Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lucky #3-The Nor'Easter Reverse Triathlon

2:30 am until 4:30 am-That is two hours
That is how much sleep I got the night before (well, actually isn't this the morning of...?) the race.
The night before that I logged a total of 4 hours.
As you recall from the 3 Lemons post, Lola has been sick and this has resulted in many awake hours during the night to care for her. But the number 3 played it's way into the race several times...

Loud & Proud-I love bright colors on race day! (well, anyday really)

Saturday night I got most of my gear together, set up and ready to go. My hubby would be staying home with Lola and my Dad would be my support crew for the race.

Going into race day, I was questioning how I would actually perform based on the lack of sleep and decided to throw my own personal performance expectations out the window and just do the best I could. Letting go of that and being more concerned with Lola and her illness actually made for one of the calmest race mornings I have had to date.

Getting ready Lola helped me braid my hair and picked out the three colored elastics to hold the bottom of my braid-a purple one, a pink one AND a blue one. I explained to her that I was racing today and the three elastics would bring me luck since she could not be there to give me my normal "High Five" (example here). I promised her that I would do the best I could for HER today.

My Dad arrived on time to pick me up and I ran back inside to get one more good luck hug and kiss from Lola and hubby.

I got to UNE and got my bike checked and hands marked (#230). They marked the tops of our right and left hands since it IS April in Maine and very few were out running/biking in shorts and short sleeves! I chatted with some friends and got set up in transition-which was inside the Athletic Center.

Michelle and Me

Shortly after setting up, I met up with Michelle (aka ltlindian from average girl doing average things-- check out her race report HERE) who was doing her first triathlon today and won my RoadID giveaway contest! Then it was time to get out and warm up. I ran an easy 2 miles along the course with (another) Michelle and then it was time to line up.

When I returned from my warm up, I saw that Dawn had arrived to cheer me on and I was so happy to see her smiling face!

Two of the fittest and nicest guys I know, Todd (L) and Rick (R)

Since this is a reverse triathlon, the run was first then it was onto the bike and then we would finish up with a quick 150 yd serpentine swim in the UNE pool.

My Dad giving me my pre-race pep talk!

The guys started at 9:00 am and the ladies started at 9:03 am. I was feeling good about the run based on my run on Saturday and the warm up. I started right up front (which I normally don't do) and went out easy. The first 100 feet or so were up a little hill so I just chugged along and then the ladies at the lead of the pack fell into a single line. At the 1/2 mile mark I was about 7 or 8 behind the lead runner but then I moved up and passed a couple gals. This is right about the time I hit something on my Garmin (ummm, stop maybe??) and it stopped recording for about a mile or so. Then I heard the pat pat pat of a pair of feet running up behind me and this thin, bubble gum pink streak passed me and eased her way to the front of the pack, very quickly. No one caught her either. I held my pace back not wanting to burn out early and reminded myself that I still had to bike and swim. I eased up to the 4th female position and started passing some of the men. This was such a comfortable run and I felt fantastic the entire time. I finished the run 4th with a time of 20:56 and average pace of 6:59.

Line 'em up! With Alison, Kristen, Michelle and BD waiting to run

0:44 Could have been faster, I definitely have room for improvement here. I slowed down thru the gym and Josh, my bike guy yelled for me to move it. Love it that he did that!! Plus, I was messing with my gloves too long.

Heading out to Bike Mount-yes, that is SNOW in the ground

It was the longest walk/run ever from transition to the Bike Mount line and I struggled a for a moment getting on-it all seemed to happen in slow motion. My legs felt good and and I was pretty much alone getting out on the bike course. When I finally got into a rhythm, I glanced down at my computer and saw 31 flashing at me and knew there was no way in heck I was pushing 31mph! Then I saw that the computer had been put onto km and not miles. What was my major malfunction with gadgetry today??? Now I know it is pretty simple math to convert km's to miles but I wasn't really in the mood to be doing any kind of math!
Note: after the problems with the Garmin on the run, I never reset it since I was going to depend on the bike computer for this leg. Yeah-another smart move!
I just went by feel and since I do know this bike course so well, I felt confident on the road. Once we hit Oakridge, this is when the winds could really be felt. I ride this road frequently and while I enjoy the newly paved asphalt, on a windy day this road is like a giant wind tunnel. There are a couple small, rolling hills but when you have 20mph winds blowing AT you, it can feel like a stand still. About 6 miles into the bike I saw the familiar green jacket of another female who finished just ahead of me on the run. This is when the competitor in me reared it's big, ugly head.
Remember THIS post where I talked about how I don't really consider myself competitive against others and only myself??
The only thoughts I had the last several miles of the bike were:
catch her. pass her. catch her. pass her. catch her. pass her. catch her. pass her.
I repeated this ad nauseum until finally, with only about a mile left on the bike, I did pass her. Then several minutes later, I felt the crush of defeat - just as we were heading into the bike dismount area, she whizzed past me. I was furious (with myself)! I had pushed so hard to catch her and then finally pass her only to have her whiz by. Damn!
During this little game of chase, I learned something about myself. While I don't consider myself one that is deeply competitive with other athletes, I certainly saw a new side to my race personality on the bike leg. I wanted nothing more than to catch the girl in the green coat. That was my focus and it pushed me. I was like a shark that smelled blood in the water. I needed to catch her and I needed to pass her. I really enjoyed the chase and would have enjoyed it even more if I held that lead that I worked so hard to get. I think I need to access this deep, almost hidden side of my personality and bring her out more often. A big, ole hairy beast that is out for blood. I think I am ok with that.
As I crossed the bike dismount line, my friend and fellow tri club peep, Marc informed me that I was 4th female in. It was another long run in the bike shoes around the side of the Athletic Center and back into transition. While I felt great on the bike, I think I could have done much better here. Looking now at my average pace, I think I could have pushed harder right out of the gate and not waited until "the chase" to bring it. I consider running my favorite of the three diciplines but I am quickly starting to love, love, love the bike!!
That being said, I was 2nd overall female for the bike split with a time of 37:48, 17.5mph average speed.

