Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lighthouse Triathlon

What!!??!! Two blogs in less than a week...hell yeah!

Again, this was a month ago, so I will probably fail to mention a large amount of details that had I done this sooner I would have included.

First, I really like this triathlon as it is cheap at $25 and the course is FAST. The swim is a 500 meter, parallel out and back within the breakwalls of Fairport Harbor, followed by a possible windy 12.4 mile out and back on the bike and then a looped 5k run.

Since the marathon, it seems I had misplaced my drive to push myself. I had debated whether or not I should go all out for this one as the HIM was only two weeks away or just take it easy. I had done a 35 mile ride the day before in hopes of finding some clarity for race day strategy. I finally concluded that going all out was the best plan. I figured I would be one of the faster women at this triathlon and I was going to hunt every woman down in front of me until there were none left!

I was there early enough to get my choice of rack, which was nice as last year I remember there being so many bikes just laying in the grass as there was no rack space left! I chose a spot on the end, one row back from the bike exit/entrance.

**There is always some thing that seems to annoy me at a race so here is the first. I was thinking I had a sweet spot, but of course this guy shows up with his mechanic's bike stand and sets his bike up at the end of mine so I can't even squeeze in on the left to get to my bike (CHUMP!) I found the guy and made him move over. I have just as much right to a spot as he does and he was in kayak race anyway. They should have racked all those participants together in my opinion.

I warmed up with a mile or so run and then threw on my wetsuit and finished off with a swim. I noticed it takes me about ten minutes of swimming before my core loosens up to let me glide through the water. I only came out of the water to let the kayakers start, but as soon as they called the first men's wave I was back in. The water was nice and smooth. I planned on swimming harder than normal, focusing on my pull and keeping my elbows high and in. I started on the outside, thinking then I wouldn't have to fight through the clusterf*ck that is a tri swim. I wished TZ and JC's friend good luck (see I can't remember her name because it has been nearly a month).

The horn went off and I hit it. I decided I had been swimming fairly straight lately so sighting would be minimized today, however within in the first 150 meters my dumbass was headed toward the center of Lake Erie. I immediately fixed it but I had lost some time, so I started swimming harder and telling myself "C'mon Heier, pull!! Get your lazy ass through this!" I had no idea where I was in my wave. I figured I was in the top half, but I can never tell because the field always pulls away at the start and then I swim people down after about 5 minutes. At this point I was also catching men in the slower waves ahead of me, some where even run/walking through the chest deep water as swimming was no longer there best method of travel through the water. I kind of laughed to myself at this point as I remember my first sprint when I had to run for part of it as I was so tired I thought I might actually drown. I knew my heart rate was up there, but at this point I no longer care anymore in a sprint. If I wanted to go after the a top spot there would be no room for holding back. I swam until my hand smacked the ground and then jumped up and ran my ass up to transition. Swim and run time 10:44, not good I had my work cut out for me.

I dicked around in transition for 1:31, which probably could have been 1:00, but I always worry about not getting the sand off my feet or forgetting something for the bike. Should I ever get my shit together I should practice transitioning.

