I pushed myself to the limit and it was awesome!
In the midst of Weddingpalooza 2010, Tommy and I had this bright idea to sign up for Gateway to the Bay Triathlon (both the sprint and the olympic distance races)...and then I got sick and then I had dinner with my BFF...not exactly the most genius of plans. Ooopsie daisy!
I started feeling crappy on Thursday - allergies, cough, runny nose, the whole wonderful nine yards...of snot. But since I tend to race better when I am sick, I figured I would forge onward with my racing plans...
Saturday morning, Tommy and woke up when the kids were coming home from the bar and drove to Kemah for the Sprint distance race (500m swim, 12.5 mile bike, and 5K run). It was cold and dark and windy and I was sick and tired and super cranky...
We set up transition and squished ourselves into our wetsuits and headed down to the swim start only to find SUPER choppy water. Ugh! Jessica and Grizz showed up (Jess
was very stylish in neon) and the race began!
My wave started just as Tommy's was finishing, so I got to see him leading the pack up the to the ramp (it's amazing how you can still recognize your friends when they are in head to toe neoprene, goggles and swim caps). And then my swim wave began...and dear lord it was hard. The water was choppy and the current was pushing us all to the middle of the rectangle we were trying to swim around - I was eating water, sucking wind and just generally crapping my pants. It was a scary swim. Easily the most difficult swim I have ever done in a triathlon. But I survived and came out of the water 5th in my age group in 12:11.4 for 500m. Not a great swim, but seriously, it was about survival...and since I was still 5th, that goes to show you how hard it was!
My first attempt at taking off my wetsuit quickly proved to be a challenge, but I learned a few things that I would put into practice on Sunday. First and foremost, wait till the wetsuit is off to pull of your cap and goggles!
Ran to T1 where I made a game time decision to bike without socks...smart or brave? I dunno.
Headed out to the bike course where I realized that we would be heading up the Kemah bridge right away...no time to build speed and momentum. CRAP! Surprisingly, I was able to get up and over (and pass lots of people), turn around and do it again...and then it was home free, smooth sailing, flat as a pancake riding (my specialty). I was able to pass all the girls in my swim wave and put enough of a gain on them that my crappy run wouldn't matter. I felt awesome on the bike...and maintained an average speed of 20.3 mph! Bike time 37:02 (3rd fastest female bike of the day!!)
Head into T2 and I was the first female bike on the rack...now THAT was a wierd sight! Gametime decision to put on socks and not risk the blisters and I was off and away!
I didn't wear my garmin or my heartrate monitor for this race. I figured that my heartrate should be pretty much redlined, so I couldn't justify having a constant reminder on my wrist that my heart was about to explode out of my chest and I didn't want to know my speed. My plan for the run was to go as hard as I could for as long as I could...and it was ugly.
I was hurting, real real bad. When I got close to the finish line, I tried to speed up, but frankly, redline is redline and I couldn't go any faster. But I finished that 5K run with a 5K PR (shaved 2 minutes of my previous stand-alone 5K time) of 23:27 - average pace of 7:49.
I placed 1st in my age group, 5th overall, hit my goal time of 1:17 exactly (although the ratios of sports was not quite right).
I have always sworn that I didn't have whatever "it" was that made people go hard and leave it all out there...but on Saturday, I found it. I found "it" and it was amazing. I went as hard as I could for as long as I could and left every ounce of energy I had on that race course. I have never been so proud of an accomplishment.
And then of course, the awards ceremony got rained out and I didn't get to be worshipped by my adoring fans. Siiiigh. Haha. Such is life!
And congrats to all the other HRTCers that placed at the race - Kathleen (third in our age group!), Cassie (1st of the Athenas) and Tommy and Francis who rocked it!