s finish but he came close to setting a record. He hung out as I continued on the course and cheered for me also filling my water bottles. Joel and I have a great big brother/little sister relationship and he has always been the one I turn to for advice with my athletics so having him there was just what I needed. As day turned into night, I decided to walk/jog when it was cooler out and then eat some dinner because I was hungry. I didn’t bike much at night. The road was a bit rough, it was really dark, my lighting wasn’t the best and I was tired (and super, duper chaffed in the pants). Marty and I both decided to sleep for 20 minutes which turned into 90 minutes. That felt great. I had a lot of energy after and completed a few more bike and run legs. My fastest bike was 35:41 and my slowest was 43:37 (at midnight), my fastest run was 21:38 and my slowest was pure walking 39:37. I completed a total of 234.94 miles officially which worked out to 17 bike circuits and 17 run circuits. Joel placed well too (2nd male with 6 full tri’s and one additional swim and bike credit) and I think we both learned a lot and are excited to sign up for the event next year. Keep it on your calendar! Here is the link:
Up next is the Dairyland Dare 300k instead of Howl at the Moon 8-hour since the hip is not cooperating at this point.

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