OK, OK ...
I know, it's late! I don't know what's up with me, but everything seems to be taking a lot longer to get to these days. I am working very hard to prioritize, to get the must do stuff in, and in the meantime, some things slip. So my race report was put on the backburner, but it's here nonetheless!
Dated July 1, 2008
What a day it turned out to be!
Ryan and I arrived early as usual, only to find that we were not the first one to the park! parking was a snap and we hopped on our bikes and rode down the hill into transition where we went about our usual business of setting up. This was my first 70.3 as a pro, so I had the honor of having the primo transition location right near the bike out and the porta potty! I couldn't have planned it any better myself! After getting all my stuff in order, ryan and i went out for a little warm up in the dark along the run course then it was off to the swim start. I debated getting in the water before the start because it was a bit chilly in the air and it was not going to be a wetsuit swim for us, but i got in anyway thinking it would only be a few minutes of standing around in the chilly air before the race started. Turned out I was wrong, and we were all dragged out of the water while the race got set to start...a little late. this ended up lasting about 15 minutes. i was cold, but cracking up because we were all huddled together cozily - most of us not knowing each other at all -just to stay warm and conserve heat.
ok, so it was time to start - 2 minutes they announced. then, not 10 seconds later, the gun went off and everyone around me started running along the edge of the beach....so i followed along. we ran, and ran...all along the side and around the bend until the rocks got big and there was a dock that cut us off. by then, i was breathing hard and had to chill out a minute to catch my breath! it was insane. i laughed at myself for getting so out of breath in the start, but i just dove in and went easy for a bit to get my composure. I'm not sure if it was such a good idea for me to get all caught up in the running or not - especially since i got to out of breath and my anxiety got out of control a bit...but i did it regardless and had to get back on track to stay in the mix. I realized that i was in the back of the pack when i began to get my mojo, but i just trucked along swimming alongside another gorl until the fianl turn buoy heading towards the exit. by then, i was feeling pretty good and just built up my effort on the way in.
out of the water and into transition i went feeling pretty good and hobbling along over the rocky parking lot to my bike all the way at the end. I seemed to take a bit to get it together there, but was off on the bike hoping to see some of the other women not too far off. Up the first climb were about 4 of us - one who had mechanical issues on the hill and was already off her bike. the rest of us just steady climbed up and over and settled into what would turn out to be a very difficult and dangerous day of riding. after exiting the park, the wind seemed to really pick up and not long after that, the rain came. I am not sure exactly what the winds were, but i was getting blown agound pretty good and feeling a bit slow going into the wind. normally, I would tell you how slow my speed was if i could, but i pulled a not-so-smart-move about 2 miles into the bike where i tried to adjust the position of my reciever for my computer (while riding) and in the process adjusted it too close and it sent my magnet flying off....that was worth a good head shake and a smart as comment to myself...! anyway, so needless to say, the weather was bad - windy and rainy which made for a pretty stressfull bike course. the climbs were as hard as ever, but coming from colorado and having those mountains under my belt, i felt pretty good on them and just popped right up. now going down was the hard part since the roads were so wet and the winds were picking up my disc wheel pretty good. i really wanted to get some good speed going on the downhills, but i kept having to hold back as a matter of saftey, and that was a little frustrating. perhaps i need a little more time training in the bad weather to get used to handling the bike in those conditions....but anyway, and important goal on the bike was to stay upright....and i did...
off the bike and onto the run....i was feeling pretty good about where i was coming off the bike. i seemed like 4th, but i wasnt sure. since this was my first 1/2 of the year, i was a little weary of what my VMO (that would be my vastus medialis oblique muscle) would do - since it has a tendancy to cramp up off a hard bike. i am always optimistic, but the realist in me knows it is a possibility, and a probibility, that it waill cramp up within the first mile of the run. sure enough, the cramping reared it's ugly head, and i was reduced to a walk a few times hoping to keep the legs from totally locking up. at this point, I was passed by 2 women, one was Kelly Handel - a pro from Austin and also a member of the ZOOT team AND a fantastic runner. I knew if i didnt have a good run she would probably catch me (I passed her about halfway on the bike), and she apparently had a good bike as well, because she caught me within the first mile when i was hobbling along...! needless to say, that is one of the hardest things i have to deal with ....the cramping issues coming off the bike and making it so easy for people to catch me, but i have to roll with it and take whatever the day brings...and if it means i need to be humbled and patient, then so be it. i learn something every time it happens. then another women came along....now i waas getting downright mad!
fortunately, the cramping only lasts for the first 3k or so, and it usually subsides if i respect it and chill out. so I was able to run a bit after that last girl passed me - keeping her in sight up the first real climb out of the canyon. by then i was running OK (not strong, mind you. but OK enough i suppose!)and up the hill that kicks my butt every time i do this race. and today was no exception. I guess the hills in Louisiana and the ones I did in Colorado still weren't enough for me to make it up this hill without walking. I walked about 10 steps halfway up this hill to save my Heartrate from going off the charts! I chuckeld to myself, and got a little peeved too that this hill always seems to get the best of me...but i had to keep moving forward and hold onto the girl in front of me. By the first real downhill, i was able to overtake that other girl and move back up a place. i was either in 6th or 7th, but i wasnt really sure, and honestly, just being able to run - not cramping up totally - felt great! now the goal was to just hold on as my legs were already aching.
so, the run wasn't pretty. I was tired and my legs felt heavy, but i figured that was just from the bike, and if i felt like that, then so did most everyone else! at the run turn around, i felt pretty good about where i was and again, just kept saying "hold on" to myself and tried to keep my form good and make it look easy...
and now the real fun begins....12 miles into the run - about a mile to the finish, something happened to me that I never would have imagined could ever happen to anyone...until now. I was running along, thankful for only one more mile to go and hoping the girls behind me weren't too close that they could see me. i knew i was slowing down at this point, but i was trying not to focus on the achy legs and hips, and just think about the finish line and reel it in. I was passsing some of the age groupers coming out on their first mile of the run and being soo happy that i was almost done instead of just going out - definately one of the perks to being pro! then, out of nowhere, a wheelchair racer popped around a group of age groupers to pass them and in doing to made a straight line for me on the opposite side of the road. it all happened so quickly - i remember screaming and scrambling a bit as i saw it coming, then in the moment, i had only one way to go to get out of his path and that was by going up. now, lets get real. the idea of sudden movement and jumping as high as possible after swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 in the wind and rain, and running 12 miles did not appeal to me, but it was all i could do to get out of his path as he headed straight for me at record pace. so, i jumped, and in mid flight, his helmet hit my legs and sent me airborne into the brush and dirt on the side of the road. [what an action shot that would have been! ] I hit the ground pretty hard that it knocked the wind - or what was left of my wind - right out of me. i was in shock! stunned. it felt like i was hit by a mac truck, but i think that was just how i was feeling from the race!! it wasnt long though that i got up thinking that those girls were right behind me and ill be dammned if i was gonna let them catch me now! so i peeled myself off the ground and said a few loud words [of the 4 letter variety :-) ] to help shake it off, and kept moving forward to the finish. glad and relieved to finally be there, i had a good laugh about being hit, and told the photographer he missed a great shot out there (hehe)... and hoped the wheelchair guy was ok too (which i found out later that he was).
so the outcome - 7th. not great, not too bad, and I'll take it.
I've got a lot of room to grow and look forward to getting there!
catch you later!