Before you feel too sorry for me, I should admit that I’m sitting on the patio of a beautiful house surrounded by peaceful gardens in wine country, so life is not all that bad.

I came into this race feeling very fit but without a lot of triathlon specificity.

The ArtHAUS!

Over the winter and spring, I trained a lot but without much structure – it was just what life threw at me this year. I arrived at my rental near Healdsburg Wednesday evening to find that because of an unfortunate (not for me) flood I had been upgraded from the studio behind the house (lovely, but comparatively a shack) to the main house (wowza). The ArtHAUS is truly spectacular, the owner/artist a charming woman. My week was looking good!

Note to reader: if you are squeamish about bodily functions, don’t read on.

Fast forward to Thursday evening around 10 p.m. when I made my first panicked run to the bathroom to hang my head over the toilet. I have not vomited in years and I can’t say it was something I missed. I may never eat chicken and broccoli again. Over the course of the night, like clockwork, I was up every hour. By the early morning hours, it had become a slow crawl to the bathroom where I would hang my head over the toilet and wait, drooling, until my stomach could gather up the energy to empty out whatever was left. Even my stomach was tired of vomiting. I wanted to ask if it was so tired of vomiting WHY DIDN’T IT STOP??

By 8 a.m. Friday, I figured there was little chance of making it to the start line. That was probably the smartest thing I thought that day.

I should probably point out before I go on any further that, as a coach what I would tell an athlete right now is “hell no you cannot race, are you stupid?” (I might be kinder)! I am proof that you cannot coach yourself. I have traditionally had a coach, but have been coach-less this year. Life got in the way. So, to all my athletes out there, don’t even think about using what I DO as a reason to do something stupid when I tell you not to…

Back to the story:

I was finally able to keep liquids down and focused on re-hydrating myself. By midday I was feeling somewhat human but still only able to take in liquids. If I thought there was any chance of racing I had to drop my bike and run gear on Friday, so I rallied and decided at least I could drop it off. If I didn’t race, I would just have to go pick it back up. When I finally peed – woo hoo, hydration – I decided that I would plan on taking part in the race. I knew I would not be able to truly race, but at least I could be out there.

After a pre race dinner of applesauce and a piece of Udi’s toast, I was in bed by 5:30, exhausted. The good thing about going to bed at 5:30 is that waking up at 2:45 is not hard.

Race morning and I’m up, feeling relatively human, just weak. I can’t stomach coffee, but the good news is that I don’t really have to worry about going potty.

Foggy Lake Sonoma

The race went, predictably, not great. I finished. I got so cold in the swim that I considered hailing a kayak. That set the tone of the day for me. The bike starts off with a 1.5-mile downhill. Should be fast – but when you are convulsively shaking, it is not fast. I think I warmed up by mile 50.

It’s always hard not to hang up on a race performance, even when you know you really shouldn’t even be there. So that’s all I will say about that. Except that I met a lot of nice people on the run, where I was able to be more social than normal.

70.3 Santa Rosa definitely ranks as one of the most beautiful courses I’ve done. With the exception of bone jarring pavement on some of the roads, it is a great course, which I think should be fast. Perhaps I will do it again some year and try to skip the vomiting part of race week.

Great coffee!

Post race I rallied for my ritual beer and burger at Healdsburg Bar & Grill. Not the smartest thing to put in my poor stomach, but it sure tasted good at the time!

So now it is Sunday, I have the whole day in my lovely ArtHAUS. I don’t feel much like eating, but I did find a great coffee at Flying Goat Coffee in Healdsburg. Worth a stop if you ever make it this way.

Tomorrow I will move on to San Francisco to meet up with some long time friends for dinner, which will make the whole trip worth it!