Okay, enough of the bike woes. Let's talk about the race, shall we? Yes! Time for the good ole report....
Musselman Race Report 2012
So....when we last left off, I had decided (maybe slightly fool heartedly, I will admit) to do the whole 70.3 This decision changed alot of things. I knew, right off the bat, I was not going to PR. Wasn't even going to try to and blow my foot up. (This ended up being a wise decision-I do make them sometimes!) I set a loose goal for myself: 6:45. A 50 minute swim (I have been slow for me this year, usually I can do a 40ish), a 3:15-3:20 bike (not wanting to blow up and lack of gearing) and a 2:30 half marathon (11:30 pace). I figured my transitions would be horrible, as I had done a grand total of one brick going into the race.
But....we don't just go willy nilly into a race. I firmly believe in setting PW's once in awhile :-P
Woke up at 4am, as ready as I'll ever be. It's already 77 degrees out. Awesome. Breakfast of pb toast and applesauce, and my first cup of caffeinated coffee in over a month. Love that jolt! Into Geneva by 5:30am....body marked and to the bike shop tent by 5:35. ...skipping over the bike curses....i set up transition (which felt so strange, I swear I was forgetting something), loaded nutrition on my bike, and then remembered to check out my "mantra". One of the awesome things about this race (there are so many!) is when you enter, the RD asks you a question. Months down the line, when you've totally forgotten the "question", it shows up on your bike space in the form of a go get 'em race mantra. One year, it was to go represent Fairport (where I lived at the time). One year, it was "make Summer proud" (my cat). This year, the question must have been "Who's your hero?" because when I took a look at my bike rack, I saw this:
and immediately teared up. Race nerves? Maybe so. But it gave me resolve for a race I was floundering on on so many levels. It wasn't about me right now. It was about being my hero's hero. Challenge accepted.
Hangin out with me hero :-P
With a new lease on the race, I finished prep, downed a powerbar, and headed toward the swim start to warm up. The weather had been so warm lately that the lake was coming in over 78 degrees...which presented another dilemma. The swim was officially non wetsuit legal. You could still wear a wetsuit, but would not be eligible for awards. hmmm. Tough choice. Nah, just kidding. I thought about going sans in order to not overheat (my wetsuit is sleeved) but decided to wear it simply because I've never done an OWS without one (need to fix that). No sense trying something else new on race day(more on that later on). Donned the wetsuit, did a 5 minute warmup, then waited for my wave to be called with some of my favorite guys (hubster not pictured, he's taking the picture :-P)
SWIM: 42:38 (plus the extra bit to get to T1)
The swim for this race is deceiving. You look out in the lake, and it looks...flat. Once you get out there, it's a different story! We end up doing a 3 sided rectangle for the first 3/4 a mile, and then the last half mile is in a canal. So the first 25 minutes or so tend to be choppy, but then it evens out with some nice calm. I'm not afraid of the scrum, so I set myself right in the middle...which is about consistent with my ability. It seemed to be a bit more congested than normal (new age group= more people?) and the only downside of the non wetsuit legal swim was that more people should have opted to wear wetsuits....they had no clue what they were doing. Ehh, such is life. I got kicked a few times, swallowed some lake, but it was pretty uneventful. Peed in my wetsuit a few times (I know you wanted to know that). Pretty much easy constant effort. I did get a bit warm toward the end, but I wasn't sorry I donned the suit. Out of the water and onto the bike!
BIKE: 3:25 (16.2 mph)
Ugh, was this a shitstorm from go. You saw my rant yesterday about bike issues....well, my roo did not disappoint (as in, the problems were delivered). I mounted at the bike line only to have some dude unclip and plant about a foot in front of me...I swerved to avoid him and did a face plant on the grass...5 seconds out of T1. Nutrition and water from my aero sipper fell on the ground...and I got a hot grease stain to show for it. Eff. Not the way to start the bike. I climbed back in, adjusted my bottle and grabbed my stuff, and off I went. About a mile in, I looked down and saw my Aqua cell slipping off its mount and my bike computer....at zero. As in, not working. Aww. I clipped out, spent a few minutes dicking around with it, shoved my Aqua cell back in it's holder, and was off. Half my water out, no bike computer, and already 10 minutes into the bike bike and less than 2 miles into the course. Perfect. My hydration continued to plague me for the rest of the ride, which meant every 10 minutes I would shove it back as far as it would go. I took a deep breath and got ready to tackle the first 20 miles of false flat/uphill with no feedback on my speed....which does not help me. I was determined to ride smart, so I flipped the bike into an easy mode on the big chain ring....nothing. WHAT? I played for a bit, finally realizing that instead of possessing 8 gears on the big ring...I had 3. The hardest gear, the easiest, and one of the middle ones. Every time I tried to flip it to another gear, it would grind off and on and refuse to turn over. FFFF.... So, I decided to test out the small chain ring. Nah, the bike wasn't going for that. So....you're telling me I have to ride in 3 gears for the next 50 miles?? I tussled with this, threw a mini tantrum, then decided to just throw up my arms (figuratively) and go for it. After all, this was an adventure, right?
