This was an unexpectedly difficult race for me – the first half, that is. I had a really good taper week – plenty of sleep and good hydration. The only not-so-great thing was that my hamstrings felt a little tight the 2 days before the race (don’t know why…perhaps a little too vigorous on the 4 striders I had done on Thursday in the midst of a 2.5mile run?). I was feeling pumped about pretty good preparation.
Swim 21:23 29/242
That good feeling quickly puttered away within 2 minutes of the swim start. I got mashed around a lot, and couldn’t get a clear line until the first turn. But even in clear water, I felt sluggish, yet out-of-breath, and kept thinking… “where is the last buoy – how long can this swim take?” I was very disappointed, yet not surprised given how I felt, to see that my time was 21:23, 1:30 slower than last year. Looking back, I really let my swim training slide this summer – I had done a lot of work this winter, which really paid off at Columbia in May with a great swim time (for me). Rather than continuing with what was clearly working, I guess I imagined I could focus more on the bike and run, and I’d still keep that swim fitness from the winter. Yeah, that didn’t happen, and it seems obvious that I shouldn’t have expected it to, so I guess it was a learning experience for me.
T1: 2:26 Totally out of breath from the swim, but managed to get out in a reasonable time, and faster than last year.
Bike: 56:45 18.5mph 9/242
Well, given how crappy the swim felt, I had been looking forward to getting on the bike, so I was shocked that my legs felt like sh*t from the very beginning…tight, painful, and tired. Since I was having such a crappy swim, maybe I used my legs more than usual, but for some reason, they felt like they sometimes feel at the END of a hard ride. I knew I had a lot of ground to make up if I wanted to do well in my age group so I really tried hard to keep the pace up, but my speed on the hills was just way lower than it had been recently. I took a gel earlier than usual in hopes of getting some energy. I was really getting frustrated, thinking that my race was tanking, and I wasn’t even half-way through. When I finally reached the turn around, I realized that my legs were finally feeling looser, and though tired, I felt more like I expected to at this point in the race, and I could finally start pushing the way I wanted to. I had planned to not go quite all out on the bike cuz I’ve found that I’m better off not killing myself on the hills so that my legs aren’t dead on the run. However, I decided that since I had felt so crappy and had so much perceived time to make up, then I should go hard and just see what happens on the run. So I did so all the way back to T2, getting yelled at by volunteers to slow down on the last turn into the dismount! :)
T2: 1:13 Again, Run-Bike-Run workouts make this transition a breeze.
Run: 23:53 7:02/mile 2/242
Finally, a part of the race that I felt good on! I started out hard, and really loved the cheering by Melissa to “Go Get ‘Em” on the run. I was really happy to see my first split of 6:57. Even happier to reach the SUPER MMTC waterstop! You guys were AWESOME! What great motivation on the hardest part of the course. I felt strong the whole way and really worked the last 1/4 mile. I was so focused going through the finish chute, that I didn’t look at any of the people screaming my name (much to the dismay of my husband who decided to surprise me by showing up to see the finish!) :)
Overall 1:45:49 AG 5/242 Overall 40/1671
I’m really pleased with my time, which was 4 minutes faster than last year despite being slower on the swim. I wish I knew for sure what went on with my legs so I would know what not to do the next time...at least now I know that even if you feel crappy at the beginning of the race, it might get better!
Race Tent: Once again, Huge Kudos to all of the volunteers from water stop entertainers, to tent management, to cookie bakers, tattoo artists, and hotdog grillers, you guys add so much warmth, camaraderie, and fun to the race! I LOVE THIS CLUB!!!