I can't seem to sleep (the ache in my legs might have something to do with that) so while everyone else is sleeping, what better to do than write a race report! :)
What a trip to Rhode Island thus far! And it's not done yet. Today my mom, O and I are going to Newport, RI to see the big mansions and pick out our next house. :) You know, once I have a few extra million to spare (for the down payment :).
We arrived in Providence pretty early on Friday morning. We got to the expo/packet pickup before it even opened. That's a first! And of course, triathletes being triathletes, there was a line of others waiting to be allowed in! :)
In the mean time O found his dream center:
And at the expo, I found cowbell! (which I rung incessantly until O threatened to disown me)
Also on Friday, we checked out the run course, picked my mom up from the airport, and took a lonnnnnng nap (those early flights are a killer!).
On Saturday we went out to the race start to do some s/b/r. This race is point to point which makes it a bit of a logistical challenge but in all honesty, it wasn't too bad because knowing this, we had a plan going in and it worked pretty well. After the training on Saturday morning we left my bike at T1. We then drove the bike course back down to T2, left my run stuff there (you had to do that the day before also) and that was that! Pretty much all of my transitions set up on Saturday by mid-afternoon! :)
Water is always so beautiful!
The race course is beautiful as is downtown Providence. You finish right up the walkway to the capital building. I told my mom and O that I was going to run straight through the finish and right up all the capital building steps just like Rocky! (of course this didn't really happen - I actually just plopped down in the grass right after the finish line and layed there for about 20 minutes :)
Race morning! I was actually pretty relaxed! I really didn't know what to expect of this race. Like I said in my last entry, the timing of this one didn't quite work out like I had orginally planned (last year) and so I wasn't quite in the shape that I would hope for, for such a big event! And I have another admission - I've never done a 70.3 that WAS NOT an "A" race! AH! In the past, I have only done 2-3 70.3s/year and those were always my 2-3 "A" races. So my "taper" wasn't really what I'm used to either. All new territory.
Still, I was quite excited to race and I told myself this would be a good time to try out some different stuff (like using the bottle exchange on the bike, trying cola on the run for the first time, etc...). And I also know that racing is always worth it, regardless of the outcome, because it always gives me a jump in fitness (which I need right now :).
So...off we go!
Now let me just say, this is the kind of swim that I'm no good at. Beach start. Ocean waves. Rough water. If you look on a map, Pittsburgh isn't too close to the ocean so the only time I swim in the ocean is in races! But again, I told myself, you need practice at this stuff - so when better to practice than now!
And to tell you the truth, it went pretty well! I got out through the breakers okay and then just tried to keep some orange caps in sight. I'm sure by EVERYone's standards, this was a calm ocean day, but it's still rougher than any water I ever swim in (lakes and rivers) so I did struggle some to sight but all in all I was pretty darn pleased. I think I ended up 3rd out of the water in my AG. And then began the long run up to T1 in deep sand. The look on my face says it all. :)
I was really excited about the bike course because it was so beautiful and although there were a lot of rollers and 2-3 significant hills, I thought I might be able to bike in the mid 2:30s. Um...maybe not.
Pretty much from the start I didn't feel great on the bike (weird for me) and I just felt...slow. Perhaps I was paying too much attention to the pretty views. :) The miles seemed to tick by so slowly but I was passing people and nobody from my AG was passing me. So I figured I was doing okay. That is until Gail Kattouf passed me on the bike like a rocket (and like I was standing still). I don't know Gail personally but I know of her and what a great athlete she is. She isn't in my AG but we started together (they started all 30-39 together) so when she passed me, it woke me up and gave me something to focus on for the next 10 miles. I was keeping her in sight pretty well but then down a long hill she lost me for good. Still, I was thankful for the focus she gave me and soon enough I was heading into the last 5 miles of the bike course. Which go something like this: bump, pothole, turn, turn, turn, turn, POTHOLE!, railroad tracks, turn, bump, railroad tracks, TURN, POTHOLE, POTHOLE, water bottle graveyard, turn, railroad tracks, turn, turn, T2. :)
I ended up biking 2:42:xx, slower than I had hoped. I heard lots of people talking about how the difference in the wind (we had a headwind for much of the course and it being point to point...) made the bike times slower than last year. Whether it was that or my lack of fitness, I'm not sure but either way, I was glad to put Petey in T2 and get my running shoes on!
And the good news is, my run legs showed up to play!
I did really like the run course (and the bike course too, I just felt slow on that part), which was a 2 loop course through downtown. There was one BIG hill (that was sort of longish), which led to a nice downhill (that you had to go back up on the flip side). The rest of the run was pretty flat.
It was getting hot but not even in the same galaxy as compared to how hot it was at Eagleman. The big difference was that this course had a lot of shade which was ohhhh so nice. And a breeze. And it was in the 80s instead of the 90s.
Because of the course layout I got to see my mom and O A LOT which was so nice. My mom was cheering like crazy and taking pictures and O was giving me all the helpful info I needed (like what place I was in, how far from 1st I was, etc...) My stomach was a little upset but around mile 5 I threw up and felt soooo much better. I threw up again around 8 and I was GOOD TO GO. My stomach was so happy after that. It's amazing how much faster I can go when my stomach is happy. :)
O was telling me I was in 2nd place but 1st was pretty far ahead. So I just kept picking out people (guys) in front of me to catch and then focusing on the next one and the next one, etc... I was running most of my miles in the low 7s which is good for me (except the miles where I got sick - those where in the 8s). I knew I was having such a better run than Eagleman and that was making me very excited!
Before I knew it, I was at mile 12 and pushing to the finish. In the end, I was actually in 1st place (O was thinking someone in the 35-39 AG was in my group) and I won my AG! But barely! Unbeknownst to me, the woman who finished 2nd was gaining on me FAST. And I had no clue. O said he saw her coming hard but knew she was going to run out of real estate so he didn't bother to tell me. I'm kind of glad about that because my legs still haven't forgiven me for sprinting at the end of Eagleman and if I did it again... :) I only won by 6 seconds!
Yeah! The very first 70.3 I did (2007) I won my AG and since then, I haven't been able to. So I was very, very excited.
After I recovered a little and we saw some of my friends and teammates finish, we headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up. But first, my mom bought me a lemonade ice which was seriously THE BEST THING EVER. Moms know how to do it right don't they?! :) It was so cold and the sugar tasted so good!
We came back downtown for the awards. My MAO teammate Cary (who came all the way from California!) mopped up the win in her AG also! Cary is undefeated this year including a win at IM Brazil in May! Go MAO!
I think the best part of races is getting to see everyone (including my mom who I mostly see at races... :)
Maija and I at the start.
Dinner at Joe's after the race with Cary, O, Lindsay and James (and my mom who is taking the picture).
Overall such a fun weekend and a great race! Thanks so much to everyone for their good luck wishes and encouragement! And of course HUGE thanks to my mom and O who put up with all this race mumbo jumbo with nary a complaint. Best race support ever and I know I couldn't do it without them.
Congrats to all those that raced this weekend! I'm sure you were all GREAT! :)