WOA, things have been crazy busy around here!
School FINALLY let out and I am proud to say we made it through 7th grade with honor roll status in tact. BoyGenius pulled it out, once again, in the home stretch…. giving his parents sleepless nights, undo stress, and mildly elevated blood pressure in the process. But he crossed the finish line and met
our his goals. We knew he could do it!
Friday my good friend Trish arrived from Tampa/St. Pete ready to race! We were neighbors 13 years ago and she is on the most awesome people I know. She used to babysit BoyGenius when he was a newborn and I needed to run out and find my sanity. I would have been locked up somewhere had it not been for her kindness and generosity! Friday night we caught up, ate sushi, and discussed the many ways in which to evade serial killers (errr, Criminal Minds was on TV).
Saturday, AquaDoc decided, that he needed to put his fully healed knee to the test and entered a local 5k. He was hoping to break into that 23 minute realm and I really wanted him to hit the 20 minute one! I mean he has new racing flats and super cool visor so why not, right??
It was a hot and humid morning here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the course was a hilly one to boot. More of a huge bridge than a hill, but it’s brutal on a good day. I was so happy to be cheering and NOT running…yet.
He went out and showed ’em how it’s done, swimmer style. Finished 22nd/200+ and was awarded a pretty necklace for being 1st in the 40-44 men division. I was so proud of him and he was soooo annoyed…BECAUSE…..
His time: 24:01
2 seconds from breaking that 23 minute barrier that was looming in his mind. Trish and I almost convinced him that he probably got 23:59 since he had to run a few seconds to the “official” starting line. He was buying it until his O2 levels returned to normal. Hey, we tried! No worries, he’ll get ’em next time! 😉
My brother-in-law ran the race as well and despite loosing his key and having to TURN AROUND and retrieve it, finished in a very respectable 29 minutes. Not too shabby considering he probably had to run closer to 3.5-4 miles. I’ll have to check with him and see what the Garmin showed.
Then there was me.
Friday began with a quick little jaunt around the block so Trish could try out the bike she was borrowing from my sister-in-law. I wasn’t even in “gear”. I just slipped on my shoes and put on my helmet and off we went. I didn’t even actually clip in, or so I thought. As I’m coasting into the driveway, I came to a halt and realize my right foot IS clipped in. By that point, its way past late as the bike’s no longer moving and I’m on my way down. OUCH!
I was fine…I thought. Saturday, at AquaDoc’s race, my lower back began to ache. Then hurt. Then then became downright painful. I began to get worried. When I got out of the truck, when we got home, and my right foot hit the ground searing pain shot through my leg and back up to my neck.
Great. Not good at all.
Immediately I begin bending and twisting; testing my back and it’s ability to stretch in the aero bar position, jogging in place and dry land swimming. I quickly realize this will be no race for the record books and start hoping that I will simply make it to the start. I pop some motrin, take a steaming hot shower, stretch, and put on a Therma Care heating pad and off we go. Ready or not, New Orleans here I come.
We pick up our packets, rack our bikes, do some expo shopping, and headed to Kerry and Trent’s where we would be spending the evening. They along with their two girls were coming to cheer us on in the morning. The ladies of this house are tri cheerleaders like no other. The girls made signs, had cowbells ready and were more excited than Trish and I. They have supported their dad at so many races, they have this process is down to a fine science.
By the time I went to bed the pain was constant, but not getting any worse. I was; however, questioning my ability to a) swim without making things worse and b) cycle uphill. I figured I could walk the 5k if it came down to just finishing, but I HAD to get through the other 2 first. I refused to push the envelope, reinjure myself, and be out for another year. No 1 race is worth that.
I had to decide to do it gently or bow out. So at 9:45pm on Saturday, I began to wrap my mind around the idea of NOT racing and simply finishing, as IronGirl motto goes, with grace.
There would be other races and I would be there to race them if I played this smart. If I didn’t, well…been there, done that and the result isn’t all that pretty.
We left the house around 5am. I was moving a bit better and finally felt like I would get through the race.
The lake was deemed “swimable” despite the levees dumping in river water and it looked clean enough. At this point, that was so far down on my list of concerns there could have been an alligator sighting by the 1st buoy and I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Water temperature was 75 degrees and I opted for my wetsuit for the extra back support. I’d say about half wore suits and half elected to swim without them.
