Monday, October 6, 2008

Rockin the Longhorn 70.3

Wow. Let me just first say thank you to all my friends, teammates and coaches for being ALL OVER the course yesterday cheering me on! That was so awesome and inspiring!

Especially on the run course, everytime I thought about slowing down there would be a friend on the side hollering, clapping, cowbelling, handing me electrolytes and just supporting me along the way. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

And, wow, did T3 put the TEAM in Team Triathlon Training! There was T3 blue EVERYWHERE!!!! That freakin' ROCKED!!

Now, on to the report.....

I felt pretty good going into the race on Saturday, save a few pre-race jitters...until they escalated into MAJOR jitters when they announced that the race was going to be wetsuit legal. WETSUIT LEGAL? DECKER??? How can that be possible. Shit. Shit. Shit. I have a love/hate relationship with my wetsuit...mostly because whenever I wear it, the water is cold...and as you know, I don't do well in cold water. And once I had decided NOT to do the Austin Tri this year, I put my wetsuit away until January (when I start training for IMCDA!) and literally have not been in it OR cold water since CapTex (the debacle). I could have really freaked out, instead I thought about the Ironman and how on that race day you just have to be prepared for whatever the race gods throw at you that day (wind, rain, cold, flats, loss of nutrition, cramps, etc.) and play through I figured this would be good practice for that. Yes, my eyes are already on the IM prize. :)

I am a pro at the clusterf*ck known as racing at Decker Lake. I arrived early and got shuttled over to the race site with plenty of time and no problems. I mean it's not like I was going to be sleeping that morning anyway, so might as well get an early start and save the stress and headaches for those other folks who were not so fortunate. (I bet they'll be early next year though!)

Got into transition, set up my gear, hit the potty (several times of course) and meandered down to the swim start. Met up with fellow T3ers and chatted and was quite relaxed before the start...surprisingly so. So much, in fact, that Erin, Michelle and I were dawdling around when we noticed our swim wave was in the hole and getting ready to get in the water!! So we hustled down (shit...just realized I left my flip flops at the race..dang it!!), dropped my shoes and sidled into line. Saw Coach Pain at the start..she gave high fives all around. We waded into the water and positioned ourselves in our favorite least I did...I lost E once we started walking into the water.

I found my favorite outside edge (even though I was getting hung up in the hydrilla) and posted up there. I was excited about the course because it had several things in my favor..or rather that I like. First, it was a counter-clock wise course, which is perfect for me because I breathe on the left. So, I get on the far right hand side and with every breath, I can see the buouys and all the swimmers..including my fellow ladies in the pink caps. It was a great way to swim and I rarely sighted...just kept my eye on the ladies leading our wave. The second piece is that is was a nice triangle shaped course...lots of long straight aways, which I love. I'm pretty straight in open water, so I wouldn't have to sight a bunch. Just keep my head down and swim.

A big group took off really quickly, but 1.2 is a long way to go and my swim mentality generally is build and finish strong... I had quite awhile in the water to catch them...I wasn't worried. And soon enough, I pulled up on the outside of them and just matched them stroke for stroke. We were really moving and plowed through many in the wave(s) ahead of us. I think there was one or two who pulled away ahead of us, but then a gaggle of us all came out of the water together at a 1:24/M pace in about 27:00 minutes (which we found out later wasn't quite right..the course was short that would put my pace at 1:41/M....which I will TOTALLY take!).

In T1, I was completely jazzed about my swim. No wetsuit issues and a speedy time. Awesome start! And just a couple of bikes missing from my rack. Sweet!

On to the bike. I had a good, uneventful ride. I passed some folks, got passed by others. Passed Blythe (she must have been talking on the phone or texting or something, I'm not sure..) who then later came roaring past me with Erin in tow around Mile 15. I tried to keep up with them for a bit, but then said to myself, "That pace is NOT in your race plan. Today's race is NOT about position, it's about time...stay with your plan. STAY WITH THE PLAN." So I dialed it back and hunkered down to my steady pace.

I THOUGHT I was following my nutrition right on plan, but somehow I got behind and entire bottle of electrolytes. (I usually do one bottle per hour) I only went through two...but I was on the bike for just shy of three hours. Ooops. Yep..I was going to pay through the nose (or rather the legs) for that later...

However, I came into T2 after posting 2:53 on the bike, which beat my time of goal of 3:00 on the bike! Sweet!! I went a little harder than last year and then I think my race wheel gains were negated by the additional wind this year, so I think my 19.4 mph (vs last years 18.4) was legitimate fitness gain! YAY!

On to the run! The first 4-5 miles went great! I actually thought my garmin was broken because it said my pace was somewhere between 7:55-8:15! What? That couldn't be right...but I felt great running....until the leg cramps starting showing up. Holy crap...those HURT! I've never had that happen before. And all I have to say is THANK YOU to all the teammates, friends, coaches and everyone else who yelled, encouraged, sprayed, gave me water, ice, gatorade, electrolytes and anything else to keep me going through my leg cramps. I would not have crossed the finish line without you. Seriously.

Even though my overall run time was abysmal and did not meet my time goal (sub 2:00), I was very encouraged by the pace I was running in between leg cramps. I feel pretty confident that when I get that nutrition hiccup taken care of, I will get that time right where I want it!

In the end, my goal was to go 5:3x and I made it! 5:38!(Perhaps with a little help from a shorter swim), but whatever...I'll take IT!!

Now to make a call to Meredith before my Vegas trip next week. Holy crap. I have to do another 70.3 the weekend after next?? Who signed me up for all this craziness??? Oh wait..that was me, wasn't it. Someone save me...from myself.




With the exception of the swim, you and I had a carbon-copy day out there. Who knew quads and calves could cramp like that?!?! I thought I had little aliens attacking my muscles! Like you, I'm so thrilled with the day overall. Unlike you, I get to put my bike away for a while :-) Good Luck at Half-Maxx (where another PR is in your sites)

Priscilla said...

Wow, way to go!!

shubbe said...

I'm not sure how I managed to not see you at all until afterwards, but maybe you were done by the time I started my run. :)

Congratulations on gutting out a tough run to finish out a great race!

IP Maggie said...

Awesome job D!!
what a great bike split. your whole race was phenomenal!
glad to read things went so well for you. beating your goal is always a plus.
you're going to rock the course at halfmax.

erin said...

yay D! next stop (post halfmax, galveston, and halfmax again)... IMCDA!! WOOT!

Ron Bennett said...

Way to go D! You did the Rams proud, bell bottom proud!


Erin said...

Way to work it! Congrats on a great race and qualifying! That's are awesome!