Monday, June 23, 2014

King Pine Olympic w/ 30 mile bike - Tri #6

This was the first race that my coach, Steve and my manager, Regina have not been at. It was very different to not have them there. I know what to do before my race, check in, set up TA, warm up etc... It’s the during and after I count on them. They keep track of how many athletes are in front of me and tell me how far back I am from the closest ones. After, they are there for hugs, support and help me briefly analyze the race, make sure I eat, drink and get a cool down in. 

The race was only 40 mins from home and I was one of the first to arrive. I checked in and got my number; 142. I went to TA to set up and looked for my number on the bike rack. 136, 137, 138, 150. Hmmm my number wasn’t there. I looked at my watch and knew I had to start my warm up pretty soon. I told Vince, the race director. He helped search and then went to get the registration list. I racked my bike and started putting my race numbers on my helmet and bike. I looked and I was really 241 oops. Vince came back and said there is no 142. I looked at him, held my number up, smiled and apologized for giving him a small heart attack.  I set up and went for my bike warm up: 10 mins then 2x3min hard efforts. When I returned Ed and Ro were on their bikes, I waved and went on to start my run. I felt bad I didn’t stop to say hi but I knew they understood. As I went out for my run Christine and Kim were walking to TA. I hugged them, thanked them for coming and explained I had to get my run in. Race start was getting closer and I still had to get into my wetsuit, head down to the water and warm up, so I cut my run a little short. I still got in my 2 x 2 min sprints.

Ro and Christine wanted to help with my bag and wetsuit and other things but they knew I had to do it on my own. It was very nice and they asked if it was cheating if they helped. I loved it. They eventually had to help me zip my wetsuit.  It zips down instead of up, so the neoprene has to be pulled together from my shoulders. I can usually do it myself but just couldn't get it. It took the both of them and me turning into the sun to see it. I was giggling inside. Thanks girls!!

I checked my spot one last time, visually ran through the flow of TA and walked down to the water with Ro.  I put my cap and goggles on and turned around to see Jess and Mark! Wow this is great I couldn’t believe how many people took time out of their Sunday morning to watch me race!  I warmed up and listened to pre race announcements. All the Olympic racers started together.

I put myself in the middle of the pack to get better drafting opportunities. About 5 mins of standing there waiting when Vince let us know he was waiting for all volunteers and police to be in place. He counted us down. I swam hard but cautious. So many feet and arms all doing the same. The pack broke up and I tried to find someone to draft off while keeping my pace and sighting. It's so hard to do. During the 1 mile swim I found about three different people I could draft off. I know it helped me a lot. I made the first turn, it seemed so far from the start and far from the finish. I got stuck on the right side of a swimmer going my pace which pushed me out of line quite a bit. I eventually crossed behind him and got a better path. He caught up to me again and towards the end I ended up directly behind him, perfect!! I swam as far in as possible and got out. I passed him on the run up to TA and looked at my watch 27:35 – 2 mins faster than my previous race. I was so happy!! 

As I ran into TA we had to go all the way around the back and then across the front to our bike. I was right next to racer 264 and his bike was in the front corner. He ducked under the fence and went right to his bike. I couldn’t believe it!! He cheated. I know it was confusing but to stop running and duck under a fence, that’s not right. I still ended up beating him out of TA.

I got on my bike and started the 30 mile ride. 

As I began to climb the second hill, 5 mins into the race, my chain fell off as I shifted. I tried to shift it back on but I lost speed on the hill and had to stop. I really didn’t want to get grease all over  my hands so I tried to shift it back on. No luck, as bikers passed me they asked if I was ok. That felt good. I was getting so anxious about the competition getting away from me. I had to stop, take a deep breath and relax. I knew the more frustrated I was getting the less productive I was being. I thought of a section in a book by Chrissy Wellington; 4 times Kona Ironman winner, she flatted in Kona and was down for 15 minutes and when she got it fixed she hammered and passed the lead women. I refocused and fixed it. I got back on and went to pedal and it jammed. I kept my cool knowing no one else could help me, I had to figure it out. The chain had jammed in between the rear derailleur pulley and the metal casing. It was so stuck. The only way to fix it was to pull right on the chain. I grabbed the dark black greasy chain and pulled and pulled. Nothing. I had to re grip it in a different spot and finally it popped. My hands were so black I didn’t want to touch my bike. I tried wiping them in the sandy grassy hill but it was useless. I quickly used my number taped on my bike and it worked a little. I looked at my watch and it had been 5 minutes since I had stopped. I thought OK now pull a Chrissy and pass as many racers as possible. I didn’t pay attention to who had passed me so I don’t know for sure how many I got back.

I did my best to get through the 30 miles and be smart about it.  A few more hiccups along the way and I made it back in 1:34:18. I almost got spit on by the guy who didn’t know I was off his left shoulder, as I turned on to Rt 41 I hit a huge rough spot and my right hand bounced off the handlebar- I still don’t know how I didn’t crash, and as I was taking in my gel it was so warm, some of it oozed out all over my hand. Now my hand was greasy and sticky I didn’t want to touch anything, but I had to shit (oops I mean shift) and take in water. I mistakenly left out the f in shit and re read it and busted out laughing so I decided to leave shit in there. Hope no one is offended.