Trish and I got set up, headed down to the water and swam around a bit. Yup, my back hurt. It was going to be an interesting day. I prayed to the triathlon Gods to please let things loosen up and feel better as my muscles got warm and promised them, in return, that I would use my brain and race “smart”.
I was in the 1st wave, the old but wise 40+ group. I started in the back (mistake) because I had no idea what my body would be able to do. I did feel better as I got moving. I had to pass (run over) quite a few ladies and I hate doing that. It’s uncomfortable to have someone on your heels and swimming on top of you. Normally I would have started closer to the front, but I really didn’t want someone crushing my back and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to swim effectively. So, I did breaststroke to try to part the seas of women and not scare the ladies doing this for the 1st time. Several stopped and apologized for holding me up. All I could muster was, “your fine, swim, worry about yourself.” I was 3rd out on dry land with a time of 9:57. I was able to run into T1 and passed the 2 ladies in front of me being the 1st to hit the bikes. Now what???
I swear I MUST learn to get on my bike with the shoes already clipped in place. It takes me forever, on a good day, and because I was being cautious it took me forever plus change to finally get going. Then there were 2 places to turn and, of course, it wasn’t marked. There was no one to follow and I never really pay attention to the fine details of the course because there will ALWAYS be someone to follow, right???? Well, not if your one of the 1st into T1. I naturally took the furthest turn. I mean why would it be the closest, right? Wrong. I had to turn around, loop back and get on track. Fortunately it was just a few seconds as I realized my mistake quickly and was able to redirect all the ladies following me. I felt fine on the flats, but couldn’t maintain my cadence on the hills. I’d slow from 20 mph to 16-17 mph heading up the incline as I could feel the pull in my lower back with each pedal. This was the most disappointing part of the race. Official time 35:01 which puts me at appx. 19 mph average. I’ll take it.
NOTE TO SELF: always attend course talks from here on out!
When I got to T2 I willed my back into an upright position. I promised that I would walk if needed, but wanted to see what I could muster. I kept telling my body to keep it nice and easy and just finish what we started. I ran the 5k like I would run a recovery run or a Sunday long run. Naturally off the bike I was a bit faster at an 8:25 pace, but soon settled in at a 9:20 pace and kept it there. I was so comfortable on this hot (92 degrees), humid day(95%) that I started thinking about the race itself and what I’d done differently. WHY was I comfortable running now? Normally these conditions would make me miserable, but not today. Did skipping my morning coffee really help to this extent? Was it because I didn’t go all out on the bike therefore saving more for the run? Was I acclimated to the weather finally? Was I able to hydrate better on the bike since I wasn’t pushing at full throttle? I felt great running the last leg of this thing in the heat and humidity and THAT was a huge victory in itself, for me. Since I felt pretty good, I was able to maintain good form and my back held up nicely. I started passing a few who couldn’t handle the conditions and came into the finish nice and steady. Official run time 29:01 which puts me at 9:21 pace. I’ll take that one too.
Official time 1:17:03
7th in 40/44 age
Overall : 46/305
Trish did awesome as well. Her finishing time was 1:45. This was her 1st tri where she had to swim in a lake (ie..she couldn’t see 1cm in front of her face) instead of the pretty blue waters of Florida. She borrowed a bike instead of riding her own and overcame the heat and humidity of south Louisiana to finish with a smile. I was so happy to participate with her and all the other women from the area. There were great stories, awesome moments, and as in every other triathlon some of the best sportsmanship around.
As my back heals, I become more and more disappointed. But I also know, like every other race, I came away with some invaluable information:
- pre-race course talks are a must
- I always need to swim more towards the front of my wave
- 19-20 mph may be an ideal race speed for me, in order to save my legs for the run. Faster averages may work for training rides, but on race day it leaves my legs dead for the run and I suffer for it. I hope, in time, to be able to up those numbers, but it’s all about balance. I’ve been trying to find that magic bike wattage and I think I just did.
- I believe I’ve become acclimated to the heat and humidity
- Passing on the java, race day, helps enormously!! Thanx Trent!
Thanks to Kerry and Trent for cheering us on!!
Next Race: ShadowCreek Ranch Tri… Houston, Tx in July…gotta love the Texas heat!
Train Happy, My Friends!