Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Race Report

The day before, in the nice calm lake...Wil, Pharmie, Me, and Rural Girl

That is:

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.

Enjoying some pre-race food with my girls

Now that's what I call a big transition

Rural Girl's alarm clock went off at 4am, and she got out of bed all rarin' to go. takes me a few minutes. ;) She brewed some coffee so that helped.

Why yes, I AM aware how HAWT we all are at 4:52 am. Me, Stu, and Rural Girl

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'm pretty much adding up all those yards I swam in the pool in my head

Poop sandwich.

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 all suck it up and accept the new du.

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.

Yes, I'm smiling but inside I'm quite grumpy.

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.

/end rant/

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.


Aaron said...

Focus on the positive, because there's enough going on in this sport to give you a fair share of the "not positive" every single time. Solid split on the bike, and a tremendous closing run, even without salt tabs :). Nice job.

Pharmie said...

Great race report, and GREAT RACE! Can't wait to see what you'll do at New Orleans. Oh, and I signed up for try #2 at the half this year. I just couldn't see the season end yesterday :) So much fun to hang with you this weekend.

Rural Girl said...

commenting on your last line....maybe not a pansy but a FAST, "greasy Italian"! Stop putting "asterisks" in when you describe this race. You hauled ass and you earned every bit of your reward! Be happy!

tri-mama said...

Great Job! I'd say it was totally you, honey! You came back from pregnancy like a pro and raced a spectacular half iron (swim or no)- enjoy the week.

Alili said...

Awesome race out there! I think I caught a glimpse of you on the run course--I was kind of in a daze. It was nice chatting with you before the race.

Great, great job. Maybe I'll take the 2009 season off for some pregnancy doping;)

xt4 said...

Wow, well hella job out there girl. Whatever with the swim - it is what it is, and I suppose it's just something waiting for you to pick up another day. Your bike and run were fantastic, and even if you're "adjusting times" etc. to try and figure out "what might have been", what's most important is "what really was" - and that's a strong performance all around, a great day of racing, and an effort worth it all. Carpe diem, that sort of thing. Proud of you.

JenC said...

Woo hoo! You rocked it! Sorry it didn't go quite as planned, but way to make lemonade out of the lemons!

triguyjt said...

you finished that run strong and you did not have the tablets so i think it was a very solid performance...and i loved your rant on the drafting... who were those goobers????


Borsch said...

Great race report! You totally rocked that course!

Steve Stenzel said...

Yep, that's a stinky poop sandwich. I have a great photo of you walking back from the swim looking like you just had a big bite of that sandwich. But you did KILLER out there anyway!!! Nice to meet up with you again!!


RunBubbaRun said...

Great job out there.. To bad about the swim, but what can you do?

You had a great race. PR on the bike and run.. Your getting fast..

Wil said...

Man I so left my endurolytes in transition TOO! It didn't catch up with me until mile 40 on the bike, and then not so bad even until the run - but I think that had more to do with some New Orleans Praline Pecan ;)

Sis you've come a long way baby, I'm so proud of you and can't wait to see you take it all the way. Great race, great to hang with you again... next time it'll be dodging gators instead of dead Steelhead!

Flatman said...

Awesome job, way AWESOME! Way to break then new bike in right... :)

RobbyB said...

Dude, you're fast. Can't wait to the Big Easy to see you rock that course and go sub-5:30!

TrainingtoTri said...

Nicely done! I'm so sorry about the swim, that stinkkkksss on so many levels. BUt it sounds like you really rocked the bike/run. Good job.

TriCajun said...

Great job, TST! You're gonna kill New Orleans all jet fueled up on some Cajun cookin!

anna jo said...

you totally rock!

Michelle said...

You are awesome!

Rae said...

Way to go!!!!! So why did they cancel the swim?? The chop or because of dead fish???

No matter what you did GREAT!

JP Severin said...

Love the super secret goal... I'm glad you crushed it!

E-Speed said...

Congrats girl! Sorry the day turned to a du but you rocked it anyways!

Michele said...

Girl, you totally rocked that race. Super fast splits.

Totally thinking about New Orleans.

Lana said...

You are the farthest thing from a pansy that I know, Sara. You ROCK! Way to rock that half iron, even though they took your swim away!

Are you dead set on New Orleans??? I REALLY enjoyed PC Beach(Gulf Coast Half) in plane ticket required - meet me in TN and ride with me the rest of the way.

Siren said...

Dude, that team kit is hawt!

Thanks for kicking so much butt this season so my pathetic little injured self has someone to live vicariously through : )

Mr. Pythagoras said...

Congrats on the great race. But you refer to duathlon like it's a bad thing. (Just kidding) I'd kill for that bike split! Good job!