Barf. This race was full of hypocrite-isms like: 1. I'm done racing at Tempe Town lake. I can't believe people still swim in that nasty thing. 2. Tucson racing events are awful, I'm so over them. 3. I am so NEVER wearing a stupid aero helmet. They are SO lame.
But, sure enough last week I checked each one of those things off my lists of things I'm not going to do. Again, never say never or you'll just end up eating your words.
It seems like I've been on an endless Ironman build including a few century rides including 2 back to back at the Answer, and my first 20mile run of the season (last Sunday). Come to think of it, I don't know that I have EVER run 20miles during Ironman training (at once). The long run went off quite well, I kept my pace easy and got a massage the following day to help speed recovery. I also managed to register for the Olympic race I said I wasn't going to do just a few hours after finishing the run so I guess it wasn't THAT bad.
This race is the AZ club championships so our club leader was not shy with the peer pressuring/guilt. He laid it on, and I sucked it up. Without any sort of taper, although I didn't have to do a LONG ride Saturday I spent Saturday afternoon on the couch in my compression tights after a shorter ride. For some reason I woke up with my IT band/knee area incredibly sore so I was a bit worried about the race. It felt a little better in the am, but was definitely not 100%.
Race morning was a typical CLUSTER. This race director is infamous for putting on less than organized events. He had moved transition to the North side of the lake putting us under the freeway and giving the entire T area shade. It turned out that was a good idea for AFTER the race, but it sure made getting into transition tough.
After a :45 minute delay to the start of the race, I think my wave (first female Olympic) started just before 8am. Does anyone know how HOT it is in AZ at 8am this time of year? Yah, pretty stinking HOT.
Swim: I started up in the front row towards the buoy line. Since we were doing a clockwise loop, I wanted to stay close to the line and try not to swim any extra. I started out like a BAT out of hell in front of the group and could see I was not losing ground until about 100meters when I realized I was KILLING myself and backed it down. I had a couple of girls around me and desperately tried to grab their feet, but it was just a bit too fast for me (should have started out a little less aggressive and probably could have grabbed the feet). I could see a couple of pink caps (my wave) pull out in front and I ended up swimming almost the entire way by myself. The sun was directly in our eyes and the glare of the water made it difficult to see the first turn buoy. About 100meters form the first turn I realized that myself (along with several others) were aiming more towards the SECOND turn buoy and had to adjust my direction and head a bit out of my way to the left to catch the buoy. It appeared that some people didn't catch the memo you have to go around ALL the buoys and I could see several people completely cutting it off. Cheaters. Didn't matter to me, I didn't see any girls doing it, just men in the wave ahead of me….
I got into a groove and came out of the water with 1 other pink cap at 23:56. I'm happy with that! I think I could have been closer to 23 if I stayed on course and grabbed some feet at the beginning. I think my Oly swim PR is just under :23 mins at lake Havasu so this is a solid swim in TTL for me.
Getting up to Transition was a KILLER. It was probably about 200 yards uphill including a set of steep stairs. This time was reflected in my swim split adding to it for an official swim time of: 24:55.
Shane screamed at me in transition that I was in 3rd place. I knew there was a pro in my wave so I figured she was #1 and a little miss speedy girl in my tri-club was #2. I had no visions of beating either of those two at this race, so I thought maybe I could just hold off anyone else from passing me, that would be fantastic.
I have to admit I had a GREAT time on the bike course. I must have actually come out of the water in 4th because I quickly passed one other Oly girl. The course is two loops with so many turns and out and backs it almost makes you dizzy. It does allow you to see who is in front of you. Sometimes you can't tell because of the loops, but since I was the first female wave and you could tell by race numbers who was in the sprint it was kinda fun. I saw the pro on the first out and back section - she was probably already 2 miles ahead of me! Next up I saw the speedy pants girl in my age group. At each out and back I realized I was actually gaining on her! Now, this girl can RUN. Like, at our track workouts she is up with the fastest boys. Yah, WAY fast so
I knew I could never keep a lead until the finish, but I decided to have fun and just go for it & made it my mission to CATCH her. I did it. I finally caught her on about the 3rd mile of the 2nd loop. I told her to stick with me (secret hopes of helping to push her to an overall placing and I could take her AG award) and just moved along.
There was one other girl out there, not in my AG but she had beat me at another race and I knew she had a STRONG bike. While I wasn't worried about her beating me, I kinda wanted to not let her catch me on the bike. I'd be lying if I said I was a big fan of this person based on some snide comments she gave to me at another race, so I kinda had a little ego here. I saw her gaining on me on some out and backs and it definitely fired me up!
I gave it my all on this bike course and am definitely most proud of it! I finished in 1:09:39, fastest bike split in my AG and came into T-2 as the first AG'er. (not officially, because there were other women's waves behind me and they did have faster bikes than me for sure!)… This is a Oly bike PR for me (last Oly was .8 short). So cool tho to be the first AG girl out on the run course!
The run was HELLA hot. I immediately started pouring water on me to keep myself cool. I was feeling a little sluggish and while my legs felt FINE (thank you e21), I felt like I didn't have any get up and go. I made it until mile 2 or so until miss speedy pants caught me (YEAH ME!) and she said she was HURTING. I tried to at least keep her in my sights, but clearly she found another gear cause I soon lost sight of her. I don't actually think I slowed my pace much throughout the 10k, but I just never had any true speed. I felt tired, not sore. Sleepy almost. My guess is I needed more calories on the bike, especially given that we started the race :45mins later. I should have done an extra gel or something when I realized how late we were starting. I did plan on having 3 gels, including a caffeine one for the run but I lost one out of my bento box on the bike so only had 2 (note to self - GET NEW BENTO BOX and stop losing shit). One 20mins into the bike and the other one as I left T-2.
My knee held up on the run, including going down 2 sets of steep stairs and a volunteer trying to direct me the wrong way in the last .2 of a mile where I did a little wobbling trying to get turned back around in the right direction.
I finished strong with my entire team cheering me to the finish. Run time = 51:15. I know I've got more in me than THAT…..
I finished ~4mins behind my AG winner and club teammate. I'm proud of that, she is one of our best female athletes, amazing runner & Kona Finisher. I also finished 7th OA, including the Pro. A fantastic day in my books.
I'm very happy I caved and did the race. It was a fun mix up to the long training, and had such great time with our club! Of course it never hurts being able to give Baxter "his" medal :-) Juliette was also insisting on posing with one too!
P.S. I heart my incredibly nerdy aero helmet :-)