I hate race day. It reminds me how much I hate racing (something I wish I would remember that when I'm getting suckered into registering for this stuff!). I believe those were my first coherent words mumbled before sunrise this morning too. "I forgot how much I hate racing." I don't get excited about finding out just how slow I am compared to my peers.
My body also hates race day....mostly because it means getting up obscenely early and getting up that early makes me physically ill. I'm sure its the nerve/early combo. But it sucks either way. Its like a bad hangover without the fun drinking part.
And I know I am supposed to eat a nice healthy breakfast, but trying to get my body to digest food in the middle of its full on protest about these unreasonable working conditions just isn't happening. I did manage a couple bites of PB&J, and a banana. I considered that a success.
Met up with Erin (yet another freakishly fast friend) at the start. Secured my spot in transition and laid out all my little goodies; helmet, sunglasses, socks, bike shoes, number belt, shirt, running shoes, running hat, extra towel, extra water bottle, and one water bottle for the bike.
Whew...didn't forget anything.
Grab my wetsuit, swim cap, and goggles and head for the porta-let line. Shockingly fast. Always a plus. Almost no time to contemplate why I ever thought racing was a good idea.
Then we head for the water. Ahhh the water....the 62 freakin' degree water. I know I have to get in before the race because swimming in open water flips some freak-out panic switch in my brain already and this will only be amplified by the shock of that cold water. So in a very weak attempt to desensitize my body I slipped into my wetsuit (not nearly as elegantly as I just made it sound) and headed for the swim area.
If "desensitize" means "numb"...well, then the pre-race swim was a success. Too bad it didn't really help my swimming. I don't know why I've got such a mental block about swimming in open water but I have got to get over it already. Its got nothing to do with physical training though so I'm not really sure how to attack the issue....but I think this might warrant a whole blog post on its own....
Moving on then, so I didn't die on the swim but it did take me nearly 13 very long minutes to breaststroke my way around the buoys for 1/4 mile. Yes, you read that right. 13 minutes. I named it "The Slowest Triathlete" for a reason. You didn't just think I was being funny did you?
So I exit the water steamin' mad. Mad that I let my head mess with my race yet again. Mad that now I'm so much more tired than I need to be after a quarter mile swim (uncontrolled breathing and the breast stroke really take it out of you). And I'm even more mad that once again I am nearly LAST in my wave to exit the water.
Well maybe all this anger really worked in my advantage because I was a woman on a mission when I hit the bike course (right after my painfully long transition where I had to try to put on the long sleeve dri-fit I thought seemed like a good idea....ya, notsomuch when you're all wet).
Anger is not really an emotion I latch onto very often. I'm a pretty easy going girl. So this new found anger was a bit of a shock. Even more shocking was the fact that it morphed into a competitiveness I have never felt before. I was really on a mission to pass people. And the inner monologue in my head was not very nice about it. Again, totally out of character for me.
Well whatever hallucinogenic organisms I ingested during the swim that caused this new competitive nature sure paid off. I had a great bike leg. Averaging over 17mph (fast for me) over the 15 miles of fun little rollers.
I set myself up with a few goals and managed to accomplish them, for the most part:
1. Catch the two chatty-pants ladies in transition who were lolly-gagging around like they were just finishing up senior lap swim mid-day at the local pool and were off to do their gardening. These ladies were NOT finishing ahead of me. (managed to do that and then some....passing all but two women in my wave and registering the third fastest bike time. not bad.)
2. Not let Erin pass me until the run. She's a speedster and started a few waves behind me in the swim. I knew she'd pass me eventually, but I wanted to hold her off as long as possible. (she did pass me but only with less than a mile left in the bike. again, not bad)
3. Stay in aero as much as possible. I seem to train on very hilly courses so I don't get to use the aero bars that much. I wanted to get as much time holding that position as possible. (managed to stay in aero for nearly the entire ride, minus corners and one of the hills)
So I was feeling pretty proud of my effort on the bike as I headed in to transition to the run. But the run was a different story. As I turned onto the flat, gravel, out and back trail (runs really don't come much easier than this) I felt like I was running in jello. For the effort I was expending my legs sure weren't moving that fast.
My goal for the run became, just get through it. If someone from your wave passes you then hang with them.
Hmmm....good theory. But when the next woman in my wave finally caught and passed me I had nothing left. No hammers to be found for dropping. I just watched her go. Under a mile left in a measly three mile run and I couldn't find it in my legs to stick with her.
So that was a bit of a downer. But overall I felt pretty good about the race. I gave it a good effort (aside from the swim....grrrr, swimming) and it was good to get a little race day practice in before the big show at Lake Stevens.
I've got one more tri schedule before the 70.3 so hopefully I can get my head on straight about swimming somewhere in there.....we'll see.