I’m gunna get right to the race report here. Too much other cool stuff happened this weekend to try and work it into this post. The Weekend Report will get its own due in a little while.
Tyler and I opted for a just-in-time transition set up, rather than crashing the gates at 5:45. I was in one of the last waves, roughly an hour after transition closed. So I took my sweet time and got right in the port-a-john line. Which proved to be a questionable call. I don’t need a lot of time to set up, but 5 minutes felt a bit rushed. Thankfully the wonderful volunteers in charge of the transition area (Michelle and Sonja) let me take an extra two or three minutes. However, I didn’t take the time to rubberband my shoes to my crank/chainstay. I would regret this later.
I managed to time just about everything else right though; one more pit stop, wetsuit, a generous helping of trislide, not too much standing around, and the next thing you know its time to get wet! I didn’t get an ideal spot on the line, second row on the outside. But it didn’t seem to matter, 30 seconds of foam, then things settled down. I found a pretty good set of feet to follow. There must have been 4 guys swimming side by side, with two of us tucked in behind. Pretty much the ideal set up. It lasted quite a while, but nothing lasts forever.
Coming out of the only turn buoy, I found myself behind another guy, swimming just the right pace, right on the buoy line. Hats off to this guy, ‘cause he was pretty awesome at navigating through some of the slower swimmers we were catching (we were the first wave of Oly racers). I don’t know why I ever left. Okay, I do know why, because I cant swim straight. Somehow I ended up on his left, shoulder to shoulder. I still think it was one of my straighter swims! By that time the dock was in sight, so I tried to finish strongly.
This is the only race I’ve done where you have to haul your butt (they have plenty of volunteers to help you) up onto a dock to get out of the water. Its not difficult, its actually lower than any pool deck you’ll find. Its just that my hamstrings don’t like it one bit. Three years in a row, one or both of them, want to cramp up during this maneuver. Its nothing serious, but it definitely takes a while to get into the transition trot. T1 included quite a run, 400 yds or so? (I’m terrible at estimating these things.) I generally welcome this type of thing, the more running the better. Especially if it counts toward your swim time!
So, I was leaving T1 with my bike rather rapidly, when suddenly everyone behind me started yelling. Yes at me. I’d lost one of those shoes without rubber bands. Park the bike, retreat for the shoe. Extra thanks to the racer/soccer star who dribbled my shoe at least 2/3 of the distance for me. I got going forward again, muttered a little ‘hi-ho Sliver, away!’ to myself and started peddling.
The bike was pretty uneventful. The half and Oly courses are the same for the first 10 miles or so. Which is good for me, I like the feel of passing people, even if they’re in an entirely different race. After the split things got pretty lonely for a while. There’s a short section of out and back around mile 18(?) I think I got a pretty good look at where I was (16-18ish). Then I began wondering if I was being too arrogant to assume I even saw the leaders. Its not terribly important to me, esp when your wave includes three age groups, but its nice when you haven’t seen anyone in a while. Regardless, I was happy to make it back to T2 with both shoes, one of my two water bottles, and not having thrown my chain. To say it was shifting rough would be an understatement.
T2 felt incredibly fast, I passed a guy just running my bike from the dismount like to the rack. The run course is flat, out n’ back, and fast. Coach James has had me working on running fast right off the bike for the last several weeks so, we were both anxious to see how this was going to go. I left with one guys on my heals (audible) and three guys in my sights. I felt like I was moving right along, but not gaining much ground on any of them.
This is where a Garmin would have come in handy. Oh yes, I have one, but got the wonderful ‘low battery’ chirp walking to transition in the morning despite having it on the charger for 4 hours the day before. I’m not bitter or anything. Just glad I spent all that money on a Quark power meter and don’t have a display for my first race with it. More on the Garmin another day…
Around the 1.5 mile mark I started to gain some ground and when I started passing guys, I just kept feeling better and better. The Rev3 timing says I ran the 2.75 miles at 5:40 pace and the last 3.whatever at 6:12 pace. I’d venture to guess most of that slowing was in the last 2 miles. It’s a bit uphill to the finish, but mostly a looong straight away. I could barely make out the next guy, he had to be 1/3 mile ahead of me. I kind of lost focus. I’ve definitely decided this is something I need to work on, keeping the pedal to the metal when the feasibility of catching the next person is nil.
I even had a brief chat with Matty Reed as he rode his bike up the path from transition to the finish. I asked him how he did, he elaborated more than I expected, then I remembered something coach said, I forget the exact words, but ‘if you can talk at all the last mile you’re not running hard enough’ sounds pretty familiar. I shut my trap and bore down for the finish.
Finish time: 2:10:48, good enough for 14thamateur and first M35-39. I was pretty happy. I’ve never actually won my age group before, I’ve come close a couple times, but never a win. It was far from perfect, there are still plenty of seconds, and probably a few minutes, out there to be had. But all in all, it was a really good start to the season.
Congrats to all the other racers out there! Especially Tyler, who had just the race he needed heading into IMCDA, and all my Rev3 teammates. It was great meeting some, and seeing the rest of you again. Huge thanks to all the Rev3 volunteers but esp Carole at the swim, Michelle and Sonja at transition, and Kelly in timing. Even bigger thanks to Rev3 for putting on the same great race they always do, Blue Seventy for taking the swag to a new level (free goggles), Powerbar for powering the whole day, Swiftwick for officially making me a sock snob, and to Pearl Izumi for the best looking kits on the course. I’m so happy to be running in PI shoes again! I’m also thankful Quassy is only three weeks away and we can do it all over again!