My goals for this race were simply to do it and have fun. And by “do it” I mean go as fast as possible, but without any expectation of how long that would take. I just haven’t done anything spectacular this season so I didn’t see why today would be different and was in no mood to be disappointed.
I easily got up before my alarm clock at 4:45 because my body is still on Eastern Standard Time. I had my usual pre-race breakfast of banana/soy milk/protein smoothie, white toast, butter and jam, and coffee. This race was awesome because I got to ride my bike to the start! I watched the sky turn shades of light blue and hot pink over the course of the 4ish mile ride and was glad I had not decided to drive because the line of cars was like a mile long. Also, the race directors dubbed this a “zero waste” event so I think I would have felt guilty for driving. I never did a warm-up run unless you count stupid running around. Setting up my transition area, I realized I lost my race belt. Frantically I retraced my steps but came up with nothing. Just before I went to the announcer to request he tell everyone over the loudspeaker to look for my bib, I double checked my backpack. Sure enough it was hidden in one of the kazillion sections of my backpack. Whew. I thought I was out of the woods. Then I noticed I had plain old left my Nalgene filled with water on the kitched counter. I had nothing with which to fill my aero drink. So I set off on a mission for water, which was more complicated than I thought it would be, but I eventually got it. I still had at least a half hour till my wave went. This time I knew which wave I was in and I put on about a half a stick of body glide. I still got chafed but not nearly as bad. I must do a thorough investigation of the exact cause of said chafing.
I started the swim and felt good. I think I lost at least 2-3 minutes when I got off course somewhere in the last third. Note to self: sight more. I finished in about 40 minutes. Nothing to write home about for sure, but I’ll take it.
The bike course was awesome. You start out on a false flat which continues for a few miles, until you really start to climb around mile 5. It gets super steep after that and I saw quite a few people walking with their bikes. I passed lots and lots of girls on this section, which was awesome. Also there was great volunteer support. One super hot guy wearing just a tiny pair of shorts offered me a water bottle at one point. I was all set to take it and then realized I was too scared to take my left hand off the handlebars. (Note to self: work on bike handling skills). I told him I wanted the water but I wouldn’t be able to grab it with my left hand. I kind of felt like a doofus. This kind young gentleman said, “No worries! Full service here, I’ll just come around.” I was going so slowly, he had no problem jogging around and placing it directly into my right hand. Nice! The event website describes the next section of the course as a 2/3 mile climb at a grade of 15%. All I know is, it was hard and I was trying hard to just take it nice and easy, knowing there was still a good chunk of the race left to tackle. After the crest of the hill at mile 8, you got a nice descent, basically from there to the finish. Once you turn right onto Lefthand Canyon you can go really fast. How fast, I am not sure, my speedometer stopped functioning around there but usually I do this descent anywhere from 28-40 mph and it is SO FUN. Like a roller coaster, but better. It eventually levels out but there’s a slight downhill for a long time, plus a wonderful tailwind, so the average speed rose quite a bit from mile 8 to the end. I completed the bike in 1:29. I am not sure how I stacked up against the other girls but I know that climb slowed everyone down, and I was not too concerned about my time on the bike because I really wanted to save my legs for a decent run.
I started out feeling great. My first mile split was 8:09. I degenerated gradually with each mile, but I never felt totally miserable. It was just hot and there was zero shade. I highly recommend taking the ice at the aid stations and putting as much as you can fit in your bra, then as the cubes melt down to a manageable size, put one in your mouth every so often. Also its good to put some ice cubes in your hat. If you saw someone on the course grabbing her tits, well that was just me getting my ice. I hope I did not offend anyone. At the turnaround I knew it was pretty much downhill to the finish so I tried to pick up the pace, which was successful except for mile 4 (10:08, yikes!!!). During mile 5 I was running side by side with another woman which was great for keeping me on pace but eventually she dropped me. I started to lose heart but I knew I was almost there and I saw another gal in my age group just ahead and I knew I could catch her. I ran by her but a few minutes later, her friends were all cheering from the sidelines, saying “Get her!” Who, me!? Oh no she di-int!!! I picked it up for all I was worth. No way was she gonna get me 300 meters from the finish line! I had one thought from that moment to the finish line: Certain Vomit. Certain Vomit. Certain Vomit. Miraculously I did not vomit and I did not let that woman catch me. (We did congratulate each other just after the finish line). And my split for that last mile (except the .2 at the very end) was 7:41. Not too shabby. Total run time: 54:36 (total race time 3:07, just a little below the middle of my age group).
The best part was on the run, toward the end, some guy passed me like I was standing still. Where did he come from!??? It took me a second to realize he was a pro. They had all the age groupers start between 6:45 and 7:30, while the pros didn’t start till about 9am. Also, they structured the pro run course as 3 loops, so that it would be spectator friendly. So when I was done, I watched the pros just inches from the course. It was unbelievable! They looked like they were out for a stroll while they ticked off paces I could never even hold for 800m!!! As he completed his final lap, the winner, Matt Reed gave everyone in the crowd, including me, a high five. The guy next to me remarked, “I’m never going to wash my hand again.”
All in all a fun day. The event was VERY WELL organized and I would definitely do it again.