Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rock Cliff 2012

Rock Cliff Race Report
1 mile swim, 24 mile bike, 6 mile run
Pre Race:
Did all the usual pre race stuff that I normally do, you know, start your morning with a nice big green protein smoothie, help friends evacuate from a fire zone, move 3 families into the house for the night, pretty standard stuff really? :)
All joking aside, there's a strange thing that happens when you find yourself in a position to help your friends, it's a little peaceful feeling for me that lets me know everything is going to workout juuuust fine. So even though Jared and I found ourselves thrust (jumped into willing) into the middle of chaos Friday morning, it didn't faze me.
I arrived up at Rock Cliff feeling excited and energetic and grateful. It was so beautiful and I found myself wrapped in a moment and spell bound by God's awesome gifts. So the rest of the pre race stuff didn't even really matter! I was suffering a deep stabbing pain in my hamstring and knee, feeling the drive up in my super bad back and sleeping on a soaking wet air mattress in the back of our Suburban and I couldn't have cared less.
What's more I was motivated by the numerous volunteers that were provided by Travis Hess of the Hess Cancer Foundation and by Travis himself, and the many other inspirational triathlon stories like Racetri's director Aaron Shamy and his inspiring little boy and Emily B. who finished last year (after being pulled from the course) and 1st in her division this year! This is what I LOVE about triathlon, why I keep coming back for more body punishing races, to be inspired. Rock Cliff delivered in a big way, and here's the scoop...
The Swim: 1 mile open water, wetsuit required
Our serendipitous Friday morning couldn't have been timed any better for this race really. I was FREAKING OUT (inwardly) over the distance. I hadn't trained for an Olympic distance race and was fighting shoulder and knee pain among other "discomforts" I was having on the bike.The distraction was just what I needed to turn my mind off of the negative self doubting thoughts and onto the needs of others. It was calming and brought my mind back to 'center' on the important things in life which I found very helpful.
Staring out over the beautiful Jordanelle Reservoir I didn't have a nervous quiver detectable in my body, total zin mode...rare for me.
The horn blew and I dove into the water intent to draft the first person that leaped out in the lead, that person just happened to be Laura Harris, a Coach Keena athlete and a very fast swimmer. I trusted that she would keep a fast pace and stay on course so much so that I didn't even spot until we neared the first buoy. Pretty good strategy, worked like a charm until I got a little too close just after the turn and touched her toes! She took off at that point and as much as I tried I couldn't catch her. At that point I was pretty much alone in the water, a lovely way to race a tri swim. It may play tricks on you if you don't swim straight, but I'm pretty much an arrow in the water provided the wake and current aren't too strong.
Swimming silently through the water was peaceful and I found my groove a just tried to stay relaxed, keep my elbow high, finish each stroke and enjoy the swim.
Approaching the end of the first 750 meter loop I heard the familiar percussion of a floundering Clydesdale (something I would greatly like to avoid) and I searched the water ahead to steer clear.  With an enormous whoosh of his legs I was startled off course as I wasn't expecting him to appear so suddenly. Not a big problem, but I lost some momentum I now had to work to get back.
I think that may be the cause for the extra 'boost' I felt through the second lap of the swim? No matter, the faster I swim the better I felt and the more I was enjoying myself. I passed many of the male swimmers on my second lap and even got to smile at a team mate as I passed by, recognizing his Leukemia Foundation wetsuit I was tempted to yell, "Hi Mike!” into the water to see if he could hear me. :) At that point I had one turn left and a sprint to the boat ramp and I was so happy I was nearly grinning into the water, I had nearly swam a mile at race pace effort and was passing people! (That’s a huge boost in confidence that's always appreciated during an endurance event.)
Coming out of the water and up the boat ramp I felt strangely...good. I glanced down at my watch and blew into T1. Final swim time: 30:33 2nd in division, 6th overall female, not baaaad.
What can I say, I LOVE to whoop up on the Jared in transition. :) He has made it into a race within a race for me and I just love to see how efficient I can be...and of course if I can beat him at his game I'll take it! T1 was near flawless, everything went pretty smooth. I'd love to give more details and what I think really makes the biggest difference in my times getting faster...but I have a husband to beat. ;) Final T1 time: :59 1st in division, 1st overall female, 3rd OVERALL. I'll say I have the 4th triathlon discipline pretty well oiled. :)
The Bike: 24+ miles of hills, wicked crosswinds and beautiful scenery
Starting out on the bike I was in a great state of mind and very happy with my swim and T1. I feel great and had a good pace going up and out of the Rock Cliff area. I knew the course was going to seem really long and it was all uphill for the first 13 miles out, not difficult climbing but just enough up to keep my heart rate really high my pace began to drift. My batteries in my cadence sensor had died on my last long ride and I had forgotten until race morning. This is a bad thing for me as I rely on my cadence feed back to manage my gears better going uphill's. I tend to lighten things up a bit too early when the going gets tough and seeing (rather than feeling) how much work my legs are doing has really helped me break through to the next level on my bike.
