First things first: I am very tired. If it doesn't sound like I'm happy, I AM VERY HAPPY with my race because it shows how far I've come.
And you can't see that in my finish time, which was 3:08 (7th place AG). That's not a PR. It's not at all my best time, but sometimes success can't be measured in finish times.
Coach told me this day was going to rough. I trained right through it. Granted, yesterday, I only had an hour workout. Up to that point, I had been doing big training. In fact, I get very little recovery this week with a 13:45 training week.
Coach don't play.
Because she said that, I was mentally ready to handle anything thrown at me. If I needed a day to be mentally strong, this was it.
Somehow....last night, I set my alarm for 10 minutes AFTER I was supposed to leave this morning. Imagine getting up an hour later than you expected. I was in full on panic mode. I threw everything into the car. I grabbed breakfast "to go". I grabbed water and tried to remember all the little things I needed.
When I got to the race site, I was a wreck. I don't usually get nervous before races, but I couldn't calm down. I felt physically sick.
I thought if I could just get into the water, that would calm me down. It didn't completely take away the nerves, but at least I felt better. Swimming is very methodical for me. The entire process is very zen-like and calming.
Next, something happened with the swim. I didn't hear the announcement....something about missing buoys or something. Instead of having the normal buoys, we had to aim for the one one OUT THERE. We would have the help of a kayaker, who would lead us.
So....here's the deal. I don't get stressed over swimming, under any circumstances. When I explain what happened, I just went with it, but Mr. Tea said there were people getting out of the water in absolute tears, completely frazzled.
I'm going to try to keep this concise: The swim is an out and back, get out of the water, turn around, run back in and do (for the most part) another out and back.
However, because of the buoy issue, we had about 500 people all swimming in different directions, depending on whether you were coming in or heading out.
That means at any time, you could have a head on collision with someone in the water.
I want to stress something. RD's do the BEST they can, but sometimes even they can't predict craziness. I personally think he did a bang up job. It was a tough situation.
For the swimmers, it was absolute chaos. The buoy that we were aiming for was in the sun and laying down, so it was almost impossible to see when you are laying...say....in the water.
Anyway, I managed a pace of 1:31. For those of you who know me, that's no record breaker, but it did give me 2nd place AG for the swim. EVERYONE was slow.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the swim. I thought for sure I was swimming at 1:47. It really felt slow at some points.
The Bike was my problem today. Now that I look back, in my rush to get to the race on time, I didn't pack appropriate fuel.
This bike course is one of the hardest in CO. It might actually be the hardest bike course because of the unforgiving hills.....oh....and the 13 mile climb on the return.
Coach and I had a race plan and a race plan for the heat. (Since it was supposed to be around 90degrees at race time).
I felt great on the bike....until I got to the halfway mark and realized I was almost out of fuel. I grabbed a bottle of water, but I knew I needed calories. I was, how do the young people say it?
No. Actually, that's NOT what I thought. I put my head down and gave it everything I had. All I wanted to do was lay down and take a nap. I was SO tired, but I kept going after the hills with whatever I could muster.
I knew I was out of calories. I'm out of water. My garmin is beeping at my to drink.
Dude, I would TOTALLY drink right now IF I HAD SOMETHING TO DRINK.
As I'm getting ready to pull into transition, I remembered that I had a giant bottle of water in transition. (THANK GOODNESS FOR GRABBING EVERYTHING I HAD).
Bike time: 1:24 or around 17.8mph.
I didn't get the swim I wanted, but I got a swim that I felt pretty good about.
I didn't get the bike I wanted, and I didn't just "get through it", I fought for it.
I'll be damned if I don't get the run I want.
I went to transition. I took more time than usual because I drank the entire bottle of water. I threw down some salt tablets and a gel. I grabbed two more gels and head out.
Coach and I had THREE run plans today.
Based on my current situation, I knew the more aggressive plan was out the window.
I opted for plan 2, knowing that I was going to feel some pain today. This wasn't a specific "pace" plan. Rather it was, whatever I run for miles 1 and 2, I had to do for miles 5 and 6 with a range of :03-:05 seconds.
DONE. That's what I will do.
Because I was dehydrated, I stopped at every aid station and grabbed 2 cups of water, drank it and started running again.
Mile 1 was around a 10:37 pace, mile 2 was 10:40.
Hell yes. I can do this. I am not stopping for any reason.
My plan became: hold pace, smile, hold pace. When I thought "this feels a little hard", I smiled and pushed on.
And the damn thing worked.
I can't call this run my "ideal" run where "YES! I FINALLY ATE PAIN." That didn't happen at all. What DID happen was that for the first time EVER, I HELD PACE. I DID NOT SLOW DOWN IN THE OLY 10K.
THIS IS FAHKING HUGE, PEOPLE. It's the first step for me! Next stop: NEGATIVE SPLIT, BABY!
Every mile came in, 10:37, 10:40, 10:46, 10:41, 10: 42....and then of course 10:00 for the last .25 miles.
I'm in shape to run faster than that, but I need to take the steps to get me there. I'm just not going to go from running 11:30 10k's to 9:37. I need to learn how to deal with the process of getting there. Remember, Coach and I only started working on this after The Peak which was in July. In a few very short weeks, I've made huge jumps, not just in pacing but in maintaining a positive, get'er done attitude when things don't go the way I was expecting.
It would have been very easy for me to get frustrated with my bike (given that's pretty good strength of mine), but I didn't. I just battled through it, knowing that today was going to be the day that I fought for my run.
I guess that's it. That's why finish times don't really tell much of a story.
I didn't PR the overall race, but I felt better about THIS oly than any other oly I've ever done. Every time I race, another piece falls into place.