Sunday, May 4, 2008

Polar Bear Sprint Race Report

My first race of the season was a success. I'm really happy with my performance and now I can't wait to race again.

After hitting doze twice starting at 4:21 a.m. I realized I in fact did need to peel myself out of my warm bed with my husband and say good-bye. I was sorry we couldn't travel together but it was way too early to expect them all to leave.

I got to the venue and remarked to a few other runners that it doesn't matter if it's a sprint/oly or half iron the gear still piles up!!!

The weather was not very good. It was dreary. Raw. Rain looked possible. The temperature....low 40s.

The first few hours were spent the typical way. I took my bike to transition and discussed what to wear with a few other friends. They were just wearing their tri suit out of the water and that was it. I was incredulous. We would freeze! They are much more experienced than I and they swore I wouldn't notice.

Finally it was time to head into the pool for warm up. This was a tricky race because of the swim waves. I had to warm up an hour before I would swim. Some poor folks had to wait hours before they could swim! I was in wave 3 so it wasn't too bad.

I did Not like the way it felt in the water with my tri shorts and top. Oh well. There was nothing to do at this point. I just tightened the shorts around my waist and hoped the adrenaline would cause me not to feel this either.

I stopped at the end at one point and heard a familiar, "HEY ANGE!" It was my good friend Alina who had come with her daughters to watch. That meant so much to me. Alina and I grew up swimming together. This felt like a meet to me in many ways since we were back in the pool and it was awesome to have her there!! She even brought a big sign that said, "GO ANGE!!" She's amazing. I was also scanning the crowd behind her and she saw this and reassure me that my family was there. She had just seen them. Yeah. Shortly after that I saw Mark and waved. Now I was ready.

I got out of the water, dried off and headed to the stands to see them. My father in law came too. I was excited for my family to see me swim in a pool. It was such a huge part of my life before and one that I never shared with them. It just made me proud to show them what I could do.

It was time for the pre-race meeting and then for the race to start. I saw a few of my competitors. It was interesting. Some are so friendly, and one in particular won't even look at me. More on that later.

Oh, I forgot to mention. When swim warm upended the buzz on the deck was this: It was pouring rain. All our stuff in transition was getting wet. We were all in the same boat. Any warm clothes we had considered donning at T1 was now wet. Shoes were wet. Everything. Ok.....I learned from another race last fall that I did in the cold rain that socks were a joke in that weather. Hands can not manipulate wet socks when one is tired +/or cold. That took away that question in my mind. No socks. I was psyched I had my new neoprene shoe covers for my bike shoes that stay on and don't' require manipulating so I could just jump on the bike like that.

Time to get going. I walked behind my lane and chatted with the girl who I would swim with. I was excited because amazingly, of all the people I could have been with, I got someone I knew! She swam in my lane for my 100x100 workout back in March! I knew we were a good match and I Hoped I could keep up with her. She's about 10 ft tall. I was in lane 11. There are 16 lanes here with 2 per lane. I was in 11, my friend Steve and the girl I hope to beat some day were in 10 and my brother was in 9. That was fun. I gave one more wave and smile to my friend Alina and to my family up in the stands. I was so excited to be standing behind a lane at the pool again. We all hopped in the water and grabbed the wall. It was a bit unclear whether or not the started would talk first or just blow the air horn. I was ready for either. Suddenly, off went the horn.

GO GO GO !!!! ( to quote some of my more experienced blog friend's advice on how to race this race. that became my motto for the day.)

Mark took my splits for the 500. I sort of messed this up. I went out fast in 1:07 I think. I felt like I was flying. I pushed hard the whole race making sure to really kick and finish my stroke. My 100 splits got slower though. The rest were in the mid teens. I'm not sure of the exact times. I was annoyed so I didn't write them down, yet. I worked hard though. I felt good in the water. I beat the girl in my lane. I didn't get lapped by the super fast girl next to me. I pulled myself out of the pool at the deep end and ran outside. I had a few "good job Angela's" yelled to me by some friends and felt pleased. Time for T1. I Loved not having to deal with the wetsuit!!!

I got in my shoes quickly and decided to go with arm warmers. I had rolled them down so I only had to put my hands in. I would roll them up as I biked. It was pouring and cold. I also had to put my glasses in my mouth b/c I couldn't see out of them. They were dark and covered with water. I headed out of T1 and hit the road. I quickly realized I didn't want the shades. Hmmm.....only thing I could do was stuff them down my shirt! That's where they stayed.

The bike. Ahhh, the bike. I was flying!!!! ( for me) It was a blast to let my new girl rip. My new ride really responded and I was so confident. I knew Catherine (the first girl out of the water) was ahead of me and didn't really expect to see her again. You can bet I kept my eyes out though. I just rode and rode. I gave it all I had. I loved the way the bike felt. I already said that but man, did I ever love it. I had to go around a few corners that were hairy. The wet roads made me nervous. I took them really wide.

And then....wait....could it be? No. I can't be. But....that's what she was wearing!!! OMG!!!!!!!!! I was catching her!!!! No way NO WAY!!!!! I had to get a grip. I was trying to decide if I should just stay "with her" or pass her. You can't draft of course so, that became hard. Because I was GOING FASTER than she was!!!!??? How can this be?? I put on my game face and rode on by. As soon as I got past, I SMILED the biggest smile that I'm sure people would have laughed if they saw me. I was Really wishing Mark could have seen that. He would have been proud of me. I rode ahead of her for a while with no clue how far back she was. Knowing her, she wasn't going to let me get away. I was right. We hit a hill and she went by me. Shoot. But, as soon as that was done, I went by her again. Note to self: HILL WORK!!!! We went back and forth two or three times but I finished first! Woo hooo!!!!

