Thursday, November 11, 2010

Race Report

Pre-race routine:

Set alarm for 4am but couldn't sleep past 3:30 so I got up. Everything was pretty much ready to go. Aleve and water at home and Odwalla bar and coffee in the van. I wasn't able to finish either. Drove to Conroe with Ken and Dad.

Event warmup:

Walked Dori to transition, froze my toes off in sandals, peed, got wetsuit on and headed to the swim. Had a moment when I asked Ken WTF am I doing here? "You have a race today, you got this"  My Dad had my Rescue Remedy so I found him and wished more than ever that stuff came in ready to drink bottles.  Got in the water just to wade because it was warmer, burried my toes in the sand to try to thaw them out, bitched about how cold it was.

Swim - 37:40

Really looked forward to this swim after seeing the course the day before.
However, the run and dive was pretty chaotic and I got my goggles knocked off almost immediately. The demons started hovering but I shoo'd them away once I started counting. Sighting was a bitch with the fog, I just hoped the pink caps in front of me knew where they were going. Once we made it out of the cove it opened up but was still tricky to sight for a while with the fog and glare from the sun. Got into a nice groove for several hundred yards then started seeing people walking! I really didn't want to walk so I swam until my hands hit the bottom, when I walked I could really feel it in my legs and I knew I needed them so I'd start swimming as soon as it got deep enough. The swim was over too soon.

What would you do differently?:

Get rid of the demons already, start counting sooner.



Came running out of the water, saw the strippers and pointed to a 12 or 13 year old boy and said "you!" His face just lit up and he pulled it off in one yank!
HR was up and walked to bring it down. Overwhelmed having to put on so many clothes when we usually just wear what we swim in here in Houston. I tried it all on the night before but it was still tricky.  Added cycling jersey, arm warmers and the gloves were hard to get on wet, numb hands.
The good news is the wardrobe decisions were spot on!

What would you do differently?:

Put helmet on FIRST. My hands were getting cold fast and I put my goves on before buckling the helmet - and could not get it buckled then tried to leave w/o fastening my shoes.

Bike - 3:48

I had to keep my mind in the game. The first thing I noticed before I even hit Walden is my arms hurt, maybe the swim? Not sure but my biceps were sore from the get go.
Had a ticking sound coming from the front but that stopped after a few miles. The next thing I noticed is I had a 0 cadence reading. I was going to have to do this ride off feel, I had no HR monitor and no cadence. Ok, ok, be smart Keri.
Stopped at the first potty and a chick was coming out - perfect timing!
After the stop I realized my front break was rubbing and there was grass wedged between my brake pad and the tire which had to be from transion so I've been riding this whole time like this. I leaned over, pulled the grass out and pulled the break pad away from the tire.

Played leap frog with a cutie named Tina in a pink helmet for a while.
Average speed at the turn around was 16.2. Turn around went well, got the hand up and no stopping to pee. There were folks waiting in line so I was glad I didn't have to stop.

I had my nutrition plan on the side of my aero bottle held down with rubber bands and I stuck to it. Electrolyes, Fig Newtons & Chomps. I didn't eat the last Fig Newton, just didn't sound good so I started on my Chomps - Strawberry, yum!

Miles 35-45 were long. Once I gave up on the cadence fixing itself I changed the computer over to distance and the numbers weren't changing fast enough for me. Saw a gal on the side of the road and asked if she was ok, she said "I"m done" I felt bad for her.
By 40 miles I had to pee, BAD! I was looking for a potty but there wasn't one in sight, I tried and tried to pee on the bike but just couldn't make it happen. I thought about pulling over and just squatting but there were too many cyclists and not enough coverage. I had to go so bad I was in pain. Then a potty! YAY! The Boy Scouts were awesome bike holders. I had to wait in line but that gave me the opportunity to stretch the cramp I had in my left hamstring. The guy in front of me was named Peter and we promised whoever finished first would put the others name on the massage list :)
Back on the bike and the odometer is at 49 and I tell myself 6-7 more miles. Then I realize a few miles later it was 45, not 49! The wind was rough at this point and I was really struggling with speed. I would start freaking about the run to come but would remind myself "just ride your bike, you are on a bike ride, ride your bike" One thing at a time. The last 5 miles flew!

What would you do differently?:

Double check my bike for cadence and stuff like that, it's my responsibility. Learn to pee on the bike.



Had to take off bike jersey and arm warmers so that took more time.
My lips were killing me so I needed to find my Burts Bees lip balm in my back pack. Changed shoes, grabbed balm, gu, chomps, hat and number.

What would you do differently?:

Have lip balm out? Didn't need chomps. Run.

Run - 3:27

So we all knew this was going to be hard. I have a stress fracture in my left heel, was on crutches and had a boot for a few weeks, started running again and it got much worse. I hadn't run at all for 3 weeks and not run any real training runs for 6 weeks before this race.

