There is so much to fit into this post that I can't really figure out where to start. It was such an emotional roller coaster and my opinion of the race went from one extreme to the other. Let me start from the beginning...
We woke up to freezing 57 degree weather which ended up being the biggest obstacle of the race. It even ended up being a wetsuit legal race! I tried to stay positive and remind myself cool weather meant nice running weather but I had no idea how bad the cold conditions would get. More on that later.
We got to the race at 5am only to find that we were pretty much the only people there. Transition was not set up, volunteers were nowhere to be seen and after 30 minutes of waiting in the car, my frustration was festering. To be fair though, we were told transition was not going to be open until 6:30. Since I thought the race started at 7:30, I assumed it it would be set up much earlier just as ALL my other races. That's what I get for assuming and I guess I should take blame for the early morning dibocle (although we were not the only athletes there ready to set up). At least we got great parking ;o)
Next issue was the rack situation. Instead of assigning an entire rack to a number segment, they assigned each rack to seven numbers and both Lee and I missed the first rack by one number. One number. 5:00 am arrival to to be stuck on the middle rack because of one number. Excellent.
Middle rack. Hmph.
Awesome ISM seat hooks onto the rack from the back of the seat. It allows me to set up on the opposite side of the rack with more room and quickly grab and go. Sweet!
The warm up was pretty difficult because I was so cold I couldn't get my body temp up enough to break a sweat. I ran a little then stretched the best I could. We headed to the lake where we would stand bare foot in wet grass for the next hour. I tried jumping jacks and moving as much as possible to stay warm but nothing was working. My feet were absolutely frozen - to that fun point where any movement is painful. I was afraid to run thinking that if I tripped on something (there was a lot of uneven ground) one of my poor little frozen toes would just pop off! All the Sprints had to wait for the International athletes to finish their swim and although it was great to watch them, 45 minutes of freezing my ass off was getting old. Oh, not too mention that while we were waiting, I couldn't feel the red ants attacking my frozen feet until they moved up to my ankles. I ran to the water to get them off but already had several bites.
It was finally time for the Sprints and this is where the race took an amazing turn. All the crap from the morning just washed away with every swim stroke. For starters, the race was a staggered timed start - one person went every 5 seconds. BRILLIANT! Initially, I wasn't sure how it would turn out but I thought at the very least it would minimize the beat down you get with a wave start of 30 or so people. I absolutely loved it!
In fact, I loved the lake! The outside temps were so frigid that the water felt like a bath when I finally got in. It was great not to feel sick from all the salt water in my mouth and not having to worry about currents or choppy water. The only challenge was the water visibility, it was about 4 inches. I couldn't see my hand in front of me which meant I also couldn't see the person in front or next to me until I was on top of them. After the first person I almost swam over, I decided to sight on every breath. My plan was to swim easy until the first buoy then really push the rest of the way. I couldn't believe it but I was passing people left and right and never got passed myself! I really enjoyed the swim. I felt strong and calm (and warm)!
Once out of the swim, there was quite a hike to T1 but I blasted out of the water and just took off. It was like my legs just took over and I sprinted down the path. My feet were still frozen so it was very painful once I got to the asphalt. Luckily that was only 30 yards or so. T1 was great! My best transition yet! I geared up, grabbed my bike and headed to the mount line. I did run into some trouble with my shoes though. I leave my bike shoes clipped onto the bike and slip them on while I'm riding. The key to this is to grab the tongue of the shoe with my toes but since I had no feeling or control of my toes still, I fumbled a bit. Overall, the bike went well. There was a headwind the first half and my quads were in knots from being so cold. After the turnaround, I was able to pick up some speed. I felt like I did the best I could with tight legs but I knew it was not going to be my fastest ride. Mentally, I was still feeling great though. I managed a great dismount and another speedy transition.
