Sunday, June 20, 2010

Race Report - Minuteman Sprint June 19, 2010

Got things all packed up and had an early night. I also made sure to have a really good night sleep on Thursday night and take it easy on Friday. I was in bed by 9pm with alarm set for 3AM. Thank goodness I set 2 alarms, as my primary one did not go off, since I forgot to turn it on after I set it. I was up and out of the bed right away. Said good-bye to Sue and I was downstairs to get ready.

Made up my smoothie (milk, soy protein, granola, frozen berries, plain yogurt and a banana) for the road, a bagel with PB, a electrolyte drink and a few bottles of water. Packed up the car, loaded the bike on the rack, and away I went. I was out the door by 3:40AM. Drive was uneventful and arrived on site by about 5:10AM. There were a few people there already, but nothing like the Timberman line of cars. Parked and went to package pick-up. Got my numbers and shirt (bummer it was long sleeved) and then was body marked. Went to the car to get my gear and bike. Got to transition and started to get ready. A couple of trips to the porta-potties and race time was approaching (7AM).

I managed to meet up with Stu and Nancy prior to the race and also Jon who was doing a relay with Don and Tracy. They ended up coming first overall in the relay by like 16 or 18 minutes.

Got the neoprene pants and shirt on and went down to the water. I took a nice dip in the lake (73 degrees) and it was very pleasant. Swan about 1/2 way to the first buoy and back with no problem.

This was a big race for me since I had decided from now on I would race in my proper wave and not request to go in the last group.

Race time was delayed by about 15 minutes and once it started we were the 2nd wave in. They were sending all men together in one wave. I stayed to the right near the back and off we went.

I was in the water right away and never looked back. I was so happy with my swim, only looking up to sight. No "heads up" breaststroke or rolling on my back. The swim was awesome. I passed a few and when the first wave of women came by I barely noticed except for the one who grabbed my butt! LOL

I made both turns fine and headed for the swim finish. I have to say, those swims at Stiles Pond with the team went a long way to eliminating any anxiety I have in the water. I got out of the water in 13:39 (1/4 mile - 205 out of 212) and was feeling great.

T1 went great and I was out with my bike in 2:55. The bike course was real smooth with only a couple of rolling hills. Now was the test for my new set-up. In all of my rides since the upgrade at Salem Cycle, the best I had done was about 15.4 mph. I managed 16.5 mph for this 14 mile ride. It is amazing how much it means to get "pushed" by other riders. I LPed (term I use when I pass an able bodied rider since I am an LP - Little Person) at least 12 other cyclists. I actually stopped counting after 12.

There was one rider who passed me and then we proceeded to pass each other throughout the course. She said we were playing "leap frog". Each time I passed her I said, "ribbit, ribbit". The second last time I passed her was on a long down hill stretch and when I looked at my computer I was doing 34 mph. She called me a "son of a bitch" that time. We were both laughing pretty hard. When she passed me she thanked me for pushing her so hard and said she would give me a hug when we finished. I didn't see her again after I passed her about a 1/2 mile before T2.

I finished the 14 mile bike in a time of 53:17 which placed me 171 out of the 212. That is better than 42 of the riders. WOW....... that is better than 20% of the riders. Not bad for 20 inch wheels and short legs. I was totally happy with my ride.

Into T2 and all was well. When I got to my area, some idiot let their bike on top of all of my gear and not in the rack. I got off of my bike and proceeded to move their bike. Not too angry, I placed it down nicely. I then racked my bike and got ready for the 4 mile run. A quick drink of my electrolyte drink, change shoes, put on Nathan belt, and I was on my way.

I walked most of the first 1/4 mile and then started to jog a bit. Back and forth I went and then I started to get passed. I don't think I ever passed a runner, but kept a few in sight for most of the run. Once I got going it was much more running and not much walking. I am pretty sure I ran the last 3/4 of a mile, if not a full mile. I felt strong going into the shute and crossed the line at a time of 2:16:33 (205 out of 212). Which gave me a 4 mile run time of 1:03:40 (208 out of 212). That is a little less than 16 minute miles, which I am very happy with after the strong swim and ride.

The post race snacks were great. I sat around for a while and then got changed. I managed to catch Don in from his bike, met Tracy (big-time relay swimmer with Don), saw Nancy, Stu and Elaine all in from the rides and leave for their runs. I even stayed around to cheer all of them at the finish line. Including Jon finishing the relay with Don and Tracy.

All in all, a great day. Now, it's 3 weeks until "Old Colony", my first go at an Olympic distance race. It's a 1 mile swim, 24 mile ride, and 6.5 mile run. It will be a test, but I am certain I will be ready to give it my best shot.

Training Update

I have to try and remember to write my updates earlier rather than later. A couple of things have happened since my last post.

