Monday, August 15, 2011
Race Report: Luray Sprint
Ok- this race was a long time coming, and I wasn't sure it would ever happen, so this will be a long race report. It has been a rough year. Some of you know all of my medical issues and injuries, which have been frustrating and emotional at times. Ultimately, I am just thankful that I could race this season.
Goal for the race: Finish (Being someone who needs a more concrete goal, I wanted to finish within 2 hours)
Things I knew going into the race:
1. My swim fitness is not anywhere near where it needs to be, but I will get there.
2. I was really looking forward to rocking my new Kestrel on the bike course.
3. I needed to win the mental game on the run.
The weather forecast was not good (50% chance of thunderstorms all morning). It was overcast and raining when I left home at 4am for the 2 hour drive to Luray. The rain was intermittent, but the fog going up over the winding mountain road was enough to get me nervous.
I checked in and got racked. (I was at the far end of a rack in a less-than-optimal spot). I had a trash bag to set my gear on (folded in half so I could cover my gear if it rained and at least keep my shoes a little dry). It was during transition set-up that I realized the value of those pre-race "I forgot my [insert important item here]" dreams. It lets you work out all the anxiety. I didn't have any pre-race dreams, and therefore was really worried I was forgetting something.
I think I was the only person praying the race wasn't wetsuit legal. I have an incredible TYR Cat 5 wetsuit, but hadn't ever tried it on (after all of my issues this year, I wanted to get back to "fighting weight" before trying it on). Wouldn't you know- wetsuit legal race. I got the most fantastic pre-race pep talk from Tommy (who was headed home from working a 24 hour shift). He reminded me that this season should be about determining what I need to work on for next year, and not about finishing fast.
I got into the wetsuit, and it fit like a glove! My only race injury was self inflicted, when I punched myself in the jaw while pulling up the sleeve of my wetsuit (slippery sucker).
750m- 18:57 (28/39 AG)
Yes- that was a horrendous swim. Thanks to my awesome teammate Andree, I just finished reading "I'm Here to Win" by Chris McCormack (2010 Ironman World Champion). One of his phrases (my favorite from the book) is "embrace the suck". Essentially, there is a part of every race that sucks. Know it, and embrace it.
My first 25-50 meters seemed great. The wetsuit was fantastic, I was swimming along, but there was lots of contact. Then I felt this incredible fatigue in my arms. I know I haven't been swimming long distances, but what the heck?! I was ready to quit before the first buoy. Then I started breast-stroking. Not leisurely breast-stroking, but I'm going to hunt down some slow freestylers kind of swimming. Periodically I tried to swim freestyle, but for some reason it didn't work. I knew I was fatiguing my legs, and by the last leg of the triangle-shaped swim I was doing all freestyle. I don't know what happened here, other than the fact that I need to get my act together and swim A LOT more. I think the swim time included the run across the beach and up the stairs to transition, but I'm not sure.
T1(2:28, 11/39)- I was exhausted from the swim, and honestly had a hard time getting my legs out of the wetsuit. After that, I got my helmet and shoes on quickly and ran out on the bike (I was about as far from the "bike out" as you could get).
Bike 17 miles (1:03:42, avg 16mph, 11/39)
I raced the Luray Olympic two years ago, so I knew the course. The bike has a lot of false flats, and a couple of good hills. It also has some fantastic flats and downhills that were awesome on my tri bike. I passed several of the women in my age group, and no one from my AG passed me, so I considered that a "win". I don't have a computer on my tri bike yet, so I was going purely by how I felt, and estimated distance/time. The last hill is wicked (and I am learning how to tackle hills on a tri bike vs my road bike), but having Team Z there cheering everyone on was a huge help. I passed one girl right before the turn back into the park. I felt a little bad about this, but it wasn't an unsafe pass and I didn't think I should hold back just because we were nearing the end of the bike.
T2: (1:35, 21/39) Not sure what took so long here, except a long run with my bike in transition, and getting used to the laces on my Avia Bolts.
The Run: (28:44, 18/39)
The run is where I tend to lose the mental battle. It is an out and back, with a few decent hills in each direction. I told myself I would not walk. I pushed hard to the turnaround. I pushed up the hills (thinking of Andree's feedback when we ran together in Puerto Rico). I knew I was on target to make my goal of completing under 2 hours. I made it to the turnaround, and past the two mile mark. I had First Endurance Liquid Shot with me for a little oomph. One on of the hills, I felt something in the bottom of my shoe (I thought a stone). Stopping was the biggest mistake EVER. I had to fight hard not to walk after that, as my right glute (which gives me trouble because of arthritis in my pelvis) kept tightening up. I did walk a couple of short sections, and wished I had never stopped. Again, the crowd definitely motivated me. At 2.9 miles I thought I was going to vomit or pass out for sure, then at 3 miles I made the last turn and something clicked. I sprinted the finish (I actually passed a woman right before the finish- she was 1 second behind me in the results). It was nice to see Ashley (awesome Rev3 staffer) and Krista from She Does Tri at the finish. :)
It wasn't pretty, but I definitely embraced "the suck". I was glad Tommy was home watching the kids, but definitely wished he was there for a hug at the finish line. He has been by my side through so much this year, and finishing this race was huge for me. I almost cried, but instead plopped down in one of the kiddie pools they had filled with ice. :) This is a great race. (Small town feel, minimal swag, but nice venue and nice people).
Final Result: 1:55:23, 13/39 in my age group, and gloriously happy to have been able to race in 2011.