The actual race!
Swim(38:15). The horn went off and I started swimming. Great news: the pre-event run worked – I didn’t have any issues with my heart rate sky rocketing and having to flip on to my back! I swam comfortably and strong the entire event. I was worried about getting “lost” as the course was an “M” shape with 6 turns.
But – I made it! No sighting issues. The one thing I can say is once I started swimming through people in the wave ahead of me I did back off some. Once I hit the long straightaway back home I hit it again. I believe I have a 33 minute 1.2 mile swim (without a river current!) in me…easy. But, I will also say as I swam this was my most technically correct swim – it was there: the hip rotation, push with my thumbs, and pull with my lats. I LOVED it. That alone may have slowed me down because I was quite excited at this! Next time I am shooting for sub 35 minutes! 33 will be my goal for still water.
Soon people were standing up and running in the water – I kept swimming as I knew I wasn’t close to the shore yet and it would get deep. It was a bit chaotic around me as people worked somewhere between a run and a swim. I didn’t let it bother me and kept with the swim until it was actually time to get out of the water.
T1 (3:52). Transitions for me have been slow. This one was actually a semi-improvement. The time spent at my bike was very little – everything was set up. I was surprised how much faster it was to step in to my race belt vs clipping it on. Love details like this. I smiled as I geared up. I grabbed my bike and began the 100 – 150+ yard “run” in bike shoes up hill. Yeah – I honestly think this is what cause my bad time. I did look at the T times for others in my age group to compare. Yes – I was too slow for both transitions. I am just not efficient there. My actual change time I don’t think is bad. I never felt disoriented or like I was lollygagging during transition. I just need to keep working on this.
Bike (2:45:48). I will say this right off: the first 25 miles were pure speed. I had a fantastic time the entire time, but the first 25 were amazing. There are a lot of turns (slow you down) and wanderings, but a good course. It was, of course, open to traffic and I had three instances where I had to pass a car that had “gotten in to the race” including one church bus. Usually they have cones to keep riders to the right, but here we basically took the entire traffic lane, except when a car got mixed up. It made for easy passing, which I appreciated.
I realized, afterwards, that I have a fear of a drafting penalty so instead of backing off during a race, I am pushing to pass and let the other person take the responsibility for getting out of my draft zone. A bit competitive? Probably. I need to get this mentality on my training rides!
There were hills after mle 25, and they slowed me down, but I kept pushing.
At mile 36 or so I saw Robert’s parents, Carlos and Kristin and gave them a bike smile.
About mile 45 my hips were sore and I realized “the run is going to really stink” but I still had the umph to push on the bike. I could just tell in my muscles they were good with pushing on the bike but the run was going to be a trial in mind over matter. Part of me believes this is where I actually let the course win. I had done really well until here. Another spot to work on for my next race! I learned a lot on this race!
Less than a mile from the end of the bike I felt something brush the back of my leg. I wondered what it was and didn’t feel it again, so I ignored it. Suddenly my chain was acting up and a rider behind me said my spare tube was wrapped in my back gear. Crap! So, I stopped, got off, looked at my bike, picked up the rear wheel and luckily the tube wasn’t really lodged in just mixed up and when I spun my wheel backwards it came right out. I wrapped my tube in my right hand and hopped back on my bike and started peddling, listening for any weird sounds and additional problems (there were none). I was glad it was almost the end as this kinda broke my groove. But, I was almost home and made finishing my focus.
T2 (3:21). T2 meant running 100 – 150 yards downhill in bike shoes. I was not about to take them off as we were running across asphalt at 10:30 a.m. and there was zero shade in transition. It was a slow and awkward run. Again – actual time at my station was short and sweet. I know what I need to work on. I was soon heading out on the run.
Run (2:09:23). The run was as I expected: hard. My legs were just fatigued and didn’t want to go…my one fear had, again, come true. Time to slug it out.
The run is a 3 loop course with little shade and two sets of nasty hills at mile 0.6 – 1.8, 4.7 – 5.9 and 9.1 – 10.3. I looked at them and balked. I run hills all the time. But, I walked them. At least I kept focused and race walked them, keeping a 15 – 16 minute mile each time. Not ideal, but I figured I would do better saving my energy for the rest of the run. The rest of the course was “average”: gentle slopes. I did OK. I kept cool by walking each water stop – dipping my sponges in to ice water, and getting ice. I kept an OK pace until mile 8, and then slowed to 10+ minute miles.
Robert’s family, Kristin and Carlos had a great spot in shade and where they could see us twice on each loop. It was good to see them, and I smiled each time. Thank you for the Cheer Zone!
By the last lap the fact that I hadn’t had sunscreen since the swim start was starting to get to me. I could feel the burn on my body. I had read there would be sunscreen in transition. I expected it would be people there to apply it, but I never saw anything. It wasn’t what I thought, so if it was there it was somewhere you had to find it. Lesson learned! Another item I could have controlled, but didn’t. By the last lap I kept thinking “skin cancer” and just wanted to get out of the sun and minimize damage. Really – that isn’t what I want to be focusing on.
3 loops goes quickly, and soon I was coming in to finish. I picked up my pace and headed in crossing the finish line smiling.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed. I had put a lot of heart in to this, so it stands to reason that I feel some disappointed. I truly thought I had a 5:20 in me. Why didn’t i? One reason is my watch was about 5 minutes off, and although that is still 15 minutes off my goal, I thought I was doing 5 minutes better than I was. I probably would have pushed a little more if I didn’t have that false sense of security and “I am doing well” in my brain. Another mental note: don’t get lulled in to a false sense of security. I have never done this in a race before, and it surprises me that I did it so easily in this one.
Maybe it just wasn’t my time. Maybe I didn’t put as much in as I thought. But, I believe I have it in me, and I will do better. And I have a gauge of how much harder I will have to work to meet my goals. It is kind of scary but at the same time….what I want to do with my free time! As hard as it seems, I love training and am grateful for this opportunity to push my norm.
I never worked out what it meant I had to do ahead of time. I went by feel. I need to set my expectations and write them out ahead of time. Next race you bet I will! Also it was the fastest I have ever ridden and, well, OK…pacing lessons!
I also think I could have gone harder on the swim. Next time I won’t get lulled in to a false sense of security as I start meeting up with the wave ahead of me!
I did see improvement. I swam a great technical swim – speed will come. My pace was about the same as for IMAZ, and no wet suit. And I know I can do better!
The bike was amazing and fun.
The run was hard and far from ideal, but only about 1 minute slower than Augusta which is pancake flat.
Overall yes, I was disappointed with my performance, but I was also grateful for the friendship and cheers I felt with me the entire time. I was grateful that my body didn’t quit, even though my legs were not happy! I am glad I got to race, and learned a lot on this race. Next time I will be ready to meet my goals!