It’s been forever since I last posted. To all 10 of my readers, I apologize. As is so often the case, life gets in the way and I’ve neglected this blog.
My last few posts were dedicated to my training for Vineman 140.6. While I wasn’t completely up to the task on race day. I did have enough fitness in the bank to get through the course. My plan was to be conservative and I was. The swim was fine and I think I finished somewhere in mid pack taking it nice a easy with bilateral breathing, long strokes and a few occasional breaks which consisted of treading water. One of the lifeguards was giving me a hard time for stopping. What did she care? I felt like telling her to F-Off but that would have been bad karma so I bit my tongue.
Transition to the bike was a muddy mess and the Vineman folks need to do something about that next year. Mud was everywhere.. bikes, clothes, water bottles, bare feet, etc. The bike course for me was torture, not because of the distance but because my ass was killing me. Fortunately, it started to go numb at about mile 60 and I was good to go after that. I was a slave to my Garmin watch as I watched the miles tick by. The good thing about this course is that the scenery in the Sonoma Valley wine country is absolutely stunning. Lots of fields, pastures, cows and miles and miles of really pretty rolling vineyards. The course was a two looper and I was really glad to finish #1 and start out on #2.
I finally made it into T2 which is in the town of Windsor, CA and quickly walked to the racks where my shoes, glasses and hat waited for me. Figuring that I had a marathon to run, I decided to take it easy and not rush through transition. I think my T2 time was something like 8 minutes! The marathon went OK but my legs were stiff and sore so I focused on a quick turnover with some walk breaks thrown in every half mile or so. This strategy seemed to work for my body and I actually felt like I was getting a second wind. Nutrition was right on and I kept cool by putting ice cubes under my hat (good tip by the way). Anyways, right at mile 20, I felt a stinging pop in my right foot and could feel my toenail peel back and lift off of my foot. Total pain. “FU#K” I said as I hobbled to the side. I then committed one of the worst mistakes anyone doing a distance event can do, I sat down and took off my show and sat there for approx 5 minutes. While I was examining my toenail, my muscles started to cool and then quickly cramp. I put the shoe back on and took a few steps and realized that my legs were totally locked up. I also started to shiver uncontrollably. After about 5 minutes of effort to get back on the course, I realized that I was finished. Total FUBAR!
DNF-ing was not something that I intended to do that day. I had put so much time, money and effort into the training only to see it wasted. I took the shuttle bus back to the starting point in Guernville (where the swim and T1 took place), got my car and then drove BACK to Windsor to get my bike. Realizing that I had DNF’s only made this chore more depressing. I drove home by myself and almost went off the road a few times because I kept falling asleep. The only consolation was that we were heading to Maui a few days later so I would have something to take my mind off of this whole affair.
My training took a nosedive after the race and it’s been a while since I was able to think about getting back on the bike or in my running shoes. Oh, the brutal case of plantar fasciitis didn’t help matters either. I’ll save that ordeal for another post. I’ve been running and riding for the last two weeks now and am glad that I started up again. Nothing is more depressing than realizing that you’ve gained weight and lost fitness. I’m now in base training mode and will be following (hopefully) a strict protocol of aerobic-only training for the next 2 months. This is not a period where I will be pushing myself in interval sets or cranking out the long miles. Low heart rate and easy effort will be the focus. Will share more of this strategy on my next few posts.