Well, life and racing doesn't always hand you lemonade and I was going to do my best to squeeze every last drop I could from my legs. I tried to maintain my mph the best I could and when I got frustrated with the constant up and down feed back of my GPS I decided to just keep pace with the next person who passed me. Well the next person to pass me was team mate Mike and there wasn't any way I could pace him, "Bye Mike!", yeah it was fun to have a lead on him as temporary as it was. :)
The next person was a 53 year old man and we played leap frog pretty much from that point till the end of the race. It made the long process of my first Olympic distance a lot less tedious for a person with my short span of attention. :)
It was also funny, thanks to race director Aaron Shamy for giving Jared and I a ‘Shamy Shout Out’ during the pre race meeting, as one person passed me he nodded and gave me a, "Mrs. Jones.", salutation before leaving me in the dust. I was slightly amused thinking of Shamy's words, "They give 'Keeping up with the Jones' a whole new meaning...” ya dee ya da... yeah, and this guy was not just "keeping up" but LAYING WASTE to this Jones!
Besides having my thoughts to amuse and occupy my mind for 25 miles, I had Jared to think about and nearly half a mile from the turnaround I finally see him blasting down the road. Ohhhh, he's SO CLOSE! If only he wasn't so fast on the downhill I thought I might have a chance to at least hold him and not let him get any more distance on me.
With that in mind I shift into a much stiffer gear and give the last half mile to the turn everything I had. As I was turning however, “SQUIRREL!”, I was totally distracted from my thoughts of just seconds before... "Hey, there's the Barbacoa racing team, they must be training... ACK! Focus Kelly, FOCUS!" "Hmm, I wonder if they'll make them wait since we're having a race on this road and all."... Okay, so you get the picture... A.D.D. much? :)
Well the answer to that question came in the most unexpected way as just after hitting my top speed, post turnaround, the racing team catches me. One of them smiles and nods politely and shouts, "We'll bring you on into the finish!". I yell back, "Not in this race! Drafting is ILL-LE-GAL!” Well, like it or not they passed me and the guy I was leap frogging. Their seamless line of bikes shuffling front to back gently swept past us, silently and effortlessly, gliding down the smooth surface of the road.  It was a struggle to NOT draft them as even 4 bike lengths back I could feel the break in the wind and the pull of their bikes. I moved far right of them to make sure I wasn't going to get penalized and I fretted until they made enough distance that I could feel the wind push against my wheels once more. Both my leap frogger and I could not believe how fast Team Barbacoa was riding and I felt silly with all my carbon and aero junk being passed with such ease by a bunch of roadie's just out for a stroll!
Well, after we could no longer see the racing team we continued exchanging the lead until the road hit a nice downhill stretch, I tucked into my aero bars, put my head down and made a good enough gap that I didn't see the guy again until the run.
Coming into the park I hit a max speed of 49 mph and one serious adrenalin rush surged through me. I slid out of my bike shoes, and after some hesitation (where's the dismount line?) I flew off my bike practically over the timing mats. Final bike time: 1:20.06 2nd in division and 9th overall female, not as great as I'd have liked but not bad.
Since Jared and I always seem to manage a sweet spot on the bike rack I literally jumped off my bike, took a few steps and tossed my bike on the rack, it was pretty sweet. But in my excitement to be off the bike and onto the run I completely lost all since of direction and had NO idea which way the run out was! Being quickly pointed in the right direction I took off with a T2 time of: 41 1st in division, 2nd overall female and 3rd OVERALL! Daaaang, I am loving that flying dismount! :) (And of course I have my little secrets that help make for a quick T2, shhh DON'T tell Jared!)
The Run: 6.2 miles, 2 loop difficult course on all terrains
The END.
Just kidding, boy do I wish that's where my race finished...on a GOOD note, but it wasn’t. Heading into the race I was yet again suffering left leg issues that were nagging me on the bike and followed me right into the run. Right off the bat I was passed by several people I had fought so hard to catch on the bike. It didn't matter what I did on the bike really, if you can't run, you can't keep a lead and the longer the race the larger that lead needs to be. My one comfort was Jared, my talented husband who can out swim me, out bike me, and when just running... outpace me. But as everybody knows, Jared is not a distance runner and I had seen him running out while I was biking in and I knew he was no more than a mile ahead of me on the run.
