My plan for 2015 was to make doing a half-iron distance seem a little easier, thus eliminating the butterflies and pre-race jitters. Also to diminish recovery time to a day or two of soreness. Oh, and to be faster…duh. Well, lets look at the stats first:
Swim: 49:45/Bike 3:41/Run 2:13/Overall 6:52 5th age group. Drumroll please……YES, its a PR (but not by that much)
The race was in Macon, Ga. The plan was to drive down Friday and stay in a cheap but bug free hotel. Finally got a non-smoking room at this one, but it seems noone listens and the room stunk. NO biggie since the traffic was horrible and we didn’t get to the hotel till after 10. After getting unloaded and settled in, I finally fell asleep long enough to hear my alarm go off at 4am.
Race start time was supposed to be 7:30am, and I still had to pick up my packet. We left the hotel and stopped by a gas station to look for yogurt. None, no luck, so I grabbed a peanut butter pastry and a banana. I drank my Base Amino, and prayed that the unstructured breakfast wouldn’t harm my race.
As we pulled in, the lightning was picking up. My hope was that the weather man was right and the storms would clear up by race time. Just as I finished setting up transition, the sky opened up and down poured the rain. We were waiting under a shelter, and I could just hear my towels, and shoes, and gloves, and helmet getting soaked…..ugh.
The announcer said something about delaying the race, so I got to relax a little more, but transition was closing so I headed back in to get my wetsuit. The water temp was never definitively announced, but they said it was wetsuit legal, so I went with it!
After getting in to get the initial shock out of the way, we ended up standing around on the beach waiting for what seemed and eternity. The race didn’t actually start until 8:30am, an hour later. By then I was getting hungry and my nutrition plan was lacking for an hour later. I told myself it would be alright, and without any further ado, the ladies all ran in and began their swim. The course was an upside V and very clearly marked with big orange and yellow buoys. This was the first swim of the season that was in a calm lake, fog free, and current free. The water felt good and I started paddling away. The last session I had with Joe Peeden with 865Swimming involved cutting my stroke at my hipline and pulling up. He said that my rotation was causing my hips to go out of alignment. So my stroke reflected the training that he has been having me do on my stroke. I could see the buoys coming quickly, and I felt efficient with my stroke. Looking back, the swim was a PR officially!
As I got to the shore and came out of the water, we had to make a trek across the sandy beach to the uphill climb to transition. Since my first tri of the season was a hell of a lot bigger climb, I felt prepared for this hill charging, barefooted.
I got into T1 and knew I would have to use a wet towel to make it into wet socks only to put on wet shoes. Luckily the rain had stopped and there was a little overcast still. I opted out of the arm sleeves/coolers for the bike because they were still soaked and it was fairly chilly. I finally made it out of transition and headed out of the park. I was told that the course was a roller course and would be fun. I’m thinking that the person who said that may have been satan himself, or someone equally crazy.
GOing into this race, I had gotten a new bike. IT was an awesome Quintana Roo Lucero. LIght, frothy, fast….not ready yet. Apparently there was some mismatching of parts and the cables were rotten. Lucy, as I will call her (short for Lucero), was having to be kept at the bike shop to be fixed. So with a begrudging attitude I was riding my road bike. Jamie, my purple road bike, had gotten me through several races and has been great to me. She was doing great as we navigated through the turns. At about mile 24 I was realizing that the rollers were more than just that. There were slow ascents up slight grades, just enough to pull your pace down and hang heavy on your legs. The descents were over within seconds and the momentum was not able to be kept for very long on them. My legs were tired by the half way mark. All of the sudden a pack of cyclists come rushing past me. GREAT, I thought, Not only do I suck, but I suck SO BAD that these people just caught me all at once. That was the thought going through my head until the girl on the back of the pack asked me if I had taken a wrong turn TOO. Oh. Well no. That sort of makes me feel better.
We cut through this town called Knoxville….Georgia that is. And the roads were pretty rough. There was a long downhill there that felt like I was riding down railroad tracks. Ouch, that hurt (and still hurts today I might add).
After that my ride was miserable. I questioned many things, but mainly why the hell I needed to do ONE MORE RACE. I was hurting bad, worse than I had ever hurt on the bike. I thought that since I didn’t do my last long ride as prescribed by my coach that I might be destined to be miserable on the bike. I was very happy to see the return road and get off the bike. Between the pain in my back and the numerous hills, I was done. Forever.. No more biking, I’m a runner for crying out loud! and I was getting Hangry! Oh the humanity!
Ok, I made it back to transition. I was hurting, and I took my time to get ready. The pain in my lower back was tremendous and making me miserable. I turned and looked at Mark, who was diligently cheering me on, and told him I was done with the stupid bike. I don’t suppose he heard me because he kept on cheering.
I finally ran out of T2 only to be screamed at by a ref that I had forgotten my bib. Crap. I had to run back into transition and grab it. ugh, this might be a long run.
So finally on my way. Oh it felt great to run. My plan was to take it easy. I imagined that my posture and form was identical to Marks when he was running his ironman. Like a deer frolicking across the grass (record scratch sound here) or maybe an elephant galloping through the fields…whatever, it worked for me. The first mile I passed about 10 walkers….10 kills just handed to me (for my Ragnarians)! The course was a Y, with one leg being a Y within a Y. The first leg of 6 miles was a steady up hill and slight down hill stuck on repeat. There was the first 3 miles seemingly flat though, which helped on the return. The weather had dried up and the sun was beaming down more and more as the run wore on. I had my base in my hand, and had stayed pretty hydrated on the bike. I knew I was after having to make a pitstop at mile 3!
The pain had subsided, but not completely disappeared. IT would stay loose for a minute then start tightening back up until I had to stop and fold forward to release. I spent alot of time stretching that lower back. The volunteers were great, and there were ice towels and ice at each water stop. I kept following an older black woman with crazy curly hair. She was skipping through some of the water stops, but I was steadily gaining on her.
After the second turn on the second Y leg, I was within a few yards of catching her, and then I had to stop and do a stretch. Damn back! I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I was almost done. I pushed to keep going. Kept thinking about what people call the pain cave. I wasn’t sure about it, but I was pretty sure I was there. And then finally I caught the curly headed woman in front of me, and then passed her, wayyy passed her. She had ran out of steam and fell way back. I felt fast, and I really wanted to hear from my coach, John Hanna (E3Tri) that I was still making progress. Since I am training more on the bike, my runs are getting easier. This race would have been great had it not been for the pain in my back. I coasted on in, and soon found my hubs cheering for me to bring it on in. As I turned into the finish shute, I was already picking up the pace for the finish line sprint. Across I went.
Now mind you, I had just completed a Half Iron, I have also just recently lost another 8 lbs. When the girl asked me what size shirt I wanted, I replied small. She gave me that look and said “ARE YOU SURE?” I never wanted to punch anyone that badly. LOL, I took the small, and it fits by the way, punk.
But other than her mouth, she was great, as was all the volunteers out there. The race was well put together with the exception of the organization for starting an hour late. I know what goes on behind the scenes of a major race, so I can be tougher yet understanding. I would do this race again, but would have to be mentally more ready for the hills.
So final time turns out to be a PR by 2 minutes. Not the glorious improvement that I wanted, but like I tell my own clients, it will take time. My races last year were well over 7 hours and I came close to getting DQ’d at Storm the Fort with a 1:18 swim.
I will tie the year together this week. This has been a dynamic year health and nutrition wise but now it has all come together!
#baseperformance #e3tri #ironmuna #teamtennova #rtmcknox