Monday, July 10, 2006

Race Report, The Fairlee Great Triathlon

OK, the details. Sorry for the delay, there just felt like too much to say so none of it got said.... here it is at long last (and at LONG...)...

The race was amazing, as was the entire weekend. The fun began on Friday evening with the arrival of my brother and his girlfriend. Dad arrived earlier in the week so we had a chance to all be together and that was great. Saturday morning we headed out for 9 leisurely holes of golf...I was really careful to stay in the shade and drink lots of water...and even more careful to not pull anything. Dad and I traded off a few holes while Bro, M and my honey played thru it all. Super fun. I even hit a few good shots! Let me tell you, once you've got the field hockey swing down, it's pretty hard to convert it to golf. I'll get there eventually, like everything else.

The rest of Saturday was spent lounging in the hammock and drinking lots of fluids. At around 3ish I went over to registration to pick up all my stuff - numbers, chip, goody bag, tshirt - and to see if I could spot TriZilla and Jo. They had tried to find me to go over to packet pickup but I wasn't answering the phone because I was in the hammock!! No luck...visited with a few of my swimming teammates and then came back home... and shortly thereafter the girls arrived. They took off again for a bit to drive the alternate bike course route...I had my brother check out my bike and I lubed the chain and checked over everything. Bro discovered that neither of my wheels were on straight - which would explain why things had felt like they were rubbing. I had centered them on the brakes rather than on the we fixed that and things felt much better. Fixed my number onto my bike and I was good to go.

TriZ and Jo came back and the three of us started cooking pasta supper for a fun group of racers. Even Milkshake Girl of swimming fame came and we convinced her to come and cheer for us all on Sunday. More on that in a minute... Pasta, pesto, garlic bread, salad, ice cream and brownies... then food coma! We had a fun time and it was great to have so many other faces to watch for on the course. I love my friends...

Double checked that I had everything packed and ready and then hit the sack. Slept like a baby!!

Sunday morning, 5:45 am wake-up. Quick shower to get my eyes open, oatmeal, gatorade and water... I also packed a PB&J in case I started feeling hungry closer to race time. I still swear by this if I don't have time for oatmeal. But given that I live right on the course, I had no travel time so plenty of breakfast time! Nice.

TriZ and Jo showed up around 6:30, we pumped up our tires and headed over to transition. I was thinking we'd walk so I had my flip flops on...they were thinking we'd ride... so I rode with my flip flops. Not the smartest thing to do on race morning but I was really careful and made it the quarter mile without incident. That'd be a nice report, eh? DNF because I caught my flip flop in my chain. Cool.

Transition was already a buzz and you would not believe the bike porn parading around. I saw every Cervelo model from the last 3 years and all kinds of Softrides, Elites, Litespeeds, Treks, Felts, some disc wheels, some wild aero helmets, really, even with Amelia I was feeling inadequate. But she's my girl and we toughed it out. It's about the engine, right? I set my stuff up at #187 and then got body marked and wandered around finding where everyone was installed. They put a number on my right arm and my right leg, and the letter "D" on the back of my right calf designating my age group, 30-34. I hadn't thought about it yet but that's when I realized that next year I age up! Cool... And I would have to watch for other Ds out there on the course.

I had a lot of energy going on... kind of butterflies in my tummy but not really nervous or anxious...just in kind of a heightened state...good adrenaline. Time to warm up. I talked a bit last week with Weasel Boy about a warmup routine and we decided that running and biking would only benefit me if I did it right before the start... and I'm always too worried about missing the we decided I'd just warm up in the water. TriZilla and I got in and swam a few hundred yards... I did some easy long strokes and some quick tempo lengths to get my HR up. I felt loose and ready.

I was in the third wave start... they spent forever with the pre-race announcements, mostly talking about the alternate bike route and I was antsy to go. The worst part of every race for me is from the time my transition is set up until the starting gun. I just don't know what to DO with myself and the last thing I want is to feed off of everyone's nervous energy. If I'm allowed to stay in the water, I do...but not this time.

Wave 1 was off...then 3 minutes before the next wave...while we waited, Milkshake Girl appeared with camera and awesomely 70's sundress...I don't know if we got a picture of her but she was a vision of enthusiastic tri fan...screaming her head off for all of us... Then wave 2 and TriZilla and Jo were off, 3 more minutes, then wave 3...finally. My goggles were under my swim cap, affixed solidly to my face, and I remembered I didn't want to start off too fast...I picked a spot on the left side of the pack, putting me on an inside line of the counterclockwise course. It looked long and far, but no where near as long or far as I remember it from the first time I did this race. I was totally psyched for the swim as I felt really comfortable and prepared. I spent so much time this winter working on my swim and the work definitely is paying off, from my confidence right down to my technique. I knew it would be good.

