Sunday, April 14, 2013

Digging a Little Deeper

I much prefer to have really good races. I like to be in good shape, be well, be rested, and go out and just crush it.

Then there are days like today.

The Boogie start time was 0900, but for all practical purposes, my race started at 0645. I sat down to relieve myself, and decided I'd blow my nose (I know, TMI). It was a little crusty up there from sleep, and I wasn't really thinking, so I gave it a little poke (I'm not ashamed to admit it), which dislodged whatever was there. And immediately my nose started to bleed.

I've had nose bleeds. Ever since my nose got broken in college playing deck hockey, the nose has been a little flaky. But this was unusual. Blood started pouring out my nose. I was pretty disappointed. I'd given myself a good half hour to get ready, and I spent all of it and another 15 minutes trying to get the nose bleed to stop.

I wasn't panicked. At this point it wasn't worry about whether I could race, but whether I could just get it to stop because hey, a guy with blood all over his face and in his goatee is gross. I piled my son in the car, grabbed a roll of paper towels, and explained to him why I had paper stuck in my nose (which I needed to change about once a minute).

I thought at one point on the way to the race I had it stopped, but no...

I got to the race and it was kind of like a gusher. To the point where it was freaking people out, they were telling me to go to the hospital. I couldn't stop it- there was blood all over me, all over the ground outside my car

Long story short, this is not how you want your race prep to go. Michael D'Addetta gets credit for keeping me calm. He said the same thing happened to him, he finally got something frozen up in his nose. Someone gave me some Aquaphor, which is just basically vasoline and that really seemed to slow things to a trickle.

At least Robert Bove, a friend of mine who I'd signed up for the race and brought a bike to race on, listened to my advice to stop worrying about me and start getting used to this bike he'd never been on. The last thing I wanted to be was a distraction.

Finally at twenty to nine I decided to run half a mile and see if started to gush again. It did not. So I did some strides and shut everything out. I would either be OK or I wouldn't.

The first run started out and I settled in to around seventh place and then moved up into fifth by a mile in. My nose was still bleeding but nothing bad. I was right where I wanted to be, I felt fine. I knew if I got through the first mile and didn't feel dizzy I would be fine.

I ran back into transition and hopped on the bike and passed one guy right away. The early part of the course is technical because the sand has clogged the paths after the storms, fine beach sand. I overcooked a turn and nearly ate a tree, and then soon after I got passed. I waited for the road section and when I got there I opened it up and got down on the aero bars and just hammered at 21 mph, which is what I do at this race. My nose had go back to a free flow of blood. I just kept blowing it out or wiping it on my arm warmers. My face was caked with it.

I made it through the whole first loop and the dodgy part of the second and to be honest I thought I had it made. Not only was I holding fifth place, but I had opened up a gap on the people behind me.

1.5 miles from transition (I measured it when I was helping to break down the course after the race), I took a stick up into my drive chain. I powered through it and my reward was a shredded derailleur hanger. I looked down at the bike, hopped off, and started running. I was on a very back section of the course with no one around me, but all I could think was 'I have to run as fast as I can'.

This was the real moment of the race. I honestly had lost at least a pint of blood, probably more, but that was not even a consideration. I'd wrecked my bike and that wasn't a consideration. It was how fast can I run in my bike shoes while pushing my bike. My friend Charlie went by me, knowing exactly what had happened and he said 'Bad Luck'. The first woman went by me. I kept running. I got passed 6 or 7 more times, but one stands out.

After I'd been running for a mile I came to a turn, I cut inside the flags to stay out of people's way, but one guy tried to cut the turn on the same angle as me- I was pushing the bike on the right side of my body. He hit me.

He didn't go down. I went over my handlebars and landed on my elbow and hip.

Think about this. I was running in a straight line and ended up going over the handlebars.


I got back up and keep running. One guy went by me and said 'Way to stay with it Starbuck.' That would have been all the motivation I needed.

I finished my second bike, changed my shoes, and ran down three people, one just out of transition.

This is how it's supposed to be, me closing people out.

I still finished 10th and 3rd in my age group and Charlie Hornak got a much deserved win. And Bove won his age group in his first race.

It wasn't a day where things really went my way. At the same time, I stayed focused on the race, the whole race. Adversity came knocking. I decided not to answer.

The big kudos still go to Robert Bove- winning his age group in his first duathlon. And his goal was to not finish last. How awesome is that?