Monday, June 27, 2011

Crossfit Triathlon

I had never done this race before and I was very hesitant to sign up for it this year having only swam one time about a month or 2 ago in a swimming pool with e-speed, but I thought it's only 400 yards, how bad could it be, right?  It was also A-Train's 41st birthday and some of his training buddies would be there and even my parents were going to come down to watch.  It was a done deal, I had to race (or try). 

We arrived in plenty of time and I actually got to rack on the end for once.  I hoped it was a good sign.  I realized I had not packed a gel while I was setting up, but wasn't too worried.  It was only a sprint.  I rummaged around in my packet and to my delight found a complimentary one!  I successfully taped it to my top tube on my bike and thought - SCORE!  Then my first bad sign of the morning occurred.  A girl was asking me about where to rack her bike (the racks were clearly marked) and as I looked up to answer her I saw it was "pink shirt" from this race. Oh crap!!  Not her again.  She started to put her gear by me on the rack and I told her she could go to any of the four around me and there was even an end spot open on a different one.  Lucky for me that idea appealed to her way more than racking by me and she headed over there - whew!

The women 34 and under were to go off at 7:06am in the first wave.  Usually, the women all go off in one wave (and last for that matter), but surprisingly this race drew quite a decent size of women participants and we had two waves with mine going first!  This I knew was going to be weird.  There were 6 minutes between waves and although BH had once told me how he had swam over a ton of slow old ladies and "clobbered them," I wasn't worried.

I lined up more on the outside and toward the front for the swim, not wanting to get trapped between the lane line and swimmers, course being near the outside would have it's own challenges I would find out.  It felt so weird standing in the water about to race.  It seemed like another lifetime ago when I had raced a triathlon.  I was nervous and praying by some miracle of God I would make it out of the water and be able to put in at least an average performance.  The horn sounded and arms were a flying!!  There was more body contact than I am used to on the way out, my arms hitting others and vice a versa, a couple women swimming on my ankles and legs.  I felt my heart rate going up and up and before long I was gasping for air.  Swimming on the outside allowed me to see the lane line and sight easily, but it put a lot of girls between me and the ropes and more times then not I had to hold my line and take an arm to the body to keep them from pushing me wide of my line.  My arms and back were on fire even before I made it to the turn around.  I had a little trouble getting under the lane line and practically clothes lined myself trying to dive under it at the same instance some girl grabbed it and lifted it up.  I was completely anaerobic, just trying to hang onto the pace and relax.  I found some feet and hung on them for part of the way back.  I had a much clearer path, but then there was another lane line and I was a little confused as to where to exit.  This time however, I successfully cleared it without mishap. 

(My dad got a good laugh out of the stupid look on my face)

I hit the beach and felt how much the swim had taken out of me.  My arms felt like dead weight and as I ran for transitioin, I reminded myself "this is fun and it's only going to hurt more - weeeeeee!!!"  I had put my chip on outside my wetsuit and I struggled to get it off (rookie mistake #1).  I ended up sitting down and wrestling with my right leg for what seemed like two minutes.  Finally, with one quick burst of strength and my dead arms I got the thing off.  I pulled on my bike helmet and realized my hari bun was too high on my head and my helmet was choking me a little (rookie mistake #2)  I tried my best to re-adjust it, but I had to go.  I had already wasted too much time trying to get my wetsuit off (tick-tock, tick-tock).

I sprinted for the transition exit and noticed my legs felt okay (surprisingly).  I figured there were about 15 girls ahead of me.  We climbed up out of the park and I was immediately able to pass 4-5 of them in the first 400 meters. 

The bike course was 2 loops of rollers with right turns.  The climb up route 91 at the end of each loop was the most challenging part of the course.  I noticed a weird sensation on my back end when braking and  noticed when I was in my easiest gear I was working really hard.  My legs felt the same as always, but I didn't seem to have any power.  I assumed the swim had just killed my body from top to bottom.  I decided to ignore my computer and just go with it.  What other choice did I have?  (Later, KP and A-Train were working on my bike and noticed my brake was rubbing (every time I don't check it before the race, it seems to happen!!  DARN IT!!! rookie mistake #3).  I got another 4 or so girls on the first loop and after that couldn't tell anymore with other waves merging.  I rode alone for most of the race.  No girls passed me on the bike, but as I re-entered the park one girl had caught up to me.  I started ripping my feet out of my shoes and soft pedaling on the downhill a few hundred meters from transition.  I jumped off my bike and after not doing it for nearly 2 years managed to successfully complete a flying dismount - WOOT!!  I was on the ground and running when my pedal flipped and my shoe dragged and went flying as I was running.  "Shit!!" I said.  I went back for it, even though I wouldn't have gotten a penalty for abandonment of gear as this was not USAT race.  A volunteer tossed it to me and I ran back and grabbed my bike where I had leaned it against the transition tent, but the nose of my seat go stuck on the tent pole and I wrestled with it trying to get the bike lose without taking out the entire tent.  Arrrgggghhhhh!!!!  Come On!!!!  It was only a matter of seconds, but in triathlon, it always feels like forever. 

