Tuesday, February 14, 2012

just du it

Saturday was my first race of the year. And yes, I know this is going to sound very "sh#* triathletes say", but this wasn't an A race.  Or even a B race. It was more of a hard training day race. Just use it to get a good solid day of work in and see where I'm at.

One of the things I really like about this race was the start time. 9 a.m. Oh yeah. So even though it was an hour away, I still didn't have to leave my house until about 7:30. With as small as this race was (20 women pre-registered for the du), I figured a half hour was plenty of time to get set up, warmed up, and get ready to go. I was right. I arrived at the race with a light drizzle/mist coming down. I wasn't sure what the day would bring, as I knew there were some big down hills and I'll be the first to admit I'm hesitant enough on wet roads.

I parked about 50 yards from transition, wheeled my bike over and took a spot on the women's 40-49 rack.  Along with all of about 7 or 8 other women. Yep, small race to be sure. Didn't take long to get set up and ready to go, including a warm up to get the blood pumping.

At a couple minutes before 9 the race director called us all over to the start line and counted down the time for us. And we're off! And of course, I immediately fall into the trap of starting off too fast. It was an out and back course and I tried to pull my legs back in and stick to my plan. Although I had my Garmin running, I really wasn't paying any attention to it. It was just there to track the data and I could look at it later.

About 1/3 of a mile of the course, each way, was on a dirt trail/road. On the way back I adjusted my foot fall to avoid a slippery rock and felt the ground just give way under my foot. I don't know how I did it, but I managed to pull my foot, which was half sunken into a hole, up and out without falling or twisting my ankle. (Altho, even a couple days later I can feel something, tendons or ligaments, strained on that side). A guy running next to me gasped and asked if I was okay. When I said I was he said, "Wow, that was close!" You're not kidding! But soon enough I was on my way into transition and onto the bike. (Fastest T1 for women too, thankyouverymuch!)

I had ridden the three bears route before, but it had been a while. I have to say that while the three bears part of the course were about what I remembered, some long up hills, some nice down hills, the rest of the course was more rolling than I remembered. I passed a few people climbing, would get passed by some folks descending (is it legal to pick up some bricks at the top of the hill and drop them at the bottom?!?!). I played leapfrog with one woman and managed to pass her on the last big down hill and didn't see her again on the bike. Mostly I just tried to keep my tired legs moving, up, up, up and recover but still pedal some speed on the down, down, down. Stay off the paint (slippery), watch for the turns. My legs were definitely feeling a bit trashed by the last of the hills and I was pretty sure the next run would be ugly.

Mama, Papa, and Baby bear.
I don't think I'd call any of them 'just right.'

I came into transition, racked the bike, pulled on my running shoes as best I could with cold hands and got moving again. At least I think I was moving. I couldn't feel my legs at all. I don't think they were all that cold, just trashed from the hills. It felt like I had two stumps of wood rather than legs. And it stayed that way for about 2/3 of the last run. At the turn around I saw one woman in my age group and just tried to keep my legs moving enough to stay in front of her. I finally made the last turn toward the finish line, and just had to make it up the hill back to transition (evil, evil, way to finish).

Yeah, this was definitely not a flat run....then again, 
I'm not sure why I thought it would be.  
Run course was basically the same for both run legs.

I'm not overly thrilled with my performance, but as was brought to my attention, it's February and I'm not exactly in 'race' shape just yet. I'm still base building and don't need to stress out over the results from a "C" race in February for goodness sake. I did end up 2nd in my AG (out of 4, so I guess that's 50%, eh?) , and it's always fun to bring home bling.  Even if it's just a cute little plaque.

Some things I learned. Or learned *again*.

  • If I'm warm at the start, I have too many layers on. I had a wind jacket on over my bike jersey and I ended up riding with it half unzipped for the entire ride. Wind sail anyone?
  • Um, yeah, about that jacket. I haven't raced in it before. Nothing new on race day! The back pocket is a zip pocket and I had zipped my gels in there so they wouldn't get bounced out on the run. And the zipper proceeded to get stuck while I was trying to get my second gel on the bike out of the pocket. So I managed to blow my nutrition plan there. I could tell I really needed that gel too...I was getting a bit light headed toward the end of the bike. Oy.
  • I need to spend some time riding in the rain if I'm going to do early season races. No it will not be fun, but what else will make me more comfortable on wet race days than practice?
Live and learn....live and learn.  Best of all, I get to practice all over again in about a month!


Molly said...

Congratulations on getting out there and going hard in FEBRUARY! I don't think I would have been ready yet. I am sure it won't be all that warm next month but let's hope for dry sunshine at least :)

Molly said...

Also it will be a MUCH flatter course!

BertiesBakery said...

My favorite training days were ones where my coach would let me do a race instead of a brick! So much fun! Great job :)