30 seconds left - Milkshake Girl screaming for us to swim fast - I smiled, and we were off.

I tried porpoise diving but the water was all murky from everyone stirring up the bottom...I knew there were a few rocks and I didn't want to risk not seeing them so I just started off swimming...we were in waist deep water anyway. Right off I was by myself. I picked a good tempo, one that I could hold for the first 200 yards but not for the whole race. I kept this pace until the first buoy and then settled in - here's where all that stroke calibration from the pool comes in handy because I knew exactly how to pace myself for this. It just felt great. There was no wind and I felt like I swam incredibly straight - and that no one was around me still. Not sure I understand that - it seemed like everyone swam wide - but it was nice to feel like I was dead on course and mostly un-surrounded. I swallowed a good amount of water but managed to not aspirate any of it so that was an accomplishment. It felt like folks were swimming past me, leaving me behind, all the way to the first buoy...but after rounding it, I started picking them off one by one - they had fallen victim to the classic blunder! Never mess with a sicilian when death... wait, where was I? Oh right, catching swimmers...

I was one of only a few without a wetsuit... the water was 71˚F so I didn't need one but I always consider it a badge of honor when I pass a wetsuited swimmer sans wetsuit. The rest of the swim pretty much went like the beginning...perfectly as planned. I even managed to draft a bit on a wider's really amazing if you can make drafting work for you. Makes a HUGE difference. I was able to catch some of the wave 2 pack and managed to stay ahead of all but the fishies from Wave 4. It was nice to not get completely swum over... before I knew it I was heading back into the beach. They had done a good job of harvesting a bunch of the milfoil and rerouting the course around the worst of it so all that sea grass prep wasn't needed...but it was nice to not worry about it. As I came into the beach, I did 5 or 6 porpoise dives and managed to pass a few people who were wading in chest deep water. I may not race fast but I'll be damned if I don't race smart. Perfecting this skill is easy and totally worthwhile. And it's fun too...

Swim time for 0.75 mi.: 25:27. (as an aside, I checked the fastest swim times this year against the fastest times last year and saw that everyone was 1:00-1:30 mins. FASTER last either the course was short last year or long this year... my time last year was 25:08 so I think it's reasonable to assume that I was a minute or so faster too. I felt stronger and faster... ) 288/469 overall.

Zoomed out of the water and headed to T1...I felt surprisingly fresh and not as wobbly as usual. Not sure if that's because I'm in better shape or because I didn't swim as hard as I could've. No matter... T1 went great, got everything in place while managing a quick chat with my family. I realized that I can get thru the transition without really thinking about it now that I have a good system. Shorts, shirt, socks, shoes, helmet, go! Jogged out of T1 and headed out on the bike.

The first thing I saw out of transition was Milkshake Girl, in her sun dress, on ROLLER BLADES with a giant green hand that said, "ALLEZ!!" on it... that she waved for all of us while maniacally ringing the cowbell she had purchased on her way home from dinner the night before. What an amazing fan. It put such a big grin on my face... totally hilarious. I managed a smile for the race photographer and it was off.

2 minutes in I passed my house where da woofie and my honey were sitting on the front lawn cheering. More smiles...then it was time to focus. High cadence, moderate heart rate, head down, into the aero bars. It was an odd sensation actually - I felt really really slow...but when I checked my computer, I was right where I wanted to be. Curious. My HR was pretty high so I backed off a bit to get it down to 75-80%...still at 90+ cadence and 18-20 mph. Cool. The ride went pretty much like that the whole time...I felt really slow but I wasn't. I concentrated on keeping the cadence up and not mashing, I worked my way thru 200 calories of Gatorade Endurance (note to self, holy acid reflux batman)... Overall it went great. As I passed my house on the way back, I waved at my family and glanced at my computer. My goal was to ride at least a 16mph average... the readout showed 17.9 avg... so I hammered the last 2 minutes and just as I pulled into T2, it hit 18 mph avg. More smiles... more green hand waving and cowbell... this is MY race. I don't even remember looking around to see how many bikes were already back... No crash, no more fear of being last... chasing down the demons...

Bike 16.6 miles + T1 + T2: 1:03:22, 414/469, average speed, 18mph.

OK, 5 miles left - my basic training run, the run I run at least once a week. No problem. But it hurt. A lot. The first five minutes felt really really bad. I felt like I was crawling, like my legs were lead and my right calf was threatening to cramp. I stopped for a few seconds to flex my foot and that helped. Up the first little hill and I was on my way. I knew what pace I needed for mile one but I sure didn't feel like I was holding it. Again, like on the bike, it just felt really slow. There were still a lot of people around me but most of them were passing me. Felt like I was running at least 12 min. miles. At the marker, I hit my lap button - 10:26. OK then, this is how it's gonna be. My mind was not calibrated to my body anymore. Just hold this pace and you're good then. It was HOT. But it was shady. And I knew exactly where I was and exactly what I had left to do. Just 4 more miles.

