Sunday, July 29, 2012

The "Uh, WHUT?!" Race Report

I will only warn you once. This is going to be as long as an Ironman Race Report.


and, there might be some curse words.


800m Swim/20 mile Bike/10k run


The ONLY reason I signed up for this race is because it has a 10k at the end. No joke. I hate 10ks, and that is exactly why I ran this race.

Of course, that means a few days before the race, I start freaking out. 


OMGOMGOMG! I can't run a 10k. No way. I can't do it. I hate them. OMGOMGOMG. I won't finish before the cutoff. OMGOMGOMG. I've bitten off more than I can chew.


Of course, I have a dear, sensitive coach....who I can go to in these times....and he'll offer me chamomile tea and meditation cushion, and we'll talk through it.


So, I go to my coach. I show him my big puppy sad eyes. (That get's EVERYONE).


and he says:


WAH WAH WAH. The race is hard. WAH WAH WAH. Just do the stupid thing.


UH WHUT?


grumblegrumblegrumble


HE WAS MY OUT.


HE WAS SUPPOSED TO SAY: It's ok just back down to the shorter race. You won't be a lesser person in my eyes.


NO.


Instead, HE says: I have this super secret goal that I'm not going to tell you until you finish.


UH WHUT?






what the hell is that supposed to mean?


Nevertheless. race day shows up magically.


I gotta tell you this. I loved this race. I will do this race again. Race director is fantastic. 


BUT....BUT, they've outgrown the location, methinks. The swim was overcrowded and the transition area was very interesting. After I saw how transition worked, I decided to log my times as soon as I stopped the activity versus when I stepped on the transition mat. I did this because I wanted a good time comparison. I'm not to the point where I will *place*. I was out there to run my race. If you look up my times, my swim will be slower. My bike should be accurate because I was in the first rack right at bike in/out.


The Swim


THIS WAS INSANE. Of course, I was ONCE AGAIN in the last wave. I'm telling you, when I find where these RD's live, they are going to have one hormonal 45 year old planted outside their homes.


OH>>>>PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT>>>>>>>>
If you are a slower swimmer, please, please, please line up in the back. Ain't nothing to be ashamed of, really. You'll pass me on the run. No harm no foul.


Here's how you know if you SHOULD line up in the back: IF AT ANYTIME YOU START DOING THE BREAST STROKE, YOU NEED TO LINE UP IN THE BACK. 


>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


I'm in the front. NO. WAIT. I WAS in the front. Until I got pushed aside by a woman who looked like she could kick my ass.


What am I going to do, right? I got behind her.


The chaos starts. It's crazy. The lake is FILLED with athletes going all different directions. CHAOS.  We haven't even made it to the first buoy, and I get breast stroke kicked right in the ribs. 


OH.SO.HELP.ME.


I can't get away from the crowd. I decide that as soon as I reach the first buoy, I'm just going for it.


then, I got kicked again.


OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD, I AM SO GOING TO KICK SOME ASS. IF ONE MORE PERSON DOES BREAST STROKE.....


We turn the first buoy, and I see that if I veer slightly to the right I can go around the crowd. AND IT WORKED....for about 2 minutes. When, I caught the women's group that left 5 minutes before us.


This, of course, is SHEER JOY, having just escaped from alcatraz a few meters back.


All of a sudden, a hole breaks free. I AM FREE. I HIT IT. Pretty hard too. At this point, I have a lot of build up from having to hold back. 


When we approach the beach, I swim in as far as I can (long story). I stand up, and my watch says: 12:14.  


I run right past, Mr. Tea. He doesn't even see me. He's looking for me in the water. So, I say, "Hey good looking." He jumps and says, "How'd you get here so fast?"


What can I say? I'm total STUD.

UH WHUT?  My goal was 15:00. That was a conservative goal. my aggressive goal was 13:00. You never know what the situation is going to be. Seriously, I think I can do it in 11:30.





SCORE 1 for the TEA-ster


THE BIKE, BITCHES


I wind my way through transition, up the stairs, get stopped by the a pack of strippers (wocka wocka), slowed down by walkers. 


HELLO. I AM RACING. It's taken my 6 years to get here. MOVE YOUR ASS.


The bike. I grab my bike. Mr. Tea yells at me "There's only one way to ride. FAST."


yes. I am fast on the bike. But I have a confession.


I have a SWEET bike. Really. I can't take all the credit.


I'm thinking about the "strategy sheets". Warm up for x number of miles.


I don't want to. What if I just go hard from the start? 


Ok, let's negotiate. Take a mile. Don't go too hard, but hard enough. After that, we'll call it a day, and you can just go for it.


And that's what I did.


In the first mile, some smart aleck chicka passed me.


Um no. that's not how we play this game little girl.


That was really the turning point of when I just said "HIT IT".


I would have to say the OUT was more downhill than the return. I averaged 25mph to the turnaround. 


the word of the day was: chick.chick.chick.chick.


