Friday, July 11, 2008

Lake Stevens 70.3...

... part III... the run!

Do you ever just want to look pretty on the run? You know what I mean... good form, nice poetic stride, relaxed face. Let me tell ya... I looked PRETTY coming out of T2 and passing through the cheering crowd! I was pretty for a quarter mile. Then guess what? CRAMP! I'm not talking not about a little side-stitch... I'm talking about a full-blown seizure of my right hamstring! I went from beauty queen to troll in a fraction of a second! My mind was SCREAMING! "NO! NononononoNO! Not so early. Not yet. NO!". I changed my stride up and slowed way down. I closed my eyes for a second and concentrated on relaxing, breathing, rhythm. While my eyes were closed... I felt and heard people passing me. As I opened my eyes, I scanned left calves for ages... yep... TONS of people had made it past me. "Don't PANIC! This WILL resolve". Was I dehydrated? Was my bike fit THAT off? Did Coach Liz really do such a horrible job of preparing me? Do you notice a common theme surrounding Liz? I did a LOT of blaming! Its SO easy to point the finger isn't it?!

OH! Wait. ADD moment. Is anyone doing the LifeTime Fitness Series next year? In Minnesota perhaps? Lemme know. I'm considering it... seriously. Good times... ok... back to the race ramble.

I reached the fist aid station and slowed to a walk. I took in 1 gel, 2 cups of gatorade, 1 cup of water and started to put together some semblance of a jog. Up ahead I saw a guy with an orange singlet and a big 36 on his left calf. "You're mine dude. Game ON." Despite my best efforts... he drifted away. I was completely dejected. I couldn't believe this was happening to me... on the RUN of all freakin things! I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and trying to find a pace and stride that would keep the cramp in my hammie at bay. The next aid station came up and I took in 1 gatorade and 1 water while trotting by. I was beginning to pick-up some speed but nowhere NEAR where I had planned to be. I lost track of my splits but I truly believe that the first 4 to 5 miles clicked by at an 8 min to 8:30/mile pace. I'm not joking. Around mile 5 1/2, I was desperate to lay blame on someone. I was in a LOT of pain. I was really suffering and I felt weak. Weak physically yes... but more mentally dejected. I was being passed consistently and I just couldn't hold on... to anyone.

In real-life, I'm pretty freakin good at self-analysis and I'm definitely less likely to point the finger at someone else than I am to point it back at myself. This was NOT the case at this point in the race. Here's a brief synopsis of the rant that was taking place in my head: (please excuse the language), "Are you fucking KIDDING me? I KNEW I wasn't prepared to do the race that I wanted to do! Liz didn't have me do enough! I have done EVERYTHING she's asked me to do and its NOT good enough! If she had trained me properly this wouldn't be happening! I wouldn't be in a TON of pain and making an ASS out of myself! FUCK! I'm totally firing her ass as soon as this race is over!" Now, just typing that was really hard for me. I'm actually quite embarrassed. That's a cheap, chicken-shit way out... blaming someone else... but I did it... and I did it with a vengeance.

The aid station came up at mile 6, I took in 1 cup of gatorade... and something clicked. My head cleared. I looked to my right and I saw the lake. I looked up ahead of me, and I saw and heard the tremendous crowd. I passed through the throng of cheering people and I heard, "He looks rough." I'm serious. I heard that... I looked over... and it was like someone had slapped me across the face. "Liz never said you would be comfortable. You're not supposed to be comfortable Rob. This is your race. Liz prepared you. She did an outstanding job. If you want it... it's YOUR FUCKING RESPONSIBILITY. Its your race. You have to make it your's." I headed out onto the second loop and I was a new guy. My pace came down... way down... I was running in the 6's. I saw two guys in my AG up ahead just approaching the one hill before mile 7... I caught them... I moved slightly in front of them to make sure they saw my calf... then I broke them. I kicked sand in their face. I was smiling again. I could hear their labored breathing... hear their cadence increase... and then they would fade. I did this at LEAST 8 more times before I saw him, 36 year old orange singlet guy. "There you are."

I smiled. I saw him immediately after passing through the crowd again and started heading up the steady incline out of town. I had my eyes on the back of his head... nothing else. Mile 9 approached and... my right hamstring seized up. I heard myself yell, "NOT NOW!!!!!" which got some odd looks from those around me. I dropped pace, lengthened my stride, kept my eyes on orange singlet guy. As I reached the top of the hill... the cramp subsided. I tentatively pushed the pace. It held. I reached the turn-around at the top of the hill, grabbed some gatorade, and hit it.

