I didn't write a race report on Crawfishman, so I'll tough on it a bit here just to put it out there so I can look back on it in the years to come, oh...and so some of yall can read it too :-)
May 1, 2011
It was a beautiful day for a race, but the race itself was not so pretty for me. I was coming off the biggest week of volume in preparing for Ironman Texas, so needless to say, I was really tired and actually wondering what the hell I was thinking signing up for a sprint tri when I knew I would be wasted for it. I suppose thats why I signed up back in March beacuse somehow I knew I might second guess myself as race time drew near...
Anyway, one of the perks of racing Pro is that if there is a pro wave, we get to go off first and have a lot of smooth water to swim in and a lot less bodies to swim over. But when we do an AG race, we get to go when our AG goes, and for this race, women go last. So, the mayhem ensues...I took off at my usual ez pace, only to find (and not surprised) that the exhaustion I have been feeling was causing my VCD to act up (long story, for another post if I ever want to get into it on here). to cut to the chase, I get very short of breath because my vocal cords close up on me. and it's the worst when swimming, not only because of the neck position for breathing and spotting, but the added anxiety that I encounter in open water swimming also plays a part in the response. We thought for years it was my EIA getting worse, but recently found that to be wrong...ok, so as i have become accostomed to over the years, the swim was to be just about management and exiting the water without serious consequences (like complete vc closure!!) - forget racing for the time being.
So I made it out of the water and onto the bike pretty much knowing i was not first and there were probably a few girls in from of me, so I just moved along. Needless to say, my legs were shot and I rode a painful 18 miles trying to reel anyone and everyone in. this year though, I wasn't so fast on the bike and there was still someone ahead of me when i got to T2.
In the past, this posed a problem for me as i have never been known as a "runner", and running someone down who was 90 seconds in front of me into a 4 mile run used to be laugable. But OH....times have changed. A lot of patience and training on the run over the years has built some running confidence in me, so off i went. legs hurting, throat closing & burning and Heartrate redlining - i was off to do what i could and see what happens. and what do you know, I caught her. not only did i catch her, i passed her like it was nothing. ok, yes, it was something, but i didn't pass her and die, thats what i meant.. i passed her at mile 3, and kept on. it was a great experience and HUGE confidence builder for me. so, i won the race again. this time it was a lot harder, and a lot more rewarding. NOT only because i was hardly rested and on top of my game, but i'm 40 too :-) ....and she was 30!
oh boy, that was a lot about CfM...ok, onto GCT..
GULF COAST TRIATHLON
Saturday, May 7th
Another awesome day for a race. It had been cool for the past few days, so leading up to the race I was in long sleeves dreading the colder water temps - but that was all for not - the water was 75 degrees and race morning was about 60 - perfect for this southern tropical fish.
I have dont this half ironman every year since 2003. It was my first half ironman ever and I plan to do it every year as long as my body allows me. The race directors are so cool, the volunteers are better than in any other race I have been to, and well, it's the beach along the Gulf of Mexico and only 4 1/2 hours from home. how can you beat that?
I found out pretty late that there was no pro purse in the race this year, so that was a bummer, but the reality is that WTC (aka IRONMAN) has taken over in it's money grab, that putting on a big half ironman has gotten more expensive, and something had to give. I respect their decision of course, as they still put on an awesome race with bells and whistles and donate most of their profits to Charity and I think thats cool.
So no pro purse means no pro rules, which has it's pro's and con's - one pro was that we got to race AG rules which is fun, but fun only if there are other AGs aroud you. We still went off in the first wave, so needless to say, it was a very lonely 4 1/2 hours with no one to act like an age grouper with....
Off we went on the swim. After my experience at Crawfishman, I was super conservative to get going. I didn't feel awesome at all, but I love swimming in the Gulf and enjoyed the relative calm of the water. Another Pro for racing AG rules in a USAT race was that 75 degree water temps mean WETSUIT LEGAL! YEAH! I wasnt prepared for that really, but I managed to stash my wetsuit in my car "just in case" and it paid off. or did it....
OK, so here's where I admit to being an airhead and just plain unprepared for a race. No excuse for me, i know, but whatever...i rolled with it :-)
#1 - I wore a new wetsuit for the first time race day.
#2 - I spotted off a boat instead of a buoy.
