Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Step Back and Harvest Moon

It's September and lots of you have finished your seasons or are about to go into that scary place called off-season!  If you are thinking about a coach next year, I have a few spots open!  Send me an email (my address is to the right under coaching), DM me on twitter, or just leave a comment here if you'd like to discuss.  If I have any more spots open at the end of October, I will post another reminder!  

Was it just Friday that I actually stated out loud and on "paper" in this blog that I was feeling ready for Kona?  Silly, silly, silly me.....why would I ever put that out there!  Even if on Friday I did feel ready.  I know better than that - it's almost like a jinx.  Because today is Monday and there is no way I am ready.  No no no.  OK, I am 2/3's confident.  I am 1/3 a total mess, not confident and wondering why the heck I signed up for this thing!!

What happened you ask?  Oh, just a half iron distance triathlon yesterday.  A lovely, local race just 20 minutes from home called Harvest Moon.  A race that takes place on roads that PIC and I have ridden time and time again.  And almost run off the road time and time again.  (seems the folks out east don't "appreciate" cyclists and have a fondness for staying on the correct side of the yellow line)  I love this course!  It was windy though so fast bike times were not going to happen.  Last year, I did the aquabike so maybe I didn't give the race the proper preparation it deserves.  And I have just been tired.  All week.  But whatever.....

Here's the race report.
A gorgeous, windy morning

Michael was racing the aquabike this year, so the entire family headed out the door at 6:00 or a bit later.  So I was a tad bit rushed when we got to the rez.....there was a bit of traffic and my wave was at 7:30.  Doing the math, I realized my warm-up might be compromised.  I rushed to transition, Katy from KE (get used to this name....she was everywhere on Sunday!) bodymarked me, I did a quick set-up and started putting my wetsuit on.  But I had to use the potty and the lines were long!  I finally got in the water and did a bit of a warm-up but with the wind blowing it was warmer staying in the water - and then they delayed the start 15 minutes or so.  Guess I should have stayed in the potty line:)  I finally met up with PIC since we were in the same wave and saw Lauren too.  It was great to hang out with them before the start. Time to race!!

Swim - I was super excited to be in the first wave.....nothing like open water!  Until I realized that meant there were no swimmers in front of me (duh) and we were heading directly into the sun.  So I was going to have to be a bit more on top of sighting than usual.  I counted the buoys and knew the general direction but it's always a different story when you get into the water!  My fast swimmer friend Kathleen was racing and we lined up together with a couple of the elite men at the front.  I knew she wouldn't whack me (or at least that was what I was hoping) but I wasn't sure about those crazy men.  The first few strokes were mellow and I was almost lulled into thinking this would be an easy start!  That was when I received the first blow to the head.  On the right side....it wasn't Kathleen:)  This elite guy just wouldn't give me any space!  Kathleen on my left, lots of kicking in front, and this guy kept hitting me on the right.  As usual, Kathleen took off in front of me to the left and broke free of the crowd.  I was still dealing with the man who wasjustooclose.  He finally dropped back but then I was "all by myself"  (sing the song everyone).

It looked like Kathleen was heading to another buoy but I was fairly confident in my direction even though I had to sight a million times.  You would think that after the turn buoy (I was on-course) sighting would get easier.  But it didn't.  There was some fairly good chop and the only buoy I saw was for the outgoing swimmers.  Fortunately, Katy from KE was in a kayak and kind of blocked me from heading to the wrong buoy!!  THANKS!!!  But I was also confused because she was leading me but Katheen was in front - there is no way that I'm the lead swimmer, right?  But I couldn't see her so I figured she was swimming like a 23 or something.  As I swam to the beach, all of a sudden there she was!!  We exited out of the water together and ran up to T1 together.  She looked at me and said she made a wrong turn.  Bummer.  We high-fived over the timing mat and were 1st out of the water and on the bike.  Pretty cool.

