When it’s one of those races where I can’t get excited nor angry about the result, it’s the hardest to get motivated to write a recap. And thus, it’s been like 16 days.
A lot of the details have surely faded in that time, it feels like it’s been offseason forever right about now, but, in the interest of having a record of days of consequence, here I am. Also, as MEH as I was about the race itself, the bike at mile 6 was pretty dramatic. But I digress.
The day before was by rote. Normal breakfast (greek yogurt and berries), lunch (sandwich), dinner (chicken taters salad). Lots of snacks. I definitely had an appetite even with so little training that week, my body seemed to understand what it was in for and attempted to greedily grasp at any calorie in my vicinity. Bags were packed, bikes were delivered, and I was in bed and asleep by 9.
Then I woke up as my husband crawled over me in the camper to go pee, and I couldn’t fall asleep for hours. D’oh. Not his fault, my brain just wouldn’t shut off. I was probably perpending over how much does it cost to rent an RV, because we badly needed one.
The morning went by rote as well, doing all the normal pre-race dinking around. It was already warm, the lake was not wetsuit legal (actually, it was the warmest it’s ever been), and it was going to be a day – the high was slated to be in the 90s and with humidity and rain… yeah. It was going to be a fight.
But, I was there, and ready to do battle.
Sixteen days out, I have very little of note on the swim except:
- It was long. The leader of my age group, with the fastest swim time, clocked over 42 minutes for the supposed 1.2 miles, not buying it.
- It was slow. 47:03 was not a time I expected to see when I emerged from the water.
- I couldn’t friggin’ pee. I even stopped kicking a few times to try and it just didn’t happen. Whomp, whomp.
Swim: 47:03 for (ahem, probably more than) 1.2 miles.
Kicked ass, went fast while I saw other people hanging out, and beat everyone in my age group but one person. Rock!
I started out super confident, ready to make up some time and find the girls in my age group leading the race and get in the hunt. I peed on the bike on the first straightaway when I had some personal space (yay!), and I got to work, feeling good at my expected pace and power.
Then, at mile 6, as I went to pass someone up a hill, shifting both my big and little gears at the same time, I dropped my chain. No big deal, right, easy to fix a dropped chain, this should be seconds, right? Well, instead of simply dropping my chain, it was wrapped around the back of my crank twice. I tried to get enough slack to unravel it, and after a few minutes of making sure I wasn’t being a dumbass, I sat by the side of the road with my poor, crippled Deathstar, waiting for SAG.
I was most pissed at that point because I spent days carbing up and had just popped an energy gel. If I had to get pulled, I was still going to go run that effing half marathon even if it didn’t count.
Within five minutes (!!!) the on-course bike mechanics came by and then spent 11 minutes first attempting to do the same thing I did, and then after a while cut my chain and reattached it, sending me on my way. I was thrilled to get a chance to continue to race, but unfortunately, sixteen minutes back meant I was out of contention for most any goals I had that day, except mayyyyybe sneaking in just under my PR if I really really fought for it for the next five hours.
I did my best to continue the ride just as planned, fighting off cranky brain demons, and went into the tactic I took occasionally in training. I delved into stories, thought about other stuff, and just made sure that power stayed where it should. My power was 140W (154W normalized) which I believe is my best 70.3 showing. My speed – 18mph (not counting the stop) definitely did not represent this effort (especially when my husband rolled in 3 minutes slower than me at at least 20 less power, 25 lbs heavier). My bike was not 100%, my brain was not 100%, but I’m happy with the underlying tones of the things in this ride that went right.
Bike time: 3:25:20 (3:08:13 garmin time)
It was already super hot. I was already a little demoralized. I took some extra time to sit down to put on my shoes, drink an entire Gatorade, and go for my salt pills and 303s… which were ruined by a leaky biofreeze. I had to throw them out. Awesome.
I was going to give it a go. I ran the first two miles fast – total time in the 10s, even stopping at every aid station. Somewhere in between mile 3 and mile 4, I broke. Looking at the total time, I needed to get close to a half marathon PR to PR my race, and that wasn’t going to happen in the 90+ degree and humid day we were facing. So, instead, I decided to take my time and have fun.
Four years ago, facing the same type of bullshit, I spent half the run almost crying. This time, instead, I made friends, joked with volunteers, made a run wife, made copious use of the aid station buffets, and rolled in with a time, while not my best, definitely not my worst, and actually pretty impressive with all the walking I did.
Run time: 2:47:54. Let me note here that my moving time was over seven and a half minutes shorter than my actual time. I spent THAT LONG stuffing ice down my kit and once retying my shoe.
Overall time: 7:08:47. Meh.
All in all, it was a day. That’s about what I have for you. I finished, which I didn’t think was possible at mile 6 of the bike. I made a conscious choice to tank my race and have fun instead of annihilate myself once my day took a turn for the worse. The frustrating thing? 3rd in my age group was over 7 minutes slower than my Cozumel race last year. I’m very certain if I came off the bike when I should have (under 4 hours), I definitely had a 2:35 half marathon in me, and I could have podiumed. However, coming off the bike at almost 4:30, there was no 2:05 half marathon for me in that heat.
I’m more than happy about the potential that my body and mind showed me this training cycle, though I’m a little sad I didn’t get to realize it race day. This year, however, this was the build for something bigger, and now it’s time to focus on Ironman Texas in April, that is, after some rest and playing bikes this fall!