The run was tough because even after all this time my toes were still numb. It wasn't until the last mile of the run that I had feeling in them. Considering my knee issues, recent shin splints and my lack of quality runs, I'm happy with 27:20. I was hoping to break 27:00 but my pace was in that perfect "comfortably hard zone" and my splits were nice and even. Although I still had to play mental cheerleader at times, I felt strong, focused and confident. Very different from the usual misery I feel on the run. I even found myself striking up a conversation with someone and being their cheerleader for about 1/2 mile! LOL
Here are my times and age group rankings.
- 2nd place
- 1st place (holy crap!)
- 1st place (by 1:30 minutes!)
- 1st place
Avg speed - 19.1 mph
mile 1 - 9:12
mile 2 - 8:56
mile 3 - 8:55
avg pace - 9:01
Although I'm happy with my run, it's clearly not on par with the rest of my performance. I should really be at a 25:00 mm so that's a new goal for next season.
Here's the part that makes me cringe. I missed 1st place by SIXTEEN seconds! D'oh! I was ready to pull my hair out when I saw it! So close... Ugh... 0:16... Ahhh! That 16 seconds is going to haunt me! I guess I should be happy it wasn't six seconds because that would put me in the looney bin! LOL
Before the swim, I had already made up my mind that I would not do this race ever again. I was frustrated by all the little things but when it came to the important stuff, Longleaf delivered. The staggered start was fantastic, the course was gorgeous and the post race venue was wonderful. It was also nice that I didn't have a 45 minute commute to the race ;o) *I absolutely recommend this race!*
I'm not sure how I'm feeling right now. My thoughts are pretty scattered at this point. I was excited for the race until this morning. Packet pick-up was supposed to be at 9 am but the event director was late and did not have copies of the athlete list. Hmmm, not such a good sign. Now I've never planned an event like this and I'm sure it's a lot of work BUT I think that making copies of the papers would probably be something I would handle before the athletes were already lined up. Call me crazy. I also did not appreciate a room full of people who had no idea what they were doing, blaming the athletes for being in the room. Especially since te athletes were the only people ON TIME and with the required information in hand. I hate to be a b*tch here but that did not sit well with me.
Not only did that have me concerned for the schedule tomorrow but the wave times sound very cooky - one person every 5 seconds. Huh? It sounds like it will take forever but on the other hand, I think it might be nice not to be in a huge group at once. We'll see, so stay tuned because tomorrow's race report should be a doozy :o)
Moving on... I recovered from packet pick-up, dropped my kiddos off then headed back to the race course to check out the lake... dun, dun, duuuuunnnnn. One word - ew.
It's a substantial hike from the water to the transition area. I timed it at a fast walk (the fastest I could walk in flip flops) and it was 2:46 - woah! For the most part it seemed like decent terrain for bare feet. The transition area was TINY. I'm really hoping they weren't finished setting up. The racks were THREE deep so I'm not sure how they expect people all the way on the inside to get in and out. I'm not too concerned though because I'm getting my ass there EARLY to get my usual end spot. The early bird gets the worm folks!
It's time to finish up my packing, hydrate and rest.
Lee and I swam today. I opted to do his schedule because mine only had a 500 on the agenda - uh, that's not even worth getting in the water for. Plus, once again I was reminded that I'm NOT doing the oly so there is no need to taper that much. Hmph. I cut out the recovery breaks until I got to the sprints. Lee and I raced each other a few times and I'm very happy to report that I won! He smokes me on the bike and run so at least I still dominate the swim... for now anyway ;o)
The run was only supposed to be 2 miles but really, what is the point? I opted for the full 3.1 but at an easy pace. I'm not sure if coming right from the swim was the problem but the first mile was killing me (?!?) I was huffing and puffing like I was trying to blow the damn gym down! I couldn't believe it and to be honest it had me worried about Sunday's race. Finally, by 1.5 I felt better and the last mile was pretty easy. I'm happy with my splits and I hope to see similar (if not better) numbers Sunday.
