Swim .5 mile, Bike 13 miles, Run 4 Miles (that's what they claim but it was more like 4.25 as you passed the 4 mile mark long before the finish line)
This year's stats:
Age group 25-29
5/27 in age group
RUN-31:29 7:47 min/mile
Hmm that's eerily familiar...
Last Year's stats:
Age group 20-24
6/15 in age group
BIKE- 43:24 18.0mph
Wow well at least I am not getting worse!
I am pretty happy with the race considering that I went into it tired and I had some wild things happen on the swim and bike that definitely added some time. I am disappointed but shouldn't be surprised that the run was a little slower. I really have been emphasizing the long bike rides lately and the running has been minimal. I guess I should just be glad I can still hold that pace on minimal focus!
The long story:
My sister and cousin had to bail on the race so I was in it solo. Vickie also was at the race but unfortunately our paths did not end up crossing. My cousin and my parents did come to root me on! Once again I cannot say how blessed I am to have such great support from my family.
Drove up to Michigan Saturday after a 35 minute swim in Lake Erie and a 26 mile bike, during which I got my first ever flat. I fixed it in a jiffy and other than not threading the C02 cartridge correctly I did pretty well. Luckily the CTC guys that were with me were kind enough to wait and help me to rethread the C02 correctly and get some air in my new tube! I hit a huge road snake and my tire fit quite nicely in it, must have been a rock or something that punctured the tire and gave me the flat. It wasn't anything like I expected, the tire didn't blow up and I didn't crash. I just heard the swish swish of the air coming out of the tire and pulled to the side of the road, safely unclipping.
The drive up to Michigan wasn't too bad, I managed to get ahold of Curly Su on the phone (using my ear bud) and heard all about Ironman Nice. And the drive took 3 hours instead of the 4 I was expecting. I went straight to the race site to pick up my packet so I wouldn't have to wait in line the next morning. Got my packet in a jiffy, sans chip, which had me pondering, turns out they were not giving those out early, and headed to my parents.
At that point I was under the impression my sister was still doing the race so I changed out the knobby tires on the hybrid to some slick ones for her and watched a movie with my parents before heading to bed.
Woke up Sunday at 5:10 AM. Did not get much sleep at all. When I stay somewhere other than home before a race I don't sleep well, I worry all night that I won't hear the alarm and won't get to the race on time. So at 5:10 I was up and at em. Woke up my cousin (AKA my race support) and ate a bagel and got ready to head out. My sis called saying she had been up sick all night and wanted my advice on whether or not to race. I didn't want to give that advice because I know if it was me I would race, solely because I had paid, even if all I could finish was the swim. So I had my dad talk to her as AL and I headed to the race.
It was already warm out when we left at 6 AM, about 70 degrees. By the time the race started the water was 80 and the air temps had to be pushing 80 too. It wasn't unbearable, but I can't imagine what it would have gotten like if the race had been longer. I sincerely hope it isn't that hot for Steelhead.
Got my stuff into transition and got in line for body marking and my chip. My cousin was having race envy, I tried to keep his mind off of it, I am sure he will get to race soon. The one thing about triathlon that really sucks is the funding!
After getting everything set up and applying sunscreen we got in the incredibly long porta potty line. Holy Cow! They had to delay the race start 10 minutes because people were still in line! Other than that I thought it was a very well run race, well okay I was also disappointed they didn't have the popsicles at the finish line like they did last year.
After defueling, so to speak, I headed over to the lake and found my parents. For some reason I was one of like 20 people with white swim caps while everyone else had yellow. It seemed really odd, but I wasn't too worried about it. I jumped in the water to warm up a little bit. The chip ankle holder thing felt loose so I tightened it in the water and it felt fine coming out. I thought to myself, good thing you checked that before diving in for the real thing, hah.
There were about 700 racers including the du and relay teams, which is really odd for me, any sprints in Ohio I have been to do not have that many people. I think there are cash awards at this race though, in addition to SWAG type awards three deep in each age group, on top of a free pair of Brooks running shoes for the fastest male and female in each individual sport. All I know is that not only were there a lot of people, there were a lot of good people. This is the only race I have been in where so many of the swimmers are around me the whole way. Even in Chicago where there are 100-150 in a wave, the initial group you start with thins out.
The race director hollered for everyone to listen up as they gave a brief pre race meeting. Then they asked for a moment of silence for a close friend that had passed from cancer. I thought about all those I know that have been affected by this ugly disease and tried not to cry.
And then it was time to race. They called for the first wave and all the girls 10-34 waited behind for that wave to start. After the siren we all went through the chute single file as they counted us off. I got to the front and right side figuring I would head towards the buoy on the left later once the crowd had thinned out. The siren went off and I dove into the water. Right away I felt great. My stroke felt strong and I was completely at peace with the water. I was surprised at the large number of girls swimming right along with me. I just tried to keep my line of sight and stay away from everyone else. Other than a little gasoline from the boats the swim out was lovely. And that's when it hit. A breaststroke kick to the face. I saw it coming and didn't do anything about it. My goggles got knocked out of place and I readjusted and then headed into the sun. I couldn't see much but occasionally got a vision of the buoy and the men from wave 1 that had fallen behind. My ankle bracelet felt like it was dragging and I was worried the chip would fall off. I rounded the next buoy and headed towards shore.
