This was my last event in what has been a tri-riffically fun second season of racing. After four sprints I decided to up the ante, and made Half Full my first Olympic distance. Big thanks to Ulman and MMTC for the free entry!
I had hoped for a slightly faster time, but other athletic commitments this fall kept me from training more on the bike. The super awesome weather was also a new factor for me, so overall I am pleased with my performance. That said, I was only 15 seconds out of third place in my AG...and there were definitely 15 seconds to be regained!
SWIM (29:39; 2:03/100m)
I felt really good about this swim! This was my first time-trial start, and I am now a big fan. This was also my first race in a wetsuit (just the beginning of the somethings borrowed!), and only my second-ever wetsuit swim. My pace was faster than at IG Rocky Gap a month ago. The wetsuit might deserve some credit, but I’m claiming it as progress anyway.
I felt comfortable and, more importantly, calm and confident, the whole time. Minimal contact, and I only allowed myself to be a little distracted by the swimmers cutting inside the turnaround buoys by the dam. Not much I could do about it, so I didn’t waste energy on irritation.
Something new: I broke a cardinal rule and raced in untested goggles. From the swag bag, no less! I discovered just before the race that mine were taking on water through a crack in the right lens. I wore the swag goggles in the shower the night before the race (I’ll pause while you visualize) and decided they would do the trick. That was my only worry about the time-trial start: no time in the water to adjust gear! Thankfully, they fit even better than my regular goggles.
Remember those 15 seconds? Yeah. They and 540 of their friends were chilling here. I really layered up for the bike, no easy feat while soaking wet. I am grateful for every piece of clothing I put on, and wouldn’t change a thing, except to get all that crap on faster. Let us never speak of this again.
BIKE (2:09; 14.8mph)
My weak link this race. I just didn’t train enough to be as fast as I wanted on such a hilly course. I rode it a few times in training, but for some reason only recently realized that it’s 32 miles, not 25. I also made fit adjustments to Betsy (my something old) a few weeks ago that put me in a more comfortable and powerful position...if only my glutes/hamstrings were more powerful. On the plus side, it really saves my quads/calves for the run, but I clearly need to spend the off-season doing squats. And buying a faster bike.
Thanks to Jenn D. for hanging with me and keeping me motivated, and to Roger for the shout-out on the homestretch climbing the Homewood hill. And major thanks to Karyn Dulaney for loaning me her bag cover, rain jacket, shoe covers, beanie, and full-finger gloves (in addition to the wetsuit)! I would really have suffered without those things. And I washed all the snot off the gloves, promise...
When guys doing the 70 started passing me, I just had to laugh (and started looking for Kate McDowell)! Maybe because I was hallucinating a little from the cold. My left fingers became so numb that I couldn’t shift up into the big ring--I had to cross my right arm over and pull the lever. In addition to shoe covers, I'd put toe warmers in my bike shoes. I cursed them up and down (and up and down and up and up and up) for not putting out a single BTU, but it turns out my toes were so numb I couldn’t actually feel the heat.
The Army volunteers were really enthusiastic and motivational, especially on the hills. I’m so appreciative of the time they and the HoCo Police/Auxiliary put into the race. The award for best on-course entertainment goes to the guy at the top of a Tridelphia hill, wearing butterfly wings and gym shorts, blowing a vuvuzela. (Please tell me I didn’t hallucinate that part.)
Oh, and thanks to Lance and his entourage for passing me uphill like I was standing still. My goal after that moment was to not get lapped!
My fingers were completely non-functional, even with gloves and an insulating snot layer. A volunteer took off my helmet and helped me tie my shoes. I had decided not to convert to speed laces--only one new thing per race--but regretted that in T2. I seriously considered running without tying my shoes (another sign my brain wasn’t fully functioning). My toes were so cold it hurt to put on dry socks. Again, glad I did, but … the fifteen seconds!!!
RUN (51:08; 7:52/mile)
Something blue? The aforementioned toes! I didn’t feel them until mile 3. Also at mile 3, some old injuries acted up. I dialed back the pace a little and rubbed my left thigh for about a quarter mile (Dear Centennial Lane traffic: you’re welcome for the show). Then competitiveness got the best of me and I said “screw it, I’m almost there--it’ll grow back”. I changed my stride a little and felt more comfortable. I also told myself the cold was numbing it and making it better.
Just a few more hills and back into the park for a hard run to the finish. I actually passed the third-place girl shortly before the finish line, but with the time trial start, her overall time was faster. I'd been aiming for a slightly faster pace but I'm still pleased with this run.
I enjoyed this as an endurance test, especially with the weather. I really felt the difference in distance from a sprint! I have some ideas for what to work on over the winter, to come back stronger next season. Despite the cold and rain, I really did have fun in this race. What else can you do! As cold and physically miserable as it was, I knew it was going to end and I’d soon(ish) find myself wrapped in dry clothes, gobbling Lynne’s hot potatoes. Those fighting cancer have a much longer road without such a neatly defined ending.
Congrats to all the MMTC finishers--our group brought home a lot of the bling! Big thanks also to the tent volunteers, who got up insanely early on a freezing wet day, to support everyone. I’m so happy to have become part of such a great club this year, and look forward to next season!