Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rocky Mtn Race Report

This is the second year that I've done this race. I went into knowing the swim course, bike course & run course. I loved all the courses, so I remembered them well.

The race is at 9000ft. That kind of thing doesn't bother me. Maybe it does. I don't know. I just don't think about it. I don't compare race times for different courses, so it doesn't matter. 

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I missed the last of the athlete meetings on Saturday. No big deal, I'd catch the meeting on Sunday morning.

However, for some reason they skipped the meeting on Sunday morning.

It wasn't until right before I took off, that my friend Jeff told me the swim course had changed. I also didn't know (until I was running) that the run course had changed.

If Coach Mike is reading this, you can skip this part. Actually, PLEASE skip this part because I did something against the rules.

It was a chilly, wet morning. It was a downpour. I might get in a little bit of trouble for this, but given conditions, I opted to skip the bike warm up; as did everyone else. My thought was that the ride was already going to be treacherous, why risk anything during a warm up? Instead, I did a longer run warm up. Still, I saw only 2 other people even warming up. Everyone else was putting on their wetsuits to try to keep warm.

As luck would have it (for me), the skies parted when I got on the bike. We had to deal with wet, messy, muddy roads, but that was it. No real rain (on and off drizzling but that's it). Not even a lick of wind.

The Swim

Four waves: men sprint, women sprint, men oly, women oly.

Jenny and I lined up in the front. I told her that I was going to draft off her for as long as I could. We lined up in the front of the group. When the horn went off, we took off, faster than I've ever taken off at a race. I did NOT want to get stuck in mess this year. Before we hit the 2nd buoy, we'd already caught the middle 50% of the men's group that took off 3 min before us. When we got into the big group of men, I lost site of Jenny. I lost site of any other women, I was surrounded by men.

When I got out of the water, I looked at my watch. At first I was really pissed off. HOW could it have taken me almost 5 minutes longer this year. Immediately, I knew. Last year's course was short. OR this year's course was long.

(As it turned out, last year's course was NOT 800m. It was short. This year's course was NOT 800m, it was long. This year's course measured almost 1200m.)

My swim time (according to my garmin, which does not include my t1 run so will be different than official. I do it this way, so I can get a better idea of my swim pace.)

Swim time: 1200m in 17:28, pace of around 1:26. I'm THRILLED. That's a swim PR for me.  (3rd on the swim).

I still had no idea where I was or where Jenny was. I figured that I'd see her on the bike. I whipped off my wetsuit and took off running faster than I've ever run through  transition.

I get to my bike ready to take off, and I realize my helmet is no where to be found. I'm in all out panic mode. I can hear the seconds clicking off.

NO! NO!NO! I start yelling. A volunteer comes over to me and asks, "What's wrong". I explain that my helmet is gone. She starts running around frantically looking for it.

She finds it FIVE RACKS OVER. Helmets don't roll. They aren't balls. That means, people just decided to kick my helmet out of their way.


Next I had to find my sunglasses, which I had sitting in my helmet.  I found them laying in the middle of the runway. How no one stepped on them, I have no idea.

Let me tell you, given what I was getting ready to ride into, they were necessary.

I heard Mr. Tea yell "TURN AND BURN. TURN AND BURN."

I head out to the bike.

The Bike

My goal for the bike was to go all out and see what happens.

I guess I did that, kinda sorta. The main thing that I need to learn is how hard can I climb without burning myself out. I found myself slowing, heart rate dropping on the return hills.

Slingshot engaged.

If I didn't catch the faster swimmers, I certainly did on the bike. Once again, I don't see any women, except on the sprint course. I have no idea where I am. I don't really care, but I kind of do. I'm deadset on following my plan. If ends up with a placing, cool. If not, hell, I PR'd, right? That's always more important to me.

Still, I can't help but wonder where the women are. I know, I'm going faster out than I've ever gone, but the return is more uphill. My goal is "all out". How am I going to do on the return? Too late to think about that, the turnaround is coming.