Yeah, about Sunday... 1:10:xx is my goal. I know the transition is quite a hike from the swim and has us running bare foot on asphalt so I can't be certain 1:10 is reasonable yet. I'll know better at Saturday's packet pick-up and update accordingly.
Swim: 1100 4 x 100 steady :15 3 x 200 :30 -150 steady -50 fast 50 kick board 50 cool down
I warmed up for a 1.5 miles on the bike then really pushed the rest of the ride. Once the path ran out and I had to ride on the road... with no bike lane... on a blind curve... with cars whizzing by me. That happens to be when I hit my max of 25 mph, so clearly I was a little freaked out. LOL I was so happy to be off that stretch of road. Whew! It's weird that some drivers are really courteous and give me plenty of room but others damn near take me out with their side mirrors! I think everyone one should have to ride a bike on the side of the road before they get their license so they know how vulnerable cyclists really are. Can I make that new election criteria? Yeah, I'm gonna work on that :o)
Anyway, the ride went well and the new cleats are great. I can also say for certain that I lurve my ISM saddle. Whoot! I forgot to mention from the Sand Key Tri that the hook on the back is P-E-R-F-E-C-T for the bike rack in transition. I'll have to snap a pic at Longleaf.
My swim was great and it felt pretty easy. I'm really hoping I have a great swim this weekend. I can't go through another swim like the last two races. It's so horrible. I'm certain it's totally mental so I really need to stay focused - I KNOW I can do it.
Today's run was based on minutes not miles which explains the scattered splits. I believe in the world of running this would be called a "fartlek." LOL
My knee was a problem again. Boo. The last 10 minutes were pretty uncomfortable. Honestly, my patience is wearing thin. Time to see a another doctor, I guess.
This is my final week of the 12 week olympic training program! I did it! Too bad all this work will not culminate in an actual olympic triathlon. But hey, there's always next year ;o) I'm very happy with the program and I'll certainly use it again next season. Speaking of next season, I was looking through Disney's Endurance Series events and a certain little race peaked my interest... the Ironman 70.3 Florida. My first reaction was 'those people are nuts' then I thought for a moment and realized it could be within my grasp. Hmmmm, let's just say at this point I'm intrigued. "Ironman Finisher" has a nice ring to it but I'm not sure if next year is realistic. We'll see how my half marathon training goes and if my knee can hold up.
Swim: 1300 5 x 100 :15 12 x 50 -25 sprint -25 recovery 200 cool down
I met Shannon at the pool for our swim. It was nice to have someone to swim with and a big motivator to actually go. I haven't been looking forward to the swims lately. It's not the workout I dread because they're pretty easy. I guess my dislike of the water hasn't really gone away, my fear of the ocean sure hasn't.
Anyway, I actually made it to the pool but forgot my training plan. So I just made one up on the fly and it actually turned out pretty well.
My schedule called for 20 miles including 45 minutes at a harder gear. A few factors made me adjust the ride: 1. It was my first bike ride (other than the Sand Key Tri) in over a month 2. It's an olympic training schedule and I'm only doing the sprint - 20 miles was not necessary. 3. Doing the full 20 could result in more harm than help for this Sunday's Tri
After some serious thought, I made the sensible decision (for once) to cut back the distance and intensity. Sunday's race is 9 miles so 11 sounded like a good distance. I stayed in an easy gear for the first 3 miles. Not only to ease my legs and knee back into the rhythm but to acclimate my upper body as well.
Overall, the ride went well. I wore my sleeve just in case and am happy to report I had no knee issues. In fact, my knee feels better know than before the ride (???) I don't understand it but I'm not even going to question it. It was a slow ride but it as exactly the ride I needed.
No snake surprises thankfully but I got hit IN THE FACE by a butterfly and another dragonfly! Why the face? Can't they hit my arm or leg? I make a big effort to try and reverse all the damage I've done to my skin and I don't think the spa offers a treatment for bug dive bombs.