It got a little interesting here. I was dismounting the bike getting ready to head to T2. I had my left foot unclipped (mistake #1) and my right foot still in. I dismounted to the left side of the bike. Somehow I got all twisted on the wet road and my bike landed on me. The handle bar really rammed into my chest. That's all I knew at that point. I swore. Jumped up and nodded that I was ok and ran on to T2. It wasn't' until I got there that I saw my bloody leg. My friend Steve came in with me at the bike and I remember saying, "OH I'm bloody!" I wonder if he heard that. Meanwhile, I think Catherine might have run barefoot she was SO fast in T2. In and out. Darn. I struggled with my sneakers...already tied but the back bent down and headed off. I think I was pretty fast. But not AS fast as she was. I saw her running ahead of me. She looked Strong! I just hope Mark saw me come in ahead of her on the bike. :)

I ran out of the athletic field and saw my gang. The boys were holding the GO ANGE sign that Alina made and Mark was taking a picture. I pointed to my leg covered in blood. He said, "ARE You ok? Your shoulder??" I yelled that I was Fine and nope, no shoulder. ( if you've read my blog from the beginning you'd remember that I had shoulder surgery in Jan '07 for a torn rotator cuff after a bike's always on our mind when I bike now.) I ran on and was discouraged by how hard it felt. I usually feel Fast on the run off the bike but this felt a little harder. My breathing was so loud! We were running on a skinny bumpy sidewalk with bikers heading towards us on the road. It was a little tricky. Then we entered the woods. I could see Catherine ahead of me but she was Not slowing down. I finally came into and really felt like I could push it a bit. In the woods, we had to navigate roots and rocks but it was ok. We also crossed a grassy wet field so that was a little bit tougher than the roads too. As I ran, I felt more and more blood oozing down my leg and into my shoe. My shoes were not tied tight enough so they were wobbly on my feet and I could really feel the wetness in them. I don't' think it changed my run any, it was just a strange sensation to be bleeding like that.

I pushed on and knew I had given it my all. I ran into the finish chute and was psyched. I didn't beat Catherine, but I put up a good fight. I was closer than I had been.

At that point, I got bombarded. Will, the race director was at me Immediately. I guess they saw the blood now. Several questioned me, "What happened?? Are you ok??" I was fine. I was so much more than fine. I was chuckling at my appearance but they made me go to medical to get cleaned up.

The race went on for several more hours because of all the waves in the pool. It must have been hard for the people racing after others were done.

Here are my final results:
2nd woman and 1oth overall
was as happy with the 1oth overall as I was the 2nd woman.

My swim time was 7:11 for 525 yards + exiting the pool area and running to T1. I think my actual 500 split was 6:20. I was the 5th woman in the water. There were some young Bowdoin college swimmers in the race who snuck in there!

My bike was 31:39 and that includes both T1 and T2. Here's the totally wild part for me. I was the First on the bike. The Fastest woman??? That blows me away. That is a huge victory for me. I wasn't even close to top 20 for most of my previous races in the bike.

Run split 21:10 and that made me 3rd. I want to improve this one. I know I can. Again, note to self and coach: work hills on bike and faster running.
Final Time: 1:00.01 I Almost broke 1 hour. The winner was 58:56 and she was the first woman to ever break 1 hour in this race. I was Sooooooo close!!! That stings a little.

Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

AWSOME!! That was exciting to read, too. Your hard work paid off :)

Congrats, too on being the fastest woman on the bike...WOW!

IronMatron said...

What did you average on the bike? I can't believe you were the first woman on the bike. Ange! That's so awesome! Just think--your weakest discipline (well, not anymore!!!) and you were first ! I'm so impressed and so psyched. You are going to get that Catherine. You are so close! I want to hear who wouldn't talk to you. I think I already know. If I am right, SHE IS GOING DOWN>. I officially can't stand her. You gotta do CELT with me and KICK HER ASS.
Congrats again! You are the best!

Ange said...

Mary--I forgot to write that part of the story...ooops I'll add that one. different than you think...

Pedergraham said...

Great job and I'm glad that your whole support crew could be there for you. Hope your boo-boo leg is okay today!

Jodi said...

Wow, what a great race! Congrats!


Alina said...

You ROCK!! But I already told you that 10 times. You are only going to get faster, especially now that you know how close you are. But who was in your lane? LT?

Sorry I forgot the 'e' in ANGE in the sign.... mental fart... I am getting old!

Melissa said...

Ang, thanks for sharing all the gory details. I was rivited to all of your notes because, as you know, I am such a newbie!!! Congrats on such a great race. I'm really excited for you.

Jennifer Harrison said...

GREAT race report! I was cheering for you from Illinois! And, I am so happy for you - 2nd OA and nice splits. I had to chuckle at "Note to self: Hill repeats!" :) hee hee...typical April/May words! CONGRATS! Jen H.

Marni said...

great job! It looks cold...burrr. the new bike is awesome :)

Pam said...

Rock on!!!!!

LG said...

Thanks so much for your comment! I have been following your adventures too! You are AMAZING!

Rachel said...

Nice job. Can't believe how fast your times are with the fall! Glad your okay.

BreeWee said...

Oh my gosh! GROSS!
Way to race and hold it together after that spill! Hope you keep up those speedy bike splits all season and no more wipe outs!

The Lazy Triathlete said...

Awesome job!!!! 100m splits at 1:07 and the rest mid teens. That is just crazy. I was swimming 1
1:40 to 1:45 last week in sprints and I was thrilled.

Great job on your time and the race over all. And remember--a little blood makes you look cool.

Rural Girl said...

Great Job. Exciting read. Nice bloody pics for proof!