I woke to the sound of cold rain. I wasn't worried....this race is often rainy. Despite temps in the 70s and 80s all week, yesterday was had 40s and rain. I knew I wouldn't notice the cold enough to care during the race, but did feel bad for my family who was coming to spectate.
I did the usual pre-race routine. I warmed up. I said Hi to some friends but all our conversations were short and shallow as we were all focused on the fast hour of racing we were prepping for.
The swim was at the Bowdoin pool. This allowed for 16 lanes with 2 swimmers per lanes. I went off in wave 3 with some super speedy swimmers surrounding me. The girl on my right was 26 years old (on our legs), and built like a bada-- swimmer. (found out later she did a 47" 100 free and was in the Olympic trials. ahem...ok...I'll try to keep up.) My brother was a few lanes down and of course, the awesome woman I would be honored to keep up with, was a few lanes from me as well. I had a college guy in my lane. ( A bunch of Bowdoin swimmers jump into this race.) I was ahead of Olympic girl for 36 yards or so. And then, not so much. The guy in my lane was ahead of me, but didn't lap me. Otherwise, I have no idea. I just swam my heart out. I felt strong. I just focused on keeping my stroke together and using good power under the water. I tried to kick but not too too much. I was 100% the whole time. I hit the wall less than 15 yards behind the girl who has won this race....forever. For the past two years, I have been second. Amazingly, I had Trouble climbing out! The pool is angled up and it is hard to get out.. in my defense. I managed. But I lost a few seconds. Off I ran... to T1. My bike was racked on the first rack and she and I were there together. I finished putting on my helmet and glasses (mistake) a few moments behind her.
Time to go.
T1 14 seconds!!! Ha! Fastest of the day. Pretty good huh! I decided to leave my bike shoes clipped into the pedals this time. I can do it! I practiced a bunch.
Well....I'm running out and my glasses are totally fogged up. The humid air + my wet body = foggy glasses. I grabbed them off and kept them in my teeth. We mount the bikes and then have a short road and turn, then anther short road and turn.
I STRUGGLED with those Shoes way waaaaaaaaaaaay too much! I was practically in a stop at one point it was a mess. Grrrrrrr......
"It's not over it's not over go go goooooooo." That's what went through my head.
I turned the corner and began hammering. The song I use to psyche myself began to repeat. As I said before, I meant business. I may be out of sight at this point but I was NOT giving. Race on. I am coming!
I was cruising along at 22 mph. I felt good. But not great....
Something was up.
As the ride went on...my bike started to get heavier. I was pedalling through cement. Up a hill. With a headwind. I could NOT turn my legs over. I shifted all over the place. My speed was slowing and I was pathetic.
WHAT is going on???? My effort was 100%. I was Still in the game. I had not accepted that it was me..I was convinced everyone was doing what I was doing.
One by one, speedy men whizzed by. I only take satisfaction in that because I know I killed them in the pool.
No women went by me. But, I didn't go by any women either.
And then, KP went by. His legs were spinning around like pistons on an engine. I was floored to see his legs move like that. HOW is he doing that?? WHY won't My legs GO??? I watched him slide away further and further. He's fast...it's ok.
the ride got thicker and thicker. Strange way to describe a ride. But that's the best thing I can say about it. I was pushing through a wall.
I finally got to the last road and my stomach was gurgling. I actually felt myself get sick but hold it back. And then, "LET'SGOKID!!!GETMOVING!" (or something like that) My friend Bob rode by and hollered to me. He told me later that I looked like I was standing still and he was horrified for me that I wasn't Moving it! He was flying even faster than KP! His cadence was insane! I was even more appalled with how sluggish I felt. Hmmm...
Ok. Done with bike. I didn't leave shoes on this time I clicked off and ran into T2. Next time I'll try it.
I ditched the bike (why am I Always so happy to ditch my bike in T2?) and ran off. I felt SUPER! My legs were turning over like they Should have for the ride. My watch died during warm up so I have no idea of my pace. I just focused on giving it another 100% effort. I was still convinced it wasn't over. I caught Bob and ran with him for a minute. He told me we were at a 6:30 pace. Cool. I felt amazing and kept going.
This run is on the road for a mile and then into the woods. We run on a path with mud, roots, leaves, and then into a soccer field and back into the woods. As I headed into the woods, the race director (also a friend) said, "Go Angela. Just a couple of guys to pick off up there." Guys? Or girls? I wanted to stop and clarify. Ok...just GO! I saw my family up ahead but was on such a mission I could barely make eye contact. No time for chatter...I had to get Moving! I ran so hard and felt so great. I was strong and steady and could have kept going for a while. On the second loop in the woods, I came up to a girl with the #20 on one leg and 26 on the other. OHNO!! that was super speedy olympic swimmer girl!! I can't let this happen! I put my head down and snuck right by her. I didn't want her to feel motivated to keep up so I just went by too fast for her to realize what was happening. There, phew!
I ran like a mad woman into the finisher's chute.
Done. Good effort. I think....what was up with that bike?
I was happy to see all my friends and family at the end. We stood around hashing out the race and talking about how we all felt. I love my Tri friends....everyone is so cut throat out on the course but in the end, we are all just friends who love to race.
What happened over the next few hours...it's just strange. I found out my splits and how disappointing my bike really was. I theorized with myself and with my coach and with my friends. why? why would I feel SO bad on the bike and so good on the run? What would make me ride 3 min slower than my norm for this course?
I was 2nd in my age group and 4th overall. I lost it on the bike.
I woke up today to 3 beautiful little boys. My youngest jumped in front of me with his little green striped pjs and with a smirk said, "Happy mother's day." I stopped caring about my strangely hard bike ride and just focused on being lucky to be a Mom to them.
A little while later, we unloaded the car. My bike specifically. It had been in the car...safely. Mark had Carried it there (it was rainy and muddy and we didnt' want the nastiness in our new car so he carried it much of the way) after the race.
The tire was flat.
My tire was flat.
MY TIRE WAS FLAT!
(I need to add something...I was riding on a tubular disc. When those flat, it's not the same as a clincher. You are able to ride on it longer without noticing it--well you notice Somethign but it's not the same whompwhomp as a clincher on the rim.That's why I was so oblivious!)
Instead of being upset about my bike...I'm relieved. And, I want more. Please please get me back on a race course again soon. I can not WAIT to get revenge. I felt the fitness in there. I know it's in there. Bring it on...