What a ride!

We’re finally in the recovery stages from the Buffalo Creek XTERRA – all four of us: me, Wes, Abi, and Maddy. Friday was pretty nutso, Abi did not ever take a nap, I slammed my finger in the door while trying to do too many things at once, and I had a crying fit that ended in “I don’t want to go anymore.” Ahh, pre-race craziness.
After we got that out of our systems, we arrived at Wellington Lake on Friday night around 7:30 pm and got a primo camping spot. We were in the “free” camping area but the lady running the grounds that night was kind enough to tell us how to stay away from the crowds and the lake (very important when you have a water-obsessed toddler). We set up camp and Abi was loving it.
Wellington Lakecamp chairstent

We headed down to the race hq’s near the lake to get Wes introduced to the race director, since Wes volunteered to help with the race. The beautiful night turned dark and nasty in about 2 minutes, and before we knew it, we were in the middle of a little thunderstorm. Abi and Maddy were not happy about that at all. Getting Abi to settle down in the tent was quite the adventure. Eventually we gave up and let her throw her lovey over the pack n’ play at us as some sort of game.
We woke up nice and early after a pretty good night’s sleep – for camping, anyways. Wes took off to go help out. Abi and I set up my transition together, I got a nice spot and beat the crowds. Then we made some oatmeal and Abi had dirt for breakfast (and some milk, for nutrition). I got dressed (in my Dirt Divas jersey – so proud!), went to the pre-race meeting, got in my wetsuit, got a 5 minute warm-up, and then the pro’s were off! I got a bit nervous before the start. I saw my friend Amy D. before the swim start. Then we were off like a herd of turtles as we waded through the shallow mud so we could get swimming.
men's startwomen's start I wanted to start off slow and stay calm in the water. Check and check. I stayed super calm, if anything I should have pushed it more, but for my first ever mile swim in a race, I felt that this was the right thing to do. Every time I looked up to breathe I saw trees and mountains. If the fish saw me, they saw a big ol’ grin. I got kicked, swam over, hooked arms with, etc., but it didn’t bug me at all. I even snuck in some of my fancy bilateral breathing I have been working so hard on. There were big chops when the men’s field passed us, but I didn’t swallow any water. 40 minutes later I got out of the water and up on the beach. I wasn’t numb this time! Hooray! MUCH easier to take off a wetsuit when you are not numb.
Transitioning to mountain bike is a bit more involved, mostly because of the Camelbak (a necessity for us age-groupers) and the fact that I had to bring gels in order to endure 20 miles of biking. I meant to tape my gels with my super-secret taping method, but I forgot the tape and other…er…secret ingredient for that. I ended up stuffing them in the legs of my shorts, which worked pretty well. 2:03 later I was mountain biking – my favorite!!
The bike leg went pretty well for me. It was a total roadie’s / climber’s course, of which I am neither, but there were enough downhills and rollers in there to keep me very happy. I really felt like I was RACING once I was on my bike. The Giant did beautifully for me, I loved the pro pedal option for those sustained climbs. I passed quite a few girls from my age group, and was mostly riding with guys. Every time we’d get to a tiny technical section people would be all over the place,a total mess. It got a bit frustrating, but I tried to think that they were just really good swimmers which gave me a lot more respect for the other people out there. It was a fun, fast 18 miles followed by a pretty brutal 2 mile climb back to transition. It was quite steep and I slowed down a bit. Someone my age passed me when that happened. I figured I better save something for the run. Total bike time was 2:12 and I was 7th fastest in my age group for the bike split.
Transition 2 went off without a hitch and I was running in 1:25. On that last bike climb, I felt a little twinge in my quads. I told them to shut up and keep going. Well, they revolted about a mile into the run on the uphill part. They went on strike and refused to move, rewarding me with massive amounts of pain, what I would imaging getting hit with a sledgehammer in the legs would feel like. I was frozen on the trail. 2 girls I passed in transition passed me back and asked if I was ok. I squeaked out a “yes…” while praying out loud and smacking my legs and rubbing them. I looked crazy, but it worked. They finally let go so I could move. Walk, walk, jog, shuffle, run. I passed back a few people and tried not to think about the screaming pain. The run was so beautiful, all in the woods and around the lake, twisty, turny, big rock and log steps.
I got out on the road and the last 1.5 miles were all in plain sight. The finish line could not have come soon enough. I was soooo ready to be done! My run was 48:23 for 5 miles, including stopping, and total time was 3:45. What a ride! Susan Williams was there and she did the course an HOUR faster. Amazing!
I was 10th of 18 finishers in my age group and 51st women (of 85) overall. Then I thought about it – I finished an XTERRA! I had a really great swim! I had an awesome bike! My run time was good (for me)! What more could I ask, really? I want to do more and keep seeing what I can do…..but not every weekend or even every month. As far as races go, this now tops my list of difficulty. Amy, by the way, was 16th overall – with a fabulous time!! Way to go, Amy!
I finally met up with Wes and Abi, they had a great day and Wes was a huge help as race hq’s. I almost blacked out after the race and couldn’t move until Wes got some ice cream and Gatorade in me. He had to pack up the car, and basically do everything, to get us home. I was USELESS. Today I am back to my useful self, although my quads are really, really mad at me. I’ll apologize later, we have more work to do before Boulder Peak. Fun, fun, and more FUN!
I’d like to get this cramping thing figured out. I’ve never had it this bad, but Wes thinks I need to do more training bricks (bike and run together). I think it’s something to do with nutrition. Opinions? This is my only “do better next time” item for this race, because I know I left it all out there on the course. XTERRA rocks. Final Results here.


