Woke up Sunday morning and it was COLD. My car thermometer read 47 degrees. I bundled up and started my trek down. I had a bagel in my car for breakfast and it totally didn't sound good. So I did what any fast food loving America would do and stopped at McDonalds. Now, while I know that McD's isn't the smartest choice pre-race, two things came to mind
- Tom and I had eaten McDonald's sausage burritos before two races this year and I PRed big time in both of them
- My race wasn't for another 3.5 hours so there wasn't much chance that it would upset my stomach.
I got to the race site fairly early (my wave wasn't going off until 9:20 and I got there a little before 8). Plenty of time to use the potty, check in, get my gear together and then freeze my bottom off. It was freezing. There were only 20 women signed up for the half and most of us stood in transition before the start of the race bitching about the temps and what we were going to wear on the bike since the wind had started to pick up a little. Gotta love women!
I put my wetsuit on (in hopes of warming up), talked to Meredith (who was racing the sprint and kicked butt by taking first in her AG and 4th women OA) and Rebecca (who did awesome in her first "olympic" race and came in 2nd in her AG), got in the water which was definitely warmer than the air and then was told we needed to get out because they were starting the race. That meant that I had about 30 minutes to sit and wait in the freezing cold until my wave, the last, went off. My feet turned purple and I started to worry about the temps on the bike.
Finally they were ready for the women in the half - like I said, we were the last and I think that we were all ready to get in the water knowing it was about 25 degrees warmer than the air. It's a rectangle course and for some reason everyone lined up behind me. The horn blew and we all ran into the water. It was super shallow. People (myself included) tried to dive in a few times, only to stand up and keep walking. I got water in my goggles and thought for sure that I was going to have a repeat of IMLOU, but I cleared them out and got into my groove. I felt pretty good. The course was a rectangle and we had a nice current for the first half of the first loop. Then I turned... and it was mouth fulls of water ever stroke. I was so annoyed because every time I would breath and try to avoid the water in my mouth, I could see some guy swimming with a lime green snorkel. Really? That can't be legal. Anyway, it was an uneventful swim and I felt really good. I ended up getting out and running up the hill to transition to see a time of 38:44. I was thrilled with that - almost 4 minutes better than last year at this race!
T1 was a cluster. I knew that I needed something warm, but didn't want to put my sweatshirt on. I dried off with an extra towel I had brought and threw on my arm sleeves... let me rephrase that... I fought with these darn fleece arm sleeves on wet arms until they were good enough for my liking. Not the fastest T2, but considering the extra time I spent drying off, I was fine with it - 2:26.
I got on the bike fully expecting it to be absolutely freezing. The wind was blowing and the sun was hiding. It's a three loop course and luckily we had the wind to our backs at the start. I was able to calm down, get into my groove and work my legs into a good rhythm. They went numb pretty quick, but otherwise I felt alright. Hit the head wind, but I was still maintaining about 17.5mph and passing people. I guess I thought it I pushed it, maybe I would warm up a little. I kind of just zoned out and rode. First lap took me 57 minutes. If I kept that up, I would PR for sure in the bike. I saw my parents at the first turn around and felt great - so glad that they were there. The next lap was so uneventful. I didn't get passed by a single person and was picking people off what seemed to be left and right. I ate a PBJ, fought the wind, flew up and down the hills. I was feeling good. The third lap, I ate again, but my IT started to bother me. I watched my time start ticking away slowly. I really wanted to go sub 3 hours on the bike and I thought it would be close. About 3 miles into the final lap I passed a guy who told me that I was in second and that the first place girl was right ahead. I'd see her in the out and back sections and she was maybe 300 yards ahead. I couldn't catch her if my life depended on it though. Definitely pushed me to work harder. I kind of half believed the guy too... how did he know where the other women were? I got to T2 and was shocked at my time - 2:53:51. WHAT??? that was a PR by like 7+ minutes! I was ecstatic! That meant I averaged 19.4mph. I think that the bike might have been a tad short though and that my average was closer to 19mph, but in any event, I was so excited.
T2 was as fast as I could go. My feet were numb which I didn't realize until I took off my shoes and tried to put my socks on. I threw on my visor, my running shoes, grabbed my bottle and some food and ran out. 1:44
As I was leaving, I heard "and now we have some of our women in the half on the course". Maybe that guy was right... I could see the fast bike girl in front of me, taking off like a speeding bullet.
The run course is an out and back that you do twice. I hit mile one around 8:30 and felt good, although my feet were still numb. And it was breezy. Mile two came in 18 minutes. Uh oh... and then my feet started to get the feeling back, although it wasn't a good feeling. It was a burning. It killed. I ran from cone to cone, from telephone pole to telephone pole. At the turn around, I knew there was only one girl in front of me, but about 5 fairly close behind me. I just kept slowing and slowing and there wasn't anything that I could do. I was so frustrated. If I ran a 2 hour half, I would finish in 5:36 and would beat my previous PR by 20 minutes, but I just watched that tick away. I kept running. I got to the 6.55 turn around in the parking lot and everyone started yelling that I was the second place woman still. As I was leaving the park, I got caught. The girl was hoofing it and I was in just too much pain to keep up. I got caught by the next girl around mile 9 and the next one passed me around mile 11.5. Talk about deflation! I knew that I was going to PR, but by how much totally depended on how little I walked or slowed. I made it a goal to beat 5:45. I had it. I smiled.
Rounding the corner into the parking lot and down the shoot was amazing. People were screaming,, my parents were there, I had a huge smile on my face. For the most part, my race had come together. I kept thinking that I had wished Tom had been there - he would have done amazing and would have been so happy to see me WAY before we both anticipated! I crossed the line in 5:42:16! That was a 14 minute PR! I was smiling ear to ear. It didn't matter that I got beat on the run by 3 girls. It didn't matter that I came in second (out of two) in my age group. I know I have more in me and I'm excited to push myself to the next PR!
My mom took this picture of me after the race with my finishers medal and my second place award. I was a happy girl!
Stats from the race
Swim - 38:44
T1 - 2:26
Bike - 2:53:51 19.4mph (fastest woman and 33rd overall fasted
Run - 2:05:29 9:35/mile
Overall time - 5:42:16
2nd in AG
I'm telling you, I think it was the McDonald's! :)