Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Musselman Race Recap: Boys Cry, Too. {Guest Post}

My friend and teammate, Ryan had a rough race at Musselman (just like Chloe and Emily) and the day after the race he sent me a message and said "my Musselman was your Eagleman". After he told me a little about he race I asked him to write a race report for the blog. He had a tough race, but he kept moving forward towards the finish line.

Ryan's race report:

Saturday was spent cheering on Team Z’ers in the Sprint, trying to keep hydrated, a short swim and brick, and not having enough down time. I was in bed with mask and earplugs by 9:30 with a 3:30am wakeup.

Fueled up with a Bagel, Banana, and a bottle of Café Late Perpetuem and it was off to the race site. Set up transition, visit portopotty, sip Gatorade and nibble Powerbar, body marking, visit portopotty, get timing chip, visit portopotty, SUNSCREEN, National Anthem, body glide, wetsuit, goggles, cap, horn, game time.


I strongly believe that you can’t win a race during the swim, but you sure can lose it. I usually just settle into a nice easy rhythm, breathe, stroke stroke stroke, breathe, stroke stroke stroke, sight and breathe. Before the first turn in a horse-shoe course I got attacked by the blob. I swear, the blob was attacking me! I had swum right into a huge patch of seaweed. It was grabbing my head, arms, and legs! I just put my head down and powered through it. There were some small swells and a bright sun that made sighting difficult, but the swells also gave a nice little push going in towards the channel and swim exit. I distinctly remembering that as the canal curved around and was shaded right before the exit, that this was the coolest I’d be for the rest of the race. Boy, was I right!!! Out of the water in 35:12.

Who's having fun!? Great angle to make my arm look bad ass. Thanks, photographer!


I’ve been working on simplifying my life in transition. Most people have towels, bottles, whole costume changes, etc. I’ve got it down to the bare minimum. I jog in to my awesome rack spot, not 20 feet from the exit. Pulling the wetsuit down, I step, pull leg out, step, pull other leg out, throw wetsuit under my bike. I grab my goos, endurolites, and rice krispy treats and shove them in my jersey. Grab Garmin 405cx, turn on, put on wrist, put into training mode to acquire sats. Sunglasses on, helmet on, and pull my bike off the rack. Musselman has a moto on the sticker for your transition area. Mine simply said, “Be Badass.” My badass self runs out of transition with my heartrate topping Zone 4. I mount my bike with my shoes already clipped in, pedal up to speed, put one foot into a shoe and strap it down, same with the other, and I’m off! Total time: 1:40.


Remember, be badass. I’m going to f’in crush this bike. I’ve rented Zipps, I’ve got Roxanne, the course is pretty much false flats which I can kill. My plan was to be low Zone 3, see how the body felt, and adjust. 5 minutes in I had my HR down in Z3 and just boogied. 20 minutes in and my legs found their rhythm. I was passing guys and loving the views on the course (there are amazing views of vineyards and the lakes). The roads had some rough spots from the horses (amish country), but once I figured that out, I was able to find the smoother ride. It was a hot one, so I was downing water as much as I could, and dousing myself with the aid station water I picked up. The first aid station I missed the first two water handoffs and luckly made the last one. I wasn’t so lucky on the 3rd station. I missed every bottle. 10 miles with about 4 oz of water… no good. Be badass, survive, and get the water at the next one. This time I slowed significantly to get water. Success!

Me and Roxanne with Zipp 404s
At mile 42, they warned us that the course would take us through an old abandoned road that was rough for about 2 miles. Be badass. I actually pick up my pace as I hit the rough pavement… and paid dearly. My half full bottle from the last aid station bounces out and skitters across the pavement into the woods. It feels like my bike is bouncing my brain and energy out of my body. I would swear that the rough spot was more than 2 miles. I emerged with a wavering spirit, tightness in my right tricep (no idea why, but I started worrying about cramping). Be badass. I bring my speed up, down my second goo, more endurolites, most of my remaining water, and head back to transition. Shoes unstrapped, I cruise into T2 to the best cheering crowd ever. I’m sure I’m grinning like an idiot. I didn’t care. I was crushing this, off the bike in 2:40:35, and felt great. I mention to the guy running in with me, “now for the hot part, huh?”


I’ve been battling shin splints since Shamrock Marathon in March, and they’re almost gone. I wear compression socks for the run (no socks on the bike. Pretty sure my bike shoes are a biohazard). Just like Mooseman, I struggle to get the socks on my sweaty feet. Sock on, shoes on, hat on, race belt, grab the rest of my nutrition and shove it into my jersey, and I’m off after taking a few gulps of my remaining water! Total time 2:47.


Be Badass. You’re killing this. The socks aren’t a big deal. I run by the Team Z tents and there’s maybe a shout or two (everyone’s over at the entrance to T2). MAN it’s hot. Where’s the shade? I’m going, but I’m looking for water 2 minutes in. I’m looking to keep my run in Zone 2, which is usually a 9-10 minute pace. Mile 1 goes by at an 8:57 pace. Not too shabby. AND there’s an aid station with water. I grab a sponge and put it in my hat with some ice, and power on. Some slight stomach discomfort… I have to pee and had to on the bike, now that I think about it. I slow my pace and let ‘er rip. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it, peeing yourself in a race is great! Not only that, but my compression socks are white, so I look down to see if I’m hydrated. Socks still white. Check. Can’t even tell I just peed myself. I feel like crap though. The heat is killing me and the next aid station isn’t even in sight. I walk a little. A guy passes me, and then another. I start to run again. My heart rate is up in Z3 and won’t even come down to Z2 when I walk. I’m falling apart, and there’s nothing I can do about it. My body is telling me that it’s done for the day, and I have 11+ more miles to go. I hit the next aid station, load up with water, a goo, some endurolites, anything I can to get myself back in the game. I add sponges to my shoulders too. I run a bit more until I hit the first hill… a nice, steep, grassy hill. I look down and I’m already in mid Z3. I walk and take the stairs. The volunteer there asks me if I’m ok (bad sign!). I’m not, but I say I am.

