Monday, April 20, 2015

Marquee Triathlon

Marquee is kind of our local season opener! Nothing too exciting or different about this race, as pretty much all of our local races circle the same route, swim, bike run..... All in Tempe Town Lake, all loops on the bike around it with way too many turns and the same circles around the lake for the run!

Let me back up a bit.  After camp I had a note in my training peaks with the race on it and a question mark. I wasn't really into doing the race, but I did want to support my local team, so I was on the fence. Rather than deciding myself, I let Michelle decide. She chose go for it, so we had a moderate week leading up to it where I could work on a bit of shorter speed work to wake up my legs from all of the long Ironman training miles.

Then, I had a little mishap.....I was heading out on my bike for a Saturday ride and just feeling off. I hadn't slept well the night before and my allergies were driving me crazy! About an hour into the ride I got a really bad bloody nose and had to pull over. I don't actually remember what happened, I just know that I lost my balance and my bike began to topple over. The next thing I knew I was feeling this gushing blood streaming down my leg and it was my ankle.  I walked over to a side walk with my bike trying to figure out what to do...I took my sock and shoe off and realized how much blood was actually coming out (it was filling my shoe) and realized there was  no way I could still ride my bike.  I called for a ride and got rescued by Melisa and her boyfriend, and went home to clean up....

After I got cleaned up, I was looking at the wound, and the only thing I can come up with is one of the cogs on my big chain ring punctured it and maybe nicked a vein (hence all the blood).  I had a giant goose egg on the ankle bone and the pain was starting to get bad.

Who knew a tiny little wound could cause so much pain! Over the next few days I obsessed with it.  Now that I was maybe not going to be able to race, I wanted to (go figure). Walking was extremely painful, and any time I got up after sitting or laying down for a while I could barely put any pressure on that leg or pain shot up and down the entire thing.

Each day got a bit better and by Wednesday I was able to swim some without a buoy, and bike without too much discomfort (aside from unclipping). I tried to run on Wed, but I only made it about 2' and couldn't get my right leg to take any of the weight so I was running funny on my "good" side.  I turned around grabbed the dogs and took them for a (slow) walk instead. Thursday I managed to do a short run off the bike (it wasn't pretty), and Friday I went to the gym to do a little quick feet session on the treadmill.  The workout involved a lot of jumping on and off doing short fast sets.  It wasn't painfree, but it did give me some confidence that I would be able to run!

So, after a longish ride on Saturday (first bike date with my man in a while!!)  I headed down to the expo to register!

I had to spend some extra time bandaging up the ankle to make sure that the lake didn't get in it. It was looking much better, but still swollen.  I knew getting in and out of the wetsuit was going to hurt (and it DID), but was super happy I was going to be able to race!

It turned out to be a gorgeous day to race. It was only about 85 for a high vs our normal 90-100 and we even had some clouds on the bike!

The swim went WAY better than I expected. I've learned not to look at swim split in these races as I've yet to have a "fast" swim here. However, I bolted out hard in my wave and while the really fast swimmers were gone I for once wasn't swimming in no man's land. I saw another local athlete who usually beats me out of the water by a couple of minutes swimming side by side me. Eventually she pulled in behind me and I felt little trickles on my feet, but nothing that was annoying or made me scared about the ankle. I continued to stay on the buoy line and swim hard.  As I approached the last 500meters we ran into one of the sprint waves hitting the same turn and it was a bit chaotic. I lost a little mojo and the girl who was on my feet pulled in next to me and I grabbed her feet for the last bit until we split up to get to the bleachers.

I checked my watch as they pulled me up and out of the water and it was just a little over 25'  Not my fastest, but definitely pretty good for this course (and me)!  The wetsuit stripping HURT.  The second they pulled on my ankle it shot some pain up my whole leg, but I knew if I tried to do it on my own it would take me forever, so I just dealt with it and made my way to my bike.  Transition was a bit slow as I took my time to get my socks on right and foot into my bike shoe.... I was afraid if I went too fast I would do something stupid and hurt myself :)

My legs burned a bit as I started the bike.  This was my first race with power so I had a goal to try to hold.  I was only looking at 30" power because if I tried to hold an avg it would drop every time I had to make a turn. It was really nice to not look or obsess over speed to just off effort and power and ride fast. The girl that I swam with was neck and neck with me on the bike so we basically took turns flopping in front (legally). We were both riding completely legal and there was almost this unspoken respect for pulling in front or backing off.

A few miles in my friend and teammate passed me and that was JUST what I needed to fire me up! I spent the next 20 miles keeping her in site and using her as my push. There were 4 of us riding basically the same speed; 3 of us rode totally fair, one not so much.  I've already had my soap box about that though, so I'll drop it here. I made a point to just keep in my head, ride fair and have fun and that is exactly what I did. In fact, this is the most fun I've had on the bike on this course in a very long time. Turns out it was a PR for Olympic (bike) course in Tempe (varying turns, but overall the same courses).

And onto the run. I didn't really have high expectations for the run, but was going to give it what I had. After not really running for about 10 days, and putting in long Ironman miles I didn't have a whole lot of zip!

I eased into a pace that I thought I could hold and after a few twinges of the ankle, it actually felt pretty good! I made it through the first loop with the girls I was riding with in site and one of them slowing. Unfortunately that's where it all went wrong. As I headed up into the park to make the second loop I made a turn and my ankle shot pain that overwhelmed me a bit. I didn't look at the sign (or pay attention at all really) and headed straight into the finish chute instead of making a right and heading back out for the loop... I made it all the way to the last timing mat before the actual finish and realized what I had done. I stopped, laughed, turned around and headed back out. Over all the years I've been racing, and all the many races in Tempe, I have never done this!  All I could do was laugh at my self and try to make up my time. I'll admit I lost my mojo a bit.  I wasn't mad, just couldn't believe I did that!

Around mile 5 I got passed by a good friend and teammate in my age group. It was a little push I needed to help me pick it back up, but in the end it ended up costing me a place. I lost about 90"-2' with my mistake, and with that it would have put me in 2nd place AG, about 3-4 spots overall up and an Olympic PR. 

Overall it was a FANTASTIC day to race with so many of my local friends and teammates. I had a FUN race, and my goal of having a great bike was accomplished. After spending 8 weeks in the gym lifting heavy things way outside of my comfort zone, and pushing pushing pushing watts on the bike, I'm happy to see it is paying off.

It was also a fantastic day for TeamBSC athletes, both of them having solid days in the midst of Ironman training.

Next up, my absolute favorite race, Rocky Point Triathlon!

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