Monday, April 7, 2008

Channeling Lulu (AKA Spenco Tri Race Report)

It started out simply enough. I was looking at our 3-week cycle and where we were...and on the weekend it had this entry:

Thurs: Quality ride (If you're dong Spenco, just do easy 20-mile ride)
Saturday: Long ride 65 miles followed by 2 mile run. If you're doing the Spenco Tri, do your pre-race loosener
Sunday: Brick 30 mile ride, 6 mile run or SPENCO TRI!

And I thought, Spenco Tri? Spenco Tri? What is this Spenco Tri and why is it on the calendar.

So, I started investigating. AHA! Erin! That sly minx...she did it last year and was originally going to do it this year as well, but at some point decided not to, yet it was still on the calendar.

But then I was thinking......hmmmm....why not? Could be fun! It's at the Texas Ski Ranch...which I LOVE! It would be good warmup for the Rookie and a good chance to get some baseline Sprint Tri numbers to roll into the season with...right???

So, I send this message to Erin.... "E, I have a wild hair." And after several back and forths, her dropping the f-bombs and calling me all sorts of unmentionable names, she relents. "Alright. I'm in."


So, we channeled Lulu and didn't tell anyone we were going to race this weekend. (Except for Maggie who we also conned into coming with us as her "recovery workout" from last week's HALF IRON. Holy crap.)

Come Sunday morning, we bundled up our gear in my living room on wheels and head south to the Ski Ranch.

First of all, let me remind you of my first and most major nemesis: Cold Water! Temps outside were at 60. Water temps at the Ski Ranch? Wetsuit legal. Shit. But somehow, Erin convinced me that it wasn't worth the time in transition with a wetsuit for a sprint. In theory, I knew she was right...but that meant that I would have to brave frigid (to me they are...I am a tropical people) waters...granted for only 500M..but still.

This time last year, I DNF'd in an open swim because the water was so cold to me. Yes. It is true. Total mental issue, I know. But is there nonetheless. I'm owning that issue.

We arrive and get ready for the swim start. And everybody save us and maybe 5 others are guessed it...wetsuits. ARGH!

Fortunately..because it was SO COLD outside, the water didn't feel that bad! Go figure!

The Sprint Tri was so small that it only went out in two waves...Men then Women. So Erin, Maggie and I all got to start together. YAY!

I mentally struggled my way around the 500M...just trying to ignore the water temp, not let my heart rate race from the anxiety of my first cold water swim, and just keep swimming. I breathed on my left every 2 strokes to make sure I remained calm and collected. Turned out to be a pretty good strategy as before I knew it I was rounding the last buoy and heading for the mental breakdowns in sight. DOUBLE YAY!

I think I was so relieved, that I took an extremely LEISURELY T1. I mean I really was completely relaxed and taking my time getting into my cycling gear. I even stopped and poundered whether or not I should put a long sleeve shirt or my arm warmers on. It was quite chilly out and I was wet. Sure, I'll put a dry long sleeve shirt on....on my wet, sticky arms...

As I'm doing this, Erin comes scooting into transition. We chat a bit. She shows me a bite on her foot. (Seriously..I kid you not.)

Then all of a sudden I realize, hey, we're racing today. Shit!! I drop my feeble attempts at the shirt, grab my arm warmers and stuff them in my back pocket, grab my bike and head out.

Swim + T1= 10:51.4 (6th overall woman)

On to the bike. And we're off. I start peddling hard because I know E will be right behind me, and if there is any chance of me at least keeping her in my sights, I'm going to need a big head start.

And sure enough, she comes whizzing by...WHOOSH! Ok, now I have my we go.

I tried keeping up with Erin for as long as I could. I nestled in (3 bike lengths back of course) and kept after it. It was great to see Erin battling it out with this other chick...we went back and forth passing her..then she passed us...then Erin kicked it up a notch and passed her (dropping me in the process). They went back and forth a couple times until Erin (with an excellent spin cadence mind you) overtook her...going UPHILL...and just demoralized her. Poor girl was never to be heard from again. GO ERIN! She ended up turning in the 2nd best bike split for all the women! Hell ya!

