Thursday, April 26, 2012

30 Hours

OK, so here's the actual race report and the ensuing FUN after the race!

The swim.  Oh right.  There was no swim:)  Which is really too bad because I was very excited to get all freaky!

The race started with a 2 mile sprint run.  The pros went off in a mass start first while the age groupers had a time trial start with 2 people starting every 10 seconds.  PIC and I had warmed up on the 2 mile course so at least we knew this part of the course.  Of course, there was still 65.1 miles to figure out but hey, you do what you can!  Anyway, as you probably suspected, the run was fairly flat with a tiny uphill there and back.  On the way it was great - tailwind!  The way back?  Not so much...huge headwind.  The difference for me ended up being 15 seconds per mile.  Anyway, I started out with new friend Dr. PIC. She's a great runner and said she was going somewhat conservatively so I just followed her.

The run ended up being a tad bit longer than 2 miles since I was still around the corner from transition when I heard my watch beep the mile mark.

T1 was pretty simple!  Pop on the helmet, stuff my First Endurance Liquid Shot into my top, and voila!  I'm outta there!

The bike.  I was kind of worried about the bike since the winds had been so fierce all morning.  Was it going to be a brutal 15mph kind of day?  Leaning into the crosswind for half of the ride only to turn around and lean the other way? Would my shoulders be tired from grasping holding onto the aerobars to stay upright?  I had specific heart rate instructions/goals from Coach (one of the reasons for the fire drill for a new HR strap the night before) as well as specific nutrition instructions.  My legs felt pretty good from the start so I took advantage of feeling strong and went hard.  Like I was supposed to do!  Immediately I passed women from my age group that had started ahead of me but with a time trial start I really didn't know where I was at.

The course is flat.  Flat.  Flat.  Which sounds awesome for someone coming from the land of hills and mountains.  There were a couple of causeways that provided a bit of up and down but really it was just flat.  So, I pedaled and pedaled and pedaled.  There weren't many turns so I just focused on heart rate and nutrition.  My only flaw in my prep was that I forgot to pre-open my mocha liquid shot!   And for some reason, there weren't any perforations in the wrap so it took me forever to open it with my teeth.  While in aero.  I would check my speed every once in a while and was surprised to see I was hovering at 21.5mph.  The winds were not effecting my speed as much as  I thought.  And, my hands were relaxed so I wasn't hanging on for dear life.  I certainly knew when I was in a headwind and I'm pretty sure my speed fell to 15 then.  The only other "flaw" I encountered was a course mis-step.  See, I had been passing and passing and had only been passed by some relay cyclists.  Finally, a man with a 54 on his calf passed me and I welcomed the break from the monotony of the course.  I could follow him (legally- duh) and have him act as a sort of "bogie".  But said man took a wrong turn.  I followed him.  D'OH.  As soon as I turned I knew we were off course and he looked around too.  There were no other athletes around to confirm but I immediately turned around.  A couple of minutes later I saw some athletes coming at me so phew....on course.  There was a turnaround ahead and I counted females - only 2. They were either in my age group or older so worst case scenario I was in 3rd.

I caught one of them a few miles later and she was in my age group.  So now I'm in second.  There was another turnaround and I noticed I hadn't made any ground on the 1st place gal and she was just far enough ahead that I couldn't really see her.  I kept pushing and pedaling and eating and drinking.  Remember when I said the course was flat?  Yeah, about mile 40 I wanted hills.  I needed to stand up and stretch but there were no opportunities for that - no turns no hills.  Just keep pedaling.  Finally I arrived back in town and in transition.  52 mile bike in 2:23.

