Well, I didn't win, didn't even come close (which isn't really a surprise) :). But I gave it everything I had and left it all on the course, except my race bib... :)
Once again, the week before a big race I managed to burn out my legs on training days that didn't have to happen.
Monday, this week I went down to Salem with a bunch of Coach Keena athlete's and did the whole course start to finish...or did I? Turns out we cut the run course short by, A LOT.
No problem, I knew the course and I knew what to expect, and I hate being so darn RIGHT all the time! :) I'm almost glad we DIDN'T do the whole run course Monday, it's just better that my legs don't know what's coming some days. :)
Tuesday, Jared and I did a little trail running in prep for Grand Junction next weekend. It was a short run but it was extreme hills and extreme terrain. Not something I've ever done before without a horse doing the leg work for me! My knees, back and ankles were hammered pretty good on that short run and I spent the evening icing and rolling my legs and hoping I didn't ruin my up coming race.
Wednesday, I did the 'Never get Hurt' workout from the Runners World webpage. It added to the leg problem but I really didn't feel like I did a whole lot and didn't really over do anything, so I skipped the ice and rolling (mistake)!
Thursday, I must have left my brain on the shelf in the closet when I left for the days Tri class bike/swim. I think, but I can't be sure, that I told Jared I wasn't doing anything too crazy, BECAUSE...I DIDN'T WANT TO RUIN MY UP COMING RACE! Ok, now I'm sure I was operating on low level brain waves because, for whatever reason, when they said we're riding up AF Canyon I hauled booty up that canyon trying to catch Jared an the rest of the lead pack. I completely disregarded my own instructions. To make matters worse I hit the swim with everything I had. Hypoxic/sprint drill's and mass start (Tri simulated) laps battling my husband Jared, brother in law Jeremy and 3 other training buddies. All serious athlete's and STRONG swimmers. It was tough but fun and I tried to keep in the thick of it, can't be getting whooped up on in the swim!
That night I spent icing my knees, massaging my sore arm with the Biofreeze and rolling out my now unbelievably sore legs.
Friday, we "rested". If you call moving a neighbors fridge, yard work, shopping, taking the family to lunch and a movie and spending hours setting up for the race "resting".
We rolling into bed just after midnight.
|Ready or Not!|
And this is where I'll get down to race business. (expression becomes somewhat serious)
With wetsuit on and goggles adjusted I was so ready for the swim to start! I got myself right up to the front of the pack and half marched, half danced. with anxious anticipation. Just before the start 5 ladies came around and stood in front of me and a few others in the front of the pack. I wanted to give them a heads up that I was about to bulldoze over the top of whoever I had to when that horn blew but I didn't want to make those kinds of friends. :)
When the bullhorn sounded it was a frenzy of arms and legs and I swam right over the top of several ladies.
My advantage in a mass start swim is my size and ferocious kicking and pulling. It's not pretty, but we're not painting ceramics we are RACING. Game. On. >:-)
The rest of the swim was pretty good. I felt like I was swimming a little slow but I caught the Clydesdales well before the first buoy so I thought I must be cruising along pretty good. I made a nice straight line from each buoy and just after the second I thought to myself, "no one wins in the swim, don't get too excited!". Just as I was contemplating my pace a lady swam perpendicularly over the top of me. I was REALLY surprised as I watched her swim across to the fourth buoy cutting the course by roughly 300 meters. I was bugged by the whole thing and spent way too much time watching her swim away from the me. As I indignantly went about my swim, I was bugged by "the nerve" of some people. I let my mental game slip and slide, I kept telling myself she must have decided to call it quits, maybe she got confused, perhaps she panicked and was headed for a kayak?! Anything was better than thinking the worse of someone. But until I hit the beach my thoughts consumed me -a very regrettable lapse in my game mode. Swim time 14:42
Running out of the swim I heard people cheering for me, offering help with my wetsuit and lots and lots of cow bells! It was so much fun I immediately put everything from my mind and got my game face back on. I ran over the timing mat and looked at my watch, 14:11(actual time 14:42), aaaaalright then, I. WAS. BACK. No more head games, let's get it done!
Found my rack, put my bike gear on, (struggled with my shoes a bit) ran out to the mount line. Nothing spectacular. T1: 1:39
|Bike to T2|
I was not. Bike: 40:32
The Run: (Because who cares about my T2 -right? Btw, my T2 was the fastest in my age group) :) T2: 1:05
I head up transition and on the way out a friend of mine, Amber, shouts that I'm the 5th girl off the bike. I pretty much figured I didn't hear her right but I knew just what she meant, HAUL BADDASS!
