Clearwater, Florida
November 10, 2007


1st Place W35-39
15th Place Overall Female

Wow! What a day it was!

Ryan and I got to Clearwater late Wednesday night - and when we got there, it was downright COLD! I think the temperature was in the 50's which was way too cold for Florida in my opinion. Haha - I know, 50 isnt cold, but when you live in Louisiana and you're coming out of the heat of summer, the first chill seems a lot colder than it really is.
Anyway, we got settled into a beautiful condo (thanks to "the missle"!) just 3 blocks from transition. for the next few days, we went about the usual pre-race rituals - register, shop, buy stuff, clean bikes, pack transition bags..... We went for a swim friday morning to test the water which i was sure would be a little chilly - but mainly because the air was so cool. HA! the water was freezing(ok, again, i am not used to cold water. it was 68 degrees), and I was glad I brought my long sleeved wetsuit along because the sleeveless I was in wasn't warm at all.

Race Day:
I bundeled up as the air was going to be in the 50's and windy - so I layered it on all the way down to the hat. I just dont like to be cold, especially before a race. We made it down to transition in plenty of time to get set up and wait on the beach for nearly an hour before our waves took off. The waiting is no fun, since the wind just picks up as the day goes on, but that's the way it goes - just stay warm and stew.
Finally the time to go was here. I was unusually calm again (I think the pre race nerves may be gone for good now as I havn't had them in a long time) and ready to get this race over with and put it behind me. It has been a long year, and I really didn't know what to expect about this race - really I was just here to do it with Ryan and see how I could do 4 weeks after Kona. Kinda like an experiment! I didn't feel very good, and weighed in 7 pounds heavier than in Kona, but you never know. So I was curious to see how all this training prepared me for this distance - and to see if all that rest did me some good, or not. Little did I know what was in store....
Off we went - I put myself in front to the left as I usually do and ran into the water. I had an uneventful swim, thinking my arms felt heavy and tired - but i figured that was just from the long-sleeved wetsuit. I found my way in line with some other faster girls, so it was easy to follow them along - especially since one kicked a lot, so I could follow her bubbles without looking up too much. then we turned into the sun, and it all changed - I couldn't see squat, I lost the pace line, and was running into swimmers from the waves before. but somehow, I continued to swim straight and found my way out of the water in 28 minutes - not too bad I thought...
I picked up a water from Mike who was there volunteering, got my wetsuit peeled and was off to T1 and out on the bike. the Bike was a bit congested going out. The way they funnel us thru town made it difficult to keep your distance, but it loosened up after a few miles. for the first 10 miles, there were cyclists everywhere, and I was aggrevated with the fact that these athletes like to draft and don't care about it. But like I said, once we got out a ways, people settled in to their paces and the bike was awesome for me! This is the fastet bike course in the 70.3 series. plus, the addition of the winds which were perfect made it even faster. I was pushing a bit on the bike - excited to see 27+ mph - and cruising. It was great----until about mile 40 when my laft quad cramped. this has never happened before, and i didnt know what to do. i tried to lay up, use my right leg more than my left ....but i didnt want to stop. I knew i had to be in a pretty good position in my age group, and wanted to try to hold onto it if i could. so, i changed my position a bit, and shifted the bulk of my efforts to my right leg while trying to massage the cramp whenever i could. I just wanted to make it to transition where i could get it massaged maybe before the run - oh gosh, the run. i didnt want to cramp on the run. I didn't know what to think. so, here's how i looked at it. just keep moving forward. it was tolerable at the time, so i told myself to just keep it moving, increase the blood flow, and try to work it out. I remember my swim coach telling me when i was a kid that if i had an abdominal cramp to swim thru it and it would subside. i don't know if that was really true. I think it was his way of telling me not to be a whimp - and to make me tough. so, if my quad wasnt totally locking up, maybe i t would go away, or not get worse.....and i could just get thru it....
So after I slowed up a bit - the pack behind me caught me. And this got me fired up. there had to be 100 guys in this pack, and they weren't going a lot faster than me, but enougth to catch me. what got me fired up was the 2 girls in my age group tucked away in the middle of this pack sucking the wheels of these guys. I was steeming. I watched them just stay tucked in the whole time - not trying to get away from it at all. I was peeved to say the least. I lost sight of them after a mile or two, but knew what they were wearing, and was motivated more than ever now to hunt them down....if i could only get rid of this quad issue.
Into T2 - I asked for the massage girl who came over with some biofreeze while i put on my running shoes and hat. I was ready to go, but like in kona, decided to wait a minute to let her work on me. maybe it would help. It wasn't locking up as bad, but it hurt the way a muscle hurts after a bad cramp. why not wait a minute.....so i did. then walked out of the tent and went into a light jog out of the chute....
the run: mile 1 - settle in. after the first mile,my legs felt ok - yeah, I knew the quad was there,but it wasnt cramping and that was good. I wanted to be sure it was ok before I climbed the bridge in mile 2, and so far so good. at the mile marker sign, i decided to do something i have never done before - take my splits on the run! I usually dont do this 'cause I dont want to know pace - as i like to race based on how i feel, and i dont want to get caught up in the time thing. but i wanted to know - so mile 2 i took the split - 7:07. SAY WHAT? but i felt good....then mile 3: 6:48....i thought "surely these signs are too close together and there is going to be a really long mile in here somewhere.....then 7:11, 7:15, 7:06, 7:20, 6:58, 7:12....and so on. and I was feeling great too. (( OH, and yes, I passed Cheater #1 at mile 2, and Cheater #2 at mile 4)) at the mile 10 turnaround - a guy mentioned we had 5k to go - so i looked at my watch and saw 4:02. I thought - I could do a 5k in under 25 minutes for sure - how cool would that me to do a sub 4:30 here today....maybe better....and i felt pretty good - so i tried to keep up with him. the way in was awesome- lots of spectators and feeling great all the way to the finish. I still cant believe my time - 4:23:43. I wondered if that would win my age group?? it was a fast day for everyone, so I had no idea...
After the finish, I saw Russell and Melissa and we waited around for Ryan to come across. I was just amazed at the day. I had no idea I had this race in me - with all that time off. I was feeling so sluggish too...
Ryan came across on 5:06 - a PR for him too.
We went off to eat Pizza and checked the unofficial results - and that's when I saw how i did. I was excited, amazed, shocked, and didn't believe it. maybe they forgot something, or another wave of women had to come in.....I couldn't believe it. I still can't, but i was there....too cool.
It goes to show - good training + great recovery = best race ever.

Thanks again for all of the support and well wishes from everyone!

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