I had set my goal at 5:45 for this race which would have been about 20 minutes off my time. This was a pretty lofty goal but I like to set goals for myself that are just out of reach. I usually just hit them or come very close. I came very close to hitting this number, crossing the finish line in 5:49. I was very happy with my performance- that is a huge improvement from last year. I did the swim in 39 minutes(last year 43 minutes), the bike I did the best on finishing in 2:52(last year 3:13) and the run I did in 2:11(last year 2:13).
Pre race- The day before I had a little something on my right calf, behind my knee that was grabbing and really bothering me. I hadn't done anything strenuous all week, just resting up for the race and have no idea what I did. I spent most of the day on Friday stretching and rolling and sticking my poor leg until it felt bruised. I haven't had any injuries throughout my whole training- what was this?!?!?! It felt like a big knot behind my knee. Other then that I was feeling pretty good except for a little PMS bloat. I knew my period would come probably on Monday so this weekend I was feeling the PMS symptoms which are some extra water retention. Bad timing with that. We had driven down Friday morning, checked into our hotel and gone to the race expo to register. My training partner was stressing out about getting a flat. She rented race wheels and had no idea how to change them if they went flat so was stressing out all day Friday about it. Finally we came up with a plan of how she would patch the hole and blow it back up and keep riding(which we have no idea if it would work). It calmed her mind to have a plan though. That evening we all relaxed, had a nice dinner and went to bed early after laying all of our stuff out for the race. My sister came with us as our support- it was great to have her there all weekend.
Morning of- Woke up at 4am. Had Oatmeal, trail mix and milk and of course my coffee. My calf felt better but was still there a little bit. I took two advil before the race(probably not smart but I was panicked). Erika and I rode to the starting line in the dark leaving the hotel at about 5:15am. We had to ride about 1 mile. We got to transition and set everything up. It was freezing that morning before the sun had come up. You had to be in transition by 5:45 but my wave didn't leave until 7:37am. We had some time to kill. We wandered around, used the restroom 3-4 times and then finally put our wetsuits on. I had planned to wear a tank sports bra and tri shorts for the rest of the race and I was starting to have doubts that maybe I should wear a jacket on the bike. I was going back and forth trying to decide. I had to pin my race number on whatever I was going to wear so I had to decide. I had also forgot my race belt so I ended up using one of my shoe laces to pin my number on and tie around my waist. In the end I decided to stick with the original plan- no jacket.
Swim- I felt good except that now that I was swimming a little faster, it was a different group of people and they were a bit more brutal then the over 40 minute group. People were hitting and swimming right into you without stopping. I had to learn to be a bit more aggressive. I am one of those people on the swim who apologizes after I accidentally hit someone or run into someone but I wasn't getting any apologies so I just kept my head down and kept swimming no matter what I hit. It was hard to get into a rhythm on the way out to the buoy because I couldn't find an open space. On the way back I got into a good rhythm and was swimming really good looking forward to the bike :)
Bike- I felt great. I had to keep telling myself not to hammer to hard, to save my legs for the run. I always pass a lot of people on the bike so I started to pick off all of the people who had beat me on the swim and I moved up from like 60th out of the swim to 23rd by the end of the bike. I had one girl who we were playing cat and mouse the entire ride. I'd catch her and think she was way behind me and then she would come up again and pass me and it went on the entire ride. Finally I said to her, "Hey, good race!" as she passed me one time and she said, "Yeah, thanks! We'll just keep pulling eachother :)) So then I passed her again later and said, "My turn!" It was great to have someone to push eachother. On the 3 big hills I dropped right into my granny gear to make sure I didn't hammer my legs to hard going up the hills. My left foot kept pulling out of my pedal which was driving me crazy. This just started happening on my last ride and I had forgot to fix it. I think my cleat is pretty chewed up and won't stay in the clip so it pulled out probably 10-15 times. I was counting and remember getting to 10 but don't remember counting beyond that. I also started to feel really achy(period achy) during my ride and I knew exactly what it was, my period...but told myself to ignore it, it isn't there.
Run- I started the run off strong. My legs felt good. I grabbed my forerunner to run with and I was going too fast- 8:00 min/mile heading out so I slowed myself down to my 9 min/mile pace and got into a groove on the run until it hit...a bad cramp...so bad I had to stop running. It grabbed in my stomach and wasn't like a normal running cramp, it was a period cramp. I walked for a bit, it went away and I started running again but my stomach felt really yucky. I finished my first loop in 1:03, not too far off track. I knew I was going to be pretty close to hitting my goal time of 2 hours on the run. If I had a really good run I may even beat it. The second loop I got hit with another cramp so bad I had to walk again and this time it didn't go away for awhile. I knew that my monthly friend had come a few days early and during my race!!!! I was so bummed but knew I would at least finish under 6 hours which I would still be happy with. Once this second cramp went away I was able to run again but couldn't get going fast again, my stomach was hurting and I felt wiped out. I did kick it up though as I crossed the finish line and was able to pick my pace up some. So, yes I started my period during my run...you'd think with everything going on, my body could wait until at least when I am done racing but Nope- mid run I started my period...THAT WAS NOT IN THE PLAN...
My training partner, Erika, had an excellent race finishing in 5:09 but also had the most competitive age group. With an awesome time like this she placed 14th. She did great and felt great and had a really good race. She said she thought she probably could have pushed a little harder once it was all over. It is hard to judge in such a long race how hard you can go. I guess that comes with experience- each race you push a little harder and test yourself. I was very proud of her! She qualified to race at an Ironman and got in to Ironman Wisconsin!
Overall, we had a great race experience and learned a lot. Looking forward to Wildflower in 4 weeks! Should be a tough one!
Last week I was in the Virgin Islands...more on that later this week...but is why I didn't get to blog all week.
Pics still to come...