This is mainly for me – well der, this is My Blog – and for the lovely Jeanne who is doing her first tri soon, and likes to emulate the laudable example set by boy scouts and Be Prepared.
WARNING: LONG. It’s pretty much unedited as well; I just want to get it all down - splat!
GATORADE PORTARLINGTON TRIATHLON
We all had naps on Saturday afternoon after the beach, and I had the worst dream – I slept through the alarm on Sunday morning until 7.30 am- and the race started at 8.30, an hour and three-quarters away! In my dream I frantically tried to work out how I could get there, how I could start…then thankfully woke up, my heart pounding.
I shoulda shoulda shoulda got up and driven to the bike shop to get some sports beans, stupid supermarket not stocking them any more grrrr, but I was too tired/had a CBB attack. As you will see, this bit me on the behind next day.
Next time I am going to write a list, I swear, so much less wearing than cruising through the preparations, wetsuit, check, togs, check, bike shoes, check, etc etc etc, then realising I’d not put my goggles in my bag! Vaseline, check, anti-fog (flash name for smear of dishwashing liquid) check, bike, check! I loved the yellow top I wore last time but being a riding top it chafed so badly under my arms I couldn’t bring myself to wear it again, and wore a running singlet. No pockets, alas, and I could have done with some. I’ll just have to keep hunting for a groovy, pretty tri-top. I didn’t want to wake everyone as I left so I made up a thermos of tea the night before and picked up a couple of pieces of raisin toast at Maccas on the freeway, as that’s what I would have had anyway.
At Portarlington I found a parking spot and scarfed down a breakfast drink. I was alarmed to note the F#$%ing Steep Hill BETWEEN the BEACH (where I assumed the swim would take place) and the ROAD – likely site of ride and run. What was this? My dear “friend” (I use the term loosely) M had assured me that the run course was ‘flat as a tack’. Well my lovelies, she LIED LIKE A RUG. But I get ahead of myself.
Transition was long and thin and I was in ROW 25 (see, I learned from last time) next to M and the other Athenas. One seemed quite friendly, although she was quite expansive in her attitude to scarce Transition real estate (I squeezed in ok). I gave her a cheer on the run and she cut me dead (b*tch!) - but she may have been a) tired b) hot and tired or c) someone else entirely.
I’d never been in the same wave as M before so I fell into the pre-race chat trap – and almost missed the start! Sh*t! On with the goggles and off we go! It was so so so flat, and so fun to swim out and around the pier. My strategy was to push it to almost-out-of-breath. Plenty of time to get my heart rate down on the bike…or so I thought….
TIME: 800m 15.59
Write a list
Concentrate on the start!
Run run run. Sh*t! My wetsuit wouldn’t unzip. I got it off in time, eventually! I’d even practiced at home (!) so I was pretty pleased with how quickly those bike shoes jammed on and I was off…up up up the steep steep hill. Had I left my bike in its lowest gear? You bet your sweet bippy I had! Hill schmill.
Things started to come a bit unravelled. I had it in my head that I was first Athena (I wasn’t) so I wanted to make them work to pass me! I kept my cadence high up and down the ‘undulating’ course, but I felt as though I was breathing too hard (cos I don’t have a fancypants heart rate monitor like some people, you know who you are Wes) and couldn’t seem to slow it down. Because I didn’t have the sports beans I’d decided to have one bottle of water and one of Gatorade on the bike, but I hadn’t really worked out how much and how often to drink it. I was quite thirsty and a bit worried about not having enough plain water. I confess to feeling a bit discouraged when the other Athena passed me as though I was tied to a tree. ‘Cause that’s how I ride, no use kidding myself. I don’t know if the organisers had a shorter time-limit than normal, but they started the waves in a funny order – elites first, then all the old/slow/fat types, then everyone else. So all day after the swim it was fwoom fwoom fwoom (being passed on the ride) and patter patter patter (passed on the run). I remembered these wise words from the lovely Mary Sunshine
MY EDGE IS MY EDGE.
NOT ANYONE ELSE'S.
