yes, I know I said I’d be studying like mad the rest of the weekend, but figured I would take a little “study break” and write up my race report to capture the whole experience before I cram a bunch of exam information into my brain. here goes!
2:00:37 A NEW OLYMPIC PR!!!
as you recall from my previous blog, the swim was cancelled because of the stupid oil spill. Despite my concerns, I assured myself that I am a kick ass biker with fantastic bike handling skills. Especially on a bike course that would play to my advantage of having raced on road bikes in college and more recently fixed-gear track bikes at the velodrome. yup, all the technical corners and tight turns would be where I gained time on the faster runners–minimal coasting and definitely no braking. Plus I have a road bike configuration. take that, trigeeks with tricked-out tri bikes but questionable bike handling skills!
the weirdest part of the race would be the start. I assumed beforehand we would get put in a time trial stagger start on our bikes, maybe going off every 10-15 seconds? Turns out we were to all line up near the harbor at the swim exit without any shoes or socks on. the bullhorn would go off, and we were to dash through transition, grab our bikes, and get onto them. Like we were pretending we had all swam and somehow came out of the water at the same time. All the men’s waves went off first (every 15 minutes to reduce the crowding on the 6-lap bike course) so I watched closely. What I noticed was all the guys getting out of transition first had their shoes clipped on their pedals and were running barefooted (no socks!). It would then completely bottle-neck for all the guys that had to run with their bike shoes on. There was a really long section you had to run with your bike before you hit the “mount” line too.
SO. the goal would be to get out of transition ASAP or you would get stuck in a big mess of triathletes running slowly in their bike shoes whilst pushing their bikes. I made the executive decision that this would be the perfect day to try the fancy bike-shoes-pre-clipped-to-the-pedals trick. yup today would be the day. so the bull horn went off, I sprinted barefooted to my bike, strapped on my sunglasses and helmet (some girls already had their sunglasses on, now that wasn’t fair, since when do you swim with your sunglasses on?!) and hauled past the bike racks, passing another barefooted girl to lead the way out of transition!! rock on! (keep in mind this was the amateur women’s 29 & under/45+ wave. still, it was also the first women’s wave to go off, so I was seriously the lead woman in the race!!)
I lead for a bit and another woman passed me as I fumbled with my bike shoes a little. I had kept the shoes level with the rubberband-on-the-skewer trick, and at the same time my new bike computer had jumped off its attachment so I had that in one hand while fumbling with the shoes (HAHAHA oh dear god) and of course after getting into the shoes realized to my horror that one of the rubberbands was extra stretchy and didn’t snap off like it was supposed to. no worries though, I reached down and snapped it with my hand and focused on catching the woman that had passed me. I could tell that I really did make up time on the corners. I caught her by the end of lap 1, back in the lead for a while, oh such a rock star, just haulin’ and rockin’ the bike. A little frustrating at times when groups of slower bikers would clog up the corners and force me to slow my pace, even (ugh) tap the brakes. A really fast woman passed me in that second lap; she would end up winning my AG and finishing as first amateur. I tried keeping her in sight, but she slowly pulled away little by little on each lap. I was also being followed by my camera crew (I am being profiled by some university students for a journalism group project); that was pretty cool seeing them snap photos on every lap. Since the race was only 20 minutes away, my parents and G-dog had come, plus my cousin Alv who’s new boy was doing his first tri, and a good number of childhood friends–Lou and Felicia, David V with Vicky, David K with his new girl, Patti and Five. oh yes I felt the love! it was SO GREAT having everyone there!!
My glutes were burning that great burn feeling when you hammer your ass off on the bike and after 6 laps I happily flew into transition where the rack was completely empty aside from the first woman’s bike. I had made the decision to sacrifice biking in socks for a quicker first transition, but knew that I would pay for it with some numb feet (it was in the low 50′s and overcast). The most difficult part I’d say was running barefooted (yes, I proudly also did the take-feet-out-of-bike-shoes-while-still-clipped-in trick) back through transition with numb feet. yowch. running was a little better once I got my shoes and socks on, and I bounced out of T2 without any other women in sight.
