Monday, November 10, 2008

I DID IT!!!!!! A Silverman Half Race Report

This race is MINE bitch! (10:48:33)

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I lived my triathlon dream, I achieved my goal of finishing the Half Silverman. Thanks so much to everyone who followed me yesterday. Of course you were able to do that through the awesome efforts of Glenn, Sarah and Danielle! Thanks girls so much, you really had me covered. I wondered what was “going on”online during all the flats, wind, rain and obstacles that yesterday threw at me. Thinking of everyone who has supported me in this endeavor helped get me through some trying times out there. I would not have finished the race without Glenn. He followed me the entire bike course, offering support and the best attitude anyone ever had. His attitude was contagious. This is why I married him. THANKS HONEY!!

I was racing MY RACE until about mile 10 of the bike. My swim was awesome! It felt like the best swim ever! After we started an hour late due to weather, it started raining. The lake appeared eerily foggy at times.I would sight and see the bright yellow buoys and the people around me and nothing else. Every time I turned my head to breath, my face would get sprinkled with rain. It was very, very cool!!

Hell YES -- best swim ever!

I got out of the water in about 51 minutes which pleased me very much as my goal time was 50-55 minutes. Also got to meet Macca during the swim delay – that guy is so nice, and HOT! And so nice!

The first flat happened around mile 10.

By that time the weather had cleared and I was riding slightly faster than my normal riding times which is exactly what I wanted to do. In short, I was rocking it. The next three flats happened on Northshore Road – thanks Izaac for stopping (by all appearances Izaac rocked it! He needs to post his race report quickly)!

1st flat -- I'm still smiling

My perspective changed very quickly from I WANT TO RACE THIS BITCH to I AM GRATEFUL TO BE MOVING FORWARD. And trust me I was. Even though I had that many flats (after not having one for six months previously), there was always someone in the vicinity who offered something that allowed me to keep moving. And Glenn was always close. He told me we would do what it took to get me through it even if there were 12 flats.

The fifth flat happened at mile 47 – I had just returned to civilization from the River Mountain Trail Loop Trail where the Three Sisters are. That fifth flat was the only time I thought about quitting. I sat there in semi defeat while Glenn rushed over a new tube that he got from someone somewhere, after a nice volunteer let me use her phone. I rode the last nine miles just praying that fix would hold. I pumped the brakes hard down a nice long fast downhill because I was afraid the tire would explode on me.

By some point everyone thought I was doing the Full Silverman.


Um, yeah . . . . try mile 44, you smiling, yelling, very nice, enthusiastic volunteer. But thanks!

Glenn and I laughed hard about this later. Seems this is the story of my triathlon career this year. I’m either doing an Olympic and racing with half iron people or doing a half iron racing with the full iron people! Trust me we laughed! It was funny! And maybe fitting, I don’t know. The way I look at it I was meant to finish this race, one way or another!

I did not look at my watch one time out on the bike course. Mentally I couldn’t afford to. I kept my eye on my trusty bike computer and just pretended that no time had passed between every tire change. This worked well until, within five miles of T2, a full iron guy overtook me. He said something about us being almost done. I said YES! Then he said “yeah I think we’ll make the cutoff.”

UM . . . WTF really??????

I looked at my watch for the first time then and it was a little after four. Bike cutoff is at five.

YIKES!!! There’s a situation I never thought I’d be in!!

Thank goodness for half/full iron races with the only cutoffs being for the full iron. Yet another sign I was meant to finish come hell or high water.

I really REALLY REALLY WANTED this race. More than I thought! Yesterday proved that to me.

Thanks to Liz, I was so well prepared, it’s not even funny. Seriously! Taper week was not that fun for me but everything I have done over the past year under Liz’s guidance paid off in SPADES yesterday! Every time I got back on that bike after the latest tire fix I felt great! My legs were strong, my lungs felt awesome, I was in my zone! When the rain and crosswinds/headwinds hit and blew my bike to the side or smacked me in the face coming up that long hill out of Northshore, I was just so grateful to still be in the race that I didn’t care!

Somewhere between the 4th and 5th flat.

I made it ¾ of the way up the first of the Three Sisters before unclipping. Glenn was there to take a picture. It was raining and the trail was slick. I had never ridden in rain before. Oh well! I made it all the way up the second Sister and felt very proud of myself! Elected to walk up the third sister, and walk down the backside too. That downhill on the backside was very steep and it was still raining and it was slick . . . . I figured better safe than sorry!

