1. "A" race report, which now I feel a little stiffed on, because my "A" race was turned into a du
2. Why you should step on a dead fish after you find out your swim is cancelled
3. How much fun I had with friends
4. Holy smokes, pregnancy doping strikes again
Well, I'll give the report here. I don't have any pictures, because why would I take pictures when Steve and James are there? Seriously. So I'll post a few of theirs. Those guys rock! All photo credits to them. Thanks, guys!!
Drove Friday morning to Benton Harbor, Michigan, and pulled into the HoJo parking lot to see a big EvoTri banner and my teammates, Stu and Michelle on the deck! That was good to see. A few minutes later, Pharmie and Steve arrived. It was so good to see everyone again!
Let's just say that, um, the HoJo, is NOT the place you want to stay. Ew. Ewewewewewewew to the max. Like, toenail clippings on the floor nasty. And I'm not kidding. But staying with my buddies made me pretty much forget that!
We met up with the rest of my teammates and a few buddies from CTC at the pre-race pasta dinner. It felt really strange to leave my bike in transition and walk away. I felt kinda naked. But it was sort of nice to NOT have to worry about that the morning of the race.
Rural Girl's alarm clock went off at 4am, and she got out of bed all rarin' to go. Me...it takes me a few minutes. ;) She brewed some coffee so that helped.
Then we packed up, met Stu, Pharmie and Steve, and headed to the race site.
Immediately, Steve warned us the chop was bad. I wasn't too worried about it, because, A) what was I going to do about it? and B) swimming in Lake Erie can get pretty choppy, so I'm used to some chop. I always feel comfortable in the swim, and sort of knew today wasn't about proving my swim anyway, but seeing how far I've come on the bike and run.
So we headed out to the start, walked almost the full mile there, when we heard the swim was cancelled.
I was really disappointed. I mean, damn. That meant I just spent $220.00 on a glorified brick workout. This was my A race. I trained really hard for it. Boo fricken hoo. And I was grumpy.
Then I stepped on a dead nasty Steelhead with fish guts spilling out.
And I freaked out and ran into the water.
So I took that as a slap in the face from the race. Like, get over it, chick. Do your thing anyway. So, I did.
We walked pretty far to get to the start of the uber-lame 2 mile run. (Hey, I was still allowed to be a teensy bit grouchy ;) I decided I'd just use it as a warmup. I knew this was a Clearwater qualifier, so there would be some hard core chicks hauling it. But you know what? It's a long day, and I didn't need to max out myself in the first 2 miles.
Garmin had it at 2.3 for 18:05, race says 18:09 for 2.1 miles. Whatever. Who cares.
You'd be smiling, too, if you got to high five this guy!
So then the real race started in my book. What can I do for 56 miles? Watts were to be held around 150-160, and Coach Emily told me to go rock it, so I did.
It was soooooooooooooooooooooo fun. That is a seriously fast course. A bit of headwinds in the beginning but nothing really too troublesome. And, they were at your back the way back, which is always good! It had some nice little rollers, and I just felt like I really got in a great rhythm and felt AWESOME. Nutrition was good, weather was perfect, and I could hardly believe the mile markers when I got to them. The kind of ride I hoped to have all year, you know? The one that made it worth it to leave my little guy for those rides. I was very, very happy.
Except for one thing.
I have NEVER SEEN SO MANY PEOPLE DRAFTING IN MY LIFE. I mean, we're talking packs of 6-8 DUDES WITH DISC WHEELS all flying by riding TOGETHER like it was a Saturday group ride. Passing people TOGETHER for as far as I could watch them ride away. I know they are probably figuring it's better to risk a 4 minute penalty and get to Clearwater than do it the right way, but you know what? DUDES, THAT IS SHADY. Karma will get you sometime.
Got back to T2, and pretty much did a jig in transition. I was estatic. I almost welled up with tears like a big loser, and I'm not even kidding. It just felt good to know I made that time away from The Bug and Matt count. I know that some of that was the bike I was on, and I'd be curious to see what I'd do on my Trek. I know it wouldn't be the same. But you know what? I think some of that was me, too. I really believe that--I literally worked my ass off this winter, spring, and summer, and I'm very proud of what I did yesterday.
By all accounts, this was a little short. My PowerTap said 54.5 but I had trouble starting it so I thought maybe it was my fault. However, after talking to Pharmie and a few others, most people said it was between 54-55. Another reason I feel a little stiffed, but...a huuuuuuuuuggeeeee PR nonetheless.
