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kkocan's picture
Joined: Jun 20 2006
Posts: 433
IMLP...so tragic it's almost funny. My story.

So after a string of bad luck in races (mechanical knocked me out of Savageman Half in 09, flat tire and illness in IMWI in 08, flats in other races etc....) I was due for a good race at IMLP. I put all my cards on the table, eggs in one basket (so to speak) and trained my ass off, literally, for the last 4 months leading up to the big day. Because of a limited opportunity I had the chance to train, a lot, and took advantage of it. 20 hour weeks, a couple of 30 hour weeks. 250 miles a week on the bike during recovery weeks, 300+ and a couple of 400 mile weeks on real weeks and so on. When I wrote my plan, I figured I'd either end up injured or as fit as ever come IMLP race day. Luckily, I had almost no injuries or aches and pains and completed my last big brick July 5th, which was a race simulator that consisted of a 75 mile ride at race effort (ended up being 19.9 mph on a hilly course) followed by a 2 hour run at race effort, which I ended up running 16 miles at 7:23 pace and it felt easy! All that was on no rest after a 25 hr training week. In short, I was READY!.

Spent the next 19 days leading up to IMLP tapering and focusing on staying healthy and loose. Watched my diet, carried Purel wherever I went as with 2 little kids at home I did not want to get sick. Race weekend showed up and I was as light as I'd ever been, 147 lbs and 6.8% body fat, and more importantly had no signs of any colds, congestion etc... Bullet #1 dodged as I always seemed to come down with a cold or something before big races in the past.

Near disaster #2 came Tuesday the week before race. Took my bike to bike shop at the urging of my friends for a complete overhaul to make sure there were no issues. New tubulars put on, the works. I always do all my own maintenance so it was nice for once to have a second set of eyes look at it. Got the bike back and that Tuesday took it out for a shake-out ride to make sure it was good to go in full race glory (disk wheel, deep front etc...). Plan was an easy 13 mile loop and things felt great. Then, at the end of my loop, about 3/4 mile from home I'm coasting down the road and a car backs out of it's driveway smack in front of me. With a car coming the other way I'm looking at either a head on or t-boning the car coming out of the driveway. Luckily, at the last second, the lady backing out sees me and stops, leaving me half a lane to squeeze through. I'm mad, heart rate through the roof, shout at the lady and all I can think is shit, after 3,000+ miles the last few months and countless long rides I almost bite it a mile from home on the last training ride pre IMLP.

Semi disaster #3 came a day later, wednesday, due to a bone headed move on my part. Car was loaded for the 10 hr drive, waiting for my friends that were going up too to get done working and I had a couple hours to kill so before the long ride I wanted to go for an easy 4 mile jog. The only running shoes I had that were not packed were a year or so old, but they had plenty of life in them so I grabbed them. Went out on the porch and realized I forgot socks but did not want to go back inside. No second thoughts as I run most races Oly and down sockless, these were the same brand and style shoe I've been in all year so a 4 mile easy run just to stay loose should be harmless. Well 2 miles later my right heel starts to hurt, then hurt a lot, then I look down to see red stains all over the back of my shoe. WTF, now I have a huge open blister in the matter of 2 easy miles on my right foot. Take the shoe off, walk 2 miles home, put a Disney princess bandaid on it (I have kids, remember) and think how much worse it could have been and how stupid that was.

The following trip to IMLP was uneventful. Got to Utica late Wednesday night, stayed over, up early and off to IMLP Thursday morning. In and registered around 1, then me and a friend went for an easy ride out the run course then up the bear climbs and back to town. Nothing significant that day.

Friday morning, however, in the house I was staying in I am walking through the living room bare foot and stub my pinky toe hard on the leg of an ottoman. Hard enough I hear a loud crack, 10 minutes later it's swollen and red then turns a nice plumb purple color! Shit, you have to be kidding me! Ice it for a few minutes then the people I am staying with say they are going to ride the bike course out of town, up the hill and do the full descent to get a feel for it. I have not ridden it in a year, so I decide to go and see if it hurts my toe. Luckily, other than putting on my shoe, it does not, and my toe feels fine. I feel GREAT climbing, get a refresher on the descent and meet our ride at the coffee shop at the base for our ride home. My toe hurts, but not to bad. Get back, go for a short swim of about 2/3 of the swim loop with my coach who's racing pro and we are about equal on pace. He swam a 57. I feel really good and decide to go for a short run around Mirror lake just to see if toe hurts. Amazingly, it does not at all while running so I think one more day for shit to go wrong then I'm home free.

