Monday, August 6, 2007

Race Report (keeping in the theme of Jack's Generic!)

Ticket Attendant: Welcome back, Ms. Schaffner. Glad to see you've chosen Camp Punishment for your travels again!
Dionn: Thanks! Glad to be back!
TA: May I have your ticket please?
D: (hands over ticket) Actually, I'd like to exchange this 3-segment Flat Out 'til You Puke ticket for 3 Sustained Hard Efforts, please? And I'm kind of on a schedule so can you verify that the third segement will be less than 24 minutes?
TA: Hmmm...let me see if we have that available. AHA! Yes we do! Here you go! And of course, we always try to be on time, but unexpected delays may occur that we cannot predict nor are responsible for...but we will certainly try to get you there ON TIME!
D: Thank you! (takes tickets and proceeds to jetway)

D: (settles into seat and looks sadly at the empty seat beside her and mutters softly to herself)...Dammit...I can't believe Shorey is not taking this trip with me! (then looks across the aisle and sees Arch Nemesis #1 give a slight wave and a smile)
D: (inside voice) Great!

Flight Attendant: Welcome aboard Flight #99, service around New Braunfels. It's a great day for traveling! Our first segment will take us 500m around Goat Island..and with the recent rains, we've got plenty of water for everyone! The second segment will be a 14.8 m rolling jaunt through the countryside and finally, of course, a 3 mile out and back cruise on the blacktop. You'll also be pleased to note that you are riding in our newly acquired 737! Have a great trip!


And so yet another race began. It was different atmosphere as my partner in crime Shorey was adorned in a black shirt that simply said "Volunteer" instead of the familiar J&A's jersey. While I was sad about that, it was kinda cool to have a whole team of folks out there volunteering and cheering for me on the side including the intrepid leader, Panther and his faithful minions Bibiana, Shorey, Kris, and Glenda. As a perennial cheerleader, I'm used to cheering everyone else on, but how fun to have someone cheering for you! WOOT! Also, I got to hang out pre-race with Stacey - who is a riot! LOVE HER! She rocks.

Additionally, there were a bunch of the Austin favorites there including Desiree and Amy and Brandon Marsh. It is always inspiring to see those guys and watch them compete....just gets you all FIRED UP!

So after racking my bike (about 8 bikes away from nemesis, Tracy Lord) I diligently went about my pre-race activities. These include going to the potty 3-5 times (yes, I know...but what can you do...now it's habit..) and adhering to my agreement to actually do both a warm-up run and swim.

My wave was about second to last, so I had lots of time to watch, review the plan and get down right nervous. Here was the plan ala Panther and I quote:
"I want you to have a good, hard sustained effort on the swim and bike, then, on the run, I want you to run sub-8s. That's your outside goal. Your INSIDE goal is to run 7:30s"

To which my response had been: "sub-8s? Have you been smoking crack or has the Houston weather finally drown your brain?? And a 7:30?? I need to talk to the Tour de France boyz and see if they can hook me up...I mean seriously..."

After much negotiation back and forth I got Panther to concede to the following:" Hit 8:00 on your first mile and see how you feel. If you're blowing up...screw it,we screwed the pooch. Slow down for mile 2, then pick it back up to 8:00 for mile 3. If you feel GOOD, then try to kick it up to 7:50 on mile 2. If you still feel good, try kicking it up to 7:30 for mile 3."

DEAL.

All this was great, however, I still had one other thing I had to do, regardless....and that was too beat Ms. Lord. (It always helps to have a place to focus your competitive energy, doesn't it?? Or is that just me...)

So, I parked myself on my favorite spot for the swim, front row outside lane. The thing I love about the 500m swim at the Ski Ranch is that all you have to do is follow the cable and it keeps you right where you need to be. So as you breathe, just take a peek up and check the cable and keep plowing ahead. Of course, you have to check for traffic every now and then, but until I start running into the wave ahead of me, it's a great way to swim.

The swim wave went off and WOW...were there some fast swimmers in that group! 5 swimmers swimming a sub-1:45 pace! While I probably could've hung with a few of them, I referred back to my ticket that cleared stated "Sustained Hard" and not flat out, so I let them go. I came out of the water 6th...which is kinda far back for me. Shorey later even mentioned, "what happened on your swim?" To which I replied, "I was going 1:47! It's not like I was lolligagging out there!"

I hurried out for a (I think) respectable 1:33 T1 and hopped on my bike and took off. Of course, I took a sideways glance during T1 and noticed the blue bike was still there...good.

I rode hard but not too hard. At one point during the rollers, I must have been dawdling because a gaggle of the young 30 girls came by me. They were all bunched up and there was definitely not 3 bike lengths between them. But as they passed me, I was forced to slow down to follow the rules. However, I didn't like the new pace that forced me into since it felt slower than what I was going before...so I had no choice but to put the hammer down on them...strategically of course.

