Sunday, April 28, 2013

Three Races In Seven Days.

P5.. locked and loaded.
As you know, I have not been feeling well.  My energy and strength have been hit and miss, at best.  This two week block of work has me located in Tyler.  It also included three races in 7 days, two TT's and a triathlon.  Not really what I would call ideal for someone who has been inconsistent with both training and health lately.  Near constant communication with my coach salvaged the situation and prevented another major setback.

I decided that downgrading to the sprint was a good idea.  If on race day the energy was there, great.  If not, I would dig a mighty hole fighting to the end of an Olympic Distance.  Plus, the sprint had an 800M swim and a 40K bike, so it was still an extremely solid sprint race.  Both of the time trials were 4 miles.  Basically, maximal effort for about 8 mins, then limp home.

WHO falls down standing in line?
The P5, Phar Lap, rolled out of the barn for the first TT.  I went into feeling really flat.  I didn't have enough time to warm up so I did my best with a tiny little stretch of road near the race.  I arrived at the start a little later than the other riders who were already in line.  I found my place based on my number and clipped out.  I wanted to make sure that I had a good reading from the Quarq so I pedaled backwards with the foot that was still clipped in.  OK, so I TRIED to pedal backwards.  I neglected to notice that I was standing on the side of a hill with my stabilizing foot uphill from the bike and the pedaling foot.  As soon as I pressed down on the pedal, the bike overbalanced and in full, slo-mo glory, I toppled to the ground.  The act bloodied my knee and bruised my ego.  I HAD to ride well... or slink off and hide.

I ended up with the fastest female time, the fifth fastest overall time and was only separated from third place by about 3/4 of a second!  That qualifies as riding well.  I got to reclaim my dignity.  It also did what I was hoping it would do.  It lit a significant fire under me arse.

The TT was Thursday night so there wasn't really much between that and the triathlon Sunday morning.  In the past, I would have done panic workouts.  I now understand how much of a mistake that would have been.  Instead, I focused on rest and nutrition.  I wasn't fit.  That was not going to change before Sunday.  That ship sailed a week or two earlier.  I also had developed a nasty cough, probably allergy related, that crippled my breathing if I got too winded.  I was particularly bad after the TT and my airway was still raw for the tri.  That meant racing smart was the only viable option.  If I pushed too hard at any point, I was going to start coughing and possibly bring on an asthma attack.  If this happened, I was toast.  I realized that going into the race, my best options were all related to taking care of myself.
No pics of the fish but still a great swim venue.

This morning, race morning was cold.  It was in the low 50's.  I decided that I needed a swim warmup so I went down to the water.  I was alone down there and it was really peaceful.  There were all these little silver fish rolling in with each tiny wave.  They would get caught in the pools at the edges and flip themselves around trying to catch the next wave out.  It gave the lake this cool silver fringe.  Then I spotted a few that were truly stuck.  The next thing I knew, I was rescuing little fishies instead of swimming.  Totally worth it.  I had a belated thought that perhaps a little of their swimming ability might rub off!  (It didn't if you are wondering.)

I warmed up fine, swam to the first turn, sighted the second, then swam back.  My stroke felt good and I was swimming a (sort of) straight line.  When my breathing regulated, I did a few little sprints and called myself ready.  Turns out, the wave information got jumbled and I was all warmed up almost an hour early.  I then proceed to wait... and FREEZE... and wait some more.  When they were about 20 mins from my start, I got back in and swam a bit more.  I couldn't stop shivering.  My wetsuit was better than nothing but it had gotten in my bones and I couldn't shake it.

Once the swim started, I found feet and just focused on staying straight.  My shoulder LOUDLY objected to the cold and colder treatment and I had a few moments of real concern.  I just stayed relaxed and tried to stay straight.  I didn't want to cover any extra ground (or water).  I sighted really well to the first buoy, not so well to the second and even worse to the finish, but I never truly lost my line.  I swam progressively better as the race went on though.  It took me until after the second buoy to warm up enough to pick up the cadence of my stroke.  Not for the last time of the day, I wondered if I would have done better in the Olympic.  Who knows.

The P5 with some of it's victims.
You do not mess with the P5.
I came out of the water knowing that more than half my wave was out in front of me.  I also doubted I had any real run in my legs.  That left 40K of bike to make a statement.  I was strangely calm in T1, hopped on the bike in an almost leisurely fashion, then rode away totally relaxed.  A few hundred yards out though, the animal woke up.  I dropped the hammer and never let up again.   There were some hills at the beginning and end and a 10 mile out and back portion that was on extremely rough pavement.  That portion was the test of the bike.  Within minutes, my hands went numb.  I stayed locked in aero because I didn't think I could change positions without losing control.  Later my feet went numb.  My vision was blurred and I couldn't hear anything but rushing wind and vibrating carbon fiber.  About the only thing really that I was really aware of was a very pronounced bit of feedback from a saddle sore which felt that the locked in position was... unseemly.  Later in the ride, the saddle sore was joined in a duet of pain by my legs which were fatiguing badly due to the horrid road surface.  I figured that my worst run and my best were not really all that different in pace so there was little point in saving my legs.  The bike split didn't seem all that fast until I compared it to everyone else's.  It was one of the fastest of the day.  That road took it's toll on everyone.

Let's see, I can fall standing still.
This should be awesome!
When I got to the dismount line, I thought my legs felt pretty good.  Then I put my feet on the ground.  My legs buckled and I nearly hit the deck.  My run in cleats back to my setup was more than a little scary.  I rolled smoothly through T2, then headed out on the run. I looked at my watch and was moving about 2:00/mi slower than I usually do out of transition.  I was also trying desperately not to puke.  YIKES!! However, I was one of the ones actually running.  I passed a guy who was obviously suffering.  As I went by, I said "jog through it".  Later he came and found me to thank me.  He said he was about to retire and when I said that, he found his legs.

The run was really hilly and the first portion was on a semi- rough trail.  I remembered looking at last years results and wondering why the run times were so shockingly slow.  In the end, I walked for a few seconds to avoid coughing twice but otherwise ran the whole thing and while the time was a little over three minutes slower than my 5K PR, it was consistent with recent training and really a pretty good run for me given the conditions and hills.  After talking to other competitors, most people said the run was 3-4 mins off expected or usual times.

When they finally posted results, they posted the Overall list first.  It looked like I was the fourth woman across the line.  As it turns out, I was.  I was awarded first place masters and got a nice little prize pack, including a bunch of gift certificates, a transition bag, a hat, a water bottle... and I'm not sure what else.  I haven't actually examined it.  Oh, and of course... a medal.

Low expectations but thrilled with the results.
AND great swag!

That leaves one more race... a TT on Thursday.  I guess the fat lady is still waiting to sing.

No comments:

Post a Comment