1:26 Again, could have been much faster here. I was struggling to strip my layers off and my Garmin got stuck in the process. I was so annoyed, I stood on my sleeve and just yanked! I now have a nice little strip of bruising along my left wrist and thumb. Then I ran off without my swim cap and goggles. If it was not for my friend, Misty (who was volunteering that day) yelling to me, I would have forget them all together. I went back for the goggles only.

The Swim
Uggh, 150 yards is not much of a swim. Heck this is less than half of my swim warm up. Let's just say that my swim was less than stellar. I was had been going on blast since the last half of the bike and I needed my breath. I swam the first few lengths in typical freestyle fashion-I am sure not much good could be said of my form-and then actually swam 1/2 length on my side just to get some good, solid oxygen into my lungs. Then I felt ok and finished a bit stronger than I started. As I finished up the last lap of the swim, I could see Dawn peering into the window from outside, giving me a smile and a thumbs up! I waved and finished up the swim. I was really never so happy to stop swimming even though the water felt great!
Swim time for 150 yards? (don't laugh!) 3:28. Like I said, I think this was pretty weak but whatever. It is what it is.

Total Time: 1:04:19.5
3rd Place Female Overall

What a fun day!

Considering all that led up to this race, I was pleased with how well things went.
I believe that there is always room for improvement and if you don't learn SOMETHING from race day, you were not paying attention.

During the awards ceremony, I was quite surprised when they were announcing the Overall Females and I heard my name for Third. I am sure there are no pictures available of the complete confusion written across my face.  I was quite certain I was fourth but as it turns out, the gal in bubble gum pink that whizzed by me on the run, was the overall winner--but since was one of the race coordinators, she was just racing for fun and did not put herself into the "official" race field. So, that bumped me up to third.

In my heart, I know I finished fourth--but I will accept my Third Place Overall Female award with a smile (which is a jacket with the race logo on it) and enjoy my first ever Podium finish.

I see some great opportunities for me to become better and faster - I have just a couple short weeks until the next Sprint!

Next up: The Polarbear Sprint Triathlon on May 7th


Big Daddy Diesel said...

CONGRATS!!! Way to rock to the poduim, crazy way they reversed it.

If it doesnt get warmer, the Polar Bear Tri will live up to its name

Tough Chik said...

WAY TO GO JEN! Awesome re-cap! I love your hairy competitive beast, I am the same way. It must be hard to transition with so many layers! Very proud of you :)

Carly said...

Congrats on the awesome finish! I think I like the idea of a reverse tri. I hope I'll have the chance to try one.

ltlindian said...

Awesome job! Awesome to meet you in person and race with (or behind...) you! I may just see you in the fall for the Mainiac. :)

misszippy said...

Congrats to you! That's so awesome. And what a crazy tri--must have been fun to shake it up some like that.

Beth said...

Awesome! I love how your previously unknown competitiveness came out. Isn't that the best feeling??

Penny said...

Way to go Jen. You did awesome. Doing a Tri reverse that is different.

Aimee said...

Woohoo! Congrats on an awesome race and a 3rd place finish! You did amazing!!!

Melissa Cunningham said...

CONGRATS!!!!! LOVED THE RECAP! and with my first tri coming up in 12 days,this is just what i need to read!
hope lola feels better soon!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Jen, this is great! I am in love with the pic of you and your dad! The brght colors on race day had to make up for the 2 hours of sleep, right? ;)


Alex said...

Super job! that is one heck of a run, Jen, and you have to feel proud of that. Sub 7min miles! Wow, on a triathlon! You're going to crush the next 5k you do.

Also, that must have been my friend Amy! She is 50 years old (can you believe it?!) but she is one heck of a triathlete.

Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom said...

Congrats Jen!!! Great Tri and podium finish!! You rock :) An inspiration as always!!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the third place!!! That's awesome! I'm highly competitive in some ways and not in others, so I get the "must pass her" thing... happens to me in the last .5 miles of most of my races... I start picking people out to overtake ;)

Finallyfit2011 said...

Congrats Jen! LOVE the pic of you & daddy <3

Pahla said...

WOOO HOOOO!! Way to completely kick booty! Congrats!

Caratunk Girl said...

Jen! Great RR, sounds like a fun race. Way to wake up that inner animal in you on the bike!

Courtney said...

WOW! You are a machine!! Great job!

Unknown said...

Congrats! Rock that third place OA finish and don't say that you were really 4th. Officially, you were 3rd! :)

And I think a little competitive fire is always good. I say that I'm not overly competitive, but if I see a girl in front of me, she's my rabbit and I'm gunning for her! :)