Florida 70.3

It’s been awhile. I had a lot to process. And a few things going on. But without further ado….a race report.

I had been nervous. Hadn’t  slept well. I kept worrying I’d forgotten something and wouldn’t be able to race. But I hadn’t. I was ready and wanted to race.  I couldn’t calm myself that I would forget something.

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Carlos and me at dinner two nights before the race. He’s the selfie master!

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I had played with looking at last years results or not. I opted not to. In hind sight I should have as it would have focused me vs frozen me. But I had changed so much (saddle, crank, crank length) I was hesitant to compare the two events. Lesson learned there. This info doesn’t freeze me, it’s my baseline. My acknowledgment of what I can do if I focus.

Carlos and I got there early. I got everything in to transition and did my warm up. We headed to the pool and real bathrooms (my secret is out though, and more people are showing up. That’s good.and bad. Great people are using the resources, bad my secret spot to chill is gaining attendance). The swim start was a rolling start and notmage group waves, so we didn’t get to chill too long. Soon we walked to the swim start, hugged, and parted ways.
I found my start group. And then saw Patti. We chatted until things started rolling. Per my usual, we chatted anything but the race. Pshew
As the line started moving it the it hit me…swim start..what to expect (tightness and possibility of having to back off to catch my breath). I started cycling through the physical expectations…I was good.
Swim
Swim start was good. I swam steady and strong. And really thought I had started too far back…thinking I had a 32 – 33 minute swim given the amount of hits and knocks I got and how good I felt. So when I saw 34 when I got out I will admit I was disappointed. But didn’t dwell. I did get knocked around a bit but nothing bad. Never really had to back off or ease off. Never found feet. Was always passing it seemed.
T1
I was at the bottom of the hill near transition entrance from the swim. So had a long run with bike and bike shoes both ways. No excuses for slow transition but it does make a difference. I couldn’t figure out how they organized things this year. So didn’t pay attention too much to things around me. It didn’t seem too sorted by AG, and the rolling swim start kinda nulls that anyway.
Bike
And at the mount line I was off. And my bike Garmin was, as usual, not working. No HR. No power. No cadence. Nada. I tried to search for my gadgets (power meter and heart rate monitor) about 3 times. Zilch.  And they were alive as my wrist garmin had them. My bike garmin is what I use while riding, letting my wrist one collect data. I even tried searching for things, risking picking up other people’s gadgets. Nada. Three times! So I had to go by feel except for occasional looks at my wrist. And hadn’t even calibrated my wrist one as I was counting on my bike garmin. Although at least I had time on it. Which I use for fueling.
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On the bike. I spied Carlos and smiled. A typical response for me all day.
Again, I had no reference from last year and going by feel. I can say in hindsight, I was a bit too conservative on the bike, I think wondering about all my changes…and a saddle sore that came from wonky shifting I had for awhile.
I played back and forth with a few people. One guy came out to pass cutting me off. When he tried a second time I actually told him “don’t even” as he would have edged me over in to an oncoming truck. I was vocal which a few people actually said thank you. But not as vocal as years past.
It felt more like ego vs ability in some of the guys I was playing back and forth with. So I just backed off to get out of it. And ride my ride.
With the tail wind I also backed off a few times to not chase watts. It was the smart move it felt.
All that in the first 25 miles.
Then the hills and I settled in. I was consistent. And I Will admit…this section was mostly feel. Just breaking free and going. I was happy to be free of the group I had been in and out of.
Then mile 40 and back to wind and relatively flat. I had plenty left. I felt it.  It was comfortable with the feeling…it was expected and right. And again…watts low. I was going by feel. And it felt right. I passed a lot of people who had ridden too hard at the start and were paying the price. Been there done that! Whole reason I got a power meter many moons ago! I felt good. And could have kept going. A little nervous about the run. I forgot to remind myself the bike doesn’t affect the run. Good thing to remember.
Coming in a felt great. And did push fine. Mostly on my own.
I took my feet out of my shoes a bit early but kept the momentum forward and ran in to t2 without issue. Dave Ragsdale (the MC) actually commented on my smile. I was all smiles for the race.
T2
The long run to my spot with my bike. And then….
Socks and shoes, sun screen in my sports bra in case I need it, visor, and i grabbed my hydration belt and race number belt and started to run. I actually threw my hydration belt over my shoulder as I put on my number. Got sunscreen. And ran out as I got my belt on. Slow but efficient moves. It’s a never winning battle for me. And source of annoyance.
Run
The first 2-3 miles are tough mentally…I have to believe I can get used to the feeling and make it. I did. In fact, by the end of the run, I was glad I was done but could have kept going. Some slow down but per heart rate, ran the effort. By the end of first lap I was good. And knew I was. All positive talk. I felt strong the entire run. Just not getting more speed. But I raced and pushed downhill. Shortened my stride and pushed uphill. I raced the course for my pace. And I love this course because it’s challenging.
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Finally remembering…racing doesn’t feel good. And loving it! 
It was uncomfortable. I had to stay present to put in the effort I did. But it was good. And staying present was easy. It’s what I had to do to race and wanted to do to race.
I finished feeling Strong.

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I call it “my bitch face” (with humor). Although I am not upset at all. I have no reference, and just saw my time. But…yeah. Carlos says I don’t look like I just raced hard as the guy behind me is in a wheelchair. I have yet to find that level of exertion. Someday? 
Synopsis
I still search for the race where I push the line. I thought I had with the bike..until the last 15 and I realized I had as much as I had.
Funny thing. And I say this not to whine but to pay tribute to the women in my age group and how strong they are. And to emphasize that in any race you can only control yourself. Not the weather. Not who shows up. Etc. only you. And limiting technical issues by keeping your bike and equipment in good shape. But that doesn’t mean something won’t happen. I was 45 seconds slower this year than last. All in transition (ok…95%). Last year I was second age group and in the top 10 women. This year I was fifth AG and 13 overall female. Of the top 15 women, 1/3 were in my age group. I had some amazing and fabulous competition.
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Post race.  With my girl. It was a good race. Things remembered. Lessons learned.
It was good to dust off some of the racing feelings. I remembered some things I need to. I feel more confident with my changes. And looking forward to the rest of my season.
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