Third times a charm, especially for this race. I realize if I want to get the race reports blogged I have to do them immediately or forget it all together.
Well, yesterday I managed an EZ 12 mile bike, followed up with a 2.25 mile run and then a quick dip in the lake as my pre-race workout. It was much hotter yesterday than this morning and my legs felt like crap on the bike and I was extremely worried I would have another bad race. I even had a dream I got a foot to the face during the swim and my face was a geyser of blood. Needless to say I woke up a tad concerned. Usually, my goal is to finish top ten for the women and that is how I finsh, but I jokingly told AH I should raise my standards and go for top 5 this year. I then saw the participants list (GULP!) There were some fast girls, one was only a minute or so slower than AH. She could swim, bike and run! No wonder she did the triathlon. There were a few girls who couldn't swim as well as me, but shit they could run! I was in deep doo-doo.
We left the house a bit after 5:30am which was way more time than we needed, but hey early is better than late and we had to make a detour due to some new road construction. Arrived a little after 6:00am and immediately racked my bike near the bike in/out. I would rather have a longer run in/out on the run side than a longer bike/in out with my bike. I ended up on a rack with some girls who I didn't recognize, but looked fast and were discussing there 3-5 hour workouts for the past week! "5 hours, I don't work out for 5 freakin' hours...I am dead!" We had to do a little rearranging to get my gear in front of my bike, but it worked and they were really nice. I figured they would be out of the water way ahead of me anyway and I would have the entire area to myself when I hit T1.
Here is where the mishaps began. I just can't seem to avoid them. It was getting later and later and I had blown up my tubular earlier in the week and was waiting for a new wheel, but BS wasn't there with it yet! When he did arrive AH pulled my old one off and took off to grab my new one. Ah, all is good. I have my wheel. Now, to get my wetsuit. I was walking back to the van when AH ran by yelling "hope you weren't planning on wearing a wetsuit today!" What is he stupid? Of course, I am wearing my suit. Apparently, the wetsuits had not been pulled out of the garage and loaded into the van! Oh God! Here we go, no wetsuit,uuuggghhh, badluck, but hey my T1 time should rock...CRAP! I had gone to tri swimming over the winter, so we were gonna see if it worked! Sans wetsuit today baby! Any idea of top 5, 10, whatever were out the door at that point. I hustled to the van to get my chip, which I forgot then headed to the beach and then headed back to the van again because I forgot we had swim caps this year too! Arrrrgggghhh!!! Oh and I peed 3 times in between too.
I waited on shore for the men's waves to go off with AY, KZ and JP. CTC chicks were representing. AY being a collegiate swimmer was pumped me and JP were going sans wetsuit with her. JP had not wanted to fight with her suit in T1 and KZ had only opted for a shorty. I had no option dammit! I decided to start far to the left and swim for the back buoy, outside of everybody. Without my suit I would probably get stuck in the pack and I was going to have a hard enough time keeping up as it was, let alone avoiding getting caught by a flailing arm or leg (my bloody nose dream).
Swim - 10 minutes separated us from the last men's wave so we had a nice open lake all to ourselves. The horn sounded and I ran in the water and dove in full force ready to go hard the entire way. No saving the energy today. Most girls that beat me get most of their time on me in the water. They break away in a front pack and I never see them again. It happened again today. I could see yellow caps pulling farther and farther ahead. Shit!! I lost the front of the pack. I forced myself to cut through the water and pull working on the things RR had told me make to focus on to help my swimming. I really missed my wetsuit. I had to push my butt up and my chest down to keep myself planed out. I kicked from my hips and made it through the 2 buoys with only minor contact from others. The turnaround buoy put us right in the sun and I couldn't see a thing. I definitely started swimming crooked, but dammit the only thing I could see was the central buoy (it was closer to the transition area too). I breathe on my right and today's swim was clockwise so I only got a few peaks here and there at all the girls to my left. All in all my breathing was labored as it always is in the water, but it was a "controlled" labor. Swam and swam and finally smacked my hand on the ground and immediately stood up. Uugghh! Hello legs welcome back to land! I tried to hurry out of the water and up to T1 and as I passed the official at the entrance I heard 10th! No, fucking way!!! I was 10th out of the water sans wetsuit! Hell yeah (Daisy would proud, our swimming had paid off). There were 41 female competitors today. Time was 10:40, only :56 slower than last year with a wetsuit. Hmmmm, I am not a fast swimmer, but it appears most triathletes aren't either :(
T1 - fastest ever since I didn't have to strip my suit. In and out that's the plan. No fumbling, no mishaps. Time 1:18.
