Race report: Gatorade Tri series race 2 Elwood
Warning: VERY LONG. VERY VERY LONG. I’m not joking. Really, bail out now if you’re not feeling up to a full-on endurathon
You will be unsurprised, yet thrilled, that I worked out my Nutrition Plan - all hail the mighty Nutrition Plan! - and had my stuff all packed/laid out for the morning by 9.30 on Saturday night. This was (let me pop in a quick Parental Advisory Warning here) without even writing a list! Shocking. I’m such a rebel.
There was one crisis – what to wear. Planned garb was a navy and white sleeveless running top, but the Nutrition Plan called for eating on the bike. I have yet to succumb to temptation and get a bento box and I couldn’t think how to attach a sports bar to my top tube. The Spousal Unit said, why don’t you wear that yellow bike top? I said, oooh, it’s not very flattering. So I tried them both on and the Spousal Unit thought they were equally flattering (bless him). Then it occurred to me that racing in the running top was APOLOGETIC. It said, I have flab on my waist so I have to hide. It said, I’m sorry I have double digit body fat, I’ll get out of your way. The yellow it was.
Sunday morning I woke up and rolled out of bed just before the stupid o’clock alarm and was out the door by stupid-45. Getting up early most days has had the unexpected benefit of…er…how can I put this?...training my digestive system to cooperate when required. Very handy indeed, and that’s enough said about that.
I raced at Elwood last year so I had my magic-secret-parking-place all cased out.
Check in, stickers on, find wave start time, transition set up, off down to the beach to watch the mini-sprint swim start. Did you notice forget to note transition rack number? So simple to do, yet so tiresome!
The atmosphere at these things is brilliant. The field for both races reaches 2,500 so transition covers a footy oval and the place is abuzz; the big clubs and some schools have marquees and everyone seems excited and pleased to be there. Down at the beach I ran into M and her boyfriend G. M was upset because she wanted to race as an Athena too but the change wasn’t processed in time. G was trying not to be too excited because he was in the final three for the pro-for-a-day prize – and ended up being chosen! Go G go!
I also went up and introduced myself to the CEO of Supersprint, who was as charming face to face as he was on the phone. As per the Nutrition Plan I sucked down a breakfast drink and kept sipping water. Soon it was time to traipse back to the bag compound and suit up. The water was quite warm, although a bit choppy: I contemplated ditching the wetsuit but decided to stick to the plan cos it was miiiiiiiiiiiiiles back to the bag dropoff and I wanted to stay cruisy.
Swim: apart from a recent precipitous decline in training – the thesis came first, alas! – there were no problems. It was a bit crowded around the buoys and choppy as it got deeper but the ride home on the swell reminded me why I love ocean swimming.
T1: I’d been mentally rehearsing this all through the swim. Rip down the wettie, off with cap and goggles. Where the f*&%is my bike? What’s my f*&%ing row number? Found it! (phew) Out of the wetsuit (thank you cooking spray), food out of helmet (where I put it so I wouldn’t forget it) into pockets, jam on helmet and sunnies. The two-towel-trick (two towel trick …that’s fun to say!) worked well again. My stuff is laid out on the first towel; I put the second one on top of it all, then flick it out and stand on it while I put my socks and shoes on. Whatever grass and sand doesn’t come off from stepping on the towel stays on – and before you cry ‘precious!’, my ankle is still very tender around the scar and a sock protects it a bit. My bike shoes have laces and Velcro – don’t ask, I didn’t know what I was doing when I bought them – so I tied the laces very loosely when I was preparing so I could just jam my feet in and zoom off. I velcroed my gloves onto my handlebars so I could put them on when I got going. I might not bother with them next time though.
Ride: My race plan for all three legs was ‘don’t get comfortable’. I tried to go just a bit faster than felt good; no saving myself, no doubting myself, just go. If I blew up in the run, stiff bikkies. The Nutrition Plan called for half a sports bar and a whole bottle of water on the bike, so that’s what I had. Next time I’ll open the bar beforehand cos it was a bore getting it out on the move. It was a bit disheartening to be passed by so many people, but that’s what you get when you ride like you’re tied to a tree, eh? Actually I was quite pleased with the bike time as for me it was pretty fast. Being passed by the big boys on their carbon-fibre wheels was wild – fwoom fwoom fwoom and they were gone in a blur. My legs hurt a bit in the second loop but I told myself they were supposed to and that once I finished all I had to do was run a 5km, just like I do three mornings a week, rain, hail, shine, heat or hangover.
T2: I have no idea why this took as long as it did, apart from having to find my f*&%ing bike rack arrgghh! Helmet off, hat on, bike shoes off, runners on. Note to self: buy some elastic laces. Run run run. Did you notice forget to take off bike gloves? Thank goodness for those pockets, eh?
Run: Plan A was to try and maintain 9:1 run:walk for as long as possible, walk through the water stations, and eat a mouthful of sports beans at the first water stations (thus spaketh the Nutrition Plan). To my surprise I didn’t have to use Plan B (4:1 run:walk) at all! I kept repeating to myself, just relax, just hold your form, your form will get you home, just the way I’d practiced on my morning runs. It was so gratifying to be able to keep going, never too comfortable, just keep going, all the way home. I was pretty tired in the finishing chute but was startled from my concentration by M (whose wave was 40 minutes before mine), bellowing encouragement. Bugger this, I thought, I’m bloody going for it (a bit of tiredness Tourette’s there, sorry). How fast could I go? Could I catch the woman ahead of me? The answers to that were: a bit faster, and yes I could!
In honour of the lovely Wes – who ran his first marathon this weekend, huge congratulations mate! – I raised my arms in triumph as I ran under the arch. Then a very nice lady took off my chip and J and Lara were waiting for me.
Post race: drink drink drink water water water.
We met up with M and G and toddled over to the awards area so he could get his prize. I told J and M I was tired and didn’t need anyone sneering at me so I’d just go home and they could post me my medal. They threatened to drag me up if I didn’t go when I was called and J is very strong so I gave in. Part of me was proud and thrilled at my PB and how strong I felt and how my ankle didn’t give a single twinge; part of me was frightened in case someone from That Forum was hateful to my face, and a bit angry that I couldn’t enjoy it all properly because I was frightened. I got up when they called my name, but then they started calling the next group (the Clydes I think) to the podium so the helpers just gave me a medal (and a very nice new bike jersey which I wasn’t expecting), promised to send me a medal with Athena on it and that was that. M was cross (she’s a very good friend) but I was kind of relieved.
When all the other competitors had gone I got on the podium with my medal and J took my photo.
After a sleep in the afternoon we went to J’s work Christmas party which was a complete hoot as usual. Monday morning my feet were tired from dancing so much. A good day.
Important things to remember.
Consider going without the wetsuit.
Note bike rack row number!
Don’t bother with bike gloves for a sprint distance
Open energy bar package beforehand
Vaseline prevents chafing ow ow ow ow ow.
Geez I’m glad this is over. Bring on Christmas – that’s if my supervisor ever reappears and reads my thesis so I can hand it in.
More anon, pontificators!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Race report: Gatorade Tri series race 2 Elwood