Sunday, March 16, 2014

Risks That Affects Decisions

A bout of hypothermia cost me to have a terribly poor finish in my marathon leg of a recent Ironman. I must have expended additional calories from loss of heat from my head, as well as my body. Upon emerging from the lake, I was breathing deeper as I felt cold. My muscles felt tight and I had to move 400m up a slope to the Transition 1 area. I was assisted by a gentlemen volunteer, who noticed my shivering and difficulty in putting on my gloves and riding-top. In my haste and confusion, I unzipped the sleeve off instead of its main opening access. We took a while to zip it back on. When the medical assistants asked how I was, I replied that I needed calories and I would be aright. I must have been pale and it concerned them. After taking my pulse, they concluded that I could continue with the race.
Having decided that I had to be conservative with my energy, or risk cramping, premature fatigue, or injury I decided to ride my first 45km at an easy pace. The first of two climbs up Napier Road, was a gradual ascent and I shifted to a lower gear. I merely spun my way up, and not exert too much intensity.
I decided to load up on my calories every 20-25 minutes for the first two hours. If I lost more heat, I would drain my reserves and sap my energy. 180km of the two-loop ride would dip into my stored glycogen, which I would need for the 42.195km marathon. I made six pit-stops at the portable-toilets, losing up to 3-4 minutes for each deliberate stop. I was hydrated however the chilly winds induced diuresis, which mean I had to urinate once every hour. I used these compulsory stops to fuel up, drinking my bidon of Perpeteum (Hammer Nutrition) and Cramp Fix electrolyte tablets.
I ran my first 14km loop, walked most of the second, and half-and-half for my final loop of the undulating run course. It was what it was, and I had to bear with my condition. These 'down moments' helped to consolidate my thoughts and strategy. I put on my hoodie, so as to keep my head warm. Each walk up the slope (saves the legs) gave me time to assert my next move: walk or jog. No stopping was allowed except aid-stations. I shifted my hardships towards the volunteers, and thanked them for their care and consideration. They were out there just as long as we were.
All in all, it was a hard day at the office. These many decisions I made allowed me to completed my race, albeit in a disappointing time. I appreciated a finish than a DNF score, so my cumulative decisions were well made, to focus on the main goal instead of an ideal set of performance goals.

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