My first DNF
I’ve been competing in athletics for pretty much my whole like and have never had to quite before crossing the finish line, finishing the required distance or competing for an allotted time. We’ll it finally happened. The event was the Las Vegas Triathlon, half iron distance. I did the race a couple of years ago and won the Masters division and wanted to see how I would compare now that I’m a couple of years older and wiser with my cycling and swimming skills. I was already up in the area for interbike and decided to hang around a couple more days for the race.
My decision to DNF had never crossed my mind when I started the event. I was pretty much ready to go but soon found out my body was not going to go along.
The swim was in Lake Mead. Water temperature was pretty warm, 76 or so. If I had a sleeveless wetsuit. I would have used, so full suit it was. Overall the mass start swim was pretty event-less, no kicking and scraping. I started off pretty mellow in my stroke cadence since Lake Mead is at a little elevation, not wonting to hyperventilate. Sighting was a bit challenging since there were not too many buoys along the course. Upon exiting the water, I dawned my fake pink Crocs and scampered up to the transition area. I looked up a the timing clock an thought I saw 40 minutes. I thought to myself, dam that was slow. In actuality (after checking online results today) had the fastest swim split in the age group, 35:20.
That was the end of my glory. This is a challenging bike course with the rolling hill and slight climbs but the road surface is one of the best for a tri or bike race…smooth! Once up on the main road I started to be passed left and right. I tried to respond and keep my speed and wattage up but no go! I was tapped out. At this point of the bike course, I still had no thoughts of not finishing. At the turn around and with 30 or so miles back to transition I was just going thru the motions. When I saw how long I was on the bike and how much further I had to go I started to think… this sucks, I have no energy, how am I going to do a very challenging half marathon run? Then with about eight miles to go on the bike I made up my mind… No way am I going to do that run, too hot, too far, no way! I continued my ride back into transition, my mind and body were now at ease. My muscles knew they were not going to be tortured. So I hit T2 with a bike split time of 3:39:42 (15.3 mph), the slowest out of my age group. I immediately racked my bike and headed to the lake to cool off and hydrate my skin. I felt so relieved, my day was done!
The Back Story
Early packed pick up for this race was Friday evening at a “local” bike shop a few miles from where I was staying (Wynn Hotel). I decided to take advantage of this rather than drive out to the actual event expo the following day. I did not want to drive those extra miles. As I drove to the bike shop I was observing all the shops, stores and restaurants. Keeping my open for anything Italian. I did not do my pre-investigation for the nearest Olive Garden (a big mistake, I now know where it is located). Well, my Italian dinner ended up being Dominos Pizza, two orders of pasta in a bread bowl. One order of Pasta Primavera and one Italian Sausage Marinara. I have had their bread bowl past a few times before and knew what I was getting into. As it turned out it was the worst choices I have ever made. Eating it was just fine… sure a bit salty (actually very over salted). I took a break between each bowl, I did not just scarp all down at one time.
As I mentioned, it was one of the worst choices I have ever made for a pre-race meal. I have been pretty lucky in the past with no probs. Well, this meal did not set right with me. The following day, my stomach was killing me and a mild head ache. I pretty much stayed in bed all day, I felt chilled despite being in Hot Vegas. Yep, the bathroom was calling often. I do not recall the last time I had “food poisoning” other than those apples full of worms when I was a youngster. About an hour before sunset, I finally felt good enough go for a swim in the pool. Once back in the room it was back to bed. I had pretty much nothing to eat all day, maybe a yogurt or two. I just did not feel like eating anything, I tried to take in fluid also but not much drinking either. I had been thinking about the scheduled race and was keeping my hopes high on recovering in time. By morning my tummy and head were feeling much better, but my body was a bit weak. Positive thinking can do wonders and I was going to race.
My decision to DNF may have been the smartest move I have ever made. It turned out I was severely dehydrated (self diagnosed). It took four days to fully hydrated. If I had continued to race I may have put my body in sever trauma and may not have recovered for my next race, Mission Bay Triathlon, which was the following week end.
I will never eat at Domino’s Pizza again!!!!!!!!