The first 15 miles were...slow. I had no clue how far I was, how fast I was going, or what was up. Then, about mile 15, it started pouring. Hard. With thunder and lightning. Seriously?? I kept leap frogging with one guy and we joked about just calling it a day and pulling off onto one of the wineries on the course...I think we were only half joking. I was a little bit annoyed as this was the "fast" part of the course...but with the wind, rain, and oh yes, thunder and lightning....this was not fast. I think. I had no data, remember? :-P
I hit the descent at mile 26 and, of course, once we were done with downhills, the rain ceased. Hit mile 30 at 1:55 and change and knew I was not making my 3:15 goal. Ehh, whatcha gonna do. Then something magical happened. I hit a bump and my computer started to work! Awesome! I'm all for racing based on exertion, but sometimes I get lazy if i can't tell how fast I'm going on a regular interval. Armed with this knowledge, I pushed it a bit. My one problem/ I had to decide whether I was going to mash and go faster or spin and go slower. Ahh hell, I thought. I can't run fast anyways with my foot. Let's mash!
This worked pretty well until the one steep hill on the course. Which, yes, I climbed in the big chain ring. I got yelled at a few times (Hey, you should shift!) and I just laughed it off. (Several people commented on both my shifting hell and the prettiness of my bike. Think the two cancel each other out? :-P) After the last climb at mile 40, I ramped it up through the next big descent, through the park, and hit the last 10 miles at about 19 mph. Sweet. Pulled into T2 at 3:25, 10 minutes slower than I wanted, but without any data for half the ride, 3 gears, and at least 5 minutes spent on the side of the road, I was happy. No, scratch that. Ecstatic. Just get the damned bike away from me.
Run: 2:23 (10:48/pace)
Now, this was gonna be the hard part. The run. I was very cognisant, going into it, that I hadn't run more than 30 minutes in almost 2 months. I glanced at my watch and saw that I had 2:30 to cover the distance in order to meet my "time goal". I decided to do a 4:1 run/walk right off the bat and see how that went. I realized one major mistake right off the bat-don't wear clothes to a 70.3 that you haven't trained in for each leg. Duh. I wore my bike skirt for the extra comfort (I love it on rides over 50 miles) but it got drenched on the bike and was akin to running in a diaper for 13 miles. Fail. Eh, I wasn't gonna set any land speed records, so I just had to deal with the swish swish and some not so pleasant chafing (good thing I realized that much later!) The run walk strategy saved me. This race has aid stations every mile, so I would run for half a mile, walk a minute, then run to the aid station. The first 7 miles are either flat or uphill, with a huge, rocky uphill at mile 7, so I knew my time would be slower at first. I hit mile 7 at 1:5 and knew if I stayed smart I could get my 2:30. I walked the whole ascent at mile 7 (the ground is pretty crappy, think trail like...and I didn't want to hurt my foot) so I played it safe. Re upped with either water or heed at the aid stations (and a few chomps, but solid food was meh) and lovely ice and sponges, and just took it bit by bit. My foot felt a bit weak, but not hurt....moreso just letting me know "Hey!, you haven't used me in forever, ya know!" Yes foot, I know. I knew running wasn't probably the best thing for me, but I just took it easy, did my own thing, and enjoyed being out there. Was it hot? Yup. And humid as $hit. But it's amazing what came over me at mile 3 on the bike and stayed with me for the remainder of the race.....I was out there to just do it. And be happy that I could. No earth shattering PR's, no glory. Just being thankful that my feet allowed me to do 70.3 when I didnt think it was possible 6 weeks ago.
Reminding myself of that and why I love this sport is what got me through. A few low spots, a few high spots, and I was through the tape at 6:39....and a 2:23 half marathon.
My body started to shut down a bit post race, but I tried to walk around. Found the hubster and my Uncle and Lois, my FIL's other half, who came out to support me. Thank you so much guys!! We chatted for awhile and I was also able to catch up with a bunch of my tri Friends. Some PR'ed, some had crappy races...some flatted, some biked the bike of their life....some did the double mussel... but everyone had a story. And as we ate fruit, pulled pork, ice cream and yogurt (okay, tried to, my tummy rebelled a bit) we all remembered why we travel to this corner of heaven in New York every July. It might not be the fastest course...or the coolest course....or the easiest course...but it's home. It's run by a group of people who really care about the sport and their athletes, and its a mecca for western New Yorkers to get together for the weekend and tri! And I freaking love it.
Am I happy with my race? You betcha. It's not a PR at all (need to find that sweet spot with this distance, I know I have yet to tap my true potential....I think I should maybe attempt a different race for that!) but I am super happy I was able to get through the whole thing and come out in one piece. I had awesome support (including my mom, who was a rockstar on the run, hitting up 4 checkpoints to cheer me on!), saw a bunch of people I love to hang out with, and came home with a medal at the end of the day. Oh yeah, and it was free. Cause I'm a poet. Well, at least Mussel thinks so :-P