As I entered T2 I saw my friend and co-worker Steve! Again I was so happy. I was in and out in :51 seconds. He told me after he tried to take a picture of me but he was using a new camera and I was too fast for him to get the picture. 

I headed out for the run not knowing what place I was in but knew I was back a bit. I saw runners coming back with black numbers they were the Sprint athletes. They had the same run but turned at 1.5 miles we turned at 3.1 miles. So I didn’t have to start counting my place until after the turn.

The first women I saw was cranking! I saw her at mile 2, I was shocked there was no way I was getting her. Then 2nd place and 3rd. I stared getting discouraged but just kept my pace and focused on the guy ahead of me. 4th and then 5th went by at about 500 yards after the turn. That meant I was still 500 yards from the turn. I wanted so badly to catch her. That was my goal for the rest of the run. I passed 2 more guys and encouraged them. The road twisted and turned so I couldn’t see her. Finally with about 1.5 to go I saw her. I watched her pace and knew I could get her. I tried not to get too excited. As I passed her I said good job and she replied with the same. I got one more woman and then just an uphill and down to the TA and to the finish shoot. That last uphill was so hard I wanted to stop. I came down and got speed into the shoot I ran as hard as I could through the finish.

I didn’t even look at my time. I was asked to remove my timing chip and was handed a finishers medal. I quickly looked for water and didn’t see any. My eyes started tearing up like they do after most races but I was more frustrated with my chain falling off. I walked around a bit and saw Steve again and then Julie!! Wow another friend came to watch me! She asked if I needed anything I said water and she ran to the cooler and got me a water. That’s all I saw of her. I felt bad that I wasn’t more talkative. When I went over to the rest of my cheerleaders I asked where Julie went. Ro said she had to make it to the dump by 12. So thanks Julie for the water and for coming to my race!!

Everyone asked how I did and I showed them my hands and arms. "My chain fell off and I was down for 5 mins!!" I sat down and made my recovery drink, put my legs up and started eating my homemade sticky rice bar. It had coconut, walnuts, blueberries and dark chocolate all mixed in. It’s great for getting the carbs back in pre and post race. Then my mood changed. I couldn’t change what happened and it was the first time ANYTHING has happened during my 6 seasons of racing Tri. I thought of how lucky I was. I started to feel ok with it. Everyone but Christine and Steve had to leave. I thanked them so much for coming and then did my cool down run. I stretched a bit and we made our way over to the tent for some shade and to check results.

The results were posted and it showed me in 22nd place. Wow I didn’t think I was that far back but I guess. I looked for the splits and there weren’t any. Just finish times. I thought to myself, then why did we wear timing chips if they weren’t posting splits. I studied them more and saw they mixed the Duathletes and Aquabikers in and put them in order of finish times. Duathletes run then bike then run and the Aquabikers swim and bike. We all can’t be put in the same results. I was so surprised they didn’t post separate results for each discipline. So I didn’t even try to figure what place I came in. My mind was spent.

Christine and I went in to get food. They cut my wrist band off and I walked the buffet. It was egg sandwiches, scrambled eggs, bacon, corned beef hash and home fries. I didn’t want any of it. Usually it's chicken, salad, or pasta, not breakfast. I noticed in the back they had bananas, muffins and bagels so I grabbed one of each. We went back under the tent. There wasn’t a single chair or table. I noticed 20 picnic tables grouped very close together about 300 yards away all in the sun. Nice. So we all sat on the ground as they began the results. They announced the over all winners for the sprint and Olympic but didn’t mention any finish times. First place female for the Olympic was Allison Dimatteo she races for OA the same team my friend Jenny races for. In second place….Meghan Skidmore. What??! I was shocked, how?? I went up for my award- a mug, a pine tree and a bike tune from Stan and Dans.

We stood on the podium for a few seconds for pictures and I went back to my towel. I thought some more and realized the other women I saw on the run were Duathletes. That makes sense now. My friends Anna Johnson and Suzanne Reid raced the Sprint and placed 2nd and 3rd in their age group!! We got a group picture and stayed for the cash prizes.

They pull your bib for $100, $200, $300 and $500 dollars. The three of us were hoping to win, but we didn’t. Steve headed home and Christine offered to help me get my things out of transition.  I welcomed it, but knew I could get it all in my transition pack. I guess I figured she knew that, but she's only been to one other race so she didn’t know. She was surprised I didn’t need any help. She said I’d be fine at nationals and carried my mug and tree for me.

Thank you so much to Rosemary and Ed Good, Christine Fleming, Kim Henry, Jess and Mark Spaulding, Steven Iannuzzi, and Julie Conway Ferland for supporting me and cheering me on. It felt so good to know you cared enough to take time and spend it watching me race.

Results: 15/44
Female: 2/10
Age Group: 1/2

Online results here

Monday Morning: Took my training to another level today. In order to get ready for racing back to back Olympic (Sat) and Sprint (Sun) distances at Nationals. I raced a practice Sprint tri this morning in 1:17! My Sprints are usually around 1:12 - 1:14 depending on the course. I swam a 16:37 1/2 mile, rode a 39:43 12 mile and ran a 22:45 5k. I've never been so proud of myself nor have I ever said it out loud. Steve told me to make a good breakfast and stay off my feet as much as possible today.

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