That little bit of information was nearly my undoing. Catching glimpses of him I knew I could catch him if I pushed myself. But unlike Grand Junction were I didn't know my run course and paced myself just in case, I DIDN'T pace myself AT ALL. I ran my first 5k loop a lot faster than I should have and it caught up to me around mile 4 were I started feeling my hamstring seizing up on me and a cramp in my calf. The pain was shooting threw my knee and every step was agony, I slowed to a walk to recover what I could of my race and attempted to down a GU pack. My body was getting to the point where your stomach wants nothing to do with anything heavier than water and I knew I was going to have to force it down to make it the last couple miles to the finish. So I choked it down and took a big swig of water in hopes the nutrition would make safe passage to my stomach and STAY THERE. I walked a few more steps just to be sure nothing was coming for revenge and then took off again, agreeing with myself that I would walk through the aid stations and then run as far as I could.
Well at the last aid station my leap frogging bike buddy catches up to me and we make small talk up the big hill. Again, I'm confronted with the curiosity spurred by race director Aaron Shamy and I am being asked all about my husband and who he flies for etc. a somewhat welcomed distraction from the pain that is my left leg.
Well, to make this painfully long story a little less long, I finally see Jared again, but this time I'm walking and he's running. My hopes of catching him are dashed and I resign myself to just finishing strong. I had been caught by another Coach Keena athlete and we were encouraging each other on threw the last mile of the run and I briefly remembered I was supposed to be "having fun". :)
Fun is relative in triathlon.
I was having fun, but my left leg was not. My muscles were screaming at me, my knee was screaming at me and now in the last mile of my run I feel the familiar sting of a torn blister right in the arch of my left foot. I couldn't get away from it and I couldn't out run it, so I just kept running hoping to find the finish line before I couldn’t tolerate anymore self inflicted "tough love".
Running into the finish I half expected to find Jared, hands on hips, with a proud 'I beat you again' smile on his face but he wasn't there, so I threw my hands up in small self victory celebration and felt the satisfaction of another goal accomplished. After a little show for the Go Pro, I threw myself under the closest table (and out of the sun) to regain my strength and peel my feet free of their confinement.
Final run time: A dismal 1:02:06 2nd in division, 21st overall female. Disappointing, but in the end I am happy to have finished strong.
Post Race:
Race results were coming out slowly but with the little results we had Jared knew he would take 2nd or 3rd and I was in the same spot. The awards were called and I had finished 2nd in division with a total time of 2:54:23, Jared had finished 3rd and had beat me by 20 seconds.
After the finish we went about helping the volunteer force break down the course and headed back home for R&R and a movie night out with our newly acquired refugee's.
For the Record...
Later that evening as race results were posted online (a very speedy posting, thank you Racetri!) I was looking to see where I had placed overall and by how much I had lost 1st. I was doing the usual comparison of times when I notice I can't find Jared's time anywhere. I looked again and again starting just above my name and tracing a finger up the page. I opened my mouth to say, "Jared, you're not on here!" just as my finger landed on his name.
You really would have thought it I had just won a lottery and you surely would have thought the worst of my outburst, unless of course you knew me and you knew Jared. :)
I had beaten 6.8 (for the record) seconds. :) All is fair in love and racing, and two things I know for sure, I love Jared, and I love racing him...but I LOVED the expression on his face when he realized he'd been "chicked" by his wife.
Final times:
Kelly 2:54:23.0 2nd in division, 14th overall female, 49th overall
Jared 2:54:29.8 3rd in division, 37th overall male, 50th overall
The Race Company & Venue:
I can’t say enough about Racetri and the amazing string of events they’ve put on this year; it’s been a blast racing and volunteering alongside the Racetri crew.  The setup, awards, tech shirts, finishers’ medals and communication have been FANTASTIC!  I love the addition of the ‘Go Pro’ camera at the end of the finishers shoot to capture the moment, although I’m sure when Rock Cliff’s finishers video is released today I’ll be beet red!   (Cameras and Kelly- a toxic mix, don’t believe me?  TLC has further evidence of my crimes against camera lenses!  You’ll see, just please, try and pretend it didn’t happen.)
Anyway, Joel and Aaron have been great as the co-talking-heads of Racetri and we are officially Racetri junkie’s, I’m sure we’ll have a notch for each Racetri event held this year at the end of the season.  So really, what more do you need?!  SIGN UP AND COME PLAY!
Rock Cliff was a beautiful place to hold a triathlon; the roads were in pretty good condition and the traffic well managed by the local sheriff’s department.  The water temp was perfect for a wetsuit swim and the run course, while difficult, keep it interesting!
Safe to say the Jones' will be coming back for more Racetri events. I mean, I have to have the full set!  Check out this sweet blingin' finishers medals!
Ice Breaker, Salem Spring, Rock Cliff
Next Jones Family/Racetri stop: Herriman Black Ridge , then THE UTAH HALF and
...last but not least, Camp Yuba!  You really should come play. :)

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