less than a mile in...still feelin' ok

Maybe I can convince myself. The walk up the stairs doesn’t help. I’m considering DNF’ing. If I can’t get my heartrate down to Z2 when I’m walking I’m in uncharted territory and probably in worse shape then I’m mentally aware. Be Badass. I’m not. I mentally break down at the top of the hill as I try to shuffle to the next aid station. Just DNF, just DNF, you’re in trouble, DNF. If there were an aid station right there, I probably would. But there’s no one. I shuffle some more. I decide that I’m no longer racing, I’m surviving. I will walk, shuffle, anything. As long as I haven’t collapsed, I will keep surviving. I look down at my RoadID, which gives me comfort that when I do collapse (a foregone conclusion in my head), they’ll at least be able to ID the body. I’m no longer taking just 2 cups at the aid stations as I walk through. I’m grabbing everything, setting up camp, and surviving. Water, heed, endurolites, more water, ice, sponges, ice down the jersey. I’m scared. I can clearly see that I haven’t been sweating since T2, and I don’t feel hot anymore. I know the signs of heat exhaustion, leading to heat stroke. I’m just waiting to collapse so I can be done. The only problem… my legs don’t hurt, and my judgment is no longer sound. I’ve mentally lost, but emotionally I still have it somewhat together. I’m still walking more than running. I can hear the ice clinking in my jersey, which now has no less than 4 sponges in various places, and my shoes are squishing from all the water I’ve been dousing myself in (thanks to the spectators with hoses!). I’m not sure where, but I think it’s around mile 6-7 I hear “Shake n’ Bake” behind me. Chad runs up to me with a few other racers. I’m at least “running” at this point. We chat and I mention I’m in bad shape. He runs on and I start walking again. I’m cheering everyone going by me… A LOT of cheering. I survive until mile 9 right before the course goes back on itself and you see people going out. I start balling… yea, I’m a true badass. I ran a marathon with shin splints, I’ve done two ½ ironmans before, I consider myself incredibly mentally and emotionally tough. I’m bawling for no reason at all. This is what a complete and utter meltdown looks like.

near the end of the run.
I’m still running somehow, but I’m sniveling like a little kid with a skinned knee. I’m yelling at myself out loud. I don’t care if anyone hears me. “Just finish. Stop being such a wuss! Get to the next aid station.” Who knows what else I was saying. I was delusional and feeling VERY sorry for myself. As a 100% optimist, my glass was empty and shattered on the ground… probably my lowest moment in the past decade. My goal is now to get to the medical tent, not the finish. I get to the next aid station and set up camp. Mike passes me doing a good pace. I cheer him on, and get back to my campsite which has a selection of no less than 6 cups of liquids and ice. I shuffle along. I’m still running at times, but it feels like it’s for 5 second spurts. It feels like I’ve been on the run for a decade. Kendra passes me going like a bat outta hell. I finally get to the last 2 miles, and can see the finish line around the lake front… it seems like an insurmountable distance. I get to the second to last aid station. Jen’s there on her way out on the course. I hug her and head on. I just needed someone to tell me it was going to be ok. My calves are cramping and my hamstring is threatening. I make it to the last aid station, load up, take more endurolites, and shuffle out.  Austin passes me at a fast clip. I hang my head and keep walking. I can’t even get myself to run anymore. I think it was Patty who passes me on her way out and says I don’t look good. I walk until I’m half a mile from the finish. I find it in me to muster a 9 minute pace to the finish. Both my calves are cramped, my hamstring is starting, and I cross the finish. I’d probably be crying if I wasn’t so dehydrated. I don’t remember the details, but I didn’t move at the finish line. I crouched down, and was done. The volunteers grabbed me and carried me into the medical tent. Total “run” time: 2:39:35.

right before collapsing at the finish

Conclusion: In the span of 2 miles, my “A” race quickly became my biggest defeat and learning experience. Looking at my nutrition on the bike, it appears that I was actually pretty good. The only variable that wasn’t addressed properly was the heat. Over 2.75 hours, I took in 630 calories and 900mg of sodium. I’m an extremely salty sweater, so the 900mg is probably very low for someone like me. Additionally, I think I should have slowed down on the bike a little more and at least done the first hour in Zone 2 to conserve my carb energy reserves.



  1. For those of you interested in my Garmin data that I forgot to include:

  2. ryan you looked good when i saw you on the run - a bit beaten by the heat but still determined to finish strong.

  3. WoW. Um yeah...I was right there with you...literally. I knew it was a tough day but I didn't realize that it was a death day for all of us! Way to pull through and finish!

  4. Wow... what a day. Kudos to you Ryan for not giving up when most people would have. I'm impressed!

  5. I loved reading this race report! I want to do this race next year so I really enjoyed reading an opinion about it. I mentioned your Ironman training on my blog tonight :)

  6. Wow, a little late chiming in but I feel ya. I did that race and had a similar run, but it involved some know the rest :-P