A certain someone I know (better known as Big J) pretty much trademarked the phrase "go big or go home." From delicious wine to all out family dinners to the motor home parked in the dirt lot on the "hot corner" at IMAZ for spectating.
Last Saturday I borrowed the phrase.
On a whim I decided to participate in a local triathlon after many failed attempts at getting someone to join me this coming weekend in Lake Havasu. I checked out last years results to see how many people participated, if anyone I knew raced that I could ask about, etc. I didn't get a whole heck of a lot out of that research, except seeing that it was a pretty small race with a lot of newbies, then some really fast locals that do the shorter distance races as well.
I headed down to register at one of the LBS and asked a few questions like you know, "where is the race at?" and "how do I know when it's my turn to swim." I was actually laughing at myself asking these questions, but like I said, this race was on a whim.
I was assigned a race number in order of people that registered. LOL. Literally. As of 2:30 on Saturday afternoon I had been assigned the last race number. I texted my coach and she said something like "perfect, you can perfect the art of the chase."…. Gotta love the coach's sympathy and the 17hr training week/taper she gave me :-) Actually, it all made me kinda laugh and I got home and said, well I do always swim better when I have someone to chase, so here we go. I looked at Shane and said, "eff it, I'm going for overall."
DON'T ASK ME WHERE THAT CAME FROM. I really pulled that outta my white you know what. Sure a girl can always hope she'll maybe have a good race, maybe get an AG award, but Overall?? No, that thought has NEVER crossed my mind. Shane just nodded and said, All RIGHT!
And, there in lies the infamous "go big or go home."
There is something to be said about an unplanned, spur of the moment & shorter distance race. No pre race nutrition worries, or a whole lotta stuff to pack. Honestly my biggest worry was what to wear. I wish I had the confidence and kick ass body to pull off racing in a swimsuit, but I'm pretty sure that is just never going to happen. Even after an embarrassing T-1 time that was equivalent to an IM transition. But, anyway…. I don't remember the last time I did a race that wasn't wetsuit legal so the outfit under the wetsuit isn't an issue. I finally settled on a swimsuit top and tri-shorts and I 'd put on my tri-top /tankini thingy - big mistake trying to put on an additional bra type thing over a wet bra type thing with wet hands. Just FYI.
I drove out to the race which was about an hour away at dark o'30 so I could get my bike and stuff ready and be out of transition by 6:30 like the paper said I had to be…even tho I wouldn't be getting in the pool until like 8:30. CLEARLY I didn't get the memo that you could pretty much show up whenever.. they let you into the transition as soon as the kids race was over at like 7:30-8am. Yes, I would have liked those extra hours of sleep… yet at the same time watching those little kids swim/bike run & transition SO fast was absolutely priceless.
I didn't really know anyone doing the race, saw a couple of my local clubs kits, but didn't recognize the people. I did however find the infamous king of "fresh and loose" and my new e21 teammate Steve Rink. I'd read some stuff on FB about how he and a few other fasties were wearing some specially made speedos with some catch phrases honoring the life of our local running hero, Sally Meyerhoff for the race. It wasn't hard to spot him in the pink Sally socks that have been appearing everywhere here in the Valley. I quickly introduced myself to him and met a few others that would be out there racing naked and in pink.
I did find out I wasn't last to start, I was right in the middle. Perfect. The swim was in a pool set up long course with 8 lengths. We did a 400meter serpentine swim, got outta the pool, ran back to the first lane jumped in feet first and did it all over again x4. You know, I actually had fun with it. The lanes were wide enough passing was no problem, and if nothing else I got a kick outta passing people in the pool. It's kinda my comfort zone. However, then we'd get to the wall which would be jammed up with 3-5 people at a time and well it was just funny trying to get over to the next lane, push off and go go go again.
Before the start of the race one of the fasties who typically wins these races said if you can do this swim in 30mins or under, you are doing WELL. My swim time which would normally piss me off for this distance, 30:xx. Again, I laughed.
T-1 was embarrassing, and I was happy to be out on my bike! 6 loops of 4 miles. So, THIS is what it's like to do a CRIT, kinda… I felt pretty strong and just tried to keep my pace above 20mph for the whole loop. My legs felt like bricks thank you super special simmons taper very much. In fact, I was pushing so hard my quads actually cramped. WTF? I don't cramp. I'm guessing it had something to do with having to pull myself up and out of the pool 4 times?
No worries, I popped 2 magic seaweed pills and was good to go. I felt pretty good heading into T-2. Only passed by a couple of boys (who you will see all of in the OA podium picture below) but no girls. I wondered if I was out in FRONT? Bike time was 1:06. Based on last years times I was thinking maybe 1:10ish so I was really happy.
The run was a 2 loop 3 mile run on dirt. Of course I didn't know this until I started running and the dirt just never ended until the last half mile on each loop. Oh boy did my legs feel like hell. I had hoped to run between 7:30's and 7:45s but every time I looked at my gamin I was seeing 8mm+.. After the first out and back I saw 4 girls behind me, most of them looking REALLY strong.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't almost give up right there. I was pretty sure I was in the lead, which is a small miracle in itself… but I've been up front in a few other races (not overall, but in my AG) only to be completely run down by the fasties. I felt defeated and was less than a mile into the run. The first girl passed me just a couple minutes later flying. I desperately tried to find another gear and follow her but I just didn't have it. I refused to look behind me to see who was coming next and just kept going. After about 2.5miles I finally got my legs back an was able to pick up the pace a little bit. On another out and back I saw that I had actually held off the other girls that I was convinced were going to pass me. That was all the motivation I needed.
I pretty much bitch slapped myself and thought what the hell was I doing out here if I was just going to give up? I work my ass off every day to make the progress I've made in the past couple of years and who's to say I don't deserve to actually SEE the results? Sure I love the training and the camaraderie and everything that goes along with it, but I have also worked SO HARD so why not see what I can do?
I did however notice that the girl behind me had a higher number than me, which meant that she started after me so she most likely was actually ahead of me… I stopped looking back. I ran as well as I could and as soon as I got to the pavement areas tried to put more time between myself and the girl behind me. I suck on dirt runs, but I was definitely gaining speed on those pavement sections! On the second loop I was able to see it had actually worked and unless one of us changed our pace by like a minute/mile I was going to stay out in front, but unfortunately I didn't have quite enough road to make up enough to beat her time wise.
I finished the run in 48mins and held on to 3rd place overall, just ~:90seconds behind 2nd place. The two top girls bike+transition time SMOKED ME. In fact, their bike+T times were faster than all but 3-4 of the boys. Pretty impressive.
I'm really happy with what I did out there on Sunday. Sure it was a small race, but those 2 girls were STRONG. In fact, the OA Female was 5th OA including men. Not to mention, she was incredibly friendly and sweet and cheered me on the whole run. Gotta love that spirit! It gave me a lot of mental breakthroughs I think I was needing.
Next up, Oceanside 70.3! My goal = to not fall apart in the run, and not die in the Ocean :-) Baby steps.