The Bike - Rolled out on the bike and immediately passed a girl, 1 down 8 to go. Although my heart rate was bumpin' I felt better than I ever have after a hard open water swim. I switched my computer over to cadence to confirm that I was riding at 95-105 (seems to be where I am most comfortable) and set out for another girl just ahead. She was on a Cervelo P2 (Two thoughts: very nice and man I want a tri bike). Passed her and then she passed me back. Enough of this I thought "get control of yourself and go." Passed her one last time and never saw her again. 2 down, 7 to go. Flew down the big hill known as Manga Galanga hitting a little over 38 mph (sure didn't feel like it, felt way slower). Managed to bike down lots of guys, but who cares they are guys. The next 3 miles are a false flat with a headwind and here is where I saw the shark "AY." She had again gotten a good sized jump on me out of the water (*$(&*@#$&* - I wish I could swim!) I yelled "let's go" and she made a comment about how my swim must not have been too bad and I confirmed I had not drown. I pulled past her and worked my way to the human turnaround. I counted about 6 girls in front of me after passing her and as soon as I made the turn I let it all out just like last year. Worked my way back to the hill I would have to now ascend, but it seemed the road was a bit crappy on the right so I had to ride near the center this year. It also seemed that all the turns had more gravel than usual and I took them more cautiously than I normally would. Hit the bottom of Manga Galanga and caught 4 guys on the hill. Every year that bad boy gets easier and this year I took it like a champ passing all 4 guys before cresting the hill. There were however, no more girls! It was all guys. Entering the park there was a shit ton of gravel and some potholes and my bike of course at 20+ mph got squirrely for a second and I thought I might lose it, but didn't (whew). I was back in less than 42 minutes. This is the hardest bicycle sprint course around. It has some hills, some wind, some railroad tracks and some gravel. I don't even know if AH has broken 20mph on his Kuota Kalibur on this course!
T2 - (not sure of my time, because I forgot to split my watch at the start of T2 and when I was in T2 I split it half way through transition and managed :36, but I know T2 wasn't that fast. I heard a guy talking to a girl telling her she was top 10 and new I had to get moving if I wanted to stay in the top women. I didn't know if she was a poker in transition or if she had come in right behind me (I didn't see anybody behind me at mile 11...hmmmm).
The Run - It never fails to feel awful. It is just a matter of to what degree of awful I am at when running. I was only mildly awful, but when I took my 2nd gel without water it was so viscous and thick my mouth was kinda stuck. It was gross. Thankfully, there was an aid station a minute later and the water washed the nasty shit down. The run started a little slow as usual, but I was still running people down. Honestly, JP is a great runner and even though she was a tad behind me on the bike I didn't know if it was enough to hold her off. I have been run down the last 2 years at this race and today I was very focused on preventing that. I could hear someone coming up on me about a half mile in and was dismayed as I thought it was a girl, but nope it was a guy. That was a sigh of relief, but I took it as a warning not to mess around. I finally saw the girl I had been looking for toward the end of the first loop. She had about a half mile on me and man it was going to be ugly to catch her, but today I was gonna fight like hell. BS, who won the triathlon and AH were cheering for me as I came through letting me know I looked strong and I could definitely hold any girls behind me off. Sweet! AH went with me on the 2nd loop and as I was starting my last lap lots more ladies had entered on their first loop. I lost sight of the girl I had been chasing and had to work my way through the first lappers. I ran by a turtle holding out an orange flag with a sign on his belly that said "SLOW," and aloud I said "not today, not today!" I never saw the 2 mile marker so my splits are all messed up for the run, but when I had about .55 mile left I dug in. I had closed the gap on that girl and she was back in site, about 200 meteres ahead and I was gaining ground, but shit I was running out of road too! I was wheezing and the mildly awful had risen to "this really sucks awful" and the self-talk began. "C'mon fuckin' run!" I made the turn off the road to make the weird u-turn down a path and up to the finish and knew I wasn't going to get her, but I had laid it all out there and run hard. AH and BS were screaming at me to kick. I did, err I tried. My legs had worked really hard and there wasn't much, but I had something left. Hit the finish with a run time of 25:14. It seems slow, but on tired legs and a towpath like path, on a day that is always hot and without a wetsuit (yeah, I am throwin' that in there too), not too shabby.
AH told me I was 3rd overall. I cheered and fell over on the ground staring up at the sky tired as all hell, but then he admitted he was wrong and I found out I was 4th, which meant the other girl was 3rd (DARN!!). I was exhausted and by the time I changed I had missed the awards ceremony. I ended up winning my age group and so did the chic in front of me, which moves me to 5th overall, so far. Hmmm, have to wait until official results come out.
Anyway, AH got 3rd in his AG and that is the first time ever I have placed higher for awards than him! We have both been 1st or him 1st and me 2nd, but never me 1st and him 3rd. WOW! Also, I PR'd by over 4 minutes. Unofficial time 1:20:12.
All I know is cycling with Daisy and AH is really paying off and I can probably never thank Rob Reddy enough for tri swimming! Holy Cow!!! I believe I had a good race .... FINALLY!!!!
Official Results and Breakdown
5th out of 40 for women
Swim Rank 10
Bike Rank 3
Run Rank 7
I was crushed by 2 chicks that is nearly as fast as AH. I only had a faster T2 time than 1 of them. They both came out of the water over 2:00 minutes ahead of me putting me out of contention. Also, everyone that beat me in the overall was on a tri bike!! Note to self: Get a frick'n tri bike!! My cycling is really coming along though.
LEARN TO LOVE CLIMBING HILLS. THEY ONLY REALLY SUCK THE FIRST TIME YOU CLIMB A NEW ONE.
Lost to a girl I beat at a different triathlon by over 2:00 minutes last year (ran her down). This year she killed me on the swim, but I made up time on the bike and would have run her down if I had not run out of road. Only missed her by :20. Again, the swim screwed me.
Final thought: my T1 time last year was 1:57 with a wetsuit. This year it was 1:35. I saved only :22 seconds. I would have been 9:00 in the water or less with my suit this year. Hence, it does not take me that long to strip my suit and I WILL ALWAYS WEAR A WETSUIT!!!!!