Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Goodness

What an outstanding weekend! We made our trek South for the Great White North Half Ironman on Friday afternoon. Friday morning I dropped H-dog off at the Kompanion Kennels where he would be bunking while we were away. This is the first time H-dog and I have been apart since we adopted him in November. I didn't bawl my face off after dropping him off like I thought I would, but I was sad.

We arrived in Stony Plain about 5pm and checked in to our hotel. Thanks to Ross and Sonya for passing on the super deluxe suite! It was bigger and nicer than the apartment I lived in when I first moved to Calgary :)

Friday night was the carbo load. For anyone who has not done this race, the carbo load is the best I've been to- including IM races. Salads, bbq steak or chicken, potatoes, dessert. Yum.
We met up with our GP friends that were in town (there were 10 of us racing!) as well as catching up with some buds from Calgary we haven't seen in a long time and some blogger friends. I got to chat quite a bit with Naomi, who is truly one of my favorite people :)

Saturday morning we woke up like kids at Christmas. The first morning of Le TOUR!! We watched until Lance finished his ITT and then headed to the lake to do a swim. We met up with more of the crew and ran into more Calgary friends. The lake was a great temp and I had an awesome swim. We did one loop, visited some more and then headed back to town. I was starving so we had a snack and watched the rest of the ITTs. After that it was time to clean up and head into Edmonton. We went to Element to do some shopping for tri supplies we can't get up in the far North. I ran into fellow blogger Jordan who was also racing (and she rocked it!). Then we headed next door to an amazing Vietnamese Restaurant where we ran into our friend Jason and crew. We had a super yummy lunch (oh how I miss Vietnamese food! another one of those things we don't have in GP) and then headed back to our abode. We got our stuff ready and went back out to the lake to do a spin and a little run.

After a sweet nap we headed to Original Joe's for dinner with more of the GP crew. I had my traditional pre race beer and fries :) and it was great to have our friends sharing in the pre race excitement.

Race morning I was awake about 4am. I was ready to get up, but it was too early. I rested for another hour and a bit and then got up. I was feeling rested, relaxed and ready to race! As per my last post, my intention for this weekend was to just enjoy and be happy. I let go of my time goals and was just going out to do what I love. As a result I had no race morning anxiety- no nausea, no stress. What a nice change!

We headed to the race site about 6am, I set my transition up in about 3 seconds and then hit the porto john line up where I stood for about 30mins. As well done as this race is, I have to say they skimped a bit on the shitters. 10 for 850 people? Gross.

After taking care of that business I ran into Julie and had a great pre race chat with her and even met her dancing mom! :) I later saw Julie ripping up the bike course and I know she had an awesome race. Back in transition I ran into Lisa and got to chat with her for a while. She absolutely smoked the course as I suspected she would.

We donned the wetsuits and hit the water to get warmed up. Soon enough the countdown was on and we were off! As usual I got beat up for the first 400m. I had a mini panic attack when I went for a breath and got a mouth full of water, then came for a second breath and got dunked under by another swimmer, but I was able to pull it together in time for the first bouy where I again was pummeled and dunked. Things improved from there and I made it to shore, exited and went for round two. This time I stayed really far left and probably added a bit of distance, but my mission was to have fun and I prefer swimming to water boxing. The second lap was great, I didn't feel especially fast, but I enjoyed it. (as it turns out, I was about minute faster than last year- yay me!)

On to the bike. I had replaced my bike computer with a little sign that said Be Happy. So instead of watching the clock, I was reminded of why I was there. It worked, and I had a great 65km ride. (too bad I still had 25km to go) Soon after that I started to feel really bad. I was nauseous, dizzy and I had a pain in my gut. I have felt rough in lots of races and was reasonably confident that it would pass. After downing half a banana at the next aide station things went from bad to worse and I got the telltale signs that I was going to barf. So I did. I'll spare you all the details, but over the last 20km I was sick several times and I struggled all the way back to town. I am pretty sure the last 20km took close to an hour, and it felt like the entire field passed me. (not surprisingly, my time was about 13mins slower than last year)

Even so, once off the bike I was holding onto hope that things would improve. I thought that maybe once I was running the guts would settle down and I could pull off a decent run. I really wanted to run, after almost 3 weeks with very limited running this was the part of the day I was most looking forward to.

I headed out of transition and saw my friend Lori. She asked how I was doing and I told her things were rough, but I wanted to try out the run. I headed out and got about a half a block before I knew I was going to be sick again. I didn't want to lose it in front of the spectators and other runners so I bolted down an alley and ended up in some one's back yard. This time there wasn't much left to come up, but it came right from my toes and out my nose. I decided at this point I was no longer having any fun and called it a day.

