Usually when I write these I follow my day from beginning to end. This race report is a little different. I am starting with my overall thoughts, because for this race that is the most important part to me.
This is my longest race to date. My goal was to finish in under 3 hours, but I really wanted to be done in under 2:45. I finished in 2:46:22. I am VERY HAPPY with this. In fact, my REAL time may have been better as the RD was yelling at us when we got out of the lake that one of the buoys had drifted and we had probably swam even further. I think two of the buoys drifted, but more on that below. Also adding time included the pouring rain and stopping for extra fluids.
This race was a conquest. Simply completing was the goal. I could not be more happy. After I cooled down, I stretched and had a snack, then I checked the tentative results and was disappointed because I was 6 of 7 in my AG. This is when I decided to head back to camp to take everything down and pack up. CB was already starving and soaking wet from standing in the rain for several hours. After I got home I saw that the tentative results were only showing those who had finished at that time. I was actually 6 of 10 in my AG. This made me feel better.
I had been worried about my fitness compared to my peers going into this race. I had a hypothesis I based off of the first 10k I ran and I was hoping it would not be proven. When I ran my first 10k I had ran several 5k's and just a month earlier had an AG 2nd place at one. I did not plan to place at a 10k, but thought I would hold my own. I ran it and ran HARD. I got back to be the next to last non-walker to finish. I was happy having completed it, but learned that everyone runs 5k's- children, grandmothers in wheel chairs, pregnant women pushing double strollers, etc. To run a 10k fast took a SIGNIFICANT jump in fitness and not everyone is ready to make that jump so those who do make a more serious field of competition. I was afraid this would be similar.
I was scared this would be the same, but i don't think it was. Despite so many of my competitors sporting their mdot tattoos, wearing their 70.3 race shirts, and racing in Ironman tri suits, I still finished 68th overall and less than 30 minutes behind the average time for the top 10 men. I know what needs improvement. I take this race as a MAJOR VICTORY.
OK, my filabuster aside here is how the day went:
Pre-Race: Our campsite had the nosiest frogs I have ever hear. CB and I struggled to sleep because of how loud they were. At 04:50 thunder and lightning started. At 05:30 it began to monsoon. I finally fell asleep and was awoken by the alarm at 06:00. The rain had stopped, I got up, had two homemade whole wheat pancakes with peanut butter and honey, then I drove to the race site to drop my bike and claim a good spot on the rack. I returned to shower, dress, and get CB. The hot water was not working so I brushed my teeth, washed my face, dressed and got CB.
Got back over there with 30 minutes until transition closed. I had a little more work to do than usual since I usually rig some of my stuff before I leave home (or the hotel). I set up, had a half banana and a gel. Then went to the water to warm up. I swam a bit and it was glorious. the water temperature was beautiful. The water was dark but had enough visibility to see just in in front of your hand when it is fully extended. I got out soaking wet, hugged CB (she was SO mad), and hung out by the starting corral.
I will admit upfront that this is the hardest endurance thing I have done to date! THIS KILLED ME! I can do 1500 meters in a pool in 30 minutes (sometimes more, sometimes less). Wanting to avoid the meat grinder for my first open water swim I placed myself in the back right and slowly entered the water to let the heard thin. This was not the best as I ended up behind the guys who intended to swim breast stroke the entire way. It was hard to get past them. Once passed them I started into my groove. Unfortunately, I could not see the buoys and would swim breast stroke myself every time I needed to look for them. I also would get startled every time someone would run into me and swim breast stroke for a few and then transition back. Honestly, I swam over 50% of this race in breast stroke. Once I would get back to front crawl I was actually more relaxed, but I could feel me legs falling underneath me. At the halfway buoy lightning, thunder, pouring rain, and slight chop started. This continued to the end. The buoy at the first turn was off according to the race director, but when i made the final turn I noticed that I was not in line with the buoys leading to the swim finish. I think this one was off too. My garmin had a distance closer to 1.1. miles. I got out of the water and ran for tranistion, uphill a few hundred meters. I put my garmin on my wrist and my hear rate was 170.
I gave myself a pity C for this leg, similiar to when someone is failing a class but the teacher passes them because they tried hard and were active in class.
Long for me, but good considering. I drank a quarter of a bottle of nuun, put my helmet on, drank another quarter, and left. Due to the rain I did not flying squirrel onto the bike, or so the kick-push mount. I simply ran out pulled to the side and got on. I was annoyed by the people who STOPPED at the mount line to mount. If you stop AT the mount line I am standing behind you waiting to pass the line so I can mount.
Bike- My HR was still 170 and I needed to ride the first half under 144. I concentrated on spinning to get it down. I also already felt hungry. I wanted to save my 360 calories for the last 20 minutes so I grabbed my emergency gu pack and had a quick snack. By mile 3, I was spinning slow, being passed, and my heart rate was still at 165. It wasn't coming down. There was a pack of about 30 riders who went out in front of me and they were breaking away. At this point I made a decision- FUCK IT- Go get 'em! I worked up momentum, hit the big ring and started taking them down. Shortly after I started my attack there was a spot on the road where someone had spray painted GO FAST!!!- I loved it. By mile 10 there were only three left in front of me, and there were times I was going over 30 mph. I was taking in HEED every ten minutes as planned, but with the inreased exertion level only had a few sips left. Then the clouds parted and the sun shined down on the asphalt in front of where it read H20 ahead! PERFECTION. I missed the first one, but got the second one. First hand off ever! in the last half I slowed down but I maintained my speed at or over my planned average of 18.3. The last few miles contained a long, low grade climb that killed my speed. I had my fuels as planned and felt good. I had an average speed of over 20 mph. This is faster than any sprint I have ridden and twice as long. A for effort, a minus for not following my plan.
T2- 45 seconds
My shoes had puddles in them, it made me laugh.
This was an out and back, two loop course. I liked it because I knew what was coming at every point. They had water, heed, and ice. Ice was great for pouring down my suit. The rest was great too. My planned pace was 7:30. Off the bat I was running at 08:30 and struggling and I had to pee BAD. I planned to just be comfortable for the first half and push the last half. The second half came and I was still struggling. I was keeping good form, arms pumping and standing up straight but it was labored. I was concentrating hard. I kept yelling at myself saying "this is a race, not a training run- PUSH! PUSH! PUSH" In the last mile I decided that every time my garmin pace alarm sounded, I would run fast for 10 strides. This worked to improve my average speed. At one point I ended up running next to another guy and he yelled at me for it, so I took off again. I dug deep for a final 50 meter charge. It was slow, but I think that my fast bike split MORE than made up for it (by my math)
Post-race: I grabbed a water and went to float int he lake. Had half a bagel and was disappointed, this race advertised for the best post race food in the series. WHAT A LIE!
Post-post-race: We stopped for cheese steaks when we were done. Delicious. We got home and Cb made pizza for dinner. I ate half and felt like a bottomless pit.
I had a good time, a great race, a fun learning experience, and plan to use it all for improvement. Sights are now set on August.