My goal on the ride was to break 3 hours. I rode 2:44.34. If we adjust that and say it was 54 miles, I still averaged 19.7 mph. By my calculations, at that pace I would have come in at 2:50.
And that is what I like to call progress.
Seriously, back to T2. I'm just so darn excited. :) I was excited in T2, too. So excited that I left ALL MY SALT TABS IN MY BENTO BOX.
Bad move. It was getting pretty hot, and it was very sunny. I did remember to apply sunscreen SPF 45 for the third time that day, so that was good. I realized I left the salt tabs in the bento box pretty much when I stepped out of transition. I then decided to roll the dice, drink more gatorade than usual, and see what happened.
Goal on the run was to come in just under 2. Like, 1:59 would have been cool. But I have to remember I've never even broken 2:25 in a half marathon at the end of a half ironman. However, I know how well the running's been going lately so I felt pretty confident I could do it.
The first loop was rough. Around mile 4 I was still averaging about 9:10 but feeling the effects of no salt tabs. Took every sponge and cup of ice I could get my hands on at each aid station, and the volunteers were WONDERFUL. The course surprised me with a few hills, including one that made me say a few bad words under my breath and walk part of it. I didn't expect that. My new teammate who is super tall and ran by my on his loop two LIKE HE WAS WALKING, PoohBear, absolutely rocked the course! It was nice to meet him--holy tall lean ball of talent that guy is!!! :)
Still feeling pretty good on loop one!
I was still feeling OK when I saw James and Steve (and Steve was wearing his amazingly awesomely bad outfit, which just cracked me up) but I knew missing my salt tabs was going to catch up to me. I just hoped it wouldn't catch up to me before I hit 13.1.
Look! I have a leg muscle! And an arm muscle, too! Or is that a mirage....?
Started loop two and started to succumb to fatigue. However, I was passing dudes left and right. There were a lot of guys walking on loop two. I was still running, but it was definitely slower. I felt my legs starting to cramp up.
Please, please, legs... Just wait...come on...keep going and you can cramp all you want after the finish line. I promise.
I started counting steps. I started singing songs in my head. I cursed that stupid hill again. And then, I was at mile 12. I knew I wouldn't break 2, but I still knew I was going to be close to 2. And that was good.
Smiling for the camera...just a few more miles!
At the very last stretch, we had to run on sand. I said, laughing to the spectators as I tried not to fall over, "Are you KIDDING ME?!?!?!!?" They laughed, too. It must have been funny to see everyone running like they didn't drink their V8. But I saw the finish line and I did get a little teary, but hopefully no one saw because I AM NO PANSY, AIIIGGGGHT?
Note to RD: THANKS for the sand dunes at the finish line. :)
Total run 2:03.18 (9:24/mile)
Finish time 5:10.39
I wanted to break 6, but what I called my "super secret goal" shared only with those who know me very well was to go under 5:45. By adding my worst 1.2 mile swim ever to this bike, run, and transition time, and adding another 5 minutes onto the bike so it was 56 miles at my pace, I would have finished in 5:41. Which is comfortably enough under my goal that I feel like I sort of did it. (Even though sort of is just sort of....sigh.)
So, when all was said and done, I kind of PR'd my half distance by just under an hour...if we're thinking somewhere around 5:41. I'm no 5:10, that's for sure, so I feel like I can't use that as my half PR. I'll have to wait until New Orleans to see what my "real" PR is. ;)
I am so happy and excited for what I did do, though. I don't want to downplay that. I just feel like I have to add a few asterisks, which is a bummer. But I know, regardless, that this was a big breakthrough for me. My swim is fine, I'm a lot more capable on the bike than I thought I could be, and my run is okay. My next goal will be to knock some time off my run and try to improve on the bike even more. Training less with more intensity has DEFINITELY worked for me.
After the race, I cheered as loud as I could at the finish line for my buddies. And then snarfed down food like nobody's business.
Buddies at the finish line!
But I really, really wanted to get home and see my little man. So I didn't get to stay long enough to see my amazing rockstar teammate ACCEPT A POSITION TO CLEARWATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But I called her and screamed a little in her ear in excitement. :) Congrats, Rural Girl! We are all so proud of you!
Got home, and wished my little man a happy 10 month old birthday. Saw him, remembered what I did 1o months ago that night, thought more about what I did in the race and how far this body has taken me, and then cried.
Okay. So maybe I am a little bit of a pansy.