IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Tri Shark

In the last 2 weeks, my training has been...shall we say...non-existent? That's right, I have taken more "rest" days in the past 2 weeks than I have in the months of Jan-Apr combined. The combination of oral surgery (which took more out of me and was more painful than expected) and work in the past couple weeks has left me with very little time and motivation to train. And, once again, another race sneaks up on me.

I got home from work on Friday very late and scrambled for my triathlon checklist. My bike has been sitting in the closet since Memphis in May and I wasn't going to have time for, nor did I feel like, a test ride. My goggles have also been sitting dormant since MIM. And my running shoes sit where I kicked them off the minute I got home from the Ridge Run. With all those things going for me, I wasn't holding too much hope for myself today. I kept telling myself, "It's just a sprint. No big deal."

The thing is, races of all distances can be tough. It all depends on the amount of effort you put in. So a sprint can be just as tough as Ironman. (Did I just say that?) OK, well, maybe not...but a sprint CAN be just as tough as an Olympic-distance triathlon. And this race wasn't really a true sprint. The swim, my strength, is shorter than the standard sprint distance race. This doesn't play into my favor, and I began wondering why in the world I signed up for this race!

We arrived in transition later than usual and all the "good" spots on my rack were taken. I ended up in the very last rack of my wave and I figured it probably wasn't going to make much difference anyway. I had a little mental block when I set my bag down and couldn't remember how to lay out my things. It was almost like I had never done a triathlon before and I struggled to get the things out in the order I'd need them. I caught up with Kim K. and she ended up racking her bike just a few down from mine and I welcomed the company so close by.

Kim and I went to find BC and RT for a short warm-up run. JQ had already gotten his in and JM was out warming up on his bike. I saw lots of familiar faces, and quite honestly, I'm starting to find that is a detriment as it's very distracting. When I first started triathlon and knew no one, I was very methodical and religious about my pre-race rituals. Today, it was obvious I was winging it.

After the run, we're back at the bikes and Kim and I get the last of our things together and start putting on the wetsuits. Most of the other athletes are down at the beach and we missed seeing the first wave go off. I am feeling very last-minute about everything and having a hard time staying focused on what I was here to do.

As we walked toward the water, I was bummed by how short the swim looked. For someone like me, it takes me a good 200-300 yards to warm up before I can put it on cruise control. The distance of this swim meant that soon after I'd hit my stride, the swim would be over! I saw fellow Luna Chix, Liz, who wanted to tuck in behind me for a draft in the water. Kim and I wished each other luck as we were called into the water.

There was a 10 second countdown and our wave was started! With just a few strokes, I could see 2 women even with me on the left. A couple breaths to the right and I could see no one there. I headed straight for the buoy and wanted the 2 women on the right to slide in front, but no, they were a little further out, so right at the turn, I believed them to have tucked in behind me. The next stretch was nice and smooth and I only had a few people to swim around. The final turn put me right into a pack of the pink-capped athletes - the women under 30 wave. It was a bit of a cluster for about 10-15 seconds as I struggled for a clean path straight for the finish. I couldn't really see the finish and I hoped this pack of ladies was headed in the right direction!

I kept swimming and I knew the end was near. I like to swim as far as I can before I stand up. I was headed full-steam for the finish and all of a sudden, my right arm slaps some guy in the back. He was walking well before where he should have been and it completely took me off guard. And now since he broke my momentum, I stood up prematurely. I ripped off the cap and goggles and see a woman just in front of me. Son of a beotch, she must've drafted off me the whole time after that first turn! Damn, she's a good swimmer and an excellent drafter...I never even knew she was there! I thought about trying to out-sprint her to the T1 mat and then thought it wasn't worth it. She clocked exactly 1 second faster than me.

Here's where the race began to fall apart for me. I ran to the bike rack, but couldn't find my bike. I yelled out a couple of unpleasantries as I ran back and forth along the racks of bikes for my age group. I could not believe this was happening. It's such a rookie move to not be able to find your stuff. And this race was so small, there was really no excuse for it. The volunteers in transition were probably cracking up at the sight of me running back and forth like a chicken with my head cut off trying to find my bike. I felt like they all looked the same. I was in this bad dream and I couldn't wake up!