Saturday is uneventful again, but only at first. Wake up, go for a 10 minute jog, then take bike down to check in early so I can veg out the rest of day watching movies and resting up. I'm excited, feeling good, toe hurts like a bitch to touch and is bright purple but I can walk, ride and run so I'm not worried. Time seems to take forever on Saturday. Mentally I keep going over the race in my head and can't wait until the gun goes off. My confidence is high and I have almost no nerves.

Then, about 8 pm saturday night just as I'm turning in for bed, I start to get the all too familiar pangs of a migraine headache coming on. Anyone that suffers from them knows the feelings. Slight discomfort at first, sensitivity to light and sound, I get disoriented etc... I've had them all my life, although much less frequently the last 4 years and I think the last one I had was October of 09. Unfortunately they completely wipe me out and I usually end up in the emergency room getting a shot of imotrex and reglin to stop the vomiting. I try to get in a dark quiet room, down some ibuprofen and pray I can stay this one off. Unfortunately by 11 or so I'm in a full blown migraine. Head pounding. Get nauseous and start vomiting, which once I do it's no stopping for the next 6-7 hours. Up every 10-15 minutes until I'm dry heaving, head hurting like it's got a stake through it, guys in the house coming in to see what the hell is wrong with me etc...

Get no sleep, try to get out of bed and put kit on at 5 am. Legs and arms are numb and tingly, also feel weak as a kitten due to no longer having anything in my system. Try to down a banana and it comes right back, sip some gatoraide and that doesn't help either then at 5:30 surrender to the fact that my IMLP dream, that started one year earlier by volunteering at the run course, is done and over. Go back upstairs, pass out, wake up around 1 with my phone ringing as my mom is calling from home trying to find out why I dont' have splits online. Get my bike tickets to some friends to go pick up my bike, lay around until 7 or 8 with my head pounding then, like most headaches, it goes away almost as quickly as it comes on and I'm feeling a ton better but starved and weak as a baby.

By now I just want to pack up and leave sunday night, but my friend got 3rd in his age group (60-64) so I stick around, as I'm his ride home. I go for a run the next morning feeling good, do one loop of the course, then the long ride home. Yesterday went out and did a killer hill repeat ride to punish myself, today a hard tempo run. Not what I thought I'd be doing the days immediately following the race. Looks like I'm headed to WV next week for the Mountaineer half.

Oh well, shit happens. sub-10 hour fitness means nothing if you don't even toe the line!

To all that completed the race, congrats, wish I would have been there with you.

RV's picture
Joined: Jan 19 2005
Posts: 3419
Yikes, that really is tragic

Yikes, that really is tragic and certainly not at all funny.
Hopefully this latest debacle will appease the tri-gods.

jtrimom's picture
Joined: May 20 2008
Posts: 3170
OH. MY. GOODNESS! Poor you!

OH. MY. GOODNESS! Poor you! I was looking for you online and wondered what happened. Well, there you have it. that is a bummer, for sure :(

I will live in a bubble the week before IMAZ. No Dishes, no Laundry, no kids, or hubby. Ha Ha.

You will rock the Mountaineer half...

big 3's picture
Joined: Jun 10 2007
Posts: 762
Wow. I can't imagine doing

Wow. I can't imagine doing all that work and then not racing.
If you want a race that's longer than a half iron next week. Check out this adventure race. It's not far from you.
There is a bike race the next day if you want to make the most of the weekend.

PJT's picture
Joined: Aug 16 2005
Posts: 1513
You have my deepest

You have my deepest sympathies. I've been there (DNS the 2nd day of the Goofy Challenge; couldn't leave the bathroom with food poisoning). It sucks but it was bad luck and totally out of your control.

