So as I said yesterday, I managed a pretty good PR this weekend. I had left plenty of room for one after my last two races, but I guess that's not the point. The first oly I did (actually my first tri ever), my timing chip fell off in the swim. Then I messed up my watch and accidentally stopped it at one point instead of hitting lap, so I never knew my official time. I guestimated it to be around 3:30 based on my friend's finishing time, but I'll never know for sure.
When I did this race in 2005, It was 90+ degrees and my training wasn't really there. My time then was 3:30:42. Like I said, plenty of room for improvement.
I came into this race thinking that with my training this year, sub 3 would be rock star quality, sub 3:15 would be good, and anything around 3:30 would mean disaster had struck.
One of the things I really like about this race is that it's so close. It's just around a 15 minute drive for us. I also like it because we're racing right along with the pros - huge names that any other time I only get to see in magazines or on TV. Plus, the race support is great, and the schwag is fun too. It's well organized from packet pick up to finish line support.
Steve and I were talking the night before the race, and it totally confirmed that I am a type B personality when it comes to training and racing. It's funny because I'm so type A in all other areas of my life. I mean, I pick apart doctors' decisions for a living for goodness' sake! But the night before the race, I still wasn't exactly sure of our wave time, I hadn't come up with an official time goal, and I decided to leave my race nutrition plan for morning. Now don't get me wrong. I haven't always been like this, and I think some of the laid back attitude has come with years of experience. I know by now that my nutrition will be fine. I have a handful of products that I use regularly, and specifically what I use depends on the distance, the weather, and what my stomach tells me it can handle. The start time of this race is rarely accurate since we're sent out every 3 seconds, so once I have everything set up, I just need to wait and see how it's all moving along. And as for time goals, it took Steve and me about 5 minutes to figure out "great, good, and terrible."
The alarm clock was set for around 4:15, but Steve was up long before that. We had everything all packed up, downed some oatmeal, and we were off! We parked in our usual spot next to the bakery (yummy smells at 5:15 AM).
Grabbing all my stuff from the car.
We walked to transition, and after it was all set up, my area looked like this:
That's a lotta crap. No wonder it took me so long, although it was a little more organized by the time the race started.
It took a little over an hour from when the pros started to when Steve started. My start was close behind.
Confession time: I told our WIBA friends, but it's time to tell the rest of the world. I took a little time off from swimming after Ironman, like a lot of time. One thing led to another, and I never got back into the water until the middle of June (there's that type B again). When I did, though, it was like I'd never left, and I think all of that marathon training made my kick stronger! So I probably had between 6 and 10 1600+ M swims under my belt by the time I hit start on my watch yesterday. Deep down, I know there's time to shave off my swim and plenty of it, but for now, I know it's not going to make as big of a difference as working on my bike and my run. An added bonus was the fact that wetsuits were legal yesterday. We made the temperature cutoff by 2 degrees. Good thing too. I needed that thing to keep warm while waiting to hop in the water. It was mid 60s at the start. Steve snapped this pic before the start, and before the wind picked up!
It looked calm at the start but got a little choppy once we were in.
I felt really comfortable in the water. My stroke felt OK, and by the time I got to the first buoy, I knew I was on pace for a good swim. The next stretch was fairly choppy, but my WIBA swim had more than prepared me for that, and before I knew it, I was making the second turn and swimming toward the beach. I was out of the water in 35:31 - over 6 minutes faster than the last time I did this race. I don't think the wetsuit accounted for all 6 minutes. My only complaint about the swim was that the swim caps were green - the exact same color as the sighting buoys. Most of the time I just had to look up and hope that the rest of the crowd was swimming in a straight line...
My time was deplorable - a full minute slower than last time, but it took a few seconds to get out of my wetsuit, into my bike shorts, socks, shoes, helmet, etc. The worst part was getting my tri top on over my sports bra. My wet body and that tight top made for quite the sight I'm sure. I nearly pulled an ab muscle trying to get that thing unrolled over the girls! I was out in 4:04.
The big difference between this race and my last one was that I was on a different bike. I left Louise at home and had Tony. I was hoping for at least an 18 MPH average, but I only muscled out 17.9. It was still a 6 minute PR though. Total time: 1:25:39/25 miles.
Tony and I on our way to a PR.
Much better here. I was in and out in 1:46.
I went out and fought through the heavy legs for the first mile. It was really starting to warm up, and I welcomed the areas of shade. When I hit my first split, I knew I needed to slow down a bit: 9:08
The second one went OK too. I was feeling good and joking around with the other runners. I was running with a lot of sprint runners at that point, too, so we were joking about the fact that they'd be done with their 5K soon and I still had another loop. I was feeling good - 9:08 again.
I saw our cheering section again at the turn into the second loop. Borsch and Steph were looking for me, and apparently Anne almost missed Steve's finish because he was he was running in at the same time I was turning to go out again. I never saw the sign for mile 3, but combined with mile 4, my time was 19:25.
I met up again with a guy named Eric from the Chicago area just before mile 4. We had joked around earlier in the race, and he told me that he finally found his running legs. He waited for me at the water stop when I dumped water on my head, and when I told him that I didn't know if I'd be able to keep up with him for the next 2 miles, he told me that I was his pacer, so we were off again. Mile 5 marker read 11:19. I didn't think I was running any slower, but I wondered if having a partner had slowed me down. When I talked to Steve later, that lap was incredibly slow for him, too, so I think the marker was off.
Mile 6 came before we knew it. I passed the legendary Frank Farrar on the way to mile 6. He was almost done with his first loop. We pushed into the finish, and I think the last 1.2 was a little short - Eric and I conquered it in 10:06.
My new friend Eric and I pushing it in.
Total finish time: 3:06:06 - over 24 minutes off my last oly time.
Steve found me right after the finish. The volunteers gave me a wonderful towel soaked in ice water. I sure needed it by then. The sun was in full force, and it was heating up fast! We found Steph, Anne, and Borsch, who had been great sherpas all day. I was feeling a little sick to my stomach, but it passed quickly after Steve and I sat down for a couple of seconds.
Taking it easy for a few second after the finish.
Transitions: We'll work on that.
Room for improvement? Sure. I don't think breaking 3 is out of the question...
Got to see some other great bloggers - Tac at bike dismount (Steve had to tell me later, I was trying to avoid the sprinters on the cruisers), MissAllyCat at the T2 water stop, and Jumper in the cheer section. Thanks for coming out folks!
Steelhead is in 3 weeks!