Swore I would never race again if I had to swim in Centennial after my Iron Girl 2009 race where it took me almost 38 minutes to finish the swim because of a panic attack. After the great reports, even with the rain, from last year and the smoothies at the finish I gave in and signed up. I must confess that I did procrastinate for some time in the hopes that there wouldn't be any spots left. Didn't work.
Columbia was my second Olympic distance and honestly I had two main goals...no panic attack and beat my swim time. My first olympic was in Key West (I know tough place to race) so the terrain was flat as a pancake, the water sky blue and the temps perfect. The biggest hill was over a bridge. That being the case I could not compare anything other then the swim distance and time.
I started training in Feb. with the intension of getting out when it was cold and rainy as I knew it would help for race day, as it ALWAYS rains for the Columbia Tri. Lucky me...the wet training was a waste as we all woke up to a beautiful day for a race. I had heard that parking was a bear on race day so I set my alarm for 4:30 to give me time to grab my oatmeal with cinnamon, FRS and coffee. First rookie mistake...you have to be sure you volume is turned up on your Ipod if you want to use it as an alarm..whoops, woke up about 20 minutes late so my relaxing plan become a rush to get out and get a spot by 5:30. Got to the park around 5:35 and no issues getting a parking spot. My wave didn't go off until 8:06 so I thought I would take a little siesta in the car, but too excited for that so spent a little extra time setting up transition.
I am always trying to improve in transition area and each race I get a little better. I brought only what I knew I would need, set everything up and off to the tent to stress about the water I had to swim in... yes I was one of the few that was down with the race turning into a Du.
Got to the tent and was welcomed by so many MMTC members that I started to forget that I had to get in the water. Talked to coach Mike for a few minutes and got my last minute tips to have a great race, socialized and watched everyone else go off. Finally decided to put on my wetsuit, had my gu about 10 minutes prior to start with some water and was ready to get moving.
Got in the water and was pleasantly surprised at how warm it was. Waited a few minutes before I started treading as that is typically when I start to panic. My plan was to stick to the right and head toward the third buoy as I am still not too comfortable with being mashed by others. Plan started out great and nobody was near me, which I thought was odd. Then I realized why...I had not started to move towards the buoy yet and was already close to the third one at the far right side. Second rookie mistake of the day...continued on around the buoys and up the straight away. At this point I am just counting strokes to pass time and keep mind occupied, All of sudden I hit something with my right hand and turn my head to breath and all I see is a "white" hand..to which my mind quickly said "holy crap I just hit a dead body" I freak for about a second until this so called dead body has a head that pops up. Laughed for the next 100 strokes...Got to the point where I could see the finish and cranked it up. I am not the fastest swimmer but I know with my mistake of swimming too far right that I was not going to hit my goal time and wanted to make up a little time and felt great so off I went. Finished in 33:54 which was 4 full minutes faster then my last Olympic, did not hit goal of 30 minutes but happy nonetheless.
Ran out of the water with the goal of getting out of transition in less then 3 minutes, until my next rookie mistake. Saw a post from Mike Barone last week about taping glasses to bike to not mess with them in transition and thought it was great. Mistake was not testing prior to race. Came back from swim and my glasses had fallen. I have a prescription insert and had to spend too much time looking for it and reattaching before I could get out of transition. T1 3:01
I rode the course at least 6 times and could never get it below 1:38 so my goal for the race was to just beat that. Felt really strong throughout the bike and used 1 bottle of Infint sports drink. Official time is 1:30 but according to both bike computer and Ironman GPS I finished at 1:28. I did get 2 penalties which I am guessing were on the ride which is why the times are not matching. Not sure what the penalties were for...but who cares still shaved 8 plus minutes on the bike.
Rolled into the park with everyone screaming to slow down..was a little confused considering I was racing and still had plenty of time before hitting the dismount spot. Wasted no time in T2 2:07. No rookie moves here.
The run is where I fell about. This is my second race that I had a numb foot 22 minutes into the bike. Never happens during training, but race day bang there it is. Last race it took almost 3 miles to feel normal and this one even longer because of the hills. The first hill kicked my butt and it just went downhill from there. Could not get control of my heart rate, had to walk Gatorade hill....blah blah blah. Anyway once it felt better I was able to get a decent pace using my new Evolution running technique and actually sprint to the finish. Need to figure out why the numbness is happening. Time to for a bike fit or perhaps a new bike :)
Official time 1:06:04 which was also faster then my first Olympic..again quite shocking considering the terrain.
I saw this quote today and so accurately described how I felt on the run.
"Races always evoke some dread about pain that will come. But we can't escape the fact that the more discomfort we accept in a race, the faster we will run. Successful racing means courting the pain." John Elliott
Overall happy with results even though I did miss my goal by 15 minutes.
The biggest thing I learned from this race is that you have to go with flow of the race, listen to your body and be patient as your improve. Coach Mike Matney has been telling me this for months but it finally clicked yesterday. I am seeing improvement in my overall technique, consistently decreasing my race times, building a stronger body and staying injury free.
Now time to start training for my first half..let the fun begin.