An actual race report this season...ok there have been a few others, but yes...a race report for the OC Olympic Tri that was this sunday.
This is the first year for the race and on the website there really wasn't much info about the course profile how hilly and someone had said to me a few weeks ago: Mission Viejo...it's pretty hilly up there. So I was curious....and a little concerned to be honets...so I emailed the race director and inquired about an elevation profile but all I got back was: nope..we don't have one. This made me a little concered...AND then the week leading up to the race I got emails describing the course...and its hilliness, I have to admit I got a little nervous. While I have been riding a lot of hills and running on a lot of hills (how can you not around SD?) since I hadn't specifically trained for this race I was a little unsure race morning how it might go. I had previewed a little bit of the bike course and knew i could solidly tackle it, but since the pre-race emails I received about the run course were a little ominous, I didn't know how tackling the bike and then the run might go...but I figured while it might be a little ugly, I could probably finish it no matter what the run dished out.
75 degrees...why on EARTH did I think wearing a wetsuit was a good idea after I swam all summer in the ocean at 70 degrees and was comfy? Not a good choice. And lake Mission Viejo is sorta gross...smells like sulfur, but it was nice not to be in salt water. It was VERY foggy and when you started you just swam out into nothingness...it was a little surreal...and just hoped to find the buoy soon. For a lot of the swim I was all by my lonesome...it was weird...i am neither really fast nor a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeallly slow swimmer...just a standardly slow swimmer so for a bit I was just by myself. Odd...but I was sighting where I could and I was on track. Overall the swim was uneventful. The water sorta grossed me out and I drank more water than I'd like to admit...so I hope I don't get sick. Blech.
The Bike....the cat and mouse game has begun
I hopped on my bike and watched a guy struggle with his shoes that were attached to his pedals and it took him forever to get into them. Not so sure that was a time saver there buddy. Reminded me not to attempt.
Now overall I'm an 'average-ly' competitive person. OK...it depends upon what it is if I am competitive or not. (or so I think). Academics...i used to be very competitive...music...very competitive...but sports...i've found I'll be competitive with myself but not be too much of the type of "I HAVE TO BEAT THAT PERSON OVER THERE" type mentality. I will want to finish a race strong but I thought that was where I left it. Push hard for me...but don't worry about the other guy sort of mentality. Let's just pre-empt it by saying new things were discovered on the course today.
So i'm on my bike and at some point this girl in my age group passes me. I don't think much of it...and then later...I pass her....she'll pass me a bit later...and back and forth...for the first 20 miles. I think it's funny at this point. From my vantage point, she seems a little frustrated because after she'll pass me she'll keep looking over her shoulder to see where I am. Every so often I decide to pass her mainly because we were going roughly the same speed and after awhile it would get old to try to stay out of her draft zone so I would pass her solely to make her deal with my draft zone. Or...we were going on the flats and I was having too much fun in my big ring and need to pass. Around mile 20...she got her wish. She passed me...and dropped me. Fine with me...I still had a few more miles to ride and this ominous 10K ahead. I didn't think much about it. I had had some fun playing cat and mouse and I briefly thought: Maybe I"ll see her on the run...but then dismissed that because I'm an average runner and don't always think of myself as the type who is able to run down someone. I have no idea how fast I went at this point...i just know over all I was pretty happy with my bike ride. I felt strong on the climbs and the descents weren't too steep so a scardy cat like me didn't freak out too much on them. I even tucked a bit and got in my big ring as much as possible. I really enjoyed the bike. It was awesome.
On to the run
T2 wasn't at the same spot as T1 which was a little odd...but worked out. The first two miles I was clocking 8:30 mpm...but I figured I was on a down hill. I was in the last wave and was catching people in waves ahead of me, but hadn't seen anyone in my wave for a long time. I thought: this run isn't that bad...and then...we got into the trails. And at first it wasn't really that terrible (aside from the volunteer who tried to tell us we were at mile 4 when we hadn't gotten to mile 3)...hilly...but ok and then...we got to this...WALL. To call it a hill...no...it was a wall. At first I tried to 'fake' run up it. Where you are only bouncing around acting like you are running when in fact you are going really slowly. And then I realized that just power walking up the hill would get me up there faster. And of COURSE all the volunteers kept saying...200 more yards...bla, bla, bla. Now I LOVE every volunteer on any course...i do...they are AWESOME...BUT there should be a clause in the volunteer book that says: DO NOT tell the participants how FAR they are from the end and do NOT ever say 'you are almost there' unless you are at a post that you can SEE the finish line from. Seriously.
I was in mile 4 and people are saying: almost there...bla, bla, bla...the hill is almost over...200 yards...but a MIGHTY long 200 yards I tell you. Once we got through the MOUNTAIN of a hill it wasn't too bad and I started clocking sub 9mpm pace again. I was shocked a bit...but just noticed the pace and kept going...and pushing.
My plan was to keep my HR around 160 until the last 3 miles and then push it into my anaerobic threshold region around 170...which wasn't hard on the hill, but takes some concentration once back on the flats. Again picking people off from waves in front of me...and then I see a woman in my age group...speed it up...yep...there we go.
And then....I see my MOUSE!!! THERE SHE WAS...the woman I was playing cat and mouse with on the bike. We are in mile five and it.is.on! I see her and kick it up a little to pass her and let her know I mean business. There is a little turn around not too far down the street after I pass her and I can see that I have put enough space between me and her that she's not going to close the gap. A big smile comes over me. I can't believe I won the game of cat and mouse!! I was so excited.
A sprint to the finish.
But the finish is not quite there yet...i'm breathing like an asthmatic by this point and pushing...although strangely it is my lungs that are giving out before my legs are hurting. I am quite close and I hear this woman on the side lines say to me (or so I think): Just pass this last woman and you are free and clear to the finish line.
I think: why is she talking to me? And there isn't anyone in front of me. I start to round the bend and can see the finish line RIGHT as I see the person this woman from the sidelines is talking to...she's not talking to me...she's talking to a woman who is passing me with maybe 100 meters to the finish.
All I think is: HELL NO!!
I don't know where it came from...but it just came over me. I was NOT going to let this woman pass me (who I hadn't seen the WHOLE RACE) in the last 100 meters without a FIGHT.
I kick and I kick HARD...and I manage to pull in front of the woman and manage to out kick her in the last few meters and cross the finish before her. It really got the crowd cheering. It was a lot of fun actually. :-)
Afterwords she comes over to me and says: great finish. I think I almost apologize (partly because I don't really know what came over me) but she says that was a great push to the end.
A few minutes later I see my MOUSE. We tell each other great race and good to push one another through it.
Overall it was a pretty awesome race. I had hoped I would finish near 3hours and I did...so that also was good considering the wickedly hilly bits...and I discovered that I do in fact have a competitive side when I am doing sports not just with myself either. It was fun.