As Johnny pointed out to me, I have been slacking on the blog lately. He even went so far as to mention Liane had posted more recently on her site than I had. So I have been called out. I shall try to catch up. Each weekend has a race so that's why I've been getting behind. I blame the races.
On to the race report for the Tucson Tri that took place on March 29, 2009.
The confirmation e-mail for this race made me laugh. It was something along the lines of "You turned in an estimated 800 yard swim time of 13:45. Our records indicate the last race you did with us was Tinfoilman 2004 and you swam a 19:45. Please ensure your swim time is correct." Heh. Tinfoilman in 2004 was my first sprint tri ever. I could tell the e-mail was one of those auto fill field e-mails since the race director also directs the summer aquathlons, and knows I swim faster now.
I had done Firecracker in 2005, and that was the last sprint I had done. It's been 4 years since I've done a sprint tri. Since my focus this year is XTERRA, I need to get back into doing short, fast races to work on speed. I'm still doing endurance rides (as you can tell from previous blog posts) but need the speed now.
Since it's been so long, I didn't know what to expect for a finish time. I put together some goal times for each leg including transitions, and determined it would be somewhere around 1 hr 20 min. I wanted to end up in the teens, even if it was 1:19:59, so that was my time goal. And to show you how Type A I am (can't believe I'm admitting this), I went back over the past year of results for my age group for the Tucson Tri series, kicking out those that have aged up and adding those that would be joining F30-34. I deleted anyone that wasn't around my finish time and analyzed the results for the top finishers. Depending on who showed up, I would be somewhere around 6th place if I met my time goal. So my goal was to be front-of-pack of my age group and top 6. Yes, this is all in a spreadsheet. Yes, it is insane. Don't you judge me! ;)
I picked up my packet the day before the race and found out I was in Wave 7 of 10. I had graduated to a fast swim wave! (I don't count Wave 10 as that is all crazy fast dudes and no chicks. Wave 9 has people like pro chicks and stuff. So Wave 8 is where I start counting). Just that alone made me happy. I can remember when I was in the very first wave.
I got up crazy early the morning of the race and made my way down to the UA. I found Julie in transition and setup next to her. Always set up next to someone that is in a different wave than you. I knew she would be out on the bike by the time I got in the pool, so we wouldn't be in each other's way. The other Tri Girls showed up, so we made room on our rack for them. Andrea brought purple balloons and set them up on our transition racks. We had Tri Girl Row all decked out. Then some random guy came in and racked his bike right in the middle. We made fun of him. Here there were a ton of girls wearing matching clothing and chatting it up, obviously with a team dynamic going on and the guy thought it was a good idea to join right in. He was a wanna be Tri Girl.
I had lots of time before my swim wave, so I was able to cheer for the Tri Girls that were in the pool. Each wave had someone to cheer for. Zac rode his bike down to the UA so that he could drive me home, and showed up as I was getting ready. My parents also showed up to watch the race. The last race they had been to was Ironman Arizona, so this was a little more spectator-friendly for them as they could see the whole thing.
I got my swim gear on and wandered down to the pool. Shari and I hung out and cheered for Andrea before our wave was to go off. Then it was time to get in the pool. I jumped in and swam a quick 50 just to get the goggles seated. We got a short countdown, then it was time to go. Everyone took off in a flurry of whitewater. I swam the first 100 and could feel my breathing getting out of control. I had to slow down and get it settled or else the bike and run would be a disaster. Zac was taking my splits and each 100 after that turned out to be really consistent. I kept track of my laps and towards the end it seemed like everyone was getting out way before me. I tried not to worry and just focused on getting the swim done. No one was next to me anymore, and I felt like I was the last one that was going to be getting out of the pool. When I reached the end I hit the Split button on my watch so that I could record my own transition times. There was a guy at the end of my lane and asked if I wanted help out. Sure! I wasn't going to turn that offer down! I grabbed his hand and got my foot on the ledge and was on the deck. I ran through the lobby and out to the transition area at a full sprint, taking my goggles, cap, and ear plugs off while running.
I got to my rack and Shari and Mea were already there. I could hear Leslie announcing the race for us. "Who's gonna get out of transition first? Shari or Elaine?" she yelled. "Elaine! She's too fast!" Shari yelled back (she had forgotten to undo the velcro on the shoes). I laughed as I got my socks and shoes on (utilizing the Sock Trick). Sunglasses on, helmet on and clipped, and I grabbed my bike and ran out of transition and jumped on the bike at the mount line. Once I was on the bike I hit the split button on my watch to end my transition time. 1 minute 2 seconds for T1. A new record for me!
