Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crack Down at the Creek

I have been working on this blog entry for the last week trying desparately to come up with something intelligent to say about it. I wish I had more to say about the Stumpy Creek Olympic-distance triathlon but I was tired going in and I was tired coming out. I was brow beat by Vespa to enter this race just a week after my half-ironman in Muncie. Part of me wanted to do for the points and the experience to race in an Olympic distance triathlon again (I have not done one since 2005!) but my body felt far from ready to do it. My legs were still a little stiff as I climbed the four floors to my office when I came back to work on Tuesday so I knew it was going to be a long week. I would continue on complaining here but then I met this girl this weekend that competed in three ironmans in three weeks (Meredith Dolhare – she’s got quite an impressive website)  so I will just quit the whining and continue with the show.
To be perfectly honest I feel I did not show up to the race to race. All I wanted was a decent finish and I didn’t want it to hurt that bad. Although I was no longer sore, I was worried if when I started to dig deep my shovel would hit rock bottom. If you aren’t all in why are you toeing the line, you ask? I asked myself this question many times during the week prior to the race but then I saw a friendly face before I hit Lake Norman and she reminded why I was there. The blond bombshell reminded me I was there to race afterall.

Swim (24:03): I need to emphasize here the importance of goggle section in an open water swimming. I was in a hurry in the AM and I accidently grabbed my back up pair of goggles instead of my primary pair. I was worried about them leaking but I quickly remembered why they weren’t my primary pair – they fog . . . bad. I did not have time to worry about it when the gun went off so I started out in my usual conservative pace but it did not take long before I found myself in a small group of three racers. The three of us were all over the map – at several points the two of them were way off to the left and I was way off to the right and then suddenly we would meet again, shoulder to shoulder. At one point I swam so wide I started to sight the wrong buoy, the buoy for the leg going out, not the buoy for the leg coming back in! Way off course. Oops! See - it is all about the goggles.

T1 (:55)

Bike (1:13:05): HaycraftGTWD passed me at the 1.5 mile mark on the bike at the Latta Sprint so my goal (more like a hope really) was to make it to the 3 mile mark before he passed me since the swim was twice as long. He didn’t pass me until the 4 mile mark. Oh yeah! Take that Crafty! The bike was rolling along just fine until I was passed by Happy Frank. And then I was passed by Stacey, one of several very competitive women out on the course that day. Dang . . . ! The three of us ended up getting stuck together. I made one attempt at passing them and then they both passed me right back. It wasn’t worth fighting for position here when I knew I couldn’t out bike either one so I just hung a good distance back.

T2 (:58): I must learn the flying dismount. A MUST.

Run (42:55): As I headed out on the run I could tell Stacey was quickly pulling away from me (surprise . . .surprise). The run course was a two loop hilly course and it seemed to take forever to get to the first mile . . . f. .o . .r . .e. . v . .e . .r. I was really starting to worry the run entire run would drag on like this but then somehow I settled in and the miles started to fly by. I think it helped that I was starting to see some of my friends out on the course. They looked so relaxed and strong, I just tried to follow their lead and give ‘em a cheer. As I headed out to the second loop I heard one of my favorite song blaring from the trunk of a spectator’s car. It really put a pep in my step. As I ran in fear for being run down I was reminded of the lyrics:

"You can be better than that - Don't let it get the better of you”

I ultimately felt much better on the second lap even when the ginormous hill came between me and the finish, I was ready to tackle it. My run split turned out to be my 2nd fastest 10K ever. I will take that. So ended up finishing a solid second and the girl I thought would pop out of every corner and pass me, never did.

And then the confusion: So I was dilly-dallying somewhere – probably just coming back from packing my car – when the awards presentation started. As a result I missed the race director announce my name and place but it seemed like he announced Stacey’s after mine. By the time I realized it, the announcer had called all three names of the top females. Stacey was not there to pick up her award and Amie did not take the podium so neither did I. There was some confusion about the medals and no one asked about mine so I just kind of meandered off. The medal I received was definitely not silver and looking back at it I noticed scrolled across the top the words “Third Place.” Third place? There was a girl ahead of us!?!

>Funny story: I was at a race once and when I came out of T2 a friend of mine informed me I was in 2nd place. I yelled no way thinking I was in third place having been smoked by a girl on the bike course and pointing at this person ahead of me with a slight frame, a tri top rolled up like a sports bra, speedo, and bouncing curly hair with frosted tips. I was then informed this “girl” was actually a boy. Oops – high five for androgyny! Sometimes late at night I wake up and wonder if he heard that conversation.I also wake up and wonder about Mr. Visor's poo problem but I will have to save that story for another day.<

Anyhoots, I stayed to watch several of the other athletes receive their awards but after about 10 minutes I could not stand it any longer and I went to recheck the preliminary results. Searching through the finishers, the first female name I can across was mine. Whaaahwhat? Having finished 2nd but standing there with the third place medal I find out I was actually awarded first place? It turns out the first place finisher received a 2 minute penalty and since I finished 1:52 behind her, I narrowly edged her out for the win. This girl smoked me by close to two minutes on the run course alone! There was a clear winner out on the course but it wasn’t me.

Confused and elbow clapping (real display of talent)
Overall I am pleased with my race effort, especially coming off of a race like Muncie but I will admit I am a bit disappointed in my splits. I think these next couple of weeks are going to be a bit of a challenge for me. I have reached the portion of my season where building endurance has passed so now I have to focus on building speed. Building speed is hard work and I don’t like it (or maybe I love it . . . yeah that's the ticket, yeah).

But now the important stuff! 24 Hours of Booty!

PS. Vespa, thanks for the kick in the pants!