What can I say!?! I had such an awesome time at this race. Finally, three races later! As I mentioned in my last post, I really was excited for this race in the few days leading up to it. I really felt fairly comfortable with the swim and everything else is easy after that :-).
Prerace thoughts and observations:
We got to packet pickup just under the wire. I won't lie...my anxiety was coming through just a little at this point. We were running a little later than I prefer and I was a wee bit grumpy until my bike was racked. You have to drop your bike off the day before and I loved this. One less thing to worry about in the morning.
Irongirl is always promoted as a great first time race. It really is hard to tell how many are first timers, but as far as race organization goes, they do a great job. They try to make it very user friendly. As I was racking my bike, another racer told me that she misread the bike distance and had been training for a 10K bike and just realized a few days ago that it was 30K! Really dude, it SUCKS to be you. As much as Irongirl is a user friendly race, the first 5 miles of this course are not! Plus, can you imagine only training for 6 miles and then going 18 during the race. Wow! I wonder how she did??
Race morning was pretty uneventful, as it should be! Izaac was volunteering for kayak support so we had priority parking and we got there an hour before the start. And somehow, I managed to use the whole hour doing stuff that I can't remember!!
The race organizers decided to do a time trial start for the swim as they felt the size of the cove to at the start was too small and they were trying to ease up congestion. This actually works very well for me because there are less people around me when I start, therefore less anxiety. I had practiced out here a few times and Coach Jakie told me that I need to line up mid pack to avoid the clutter that happens with all the new swimmers at the back. I really had all intentions of following this rule but I really wanted to warm up and was slow at getting to the beach. By the time I warmed up, the line was full!! I actually lined up about 15 people from the end. Izaac thought I should wait till it started and casually cut in, but I just couldn't... something about manners or not wanting to get yelled at for cutting.
So I lined up...and waited...and waited. We were on the upstairs part of the pool so we got to see the first people start and come in :-). Seriously...30 minutes later and I was finally in the water. Steph mentioned that the line moved fast. That's what happens when you are in the middle. Not at the end. But it was all good. And I wasn't stressed. The worst part is Coach was the one sending you off at the start and I had to pass her, knowing she told me to be in the middle and I didn't listen. I tried to figure out how to avoid her, but it wasn't possible.
The start was great. They had a really long lane line dividing outgoing and incoming so you couldn't run into anyone. It was awesome! However, I quickly realized why being at the back wasn't such a good idea. People were swimming all over the place, every direction but straight! I tried many times to go around but I always seemed stuck in this pack of crazy swimmers. At one point I went to sight and there was a girl swimming perpendicular to me doing the backstroke! Which was also parallel to the shore which was where we were trying to get to! She could swim all day like that and never make it in!
My swim time was very slow but I really had only two goals...no panicking and to enjoy it. I accomplished both so I am happy. I still stop too much to look around and that's mainly because I don't like to touch people so I have to plan my route around swimmers. Izaac also says I slow way down in open water, nice and easy instead of my normal pace.
It was great having him out on the water looking over me. There was more support on the water than I have ever seen at a race. They even had lifeguards on the side and bridge watching people. It was also great not using any of the support!
Total swim time: 29:19 (800M- this is up for debate as Coach said that the course was measuring longer when they were planning it. However, other people's times were consistent compared to the pool so I was probably just really slow. Like a minute slower per 100!)
What can I say. It is a really long, uphill hike to transition that I pretty much walked. I don't care. I was having fun and wanted to enjoy the excitement over my awesome swim.
The bike was awesome! I know this course well and wanted to push it the whole way. One thing about starting at the back of the swim is that I got to pass many people. The first few mile are pretty much up hill and most people were pushing their bike up the first hill right out of transition. While this hill sucks, I know that it will be over soon enough so I just grind away.
There were so many gals that I passed on mountain bikes with mountain bike tires! Not even road tires. While I am amazed and awed that so many different types of people do tri's and they are willing to get out there, I am also aware of how hard their ride is going to be.
Anyway, I just keep pedaling away, trying really hard not to coast on the easy parts. I pass my sis, niece and Kian around mile 10 which is right by our house. It was great to see them! At this point, I slow down a little and am trying to take some nutrition and another biker comes up and tells me I've been setting a great pace and it's helped her. Then she passes me! I was like hell no! You are not going to pass me so I got it together and finally passed her back. I really thoughtI was far ahead, but she managed to sneak pass me just moments before transition! Ughh! Another bad habit, I slow down quite a bit just before transition because I don't want to wreck.
Bike 1:10:58 (18 miles. 15.2 MPH!!! I have never averaged more than 14.6!!)
I got to see Izaac in the transition! I like him being a volunteer!
The fun has officially ended. This is a hard, hilly, hot course. And it's mainly on packed, desert. Right away I felt like I was going to throw up so I walked a little to bring my HR down. Then it was run/walk from there. I gave myself permission to walk up the hills as long as I ran as hard as I could the rest of the time. The uphills were very long and my calf's kept cramping. It actually felt better to run, but then my HR would soar and I would feel a little sick. I just trudged through it the best I could. Finally, I had a half of mile left and then I was at the finish! It wasn't my best run and I really was hoping to average under 10 min/mile. In hindsight, I probably could have pushed a little harder between mile 1 and 2.
Run 31:36 (10:11 min/mile)
I was so happy to be done!! This was a great race and I really had so much fun. One of the very best parts... a few minutes after I finished, the girl that passed me on the bike finished so I still beat her. I had actually forgot all about her! She said she killed her legs trying to keep up with me on the bike :-)
Overall time 2:21:59. Which puts me smack in the middle. theaverage time for the race was 2:25:12
** One last thing... one of the coolest things about the race. They had computers set up and you could go right up, tell them your race number and they hand you a little printout of your race results. How cool!!