I managed to eek out my bike with Erin's pink tri suit in sight, so I thought that wasn't too bad. Made a speedy T2 and was off to the run. Official split for 11.5mile bike plus T2 = 38:36. (I think we know where I need to focus...)

The run off the bike felt surprisingly good. All those bricks we are doing is definitely paying off. I was able to catch Erin a little ways into the run. She was looking steady and strong! I kept picking them up and putting them down. I didn't click my watch for any of the splits and there were no mile markers, so I was just going to go by feel..and well, really the field.

The race was small, but I couldn't find many other women...and none in my age group as I saw people coming back down the out and back run course. A quick check behind one other than Erin...I think I've got this age group thing in the bag..suhweet!

Passing Erin on the turnaround, she told me, "Go get that 14-year old!" Yes, she was the tushy I was chasing as my rabbit, since she was the only female I could see ahead of me. So, I went to hawk her down. Slowly, slowly..the distance between us decreased. And on the uphill, just before turning left back into the ski ranch I had caught her. Cool!

But as it turned out..she was just resting, getting ready for her final kick around the lake to the finish!

She picked up the pace and I let her go...I felt comfortable..she wasn't even in my age group, (yea - come find me when you are in your 30's and had two kids Miss Thing!), there was no one else close behind me, it was early in the season, blah, blah, blah...lollygag, lollygag, lollygag. (Bad, Dionn, BAD, BAD!)

Cruised into the finish feeling good. Official run split = 23:18. Second best run split for the women! (14-year old was first with 23:14.)

After a considerable wait time for results, (you guys don't know how good we have it with Run-Far...GO RAUL!) they finally start announcing. Turns out there will be no age group awards, only overall! WHAT?! That would've been nice to know BEFORE the race. How about posting that kind of information on the website?? There were quite a few folks who waited around from AG awards that could've left HOURS ago! Literally.

Not only that, I then realized that I WAS in fact racing against the 14-year old. DAMMIT! (channel Kris and say that..).

But to my surprise, they announced, "For the Spenco Sprint Triathlon, in 3rd place for the women, Dionn!" What what???

COOL! What a great way to start the season!!

Lexi, the 14-year old, came in second naturally, beating by 28 seconds. drat.

My official splits were:

Swim(500m)+T1: 10:51.4
Bike(11.5) +T2: 38:36.3
Run(5K): 23:18.3
Total: 1:12:46.1

AG Finish: 1st Place
Gender Finish: 3rd Place
Overall: 18th Place

Not a bad outing. It was good to get one under my belt. It is totally re-energizing. Man, I need to work on my bike speed. Who wants to go for a ride this week??

UPDATE: Stole this picture from E and per Wiley's request, added a picture of my hardware! YAY!


Mark said...

"Fortunately..because it was SO COLD outside, the water didn't feel that bad! Go figure!"
I've been telling you that FOR MONTHS about swimming in Barton Springs Pool over the winter. Oh, they never listen ... :-)

Great job on a great start to your tri season.

Podium. Check.

Erin said...

i want to ride!!

drat, now that i've read your blog i can't stop channeling my inner Kris. "damnit. god damnit!" ;)

great job, D. you are amazing.

MikeW said...

I'm glad all my coaching is starting to pay off, but I think you (and E) need to work more on "hatred" with me. How do you let someone (no matter who) run away from you in the last loop around the itty bitty lake??? Hate I tell you, hate!!!


you should post a picture of your hardware! hellz yeah! heavy duty hardware!

Glenda said...

good spur of the moment race. So you did get in to Rookie?

Maggie said...

you ROCK Dionn!!!

I had a great time! I can always be persuaded to do "wild hair" things!

congrats on your hardware!