About halfway to shore swimming was no longer just a feat of getting through the water. It was a feat of digging through the seaweed. It was absolutely nuts. But I surprisingly still felt good and it didn't seem to affect my stroke. I was more worried about the seaweed dragging the chip away than anything else. The water got shallow early towards shore but I tried to stay swimming as long as possible, way longer than those I saw jogging through the water. I guess I must have short arms. I finally had to stand upright and I checked my chip as I heard my parents yelling for me. I ran out of the water thinking my swim had to have been much better than last year, and was a bit disappointed as I realized it was exactly the same.
I hustled in to T1 and was out of there in a jiffy. I hadn't practiced getting in and out of my shoes on the bike, but remembered what a breeze it was in Chicago and thought it wouldn't be a big deal. Hmm yeah, those were different shoes in Chicago! I had trouble right off the bat as I couldn't get my feet onto the shoes to ride away, I almost took out a spectator as I heard my cousin yelling for me to get going. I regretted the decision to put the shoes on the bike right then and there. I got my first shoe on and strapped in at about mile 1, then started the trouble with my left foot. While attempting to get the foot in, the strap came completely out of the buckle. I continued to ride that way for about 5 miles with the buckle and strap flapping about until I finally pulled off to the side and put the damn shoe on.
From there I had a pretty good ride. I got passed by a bunch of speedsters with their fancy aerodynamic wheels, but I didn't get passed by any mountain bikes or hybrids, so I was okay with it. Even with the shoe debacle I averaged the same pace as last year. The course was extremely well marked and just enough hills to make it interesting but not tire out the legs.
I got into T2 and realized I hadn't bothered to count off racks from the bike in (guess that should be lesson #9, I should know better though, that's what I get for no pre race walk through because I knew it was just a sprint), crap, so I watched closely for the guys bike next to me and my towel, and luckily found it with no problem. For some reason someone had decided that my transition area was the perfect place for their bag. I have no clue why they did that, there wasn't even a bike next to me on the one side so they could have put it there. Bizarre!
Threw on my socks and shoes and headed out onto the run. I got passed by two girls on the run. One right off the bat, and one right at the finish. Neither in my age group. I was 5th coming off the bike and it stayed that way the whole run. I passed quite a few men and some women in their 30s but didn't see anyone in my age group the whole race. I tried to cheer good luck to everyone I passed.
I didn't feel like I was going very fast and I tried really hard to hold back since I have not been running much and I didn't want to push it in the heat and I didn't want to irritate the calf. I kept thinking to myself, even when you are a runner, the worst part of the tri is the run. It is the hottest part of the day, and you are already tired from the swim and bike. I can't imagine what it is like if the run is your weak sport.
I got sprayed by plenty of hoses and by the time I hit the finish I swear my shoes weighed 4 pounds. I seriously think they slowed me in the last mile, as I had calculated that I had been running about 7:20 pace the first 3 miles. I was a bit confused when I hit about 7 minutes into the 4th mile and I knew I was still a ways from the finish. Then I saw the 4 mile mark and the water stop as I continued to run into the finish. I heard my parents yelling but couldn't make out what they were saying. Apparently they were saying I was about to get taken out by the girl behind me. She went flying by, and I thought about racing but I could feel my calf protest, and I have bigger fish to fry in a few short weeks so I let her go. (The exact same thing happened to me at this race last year, at least this year she wasn't in my age group)
The post race food was good again and they had a big water arch waiting to spray you at the finish line. It felt great. We tried to cool off in the shade for a bit and checked the results on the board. I was amused because I was pretty sure my time was within a minute of last year. Faster transitions and slower run. Pretty funny.
We headed out a bit early so I could go visit with my grandparents before heading home.
I am super glad I did the race. I definitely needed the transition practice, and now I will be ready for Steelhead. Big thing at Steelhead is going to be taking it easy, it is so easy to get caught up in the race and go fast. I really need to hold myself back on the run at least until mile 10. If I bust out anything under 8 in those first ten miles things might get ugly.
Only other major issue was nutrition. I didn't eat anything. Just had gatorade endurance, but I felt like I was going to vomit most of the run. I think I need to drink more water and perhaps go for regular gatorade with the carbo pro. Either that or dilute the endurance formula, because the heat and that did not mix well at all. I need to take a look at Steelheads bike description and see what they will be handing out on the course. Maybe I should suck it up and get one of those aerobar bottles for my water. I don't think I will get in enough water and gatorade with just the two bottle cages.
Congrats to all that raced in this crazy heat this weekend, especially TriSaratops, Steve, Vickie, Lana, and Michele. Big thanks to my mom and dad and cousin for coming out and supporting me!