I finally racked my bike changed my shoes and blew out of T2 (Some people's forte is the bike or the swim or even the run, mine is unfortunately transition, even when it's bad, it is usually faster than most.  Too bad it doesn't buy me a lot of time back).

I saw my mom and the Bails and I waved and yelled "Hi Buddy!!"  That was a mistake, apparently he became super excited to see me and wanted to run too.  He spent the latter part of the race trying to drag my mother on to the course for her own unsanctioned 5k.  I grabbed some water and gatorade at the turnaround table and headed out for my first loop.  I saw my dad taking pics and cheering for me right after that.  I was breathing really hard and blubbering and wheezing from the get-go, but my legs felt way better than normal.  The run was thankfully shaded most of the way and flat too boot.  I was alone and it was dead quiet.  At about 0.5 miles in there is a little turn around area near the main gates and I saw a girl less than a minute behind me.  Yikes!!!  Her stride looked fresh and strong.  I was holding steady, but knew if my breathing got worse or my legs got tired I was D-O-N-E.  I yelled at her "Good job!!  You look great!!!"  She yelled "Thanks, you too!!" 

Around one mile we hit the only climb on the course and I saw A-train coming into the park off the bike.  I knew he had put up some insane bike time as soon as I saw him.  I worked my way up the hill.  I had no idea how many girls were in front of me.  I saw nobody.  BM passed me as he entered on his bike and yelled some encouragement.  He too had had a good bike.  As I was working the downhill, a young man blew by me like I was standing still.  Without thinking I just said "Holy Shit!"  as he passed me.  The kid never slowed and later I would come to learn it was DJ, a former Perry HS cross country runner.  We had taken him with us to Footlocker Nationals a few years ago in Wisconsin, now I experienced first hand why!!! 

As I started the second loop I was still holding off that girl, but not wanting to look back I forced myself to run hard every few cones, trying to gap her and let her think it was impossible to catch me.  At the turn-around she was still about the same distance away.  My dad had yelled at me that A-Train was only about a quarter mile ahead and I could catch him (haha, funny!!).  I had a little less than a mile to go to hold her off, but then out of the blue a female KG also a recent graduate HS cross country runner, went by me.  I was in shock.  She would go on to finish in 18:00 with one of the top 5 runs out of the women and men!!  At the hill I finally started to tire and it took a lot more energy to climb it the second time.  Over the top and heading for home I tried to open up my stride until I hit the grass and then I just cruised on in, prepared to kill myself if someone tried to sprint me down at the line (thankfully, that didn't happen).  I crossed the line in 1:10:xx.  Again, opted not to do splits and just go with it, just glad it was over and I had survived.

(I was waving my arms saying "Thank God that's over!")

It wasn't even close to my best performance ever, but I had put out a lot of effort (all that I had as a matter of fact), just to finish where I had.  The stupid mistakes definitely needed fixing, but because it was A-Train's birthday and my parents had come down (my mom had never seen me race a triathlon before), not to mention it was a beautiful day, how could I not be on cloud 9 about the day!! 
--------- Edit-----------------------
Splits for the Race
Swim 400 meters: 7:07.7
T1: 1:34.1
Bike 12 miles: 37:16.8
T2: 0:39.5
Run: 23:32.7
Total: 1:10:10.9 (6:09.4 back from the leader and most of my time was lost to her on the bike)


E-Speed said...

That mid race photo is funny :) Sounds like you did great for your first one back! working out the kinks, you'll smoke those transitions next time!

Janet Edwards said...

Must not have been too bad. Not even a swear word in the report! Way to get back to it!

What is up with these rookie mistakes? You no longer qualify as one imo!