Form, slobber, loud-breathing, gutteral noises coming from my diaphram... I didn't give a flying fahooie! I was either going to blow up and blow up big or I was going to have a spectacular finish. Forget about time. Forget about place. Forget about holding yourself in check. Go. Freakin GO! I FLEW by 3 more guys and at mile 12... I caught and DESTROYED orange singlet guy. Nothing personal.

I don't remember the last mile. All I remember is turning the corner into the shoot... checking over my shoulder... and slowing to a slow jog. I saw the clock... and didn't care. I was smiling, laughing, yelling to the crowd, tearing up a bit... by far... in my short tenure in this sport... that was the most satisfying finish I've ever had. I broke a mental barrier out there... and that simple flip of the switch just after mile 6... made the entire day.
Let me just say something about my Coach, Elizabeth Fedofsky. I love that girl. She knows what she's doing. She knew exactly what I needed to put together a good race. She prepared me without injuring me, overtaxing me, and making things tough on my family. She is an OUTSTANDING coach... and if you're in the market... without thought or hesitation I would HIGHLY recommend her! I'm sorry I was being such a bitch during the race Liz... and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR HELP THIS SEASON SO FAR!

Here's the times:

Swim: 32:45
T1: 1:21
Bike: 2:44:26
T2: 1:36
Run: 1:37:50
Total Time: 4:57:55
Overall: 88 of 881 finishers
Div: 13/111

So this brings me to the World Championships 70.3. I struggled with this. There were 7 slots available. I had mixed feelings about taking a roll-down slot. Then I thought, when do you EVER get to go to the world champs of ANYTHING and compete??? I took it and I'm happy I did!

Thanks for taking the time to read through my blabber.... I really appreciate it.

Breathe...

19 comments:

kt said...

So, note to self... don't ever get on Rob's bad side.

Really, though, great, great job. You did something mentally for yourself that you will be able to use in future races. "Remember when you flipped the switch, that's what needs to happen now." That kind of thing.

Way to go dude. Super proud of you.

P.S. Nice job Liz! Ignore him, he's was just having "a moment".

Bigun said...

Congrats, sexy. oh yea, I said sexy. you just wear that half shirt down here in Florida, and see what happens...yes, you had me at "hurp"...

Bryan said...

Wow, very well done and written. I need to talk to you about SO many things. I'll e-mail you my thoughts. Rest well, Jedi. :)

Al said...

Wow that's an awesome run time considering you suffering at 8 somethings for the first 6 miles...way to kill it!

Flatman said...

BAD. ASS.

GZ said...

Ah. I love it. I love how endurance sports level us to the bare bones core and makes us realize it is about our choices.

Beautiful. Way to live it.

Katie Weaver-Jongerius said...

Love the pics Rob! Great re-cap...do I need to tell you again how excited I am for Worlds?

Cindy Jo said...

Congrats - on the race AND on finishing your dissertation on Lake Stevens 70.3 2008.

Those pics are great - they really show the euphoria of the finish line! Nice job.

E.L.F. said...

I love being hated. It makes me feel like I am really doing my job. To make you dig deep when the moment is right because you are prepared and you have learned to trust yourself.

Wait until you do Ironman. You will learn to hate me even more when I say "Rob, go ride 120 miles."

See you in Florida...

jameson said...

awesome race man!!!

Nikee Pomper said...

4:57 Holy Cow! Great job buddy.

Alili said...

The trilogy of race reports. Wow! Congratulations on the slot-you really fought the good fight out there.

Steve Stenzel said...

Sweet job!!! Nice tri!!

And I just completed the Lifetime Fitness Tri in Minneapolis this last weekend. It's my 2nd time doing that one and my 4th time there (2x cheering). It's a hell of a race! It's a good one! Come do it!!!

IronJenny said...

You're so tough! Way to go!
And if you come to MN, I have plenty of room for you all - it would be a blast!

Ryan said...

Great report and great job on working through the cramps. I'm the same way, when the pain really starts, I talk to myself and blame everyone in my life.

Liz is right; you are racing, it is supposed to hurt!

Drew Holmes said...

you had me at "I looked PRETTY"

Anonymous said...

I'm so proud of you, Bibity. But where did you get that potty mouth? Fuck!!!!

beth said...

aaahhh!!! wooohooo robb-ie-yo! just catching up on my bloggyo reading and YOU GOT A 70.3 slot! congratulations. not to mention and awesome mental breakthrough and some FABU finishing photos! great inspritation..relax and enjoy your unstructuredness..

Jamie said...

Congrats on a sick race. Don't feel any less bad-ass about taking the rolldown spot in Clearwater! (I plan on doing the same thing next year).