Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just hanging on...

The quick recap of the three races at Rutgers this past weekend:

Team Time Trial: 14th out of 15 teams with less than a two minute gap between the first and last teams.

Circuit Race: I narrowly escaped one crash, and being pulled down by my jersey pocket! Then, got stuck behind a second crash. On the way back out of the second crash, I latched onto three University of Pennsylvania guys and pacelined with them for about 3 miles. Then, at the top of the hill near the lap line, they were gone! (on looking at the board later, I see that they gave up and DNF'ed) So, I soloed off the back for 12 miles, in the wind alongside the river. It was more of a mental excercise than a physical one. I wanted to throw in the towel, but was determined to finish the race and not get pulled. So, I cranked it on the flats, spun fast up the two climbs and drove myself as hard as I could on the downhills. With one lap to go, one of the marshals wasn't paying attention and misdirected me on the course. So, I had to go back and do that segment again. In that chicane, I slowed down enough to actually have about a minute of conversation with my coach. But, it was what I needed to keep it going for another time around while I was feeling frustrated and like my shoulders couldn't hold my weight anymore. Note, because of the tired shoulders from staying in a severe aero position for so long, on the flats I ended up doing some very interesting invisible-aerobars-elbow-and-upper-arm-steering maneuvers. And, finally, it was over. I finished. I didn't get pulled, but I did get dead f*cking last (DFL). Still, from the time on the course and distance, I would have had to have averaged about 19mph by myself for 12 rolling miles. Not too shabby. Now I need to learn to avoid crashes and position myself better in the pack. Oh, and, being stronger and lighter would also help. More on my new diet plans later...

Sadly, after the race, the hard part of my day wasn't over yet! At first it started out as just a nagging headache. And, I didn't help it much by standing around in the sun cheering for team mates. Then, bam! raging headache and feeling like I'm going to hurl! And, let the vomitting begin! I forcefully vomitted for hours on end, so hard that I pulled an ab muscle above my ostomy site and could hardly breath between heaving. It was horrible. My kind and patient teammate drove me to an ER and sat in the waiting room with me. By that point I was feeling dizzy, with cold tingly hands. And, then I sat in the waiting area some more... until I started having palpitations. But, because I was still vomitting so hard I could hardly speak. Pointing at your chest in an ER waiting room is suprisingly ineffective.

Once I was able to communicate that I was having palpitations, they took me back to the ER immediately and started me on saline IVs, and zofran for the vomitting. When labs came back, my potassium was low, yet again. So, it seems that I haven't solved my electrolyte issue after all! Sigh.

It was 10pm by the time I got out of the ER, leaving a 6+ hour gap from the time of my races to the time when I was able to eat and keep food down. My legs were already cramping and feeling deflated by that point. It was a horrible lesson in what happens if you race and then deprive your body of the nutrients it needs to refeul and recover afterwards.

Criterium (short flat circuit): Yes, I did race in the criterium on Sunday! Even after a night of vomitting and low potassium, I made it to the starting line! I can't say I did much else. I was pulled an placed midway through the race, after 6 laps according to my coach. Honestly, I was in so much agony that I didn't know what lap it was. I felt like somebody had beaten me all over my body with a crowbar. And, like I was going to vomit again - residual naussea, anyone? I was both sad to be pulled and relieved to stop. Everyone said I looked like hell. But, then, I've been doing a lot of that at races this year.

For some reason I am strong on training rides but consistantly underperform on race days. Yet, I'm having the time of my life and learning a ton! Even if I take DFL again next week, it will still be a fun time! But, I'm hoping for better.

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