Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hawaii: the 70.3 Race Report

After a surprizingly great sleep, in the usual pre-race way, alarm goes off at 4:30 am on saturday.  IT WAS RACE DAY!  In HAWAII!  YAY!

i had stolen/bought a variety of "the usual" things for my pre-race breakfast.  Hammer Whey Protein (which proved to be disgusting), some apple sauce, a banana, and two pieces of bread.  Since I was still feeling pretty full from the last night's dinner, I knew this would be plenty.  Started sipping an energy drink, and jumped into the shower (i was so tired the night before, that it seemed impossible) to shave my legs, and start a race feeling clean...  there is something comforting to starting a race clean, because you are about to do something that is the height of classiness in terms of getting salt water, sweat, sugar (in liquid and semi liquid forms), sunscreen (which i applied 3x prior to the race!) and the potential of bodily fluids all over your body.

so, we take off, a little late for comfort, head to the lot, and jump on the shuttle to the start.  Shuttles to the start are always a little nerve racking for me... did i forget something?  I don't really care what you are thinking about this race at this point in time... let me focus on my race!  am i going to be there on time?   but, we get there, and, I do know that I am going to be a bit pushed on time.  I set up T1, and i proceeded to walk away from my bike 3x, with things still on me which i did NOT need for the race.  Like my flip flops...  had to go back to put them in my "pick up bag" a number of times.  I also discovered on the way to the race, that i had forgotten my bike computer in my pocket.  so... no heart rate monitor.  No bike computer.  Just a watch, which i hit start on, and would hit laps during the run.

and my perceived exertion. every second of today would be on "how do i feel right now?!"

down to the port-o-pots one last time, body marking, and made my way to the water 10 minutes before start.  Yup, no time for warm-up... but, i suppose, this is a super warm water swim, it should be much "easier" than a cold water swim...
so, not going to lie.... I was a little nervous about this swim.  It is the first mass start, and the first non-wetsuit swim that I have ever done.  I wade into the water, starting right on the line, to the left hand side of the start area.  People just kept on creeping up further and further, and the announcer said "i will not start if people are still a head of the line..." (Um, yeah right...)  but, we just floated, treading water, and getting ready.  I made sure i was not super squished up to the people in front of me, for I did not want to be kicked in the face.  and, BAM cannon was shot.  

it was tight at the beginning, but, not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  the water was crystal clear (like they said it would be), very minimal chop, and a PERFECT temperature.  I tried to push just a bit at the beginning, and find a pair of feet.  It felt so easy to settle in for the ride.  for some reason, I was not worried about sighting.  i would pop my head up every once and a while to make sure I was not following someone who was totally off course.  but, for the most part, we were good to go.  This was the most relaxed swim that I have ever had.  it was not the fastest, but, it felt FANTASTIC... i was loving looking at the bottom, and the sun (which, even if i tried to sight, would blind me on a good portion of the course).  for the most part, i think i spent about 50% of the time drafting, 50% by myself.  There were times I would pick it up a bit, and times i would just cruise.

i do, however, still think that I am capable to knock off at least 5sec/100m for my swim time.  My swim pace generally ends up being around 1:45/100m on open water swim.  That is my 'comfort zone.'  there is something, though, inside of me that says if i could be about 1-2 mins faster on the swim, that it would not harm the rest of my race, and it would give me just a little more advantage getting out onto the bike.
TIME: 33:40 (including a long-ish run across the sand to the timing mats), 229th overall, 8th in age category.  interesting tidbit about this... the fastest woman swimmer in my category was the first woman out of the water, even in front of the pros.  and, I would come to meet her, later on in the course.

T1:  stopped for a little shower, to get the salt (and sand) off my body and out of my mouth (which is my least fav thing about swimming in salt water).  grabbed a swig of water and perform, and ran up a pretty hardy hill to T1 (they most def should've knocked off the .1 of the run, since this run out of the swim was so long!!!)  found my bike pretty easily, and found that i had done a good job at setting up my transistion.  off we went! time: 3:00

now, this is where i found the smiles started coming...  right out of transition, there is a steep little incline.  a girl was standing there with a South African Flag, which made me happy thinking about the mother/home-land.  indeed... today would be a good day.  the first few miles, everyone gets into the groove.

it was really hard to find mine, right off the bat.  especially because there was a girl in my age group, who was riding along and would pass me (always on a hill), then i would pass her again, and it went on and on.  all i wanted to do was just leave her in the dust (she was smaller & i had a bike advantage... i knew i would be able to drop her if i put my effort into it...), but the key her is to restrain.   had i said at this point that i hammered it to drop her... I don't know that coach mary would have been proud of that... i know that she consistantly reminds us to reign it in on the bike.  especially at the beginning.  It is going to be a long ride ahead.