11 responses to “What a ride!

  1. Your cramping is probably both…needing to do more “bricks” and nutrition. Take some E-Caps with you next time. A lot of the endurance mountain bikers swear by them. md

  2. oh…Congratuations on finishing the race and doing so well! You have got to be the fittest mom in the US :O I noticed the list of races on the right hand side of your blog…are planning to do all of them? I don’t know how you manage to squeeze it all in.

  3. Congrats on the great race!!! I would go with more bricks plus electrolytes. If you do some hard bricks and take some ‘lectrolytes as an experiment, you might just get it figured out.

  4. Congratulations! You did it! XTERRA, what a great accomplishment. WOOHOO!!!

    I think race nutrition is SO hard to figure out. I’m still trying to figure it out, after all the races I’ve done this spring. If all you had was gels, maybe you need to try some other form, like a bar or blocks. If you figure it out, let me know! šŸ˜‰ I think you’re gonna kick my butt majorly at Boulder Peak, though! :p

  5. Great Job Laura, and even greater post race write up and attitude. The quad thing doesn’t really sound like a “lack of brick” thing. Usually when you don’t do those you just feel slow and groggy on the run. You’ll figure it out, I have complete faith!


  6. Great job! I’m glad you liked it so much =) You’d love the more technical Xterras even more…I think Crested Butte is supposed to be gnarly (aka perfect for you). I think this race sold me on Xterras, I’m def gonna be signing up for more…as well as going for more mtb rides! I’m not sure what the quad issue could be caused by. ..my mom always tells me to eat bananas before a race — are you getting enough potassium/sodium?

  7. my hat to you kiddo!! with a baby to take care of ..etc…
    when I did the same kind of triathlon,( same distances) we did not have wet suit and the water was 61 degrees..I swam my fastest time ever for a mile..

    but since I ran races every week end..( no kidding) I had no problem with the running part ( 7 miles) at the end of the triathlon.

    so..I think it is just a matter of training ..but also diet..I do not know what you eat ..you might need extra nutrients ( like vitamin B12) bee’s honey..
    when we come up to Denver.. you can tell me..anyhow..Bravo!!
    I loved the pix’s of Abi in the tent..love to you all..Bonne Maman

  8. Laura, you look buff in that wetsuit! What fun to be able to see all these pictures of your adventures from my dorm room at college! Mom

  9. Awesome job, Laura!! It sounds like you had a great time and that’s definitely what it’s all about. Special bonus that you did so well too. I agree with most everyone else – probably a nutrition thing (not necessarily during the race, could be the day before too, that actually gets me more than whatever I do on race day). You’ll get it figured out :).

  10. now i want to do an xterra. i think i could crush that race if it weren’t for the whole swimming and running thing.

    laura – endurolytes. they’ll solve all your problems. take 3 or 4 at breakfast (just open the caplets and sprinkle them in your cereal or whatever) and put another 5 or so in whatever you use to hydrate during your ride.

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