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Sweatin’ it

I’ve been racing a lot this season, some went well, some went poorly, some were catastrophic.

I had one race, middle of July, right outside Baltimore in the Chesapeake Bay. I was able to get to the race venue the day before and spend a night in a hotel by myself. A huge treat. Unfortunately, the traffic was horrific. A 4.5 hour trip took 6.5. This is normally not a big deal, but I don’t handle changes to my carefully laid out plans very well. I had a finely tuned timeline of driving, pre-race workouts, and eating, that all went out the window somewhere in the Baltimore harbor tunnel. I got to the race venue just in time to hear the pre-race conference. (The main takeaway being: it’s incredibly hot, everywhere, even the water temp in the Bay was 87F)

It was 9:30 before I sat down to dinner at the one and only restaurant in this small town. 9:30 is when I go to bed.

The race was not great for me. It WAS incredibly hot. Starting with the swim and ending with the run. It’s pretty rare that I hit a wall during a race and want to stop. But when I got to the second turnaround on the 6 mile run, I was ready to step to the side and be done. I know I’m not in a good mindset when people go past me and I don’t even care. Normally getting passed is a personal offense, but I was applauding those that were going by because how the heck were they running that fast in the heat?!

I finished 8th place female overall. This is pretty okay, but I was super bummed because I only met one of my mini-goals during the race. My swim time was deplorable and I ended up walking the last mile of the run.

BUT! As usual I wore my FCA racing getup and I was able to talk to 3 different people about FCA. What it means, why I race for it, how it relates to my faith. So really, the race was a huge success.

I say all this because what happened to me the next weekend is comical and if you don’t know the backstory to the whole heat thing, it makes me sound like a maniac.

I was dehydrated and heat exhausted during that race. This prompted my coach to suggest a hydration test. This was new for me. A hydration test means you weigh yourself, with all your water and food, right before a workout. You complete the workout eating/drinking as normal, then step back on the scale with your left over food/water and the empty bottles. Then you can calculate how much liquid you lose per hour. This means I had to take a bathroom scale with me on Saturday to do my long weekend ride. I had a 2 hour ride, outside, then a 30 minute hard run. I don’t live on or near any roads that are conducive to bike riding, so I had to load up: bike, helmet, pump, shoes, running shoes, socks, water bottles, granola bars, maple syrup, glasses, and bathroom scale, to drive 10 minutes away.

There I am, 5:45 in the morning, standing on a bathroom scale in the parking lot of a tiny church on the side of a road in the back woods, holding all my bottles and food and socks. Weird way to start the ride. But I am in this for the long haul, this is what was asked of me, and I am a triangle so I follow directions. Halfway through I realize I have to go to the bathroom so, so badly. This is, of course, strictly forbidden. It will completely skew the numbers and the whole hydration test will be for naught. Bummer. I press on.

I finish my ride around 8 AM back at the truck. Grab all my empty bottles, trash, uneaten food, strip off my shoes and hop on the scale. I weigh myself 3 times just to be sure I’m accurate because I’ve never stood on a scale in a parking lot before and who knows? I get a good reading, and am now really looking forward to going to the bathroom and getting this run over with. I start unzipping my tri-suit, fumble my empty bottles around when suddenly I hear, “why hello there, fellow rider.”

There is a man, on a bicycle, with like 4 suitcases attached to it. I am in a real pickle here, and as I said I’m surrounded by forest in a lonely parking lot off a highway with no one around. Plus, it’s hard not to feel at a disadvantage when you’re standing on a scale.

“Umm, hi.” I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t want to be too friendly. I am rapidly zipping UP my tri-suit and chucking bottles and trash into the truck like everything is normal.

The man engages in conversation and with each question takes a step closer to me. Look, men. I know you get a bad rap. I know it’s not fair that you can’t talk to a woman without seeming like an attacker. I get it. But also, PRO TIP: Don’t approach a lone female in the woods!

And don’t say things like, “that’s quite the outfit” and “my looks like you’ve got a lot of money invested in that bike.”

Turns out he was biking across the country, had left Oregon in May and was heading to Pennsylvania. This is very interesting and I would have asked a lot more questions-in different circumstances. But I just couldn’t get over my situational disadvantages. Plus I still had to use the bathroom super bad.

After 10 minutes of very tense conversation and at least 3 potential “k, bye now” opportunities, he rode off in the direction I was going to run. Which left me with my next crisis: do I run the same way as the stranger into the dark woods, or do I run on the highway and take my chances with traffic? I chose traffic. And admittedly my fight or flight response may have kicked in but I had my best run pace yet!

Back to the topic at hand, final scale numbers! I lost 3 pounds of sweat during that ride. I had no idea it would be so much! That’s 48 ounces! That explains why I suffered during the race. I only drank 26 ounces plus it was significantly hotter than the scale day. It took 4 days of recovery after the race for me to feel functional again.

I often run with pepper spray for such a reason as above, but on my most recent ride I saw this ↓ and I don’t think my little spray will stand much of a chance. I thought it was a cow at first, which is funny because after we first moved here I saw a cow and thought it was a bear. So I didn’t think twice this time, and then it started moving towards me. There was a definite spike in my heart rate data for that ride!

Image by vladimircech on Freepik

Featured Image by Freepik

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