Monday, June 02, 2008
Terre Haute Triathlon Race Report
It was a last minute decision to participate in this year's Terre Haute triathlon. I think it was because I'm so used to having an early start to the season (last few years, my first race was in April or first weekend in May!). It was difficult to listen to everyone give race reports about Galena and Memphis. I was originally scheduled to participate in the Triple T last weekend, but I knew there was no way I'd be ready to run that many miles. I made the right decision on that one.
So, I'll give just a quick recap on the race.
It was surprisingly warm when I went out to the car in the morning. There were some tornado watches and warnings going on the night before and the streets were still wet. It was pretty sticky and muggy and I took my sweatshirt off while I set up transition.
Setting up in transition at Terre Haute is always interesting. Terre Haute is a smaller race so the transition racks are sort of a free for all. There was a guy that tried to weasel in at the last minute, but I was able to show him why it wouldn't be cool of him to just jump in on a rack already set up and start moving other athlete's things. He was cool about it (thankfully!).
I'd heard people say that there were a lot of weeds in the water. That was evidenced as I saw PT's BFF Lauren Jensen come back from a warm up swim with a big bunch of weeds strewn across her left arm. They didn't look too slimy, so I didn't even think about it. As the all-female wave waited for the start, I heard a woman in front of me say how fast she was going to catch the wave that went in front of us. I looked around and saw some very confident-looking women around me. Then I immediately became intimidated and lined up in the 2nd row of women. I don't know why I let the comment or looks of those women intimidate me because within 50 yards, I was looking for a way to get around these women. I hit the woman's feet in front of me too many times, but I had no way to get around...I was squeezed in from both sides. In about 150 yards, I was able to swim past the 2 women trapping me on my left. Then it was pretty smooth sailing. The water was calm and comfortable. I just found a nice rhythym and wished the swim was longer.
I got out, looked at my watch and had a really good, strong swim. Running to the transition, my feet hurt from the rough surface. It's a pretty long run and...shoot, we entered the transition area from the opposite side I thought, so now I had to think about which aisle to run down. I need to pay more attention to where I'm set up! I found my stuff and was a little shaky. A woman flew in next to me and was in and out before I could even get one shoe on...good thing the Luna Chix are doing a transition clinic later this afternoon! I took a deep breath and steadied myself, trying to bring down the heart rate. I quickly ran out of transition and hopped on the bike.
It was warmer than I thought, but since it was so humid, I wasn't drying up at all. The bike course is an out and back with some rolling hills, nothing too difficult. On the way out, I felt great, strong, like I was just flying along. I was caught a little behind the USAT motorcycle at the turn around, but I don't think I lost much time. I couldn't practice the turn I just learned at the cycling clinic because they had a truck parked across the road (probably blocking traffic from the other direction) and the truck was too close for me to put into play what I had learned. Bummer.
And there it was...a huge, relentless headwind! UGH! No wonder I felt like I was cruising on the way out...we had a strong tailwind. But now I was pushing really hard and the bike seemed like it was barely moving. It's in those times I must look down to make sure I don't have a flat because it just feels like I'm crawling. I'm passed by many guys, passing a few. Definitely some newbies out there who are a little all over the road and make it dicey to pass at some points.
I get off the bike and wonder what this run is going to feel like. I haven't run this far since November...in my Ironman. I didn't give it my all on the bike in order to make sure the run wasn't going to hurt. I make a very fast transition and am out running and the temperature seems fine to me...except that I can't get try. My uniform is just as wet as it was the second I came out of the water. My fingers were pruny. I plod along, ticking off the miles. The hamstring bothers me at points, particularly when going uphill or trying to pick up the pace. Now the women are passing me and I try to remind myself not to chase....just get through the run at your own pace! I can't expect much, I haven't been running!
The last mile of the race is by far the hilliest part of the run and it definitely hurt the most. But it's on a trail through the forest and I just love running through that type of environment. I can now hear the announcer at the finish line and I just try to keep the pace. Almost there! Now I can see spectators and the finish line is down the hill! I was happy to finish with just a moderate amount of pain. My time was slower than the last time I did this race, but I expected that. It was a blast. And my triathlon season has officially been kicked off!