Don't punish yourself any more. You've laid down an unbelievable base for your next training cycle-- and without doing the damage of an IM. You will crush your next A race.

PJT's picture
Joined: Aug 16 2005
Posts: 1513
jtrimom wrote: I will live

I will live in a bubble the week before IMAZ. No Dishes, no Laundry, no kids, or hubby. Ha Ha.


Now THAT should be an interesting taper...

xc800runner's picture
Joined: Jan 14 2008
Posts: 709
jtrimom wrote:I will live in

[quote=jtrimom]I will live in a bubble the week before IMAZ. No Dishes, no Laundry, no kids, [i]or hubby[/i].

"Taper Naked"[/quote]

So are you taking applications for your bubble buddy?

The Hoff's picture
Joined: Jan 5 2010
Posts: 97
That is friggin terrible.

That is friggin terrible. Sign up for another IM that is soon, now. Dont let this fitness go to waste!

gfd's picture
Joined: Jan 28 2006
Posts: 3087
Tragic story. Chesapeakeman

Tragic story.
Chesapeakeman is a month and a half away and you can still sign up. Keep your fitness level high and go and crush it.

Anton's picture
Joined: Mar 4 2005
Posts: 5350
Ouch. So sorry for your

Ouch. So sorry for your misfortune.
Deep breath...breathe out...let it go.
Now, go kick ass in West Virginia.

jtrimom's picture
Joined: May 20 2008
Posts: 3170
PJT wrote:jtrimom wrote: I

I will live in a bubble the week before IMAZ. No Dishes, no Laundry, no kids, or hubby. Ha Ha.


Now THAT should be an interesting taper... [/quote]

Good point, I may have to rethink that...but there will be strict rules when entering my bubble :P

kylie's picture
Joined: Jun 1 2004
Posts: 5521
That is a tough one!! Glad

That is a tough one!! Glad you are (relatively) ok -- I had wondered what happened when you had no splits.

I like the idea of you giving Chesapeakeman a go.... You did the work, now get the fun!!

kkocan's picture
Joined: Jun 20 2006
Posts: 433
To all, Thanks for the

To all,
Thanks for the support and comments. Not the race report I was planning on doing and I was looking forward to some R&R after such a hard, intense training bloc all summer. Didn't think I'd do a 13 mile run Monday, 40 miles of killer hill repeats Tuesday, 8 mile tempo run today all the week after a planned IM.

It's funny, it's hard to describe to friends that don't do races/triathlons just how mentally tough IM training can be. They are like, oh, just train again for another race. Shit, it's hard to stay motivated to put in 20 hour weeks time and time again....So I'm on the fence, do I do another IM distance race this year or not. But I really want to see how fast I could have gone with my fitness I built up, so I'm thinking I do. Someone mentioned Chesapeakman, I already looked into it and I'm leaning very hard towards signing up this week. If I don't do that, I am looking at doing the Rev3 Half on 9/12 then the Savageman Half the following weekend and then the Great Floridian in October (a full distance race). I think the next few weeks I'm going to only do one long-ish ride and run a week and work on shorter, faster workouts to get more speed and tempo work in to build on to the base I've already built, then then depending on when the next full distance race is throw some longer stuff in a few weeks out and do a mini-peak week. As long as I don't lose fitness I should be fine, maybe even a little faster.

To big3, I know of the races you mention. Some of my friends are doing both, and if not for having a credit with HFP I would probably not consider the Mountaineer, but I really want to do good at a half or longer race and do it soon. I actually have some trophies from the Kinzua Classic bike race from back in the early 90's when I won best rider under 19 a time or two. I returned there in 2006 after 16 years away to race again, only to have my rear deraileur break during warmup and had to turn around and drive home (anyone sensing a trend here.....?) There's also a nice little sprint, Willow Creek Tri, in Bradford the same day as the adventure race that I actually won last year. I thought about going there to defend my title too.

