IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Suba-Super Newbie-ru Race

The same things I love about this race are the same things I hate about this race. The Subaru Women's Triathlon is really geared toward first-timers. Everyone is supported, no matter how fast or slow they are and many people come to this race with their only goal being to finish. In fact, I trained with and walked many first-timers through the events to be expected and was routing for them every step of the way. So don't get me wrong, I love first-timers!!

But in the same breath, I can get so frustrated with them in a race like today. First of all, the race is pretty darn crowded already. Couple that with narrow paths for faster racers to get by and the fact that many of these women clearly have no idea they should be riding as far to the right as they can and, well, I lose my patience. So why not try to get into the Elite wave? Well, before today, I figured I had a better shot of placing higher in my age group. Now I'm convinced I could have a better time result if I didn't spend half the race trying to get around people. Cocky? Yeah, probably. Still worth a shot.

Karen and I were in the same wave and she racked her bike just next to mine. It was nice to have someone to chat with as I set up my stuff. Karen and I were wearing our awesome Luna Chix uniforms and many newbies came up to us to ask questions and for advice. It feels really great to be approached and asked your opinion on how to set up your transition area. I was flattered and happy to help! Some women, though, were simply beyond help. I'm not bashing, I used to be one of them! And seeing some of those things just makes me realize how far I've come.

We made our way over to our rookie Luna Chix, Krissy, and practically made her rearrange her whole transition area! But Krissy was a great sport and moved everything around without even questioning. I went back again to my transition to make sure "no one touched my stuff!" Karen told me to let it go now. She's so good for me...she's way more calm about these things and I tend to obsess about the most nit-picky little things. In the long run, it probably wouldn't make a bit of difference, but I must move those shoes just one inch further from the main aisle! Yes, that's how it must be!

We found the rest of the Luna Chix and headed toward the start, but we were pretty much in staggered waves, so everyone was pretty much doing their own thing, except that Karen kindly hung around with me and kept me from freaking out. Why do I freak out before a small race like this? I have no idea, and every time, I tell myself it isn't going to happen...but it does! Pre-race nerves, I guess.

My Aunt and Uncle from Naperville were going to be coming to watch today. That's pretty special to me. I don't really get a lot of family coming out to the races, so I was happy to have them out to see what triathlon is all about. The Saint was going to be dragging them around all day, showing them the best places to spot me as I raced. I jumped over to the start and yelled to my swim angel friends, Pat and BC. They seemed like they were having way too much fun out there.

I had to jockey a little for position at the beginning of the start. It's weird, in the most competitive of races, I never have as hard of time getting myself to the front of the swim start as I have at this race. All these women think they got it goin' on as far as the swim goes. And many of them do, for the first 25 yards! Then they start dropping like flies. Pent up adrenaline, I guess.

Here I am running to get to the front with Karen right on my heels. This is just to line up at the edge of the water. The woman on my right sort of had me rialed up, she did NOT want me in front of her and she made it quite obvious. Bring it, sister! The countdown was quick and we were off in a hurry! Interestingly enough, I didn't get hit much at the start. We start in such a narrow area, I usually get hit with a lot of arms and elbows. I saw 2 even with me on the right and two on the left. I caught a quick draft for about 25 yards, but I hit her way too many times and I saw the lead swimmer in our wave pulling away from me, so I had to go around.

I spent a lot of time moving around people, but yeah, it's like this every time I do the race and I've learned to expect it. I still couldn't catch fast-lady swimmer, though. I could see her, but I just couldn't catch up. The water was warm and I never really felt like I caught a rhythym. My swim angel friend Pat encouraged me to swim faster by yelling "you suck" as I swam by her. I almost choked from laughing so hard.

Out of the water and across the timing mat, I could hear my Aunt and Uncle cheering me on, but I was out of breath and pretty disappointed with the swim time. It was about 30 seconds slower than I have been before. Could be the fact that I haven't been swimming at all. DOH! Note to self: get back to the pool! The run to transition is pretty long and, surprise, surprise, who do I find still getting her bike gear on is fast-lady swimmer! Aw yeah, she's mine! I was a bit shaky putting my socks and shoes on (I always am), but transition was pretty quick and I said "nice swim" to the fast chick as I ran past her toward the bike out.

It didn't help that my transition rack was one of the furthest from the bike out/in. The bike shoes are VERY slippery on the asphalt and I slid around a lot and had to slow down to make sure I wasn't going to fall. That would suck! I crossed the mount line and had just a little trouble clipping in. I was breathing hard and trying to avoid the mass chaos of bikes in front of me for the next 13.8 miles. I truly think a lot of these women did NOT know the rules because they were blatantly breaking them. I remind myself, this is a "feel good" race, where people just want to finish. Try to be nice to them as you pass.

I did feel a bit like a rock star when I passed some women. Then again, when they're sitting up catching wind like a sail, have their helmet on backwards and are riding a 20 year old mountain bike, they don't really care how fast you pass them. There were a couple of sections that I felt some wind, but nothing too bad. The course is flat and fast, except that there are a LOT of turns. And women who don't know the rules and turns don't mix well, so I tried to be cautious around them. I was almost taken out by someone who realized at the last second she should be going toward the finish instead of toward the second loop. It was scary, but she heard me yell when she tried to cut over, and she stayed straight to let me pass. Not sure how bad the crash would've been, but I was thankful that for once, my loud mouth paid off. I think I scared her out of turning her front wheel!!

I hit a huge bottleneck off the bike and literally had to stand and wait for women to cross the line to get into T2. There must've been 8 women trying to get through when there was only room for 2. I became agitated and yelled, "come on, let's GO!" and I was sorry almost immediately after I said it. One poor woman picked up her bike and practically threw herself into the fence to get out of my way. I felt bad...well, only for a second or two. Back to the slippery shoes on pavement. Maybe I need to learn how to keep my shoes on the bike!

Off to the run where I felt my legs burning almost immediately. I wished I had taken it just a little easier this week! My legs hurt way too soon on this run and I was breathing heavy from start to finish. Another couple sections where I had to ask women to move out of the way...the path they had for us was pretty narrow and women were running 3-4 wide. You couldn't get through without getting them to move. Again, I heard my Aunt and Uncle cheering me on and I gave them a quick thumbs up...too winded to speak. I tried catching this quick little woman in front of me, but I never gained on her. Toward the final mile, I kicked it in and gave it my best effort I could to get her. Still didn't get her, but had a good last mile split. The last half mile of the run is on very narrow sidewalk through the park and the last section is on grass. I could hear the announcer now, addressing each finisher as she came across the line. I was happy the end was near, my legs hurt!! I passed a few ladies down the last stretch and finished strong.

I think Aunt and Uncle had fun. Of course, they think my friends are crazy after seeing Pat try to hide my bike in an effort to freak me out, but they stuck around for a while and asked lots of questions. And even though I only saw them once on the course, I heard them a lot and always knew they were there. I've decided that if I do this race again, I will attempt the Elite wave. Or will I?


The Running Girl said...

Not sure how I found your site, but as I am training for my first HIM right now, the more info I can read from people training for more, the better. And reading your race report made me think of the Danskin race here. Very crowded with lots of new people who just want to finish. It's great, but can get frustrating at times. I'll be following your journey to your ironman.

Whiz said...

Heh... you rock! I think you belong in the Elite wave! :)

Nice work yesterday, and great to see you again. Get ready for a fast team time trial on 7/8! :)



Anonymous said...


Griz said...

I had to promise my wife no racing in rain. Yes, you belong in the elite wave.