Sunday, July 15, 2007

Somebody learned how to swim

Today started early. Very early, at least for me. Three separate alarms went off around 5 AM so we could get packed up and to the race site in time. I figured we were early to on-time. As I walked my bike out to the car, and surveyed the desolate parking lot, I was suddenly struck with the fear that we were really behind everyone else. We got moving and arrived at the race site. To our surprise, only a few cars were there. Perhaps everyone went to breakfast early? Whatever, we were looking good and I was going to get a great transition setup. Bring it!

I was set up so fast, I started doubting myself and wondering what I had forgot. I checked my transition area 2 additional times after initial setup. Satisfied, I chatted with some friends and made a pit stop at the little blue stinky hut. As I was so early, it wasn't bad yet. If you have been following my last couple of performances, you may realize that I felt a lot of pressure for my swim performance. I have been doing the open water swims at about 1 minute more per 100m than my training pace, putting me way behind, and forcing huge efforts on the bike to make up time. The butterflies came, and my concern grew.

I entered the water for the start. I knew well enough to get at the back of the group and work my way through any overly ambitious swimmers as needed. I wasn't yet sure how much that would come into play, since I doubted my ability to pull off a decent pace. But I just made my mind up that I was going to keep going, work hard, be as smooth as possible, and give it my best. I picked off lots of swimmers, and felt pretty good at the exit. I was actually catching up to the group ahead, instead of the group behind catching me. As I got out of the water, I realized I hadn't successfully started my timer, so I was just going to have to go by feel. But I felt good...

Until, as I began putting on my bike shoes, I started to feel I was about to unswallow. Not just a bit of upset stomach, but full-on, Jagermeister and tequila, bad seafood, warm mayonnaise sick. I went to the side of the bike rack as I was putting on my shoes, waiting for the technicolor yawn. I guess I didn't have enough in my stomach, other than lake water, and never spewed. I decided to just get on the bike and work through it. Besides, I had a tough dirt road to navigate before putting the hammer down.

The bike leg just felt off. I just never felt like I had the legs, and would swear I was dragging a brake. I wound up adjusting the rear one at 8.5 miles (of 15.5 total) and charged on. My quads were singing to me by now, and I wasn't looking forward to the run. I caught a bunch of people, traded places with one guy 3 times, but wound up being passed by 2 people. Crap!

The ride in on the dirt was treacherous, but I made it without falling. In a quick decision, I went without socks for the quick 3.1 mile run. My feet were dirty, and it was a dirt/sand/grass route, so I had been on the fence. Oh well, it's only a 5k, right? First lap I held a good pace and checked out the course. Since it was 3 loops of the same route, I could pace myself on the second two based on the first lap. Lap 2 I was loosening up and finding my stride. Lap 3 I began to attack, and at 2.5 miles in started to turn the screws. I found a guy that I am close to in most races, and planned to pass him at the last moment. I was feeling so strong, however, that I just passed and decided to put some immediate distance down to make me look uncatchable. It worked, and I finished about 1 minute ahead of him! The whole run Mendy and a friend from the Y were cheering me on. Man, that helped so much! Made me forget for a minute how I actually felt.

As I crossed the line, I thought I was going to pass out. This day, I left it all out on the course. Sure I wasn't feeling as potent on the bike, but I never let up. I gave the swim and the run my all. I did my very best.

700m swim in 14:19 @ 2:03/100m
15.5 mile ride in 43:14 @ 21.55 mph
3.1 mile run in 21:35 @ 6:58/mile

This performance at any other race to date would have been close to, if not on the podium. But today there were some very fast racers. My age group had the fastest top 5 of any age group. One group below or above would have put me on the podium. But not mine. I finished a frustrating 8th of 22, but beat some key people. In some ways I feel like I wasted my best performance. Really, though, it is a progression for me. I'm getting better, and will expect improved performance in future races.

I got a leg massage (no happy ending) after the race, and my IT bands are tight! Wow, that hurt. I will need to pay more attention to those in the future. Mendy and I traveled home and eventually made our way to dinner and the wine bar. I felt a bit better by this evening, but am really tired now. I know I gave it what I had to give, and that helps me. Next race will be better.

**pictures to follow - need sleep**


sunshine said...

CONGRATS - way to kick some butt! Sounds like you had an awesome race and one to be very proud of! Can't wait to see the pictures.

Jess said...

Next time will be better?! Are you gonna fly through the course? B/c those numbers look pretty darn good to me! Awesome job on all parts!

Give yourself a little back pat.

Gotta Run said...

Next time?!!... you did awesome THIS TIME!!!

Every race only gets better. Greenville Tri only 4 weeks away. If you like the repeat loops on the run, Greenville will give you two of those.

To end the day with a nice glass of wine is super SWEET!!

Great job!!!

Marcy said...

SWEET!! I think you would've lost me at the puke point after the swim. Totally killer that you kept at it.

I was just going to say the same thing "Really, though, it is a progression for me. I'm getting better" just think of how far you'll be next year at this time. You'll probably look back and laugh (not that your times are laughable but you KWIM ) 8th place is definitely something to be proud of, especially considering that you had a lot of tough competition. Definitely NOT a waste of a best performance. Seriously, would you have been happy if you DIDN't give it your all? Probably not hehe.

You did GREAT!! I can't believe you even had any energy to post this LOL

Neese said...

WOW! look at you! excellent job! Not being a tri person my eyes go to the run numbers and sub 7 average!!?? sweet.

Mom tried decaf once said...

Dude!!! You totally rocked!!! I know you are disappointed about the 8th place but geesh you did awesome! Where did the 7 ahead of you make up time? I can't imagine which leg they were faster on! Anyway, congratulations on an awesome race!!

Wes said...

Your best effort is never wasted. Nicely done!! I envy those times :-) I've found that for some reason my form on the bike is aggravating my IT band. Maybe your mileage is similar??

Nikki said...

Ohhhh Great job!!! I'm proud of you :D :D :D

I'm with neese on the number and damn dude, I can't run that fast after a meal, let alone a bike and swim!!!

Can't wait to see the *COUGHCOUGHBIKESHORTSCOUGHCOUGH* pics Mendy took!

Nikki said...

Thanks for the look VERY determined :)

Thanks for the great words of encourament! YOu rock!

Marcy said...

You look like one bad ass mutha f-er on that bike. You could use that face in many bar room situations ;-) Only playin, totally looks like you're working hard. Honestly I'd be worried if you actually smiled while competing hehe

Mendy said...

David - You did so wonderful out there Saturday! I know you wanted the podium finish, but it will come, I know it! Your times were fantastic, and I'm very impressed with your determination and dedication to the sport!

Gotta Run said...

New tri gear is HOTTTTTT!!! I am sure Mendy approves :).

Will hers match for the Greenville Tri. Now that would be super cool!

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

I agree with Wes. A great race is never "waisted." Your performance is the only thing out there you can control. As far as placings go, you are only as "good" as whoever shows up, so you can't worry about that. I'm very impressed with how much improvement you made in your swim, but it sounds like it may have taken quite a bit out of you. Still, a great improvement and a great race. Good job!

Christopher said...

Great race, Dave! Each time you improve your raise the won't be long before these 'great' times are simply 'average' times for you. Congrats!...G-Man