After what felt like 10 minutes, I finally found my bike and now the adrenaline was pumping so hard, I was shaking pretty hard. I found it difficult to steady myself to get my socks and shoes on. And I also knew that drafter girl was getting a lengthy head start on that bike.

I get to the end of transition and to the dismount line and it was crowded with athletes. Then a guy fell down not 10 feet from the start. He got up and tried to get going, and he was really unsteady. I couldn't figure out which way to go around him because he kept turning his front wheel erratically! Dude, next time, put the bike in an easy gear before you start! After all that chaos, I finally was out and pumping on the bike.

The roads were a bit rough the first several miles. I was struggling to catch my breath and was trying to mentally bring my heart rate down. I needed to just settle in. Pains shot through my quads and I chastised myself for being such a slacker in the past few weeks. Of course it hurts when you don't train, I told myself! I passed a few people here and there. And about 5-6 miles into the course, there she was: drafter girl. The unmistakeable one-piece blue swimsuit was easy to spot. I thought of Lori and how she must "break spirits" by blowing by someone at the speed of light. See, the trick is to pass with "authoritAY". As I rode by, I did yell to her "nice swim!" She didn't yell anything back, so I rode on trying to keep a nice, steady pace. There were more hills and harder hills than I expected on the ride. At one point, when my speedometer read 12, I thought I had a flat, I was going so slow! How is it that during some of my races, I've gone down to 3mph? Ugh! Where is the downhill on this course? There were also some stretches where I felt like I was just flying, only those don't last as long as you'd like!

Just as I got up the longest hill of the day, I heard a woman yell something to me...and it was Liz! Holy crap, that girl can ride a bike! And her passing me is just what I needed to kick it back into high gear. I accused her of "toying with me" as I passed her back with less than a minute of riding left. And we rode into T2 at the same time. We got caught up in a little bit of chaos again and I felt like there were people just running around everywhere with their bikes! In reality, it was probably just one person that cut me off as I made my way back to my transition area.

Thankfully, it didn't take me long to find my stuff in this transition! I made what felt like a pretty quick transition and got out onto the run course. And then Deanna (another fellow Luna Chic!) scoots on past me. She's quite the little runner! She made it look so easy! I could hear myself breathing hard and, as has been the case in all my races this year, I wondered if other racers were annoyed by it. I could ALSO hear Liz's footsteps behind me. I thought I was giving it everything I had and I was extremely disappointed when I hit the mile 1 mark and saw I had only clocked an 8:15. I was faster during my 10K in Memphis. Once again, I berated myself for being such a slacker in my training. I was breathing even heavier now and I wondered how much longer I could keep this up.

I got to see JQ and BC on their way back in. And in true MJ fashion, the second mile was faster than the first. It made me a little happier, but I also started thinking that I had a whole more mile to do and it just seemed like a long way. I wondered how the heck I can do a marathon when I feel so crappy with having run just 2 miles, and they weren't really that fast! I was passed by a few women, but I was passing more people than were passing me and it felt good. It's so rare that happens for me (damn all those fast runners!). I saw Kim on her way out, just behind me and I could see she was making up ground fast! And at the mile 3 mark, the split was the fastest yet, and I wonder why it is that I do that! I really felt like I was giving it my all in the first mile, yet it was obvious that wasn't the case.

The last tenth of a mile went by painfully slowly and I could hear people I knew cheering me in. I wanted to smile and give a cheer back, but I was breathing too hard. I just needed to finish.

This was the first time I'd done this race, and I'd have to agree with BC, it's a great one! Close to home, small, competitive, great venue, good post-race spread and lots of familiar faces. And even better than that, it was so short, I feel like I could go out and do it all over again tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

You forgot the part about how you WON your AG. Nice job.


Anonymous said...

nice truck

Anonymous said...

Wow what a truck!