First, I went to Waltham and complete in the Team Hoyt 5K race on May 27th. It was on a Thursday afternoon so I drove down after work. The weather was great and I arrived real early so had lots of time to prepare and get ready. I had some time and met up with Kathy, Dick and Rick. They were all quite busy getting ready for the race, so I only had a few minutes to catch up.

I remembered my plan to do some real stretching and running before the race. I got ready and took a run up the road and back and did some dynamic stretching about 20 minutes prior to the start. When the race started I was sure to start near the pack and was able to get a good start at the run. I managed to run for about the first 10-12 minutes before my first walking break.

Two things of note happened during the race. There were two young women racing who were there as part of a group from a law firm. For most of the race I passed them, then they passed me and we played leap frog for most of the race. It seemed obvious to me that every time I got passed them they were determined not to lose to me. I don't know if it was because I was short-statured and they could not lose to someone physically challenged or because I was short-statured and they thought if I could be out there running maybe they could run a little harder. I try not to worry what makes other people tick. It's just satisfying to see what affect I have certain people.

Near the beginning of the race, we ran through a housing development and we went past a group of about 8-10 kids who were about 10 years old or so. Needless to say, as usually happens, there were giggles, laughs and finger-pointing at me. I tried to ignore it. Well I saw them run across the road through some other houses to the next street, where we would be running as we went around the block. I was prepared for more comments and giggles and was totally surprised. As we went around the block those same kids were there with some adults (maybe parents ??) and they all stood on the roadside and clapped and one even ran out to give me a "high-five". What a nice boost of energy the gave me. Whatever the parents said, it's nice to see adults who take interest in what their kids say and do.

When I got to the water stop, I was a little bummed when I looked at my time figuring the stop was the 1 mile mark. After I passed the stop, I asked and was told it was the 1.5 mile mark. When I checked my watch, I realized I was making great time.

As I neared the end, I could hear the P.A. announcer and did my best to run hard the last 3/4 of a mile to the end. When I got to the finish, I crossed and looked at the time and was excited to see a time of 0:42:05. That time was 2:32 faster than the time I got in my best 5K to sate. It was great to PR in my first race of the season.

The post-race festivities were terrific. Door prizes for all racers including a super post race meal. Lots of pizza, pasta and dessert. I will certainly do this race in years to come.

The rest of my training continued with the exception of joining Team Comp on some Sunday morning swims in Stiles Pond. I knew I had to get into some open water prior to the season. Without that, I am sure some of the anxiety would return and I was determined to swim with my age-group and not ask to be put in the last wave.

Well I did two swims and both of them were terrific. The first one was 3 weeks ago on May 30th. The weather had been quite warm up to that point and the water was really nice. Tim Clarke picked me up for our 7:30AM swim up in Boxford. There were about 8 of us all using wet suits. I chose to use my swim snorkel this time and when we started out everything went well. The group swims from one end of the pond and back a total distance of 1.2 miles (half-iron distance). I chose to swim to a dock across the lake and back (a return distance of about 3/4 of a mile). On this swim, Patrick and Stephanie would swim ahead and back, always checking on me. I appreciated their company and encouragement. Would not be wise to leave me alone either, since who knows what could happen in a an open lake with no one life-guarding. All went well and I got back to the beach a little ahead of the group and was so happy to have a swim done prior to my first race which would happen 3 weeks later.

Two-weeks later I joined the group for another swim at Stiles. The weather had been colder and the water was much cooler. I was determined to do this swim without my snorkel. I was quite nervous to start and was feeling the old tense feelings return. Shallow breathing started to take over as I started out. A lot of swimming head's up breaststroke and I even had to flip over on my back once. I was about 1/2 way to the same dock and thought about turning back. I swam a bit more and then turned for the trip back when Patrick appeared. He asked if I was OK and I said I was fine, but had decided to turn around. Patrick was not pushy at all, but said I had swum to the dock 2 weeks ago, so why stop early today. I mentioned I had used the snorkel then, and all he said was, I don't get to use the snorkel in a race, so why stop. He as so right. I kept swimming and Patrick swam ahead. When I was about 30 yards from the dock I turned to head back. Patrick appeared and said, "swim to the dock." He WAS SO RIGHT. I swam to the dock and rested for a second or two. I then headed back.

It took 30 minutes to get there and only 20 to get back. I was cruising back. I was so thankful to Patrick for giving me that little push to do the whole swim. I am sure if I had stopped short and swam back early all the doubt would have crept back into my mind.

This is why it so great to be on a team. Not any team though, TEAM COMP. It is such a great mix of inspirational people. I am so glad I found them, or they found me, or better yet, we found each other.

Taper week to follow and then race day on Saturday June 19th.