Bike - It was windy out east today so I knew that times would not be as speedy as last year.  And because I know this course, I knew exactly where the "ride" would begin - the road back to Quincy from Bennett.  It seemed to take forever for my heart rate to come down to a reasonable range - that run up to T1 kills me every time!  On the out and back section there was a decent cross wind and I just smiled that it was a windy day - good Kona race practice:)  My legs weren't as fresh as I was hoping for the first part but I patiently waited for them to feel better.  My heart rate was in the right place finally and my watts were starting to go up - good direction.  Everything was great!  I was smiling and people on the course kept yelling first woman - kind of an odd feeling to be out front but strangely cool!  But I saw PIC on the out and back and knew I had a target on my back so that kept me nice and motivated.  Honestly, this was a very uneventful ride.  My legs never felt great (not like Boulder when they felt like butta) but my watts were stable and so I was cool with that.  PIC passed me at mile 45 and we played just a quick round of cat and mouse!  Fun!  And, there was Katy from KE again cheering us on! Those last 10 miles I felt like I started dragging just a bit and my left hip was being cranky.  I kept thinking of my last few runs off the bike and how stellar I had felt and told myself that was how I would feel today so I was looking forward to the run.

T2 - I have decided that I love sitting down for a few quick seconds to put on my shoes in a half!!  That way I don't have to worry about possibly falling over due to unsteady legs after 56 miles.  Maybe next time I'll bring a chair and set it up next to my bike.  That would be great!
All smiles!  And look how pale I am??! What happened to that nice summer tan?

Run - Oh, the run.  The run.  The run.......I was all smiles coming out of transition and I was feeling pretty OK, waved to Troy and the kiddos and got a nod from Chuckie.  Got my belt and hat on and tried to settle into that first mile.  First mile was good, not overly fast by any stretch of the imagination but decent.  I thought I could settle into a pace 15 seconds slower but that was just not to happen.  I always seem to get a bit of a breathing cramp coming out of transition, and Sunday was no different.  But this time it wouldn't go away.  And it was on both sides, not just one.  Very annoying.  So I slowed down hoping it would release.  It did just a bit.  Tried to pick up the pace.  Nope.  Cramp back.  Slowed to a walk.  Cramp faded.  Started to run, cramps back.  And so it went for the next 5 miles.  Walk, Run, walk, run.  I drank water and gatorade at every aid station.  I seriously considered DNF'ing because I just really didn't want to walk/run for 13 miles.  And I felt tired.  But I have never DNF'd and I'm just too stubborn.  Around 5.5 miles, I was fooled into seeing the turnaround but made a deal with myself to run to the turnaround and back without walking regardless of the cramp situation.  I knew it would be the fastest way back to the finish.  But I did it.  And I tried to do it with a smile!  It was so great to see so many friends on the course - that really is the best part of a local out and back race! And, of course, Katy from KE was cheering everyone on from the run course - love that girl! The cramps finally gave way but by that time my legs were so heavy that I felt I could barely lift them (my stomach is still sore from the cramps on Sunday!!).
Heading to the finish and surprisingly still smiling!  And look how tan I got in those hours on the run course!

The result?  My slowest half to-date.  To say I'm discouraged is just a bit of an understatement.  But, it's two days after the race and I'm getting over myself.  I know that when I get off the plane in Kona, I will be ready. There are a couple of hard weeks left........and I will be ready:)

Now, here's the fun part of this race.....the slip 'n slide at the finish!!!  Although I had no interest in the slip 'n slide, my kids would not take no for an answer.  They ran me through the finish line (clearly NOT an Ironman event) and basically herded me to taking a dive:)

Thanks Troy for taking care of the kiddos and the fantastic pictures!
Charlotte, Annie, and Isabelle playing around in the clean water......imagine how that water looked when I jumped in...ewwwwww.

Oh, and the results:  6th female overall, 2nd age group.
Not my kid but love this picture with PIC's kiddo Annie

Congratulations to Peter and Cody!  They had great races and are well on-track to their countdown to Ironman Florida and Arizona!
Peter on top of the podium!!!  
And congrats to Michael too.....he loved the aquabike!!


Michelle Simmons said...

Argh! Well, look at it this way... you got your crap race out of the way. Phew! ;) Rest up and you'll be GOOD TO GO in a few weeks! You are one of the people I am most looking forward to meeting in Kona... maybe because we have the same name? Lol. We should get together for a morning swim one morning during race week! We'll chat over coffee at the floating espresso bar!

Anonymous said...

I love reading your race reports! I'm sorry the run was no fun, but props to you for still finishing strong and not DNF-ing. Best of luck in Kona! I'll be rooting for you from the mainland :)

goSonja said...

I'm very glad you didn't DNF too, very good PIC. You were damn hard to catch on that bike, and I can tell that you are fit. Once your noggin absorbs that fact, you'll be strong like bull at Kona. 3.5 more weeks...booo yaaaa!!