The trouble with using experience as a guide is that the final exam often comes first and then the lesson. ~Author Unknown
I mentioned, on more than one occasion, that this past training block was about my acclimation to the heat. Well, if that was the case then Shadow Creek was my test. And I don’t like tests. I do however, like races. But because I made this particular race into a final exam, so to speak, I became more nervous and anxious than I have ever been before competing, in my life.
Many thanks to my fellow tweeps, daily milers, parents and friends who talked me through what was a very odd week of self-doubt and uneasiness. I can not begin to express how much simply hearing and reading your words of encouragement got me to the starting line and through the HEAT of the race.
Now on to the good stuff……
This was the 1st year for Shadow Creek and they did a good job considering there were 650 racers. It took place in a suburb just south Houston about an hour from The Woodlands, TX where we were staying with my parents. Much to my husbands pleasure, we got up at 4am and headed out at 4:30 with my mom in tow to cheer us on. The plan was to arrive at 5:30, be set up and ready by the time transition closed at 6:30. The 1st wave was SUPPPOSE to hit the water at 6:40 which would put me in at 7:20. Morning temperature driving to the race was 82F and 88% humdity….no sun to speak of yet.
SWIM: water temp 88F Air Temp at start 89F 88% humidity
The water was warm, very warm. But it is July, in the south, so no big surprise there. What was a surprise and became more and more disturbing to me as the time ticked off the clock was the late start. I didn’t get into the water until 7:55. I did not start until 8:00. 40 minutes late. All I could think about was the RUN….as I kept looking at my watch and watching the minutes tick by I grew more and more anxious. I just knew I was going to flunk my “test”. I was very thankful when my husband’s wave finally took off as I knew I was not far behind. The swim itself was uneventful. It really felt just like my pool workouts. I concentrated on form, pulling and finishing my stroke and sighting. There was a point where I was out in the lake all alone and got a little worried I had veered of track, but then I began approaching the wave that started before us and I knew I was fine.
9/75 out of water 40+ age bracket
As a side note, my husband did the same swim in just over 6 minutes and was 2nd/102 out of the water. He has a horrid case of tendonitis so this was an AMAZING time for him and I was so proud and excited for him to have one of the fastest swim times of the day.
1st I will say my T1 skills need some work. I have no clue what takes me 2 minutes other than maybe the long run to my bike, but man… The bike itself was a 2 loop course and my plan was to ride conservatively and stay at around 20mph so I would have plenty of energy for the run. I was comfortable a this point and not overly hot. I drank 2 bottles filled with Cytomax and refilled 1 with water. I took a gel “just incase”. I felt really good and could have ridden forever. Looking back, I think I should have pushed a bit harder but again, I was terrified of the heat and I knew the run would be where it would get me. I wanted to be as fresh as possible. I had no idea the universe was totally working against me and I needed to just let it go.
- Time: 41.30
- Avg pace 20.4
T2 was much better at 51 seconds thanks to my new Zoot racing shoes. I’ll write more about those at a later time, but I definitely saved a few valuable seconds by wearing them. I hit the run at 8:50am instead of 8:10am because of the late start. The temperature had climbed to 92 degrees, humidity was still around 90% and now the clouds had given way to full on sunshine. It was BLAZING HOT. I figured aid station to aid station was how the run was going to be played…3.25 miles and then I’m done. But as I trot into aid station #1, we find out there is no water. It reminded me of National Lampoon’s Vacation…”Sorry folks, parks closed moose out front shouldda told ya!” I actually stopped and stood there for a minute with my mouth open in disbelief. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? How do you run out of water? I have no idea many seconds elapsed before I took off again. As I got to aid station #2 there was a line longer than Waffle House at 2am. They were pouring water one cup at a time because they had just gotten a case delivered to them. Again, my disbelief had to have shown because I simply could not understand how this was happening. I waited in line as time chipped away, got a cup of water, and headed to the finish line. I was hot and ready for the day to be done, but I wasn’t miserable. I rallied a few girls who were walking and had that “I don’t think I can make it” look and we ran for a while together. My watch malfunctioned in the water and didn’t start so I have no idea what my actual “RUN” pace was outside the water station stops, but it wasn’t fast I assure you!
- Time 32.32
- Avg pace 10.10
- Time : 1:24:27 and a PR of about 9 minutes thanks to a fantastic swim and a good ride.
- 7/41 in the 40-44 age group
- 176/579 overall
So did I pass my test??? I think so. I raced in the heat and I did not die. There was a time I would have. As of late, I wouldn’t even consider running outdoors in the summer much less competing. The mere fact I crossed the finish line and improved my time is good enough for today.
As competitors, every time we cross the finish line, we learn a little bit more about ourselves and how to tweak our race strategy. I’ll take the lessons learned at Shadow Creek and apply them to next event and hopefully continue to improve.
I don’t think I can hope for more than that on a hot July morning in Houston, TX.
Next up: Santa Rosa Tri in Pensacola, Florida 10/1/2012
Train Happy, My Friends