The bike exits UP a nice steep climb and goes left through a neighborhood for about 2 miles before you hit the open road going east. I had to focus and have the best bike yet this season as there were women ahead of me from my so-so swim and there was an additional wave of 35+ women, 5 minutes behind me that I would have to contend with. If any of them caught me they would beat me on time. This course is flat as a pancake and usually has a tailwind that allows me to push 23-30mph on the way out. I was hoping for only 23-25mph as the faster out you go the harder back you will have to work. I managed to pass quite a few people (mostly men) about 5 women. I was at the 6.2 mile turn-around in less than 18 minutes. I saw about 10 women still ahead of me, but some were in the kayak race and I figured I could get a few more as I was closing the gap. I knew I could keep the splits pretty close, but I was going to have to work my butt off the second half. I was still following the plan of going all out too. I knew I could blow up on the run for pushing too hard on the bike, but I didn't care. All to often, people hold back or give up because they worry they may not make it, but I always make it, to not go hard would only put me farther behind the leaders and today I wanted to be one of those leaders. My back was getting tight from riding on my aeros the entire time, but I knew it was saving me time. I could hear my labored breathing as I caught another girl and then another. 2 DOWN, 8 TO GO!! I came up on these two guys with about 4 miles to go and there was some blatant drafting. I shook my head and blew by them. The guy drafting said something to me and gave me a dirty look. Now, on my motorcycle if that was a guy in a car giving me some shit I probably would have kicked the door, but I was clipped in and didn't want to waste time unclipping, trying to kick him and getting DQ, nor could did I want to waste my breathe saying something back so I kept moving (I am a frickin' badass!! Good thing there are no triathlon cops or I'd be getting a reckless op. from them too!) I passed another girl and then with about 3 miles to go I caught one more girl. I could tell she was getting tired of fighting the wind. I told her to keep pushing as we only had one more mile to go to get out of this wind. She seemed renewed with energy and stayed with me just a few bike lengths back the rest of the way. I hammered it as soon as we hit the neighborhood again and was pushing 22-24mph back in, hit my split at the dismount line and racked my bike. Back in a little over 19 minutes. Damn, I had worked hard and still lost over a minute with that wind.

I was completely driven at this point. I didn't care about anything, but the women between me and that finish line. I pulled on my racing flats, which I should have put Yankz on as I again lost time in T2 to tie those bad boys. I didn't even bother putting on the visor or sunglasses until I was already running for the transition exit. Somehow, my goggles had gotten attached to my visor and I noticed I had them in my hand. Crap! I didn't have time to go put them back with my gear so I just dropped them right on the pavement in transition. I would have to get them after the race. T2 - 1:00

I grabbed some fluid at the aide station and started running up that same steep hill. The girl that had stuck with me on the bike had beaten my 1 minute T2 time and was running ahead of me. Hmmm, she didn't look as good on the run as I did and I closed the gap. I caught her and said she was doing great. She told me this was her worst event and she was dying. I told her everybody dies on this part, but just hold on. I had other plans though. I didn't give a shit how bad it hurt today. I was on a mission. I couldn't believe my legs were holding from the hard bike throught the run. I felt hot and my breathing was labored, but it was controlled. I just kept running by people one at a time. There were 2 or 3 guys that passed me on the run, but I didn't care they were not going to make up 5 minutes on the run, so I had all them. I managed to run 2 more girls down. Yay!! There couldn't be more than 3 or 4 in front of me. I saw one more girl with about a mile to go way ahead. I could catch her, but I would have to maintain this pace and throw in some surges to pull within striking distance. I knew the only way I was going to get here is if I could out sprint her at the finish. There was no way I was going to expel all this energy surging and then be able to hold her off for 3 more minutes. I would only have one shot at this. The other key would be to hope she didn't look back, see me and take off like a bat out of hell to the finish. My plan was working, I was almost there when out of nowhere this other chick comes running by me. Aaarrgghh!! "Don't let her go!" I thought. I had to stay with her. I picked up the pace and wow did it really start hurting. We had less than a half mile to go, but I was hurting badly. We caught the girl I had been working my way up to and no sooner had we pulled even then she took off!! "For the Love of GOD!" I am at a sprint and still minutes away from the finish. My breathing went to hell at that point as I tried to hold on, but the 2 girls, both in the 25-29 AG had gotten into a pissing contest and pulled ahead. I kept pushing, but they kept pulling away. I ran down the hill to the beach and hit the sand. Almost there, just get to the boardwalk and then less than a minute. I caught two guys at this point, but the girls were too far ahead. Finish time PR. Run time was 25:00, but according to many the course was .2-.3 too long for a 5k, but it was equally skewed for everybody.

I was about 4th/5th overall until the 2nd wave of women finished then I got bumped down to 9th (I think), but rumor has it a few women that beat me were drafting. It kind of bums me out, because without the drafting they might not have beaten me :( I won my age group and got a really nice trophy and a hot pink gear bag (what's wrong with blue or green for girl?). Best news of all, I only missed winning the women's overall by 2:10. Heck, if I fix my transition times, swim straight and run a little better, maybe next year I will win the damn thing!!

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