Wednesday, July 22, 2009

all together perfectly


I headed up to Napa valley a few days early since me and some friends had rented a cabin for the whole week...I was excited...a little nervous...but mostly excited. By Friday night everyone in our little crazy, slanty cabin was there and some nervous excitement bounced around. Saturday consisted of a little workout where I was pleasantly surprised by my bike with a low HR and a high speed and a nice pace off into my run. I was feeling comfortable and confident.

We headed down to packet pickup and then drove the bike course backwards. T1 and T2 are not in the same place so it is a point to point bike. As we were driving we totally talked up the course: its rough roads, its pretty hilly, yea don't get too high expectations for your bike split...ect.

Being my first HIM my coach and i had sketched out possible ranges of times I might have, but I didn't know what to make of all of the times. Were they too fast? Could I do them? I just didn't know. And after talking to my coach we had discussed that I'd probably do around 3:15 on the course because of the hilliness. I was fine with this reality...but secretly sad too. I somewhere deep down thought I might be able to do 3 hours and the hilly bike course was taking the fun out of this possibility. But i let this desire go and realized there are other flatter courses that I might be able to achieve a 3 hour bike and let go of the thought. At the end of the day it didn't really matter the time...i had trained hard and I was going to give it my all and have fun. Time didn't really concern well and racing smart were more important.

swim like a fish

Amazingly I slept 6 full hours without waking up before the race. I even dreamed (i rarely remember my dreams) was pretty funny too since my dream was about going to the velodrome the night before the race and setting up my gears to ride and thinking: hmmm...i don't think my coach would like it if i did I packed up my bike headed home. I started the day with a smile from that. Too random and funny.

The swim is upstream/down stream in the Russian river. It actually was pretty uneventful. I tend to swim at a stupid speed that no one else swims so I'm generally between the fast fishies and the really slow fishies in no man's land. I do remember thinking at one point: how fast do i have to go before i'm not stuck around people who will resort to the back stroke? I cannot tell you HOW many races I have been in where I have had to deal with a back stroker...and while I don't have a problem with people needing to do the back stroke, I know that if I were a little faster I wouldn't witness this.

Swim time...? There was no swim time, but I had an awfully long T1: 45:xx :-) Granted, I did actually have a ridiculously long T1. I was really struggling getting everything I needed on and at one point I just thought: screw it...this is MY day and if I need to order a pizza, do the laundry and have a picnic in be it. So that being said, I probably swam around 38-42ish. Which was great right where a solid swim time for me should be. I was pleased.

ride like you stole it

The bike course was rolling hills and so in some respects a little difficult to figure out what front chainring to be in most of the time. That got a little annoying, and I tried to be smart so as not to drop my chain. I tend to be quite talented at that...and managed to get through the bike without this reality.

At about mile 30 I realized my avg speed was in the mid 18mph and my HR seemed to be on the lower end of 10 beats lower. So for a minute I got a little excited and sorta wanted to put the hammer down, go a little harder and see how fast I could have a bike split...but equally I got a little nervous about the fact that I was going to have to run a half marathon afterwards and since i was MORE than happy with my time and pretty stoked to see a low HR...i just let the idea of going faster fade and saved more for the run.

I kept playing leap frog with this one guy from the 29 and younger age group. Keep in mind...he was really 4-8 minutes AHEAD of me...but anyway...i'd drop him for awhile and then he'd catch back up...and then pass me for a minute or two, but I swear he'd then just slow down and I would have to re-pass him. I think me 'chicking' him multiple times frustrated him to a degree because after we had to dismount our bikes and run the timing mat ...he RAN around me to hit the mat first. Really? really REALLY? Did he just do that?Sigh...that is so lame.

I loved the bike course...i kept thinking: this is MY bike course. As I pulled into the T2 area I looked down and saw: 2:58....WOW. All I kept thinking was: 3 hours bike split from the girl who could barely hold an avg speed of 16.5mph in a sprint distance a year ago?? I was all smiles...

how many picnics in one day?
OK...T2...ridiculously long...almost SIX minutes, but that was due to needing the bathroom and almost forgetting all of my gels before I left the transition so I had to head back to my rack. was my day.

running on the surface of the sun
It was! People have reported that the temps were somewhere in the range of 90-100 degrees.The course is rolling and...well...did I mention it was hot? I had worried about this and over heating a lot and talked a lot to different people. I had a strategy...water and ice...water and ice. I took ice at every aid station I could and shoved it down the jersey and in the hat and would pour a cup of water on me and drink a cup. There tended to be a little fiddling at times with the ice from the volunteers and when I saw my time of: 2:01 I thought:Could i have gone sub two without the ice?? And then I realized, if i had skipped the ice I probably would have overheated and gone much slower. So really?...what's two minutes if it keeps you running?

When I ran down the finishers shoot I saw the total time on the clock and knew I had gone sub 6 hours. 5:55! I was elated and ecstatic. I knew it was a possibility if I had the perfect day but to realize that I actually had the perfect day was amazing. All that hard work came together was really...REALLY... awesome....I don't actually have the words for it.

post race thoughts
I actually have too many post race thoughts to mull over and emote...but I guess the biggest thing is how much I surprised myself in my training and the fact that I am discovering my athletic nature. Sunday was awesome and I can't stop smiling. I was telling my friend Matt today about it and he just looked at me and said:you're glowing! I guess I am. :-)


J said...

Awesome. Awesome awesome awesome.

Charisa said...

Congrats - such an awesome first 1/2 IM!!!

Chris said...

You were amazing out there on Sunday, nice job RP!

Runner Leana said...

Congratulations on a fantastic race! Sub-6 is amazing! Always great when you can have a day where you are smiling the entire way.

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Ok, this post brought tears to my eyes...tears of happiness.

I am so so so happy that you talked yourself through the race and it was all good.

Redheads rock!

Speed Racer said...

Q: "how fast do i have to go before i'm not stuck around people who will resort to the back stroke?"
A: It's a trick question! As long as you're not in the first wave, you're going to be swimming over back strokers. Maybe your question should be "How slow do I have to go so that I WON'T pass any back strokers?"

What a great, great, great day!!! You put it all together like a true champ. Honestly, I'm impressed. That course IS tough, the pavement IS slow, and the run... well a 2 hour half marathon on that course is really something to tip my hat to! So many congratulations, and feel free to wear that medal for as long as you feel you deserve to (under your shirt, of course).

Bullet said...

Wow! You move to SD and all the sudden you're a freaking star! Nice performance.

BAM said...

awesome job and awesome RR, though no mention of wine tasting or pizza in there anywhere. you did great and now for the hardest feat of all - TIME OFF.

katie b said...

awesome jo, simply amazing :)