Hopefully you saw the previous post with all my proud momma pics of the kids race at Pewaukee. My daughter told me as I was putting her to bed last night that her race was the highlight of our vacation. I love that! But I know you are anxious to hear about how my race went. The short version is: I crushed last year's time. Truthfully, there were still highs and lows that make every race report a special blog entry, but my end result showed the hard work (ok, and better equipment) and weight loss of the last 12 months. Let's break it down:
Pre-Race: I've kind of been on a bender of watching Netflix instead of sleeping. So the bad news is that I've been going to bed late. The good news is that when I get there I've mostly been sleeping ok. This year, I didn't lie awake fretting over what was to come. So I probably got about the same amount of sleep as last year. I should have gone to bed earlier though. Up at 4:30, ate a bagel with peanut butter, did the bathroom business, loaded everything up and made the relatively short drive to the race with my sister. We had a bit of trouble figuring out where to park and burned some time that we didn't really have. Note to self if/when I go again - park southeast of transition on a side street in the first open spot you find and leave about 15 min earlier.
Unloaded the truck, waited for sis to air her tires (mine were good), rode to transition, set up my area, put on sunscreen and got kicked out of transition while sis was looking for pins for her number and I was still trying to buff out the defogger from my goggles. Felt rushed and didn't like this (thus notes to self above). Went to the park/beach bathroom (such a good idea compared to having to do the port-o-pots). Did more bathroom business and got ready to race. We signed up pretty early and apparently that is how they assign waves. This also meant that my sis, her father-in-law and I were in the same wave (she coordinated us signing up together). Her husband's brother and wife, cousin and wife and son were all a few waves behind us because they decided later to make the trip to join us. I didn't really get nervous until standing on the beach with just 5-10 min to go. Then it kind of hit like a freight train.
Swim: I tried to seed toward the back of my wave of 50 people because I knew this was going to be ugly based on the warm water (80°+), heavy lake vegetation and my sucky practice swim. But I still got swam over a couple times. I think I went out kind of fast and my breathing was a mess. I felt out of breath and struggling nearly the whole way. Enough that I had multiple kayakers ask me if I was ok. Twice I flipped on my back hoping to do a "reset" and catch my breath. A few times I even did a few breast or side strokes to try to calm myself down. But it was a very mentally ugly swim. I started getting upset and thinking about how much I just wanted this to be over and how I was out of my mind to be thinking about an Oly. After the final turn, the sun was in my eyes. I had been sighting pretty well (of course when you breast stroke it is easier to sight LOL). But it got hard to figure out where I was and that also upset me. Finally, the beach was in view and it was almost over and I was ecstatic. Then I saw that sis was just a little in front of me. So I tried to run up the beach and into transition without trudging like last year.
Swim time: 14:11 (in theory this was for 1/4 mi - sis's brother-in-law is convinced that it was long. He compared several people's times from last year including elite folks and everyone was about a min or so longer. His wife was a collegiate swimmer and she crushed this course but her time on the swim was long too.) The good news for me is that I did last year's course in 14:38 so regardless my time was better.
T1: My spot was way at the back by the port-o-pots. It smelled which kind of gagged me as I was still gasping for breath from that awful swim. I pulled on my helmet and sunglasses, grabbed my race belt, dried my feet enough to knock off some sand and put my socks on, pulled on my bike shoes (not talented enough to do this on the bike) and grabbed my bike to run out of transition. It was solid - enough so that I beat sis out of T1 even though she beat me in by a little bit. Yay! T1 time: 2:06.9 Last year's T1: 3:48.9 - most of this improvement is better clothing (tri top/shorts instead of trying to pull on bike shorts and a t-shirt).
Bike: The first mile or so on the bike, I still felt winded from that sucky swim. But I tried to push myself and pretty soon I felt in the groove. I got passed a lot, but once in a while I passed someone else. The first couple of hills didn't feel great, but none felt awful - even the last one that was an ass kicker last year. As I suspected it would, the bike went great. While I was ready to get off my bike, it was nothing like last year. I was excited to find my family at transition and was disappointed I didn't see them on my way in. I unclipped early (a little paranoid here) and tried to swing my leg over while still moving and nearly fell. Oops. So I just stopped, put my feet down and got off less than smoothly, but then tried to run strong into T2. I managed to drink most of a bottle of diluted powerade on the bike and felt good about my hydration.
