As many of you know, Celebration (2 months ago) was my first Tri. So knowing that Iron Girl was going to be the exact same route, I was hoping to shave 10-15 minutes off of my time. Although THAT didn’t happen, I did improve (by 49 seconds). Hey, at least the numbers are going in the right direction!!!
I know that one is supposed to “take it easy” before race day, however, for those of you that know me, I just can’t do that. I was literally on my feet almost all day on Saturday. But I honestly don’t think that that really hindered me (OK, maybe for the “run” it did). I even posted it on Facebook “how come on the day that I am supposed to be sitting down relaxing, I can’t. Yet other days, when I SHOULD be doing 100 things, all I do is sit in my recliner and play on the laptop?” Go figure.
I took a chance on getting up early (4:10 a.m.) so I could leave in time and drive to the park and be lucky enough to park IN the park. I had arranged with Aleah the night before that I would pick her up because she offered to help me carry in the boxes of cakes (for the tent). So she showed me the “secret” way to get into the park and avoid the long line of cars trying to turn right into the park! Thanks girl! One of the joys of being a MMTC member was having a place to keep “dry” during the storm (of course, I don’t have to tell anyone about the rain we had which delayed everyone by 20+ mins.
Swim: (33:21) 1:21 faster than Celebration
I had participated in the dress rehearsal a few weeks ago and felt SO good about it and was hoping for the same. I don’t know what happened but I just couldn’t do as well. Again, the positive thing was that I didn’t need to hold on to a Kayak. But I just have to REALLY work on getting my swim A LOT better. (Dawn S., I looked for you but never saw you!) I did give Dawn R. a shout out near the swim finish!
T1 (4:12) 28 seconds faster than Celebration. Other than walking (trying to catch my breath from swimming, I don’t know how I can improve on this. Guess I’ll be going to Dawn’s next Transition clinic to see how the “real” athletes do it!!!
Bike: (1:20:50; avg 13.0 mph); 1:07 slower than Celebration
The bad? I never got to go to the hill climbing clinic with Tim so I really wonder how much that would have helped me on those “lovely” hills! The good: A lot of people passed me but I ALSO passed a lot of people – even some who started before me. Go figure! I was VERY surprised how “rude” many of the cyclists were – riding in the middle of the road, like they owned it! I guess that they have watched too many “professional” events on TV where they DO close down the entire road for a race. Another good? I never had to walk up any of the hills. A little over a week ago, I had a bike fitting from Mike Stone in which he raised my saddle height by 1” and tried a new saddle. Although I think that the new saddle is better than the original, I’m still not happy with it as there is still “pain”. But I ignored it during that last ½ mile into the park.
T2: (2:13) 30 seconds faster than Celebration
I felt good about this transition but still obviously, not quite enough. But I’ll get it for next year!
Run: (45:28, avg 13.23 min/mile) 1:15 slower than Celebration
Took SEVERAL minutes to get my legs under me. Had to walk for a bit at the beginning because they just didn’t want to go. Then when I started up my first minor hill, I felt a fairly sharp pain in my left hamstring. “Oh no you don’t!”. So then back to walking again. I then switched a lot between short spurts of jogging with walking because I didn’t want a severe, long-lasting problem with my hamstring. I’m wondering if that came from the bike fitting, now with a greater height of the saddle, and having my leg extended so much more (before my knee ankle was 41 deg and he raised me to a 10 deg knee extension). Same thing as the bike: several people passed me, but I also passed several people. I tell you what, the MMTC stop on Gatorade hill is the best! Thanks guys! Especially CJ and Mark for yelling at me to start running (they know how I am at RBR!). LOVED the cup of ice going UP the hill and was really looking forward to it coming back towards the park. Initially, no one had any ice, however, my good buddy Mark comes running after me with my cup of ice! You are a savior Mark! They were SO wonderful!
Coming around those couple of curves before the final, I got my second wind, knowing that the end was just ahead. I passed 2 people and then there was a mother who was running with her 2 little girls towards the finish line. I was “rude” and quickly passed in front of her for two reasons: #1. I wanted the finish picture to be of me (alone) and #2. I’m sure that she wanted the same thing – her with her 2 little girls. I was SO glad that Vig was the announcer at the time that I came across so he gave me a big hug after saying, “Sheila, you are an Iron Girl”. My husband was there as well, to capture the moment on his camera. Those cold towels were absolutely wonderful and then after catching my breath, I went back to the tent.
I was SO sick of water and Gatorade, the smoothies were ABSOLUTELY wonderful! Thanks Carlos (as he made mine)! Thanks to everyone (especially Melissa) for saving my special piece of cake!
Although I was discouraged (thinking I did worse than I did at Celebration), I’m not completely discouraged or ready to give up. I am even MORE determined to train harder (in every way) so that I can be confident next year. I’m being told that I have to sign up for Columbia! After all, instead of being in the bottom 3% of the racer (from Celebration, 912 out of 939), for Iron Girl, I improved to being in the bottom 14% (1328 out of 1536). I even beat 3 ladies who had done IG last year! In fact, when you look at the fact that there was approx. 3.5 hrs. difference between the fastest and the slowest athlete (1:28:16 vs. 5:05:13), my actual time was about at the 50% mark. There are just too many people in the middle that moved me down the ladder!
In summary, I want to send a very special shout out to EVERYONE who has been a part of my training this year: Bernie (my husband, for letting me be gone so much for training), Nicole, Aleah, Brian, Mark, CJ, Dawn, Bill (for those darn RBR's), Tim, and anyone else that I forgot at this moment.... THANK YOU! Stay tuned - you haven't seen the last of me!