For others, my edge may be merely a warmup pace but to me it is MY EDGE--MY BEST--MY CHALLENGE.
so I now actually enjoy watching people pass me in races--I wonder about THEIR edges...but I know that at that moment in time, I'm working MINE.
I repeated those words – my edge is MY edge, and I’m working it - to myself many times during the morning. I didn’t know the course and there were no km markers so I didn’t know how far there was to go, and I didn’t have enough water, and I really started to flag: at one time I kept looking down to see if my brakes were rubbing. They weren’t. I didn’t dare think about the run, my legs were hurting and there seemed a long way to go. Sooky la-la LBTEPA was hovering at my shoulder and I had to keep swatting her away. An angel flashed by just then and said, hey, we’re nearly there! Only 8km to go! She was the first person who’d spoken all day, and I don’t know if it was her encouraging words or what I was sucking down at random out of my drink bottles (see? No plan = Not good!) but I started to feel stronger. All you have to do at this moment is ride your bike, I said to myself, all you have to do is ride your bike. The run is for the run, not now. Just ride your bike. And by and by I was zoooooming back down the steep hill and being shouted at by the dismount officials
TIME 26km 1.05.59 (23.6km/hr - an improvement for me!)
Have a plan about what and when to eat and drink
Study the map so I know roughly how far I’ve travelled
Don’t try and race other people.
Try and stay calm enough to think through things and problem-solve methodically
All you have to do during the bike leg is ride your bike
Riding with aerobars is REALLY FUN.
Run run run. I do not know why I am so slow in T2. I was the fastest in T1, and I’d practiced at home exactly how I would jam my feet into my runners with their swish-o new elastic laces to eliminate all that time-consuming doing-up business. The winning Athena was out in under a minute! She must have flown!
Straight out of T2 was a set of sand stairs up to the (allegedly flat) run course. I walked up them, and the next 50m or so to the drink stop. I’d been hoping there would be Gatorade at the drink stops (I couldn’t remember) but there wasn’t, so I’d have to bet on having downed enough on the bike to keep me going for the next hour. I stuck to my plan of 9:1 run:walk even though it was tempting to keep going just so that it would be just a little bit longer before the people coming up behind me would pass me. They were going to anyway. My run, no-one else’s. I felt unexpectedly strong once I got started, and I tried to think of a mantra to keep my rhythm going. I came up with “strong and smooth and run run run” (thanks Playschool!). Walk every water station, drink a couple of mouthfuls, tip the rest down my back, strong and smooth and run run run. Morning after morning I’ve practiced hold your form, you can keep this up indefinitely, just relax, so I just slid into those thoughts as the kms clicked over. Often my dear, supportive blog friends popped into my mind. It was nice. Toward the end I was feeling very weary, but ok, looking forward to the next walk minute…and my watch died! That Useless Piece of Unreliable Timex SH*T! Arrrggh!!! Foul-mouthed LBTEPA made a brief but pithy appearance, especially since the last 2km were the ‘undulating’ bit. My “friend” M is dead to me. Her delightful boyfriend G (a speedster triathlete, who later said I must have had a good ride as he'd expected to pass me much earlier!) was walking out to meet her; when he called there's only two more hills til the finish I’d have felled him with a blow but I needed to concentrate. And by and by I was running down the hill and through the chute and I was finished
TIME 56.39 (7.05/km, once again an improvement for me especially since it was 8km)
Practice running up hills!
Staying calm makes everything easier
I cheered M across the line and watched the end of the presentations and then went to get my medal. They tried to tell me the late-finisher results weren’t up yet so they’d post it to me, but it’s amazing how persuasive you can be leaning tiredly and sweatily on a table saying, are you sure? Really? The female 65+ winner was similarly determined, and they couldn’t be rude to an old lady so in the end they caved and coughed up the bling. I wore mine all the way home.
I was expecting 2.35+ so I was really happy with my time. I also learned a lot about racing harder, yet staying within myself. The Olympic distance tri in a month’s time is twice the swim, 14km longer on the bike and 2km longer in the run. This was a good stepping stone.
*looks around* You still here? Crikey!
More anon, gluttons for punishment!