The oops in regards to my schedule. I thought today was a bike ride but that's tomorrow. I'm supposed to swim today. Just as I was heading out the door, the rain began. Phooey! Since the hubby and I both need a swim today, we are going to try for an evening swim.
The ouch is for my legs. I am one sore mo fo today! My hips, calves and of course, knee are all in pain. I'm also having some shin issues. After the Longleaf Tri, I need to amp up my yoga and weight training. Hopefully, that should counteract all this running stress to my body.
Swim 5 x 100 easy 4 x 50 kick 4 x 200 -100 easy -100 fast 100 cool down
Got my swim in. Glad it's over. Not a fan of swimming in the dark.
This was my longest run since my knee starting acting up and it went very well *sigh of relief* My schedule called for an easy 5 miles but after the first mill mile crept by, I decided to make it a tempo. I know it wasn't too long ago that I made a commitment to stick to the training schedule but I can't help myself sometimes. Hey, at least I make the workouts harder instead of easier ;o) Anyway, the first 1.5 was steady at 9:40ish then I did 4 intervals of 800 @ 8:30/ 800 @ 9:30.
I wore my knee sleeve today which I realize I need to do for every run. I didn't have it at the Race for the Cure 5K and that was a big mistake. I had a few moments today when I got the knee twinge and felt like my knee was going to give out but it only lasted a few steps. Which seemed kind of strange but I guess that's better than the constant "knife under my knee cap" feeling I had before - yeah, those were good times.
Tomorrow is a bike ride and I'm hoping my new cleats that have more range of movement won't re-injure my knee. The last time I rode my bike was the Sand Key Tri. Since my knee was going to kill me after the race regardless of the new cleats, I couldn't determine if they're an improvement. So tomorrow's a big day.
Oh, to completely jump subject... I got some great news about the Lonfleaf swim today! I actually spoke with Mrs. Starkey at the Y and she said the lake has a sandy bottom - NO CREEPY GRASS! She also said her family swims in the lake all the time. Whew! I was envisioning dark, murky water with slimy grass under my feet (i.e. Fred Howard Park) so this calms my nerves quite a bit. I couldn't help but think of gators hiding in the grass at the bottom of the lake and after seeing a few race waves swim overhead begin to see the athletes as a herd of wildebeests crossing the Amazon! You can't deny those million year old instincts people! But then again, maybe I just watch too much Discovery channel ;o)
Yesterday was a run day but I ended up having to do two runs for a measly three miles. I initially tried my run around 10:30 in the morning but after 1.5 miles I decided it was just too darn hot and humid. I got to the front park and then walked/ran home trying not to overheat. I finished my miles on the treadmill at home after the kiddos went to bed. Our mill is in the garage and although it was nice not having the sun beating down on me, the humidity was stifling after the evening rain. I finished my remaining two miles but it felt pretty lame to have to split up a three mile run. Oh well.
Today's bike was on the Y's spin bike since I had Avery with me. It was a good ride but I realized what a tri snob I've become. I couldn't help but be annoyed by such a poor quality spin bike. The adjustments are so limited that it's impossible to get the proper position. And yes, it feels damn good to finally know enough to have an opinion :o) I know I still have a lot to learn but it's nice to not feel like a complete newbie anymore.
I was supposed to do a 2000 yard swim with some drills but I knew I wouldn't have enough time. Also, it was a bit lofty for my first swim in over a week. I ended up just swimming a mile at an easy, comfortable pace. Nothing exciting. I feel very fortunate to have a lap pool so close to home but I'm so tired of the disgusting conditions. I was actually thankful when my goggles fogged up so I didn't have to see all the gag worthy particles floating about. blech. Speaking of indigestion issues, I keep having the strangest thing happen during my swims - heartburn. I don't suffer from heartburn normally but after about 20 minutes in the pool, I start to get it. It's so weird. But if that's the worst of it, I guess I'll take it. Especially after the neck/shoulder issues I had to work through.
