This is not the FUN race report - see yesterday if you want the good junk, this one is about racing...
Race day started like any other - up at 4:00am, start drinking water and coffee. I will even walk in circles (like a dog) to get my guts moving. I am thankful that THIS is not an issue that I have. Coffee, water, peanut butter sandwich, banana, Cup of Gold Bar....check. All en route to the race site. I'm not used to doing things like this alone. Even if Ryan isn't there, I'm usually there with a gaggle of friends - not this time. I park, get my own junk and head to transition. I'm trying to focus but it IS hard when you have all the women around - there's lots of nervous chatter - have you done this before, how long have you been doing this, this is my first time, blah, blah, blah.
I had a few things in my mind:
- If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right.
- Red line, this is a sprint, red line the whole way.
Pros were off first then 35-39AG, that's me! Swim starting line was 'fun.' They did a little cheerleader thing to start, to get everyone pumped and excited. Like any 5K, you found that a lot of beginners started right at the front of the pack. I'm not saying don't, I'm just stating an observation. Rebecca and I made our way to a strategic place at the front. While I knew I wouldn't be hanging on her tail, I figured it would be at least towards the front of the swim pack.
Ready GO and we high stepped it into the water and started paddling out little hearts out. Oh, had new goggles on and they were GREAT, clear as a bell, not foggy, nothing (and they say never try anything new on race day, these were new goggles, new brand and style, my first swim). My siting was decent, for once...maybe because it was a point to point 'line' with no real turns? I did take one glance at my surroundings and realized that I was where I thought I would be - super fast chickies were gone and then there was me. Well crap, the crowd was crazy at this point because it had just started and they were waiting for their people. I swam until my hand hit the bottom and then I high stepped it out of the water. I really hope they got a picture of this because I'm sure I looked like a giraffe caught in a trap, all legs everywhere. With the swim exit there and the crowd screaming, I start running up the hill..and cussing. Here's the swim exit. Sorry little childrens, my hammys were screaming.
I looked at my watch at some point on my swim exit and saw 10something - I was targeting 10 so this was great with me. Actual 9:50
T1 - uneventful, got my junk and hauled it to the bike out.
Side note: I did not know where bike in/out and run in/out were. In the morning, asked some gals around me. They said – follow everybody else. I said thank you but on the inside I’m thinking – what if there is nobody else? With a wave start and being in the first wave, I knew this had potential but I wasn’t going to be a bitch. Actual 2:33.
Mentally, I prepared for worse and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Bonus. I had one hour in mind for this ride. I hauled it at any time there was a downhill or flat to keep up the momentum for when the hills or slow grades hit me. It took a while but I was caught by a handful of chickies and some in the waves behind me. One gal (I think she ended up second overall) blew my doors off – I just sat up for a minute like, huh? She yells – how many are ahead? I said 4-5 and she was GONE. Never to be seen until the awards! Wicked fast. I was huffing and puffing for 95% of this mofer. I just kept telling myself, redline, not much further. I’m sure it was a pretty ride but I was focused and tried to thank every cop and volunteer – they were kick ass at every turn since the super fasties blew my doors off OR just hadn’t caught up to me on the bike yet (later waves). Make NO mistake this course and race are beginner friendly for sure but I would NOT say this was a beginner course. It was very challenging, without a doubt. I saw people walking bikes up the one ‘real’ hill on course, if that’s any indication. Actual 1:01:31, not so happy 'bout that.
Dismounted – again, can’t do the flying dismount thingy so I was running in my shoes and damn near dropped my bike at the mount line full well knowing there are girls hunting me down. Rack my bike change out my shiz and take off. I did not have split times or anything but in order to hit 1:35, I knew my watch needed to read 1:10 at the start of the run. I looked down. I don’t remember exactly what it said but it wasn’t 1:10. OK, get a grip and don’t do what you usually do (give up). Too often when I have time goals in mind, when I don’t hit them, I just give up. Not this time. Hammer, red line, if it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right. Gooooo…..Actual 1:52, what WAS I doing in there?!?
Breathing labored, not comfortable at all, not supposed to be, though. Hills, rollers, inclines, blech BUT it was shaded which was a VERY nice treat for a hot day. Again, I see the faces of the pros and super fasties on their way back in to the finish … and then there’s me. What am I DOING UP HERE? I mean, I like it up here, playing with the big girls – it felt like the first time you got to eat at the adults table at Christmas. It’s weird because it’s just not a place that I usually hang out, towards the front. I can hear footsteps behind me and I carefully look at their age on the back of their leg. Whew, younger, whew, older until SHE came along..another 37er, MY age group. OK, stay calm, your race, race your race NOT her but do NOT give up, do NOT give in and pretend that all is lost! I get to mile 2 and I see HER, Ms. 37 in front of me, crumbling a little, I guess. Perfect, time to go and I did. I passed her back and kept my pace fast enough at the end that I didn’t think she could catch me again. I think her big boobs were weighing her down. Sorry, had to get that in there. I was looking at all the faces heading out to run as I was heading in, just gobs of ladies. I know some of them were looking at me thinking – she’s dying. I make this funny exhale sound when I run hard to force all the air out and I really do sound like I’m dying. I couldn’t muster a smile even. Actual 24:17, yay!
I look at my watch - 1:39, YYYESSS. Final results - 1:40:03, Boooo! Actually, I was very happy with my 1:40 because I DID give it what I had, I didn't give up anything out there or give in to anyone or anything. I did what I set out to do and that was to hop on the pain train and like it...and I did. I ended up 9th out of 180 in my age group and 39 out of 914 overall. Sheeeit, I'll take that shiz any day. I know I'm not a prize winner but I couldn't be happier, really. I am happiest with myself and my performance when I know I'm spent at the end. I was.
I guess there is hope for 'us' afterall. None of this is natural for me, I didn't start running until mid-20's and tri a few years ago. If you think - I'll never improve, I'll never get faster - it's simply not true. We all need to be a little easier on ourselves sometimes. Being my first tri of this season (save one relay), I am excited to see what the rest of the year will bring.
And THAT, my friends, is how Iron Girl went down for me! Double thumbs up!