Mile 2 marker: 11:34. That's SOP for this run and me... mile 2 is always a little slower... but still shady and feeling a whole lot better than at the beginning. My legs had decided to cooperate and had gone from screaming to feeling numb. I'll take it.

Mile 3, my nemesis. I still don't know why. Weasel says it's because miles 1 and 2 are punishing rollers... so I'm tired by mile 3... but it's flat and it's mentally short... and I wasn't at all surprised to hit my lap button at marker 3 and see 12:00 min. Whatever. Par for the course. OK, 2 left, time to see what's in the tank.

I walked up the short, steep hill that is the first 75 yards of mile 4 when I realized that walking was faster than the shuffle I had going. My HR never got above 80% over the first 4 miles...but I was pushing as hard as my legs would go...there was no more juice!! NEED MORE POWER. It felt good to use some different muscles for a minute. At the top of the hill, I shortened my stride and took off.

Marker 4: 10:55. Leave it all out here. I started tracking people and picking them off one by one...I think I passed 3... but I was also getting passed by people with H, I, and J on their calves...having started in age group waves way after mine... oh well. Someday they won't catch me. It didn't bother me this time. Sure, it's annoying...but I didn't feel the need to keep looking over my shoulder to make sure there were still others behind me. It was my race.

Then I could hear the crowd and I knew it was time to be done. Runners were still passing me and I told them to enjoy the finishing chute... kinda fun. And then I was there... they announced my name, probably because I was from Fairlee and the race is in Fairlee... with lots of hoopla...and then I was done. It felt awesome. I forgot to stop my watch in the celebration of being done... but the last split works out to 9:51...and remember that last mile is a little short... but I'll take it.

Run 4.9 miles: 54:46 min. , 453/469 overall.

Total time: 2:23:36, 429/467 overall. If we had ridden the original bike course, I figure I still would've dropped about 10 minutes off my overall time from two years ago... so that's an accomplishment that I'm proud of. It was a fantastic day.

Impressions, lessons, and plans for moving forward to come tomorrow. Now I gotta hit the hay.

Thanks for tuning in!!! And train hard!


Blogger nancytoby said...

Outstanding!! Wooo, I envy your 18 mph average!! Well done! Not to mention your skillful swimming!! Congratulations!

8:53 PM GMT-5

Blogger Bolder said...

another intelligent, and excellent race!

lurve, lurve that swim time, that's like 2 min/100m! capping it off with sub-11 min/miles on the run!


11:32 PM GMT-5

Blogger TriSaraTops said...

Awesome report, and great race! You are such a fishy--and mile 3 is totally my nemisis, too! Why is that?? Arg! :)

12:26 AM GMT-5

Blogger Scott said...

I get so excited reading these reports. I can only dream...

Way to go with the attitude girl! You didn't note that you finished 1/467 in that department.

Great race.

4:29 AM GMT-5

Blogger Flatman said...

Way to crush it, bad-ass!

You did awesome...vengeance is yours.

8:13 AM GMT-5

Blogger Phil said...

That's a really nice report. What a fantastic opportunity to race right by your house. As Scott (above) points out, it does sound like you've got the right attitude. Oh... and you gotta love the cowbell.

8:13 AM GMT-5

Blogger Barb said...

Nice race! I didn't realize it was so long! A sprint will seem like childs play after this one!

Your times were awesome, and 18mph on the bike! Nice!

9:33 AM GMT-5

Blogger Steven said...

Well done, well done.
18 on the bike ROCKS, too!

12:40 PM GMT-5

Blogger 'Zilla said...

Wheweee! Speedy girl! You rocked, Lady...

That run was wicked hard, I'm with ya on that one. I really thought the kids yelling "Empty your Bowels" were pretty funny too (might have been the first time I smiled all day, unfortunately).

Awesome job, way to chase down all of those demons. I'm so proud of you! =)

12:42 PM GMT-5

Blogger christine said...

YOU ROCK SPENCER!!!! A smart and well executed race. I cracked up reading about Milkshake Girl ....gotta love your friends indeed!

2:27 PM GMT-5

Blogger Joe said...

Way to go. Its sounds like you had fun, despite the leg cramps during the run. Great job on the swim.

3:27 PM GMT-5

Blogger 'Zilla said...

You know, your commenters miss your posts, too! :-)

3:53 PM GMT-5

Blogger E-Speed said...

Sounds like a great race! Was this supposed to be Olympic but they cut the bike course?

25 minutes with no westuit is a great swim time!!!

You rocked it girl!

8:26 AM GMT-5


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