A race I love to hate, and hate to love, but I do.
I can't recall how many times I have raced Lubbock, but I can say I did it for the first time in 2004 and I have raced it as a PRO and an AMATEUR many times since and you know what - it's hard no matter who what when....
This race would be my first 70.3 as an Amateur since giving up my professional racing license at the end of 2011. I picked Lubbock for a few reasons. First, it is one of the few remaining 70.3's with Ironman Hawaii slots. Second, there are also Vegas 70.3 slots (70.3 Championship). Third, Mike and Marti Greer are the race directors.... The feel, the peps, the course...it's a true test and I love it. And, I can drive to it. That's always a plus to me.
The weekend started out with a drive to Dallas on Thursday where I spent the night with my step sister Alex and her son Sean. It was a restful evening, and in the morning I was picking up Michelle Migdoll - another amateur ZOOT ULTRA TEAM ATHLETE - at the airport and we were off for 5 more hours to Lubbock from there. The ride was long and boring as usual, but we got there in plenty of time for an expo visit, packet pickup, and an awesome massage from Dereck (he is there every year, and worth the $). And michelle was able to put her bike together and get some tuning up done.
My homestay this weekend was with Chuck Colbert and his family at their home in Lubbock. Chuck was going to be the race announcer for the race, so he was a busy bee all weekend with all of the other smaller races Mike and Marti put on at the race site, so we didn't get to see him much. But Friday night, we were able to take him to a nice italian dinner in town before we were got settled into our room for some shut eye.
Saturday, we slept pretty late, so the day went by pretty quickly with swim, bike, run checks and race prep. before too long we were at dinner again, but this time with Trey and Mary at Carino's. I managed to eat my weight in bread while Trey spilled wine all over himself... we had a good time relaxing the night before what would prove to be a HOT NASTY DAY in Lubbock.
Early to rise and off to the race site. Michelle and I got all of our stuff in order and she took off down the hill into transition while I stayed back for a potty visit. They have real bathrooms up top, so I like to take full advantage. This visit however did NOT go over very well as I managed to drop BOTH my breakfast - a yogurt berry PR BAR that I managed to eat 2 bites of beforehand - and my KEY FOB into the very full and disgusting toilet. How did I do this you ask? I don't know. there were no lights, no doors on the stalls and I got spooked and, well, there you have it. I had to make an emergency rescue of the key fob (i left the PR BAR) and followed that with lots of running water and soap..but the thing managed to gross me out still. bleh.
OK, with that beginning to the day, what else could happen? LOL. I made it down to transition and got all set up and ready to go. Andrea Fisher was 2 bikes down from me and I talked to her for a bit...but race morninig, we are all there for a race...and racing for the same Kona slot, so I think people are sizing up the competition and wondering who is going to go the distance the fastest...my money was on Andrea, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't going to try to beat her or anyone else there. I wanted to go to Kona. I did everything I could do to prepare for this race in spite of my foot injury and having to sit out for so long..I was gonna go out there and go for it.
Ready, Set, ....OMG, this is my first non pro wave start in 4 years. and there were HUNDREDS of people in our wave. All of a sudden, I WAS NERVOUS!!! LOL. I had to find a good spot...where to go...I moved around a few times, got out to the left and then the gun went off. I was off. and so was everyone else!!
The first few breaths I could immediately feel the velcro on my wetsuit zipper on my neck. awesome. wetsuit hikki on the move. there was no stopping to fix it or I was gonna get swallowed by all of the people I am trying to get away from. so, the only answer is to just suck it up and take the velcro rub. so i did...
Other than that, the swim was relatively uneventful. the water was a bit warm, and I cut a buoy (non turn buoy) headed for the turn and a kayaker told me I had to turn around and go around it. that was about an extra minute or 2. really, I didnt think I had to go around it since it wasnt a turn, but whatever. go with the flow...
Out of the water, into T1, and off on the bike. Time to climb out of the canyon and get moving. when I got out of the canyon, I thought there was a little wind and it didn't seem that strong. But I was moving along pretty quickly, so maybe there was...or it could just be some of that race day magic in my legs. i didn't know, but I went with it. The climbs and decents were fun but I was out there working to try to find Andrea as I saw her bike was gone in transition. On some of the out and backs I began to notice the wind a lot more and it was a kickin. Whenever I go 26mph in a cruise effort, I know there's a 17mph painful effort just around the corner. And yes, there was. and that painful effort was there in the final 15 miles back to transition. oh boy..the legs, the hams. the glutes, the neck...ooooo boooy.
Back down into transition.....bike, bike...2? There was someone else on the run in my age group. time to get moving. on my way out of transition, chuck gave me some props and trey let me know andrea was about 4 minutes in front of me. that's a lot of time to make up on this run - especially since my run is suffering coming off the injury. Oh well, I'm gonna try anyway. you NEVER know what's going to happen. 13.1 is a long way.
I settled into a decent pace along the first 2-3 miles before the climbing began. The foot hurt, but tolerable and nothing for me to be concerned about. The first climb is the worst, and yes, I had to walk a little on the way up. I have not been on hills (ok, 1 time 2 weeks ago) at all since Boston, so I knew the hills would be a challenge. I tried to not walk too much, but I did a little here and there. back down into the canyon then up again..and low and behold - there was the mystery girl in my AG. I passed her up and just kept driving forward - I didn't want her to think she could catch me, even if I died later. Along the out and back I saw Andrea and she was still way in front - there was no way I could run her down. She is a tough competitor and my run is in no way good enough to make up 4 minutes in a 10k. but keep running. you never know...
Back down into the canyon and 3 miles home to the finish. At this point, I was beginnig to cramp in my legs and I know my pace was slowing. I didn't want to know how slow, i didn't look (and still haven't) but I knew it wasn't pretty. All I could focus on was the road and staying as relaxed as possible to avoid the leg lock up. All I wanted to do at this point was finish and hold onto second place. I knew there was a shot at a KONA slot for 2nd place since my AG had so many people in it. all I needed to do was keep running and finish.
Again, this race kicked my BUTT.
No matter how fast or slow you are, how trained or undertrained you are, THIS RACE HURTS. If you want to do a real race that will challenge you, this is the one. HEAT, WIND, & HILLS
4:47 2nd. to the watermelon. to the water. to the lake. to the beer. to the massage.
It was over. Race done, time to eat some tex mex and wait for awards...
KONA BABY - 2 SLOTS, I'M IN!!
NOW IT'S ON...