I ran a few miles throughout the week to keep my legs loose and spent race day morning bass fishing with my dad to relax. The 5:30am wake-up call and half the day in the sun may have been a little more than I could handle when I passed out at 3p at my parents. My dad woke me up a little after 4:30p saying "don't you have a race tonight?" I nodded still half asleep, slowly dragging myself out of the recliner.
I stopped to grab a coke on the way to the race in hopes it would pep me up. It was muggy and hot and I was not feeling it, at all. I arrived and dawdled, taking my time getting my packet and setting up, trying to decide if I wanted to drop to the super-sprint or just hang with Shooter and Animal and drink beer. Daisy was not having any of it. She told me to rack my gear and get ready. Damn!!! I had no urge to warm-up and my jogging included 2 trips to the bathroom before donning my wetsuit. It was a 500Y/400m (something like that) clockwise swim. I breathe on my right so I had that going for me, but I hadn't swam since January and knew I was going to blow-up in the water at some point.
Only (2) of my teammates had made it out (Daisy and SG), but BAFF only had (3) girls competing too, so it looked like we'd still have a shot at the team competition. I lined up in the 2nd row. I didn't care to have a good start position, heck I didn't even want to start. The swim always looks so much farther in open water than in a pool too and this one looked like a good 15 minutes for me.
|Photo courtesy of Elisa Budoff|
The horn sounded and off I went. The ground was mushy and slimy and disgusting. I dove in. I couldn't take the nastiness between my toes and I made my way to the firs buoy. I arrived at the first buoy a lot faster than what I would have thought and that seemed odd because I was not in any type of swim shape. Just a few strokes after that it happened -- I blew up, ugh. My arms and lungs were on fire. I was hyperventilating trying to get air and it felt like someone was trying to drill a hole between my shoulder blades. I could feel my hips sinking and my stroke length shortening. Since learning to mountain bike, I have been focusing on not fighting the bike and relaxing, letting it all just flow. I stopped fighting with water and taking long strokes again and focusing on keeping my core tight. I could feel myself gliding through the water much better. I never completely relaxed because my back and my arms continued to ache and burn. I was exhausted but I wasn't cramping and I knew I could swim like this long enough to get through the swim. The sun was so bad on the way back I couldn't see the last buoy until I was almost on top of it (I was extremely happy to be swimming in a straight line). I had some body contact on and off with 2 girls from that point in, nothing too bad and I just made sure to 1) hold my line 2) avoid getting kicked in the face at all costs. To my surprise, I exited the water with Daisy! I heard Animal yelling and cheering for us and I had to smile and laugh at his ridiculous screaming. We made a mad dash to the kiddie pool and joked about pushing each other down all the way to transition. Ahhh, just like old times, I thought. We had swam together in a full once and it amazes me how we're like magnets in the water now.
I immediately sat down in T1. I was done. Daisy's husband, Shooter started screaming at me to get up and this was a triathlon and what the hell was I doing (take note this is one of my teammates yelling and heckling me, hahahahaha!!!!). I yelled back "I'm old! Leave me alone!!!!" to which he proceeded to heckle me even harder. I ripped off my wetsuit threw on my bike gear and ran out of T1. The worst part was over. I had survived. Now, I just had to make up ground on the people ahead of me.
The bike course was 12-13 miles (2 loops) that was mostly flat with a few small rollers. There were no big climbs and all right turns. I messed up my Garmin so I don't have the first 2ish miles, but the course was pretty fast, from the splits I did get. I had a hard time recovering from the swim and didn't start to come around on the bike until 4 miles in. I felt like I felt like I was going about 17 mph, my left quad was tight and my seat felt nose up and was smashing my crotch. Arggghhhh, this was suppose to be the part of the race I enjoyed the most. I started laughing in between sucking air and thinking about all the stuff not right with my race and then I did something I never do. Instead of telling myself to "stop being a pansy and push harder." I told myself to "relax, focus on your breathing, stop fighting the bike and let it flow." I don't know if it helped my speed but I felt better on the bike and the miles started clipping off. My Garmin takes 5 mile splits on the bike (split 1- 14:10, split 2- 13:40). I caught 1 BAFF team member and knew my other 2 teammates were ahead of me so I was hoping that had moved us into the lead for the team competition. I pulled into the park and pulled my feet out of my shoes too early having to soft pedal longer than I should have (Come on Heier, Get it together!!!" I thought).
I jumped off my bike and thought I sent a shoe flying but luckily it just scraped the ground and stayed attached to the pedals as I ran for my bike rack. I was surprised to see people had racked in my spot so I threw my bike on the rack as close to my stuff as possible, pulled on my racing flats and headed out. This transition was much better than T1, no sitting needed.
My breathing was labored but my legs actually felt ok. I'm still running less than 10/mpw and having pain in that left foot, but it's way better and I know in general I look more like a runner and less like Chunk doing the ole' truffle shuffle. Animal and EB were all cheering for me as I ran by. I waved and smiled. It was almost over. I could see SG just ahead about a 1/4 mile and she was coming back to me faster than I had hoped. I felt like I was running 8:30-8:45/mile, but I can never tell. I started passing people one by one on the run. I caught SG about a 1/2 mile later. She looked like she was hurting and I told her we were doing great in the team competition and we just had to survive this run. She's a tough triathlete and I thought she might start pacing off me, but a cramp was really bugging her. The run was entirely within the campsite and there were lots of little kids cheering and thankfully as I made a wrong turn they redirected me back onto course. I was so stoked towards the end of the loop to see (2) little kids with a hose and these awesome water guns screaming "You want to get shot?" I was elated and yelled "Fire away!!!" They blasted me with water and it felt amazing. I yelled "Thank you!!!" and just past them ST's wife was running a FREE beer stand. I was so tempted to just stop and have a nice summer ale, but I continued on.
|Photo Courtesy of Chris Martino|
As I came through to start my second loop Shooter and Animal were holding out beer for me and I stopped and grabbed Animal's. It was soooooo delicious. I handed it back to him, ready to give him a big hug, but then I remembered I was racing and all he got was a wave as I started running again. About half way through my last lap, I saw KZ and she was coming hard. Oh crap!! I knew she was a better runner than me and I still had about 0.8 miles left to the finish. My Garmin had logged splits of 7:35 and 7:38 so I knew I was running steady. I decided to lay some surges down. If KZ got within striking distance of me she would be nearly impossible to outsprint. I picked it up until I hit the water boys again and then slowed so I could get blasted for the second time - it was so glorious. I started to pick it back up until I got to the trail portion of the race and before I entered the woods looked back one more time. No one was there. I took it easy through the woods and as I exited started to hammer for the finish, not realizing how close it was (I probably should have run hard through the woods on the trail it was so close to the end). I crossed the line in 1:12:27. My goal had been sub-1:10. I came away with 3rd female overall, losing to DT (who is an extremely well rounded triathlete) and my insanely awesome teammate, none other than Daisy. You would think after all these years, she would be tired of hurting me, but no apparently it never gets old for her.
|Team Bicycle Hub photo courtesy of Elisa Budoff|
|Top 3 women photo courtesy of Elisa Budoff|
Overall the race was rough for me. I just don't like suffering and pushing myself like I used to. It doesn't help my case preparing so poorly as I did either, but I love being part of Team Bicycle Hub and sharing this nonsense with them.