T2 and off on the run.  Yuck.  I did not want to run again.  My tummy was a bit off and worse than that my legs were protesting.  Clearly, I had ridden fairly hard.  OK, Coach said to ease into the first 3 miles see where I'm at and go from there.  Mile 1 7:19.  Hmmm.  Not really "easing" into the run but I'll take it since my legs really didn't feel like they belonged to my body.  Mile 2 not much slower.  OK, I'm liking this pace so let's go with it and just make sure my heart rate doesn't do anything crazy.  I forced sipped my liquid shot every 2 miles.  It wasn't that hot - the wind was still blowing and it was kind of cool - but I still used sponges and water on the head.  Always a good wake-up call.  The cool thing about the 2 lap run was that there were 3 spots to see people ahead/behind you.  At the first one, I saw friend Sydney and she was waving saying hi and keep up the good work.  Really cool coming from someone in your age group:)  At the next turnaround, I was passed by the gal I had passed in the bike - she was hauling ass.  No worries, stay in the game.  I saw Syd and Sonja this round.  Sonja yelled at me to march (something she had learned at the Kompetitive Edge/Newton run clinic the weekend before).  I knew exactly what she was talking about  and it gave me something to think about.  The miles were ticking off all within 20 seconds of the first mile and I was feeling good about that.  My legs had finally come around and I felt as normal as one can that far into the race.  Eat, drink, march, arms, lean.  Find your strong.  Those were my mantras.  Keep going!!!  Sonja's mom had confirmed to me that I was second off the bike so I knew I was probably third but I wasn't sure what Sydney was doing.  And she was getting closer.  I started thinking about Worlds in Vegas - I wanted a slot.  I didn't know how many slots my age group was going to get but I figured 3rd place had a decent chance at one or a roll-down.  That kept me going.  Mile 10 was ugly, I hit the 8 minute/mile mark and had a bit of a cramp.  But 2 miles to go......that's right, suck it up buttercup.  And that's what I did.  My run ended up at 1:41 which I am super proud of......lots of improvement in just the last few months!!
Finishing the first loop.

The fun part.  Sonja started behind me and I kind of wanted to hold her off 'cuz I knew she was coming!  I could tell on the bike that she was riding well, and we know she pretty much always runs well off the bike.  The first time I saw her I thought I had a chance to hold her off!!!  But as I made my turn off the loop course and into the finish I heard her......"Ford" "I was hoping to hold you off!!".  I picked it up as much as I could and she pulled up next to me.  Son: Hold hands down the finish shoot?  Me:  Yeah!!!  So, that's exactly what we did.  What perfect timing!!!  Oh, and that little push at the end?  Probably secured 3rd place!  Syd was 4th only 2 seconds behind!!!

The really fun part.  Seeing friends after the race and doing race recap!
Do you know how many pictures like this PIC and I have?  Typical post-race recap pose!

Kompetitive Edge athletes representing at NOLA!  Sonja and Mark Hillers won overall amateur and Brandon Jessop had an impressive Pro race!

Sydney, me, Dr. PIC, PIC and Hayley.
So, although it had occurred to me during the race that I might not get a Worlds slot, I realized how much I wanted that slot after the race.  Finally, I figured out how many slots my age group was getting.....2.  And I was 3rd.  Darn.  It came down to a possible roll-down.  Right before awards started (and right when they were closing the slots before roll-down) I went and checked if they had been claimed.  NO!!!  So, since I didn't bring a check or enough cash to cover the entry, my sugar mama PIC wrote a check and I'm going to Vegas Baby!!!  I'm very excited:)
Even though 1 and 2  didn't take their slots they showed for awards.  You mean not everyone wants to go to worlds?   Weird huh.  
Thanks as always to my wonderful sponsors!!  Kompetitive Edge has outfitted me once again in the most comfortable tri kit ever (TYR Carbon) and Ryan always keeps my bike running great.  Speaking of my bike, Quintana Roo bikes rock.  That's all.  And they are super duper fast - I absolutely adore my CDO.1!  And Ron and Punk Rock Racing - thank you for all that you do:)  Oh, and the new Mocha Liquid Shot by First Endurance is AWESOME!!

Since this post is getting a bit LONG, let me just say that the really fun part was.....really fun.  New Orleans is everything it is cracked up to be.  I absolutely love the city.  The people of New Orleans are beyond friendly.  And yes, Bourbon Street is, um, quite a place.  But I'm just going to leave you with a couple of pictures because you know the saying....what happens in NOLA stays in NOLA.  Unless you run into them at 5am in the Southwest check-in line.  Ugggghhhh.

And that, my friends, is how you cram a race and lots of fun in 54 short hours:)

The sights and sounds of New Orleans

We'll just call this the third drink.....
A wedding parade down the middle of Bourbon Street

Midnight beignets and beads! Yes, I am shoveling them in:)


Beth said...

What an awesome race!!! So happy for you to see such great improvement and run like the wind! :) Congrats on Vegas!!!

Molly said...

Congratulations on a great race!!!

Katie said...

you are running like a wild woman right now! so awesome!!!

Unknown said...

You are on FIRE! Congrats on a great race and nabbing that Worlds slot!!

Libby said...

good seeing you again and congrats on a great race! for getting off course on the bike, you smoked that bike split! way to go! see you in vegas girl!!

Unknown said...

Way to rock it Michelle!!! Awesome!!! Congrats on the slot to Worlds!!!!