There was another downhill shortly after that with a sharp turn at the bottom that I also walked. Felt like a complete dumb ass for walking that second one but then a girl rode down, made the turn, slipped and biffed it at the bottom. She was fine, she got up and got back on her bike but suddenly my decision to walk down was totally validated. The River Mountain Trail Loop was very isolated. After the sisters it is a slow, gentle incline for miles where I got down into the bars, rested, and spun as best I could. Saw one ranger ride by on an ATV, a handful of full iron peeps and that was IT.

Someone upstairs did not want me to have my fifth flat on the River Mountain Trail Loop. Someone waited until mile 47 when I was back in civilization and could call for help. I am very grateful for that. A flat on the River Mountain Trail Loop would have ended my race.

My bike computer read 5:10 when I got into T2. Some of that time was spent walking the bike waiting for Glenn or someone else to come by!

My nutrition plan worked flawlessly. I had loaded up my bike with five hours worth of nutrition, never dreaming I would actually need that much, and was able to absorb the extra time spent out on the bike course with no ill effects. My stomach (after being such a f*cking bitch during taper and demanding all sorts of food) fell in line, didn’t growl once, and I was able to eat every single calorie that I planned to eat on the bike and on the run. All of my salt tabs, water, Gatorade, gels, Perpetuem, Clif Bars, gels (oh did I say that twice? I had gels on both the bike and the run).

Every aid station on the run had my raspberry Hammer Gels. I decided to carry a water bottle with me as a last minute decision made in T2. It was a good one. It sort of helped to hold onto it and I sipped from it the entire run. At the aid stations I took Gatorade and had the volunteers fill the bottle to ¼ full. The aid stations had their usual buffet of goodies, but I stuck to my plan and it paid off for me. I ditched the water bottle in a trash can at about mile 12.5 so it would not show up in my finish photo!

At the same time things seemed to be falling apart on the bike, everything else came together. Sounds a bit strange, but it’s true!

I ran the entire run, and felt really good until about mile 8. Started feeling like something the cat dragged in by mile 11. By the time Glenn and Danielle saw me in The District (mile 11) I was hurting pretty badly but kept running!

Mile 11 -- Running through the pain

My run time was slow for sure, but I FORCED MYSELF TO RUN THE ENTIRE WAY. I kept telling myself:

This is Silverman. . . YOU RUN AT SILVERMAN!

This is Silverman, it is SUPPOSED TO BE HARD (got that one from Sarah).

I also sang the ABC song several times in my head (especially up the hills) and counted my foot strikes. Counted from1-20 backwards and forwards and back again. Zoned out, cleared my mind, andjust stayed within myself. All of this helped me to keep running.

The finish line was awesome! The clock read 13:xx!! Subtract two and a half hours from that and that’s my finishing time. HELL YES! That time is all MINE, BITCH! (I put my official results below, check em out!).

I now know why those mylar blankets are at the finish line. The temperature had really dropped but I did not notice it until I stopped moving. Can’t believe how warm those things are. I did not get a medal because they ran out of half iron medals. Yes you read that right, they RAN OUT OF HALF IRON MEDALS. I was so non plussed and disgusted that I nearly gave the nice volunteer attitude about this. But then I smiled, thanked her, and walked away. Not her fault, and all of the volunteers that I encountered on the course were awesome! I got to borrow a full iron medal to wear in my photos. J

So, that’s it in a nutshell. I achieved everything I wanted to at Silverman and much much more thanks to the obstacles that were thrown at me. When I read about people overcoming obstacles during races I tear up and think WOW! That person really has what it takes! Now I think the same of myself and that is a pretty powerful place to be. Thanks so much for reading and for supporting me. Under Liz’s direction I am taking TWO WEEKS off of working out. She doesn’t have to tell me twice!

Official Results: STEFANIE FRANK Swim: 51:28 T1: 6:06 Bike: 6:28:26 T2: 4:08 Run: 3:18:27 Total Time: 10:48:33

1 comment:

Michelle said...

FIVE flats. I cannot believe it! You definitely have perseverance and grit. You never gave up. Very impressive. Congratulations!