I carefully merged onto Campbell and joined the bike traffic of the race. I was still feeling crazy anxious, so I focused on spinning my legs. This is why I don't like the shorter races. No time to settle down and get into a pace and eat and drink. Just go, go, go. I had a water bottle on my bike and got some fresh water down to clear everything out. I got down in the aerobars and started focusing on picking people off the bike course. I didn't care what lap they were on. They were in front of me and were a target. Broadway was an absolute blast to fly down in the aerobars. Then there was Euclid. "Please don't pinch flat, please don't pinch flat" I thought to myself as I rolled through the rough stuff and trolley tracks. It was torture in the aerobars. You loose all of your front suspension not being able to bend your elbows. I could feel my rear wheel coming up over some of the rough sections, but I kept pedaling. Oh, and it's slightly uphill. I forgot about that part. I turned onto Speedway and got more water and stayed in the aerobars, passing people as quickly as I could. Campbell was a fast downhill and gave me a chance to crank it out hard. I could see everyone standing on the sidewalk cheering, but had to focus on looking forward and passing cyclists.
On my second lap I played leapfrog with some guy until Campbell, where I killed him in my aerobars (he had regular drop bars). Then, staring my third lap, a green truck decided to get in the race lane and turn right onto 8th street. I had to snap up and grab the brakes. I yelled and waved at the guy because it was really close. Later, I hear similar stories of close calls from other Tri Girls. Cagers are idiots.
My 3rd lap I checked to make sure no one was behind me, signaled that I was turning into transition, and checked way ahead to make sure no spectators were crossing. I slowed down for the turn into the parking lot, and there was a guy right in front of me. Oh yeah, he is so going down in transition! I made the last turn and hit the Split button on my watch to record T2. The guy in front of me made a complete stop to get off at the mount line. I saw Leslie pointing out the line and did my flying cyclocross dismount and hit the ground at a full sprint and ran over the line, passing the guy. Heh! It was cool. Plus I could hear Leslie yelling "That was awesome!" and that gave me a boost. I racked my bike, tossed off my helmet and shoes, got the running shoes on, grabbed my hat and race belt and ran out of T2, showing my race number as I ran past the timing station and onto the run course. I hit Split on my watch and looked down. 29 seconds for T2. Adding T1 to T2 meant only 1 minute 31 seconds of my race time was in transition. Time to run.
I put my belt and hat on on the run course and started focusing on running. It felt like I was moving so slowly! How many bricks had I done lately? Oh yeah, none. That may be why. I didn't look at my watch as I didn't want to be depressed at the numbers. Instead I tried to run and breathe. I saw Katrina and Wendy at the first turn onto the mall, and Katrina was doing her kicks and dance moves. "This sprint stuff hurts!" was all I could barely manage to say to them as I waved and ran by. I was now on the mall and it felt like forever to do 1 loop. I saw Zac at the end of the mall and he cheered for me. I reached the other end and one of the volunteer girls there was cheering for us. All I could do was wave. I couldn't talk at all. My breathing sounded like I was a smoker for 20 years suffering from ephysema. There was a guy running next to me, obviously pacing off of me. I felt bad for how much noise I was making as it sounded like I was dying out there. But he chose to stay next to me, so oh well.
I got down to the other end of the mall on the second loop, and Zac wasn't in his spot. Had he already moved to the finish? There were fire trucks at the end of the street in the intersection, and I saw Zac standing on the corner looking at the ground and holding...a red bike. Oh my god it was Shari! Somehow my breath and voice came back and I screamed "ZAC!!!" but he couldn't hear me. All I knew was Shari was behind those fire trucks. I wanted to know what happened, but had no choice but to continue on. Continue on and wonder and worry what happened. Was it a car? A bike? Was anything broken? Was she ok? The last mile seemed to take forever. The finish line was where all the news was so I had to get back to the finish. We made the turn onto Cherry and the guy that had been running with me took off. I finally hit the last straightaway and ran as fast as I could, but it felt like I was stuck in singlespeed mode. I crossed the line and stopped my watch. 1:20:25. Maybe my watch was off by 25 seconds? It wasn't. I had just missed the teens. Oh well.
I walked for a bit and Jess got water as I couldn't talk because my mouth was so dry. Zac was there with Shari's bike and I got the news she had been in a collision with a non-race cyclist who had ridden down the mall. We found out later all x-rays came out good and nothing was broken. I knew she would be pissed. She was on her way to doing well in that race and beating her previous time. But she is on the mend and I know she'll be gunning for it at Deuces Wild.
I took some pics with the parents, got cleaned up, and waited for the results to be posted. Yep, 1:20:25 was the official race time. They didn't have age group results up yet, so we went home and I passed out on the couch for a nap. Later that evening the results were posted and I came in 4th in my age group! I was pretty happy with that, given my lack of speed work and it being the first tri of the season. This was also 8 minutes faster than my previous sprint time from 4 years ago. The 3 people in front of me were the exact 3 I had predicted in my spreadsheets that would finish in front of me. ;) The 5th place person was just 30 seconds behind me. It's those fast transitions that make a difference I tell ya. :)
Welcome to Tuson Tri Girls Row:
My swim (me in the purple):