This makes the 3rd year in the row for this race :) I really do love this race! The course is so much fun. It's challenging, but certainly not insurmountable. I made the trip up to Bossier with a group of club friends. My BFF made her way up there as well (from Dallas) and we got to have a little visit. A nice addition to my 36 hour excursion from home. :)
We stayed at the race host hotel, Diamond Jacks. I really don't reccomend it, though I will say that Roderick really did try to accommodate our disappointment, which was beyond anything he was capable of rectifying. Diamond Jacks is an old hotel/casino. You can tell when you walk in the door. It has an *old* smell. When we went to check in, they didn't have the non-smoking rooms we reserved back in April. They told us they don't guarantee room types. WTH? I'm certain the triathletes to follow us would not be pleased with having to sleep in a smoking room. We were quick to think, and asked for a King, non-smoking room, and Roderick came through for us, as well as granting us a late check-out the next day. :) I must mention, in case anyone coming to the race comes across this report, that the rooms were very dated and half the lights don't work. It was a good thing we weren't spending much time there. If I was spending more than an overnight, I probably would have left and went to the Hampton Inn!
As usual, the packet pickup was totally busy but went smoothly. They were having all kinds of sales and I picked up a pair of Newtons. I've been wanting to try them, to help adjust to a more natural running form; anything to try an avoid injury. Newtons are rarely on sale, so since they were having an event/sale and I needed new running shoes, I decided to give them a shot.
The BFF and I hit DJ's seafood buffet for dinner. I was a little leery, but happily surprised that the food was so good! The crab legs were awesome. I think seafood is my new night-before-the-race food! We did a bit of gambling... just a bit and was in bed by an appropriate time.
ZzzZzzZzzZzz. Slept pretty well and woke before the alarm.
Rise and shine was at 4:45am - Had a banana and 16 oz. Gatorade (to prime my tummy to receive/process carbohydrates later)
We arrive at the race site and set up "Princess." Yes, "Caddy" has been renamed. She is now "Princess." My club-friends renamed her on this trip, since I was a freak-a-zoid about not driving to Bossier with her on an external bike rack. I had to have her ride inside the truck; so much so I was ready to drive myself there, alone, to make sure she was okay. I will probably never own another bike like this, so I need to make sure I take care of her. She's still pretty darned new to me too! I'm sure it will wear off at some point... right? Maybe? Hmmm, probably not.
At breakfast 2 hours before Race Start, about 7-ish2 hard boiled eggs
2 sweet potato, cinnamon & apple Earth's Best Baby Food
Hey now, don't judge on the baby food. :) I've been experimenting since gels don't work with the "rearrangement" of my guts. Each on is about 60 calories and 19g of carbohydrates. More importantly, so easily absorbed for me, and no GI Stress. I also do the butternut squash and pumpkin flavors too, but the sweet potato is my favorite. Something to note though, if you're doing Paleo, note that some brands add grains to their baby food pouches. I just caught that fact while reading some labels other day, so read the labels.
CC would be proud. I really did warm-up. LOL
30 minutes before race start, I drank 20 oz EFS Drink with a scoop of PreRace . I like the Pre-race supplement since I have Iron/Anemia issues -- more efficient oxygenation is just one of the benefits.
Wave start 8:42 -- last wave. No surprise there.
Athenas, teens and relays were all grouped together in the last wave. I went right to the front and drafted off of Cathy for a whole 30 seconds... okay, more like 15 seconds. How does she do it? I always get asked, "How are you not afraid to go to the front?" I'm an average swimmer, for sure, but I always repeat what Cranky Coach says: The best swimmers are in the front. They are the ones who are going to know how to swim around you. They don't want to swim over you or into you -- that will just slow them down. So now I go right to the front, and my race starts are far less chaotic, plus I catch a draft or two off other athletes. I also think it makes me swim harder, it's a challenge, which isn't a bad thing.
The water didn't seem particularly active, but 5 minutes in I sucked in a ton when trying to breath and was gasping repeatedly, like an asthmatic. The water got super-deep into my chest. I started to panic the moment I realized I couldn't even call for help if I needed it. This was by far my worst scare of all my triathlon swims. I thought, "I just have to pull it together and calm down." I really did think about all those times I heard advice given to others who were afraid of open water swims. I composed myself and just treaded water slowly and smoothly until I could get it together. I don't think I lost more than a minute or two. After that, I was swimming perfectly fine! I was also swimming particularly straight which was even better! Swam the half mile in 21:02 (Better than previous year's swim, but if I didn't have the scare I might have (shouldda, wouldda, couldda) broke 20? Masters is paying off. Yeah!
Once riding, transitioning my legs to the bike on this course usually takes longer than it felt this year, so that was good (Maybe the "Pre Race" helps). The course's small rolling hills and a couple of bigger ones, were a challenge since I haven't been riding much, let alone doing hill work. I had a few moments of greatness where I attacked and shifted gears properly, then other moments I may as well have dismounted and walked my bike up the hill. Okay, not really, but it was s-l-o-w. HR was 160ish whenever I checked. I did practice restraint though, remembering I still had the run after the bike. And like every triathlete, of course I secret goal of finishing the bike in an hour (with no justifiable reason, since I haven't been training). I'd have to settle for 1:01. I definitely had more to give on the bike, but by the time I realized I was *that* close to doing it in an hour, it was too close to the end to push, and I didn't want a miserable run. I was already a little worried since my HR was riding around 160-165 through the bike. I took in about 24 oz of water with EFS liquid Shot mixed in... about 300 cal.
I returned on the bike and transitioned to run in 2:37. I tried just changing shoes, grabbing the rest of my stuff (water bottle, race belt, visor and Garmin) and putting everything on while I was running. It makes for a faster transition time, but also an awkward start on the run because you're trying to put evetything on. Not sure it's worth it. I'll have to practice that a little more... along with flying dismounts. LOL
My legs felt pretty good after just a few minutes. I was really glad there was no lingering heaviness. It helped keep my positive, for sure! Unfortunately any uphill grades had to be walked because I would feel it immediately in my knee (inside front). I brought with me a 10 oz bottle of water with just a tiny bit of EFS Liquid Shot, so I'd have something to tide me over between rest stops if needed. I ran mile-to-mile- with short walks on the up hill grades. Just kept going until I finished. Run time 41:57.2 13:32/M
Total time for RCT 2012: 2:10
RCT 2011: 2:13
RCT 2010: 2:20
RCT 2010, 2011, 2012
Swim: 23:36, 22:01, 21:02*
Bike: 1:04, 1:02, 1:01
Run: 45:54, 42:38, 41:57*
*Swim scare and bad knee!
Overall I felt good the whole race.I remembered thinking, in the middle of the run, how surprised I was that my legs felt pretty good -- the limiting factor was my knee! My guess is that since I haven't been training much, I probably didn't really improve as much on speed, as much as losing some lbs. made for a faster finish.
Of course I thought to myself... Imagine if could have trained.
One day it will come together. One day. Until then I just keep plugging away.