Thursday, September 3, 2009

Race Attempt: XTERRA Lake Tahoe

Last weekend was weird. I had registered for XTERRA Lake Tahoe after Portland because I thought I might need more points to get to Nationals. Like two days after I registered I got my invite to Nationals, but decided to go to Tahoe anyway because I had already paid. My friend Carrie was supposed to come and it was going to be all fun and road-trippy.

It was a little different than that.

Carrie had to fire two people at her job so she had to stay home and cover their shifts. I had booked a hotel already, so was just going to go solo. On Thursday my friend S (we have met/facebooked/seen each other in yoga class, but had never hung out) came to the shop and asked if I just wanted to go with her and her friend D that were both racing. I said sure, but she had to drive because I didn't have enough room in the car for three people and bikes and stuff.

She picked me up Friday morning and informed me after we left that she had no AC in her car. We had to drive through the valley. It was really really hot even before we got to the valley. Shit. Not good.

It was really hot.

We picked up D in Stockton, and it turns out I had met him in Folsom in March this year. He wanted to go swimming at UoP and it was hot so we did. I got sunburned. Eventually we got back on the road and were really hot. I got a popsicle in Auburn, and was only mildly uncomfortable by the time we got to Incline Village. We stayed at D's friend's house, and I sat around while S and D worked on their bikes.

We picked up packets and got dinner Friday night, and had an extensive debate over where people would be sleeping. D took the couch, S the air mattress, and I took the floor.

Race morning I went pee and it was orange. I don't handle the heat well at all.

I tried to eat and drink but had the usual race morning jitters, packed my stuff up and waited around because D kept forgetting things and made us late. We got to the race at 7:15, and the race started at 8:00. So not good for my control freak sensibilities.

I rushed through setting up my transition, body marking, and getting into my wetsuit, found Dave and Meiling (my XTERRA usuals) and headed to the water with Meiling. This was the same course as XTERRA Nationals last year, without the 35 degree weather and recent rain. The trek from transition to the water was a long one, and I didn't bring shoes. I got in the water for a couple minutes, but had to get out and line up before I got much warm up time.

The swim: 1500 meters (two loops, beach run)

Nothing terribly noteworthy. I felt steady, didn't get clobbered, saw a crayfish (or crawdad? I don't know). Felt like crap on the beach run, second loop was more of the same. I love swimming in that lake, the water is so beautifully clear and even tastes good. Ran/walked towards transition while I wrestled with my wetsuit.

Meiling was already in transition. WTF?!?! She has never beat me out of the water! Right after I got there, Dave arrived. Apparently that was a terrible swim for me.

The bike: 22 miles of climbing galore.

I felt like hell. On the long climbs I had no power. My eyes wouldn't focus fully. Walking took more effort than usual. I thought about quitting every five minutes, but there are no easy bail-outs on the course so you might as well finish. What was fast smooth single track last year was deep sand this year. It was hot. It was a full-on trudge-fest.

I don't remember my foot starting to hurt at any one point, I just remember it killing me. Walking hurt, weighting the foot hurt, and standing up while descending was killer. I finally made it back to transition and couldn't put weight on the ball of my left foot. I sat down at my transition and burst into tears. Meiling, who was already done with the whole race, rushed over and took me to the medical tent where they gave me pain killers and ice. I probably sat there for an hour, enough time for Dave to finish, awards to be held, and the food line to die down.

I didn't run.

Finishing the race wouldn't make or break anything, and Nationals was a month away. If something was really wrong, running might just make it worse.


After the race S, D, and D's friend Nick decided they wanted to go to the beach. Apparently I didn't get the memo that we weren't going back to the house after the race, so I hung out in my race suit for four hours or so, while they hung out in clean clothes. I got sunburned. Nick turned out to be an apparently well-known MMA fighter, so we learned all about boxing and crap like that. Eventually everyone decided they were hungry, and S and I both had to convince D that we should go back to the house, seeing as I was still wearing a chamois.

My three cohorts decided they wanted to have sushi for dinner, and I agreed since most sushi places have non-fish options. This place had no such options. I had vegetable tempura and edamame for dinner. The chef came over to geek out over Nick and offered him and his friends "treats" (apparently weed-laced desserts). So random.

At about 8:30 S and I finally headed home. It was still hot in the valley. I got home at about 12:30.

I think I'm still dehydrated.

Not my favorite weekend.