Sunday, June 29, 2008

Iron Girl Re-cap

So first let me say I DID IT! I guess that makes me an iron girl :) Overall, it was a great experience. There are areas for improvement but I felt good about the race.

Overall 1:54:39
Swim (600 yards) 12:34
T1 2:56
Bike (18 miles) 1:10:26
T2 1:56
Run (3 miles) 26:46

Today was definitely a lesson in mental focus.

I got up at 4:30 as planned (OK, I got out of bed at 4:30 - I actually woke up at 3:00 and could not go back to sleep ARGH!). Grabbed a muffin and some water and then, for some reason, I felt this would be a good time to catch up on my sister's blog of their happenings. Before you know it, it is 4:53. I needed to be out the door at 5:00. Yikes! I jump up from the computer and start getting dressed, ice in the cooler, load the car. Out the door at 5:10. At 5:12 I can't remember if I threw my timing chip in the bag, pull over on the side of the road to reassure myself. Yes, it was there. I continue on my way to Lake Lanier.

My photog did not join me this time, his leg hurt and was up late working on his motorcycle. (You may or may not know that he had an accident not too long ago that required the reassembly of his leg with a metal plate along his shin bone and 13 screws. It is the source of daily pain at this point but seems to be something he will have to learn to endure. At any rate, it makes it painful to walk on a daily basis). Just as well as mentally I was probably better off on my own.

Long story but my mother was in town this weekend for a church related event and we tried to meet up several times none of which worked out due to the event being downtown, the church bus getting stuck in traffic, and my obligations related to the race. Short version is she was upset that we couldn't work out a time to meet so the frustration over that contributed to my edginess and resulted in my need to just be alone to avoid snapping. In all honesty, there is an overabundance of stress in my life so that was just kind of the thing that caused the meltdown for me. The stress of this and everything else just sort of mounted up on me and made for a restless night last night and lack of focus this morning. So back to the event...

I arrive at 6:00 which turned out to be perfect. I grab my gear and head over to the bike. All is well, I rip off the trash bags I had taped over the bike the night before, get my numbers drawn on my arms and legs and head to the swim start. As I walk to the start, I notice that EVERYONE appears to the exceedingly fit. This wasn't like the last triathlon where there was an assortment of levels of fitness. Probably 95% of the people I saw were perfect physical specimens of fitness. Not intimidating at all.... I also noticed too there were A LOT of pink swim caps meaning there were a lot of people in my age group. I guess that is the reason we were the first wave.

I did a decent job on the swim. My pace was actually faster on this race than the last one. The main difference in this race was there was a mass of people to fight through the whole way. There were very few spaces of open water where you felt you could swim freely without kicking someone or someone kicking you. I did get slightly off course once. It is surprising how quickly that can happen - I probably swam about 8 strokes and was on the other side of the buoy. After that, I had to mentally concentrate on swimming towards the right to avoid pulling to the left of the course. After you exit the water, there is an uphill climb to the bike, not as long of a run as the last race but definitely more of an incline.

Transition 1
I felt the transition was decent. My heart rate was still up from the run up that hill and my legs were feeling tired today for some reason. I definitely did not have the energy I had at this point in the last race.

There were two major events that went wrong here. The start and the finish. The bike leg did not start well AT ALL. You have to run your bike up to the gate and then cross the "mount" line before you can get on your bike. There are tons of people cheering as all this happens and there is a sharp turn to the right to get on the road. As I am mounting my bike, it goes to the left and I am not in a position to grab the brakes (you basically have to be seated and hunched over to stop). Upon reflection, I could have gotten my feet down sooner but this was a split second happening. So I am getting on the bike, feet on the pedals trying to get going the bike veers to the left and INTO A PARKED MOTORCYCLE. Oh, S@*#! was all I could say as this was happening until MY TRACHEA RAMS INTO THE END OF HIS HANDLEBAR! I am not joking... I came away with a bruised knee, a couple of cuts on my legs and then a bruise on my throat from the attempted tracheotomy. I say a quick apology, get back on the bike and out of dodge to avoid dying from embarrassment. The only thing going through my head as this was happening was please don't let the motorcycle tip over. Thank God it didn't. All the volunteers are yelling "it's OK, you got it, keep going". Not the way I envisioned this starting. I did not need to add more irrational fear to my bike leg.

Out on the course it takes about 6 miles or more to get over it all I am thinking the whole time is please don't do anything stupid at the finish. I'm coughing due to the near tracheotomy I gave myself and trying to keep up with changing gears when appropriate. The course was pretty hilly. Not the "gently rolling hills" as described by the race director but more than a few steep hills. In spite of that, it actually felt like I did a better job of being in the right gear for the most part. Or at least until the finish... I am riding up the final entry way before you make the turn uphill to the bike finish. Somehow, I got in the complete wrong gear and am going nowhere. In front of the same crowd that saw me T-bone the motorcycle. Nothing I can do but laugh. Thankfully, I was in the proper gear to fly up the steep hill to the bike finish so there is another positive. All in all, the bike still needs work. I definitely need outdoor time on it working on changing gears and not so much on the indoor bikes.

Transition 2
Not bad, I think I was pretty quick getting in and out. I grabbed a GU gel for the road.

The run started great. I think it was just excitement to get off the bike. I flew about the first half mile or so then my legs really started to feel it. It was a slower pace this time, between and 8:45 and 9:00 minute miles. I did manage to sprint the last little bit up the hill to the race finish.

Post Race
Iron Girl has quite the post party. Massages, breakfast buffet, giveaways. Along the course with the water, they were giving out ice cold sponges to cool you off. A very nice race, I would definitely do it again. I guess my paparazzo felt guilty about not coming to the race and showed up for the finish and even bought me a t-shirt which was nice! He was regretting it after the long walk uphill back to the car with the bike. :) I will say the experience is much nicer if you have a cheering section. You kind of need that moral support to cheer you on in during transition. As for the throat. I think this one is going to leave a mark as they say. I am definitely feeling it now but am sure I will survive to ride another day!

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