Sunday, May 9, 2010

PolarBear Sprint-Race Report

Polarbear Sprint has come and gone. It was an interesting day for me. I was fired up for this little race. This little race draws nearly 500 people each year. It's the first Tri in Maine each season and it pulls all of us out of our homes to shake off the cobwebs and see what's in store for the season. This was my 3rd year at Polarbear. I was more than ready to turn on the turbo and give it all I had inside.
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 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'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'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.

(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...


Kim said...

Oh nooooo! Ange, that blows, but what a relief! You still kicked ass, congrats my dear, and happy mothers day!

GoBigGreen said...

Shoot! What an effort, I hate rainy roads there are so many more flats:( Happy Mothers day, lots more races to come!

Patrick Mahoney said...

Saw this on Wellsphere. Great race report. All I can say is wow, pushing through with a flat. Nicely done.

The Chaffin Family said...

I know the feeling well-only my tire is never actually flat!! Hee Hee. Great job.

Jen said...

Oh my gosh... at least you know... I cannot imagine riding on a flat tire. Way to get back into the game! Great race report too.

Mary IronMatron said...

Ange, you need to post the bike picture of you RACING WITH THAT FLAT!! You can totally see it--her cranking away with a flat rear tire. People, this woman averaged over 19 mph on a totally flat tire! You should see it!
Great race save the bike. Next time....

Running and living said...

Ange, you are all muscle in the pic, you look so powerful! Sorry about the bike, but impressive effort on a flat tire and great mental attitude rolling with it all. Next race will be a piece of cake by comparison!

Marni said...

Bummer for the flat...can't believe you finished it! what a great race pic!! you look super strong.
Have fun in Fl! wish I could come and see you but I will be thinking bout you!

Beth said...

AHH! The whole time I'm reading I'm thinking "her brake was rubbing, her brake was rubbing!!" Flat tire will do it too though. ;) Great race despite the mechanicals! :)

runningyankee said...

ahhh i kept waiting for you to hear the WOMP WOMP of the flat. you must have been SO Focused!! awesome job out there. nice start to the mothers day weekend

Ewa said...

As I was reading your report a thought zipped through my head that maybe you had a flat but then I dismissed it. I thought there was no way you wouldn't know. Now I won't feel bad about the time I rode on a flat for several miles before somebody actually told me.
Anyway, considering what happened your placing in the race is just totally amazing. What a competitor you are!

Bethany + Ryan said...

frustrating but still amazing!! i just love that pic of you hugging your boys after lake placid! that's so sweet!

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Oh, that must have been so frustrating! But, you did awesome! One good thing about it is that next time a flat happens, you'll know what it is and be able to fix it!

MaineSport said...

A subtitle for many of us could be, "working out the kinks." There. We're all set for the season. Time to move on. You'll be great.

Melissa said...

That's a cool picture of you.. You look reallly strong. Congrats on 4th OA !!

Jennifer Harrison said...

That is why I like you Ange - YOU HAD NO IDEA you had a flat tire and you just pushed on - GRRRRRRR. GOOD girl....but, you really did make me hit my forehead on Saturday as I was trying (all day!) to figure this out and it was not until Sunday - when I was on my trainer and my brakes were rubbing - that i went "She had a mechanical!!" And you did!!!


Alili said...

UGH! You still rocked it out there though!

FFigawi said...

A flat and you still kicked ass?! That's great Ange!

Judi said...

LMFAO. you are a trip. i figured it was a mechanical all along....haha!

Kim said...

ange - you are my hero for doing the Crank the Kanc. have you rode it before? yeah not so bad at the beginning but then - holy quivering quads! you are going to do GREAT because you are a rockstar!! you will have to let us know how you did!!