Again, thanks to all. My coach/friend checked on me to see how my spirits were, and I told him I don't feel sorry for myself, I feel sorry for whoever I race (or train with) next, as I'm going to be out for blood....

jnrice's picture
Joined: Sep 5 2008
Posts: 1243
I'm 4 days out from my HIM

I'm 4 days out from my HIM and I am gutted for you. I'll cross my fingers, wash my hands and hide from my 5yr old nephew.

Amphibious Triton's picture
Joined: Oct 1 2009
Posts: 1515
That sucks dude. It's always

That sucks dude. It's always nice to have closure and meet goals but remember the real prize is living the lifestyle of a triathlete.

Now go wax a bunch of unsuspecting half-iron athletes.

MillMan221's picture
Joined: Apr 1 2009
Posts: 209
Oh wow, do I feel for you.

Oh wow, do I feel for you. Pick another race if you are so inclined and CRUSH it.

You *will* have your day.

groovyjen's picture
Joined: Jun 11 2008
Posts: 675
I am so sorry! Relpax does

I am so sorry! Relpax does wonders for my husband's migraines. Of course everyone is different, but it has been a life saver for us.

Star's picture
Joined: Jan 19 2005
Posts: 1046
Sorry to hear that! I'm

Sorry to hear that! I'm sure it was more than disappointing. But I'm not sure why you went out to "punish yourself" a few days later for something you had no control over. Maybe you meant you went to work off your frustrations...?

Have you figured out anything specific that brings on the migraines? Maybe tracking that would help prevent them...just a thought.

You will kick @$$ in whichever event you decide choose. You have a vendetta! And btw, the Great Floridian is pretty tough for Florida...hilly bike course and hot hot hot! Come on down :)

paganopj's picture
Joined: Nov 30 2008
Posts: 761
Tragic was the right word

Tragic was the right word here.....at some point, luck turns. You will rock an IM race one day and wonder how you went faster than you thought you could...

beads1985's picture
Joined: Mar 11 2004
Posts: 6147
Sorry to hear about the bad

Sorry to hear about the bad luck.
As others have posted, try to get into the Chessieman and use your fitness for that.

Good luck!

kylie's picture
Joined: Jun 1 2004
Posts: 5521
Or, if you feel like a crazy

Or, if you feel like a crazy experience, Vineman full is in CA this Saturday... you can use the fitness now and not have to try to hold onto it! ;)


TryScott's picture
Joined: Aug 5 2007
Posts: 1833
No way? No shame in venting

No way? No shame in venting on trifuel and to your training buddies. It's doubtful that anyone else will really understand just how much it sucks. It's nice to know that you can handle the training volume, but knowing a result would be even better.

JMA's picture
Joined: Jul 12 2005
Posts: 116
Wow, that sucks. I'll look

Wow, that sucks.
I'll look forward to reading your next race report. Sounds like you're ready to go.

run2race's picture
Joined: May 22 2008
Posts: 61
Man, I am so sorry to read

Man, I am so sorry to read that story! You've got to roll your fitness into another full. Forget the halfs, find a full and demolish it.

Ironmom's picture
Joined: Nov 30 2006
Posts: 1820
Oh, my heart just sank when

Oh, my heart just sank when I saw no splits up for you (esp. with your bad juju long tri history). I'm SO SO SORRY to hear this. I have BTDT (IMC in 1990, DNS and hospitalized the day before the race) so I know how incredibly hard this is emotionally and how no regular (non-ironman) friends can even BEGIN to comprehend.

I hope you can find an IM distance race in the next short while and put all of your hard work and training to good use. Chessie or Vineman would be perfect. You have worked so hard for this one. All the best to you.

robtrys's picture
Joined: Oct 25 2008
Posts: 68
Dude! that's

Dude! that's heartbreaking.... I suffer from migraines as well. They are debilitating. I discovered that mine are triggered by a combination of stress and eating pickled food on an empty stomach.

Reading your posts on how primed you were for the race was inspirational: how hard you worked to be at your best, and how excited you were to put it to the test. I was thinking about you during the race, looking forward to hearing how it went for you. Didn't expect to hear about the migraine.

A lot of the IM is about mental toughness, but that toughness isn't limited to just the event: it's also how you handle other challenges. Toe the line at another race and let us know how it goes!

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