I ran out as fast as I could wondering how fast was just fast enough to get me up and over the hills I knew where waiting for me. I was holding a 8 minute pace for the first flat stretch and knew I couldn't hold it up the long hills but decided I would just give it everything and hope the aid station would bail me out with some Gatorade to give me a boost.
That aid station was no where in site at mile one. But a fellow Coach Keena athlete, Eric Oscarson was. Now, at first look you don't see a runner, but that dude can RUN! He's lost over 170 lbs training for and racing triathlon's and I will tell you he is an inspiration!
Seeing him up ahead gave me something to focus on besides my legs that were balling up on me. I just wanted to catch him...took me over a mile to finally pass him and just after doing so he started shouting at me. A lady was running me down and he was yelling for me to catch her and not let her go! It was both motivating and crushing to attempt for a brief moment to match her pace...but I don't run at a 7:40 pace when I've just swam and biked and I knew I was going to burn my tank up trying to! I was running on low fuel for sure and my body was crying for something, ANYTHING! It was really hot and I was pouring buckets of sweat and my mouth was parched. Where is that aid station?! I was loosing heart with each girl that passed me but worse than that I was hurting up those hills and not sure if I could hold of anyone else.
But Eric gave me something, he gave me an idea. (insert imaginary horns and devilish smile) I had to do something to hang onto this race.
I was running out of energy and I could feel the wall coming, I knew I would hit it at some point without something but I had nothing. I was at the mercy of the aid station, the aid station that at mile 2, still had not come. But I had an idea to employ for the milking of what I had left! Thank yooou Eric! :)
With a renewed sense of strategy I kept running, planning to give it a fast pace until I was caught by someone in my age group, at this point I had been passed by 3 ladies and I knew I had no chance of qualifying. But that didn't matter to me at that point, my race was now about not getting punked by anyone else!
When I finally passed the aid station I reach for both cups and tossed one on my head and one down the hatch. I THOUGHT the next guy had my precious refueling cup of Gatorade and I pulled it from his fingers as I passed him just about missing it all together.
It was NOT the Gatorade he had said he had in one hand but the WATER he had in the other! DOH!
There would be no relief from the pulling muscles in my legs other than and stretch of downhill road to take a load off. As I tossed my cup in the trash I felt a 'pop' followed by something dropping from my waist. I had mis-clipped my race belt, and remembering the story of a team mate who lost her bib at Salem last year, I hit the breaks to go back and get it. That cost me a few seconds time and all the momentum I had going. Crap! Crap! Crappity, CRAP! That is seriously what I thought, intellectual, I know. :) I should have left it.
Heading downhill I started gaining ground on someone from my age group that had passed me on the uphill stretch. That was a happy, brief, moment as another age grouper passed ME at the same moment! And THAT'S when I made my move.
I sped up and matched her pace and held onto her, planning to punk her in the shoot.
At least that was the plan...
As I hit the bridge we had to pass one very broad guy running down the middle. She got past him on his right no problem, I got hung up trying to pass him on the left AND dodge two very unforgiving iron poles at the end of the bridge designed to keep atv's and other vehicles off. So she got a little further ahead of me than I had planned!
Again, I was met by Amber, who's extremely BADDASS, and she yells at me to "get her!!!" and I'm yelling at myself to GET HER! I crank the engine and hit my sprint juuuuust a few seconds too soon.
5 yards from the finish line I felt it.
My left hamstring and my right calf were calling for surrender, waive the white flag, they were done. I had beaten them down and they wanted no more of it.
I literally felt the strength drain out of my legs like water pouring out of a bucket.
And I missed catching her, by 1 second.
I had been passed by 4 age groupers. :(
Crossing the finish line my legs left me and I spent at least 15 minutes drinking everything they handed me and rubbing my hamstring that was now fully balled up and "giving me what for".
I liked it though. Nothing says you gave it everything you've got like legs that just handed you notice. :) It's nice not feeling like you're going to DIE after you finish, but after those races (like Women if Steel) I second guess that I gave it my all. Today, I will say with 100% certainty that I did. And that's cool. :) Finish time: 1:25.32 good enough for 6th place.
The Race & Venue:
I hate Salem "Lake" or whatever they call it...it's stinky and murky and slimy and I would rather drink molasses than swim in it! But, it's a GREAT venue for an event such as triathlon. It's viewer friendly and a spectators best bet of catching great pics of their racer's in all 3 disciplines. The course is a beast of a sprint but it's done every year by young, old, novice and elite. This course was what started my triathlon journey and while the roads aren't in the best condition and I HATE swimming in duck poo water, I will probably come back for more. That is, if Racetri is running it!
Big shout out to Aaron and Joel and all the volunteers at Racetri, the race was fantastic in appearance, set up and awards. And as long as there are Swedish Fish...I will come and swim in stinky waters. :)