Yea. "Hey baby. What's going on? yea. You started 10 minutes ahead oh me on the swim. AND OOPS....look what's happening." (wink)


I just love that. 


When I pulled into transition, I checked my avg speed: 21.1


My goal was 20.5.  Although, I still feel I have a 22 in me. I need to take what I did today and do it for a sprint. 


Even though this was a HUGE PR for me, I KNOW I can still go faster. The only way I can explain it is that when I get off the bike, I'm not gasping. My heart rate is under control. My legs aren't shaking. 


I CAN GO FASTER. PERIOD.


THE RUN


Formally known as THE SUFFERFEST.


At the beginning of the season, all I wanted to accomplish was being faster in the last race of the year, than I was in the first race of the season.


Simple goal.


I NEVER EXPECTED to get faster race to race. It was so out of my scope of thinking.


Still, this is a 10K. My last 10k (olympic race) was a few years back, and I ran it in 1:14:58.


With this damn super secret goal on my mind, I decided to plot out the race like this:


1.5 miles: 11:30 pace
1.5 miles: 11:00
1.5: 10:30
1.5: 10:00


This is aggressive for me. I don't bother to do the math on those paces, but I really wanted to beat 1:09 which was my last 10k (swim before but no bike). Then, my CRAZY GOAL THAT THERE WAS NO WAY IN HELL I WAS GOING TO HIT was: 1:06:20


When I started running, I was running too fast. I knew it. I had spun my legs so fast on the bike that it rolled into the run. I kept having to say SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN.


It didn't work very well. I did not accomplish the negative split that I wanted.


I did, however, end up keeping my pace almost consistent for the entire race. That's pretty cool for me.


When I hit the halfway point (two loop race), I looked everywhere for Mr. Tea. He's ALWAYS there. There's no sign of him. I look at my watch.


OH. Are you kidding me? He's not here because he's not expecting me for another 5 or 6 minutes.


With a mile left, I gave it everything I had. with  a third of a mile left, I see Mr. Tea. He's cheering. I can't smile. I am running so hard that I think I'm going to die. 


I'm good at math. Really good at math. But when it comes to racing, my abilities revert to pre-school level. 


So, when I look at my watch, I am expecting to see 1:09. 


Instead, the watch reads: 1:03. That means I *did* manage a very slight negative split. SLIGHT. I am so close to the finish. I can feel tears stinging my eyes. I can't help but think "I've never run this fast before. Not even in a standalone 10k."



I was approaching the finish. There were SO MANY people there. Usually, everyone is gone when I finish. they were cheering and screaming. And then, I heard the RD call out my name.


And, I remembered MR. Tea saying "You pull up too fast. RUN THROUGH THAT FINISH LINE".


With what feels like my heart in my throat, I keep running. RIGHT through the finish line. 




I finished in 1:04:43. That's a 10 minute 15 second PR in the 10K portion of a triathlon.


10 minutes.


UH WHUT?!


Then I check my garmin. Finish time was 2:20 ish. I just can't believe it. 


I'm thinking and shaking my head and trying to figure out how I just did that when my last Olympic race was 3:30. HOW is that even possible? I would be happy with a 5 minute improvement. Even when you add in the additional swim and bike, I still would have had around a 45 minute improvement. 


Mr. Tea brought me water, and he says "You had the funniest look on your face. You looked like you were about to cry."


"Me? Cry? Nah man. I was just running hard."


I don't even know what to expect for the rest of the season. I just know not to expect anything and just go with it on race day. I've always been afraid to set goals because I never managed to hit them. So, I'd set really low goals. Then, at least once in awhile, I'd feel good about a race. 


I joke around a lot about placing, and don't get me wrong...it IS exciting. But I just want to run MY race. Whatever I can do THAT day, that's what I shoot for. I have time goals that I think are realistic. Isn't that what's important? It doesn't really matter if someone else thinks my goals are too far out there.


If I *think* I can reach them, then I will.  I don't really care about what other people think of my goals. I KNOW they are crazy. I KNOW. But I really think I can reach them or they wouldn't be MY GOALS. They'd be somebody else's goal. 


When I say, I WILL place in my AG. I MEAN it. It might not be this year, or next year, but it will happen.


One thing is for sure. I'm certainly not afraid to put in the work to get there. 














7 comments:

Julie said...

I'm speechless...what a race! I don't know what I'm more impressed with the swim, bike or run! No doubt in my mind that you will be able to reach your goal and place in AG!

LBTEPA said...

wow. Wow. Wow. That is all.

Carolina John said...

I long for those bike speeds. Great race! You really pulled out something special there, and it has to make you feel good.

Stefanie Frank said...

This is damn inspiring work Tea. Proof that breakthroughs like this are possible with enough dedication, work and heart.

So proud of you!! BASK IN IT. Then get to work on the next one. :)

MAJ said...

HELL YEAH!!!!!!

Alili said...

Damn girl! You are kicking butt and taking names. chick.chick.chick. Love it!

Jimmy said...

Bad Ass! That's all there is to say!