Yup, I registered yesterday for the Longleaf Tri! My last tri of the season. This is one instance that procrastination worked in my favor since there is no way I can do the oly that was on my agenda a month ago. My knee is better but not 10K race pace ready (let alone after a 25 mile bike) so a sprint distance it is. I'm disappointed I'm not doing the oly but it is what it is. It's better to end on a good note than with a bad race my body wasn't capable of.
Besides, it's amazing how far I've come in one year. This time last year a three mile run was a huge accomplishment and now I'm a triathlete! Craziness! I have moments where I feel my accomplishments are not a big deal - usually I'm reading about Ironman finishers - but they are a big deal for ME. I also have to realize that most, if not all of those Ironman finishers didn't complete that race their very first season.
I'm really looking forward to finishing up this season and preparing for another great race year in '09!
My goals for next year are... 1. Train smarter for a better overall season 2. Beat all my times from this year's races - Dunedin, Tarpon, MPM, Sand Key, LongLeaf 3. Complete the Longleaf Oly
Great race, great friends, great time! Today's race was wonderful and inspiring - it was a privilege to be among so many strong women. The weather was perfect and the course was very well-shaded so I couldn't have asked for anything better. It was also a special treat to run with my girls again.
Once again, however, I complicated matters. I tried not to go into the run with any PR hopes because I knew it was a HUGE race and there would probably be a lot of walkers in the 5K to navigate around. But typical me, I got up this morning and all I could think of was a PR.
The first mile started off VERY fast and a few times I checked G-unit and was shocked we were in the 7's. I knew that was bad news for mile 3 but slowing down was too difficult because we kept getting caught behind running roadblocks. Finding a steady pace was very difficult and by mile 2, I was dying. I stopped for water and walked about 10 yards then we picked it back up. The walking was a big mistake because my knee (which had been feeling pretty good) suddenly locked up and hurt to bend. I knew it wasn't going to be possible to push an 8:30 so I went as fast as I could but mile 3 was certainly a disappointment. With some wonderful encouragement from my girls I stayed steady and even sprinted the finish for my new PR! WHOOT! Love those gals!
I have to admit though, it was almost an ugly recovery. All I wanted to do was sit down and control the dizziness and the lingering nausea but it seemed like 40 yards before we were out of the barricades. I finally sat down and thanked the running gods that I did not (a) pass out in front of the many, many onlookers or (b) revisit my breakfast which seemed a very real possibility. Those few minutes were definitely not very fun but the yuckiness quickly subsided.
Today was a fun way to support such a wonderful organization and next year's 10K is on my agenda!
My knee is feeling much better. I'm not sure if that's because it IS better or just because I have been lazy all week and not trained. I've had a very hard time getting motivated this week so it was Wednesday before I finally did anything. It was supposed to be a swim day but I figured it was a better day to try and run. If my knee ended up hurting me I would have a few days to recover before Saturday's Race for the Cure 5k. Truth be told, I really didn't want to swim anyway. Yeah, it's been one of those lazy, moody weeks. blah.
Anyway, I finally decided enough was enough and I went for a run. I didn't really have a plan in mind other than just run. It was 12:30 in the afternoon so I decided to use my new pink water belt. Which, by the way, nicely accentuates my child bearing hips :o) I also tried a little something different. I set G-unit to KM instead of Miles. Lee mentioned that mentally it seems easier to run a 5 min KM than an 8 MM so I thought I'd give it a try. It didn't really work for me - it just had me confused and I never really found a good pace.
I ran smart and walked the instant my knee started to ache which explains such slow splits. I was hoping for a 5 mile run but overall, I'm pretty happy with the run. I was expecting an achy knee but it feels okay. I've been icing it and doing my stretches so hopefully by next week I'll be back in business.