The first lap went well but I have to admit all the off road stuff was a bit more than I bargained for.
I ran for the first 28 minutes then walked the 2nd aid station where I took 2 Aleve and started back on my electrolytes.
I made the first 4.36 loop in the time we were hoping for. I'd see signs with big numbers like Mile 10 and say to myself "Not right now but it will be"
Mile 5 the cramping started in my quads and hamstrings, for the next 2 miles I was in a dark place. Thoughts of DNF came to mind. I was going to finish the 2nd loop and throw in the towel.
Mile 7 brought animal crackers. I don't like animal crackers and they were not part of my plan but at this point I didn't have much to lose. I washed 2 down with Gatorade and felt awesome almost immediately. Kim came to mind, she told me there would be good miles and to look for them and while in the moment I recognized THIS was a good mile.
From then on I was going to finish this race. I was doing a 9/1 walk that would turn to 8/2 and sometimes 7/3+. I realized this was not working for me so the new plan was to run as long as I could and walk only when I had to. The good(ish) news is when I walked I felt sick so I didn't want to walk. Running was so painful it distracted me from my stomach.

The third loop was easier mentally than the 2nd. At one point I came to the conclusion I was going to finish this race and not have my times, I wasn't going to make the cut-off but that was OK, the numbers didn't matter anymore. At mile 11, just past the marker I tripped and bit it pretty hard on the pavement, both feet cramped up bad, I could feel my toes twisted. I kept saying outloud 'you're ok, you're ok, get up, you're ok' Took some skin off my knuckles and forearms but not bleeding or anything.

A bit further down the road I got my last animal crackers and met Carol. She was wearing a HRTC suit, she asked how much time we had and I told her I didn't know. She said she didn't want us to miss the cut off and I understood what she was saying but at the same time knew I couldn't go any faster. I told her to go if she could and she did after a bit. I got to the street leading up to the finish and ran the rest of the way. The folks walking to their cars were awesome, they knew how long I had been out there. One guy saw me and said "Now THATS a long day" My cheering section was screaming their heads off. I saw Jusitn and Ken take off to head out to the finish. Justin started screaming "Blah Blah Seconds, Run Keri Run!"
I kicked it in with all I had.
Turns out Carol got there first asked Ken and Justin if they were waiting for Keri, she told them I had to hurry and they had to let me know to kick it to make the cut off.

Everyone was there to hug and congratulate me. I wasn't sure Karen was going to let me go.

What would you do differently?:

Not get a stress fracture so I could keep with the training plan.

Post race

Warm down:

I told Ken right away we had to get the bike, I was afraid if I stopped it would be bad. I walked to transition, Travis the boy scout helped me pack my bag and carried it while I walked the bike. Handed the bike off to Ken, lost my balance and Justin caught me. I'm seeing tweeties and stars and I hear some guy say "Is she seizing?" I say no. The next thing I know somebody is asking about an ambulance and I tell them I am NOT getting in an ambulance. They bring a stretcher over with their equipment on it, I'm laying on the ground with my feet in the air. I told them to take the stretcher away and they told me it was just for their equipment. I said over and over "I'm fine, I'm fine" but they kept asking me stupid questions like have I eaten anything today. Seriously, I've been racing for 8 hours what do you think? But at this point I can't say anything. I can feel the blood rushing back to my upper body and that is not a fun feeling. I wasn't enjoying this ride at.all. Some oxygen and a banana and I was sitting up again. Our awesome friend Karen ran down to get our van so I wouldn't have to walk.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I exceeded my fitness.
My furthest run in training was 8 miles before my injury in September. My body wanted to give up many times.

Event comments:

I will do another 70.3 but I promised myself out there I would not race in this physical condition again. I am ready to sign up for 2011!

I also had THE best cheering section, they were LOUD, had great signs and were super cute too.
Rode home with the whole crew including my Dad.  Told Ken to drop us off at the house and pick up some Carl's BBQ (it sounded soooooo good!)  Hopped in the icebath for 20-25 minutes.  Replied to some texts, took a hot shower,  got out for some awesome BBQ and a Cherry Coke!  I was surprised how good I felt, my legs were stiff but not cramping.  Took some Aleve and hit the sack hard around 9pm.


  1. Good job, Keri. So very proud of you. Finishing your first half ironman event is something you will not soon forget. You had the most rocking cheerleaders in the whole place! Was glad some of them saved some cheer for me when I needed it!

  2. Great job girl! You might have felt bad, but you look strong in that picture. :-) Congrats on a job well done...if you did that great with the injury and lack of training, just think how great you're going to do when you're completely healthy and well-trained! YOU ROCK!

  3. I don't even really know what to say. Thank you so much for sharing this journey. My favorite is peeing on the bike...I say, go to the backyard with Dori, sit on and just let it rip in whatever you have on at the moment. Then, it is have done it. I just cannot resist giving some advice! For all else you documented here so well..I am just in awe. Congratulations Keri, truly.

  4. Keri, you are a hero! kept going when you wanted to quit so, so badly. Now you know what to expect, your next one will be so much more for you in every way!

    Keep looking for those good miles, Baby! They will carry you though!

  5. that is great Keri! I am so proud of you.

  6. Great report. I swear I didn't notice it was YOU on the stretcher. Great finish.