the first 1/2 of the bike was a mental game.  mostly climbing, through rolling hills, with an overall elevation gain. as I have mentioned earlier, i didn't have my bike computer.  Mary had told me to ride "feeling like i could hold it, but if i needed to drop someone, i could..."  and, this is hard, because i am NOT a very strong climber (um, i blame it on the 173lbs, and 6ft frame).  but, i settled in, and just was wondering where the notorious head/cross wind was going to show up.  and, finally, at about mile 20, it arrived.  climbing up to Hawi was hard.  it was a lot of wind and a consistant incline.

the turn around at Hawi was like heaven.  i even said out loud "this is what the F*&k i am talking about about!!!"  (HA!  triathlon makes me be a potty mouth!)  it was like everyone around me found new life.  and, all of a sudden, the wind was on my back, my legs had a new life, and there was my favourite type of riding.  A decline which is not so steep that I have to stop pedalling, but could if i wanted to give my legs a little stretch.  it was smiles and "hell yeahs" all the way back.  The last 10 miles, I could tell that i was going to be happy with my time, and that the effort was about right... i was feeling ready to get off the bike, stoked for getting running, and moving on to the next stage of my race.

the one thing that was a little "on the edge" was that my nutrition was a little odd.  Normally i pee at least one time on the bike.  Despite the amount of perform i was taking in, there was no peeing to be had (which, i am sure the other competitors, much less my bike, are happy about).  There was a period of time, where my stomach was feeling a little meh.  so, i had to stop intake for a while, to settle it down.  and, i was a little worried that i wasn't taking enough liquid, since i wasn't peeing... but... the heat was definitely showing it's effect, i suppose.

SPLIT 1: 5.5 mi   5.5 mi (8.85km) (14:08)   23.35 mi/h (37.5km/hr)
SPLIT 2: 31 mi25.5 mi (41 km) (1:20:44)  18.95 mi/h (30.5km/hr)
SPLIT 3: 56 mi25 mi (40.2km) (1:14:55)  20.02 mi/h (32.2km/hr)
TOTAL BIKE56 mi (90km) (2:49:47)  19.79 mi/h (32km/hr)  overall: 352 category: 8

t2: I found that rolling into T2 slowed me down quite a bit... not 100% sure where I was going, and how much "longer" i had on the bike course (the frustrations of not having a bike computer).  Anyway, Roll into T2, take the feet out of the shoes.  They have volunteers grabbing and racking your bike, then you have to go and yell your number as you have another few volunteers searching to find your ironman T2 bag.  Mine took longer to find than prefered, and i swore a few more times (volunteer was like "sit down!  it's ok!"  me thinking "NO!  I GOTTA RUN! I GOTTA GO!  NO TIME TO SIT DOWN!").  Socks on, hat (not visor) on, shoes.  Ran out of the shoot.  apparently, this was the first time that Sean (the boy i like) saw me.  and, despite him yelling, and having a sign with my name... i did not see him.  but, this is me, courtesy of him... (I HATE how i run with a 1...2....3... triple chin.  what is wrong with me!?!?) time: 2 mins
running through T2

now, this is where it everything seemed to cumulate.  The heat, the nutrition, the fun, the challenge.   i took off running, with a BIG smile on the face.  life is good!  but, i gotta take it slow!  just move....  i didn't feel like i was going to fast, but, apparently, I still need to slow down.  I hit my first mile (over the grass) was an 8:20 pace.  i knew i probably would not be able to keep that up, but, i was feeling good & it felt slow.  so, i just kept on motoring along.  2nd mile, i slowed down, but it ended up being almost exactly the same time (8:33)... so.... could i keep this pace!??!?!

mile 3... was when it became a little more realistic.  9:03... this was where is was starting to be noticably harder... the rolling course was showing that it was going to be weird to run on... little steps up, zipping down, with turns and out and backs.  
mile 4: onto a road, where i would start seeing my competitors.  I tried to start counting how many girls were in front of me in my age group... it is hard to tell, because they don't put ages on the calfs... just numbers on the arms, so you have to guess, by the bib.  i figured there were about 5 girls ahead of me, but, didn't know if there were some that i missed.  pace: 8:56 (still around the 9min mark)
mile 5:  still on the road, and it is getting HOT!  i was starting to be able to take in nutrition again, but, taking a gel would still be out of the question for now.  pace: 8:48 (a bit of a downhill here) got into a routine at the aid stations:  
  1. slow down to a fast walk.
  2. water on head
  3. sips of perform.
  4. sip of cola.
  5. chew a peice of ice.
  6. ice down bra
  7. ice in hat
  8. start running again.

