Race week/Pre race
There is a double-edged sword to a hometown race. Of course, nothing beats sleeping in your own bed and not having to pack a bike box. However, for me, this also meant "business as usual" and I was working hard all the way through Friday, the day before the race. I scurried out of work mid-day to hit a quick spin on my bike and go to the pro meeting. Things were moving WAY to fast and I had a minor freakout when during this spin, the gears went click click click- not the smooth whoosh whoosh of the Zipp race wheels you want to hear. CRAP. I ran to Nytro with zero time to spare, and the guys quickly replaced my bed derailleur hanger (yeah, I don't know what that is either) and sent me on my way with a perfectly working bike.
For dinner, we went to Rimel's and I got a huge brown rice/veggie/Sea Bass bowl that was absolutely perfect. Our dear friends Jordan & Rich were in town from San Francsico and it was an oddly relaxing dinner. Though 3 of us were racing, there was little conversation about the race and it was just a chill night.
Race morning, we woke at 3:45. OUCH. James was a huge champ all weekend long and packed the car while Rich, Jordan, and I got our breakfast and all race ready. I had picked up one of my favorite gluten free/vegan blueberry muffins from Jimbos and threw it in the toaster....a little too long...Oops. Plan B ended up being peanut butter toast & a banana which went just fine.
At the race site, I was one of the first pros there around 5:15 a.m....Since we went off at 6:40 I was kind of surprised. The air was misty and chilly, but I thought for certain it would clear up. I spent a little time with Heather (who ended up pulling off a fabulous 2nd place finish) and went on my pre-race jog alone to the "secret" bathroom exactly one mile away. Back in T1, I threw on my Zoot Prophet and ran down to the start, beginning to get very nervous. However, there was really no time to think as before I knew it, we were piling in for the 6:43 start, 3 minutes after the pro men.
|Rubbing Heather's back hoping some speed will rub off...|
|Me & Krisitin - Thanks Kev of Tri Lounge for the photo|
The women's professional start was a bit more tactical than typical age group racing I have done, I could tell in the last minute before the gun that girls were trying to position themselves near the strongest swimmers and mark each other. The gun went off and I went head in and hard to try not to lose the feet. 100 meters later I was surprised I was still with "the pack". I think 2 or 3 (or 6 for all I know) girls went off the front, but then there was this massive pack of about 10 of us. I hung on pretty well until we made it to the halfway point. The swim course goes out and back and the turnaround is a few hundred yards in the open sea (vs. the protected harbor for the rest of the swim). The swell out there was huge and myself and two other girls got a few feet behind the pack. I think I was on the "wrong" feet going into the turn, the girl ahead of me got gapped, and then I couldn't close the gap and go around. Lesson learned that floating near the back of the pack is not always the best idea. As I plowed through the big swell and waves out there, cardiovascularly, I was fine. However, strength wise, I just felt like I was on a treadmill for those few precious minutes when the swell was really big. When I hit the final turn buoy to head back in to shoes, and I was about 10 feet off the back and now I was with Linsey Corbin. We swam together for nearly the remainder of the swim, just out of reach of "the pack" and then with about 500 to go, she put a few seconds on me. I came out of the water, did the math with the timing clock, and realized I was in the 28-minute range. HUGE improvement on a tough day for that swim. I guess swimming masters 6 days/week since October is actually working. phew.
T1 was the real s%$tshow. I made it to my bike and then had some massive decision paralysis of whether or not to put on arm warmers & my vest. I put the vest on. Then I put on one arm warmer. Then I took it off. Then I remembered I needed to pack my wetsuit and other T1 junk to be transported to T2 in a plastic bag. I struggled to get my stuff in the bag. Then, I put on my sunglasses (although it was dark & rainy) and they were too foggy so I took them off. Unfortunately, the nose piece also fell off, so then I spent WAY too long trying to fix it. Needless to say, my T1 was ridiculous and several girls who had swum 1+ minute slower were out of there before me. Massive fail! Note to self: Spending hundreds of hours in the pool for 90 seconds gain is of no use if you lose it all in T1. ugh. moving on...