As I was warming up before the race, I noticed my wetsuit flap kept coming un-velcroed at the neck. I adjusted it a few times - surely it was just operator error...all secure, off to the races. by the first buoy, the flap was undone and i could feel all kinds of water down my back. hmmm...something must be wrong here. what to do? keep swimming and hope for the best. worst case scenario, it unzipps. until then, re attaching it hasnt worked to this point, so why whould i stop to do it again if it isn't going to work anyway, so plug along i did. I just swam along thinking about stuff and checking out the thousnads of fish beneath me reminding myself this is a race, and not to get too complacent :-) I was moving in a straight line headed right for the turn buoy and that boat that has been parked right next to it when out of no where, i began to smell fuel. no biggie, right? jet ski's and relief boats were movning around...it didn't occur to me that MAYBE it was the boat by the turn buoy? LOL! sure enough, it was. OFF COURSE I was-- way out to the right seeing little tiny white caps (the other pros in my wave) going around the turn buoy...bummer. LEFT TURN...must have been a couple of minutes to get to that buoy. in the meantime, the flap in my wetsuit seemed to be about the same meaning the zipper was holding, so that was good so far. however, I was being stung by some invisible sea creature all down my exposed parts...whatever. I just kept looking at all the fish everywhere, laughing as I was telling myself that this looks like a breakfast buffet for a bigger fish at sunrise. I kept telling myself not to look so hard - if there was someting bigger in the water, which im sure there was, I just didn't want to see it.
ok, so I made it out of the water and up the beach (which, by the way was the hardest part of the race i think - running up the sand straight out of the water all dizzy and all- anyone else nearly pass out there???) and to the bike and off i went. Immediately my legs were on fire (still part of the IM TX training residuals, but it is what it is...) BUT i knew this would be painful going in. the whole goal of the bike today was to keep the HR in Zone 3 or lower and ride at a good clip. OH, and ride the new RIDLEY DEAN for the second time :-) and see how it feels for 56miles.... I reeled another pro girl in at about mile 40 and was now in the lead, but managed to get a glimse of what seemed to be a stealth age grouper at one of the turn arounds. oh boy... this girl was closer than i thought she ought to be.
Needless to say, I kept plucking along hoping and praying my legs would feel better come IMTX in 2 weeks. If that ride is as painful as this ride was, well, lets just hope my legs feel better than they do today...
Into transition without a hitch (last year I managed a flying dismount with blood and all) and off on the run i went. :48. even the announcer said "now that's how transition is done" :-)
Onto the run, I started to have an issue with my chip strap and had to stop a few times to move it or it was going to eat away at my ankle. none of that helped, so i stopped and unhooked the saftey pin i use to keep it attached and tore it off with the intent of putting it back on later on in an aid station or something. with Gu's, salt pills, and vasaline stuffed in my bra and zoot compression shorts, i was off to see what kind of pace i could hold for 13.1 miles on tired legs without pressing the HR too much. everything was smooth, then I found out the stealth Age Grouper was 30 seconds up on me....well, she did look strong on the bike....But today, I'm running my own race in prep for IMTX, so i just told myself "lets just see what happens". Into the park about 1/2 way into the run, same thing...she's holding. I never saw her. 4 1/2 minutes behind me meant that I was deep in the park as she was entering and she was in it as I was exiting - the rest is an out-and-back, but the park is blind.
I love coming out of the park in this race because I get to FINALLY start seeing other people suffering on the course with me, and thank God for that. all of the lonliness of the race is forgotten on the way home from the park. now it's about feeding off the positives, keeping good form, holding a good pace, keeping the HR low and under control, keeping side stiches from geting too bad, looking for every mile marker along the way....and anything else that keeps me from thinking about how bad i felt.
OH, here, I would like to add that the GARMIN 310XT is the best ever training/racing tool made for the run. The entire race I had it on " MULTISPORT" and it worked beautifully. THANK YOU GARMIN, FOR YOUR SUPPORT! way cool to see every split in real time.
So, mile 11 - a little birdie(named scott shelley) tells me thet the stealth Age Grouper is 4:40 back - i've made up 10 seconds on her in the last few miles. this as i walk through mile 11 aid station telling Sondra "I'm done" because I am just plain tired. whatever. tired, shmired. I'm gonna keep pressing on, and do what I can and suprise myself. Its awesome that you can move through the obstacles in life. just move through them. don't even think about it. just do it. so even though i was feeling like i was slowing down as my legs were like lead, my pace said something else. i was still holding about 7:05's, so now is the time (as the song verse goes) I thought - lets just see if I can pick it up a bit here and make up that 20 seconds on her - of course assuming she's not going to so the same thing (whatever - this girl is fast, she can race, and she knows I'm up here...and she very likley wants to beat me too) so I picked up my pace - and headed home with everything I had left in the tank. for a while I was holding something like a 6:40, but that was short lived as the HR started to climb and I ultimately wanted to cross the finish line, not be carted off 1/2 mile from it.
So, I made it across. 4:38:01 and waited....and there she came. Deanna Newman. Former Pro who just went back to racing Age Group, also 40 years old. I thought she beat me for sure. I congratulated her and the wait began...
After a while, the unofficial results said I won by 2 seconds. a couple of hours later, the official results said the same thing.
Looking at the results shows were were just dead even - but the reality is that she out did me on the swim and bike. I out did her on the T1, T2, and 4 seconds on the run, leading to an overalll 2 second victory...
Time for beer & the beach...