I know, I know!
We haven't had one of these up here since last April!
Hey, it ain't all my fault. I got preggers and stuff. What can you do?
But how about the first of hopefully a long line of race reports to come....
The 2010 Greater Cleveland Triathlon
So, in case you haven't heard, I've been nursing a little teensy injury lately. Not enough to call a stress fracture (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU), but one that has really slowed down my running--not to mention my mileage. I basically took the last two weeks and just did run/walks with a little bit of straight running, but nothing more than 40 minutes. I had to bag the Huntington Triathlon (sniff, sniff). I originally signed up for this race back in December when I was all huge and pregnant because, hey! it sounds like a great idea!, and talked my buddy JenC into signing up for it, too. You can pretty much talk an 8 month pregnant chick into anything "next August." Wanna go skydiving in August? Bullfights on acid? Skinny skiing? OF COURSE! PLEASE! I'll do anything--JUST REMIND ME I WON'T BE IN THIS HUGE STATE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.
(for those who aren't Caddyshack fans, those last two activities are nods to my husband...the biggest Caddyshack fan on earth)
So once I got the X-rays and the all clear that this wasn't a stress fracture, I first jumped for joy and screamed five times. Then, decided the smart thing to do would probably downgrade to the sprint triathlon. Even though I hate sprints, right? They're too short, right? They hurt a lot, right?
The thing is? I don't hate them. Methink I am falling in LURVE.
To tell you the truth, I am burning out big time on this long course stuff. I've been doing triathlons for nine years now next week (happy nine-year anniversary, self!) and have spent the last 6 seasons doing long course (minus the one season I was preggers with Bug). Rev3 will be my 5th half ironman, and to tell you the good honest truth, I think I'm just about over it. At this point in my life, the training is becoming a bit of a chore. I'm not looking forward to it. I'm sort of dreading it. And that's not good.
But a good ol' fashioned hammer fest? Pain in the lungs? Quads screaming that they can't possibly fire any harder--and then you tell them to HTFU and just DO IT or else? Now that is kind of fun. And I think I want more of that.
So I headed out to this race, full of negativity and a head full of doubts. The things in my head when I was standing on the beach went something like this:
You are worthless at this distance.
You can't do this.
You aren't fast.
Seriously, I almost didn't recognize myself. I mean, I get nervous before races, but I don't think I had ever felt this negative before a race ever. Part of it was that I felt like I had backed out on my original commitment, and I felt guilty. Like I was cheating. But I knew that a 10K wasn't smart, so this was my only option.
Okay, first of all, I am an idiot. I was totally "that guy" at this race--the one that didn't check the course at all. In my head, I just ASSumed that it would be about a 400-500 yard swim. Because that's what most of the sprints I have done usually are. And you don't wear a wetsuit (if you're me) for a 400 yard swim, because that is just cheating. You suck it up and swim your 400 yards and don't waste extra time taking off the stupid wetsuit.
Except that everyone around me had a wetsuit on.
"Um....how long is this swim?" I asked some hard core guy.
"A half mile."
A half mile is still doable without a wetsuit, of course. But it was a little wavy--not choppy, just some rolling waves. But when your competition is wearing wetsuits, and you underestimate the swim distance by, oh, 50 PERCENT...that's just dumb.
Needless to say, not my best swim. Not awful--I came out in a close pack of my AG in the middle. My watch said 14:50 when I hit the beach, and the splits by the time I got to the top at T1 had me at 15:56. Boo. I should be swimming a half mile comfortably in 12-13 minutes or so.
Hopped on the bike and hoped for the best. Because, I am not a front-pack cyclist. I know I'm not the back of the pack like I was for the first 5-6 seasons or so I raced, but I accepted my role as slightly-better-than-mediocre cyclist and figured that was what today would be.
Except it wasn't.
I flew. Flew flew FLEW. Passed tons of people. Some in my age group, some not...lots of dudes, too. I tried to push hard, because sprints were supposed to hurt, right? In retrospect, I probably pushed TOO hard, but I was having too much fun and figured a little pain on the run would be worth it.
This was my first race on my Specialized Transition, and man...it was amazing. A. MAZE. ING.
The numbers, according to the gospel that is Joule:
Ride Time: 37:43
Total miles: 12.85
Average mph: 20.4
Average cadence: 101
I just checked the results. Here's what is blowing my mind:
I was the 3rd overall female cyclist (out of 45), behind only the top two females overall (finishing), and only by just over a minute
I was the 17th out of 133 cyclists total, including DUDES.
No seriously, WHAT?! Was that really me?
I think that I have to admit something.
I might be a halfway decent cyclist. I know, I know. I never thought I'd utter those words, either.
And now it hurts. I knew coming off the ride that I was most likely the 1st female in my age group. I had passed a few and knew that I passed two near the end, and they were most likely not too far behind me.
What is this....this feeling of being first off the bike? I know many of you do this all the time, but this is new to me. This feeling of being a hunted animal was totally new.
Or in my case, a wounded animal. I was hurting. But I was so freaking elated after that ride, I thought maybe, just maybe I could hold on. I knew that running no more than 4 consecutive miles the past 2 weeks (and honestly, barely running ANY miles total in those weeks--like maybe 7 or 8?!) was going to hurt. And if these two girls got me, I'd have NO answer.
It took about to the first mile marker for the first girl to get me. Awwwww pisser. I tried to hang, but I couldn't. Then I hit the turnaround, and saw second girl not too far behind me. I thought, hey, maybe I can hold her off.
HELLZ no. She must have been holding back, because she blew by me like I was standing STILL around 1.75. I kept her in my sights but knew I just didn't have enough in me. I managed to eek out a 25:20 5K, which, all things considered, is not too bad. But it wasn't good enough to win my age group.
Final time: 1:21.32
3rd AG/9 total (the other two ahead were within 1:15 of me. BOO my tired running. sigh)
The third overall female posted a 1:18, so to even be remotely close to that is a HUGE victory for me.
I saw 2nd place chick afterward, and told her congrats and that she had a great kick there in the middle. She said, "Well, I kept trying to catch you on the bike, but I just couldn't--you had a really strong ride!"
I thought, I did, huh?
I never get to say that.
I had a ton of fun hanging with all my triathlon buddies--SO many of them were volunteering and racing, and it was so good to see them all again! It's been a lonely, quite isolated summer training-wise and it was so fun to see everyone in one spot.
So after Rev3, I believe I am done with long tris. As in, stick a fork in me, I am DONE. Donedonedone for a while. I had so much more fun doing this, and I am just sick of long slow stuff, for sure. Not to mention, I have no idea how on earth I'd be able to work full time, raise two kids under 3, AND train for long distance. And not lose my mind. This is supposed to be fun, and...damn, I had fun yesterday.
So here's to some more hurt-fests in the future...and to next time, not letting 'em chase me down.