I started hauling on the run right away. I knew that there would be some fast runners chasing me down and wasn’t sure how much of a cushion I had coming off the bike (turns out I had put a good 3 minutes on the girls behind). In particular I was concerned about a girl named Rosie that I had re-met before the race started…hadn’t seen her in…oh…10 years? Rosalinda Castaneda, we had ran against each other back in high school (for rival schools). She was a couple years younger and got really fast probably after I graduated. I think she ran for Harvard. Turns out she just got into triathlon this year. I figured she could easily run a sub-40 10k (whew!) so I was not surprised when she started getting closer at each turnaround on the run, and around 5k she made the pass with some words of encouragement. I myself was not feeling so fabulous, there were no magic legs, but heck, if you’re going hard it’s never going to feel good, is it?
I got a helluva lot of encouragement every time I came by the finish (this was 3 laps of a two-mile out-and-back run) from Mom & Dad, my good friends that showed up, the camera crew, and the “randoms”. which brings me to why I love my race outfit so much. Firstly, it’s hot pink. Secondly, it is skimpy, and yes I am aware of this and wear it proudly. I got it back in April while I was living and racing in Texas, so it was important that I stay cool in the heat. Also I feel one of the best things about being a triathlete is wearing next to nothing when you race, and this right should be taken advantage of even when it is 50 degrees and everyone else is all covered up. That hot pink turned out to be teamTBB’s official color was a lucky coincidence. Anyway, since I’ve been racing in this particular outfit, I have learned that it comes with some excellent side effects. Those effects being, everybody seems to love it: both men and women, young and old. It makes me extremely conspicuous, in fact, I think I’ve become very recognizable on our local triathlon circuit. prior to the start, at least 4 people had asked “weren’t you at such-and-such race, I remember your outfit…” and at every race, a lot of random spectators and fellow racers start cheering for me. It’s AMAZING. There were a lot of people I didn’t know that started yelling things like “Go pink girl!” or “go Pink!!” things like that on every lap. In the middle of the run course there was an especially rowdy group of fans that would let out a huge cheer whenever I went by, and one guy on the megaphone would exclaim *in Borat’s voice* “Verrry niiiice!” seriously, each time I went by. that’s once a mile. It never failed to put a smile on my face or make me pick up the pace a bit. I love my hot pink outfit!
on my second lap, I got passed by a couple women that were on their first laps (I wasn’t sure–one of them I had lapped on the bike, the other started in a later wave). It was hard to tell where everybody was once that happened, heck I thought I had slipped into 5th. That was a little harsh, and by the time I started the 3rd lap I could definitely feel the effects of my hammerfest on the bike. My quads weakly threatened to cramp and I tried to focus on good armswing and quick cadence, really had no idea how fast I was going (no mile markers, a big pet peeve). I finally turned down the final stretch, which was a good half mile or so, and really started kicking it in. THAT. FELT. AWESOME. in that awesome way it feels to really push yourself and give it your all up to the very end no matter how freakin’ painful it is. I got in that zone where there were no thoughts aside from getting to the finish as fast as I could. not sure how I looked, but for my effort, I think I should get a “very nice!”
It was really cool being in the top group coming in, they were announcing my name every time I hurtled past the finish area. Turned out that I was the 3rd woman that crossed the line, SWEET, and later with the other waves I ended up getting bumped down to 6th amateur. (Actually I have a sneaking suspicion I took 5th amateur, as #5 ran a 33-minute 10k which is what Hunter Kemper ran. Maybe she only ran 2 of the 3 laps…) Rosie ended up 2 minutes ahead of me (but in 20-24) and the girl who took 1st in 25-29 put a good 6 minutes on me. Of course I wonder if I can outswim both of them, and by how much, but yeah, there will be more races and at least they didn’t make us swim in the oily mess. I would have liked them to start us with the 30-somethings so I would’ve been able to run against the girls that ended up within a minute ahead of me.
anyway, I got 2nd in my age group, and just looked up my official splits.
bike split is not bad at all for such a technical course, I’m very happy with that My run split I’m not very happy with, I got down to the 44′s my last two Oly races, WTH! it does verify that my run suffered a bit from a great bike, but still, I don’t like it. I faded a bit after getting passed by Rosie and then the other girls, I need to work on that.
ok so that was a good “study break”. finishing up Season 8 (I like to think of my triathlon seasons like television seasons) with a duathlon wasn’t exactly the way I thought it would end, but finishing well with family and friends watching and a camera crew to capture it all was priceless. photos will be posted up ASAP for all to adore!