My life parallels my racing. I don't always run ahead or behind. It seems it's always a mixture of both, sometimes I am ahead, sometimes I am behind.
This race report is only about a month behind.
Saturday night (that is a month ago :) I was way ahead regarding arrival to the race, but this morning (again a month ago) for the triathlon I started behind and that is where I stayed.
I arrived with a little over an hour to set-up and complete my day of registration malarcky. I always, always rack my bike as soon as possible to get the most optimal spot I can find. I worry about packet pick-up and body marking later. Today was no different, but after switching out my wheels and airing the tires and racking my bike, and getting in line to pay my $25 it was already 7:30am!! I only had thrity minutes to the first wave.
I was feeling exhausted from racing the night before and racking up the training hours that week. I had not planned on doing this race until about 10:00pm the night before, but I really enjoy this course and it was KP's birthday, so I had to see him crush the field (me included). The coffee was not working and I haphazardly dropped the remainder of my gear in transition.
I only ran for about 8:00 minutes before I hit the bathroom only to discover on top of everything else (let's call it the other red menace) had struck again. It was like the 4th race this season...really, can I get a break? I have come to realize if there is a race, you know what time it is....grrrrr!!! No wonder I was feeling rundown :(
Donned my wetsuit and prepped for my first 2009 swim in Lake Erie. I was not excited. One of the Mentor CC parents was nearby and I asked which of the two men's waves was going off. Somehow there was a miscommunication and I was under the impression that they had added a 3rd wave and this was numero uno. I waded into the water and strarted swimming as I watched the second men's wave go off. I was doing some easy pulling hoping to loosen up my back and when the third wave went off. I heard a girl say something like "man there are a lot of women in that wave!" WHAT?!?!? My head snapped up and I asked what she was talking about. She replied that the 34 and under women's field that had just gone off was really large this year. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was my wave. What had I been thinking? Where was my head? I thought about waiting for the next wave, but that is a DQ in a USAT race and they might not fix my time an extra 5 minutes. I better just start swimming now and take the time delay.
My hope had been to go out easy and swim comfortably as I had not swam since the Milton Man triathlon, or biked for that matter. Obviously, that plan was now shot to hell. The swim started into the sun so I couldn't see too far in front of me and when you come from the back of the pack, holy man there are body parts everywhere! Every line I took, I encountered feet or arms it seemed. I was squeezing between other swimmers and literally rubbing elbows. If there was ever a day I was to have my goggles knocked off or get a foot to the face, it would be today. My lats were burning within the first few minutes and fatigue was already setting in. The water is shallow enough to stand up and run, but my pride kept my feet up and my face down. I was tired, but I didn't feel panicked by all the surrounding swimmers, so that was a plus. The transition area had been moved farther away from the water this year, so the run was longer and they don't use chips so I am not certain of my actual swim time. Nor did they take transition times. They are added into my swim, bike and run times, which ones on which event...I don't know.
Transition 1 was crazy. It was like some little maze. When I entered my bike was right in front of me, but the exit was at the back and then you had to do a u-turn and run it back, then turn to the left, then to the right and follow the streamers out to the road, where you could then finally mount. I came out of transition with 3 guys and jumped on my bike like it was a horse. I had a bit of difficulty getting into my pedals (I think I had some sand in them from the race I had never cleaned out) and I weaved to the left to buy more time before hitting the one and only hill on the bike course. I jammed my feet onto my Speedplays and heard the CLICK!! Alright, time to go.
Bike - The race officials were trying to direct people up the hill one at a time, but that was ridiculous!! When I hit a hill in a race I climb it as quick and efficiently as I can. Plus, I had no idea how many girls were up ahead of me due to the little head start I had given them, or how many were coming from behind in the next wave. My only thought was to catch as many as I could and redeem myself as best I could. I figured 20 or so were ahead of me???
This year when I got out on Fairport-Nursery road where the tailwind/headwind occurs I felt really weird. I was tired, but not dying and my stomach felt weird. I was pumping away in my cadence zone (95-105) when I hurled!! I never did that on the bike before. It just happened. It was so unexpected it came out my nose too! I was kind of stunned. I grabbed my water bottle, not so much because I was thirsty, but because, I had to rinse that nasty taste out of my mouth for God's Sake!! Oh what a morning!! After that the bike went smoothly. I was not passed by any girls on the bike, I did managed to get a few and although there were once again relayers and kayakers in the race it seemed I was somewhere in the top 10 by the time I came off the bike.
I have to add there was a girl last year that I refer to in my 2008 report that I caught at the end of the bike and as we exited T2 I lost her on the run, who this year actually killed the course. I met her earlier in the season this year and we have become friendly competitors. She was out on the run as I was finishing my bike. I yelled "Go KK!" I was excited for her, but bummed I had let myself get so far behind her. She was a swimmer at John Carrol University, so I will never be ahead of her until the bike or the run, if ever. She however, has worked on her running and is making it harder and harder to catch her :) I have yet to do it this year. I will have one more shot on my birthday.
Transition 2 was a no brainer and I before I knew it I was out and heading up the hill again.
Run - I definitely, liked biking it way better than running it. My hip flexors were rebelling every step of the way! Once I ended that crap though I hit the straight away and ran a girl down almost immediately. I also saw fellow CTC member CM running. We chatted for a minute before I went ahead to try and find the next girl up ahead (Lord knows there were enough that day!!. Somewher in the first mile I caught another girl. She was only 19! I was very impressed. I realized at that moment I was not a young newbie. I was the oldie. When did I become the dinosaur? I hate being 31, no I despise it, because hate is such a strong word I am going to save it for next month when I have to turn 32 (F*&K!!!). I was at least feeling strong on the run for once and moving well. It would have been a great run had it not been for the course not having mile markers and it being short at only 2.8ish miles. Just as we were passing the halfway point and I was having a great run, KD, who can certainly run passed me. Damn!!! I tried to go with her, but although I had picked up my pace the gap was widening ever so slightly with each passing step. I made the turn to head down the straightaway that leads you back to the park when my right shoe came untied. It wasn't too loose that I couldn't run with it untied, but it did that really annoying slapping thing that lose laces do. It was nearly intolerable, but I managed to NOT stop and tie that bad boy. AH got to me a little after that and immediately asked "how are you?" which really meant "what the hell happened and why are you back here?" I told him, I found out some bad news in the ladies room, I missed my swim wave and my shoe was untied, so I was doing good. I passed 2 more girls. I could hear people to my right cheering for a girl behind me. I wasn't sure if it was the girls I had just passed or if it was going to be another KD episode. AH told me if I was going to go I had to go now, I was going to run out of road. I poured it on and tried my best to run harder. I made the right turn and could see the finish banner. I hit some rolling grass and immediately felt my hamstrings and quads screech!! Wow!! This was kind of treturous for me. I actually thought I might fall, so I slowed, but just a tad. I did not want to twist an ankle. I crossed the finsih in 1:14:07.
I had survived. I had PR'd from last year too if you want to call it that. The swim was longer this year, both T1 and T2 were longer too and the bike course was harder as per a general consensus of many that had done it this year and last. The run was the only thing that was faster, because it was shorter. I think last year it was 3.2 miles. I guess they will never get it...hahaha. I really enjoyed myself and not having anywhere to go, but up from the late start helped me relax, knowing I was so far out of contention to be in an overall spot. KK had a monster PR and just happened to win it this year beating last year's winner, KD by about 5 minutes. Someday, it will all come together for me. Practice, practice, practice, errr train, train, train.