Bike- 56 miles- 2:41:07- (20.85mps) moved from 13th to 14th
Hmmm....how to approach this in a positive manner....Not too easy! I can honestly say this may have been the most sorry 56 miles I've ever ridden. It was cold, wet, rainy, and did I mention cold? At mile 2, my rear bottle flew off. *Someone* (me) changed out the bottle cage the day before the race and didn't tighten the bolts enough. But no worries, I still had my front bottle...Until mile 2.5...another bump and my 2nd bottle flew over the front, almost taking me down en route. CRAP. I had changed out the bottle cages Andrew gave me for a couple I thought looked cooler, but apparently looking cool is NOT what you want in a horizontal facing bottle contraption. Totally my bad and SO dumb, but regardless, I was without any fluids (and calories) until the first aid station. By then, I think I was already in the red on drinking & calories and never feel like I really recovered from it on the bike. My heart rate was really low, I was freezing my arse off, and I just felt, honestly, miserable. I didn't feel like I was going super hard (because I wasn't d'uh) and I just had an off ride. Lesley passed me around mile 10 and I hung behind her (legally) for several miles until she rode away after an aid station as I was playing calorie triage and fumbling around. Other than that, I basically saw no one. 2 other pro women passed me easily, and at some point I passed 2 other pro women. I came off the bike in 14th place with frozen blocks on my feet, but never in my life so excited to get off that darn bike and run. If anything to warm up! On a good note for the bike, my position felt great, the Slice was tuned perfectly and I had no mechanical issues thanks to Nytro. It's also SO freaking comfortable, I finally feel like I'm racing my bike. Next time I'm not freezing and calorically depressed ;) I promise to do some damage on that thing and be worthy to ride it!
|Finally heading into T2- thanks StudeoDNA for the pic!|
My T2 was much more respectable than T1 and I was outta there in my Zoot Ultra Tempo 5.0s....
I love this shoe for 70.3s and think I'm sticking with it for the season. Last year I changed around a bit, but I've always had my best runs in the Tempo 5.0s.
Run- 13.1 miles- 1:20:53- (6:10/mi pace) - 14th up to 8th
Ok, and we're off...
|Check out the crowd!|
|The middle miles....Doing work|
|At the top of one hill, turn around and go right down- kind of like a maze!|
I crossed the finish at 4:35 (clock was set for pro men's start 3 min ahead) with a fist pump (no, this is not for "celebration" because you don't celebrate 8th!, but it's my little tradition). I was happy with a solid race and it felt great to finish well within the top half of a very deep pro field. I saw coach Pete and James and I was chatting a million miles a minute about my crap T1,the miserable bike ride, and the fun run. I told them I didn't believe I had just run that fast and still didn't feel demolished. Pete said, "Believe it". Looking back over my training, its pretty clear that I've been running a lot faster overall and I know it's due to my increased swim & bike fitness combined with lack of overall fatigue from grueling Ironman training. I'm able to train "fresh" on the run and it looks like it's paying off. Now, I just need to lay it down on the bike and see if my run legs will cooperate...
I know I started some thank you's in my last post but I need to say again how much the belief & support of Pete, James, HJ, Katya, Donna, Wattie and everyone else means to me. To have a group of people who believe in you often more than yourself makes it easy to strive to meet their expectations. I want to be as good as they believe I can be.
|Me & Pete - happy camper & coach- his charges were 2nd & 8th with the fastest runs of the day- Thanks to Larry Rosa for the pic!|
"Paris Hilton no longer".
*Thank you to Zoot for taking on the local girl and supplying the best gear & shoes out there. I'm swimming better than ever in the Prophet wetsuit. Cannondale- my Slice is the perfect ride decked in SRAM, & the perfect Zipp firecrest carbon clincher 808/404 pair of Race Day Wheels. Thanks to Nytro for keeping it all in working, blinging' order and Studeo DNA for my bike fit & so much more.
*Thank you to Dan Selstad, Rehab United, & MRM for helping me build my chassis, recover quickly and stay healthy-.I use so many MRM products, but I couldn't function without my Hydration Factor & Reload. Rehab United- functional strength 2x/ week, ART with Selstad every other week...the secret sauce!
*Many gracias also to ISM saddles, Betty Designs, Beaker Concepts & Bont shoes for making sure I'm comfortable, stylish & fast.