Before the turnaround, some guy passes me like a bolt of lightening. Shocked the hell out me, and all I could think was, "respect bro, respect."

Did I mention the course? It was wet. The mud and gravel hitting me was like shards of glass. I was SO glad that I was able to find my sunglasses.

Just before, I hit the turnaround, I see a "woman". Ok, not really sure if she IS a woman, but she's all I've got.

She's....oh, I don't even know, a mile ahead of me. Tough to catch.

On the return, I see her way up ahead. For some reason, I had a thought, "WHAT IF, she's in your AG. WHAT IF, she's in first place?"

That's when I realized. I HAD to catch her.

As I'm getting closer, I notice the back of her jersey. She's wearing an Ironman jersey.

Ok, Ironwoman. Let's see what your two gears can get you because we all know that's all you've got.

I totally respect her for going the distance. But this is an oly. This is going to be my race.

She keeps looking over her shoulder.

PSA here: Don't look over your shoulder. Really. Just don't.

That's when I saw her calf. She was in my AG.


Then, I took off....for about 7 minutes, but it was enough to pass her and not worry about her....

.....for now......

I see Mr. Tea yelling. It takes me a second to realize what he's saying. He's yelling, "You're second off the bike! SECOND!"

I hit the dismount. That's when I realized that my feet were completely numb. I couldn't feel them. I look down, and I'm more hobbling than running and I'm covered with mud.

And I think, "Wow, this will make a SWEET glamour shot".

I rack my bike and take off running. RUNNING through T2.

BIKE: 20 miles in 58:00. PR by 1 minute. (First in AG on the bike).

The run

Again, I had a plan. For the first 20 minutes, I executed perfectly.

The second 40, not so much. I was supposed to run Zone 4, and it was more of a "right at the bottom edge of zone 4" effort.

When I hit the 2 mile mark, I see Jenny going the other direction. She's about a mile behind me.

Behind her,  I see Ironwoman.


I don't know if I can hold her off. They are both running fast.

Me, notsomuch. Oh trust me, I'm running a PR. But I'm doing the calculations, and there's no mathematical way, I can hold her off.

I think "well done, Ironwoman. Your 2 gears are faster than my 3".

At mile 4, Jenny catches me and says, "I'm not going to run with you. I need to catch that woman up there."

Hey. By all means, run YOUR race, girl. I'm 17 years older than you. YOU DO YOU. I didn't slow down for you on the bike.

At the very end, Ironwoman catches me.

I finish the 10K in 1:03, about a 1:40ish PR. (5th on the run).

Here's the thing. I have no idea where I am. It's starting to rain again. All I want to do is get my time and get to a warm shower. There were a ton of women in my AG that passed me. I didn't find out until later that those women had done the sprint.

Mr. Tea insists on waiting for the results.



I grab my transition blanket and wrap it around me. I'm sooo tired.

The results are posted, and I came in 2nd.

That's not possible, I think as I'm trying to remember the number of women that passed me. They must have been in the sprint race.

I don't want to stick around for the awards. I just want to go. We have to wait an hour. It's pouring rain. I've never been so dirty. I just want to be warm and clean and eat really good food.

But I wait just because I want to show Mr. Tea that I REALLY DIDN'T place, and there was a mistake.

Well, there was an error, not in my time. We heard that something happened with listing someone in the wrong AG and then, I heard something about her chip.

Anyway, I came in third with a time of 2:22. The PR for the course was only :07, but it doesn't count because I swam further (at a faster pace) this year, and I had bike, run & transition pr's.

Last year, for the same finish time, I came in 6th.

So, it's all good.

My next race is in a few weeks. It's one right in my backyard. For those of you who have known me awhile, the race is Rattlesnake. This was my first oly race. The last time I did it was in 2009.

I'm not even going to talk about a PR for this. I have goals that go way beyond getting PRs. Hopefully, everything will come together for me, and I hit those goals.

If not. I have another Oly in Sept.