I never second guessed my decision, I didn't feel any kind of sadness, disappointment or anger. Instead, I was happy I had a friend there to offer clothing and drugs, and I was excited I'd finally be able to see my hubby cross a finish line!
I was able to watch all the top finishers come through and cheer in D who had a really tough run but still pulled off a 4:27 and got his IM Canada spot!! He is such a strong person and he continually inspires me with his grit and his ability to be positive and grateful regardless of the situation.

We stuck around for a bit and then decided to head back to get the car so we could shower. I was not feeling well, with a pounding dizzy head and I really wanted to get out of the sun.
It was great to see soooo many people having stellar races out there. Congrats to all our GP friends who posted amazing results, as well as my blogger buddies who all did fantastic.

So although I had my first DNF I still had an amazing race weekend. Thanks to all the people who posted thoughtful and encouraging comments, those of you I got to chat with at the race, my GP crew and most especially my husband extraordinaire, who knows exactly how to support me in being the best version of myself.

Today we were in Whitecourt as D was working there. I had a day to kill so I spent a lazy morning watching the tour, had lunch with D, finished reading The Time Traveler's Wife (AWESOME!) and then went for a pedicure. Rough life.

The whole drive home I was anxious to get there and pick H-dog from the Kennel. As soon as we walked in he started howling and whining. He was as happy to see us as we were him. Once home, he was so excited to play, and most excited to get some love. He was absolutely soaking it up and stuck to me like velcro! By the time we'd showered H-dog was crashed out on the floor, and he is still sleeping now. I guess it was a good party :)

Now we have a day and a half at home and we are off to Jasper for some mountain biking, trail running, doggy hiking and blissful rocky mountain high-ness. :)

Summer rocks!


cherelli said...

hey Amber, Congrats on a fantastic weekend, you did awesome finding all the positives - and even a "positive" DNF in getting to see your husband cross the finish line...there'll be other races other times but I'm pleased you found where you needed to be mentally and had fun, well done!!

Running~Jordan said...

Amazing! I'm super impressed :)

Jenna said...

Way to go out there just having fun and I always say that there is a story behind every DNF and usually it is not one of failure but one of triumph:) Julie told me she got to meet you both and I was wondering if I might see you out there but, I did't or I would have said hi....oh, wait ...I *think* I saw someone hurling in the alley...just kidding!! Maybe at IMC we'll meet!! Enjoy Jasper!

Naomi Rae Nicholson said...

First of all, I must say Amber I LOVED every moment of our talks. :-D You truly are one of my favourite people, too!! To talk with you and then see you racing, regardless of the outcome, inspires me more than words can ever convey. Great job!!! I'm so glad you are feeling better now, as well. :)

Mmm...yummy! That Vietnamese restaurant and OJ's are places we love to frequent too.

Enjoy your holidays, and lots of cuddle time with H-dog (and Darin of!)

Hugs and Smiles,

Deb said...

Hey, i'm glad you had such a great weekend! You're pretty inspiring and you have such a great attitude despite a DNF...i'll definitely have to remember that down the road. There's always going to be races! :)I knew Darin would rock it and qualify for IMC...congrats to him!!

P.S. I totally cried the first time I dropped Logan off at the kennel...and the second time... lol

Julie said...

It was GREAT chatting with you before the race! It's too bad we didn't have ore time -- I could have kept talking, and talking, and talking. :) :) I was so excited to have ran into you8 I blabbed away to Jenna. :) :)

Congrats on an incredible effort out there!! I can't even believe you did as well as you did!! HOLY CRAP AMBER!! You are one tough cookie. I'm astonished you even THOUGHT of trying the run. And then to dart down and alley to hide the puking -- Awwwwwww, Amber!!

You are just so unbelievably cute and awesome. :) :) :)

Runner Leana said...

Oh sorry to hear you were ill! It sounds like you made a great decision for yourself, and neat that you were able to cheer your husband in! Glad you enjoyed your weekend in Stony!

Kelly B. said...

Puking sucks no matter where it is...nice work on finding the positives...its not what happens to you its how you handle what happens to you.

And a side note...your hubby beat the terd I have to deal with in the pool every week by 8 seconds!!!! THAT? Put a little smile on my face...way to go Darin!!!

Jenna said...

Amber - yes I am still planning on doing the Frank Dunn Tri - are you coming to that one??
I am also signed up for a half marathon July 25th...likely gonna downgrade...hahaha!! Then another half August 16th... we will see how it pans out. Thanks for the suggestion of a parasite cleanse but if I shit a bucket of worms, I might die!!! LOL. I actually did a ligth spin and a short run and my body is craving, CRAVING it... baby steps right? If I do not improve over the week perhaps I will do the parasite cleanse for the hell of it as I was in DR this year and I did get sick while I was there???

Lisa G said...

Congrats amber on pushing through a tough day and making the smart decision to pull out. Sometimes your body just will not do what the mind is telling it!

It was great to chat with you before and after the race! And a big congrats to your hubby for achieving his IM Canada spot!