mile 6&7: now, this is where the preverbal shit hit the fan... it was HOT.  it was UPHILL.  it was the middle of the race.  it was a mental challenge.  I appreciated the guy who told me from across the road, when he saw me shuffling along the right hand side of the road "run on the white line!  it is cooler there!"  and i did... and it was.  I walked a bit of the uphill here. this was hurt.  18:27 for the two miles (forgot to hit the lap button!
mile 8: ok.  5 miles left.  less than a 10km.  I can do this in an hour.  less than an hour left!  YAY!  shoot, back onto the golf course with these damn sprints up and down.  Look!  a girl in my age group!  i should try to run her down.  i think i can.  i KNOW i can!  just keep moving.  keep cool...  maybe i will toss a cup of ice in the body spot that can cool me down the most.  yup!  down the pants she goes!  OH MY GOD!  BAD DECISION!  ITS FRICKEN COLD!  (ps.  no matter how hot you are.  never, and i say NEVER, pour a cup of ice down your shorts.  not worth it!) 

this was the neat part of my run... i met up with the girl in my age group.  and, she looked just like me.  About 6 feet tall, HUGE shoulders.  And, i said that to her: "Nice girl!  good job!  keep it up!  it is great to see someone else out here who is my size, let's go get those little girls!"  she responded to me "totally!  you have big shoulders too!" Turns out, this girl is the girl who came of out the swim first woman overall... not a surprise. those of us with swimming backgrounds look very much the same. pace: 9:40.

mile 9: slog slog slog. what is this!?!?  more road? this road literally looks like it is going to hell and back.  Lava fields on both sides of this awful looking pavement.  it is really hot.  but... almost done!  ALMOST DONE! pace: 9:48
mile 10:  oh holy F.  the road to hell has an uphill on the way back.  but, at least broad shoulder girl is right with me.  i have someone to stick with.  i will not let her get ahead of me.  we are working well together. hmmm... i think that get stuffed in my pants would be good just about now.  pace: 9:58 
mile 11: ok.  ok. ok.  just keep going.  keep going.  you are going to get a great time, no matter what. you are in hawaii.  you love this crap. you are in hawaii. even though it hurts, you love this. you are in hawaii.  it hurts. it is hot.  you love this!!!   it is almost the last aid station.  get a good walk through the shade of the trees, and you are back on the golf course... on the way home.  OH CRAP!  broad shoulder girl kept on running through the aid station.  pace:  10:01
mile 12:  ok.  pick it up to get that girl.  pass her.  gel is kicking in.  feeling like hell.  but, it is picking up again.  you can feel like this for another 2 miles...  less than 20 minutes to go!  pace: 9:40
mile 13.1: yesssss!  passed shoulders! keep on moving!  wow!  i can't stop smiling!  what a great day!  i am so stoked! i am in hawaii!  i am only 10 minutes away from a PB, with no HRM, no bike computer, in the fricken roasting oven, jet lagged, heat exhausted.  i am SO HAPPY!  i love the people getting excited and yelling "keep that smile on your face!!!!"  across the line with a 9:21 last 1.1mile.

RUN SPLIT 1: 10 mi10 mi (16km) (1:31:57)9:11/mi (5:42/km)
RUN SPLIT 2: 13.1 mi3.1 mi (5ish km) (28:41)9:15/mi (5:44/km)
TOTAL RUN13.1 mi (21km) (2:00:38) 9:12/m(5:42/km)overall 364 age group 8

i see the boy i like, with a sign, go over and give him a big ol' smooch.  i am SO happy!  and, fricken tired. but, all in all, i didn't feel like i was going to quite fall over, showing that i did a decent job of nutrition.  i went to take a beautiful fresh water shower to cool down (all my clothes and shoes on), and was ready for my post race massage (which, btw, was done by a guy with noodle fingers... not sure if it was quite worth the wait), rehydration beers and chicken burger.  saw my bestie & her family, christina, and managed to find  the boy i like  love again.  

169228MONTREAL QC CANStudent
and, then, it was just relax.  in the shade talking to other finishers.  then, back to the hotel for some canucks watching with  the boy i like  love, and my other bestie, Zach.  Who... was hurting a bit from the race.
packed triathlete

I didn't stick around for awards.  I got 8th in my age category... maybe good enough for a rolldown spot to vegas.  Which, i would be enticed by.  But, i am going to africa in the fall, so, it is impossible.  but, I am curious... you know.  just to know if i am "70.3 world championship" quality.  because... i know i am close.  and, it DOES make me want to do a local WTC race this summer, before my last 1/2 iron just outside edmonton.  because i know that next year will be a "take it easy" year for racing. I am going to have a lot of things going on... graduation, moving back out west, and... most likely... a wedding to be planning?!?!

but, keep tune for that report next!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Love this race report! I could totally feel your emotion...and note taken - never put ice down your pants! :)