So we were on this flat getting ready to go uphill and the whole group was in front of me. I clicked to a bigger gear and started peddling...HARD. I timed it pretty well so just as the incline was getting substantial and they were all clicking down, I took some polyjuice and transfigured into Kris and blew their freakin doors off, going uphill! Mentally I said, "fine you can pass me if you want, but you are going to have to do it going UP this hill...come and get me bitches!" I hammered down the other side of the hill and up one more roller just for good measure and then backed off to get back to my "sustained Hard" for the duration of the ride. Needless to say, they didn't catch me again.

I rolled into T2 mentally preparing for my first ever attempt at sub-8s. And just as I was on my way out, guess who appears with her blue bike. Yep. "What to go Tracy...a supporter yelled to her." "Sssshhhhh!", she responded back. "Oh yea..sorry I forgot!" the supporter replied.

Oooohhh, I see. You didn't want me to know you were that close, huh? Alright...IT'S ON! Sub-8's..here we fucking come!

I came out of transition and saw Shorey. I mouthed to her, "she's right there, right?" Shorey peered around me and shook her head no...but then looked again and quickly looked back at me, raising her eyes and nodded Yes, yes! Fuck.

Quick feet, quick feet. Turnover, Turnover. That's what I kept saying to myself. If I can just make it through the first mile at 8:00, I know I will settle in and work it.

Panther came by on his bike, "Looking strong Kegel....find your zone!"

Quick feet, quick feet. Turnover, Turnover. Blackeyed Peas, "Pump it" playing in my head. Ears tuned for the telltale sound of feet settling in behind me, matching my pace....wasn't hearing it.

Before you know it, I was actually passing people on the run. That's right...ME...PASSING PEOPLE...ON THE RUN! It was invigorating, motivating...all the while unbelievable..because I still felt good.

I didn't dare turn around and see where Ms. Lord was...I just kept pushing...quick feet, quick feet, turn over, turn over. I kept my stride short and tried to keep over my toes...no heel striking today.

There wasn't a mile marker so I wasn't sure how I was doing, so I figured once I got to the turnaround I could figure out two things: 1. My pace and 2. Exactly where Ms. Lord was..

Hit the turnaround, looked at my watch 11:something.....can that be right?? Threw a cup of water over me. I needed to be south of 12:00 to be sub-8, right? right? SWEET! I'm on pace....and wait....I don't see her. I kept going the other direction...quick feet, quick feet, turnover, turnover.

Finally, I saw her coming the other way...there was no waving, no "hi"...just competitive sparks flying across the road. Shit. She looks like she's ready to drop the hammer and come get me. I'd better giddyap!

Still feeling good, I picked up my pace and kept my ears tuned for the pitter-patter of feet behind me. I saw Bibiana on her bike patrolling the course. "BIBI!" I yelled. She slowed down until I came up to her. "Girl. Texas Iron. How close." I panted. Bibiana turned her head and scanned.... "I don't even see her." What? Can that be right???

I could see the end of the road where we were to turn left into the park. Up this hill and then fire the guns baby!!!

Got to the top and saw Panther again...gave him the "You Da Man!" point with the fingers and he yelled, "Drop the Hammer, Drop the Hammer!!"

Looked in my pocket, lo and behold, A HAMMER!!! WOOOT!

Sprinted hard to the end and clicked the stop button on my watch! After they took my chip, I went and literally ran and fell back into the lake to recover. Damn..I was tired. Looked at the run split on my watch....... 23:01. WHAT? Is that right? HELL YA!!!!!!

Official run split pace was: 7:37 !!! FUCK YEA! WOOT!!!!! I rocked it!

Turns out, I just missed 3rd place by 2 seconds. Oh well, 4th place seems to be home this season (Danskin- 4th, Rogue Women's - 4th). But MOST importantly, I had an absolutely TERRIFIC run! I couldn't believe it. I've NEVER run a sub-8 in a tri before. Even my time trial was 7:47....but 7:37??????? WWWWOOOOOOHHHHHHOOOOOO!

Final stats:
Swim: 8:55.3 (1:47 pace) - 6th
Bike: 45:17.9 (19.6) - 7th
Run: 22:50.5 (7:37) - 6th
Total: 1:19:35.5

Age Group Finish: 4th
Overall Women: 17th

Run Pace PR!
Course PR (last year was 1:22:29.9)

8 comments:

MikeW said...

Fantastic!!!

But never forget that the feline coach you have hates water, so at some point, you'll have to tell him you have to drop some hammers in the swim too! afterall, isn 't the swim all arms? You don't need arms for cycling do you?!

Great great job!
I'm going to start watching my back on my runs... you might be lurking.

Shorey said...

fcuk yeah! that's what I'm talking about! plus, you beat Mr. Hottie's wife!

Kris said...

Congrats, Kegel! And you made it look soooo easy!

Shorey said...

So, what happens Dionn, when Tracy gets wind of your blog????

Dionn said...

It's just friendly competition on race day! :) She's actually a great person, wonderful mom and one helluva competitor! What's not to like???

Dionn said...

plus, every good story has a antagonist, right??

Panther said...

I knew you could do it, Dionn. Like I said after the race: "Why do they never believe me until they actually do it?" Next year, you'll be running 7:00-minute miles. KEGEL!! Woot!

Kenny said...

That is one awesome run report - you're one tough chica, D - I'm glad I'm not your antagonist!