Bike time: 1:03:31.8 (16 miles for 14.7 mph avg pace - my fastest pace ever!) - last year's bike 1:28:32.2 for 10.5 mph avg - though changing from mountain bike to road bike was part of it - mostly this difference was just a lot of hard work over the last 4 months and weighing 30 lbs less than last year didn't hurt either.
T2: Ran through the stench and got rid of my bike, bike shoes, helmet and slipped on my running shoes (love my speedlaces!). Also grabbed my MP3 player. Came in the same time as one of my sis's former students who looked to be a lot younger than me and she congratulated me on my solid bike ride. I beat her out of transition! T2 time: 1:40.8 Last year 1:22.2 (no shoe change last year and a better transition location).
Run: Here was where I was praying to shave a lot of time from last year. Last year I walked (trudged) through the 5K. It was super hot and I didn't run any of it. I have been working on building up the running, but it was hard to jog out of T2. I was helped by seeing my kids and husband cheering with a sign right as I came out. I tried to jog the first couple of blocks that are fairly flat, but I was walking before long. The temps were pretty good - not nearly as hot as it has been and the breeze off the lake wasn't bad. In the shade it was awesome. But my legs were feeling the bike ride. So I decided to focus on running the choruses of the songs and just trying to hold off my sis - though I wasn't sure how far behind me she was. Grabbed water at an aid station and saw one poor lady pour gatorade over her head that I'm sure she misheard as water. LOL
Leap frogged with a guy whose jersey I'd see on the bike a fair bit too. It said "Racing for Christopher". He was doing a run/walk combo too so I tried to keep him in sight. As we came out of the school area he introduced himself and I told him I'd been leapfrogging him and trying not to walk more than him. He shared he lost his 8 year old son Christopher a couple of weeks ago and was just trying to power through this race. I told him I was sorry for his loss and would run/walk with him for a bit. I turned my music off for a bit and tried to focus on a prayer for his son and think to myself that I needed to suck it up because nothing could possibly hurt like this father's pain. But he pulled ahead on a downhill and started running with another guy for a bit and I put my music back on. When they took a walk break, I passed them once and told them to pick up the pace with a laugh, but they passed me back a block later. I saw sis coming up the hill to the school area when I was leaving it. I couldn't believe I was ahead of her and wanted to hold her off. I was wearing my cheapo walmart watch that I had started the stopwatch when I got in the water so I didn't really know my splits, but I had a total time and my goal was 2 hours. It was closing in fast so I poured it on at the end. It took me a bit to get my breath after it was over, but there was fantastic shade at the finish area (park).
Run Time: 37:46.7 for 12:11 min/mile pace. Last year 54:47.8 for 17:40 min/mi. The really impressive part? My stand alone 5K PR is 36:03! Both that PR and this race had some nasty hills so I know I can lower that PR with a bit more work and a flatter course.
Total Time: 1:59:17.3 Suck it two hour goal! I did it!! Last year: 2:43:08.9 - Almost 44 min faster! Go me! Oh, an aside because it is hard not to compare when my sis and I have been compared for most of our lives (she is 4 years older and did most things first and better) - beat her by almost 5 min - mostly by my solid bike though I should pray she doesn't invest in better equipment as she did hers on a heavy mountain bike.
Post-Race: A couple cups of water and some good food (mexican - kind of weird, but tasted better than I would have guess) and I felt great. I had a little tightness in my calves and some pain on the run behind my left knee that went away quickly. Loaded up the gear, kids and headed back to sis's to shower and change and head into Milwaukee for Summerfest. My brother-in-law's band was playing noon-2 so my sis and I went with her kids and my daughter to the show. Kids didn't last long, but I watched the whole thing while sis took them off to play for a bit. Other than a little soreness in my lower legs, I barely can tell I did this race. No chafe wounds like last year (thank God - those hurt!) Better clothes this year probably helped that.
I'm a little nervous about the 1/2 mi swim in the Show-Me State Games coming up in 2 weeks. I'm going to have to find a better way to suck it up through the swim, but I'm stoked to have a little revenge on the course that demoralized me last year. If I can take 44 min off that course, I won't be last this time.
The race photographer's pics of me are here. I'll probably buy the bike one as I LOVE it. I emailed sis as her husband took a few shots and asked her to send them to me. I've come a long way this year. Will be interesting to see how SMSG goes weekend after next. Then I have to figure out if I'm going to do another race this season, and if so - if my BHAG of an Oly is even attainable (and whether I want to commit to a more solid training plan to get there).