Desert Half Iron – Trev’s RR

deserthalfironIt’s generally a good idea to show up to a race with your “A” game. I , for some reason, decided to pull out the “L” (L as in way down the alphabet but not quite Z)game this past weekend at the Desert Half Iron in Osoyoos. A few rookie mistakes, general lack of desire to suffer, 3 weeks post Ironman, and some stiff competition saw me get my “L” card dealt to me by many a racer.

Mentally I knew it would be tough, and generally, mentally ‘knowing’ it’s going to be tough is basically resigning yourself to a tough day. It’s not often you can go into a race thinking it’s going to be tough and come out with a good one. Your body generally follows your mind – and my mind was off.

My game plan for the day was to ride hard and hang on over the course of the run without digging myself a big hole for recovery. And that my friends, is quite simply the worst possible game plan you can have when in reality you want to kick some ass. But, I stuck to my weak ass game plan and rode hard. On a bottle full of Ensure. Ensure being the greatest Ironman race fuel I’ve found – and now quite possibly the worst half iron race fuel I’ve found. I have used it in a half iron before, but only when the course is flatish (which this one is not)and I put in place a general HR cap (which i did not). Seeing as the Desert half starts with a 10km climb up Richter pass and my plan was to ride hard, Ensure should have been swapped out with good ol gel. Power gel, hammer gel, plain old white sugar with water gel…anything but fat and protein from a can. I clued in to this fact at about kilometer 70 when the legs fell off, and one last chance to grab a gel from an aid station. Poor volunteer child offering me a gel, I think I scarred him really badly when I tried to grab the gel cause he pulled it away from me with a full body motion like he was keeping the sugary goodness to himself. Maybe he was – you gel hoarder you!! Haha.

Sporting the pack

Sporting the pack

20km later (10 of them downhill, thankfully) in T2 I downed a gel and got my hydration pack on. Yes, I said my hydration pack. Yes, I was the cool guy wearing a hydration pack. Yes, I will wear it again…in an Ironman, but not a half iron. It’s a tight fitting racing pack with the general ‘camelbak’ hose for slurping. You honestly don’t even feel it (especially if your legs hurt like hell), and the extra weight will be (I say ‘will be’ because I’m thinking positively) more than made up in the benefits gained from hydration over the course of an ironman. Those benefits are somewhat lost in a half iron but even so I enjoyed having it on Sunday. In an Ironman marathon though – dehydration is huge and two slurps from a half full Gatorade cup every mile is what – about 500 ml total? Even this weekend I went through a whole extra liter of water on top of my aid station slurps. And my pee was still freaking orange that evening. A good enough test for me. In any case – I didn’t run well, but it wasn’t because of the pack. I rocked the pack. No, I don’t feel any less manly because of it. Someone has got to think outside the box – Greg LeMond thought outside the box and pulled the ‘Triathlon bars’ into the cycling world to the shock and boos of his competitors. In fairness, he also crushed the Tour de France with his coming out party – I in turn got crushed at the Canadian Long Course Championships of Triathlon in Osoyoos, BC!!! I’m going to turn the tables at Ironman Canada and really give a hydration pack it’s time in the sun though. Side note — I think Joanna Zeiger has used a hydration pack before so I’m not a trend setter. But she used it on the bike – why on the bike? I would like to ask.

lemond Back to the race – Something happened at kilometer 3 that prevented me from reaching into sufferville. My “L” card. Then another 10km left me walk jogging some painful legs to the finish while runner after runner passed me and laughed at my hydration pack. You’ll get yours I thought to myself.

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~ by trevorandheather on July 13, 2009.

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