Monday, July 14, 2008

2 + T3 = 3 (aka the Couples Race Report)

I couldn't resist. You know I love that damn course. Plantars BE DAMNED! I'm racing!
And am I SO glad I did! WHAT A FREAKIN' BLAST!

(is it coincidence that I usually have fun on this course and that's what keeps me racing on it, or is that I love the course so it is fun to race on it? self-fulfilling prophecy?)

What a great way to break in the new team experience than with a team race, right??? This was to be my first offical race under the new colors of T3. Here we are in a team pic before the race:

I was excited about the race and as usual a little nervous. But nervous for different reasons this time. I really wanted to do well for my new coaches and teammates. Is that silly or what? And not only that, the Couples tri format meant that mine and Erin's (by super sweet partner in crime) would be added together to determine our final race, if I screwed up, it would hurt her time too. The pressure...THE PRESSURE! (I love it....ssshhh, don't tell.)

E and I were one of the few teams in the FRIENDS-FEMALE division since we had actually registered for the race before we joined T3. The rest of the T3ers were FRIENDS-MIXED. So we got to start in the wave ahead of the rest of the team.
So that meant we had a 4 minute head start on the likes of the defending champions Chrissy and Scott H., Coach Mo and the rest of the super fast T3ers.My goal was to hold them off as long as I could. I knew that they would pass me, it was just a matter of when. The swim was short enough (800M) that even though they are super speedy in the water (former UT swimmers), I should be able to make it out before them given the 4 minute head start. I thought I could get to Mile 6 on the bike before they hawked me down though.
I had a good swim despite what the split says (later we found out from Mo that the swim was closer to 900M...bouy float issues...but works for me!!). Couldn't keep up with Esther, who apparently has gills, and got passed by at least 2 T3 fast swimmer boys...but not Chrissy or Mo. Game still on.

Hobbled up the 200m transition from swim to T1, barefoot...with Plantars...not fun. Hopped onto my super steed and took off. And wow, immediately felt the 40-mile Fitzhugh hill ride from the day before. (The plan from our coaches was to "train through" the race. So we did our regular 13.5 hours of training during the week moving the long run to Friday and doing our long ride on Saturday.) But I kept thinking, here they come, here they come...push, push, push!

I felt like I was moving along at a good clip, but because I was in the second swim wave there wasn't that many folks out on the road, so there were many times that I was out there almost alone with just a few rabbits to try and hawk down. My odometer stopped working at mile 1.98 (which I didn't realize until I came upon the Mile 6 sign!), but I was trying to focus on my cadence anyway and just going hard so I really didn't pay much attention to the numbers. Also, because my ears were highly tuned for the whoosh-whoosh-whoosing of the T3ers coming to get me from behind I wasn't that focused on the bike computer.
But I did make it to Mile 6 without them passing me! And mile 7....and mile 8! Then mile 9,10,11 and into T2! WOOT!!!!! I was so fired up!!
I knew the run was going to be crap since I haven't run in about a month (save the attempt on Tuesday where after 2 miles on the treadmill I stopped because my foot had burst into flames). But I had decided to just do whatever I could to knock out the three miles. I set out of T2 and just picked them up and put them down. The pain was there, but surprisingly tolerable. (Could've been the tylenol I'd taken that morning?) And as I was running, it wasn't the pain in my foot that was holding me back, it felt like it was my running endurance.....but I was excited that the pain was manageable! YAY!!!
Got to Mile 1 in the run before Mo came charging by. DANG. His comment, "Hurt foot my ass! Nice work!" I responded, "Damn..eating into the handicap!" (All the T3 teams were given a handicap so at the end of the race, the club championship would be decided by the team score with the handicap. E and I had 30 minutes on defending champs Chrissy and Scott H. I think Mo's team had 5 minutes maybe...)

I kept slogging along, just trying to keep a decent pace. NOT stopping at water stops, but simply grabbing some water, taking a quick sip and throwing the rest on me. Mile 2, Chrissy and an entourage of T3 boys trying not to get "chicked" TOO badly by Chrissy (although if you are going to get chicked...I think you'd be ok if it is her) went by. As she passes she says, "Looking good Dionn, one more mile." She didn't even look like she was breaking a sweat. Me, on the other hand...drenched. But I was encouraged by the fact that I kept them off until then.... 4 minutes plus a one mile run....not too shabby!!

That damn crazy hill at the end called to me to just walk, but I knew that Erin was right on my heels somewhere and so were a bunch of other teammates and I'm sure I would never hear the end of it if they saw me walking, so I kept up the chug and crested that bad boy. Ugh. (Plus, Ms. Lord was racing and I KNEW she wouldn't walk I must...go...on.....).

Poured on whatever I had left and came through the finish with the speedy T3ers already on the sidelines cheering me in. "Look at that stride!" I heard Mo exclaim. I giggled to myself...since I haven't run with the program yet, they haven't had the pleasurable experience of witnessing the adolescent giraffe in full stride. I'm sure they were like....what the hell is THAT! Coach Logan has some work to do....
E also had a great race! This is the first time I've ever seen her actually ENJOYING herself from beginning to end. When I saw her on the switch back on the run, she was running strong and smooth. More efficient in her running style than I've ever seen her. She looked AWESOME! I knew then she was going to have a great time as well.
Ended up with a great time, although the splits look a little off, like the swim was long and the bike was short or something, but here's the digits:
Swim: 17:41 (2:13/M) (see that seems off....I swear I was going faster than that...)

Bike: 36:35 (23mph)

Run: 25:52 (8:21/M)

Total Time: 1:23:16

Division Place: 3rd!!!!!!! YAY!!
E was in the bathroom changing when I went to check the results posting. When I saw that we had placed third, I let out an excited squeal and hustled off to find her. I told her we placed and she got super excited too! Here we are after we found out:

Just for giggles, I checked the times for my age group to see how I would've done had it not been a couples format. Turns out I was 4th in my AG...missing the podium by something ridiculous like 23 seconds. Good grief, the sub 1 minute misses are KILLING ME. But, I don't mind today. I had a really awesome time with the new team on my favorite course. It was a great, great day. (Oh...and beat Ms. Lord by over 3 minutes!)

Thanks E. Thanks T3. Thanks Austin.

Oh...and before I get a nasty note from's a pic of me in the hardware post race:


Erin said...

YAY!!!!!! That was the most fun race ever!!! :) (And it really is just the beginning, ya know?)

MikeW said...

nicely done, stranger! ;)

thans for the HW pic!

Driver said...

Nice work!! Come to Cafe Mundi tomorrow night!!