Yes, I’m still alive and well. Actually I’m doing really well. However, my blogging hasn’t been doing so well. I’ll fill you all in soon on my training, big plans, and changes but let’s just get this race report up and go from there.
Heading into this race, all I wanted to do was best last years time. I remembered I didn’t have the best swim, couldn’t remember much about the bike, and my foot/leg fell completely asleep on the run and I was forced to walk the last mile. Sadly, I messed up my garmin during this race last year so I only had the run data stored. But whatever, I knew my finishing time and knew my goal was to beat it.
Training has been going well (more about that later) and I was feeling pretty strong headed into this race. Then…I got food poisoning the Monday before Race weekend. That put me down, in bed, zero strength for 2 days. I spent the rest of the week trying to rehydrate and fuel my body back to healthy. I wasn’t going to let that alter my goals for this race. I trusted my training and my body.
Race morning, I was calm and ready. I set up my transition in the middle of a long rack without any stress of not being near the end. I wasn’t there to break any records or kill myself trying. I chatted amongst friends and teammates as the start of the race crept near. With about 10 minutes until the first swim wave was set to take off, I made my way down to the water.
I was in the second swim wave and we were set up to start 6 minutes apart. As the first wave took off, I got in the water and swam the 50 or so yards to the start buoys. The water wasn’t cold and I felt confident in my sleeveless wetsuit. I placed myself in the middle of the pack and to the left side. Men and women 30-39 were all in the same wave, so there was no way I was starting near the front and risking getting kicked or pulled or swam over.
As the start horn sounded, I paused to let the swimmers in front of me take off. It took a few seconds for the mass to settle in and actually start swimming. I didn’t panic and just let it be. Once it was clear, I settled into my stroke and focused on calm breathing. I didn’t feel the usual panic or anxiety that I was so use to with racing. Around the first buoy and I was still passing swimmers with ease. My breathing remained calm and my stroke felt strong. This continued throughout the entire swim. By the tone I reached the last swim turn, I remember thinking, I could swim forever. I was that relaxed and confident. However, it was time to start firing up the legs and mentally preparing for the bike portion. I made the last turn and picked up the pace as I headed towards shore, touched the bottom with my finger tips, planted my feet on the ground and made my way up towards transition. I glanced at my watch and thought it looked like a pretty good swim split. Goggles off. Cap off. Wetsuit pulled down to my waist and up the boat ramp I went.
I remembered the bike course had some hills and sharp turns. I hadn’t ridden outside at all since my last race in March (more on that another time) but I wasn’t too worried about that. I have put in the time in the saddle and that is what mattered to me in that moment. The first few miles, my legs felt tight and my cadence was slower than I wanted. Sadly, I lost my hydration around mile 3 when I hit a dip in the road at an accelerated speed and it went flying. This sent me into a small panic. The bike course was only 17 miles, but I knew I would need water. By mile 5, my legs had loosened and I found my rhythm. Knowing that I had a 5 mile run to tackle afterwards, I didn’t push on the bike. I rode strong, but I was definitely in my “comfortable” zone. I hit the steepest hill on the course at mile 11ish and felt like my legs were going to fall off. Maybe I did need to ride outside some before races. Too late now. I struggled up the hill and then made the final push towards transition. At this point, I had no idea where I was in the pack of my age group, but knew I had passed one lady and had gotten swarmed by plenty of men in all age groups.
Bike gear off and run gear on. Now time for my most dreaded part of the race…running. I knew the run wasn’t going to be flat or easy. I drank some water in transition (since I lost mine on the bike) and headed out with a gel in hand. The first mile, I settled into my 9:30ish mile pace. Because of my training, I knew this was a pace that I could hold that would challenge me, but not kill me. Around mile 2, I was passed by the first girl in my age group. I still had no clue how many were in front of me, but the run is generally where they catch me. I didn’t let this frustrate me. I remained in my own zone and kept my pace. I stopped at the aid station at mile 2, took my gel and got some water. Again, worried that I would start cramping since I didn’t have water during the ride. I took off again, looking forward to the turn around. This is when I started seeing women in my age group that were ahead of me. One. Two. Three. Four. I was currently sitting 5th in my age group at the turnaround. No podium for me, but again, that wasn’t my plan. I knew that the 9:30 pace was working. But my left foot was becoming more and more numb. Just as it had the year before. I decided to turn it up a bit and push myself a little harder. I grabbed water at the mile 2/4 aid station and made my way to the finish line.
All in all, it was a good race for me. I didn’t push the red line (which I really miss) and ran a safe race. I reached my goal and beat my previous years time by 3 minutes. My swim was one of the best swim paces I’ve ever had. My bike split was almost exactly the same as the previous year and my run was a bit faster. Definitely not as fast overall as I wanted, but improvement is improvement.
Oh and come to find out…I was 3rd in my AG out of the water, moved to 2nd off the bike and ended up 5th at the finish. Someday I won’t get beat on the run.
Having friends and family there to cheer me along is always my favorite part. Sadly I also had a close friend and teammate crash during this race so the post race celebration will have to wait until she is healthy and healed.
Second race of the season done…up next….Bass Lake as a relay June 2nd. It’s always a party!!!
Thanks for reading!