I was really fired up about this race. Although I had not planned it as an “A” race (that was supposed to be the Barkin’ Dog), I felt like I needed this race to prove my biking did not suck, and that I could still run well after a strong bike. The swim, I was not so confident about, but that is par for the course.
For the first time in a long time, I had a lot of trouble sleeping before the race. As annoying as that was, I took it as a sign that I had mojo back, or whatever you want to call it. Do people even say mojo anymore? I had my fire back, my desire to just go for it, and I was nervous. I like those butterflies and I was wondering if they were ever going to come back.
Morning finally came and I was up having my breakfast of instant oatmeal, a handful of granola, blueberries and coffee, sans Sunday paper(s). I was up so early the papers had not come yet:( I scooted off on my bike into the cool morning air as the sun glowed from east, turning the Flatirons orange-pink. It was already a good day and nothing had even happened. My ride over to the reservoir was only 8 miles, which I took slow for the most part. I feel so lucky to live in a town where I can ride my bike to a race! And even better, on the way back, Dan showed me how to do it 100% on bike paths. No roads! Amazing. The race was touted as a “zero waste event” but it was sort of a joke. Before 5430 Sports sold this race series to Ironman it really was a zero waste thing and they made a huge deal out of it. I got the impression that Ironman agreed to the concept as just part of the negotiation and they don’t really care about it, and that was sad. You know what else was sad? The lame-o swag bag. Talk about waste! I will not use any of that stuff, including the stupid T-shirt. When will race directors learn I WILL NOT WEAR A T-SHIRT THAT MAKES ME LOOK LIKE A 12 YEAR OLD BOY. IT IMMEDIATELY GOES TO GOODWILL OR BECOMES A BIKE RAG. Also, it was sad that I spent about as much time waiting in lines as I did actually racing. Ironman needs to get their act together, big time. Since when does zero-waste mean you have to come to the event the day prior to pick up your packet (hello, people had to make another trip all the way from Denver and farther in many cases!). Stupid. I try not to rant or be negative on my blog (I save that for you, Dan, you lucky bastard), but seriously this was a cluster. Most of us had to wait in the hot sun for our packets over a half an hour on Saturday and then we had to wait while they let us enter the transition area two at a time (um, this is a race, not Noah’s ark) after the race to get our stuff.
When I got to the reservoir, it was about 6:15am and already kind of warm. Yikes. I set up my transition area, did my little warm up run, and memorized and I mean memorized, walked through the transition area from all directions, I seriously memorized my spot. Unlike at the Barkin’ Dog where I “memorized” my spot and proceeded to waste 90 seconds trying to find it in transition.
The race started at 7:30 and my wave went at 7:55. At first it was just a mess of arms, legs, and splashing but soon I found my rhythm and made sure to sight often. In an unprecedented turn of events I managed to stay with my wave for the entire swim! Although I was probably in the middle/back of the pack, just being within accidentally hitting/kicking distance of the pack is HUGE for me. I got out of the water not knowing how long it took me (I used the no watch strategy again), but feeling happy that I was not a total swim reject for the first time in my what is now my seventh (What? Has it been that long???) season doing this sport. In addition to not being a swim reject, even better, my husband (he he) was there at the water’s edge yelling “Go Pammy!” I did not know then that he had come in late the night before and was pretty hung over. Extra points for Dan!
I jogged into transition, which felt like it took FOREVER although it turned out to be only 1:31. I was all business in there and got out fast. I hopped on my bike and rode like I was serious. No loafing! The first part of the course is a false flat for a while and then it flattens out, and then you have a sweet tailwind/slight downhill up till the last maybe 4 miles which is a little up and down with a headwind, but nothing to slow you down too much. Nothing exceptional happened on the bike except that I managed to drink almost my entire bottle (this is rare for me) and I passed a lot of people. When the course got flattened out or went downhill I remembered not to coast and kept the effort level high regardless. I was not going to end up with another disappointing bike split. I just wasn’t going to, period. There was Dan again at the Bike Dismount Line cheering for me with zeal. His cheering made me smile, which interfered with my “Don’t mess with me” persona but it was only for a few seconds, so probably no one even noticed…
I got into and out of transition as quick as possible and got out there on the run. Dan was there to give me a boost running out of transition, too. My wave was the first female wave to get into the water (following five male waves) so I was running with hordes of men. The course was out and back and it was all men plus your odd extremely fast woman coming back at me. All I could think was “It’s Raining Men!” and that song played in my head for the duration of the run. My head was pretty much a constant monologue of Go Go Go. Its Raining Men. Pass her. God Bless Mother Nature. Pass him. She’s a single woman too. Pick up the pace. She took down from heaven. And she did what she had to do, (yeah). Hold it here. Tall blonde dark and lean. Yeah, water. Oooh feels so good on my head. Rough and tough and something something. Go for it. Go for it. Breathe breathe. It’s Raining Men. Hallelujah its Raining Men. Turn the legs over. Fast turnover. Every Specimen. Don’t waste the downhill. Pick it up. Almost there. Want to puke now. Smile, Dan is taking a picture. Not going to puke. Pass that guy. Not going to puke, just run. FINISH! The clock read 2:00:something. My stupid hypoxic brain figured it out- I started 25 minutes into the race, so that meant I finished in 1:35:something which meant this was just what I wanted but even a little faster than I thought I was capable of! YEAH!
It turned out I swam the 750 meters in 16:50. This is HUGE for me. Previously my PR for this distance was 19:01. I was not expecting that I had improved this much (or at all, actually. Thanks Coach Liz for making me do all those boring drills!!!). Maybe the course was short, you never know BUT I was actually swimming amid other green caps so I know something good happened. My bike time for 17 miles was 51:22 (20.1 mph), just where I hoped to be, and my run was 24:45 (7:59 pace). The run was slower than I had thought I was capable of but still represents and improvement of 10 seconds per mile over my previous sprint triathlon 5k time, so I’ll take it. Especially considering it was HOT, there was no shade and I was starting to get a chill. My total time was 1:35:42, which put me at 25/121 in my AG and 93/555 among overall women. Yeah!