Race report: Gatorade 5 Elwood
The most satisfying thing about Sunday’s race – apart from a four minute PB for the distance, yippee! and Noddie coming along to watch, so great! – was racing with five other Athenas. So far this year it's been me, plus one other woman once; it was such a thrill to be in a group of athletes who don’t fit the skinnyfast tri-norm (bless their nimble little dri-fit socks), and have a red hot go nonetheless. I have looked forward to this day for so long. I hope they all come back, with friends!
Although she is somewhat vague about the difference between a triathlon and a half-marathon, Noddie was ever so excited about coming along. She was especially excited when we sat on the front step on Saturday evening to paint her very own bright red race nails, just like Mummy’s! So excited she was that she raced into our room at 5.15 on Sunday morning – a full hour early – convinced that it was certainly time to get up! At least she flaked it in our bed for another hour, sigh….
We hadn’t found my friend M or her partner super-speedy G by the time I had to set up transition. I thought the security people were just a teensy bit inflexible refusing to let Noddie into the transition area, but they were just doing their job and were lovely to her, appointing her as honorary bike number-checker. When we did find them, M revealed her nefarious plot – to feed Noddie red things all morning! Arrgghh! Her plan was a roaring success – or rather, a whingeing, screaming and arguing success. M and G are expecting their first child in August (congratulations darls! So happy for you!) and let me tell you, in about five years I will be paying them back Big Time. But I digress.
The Gatorade race director is a funny bloke. He does the start announcing and always asks for comments, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear a familiar little voice telling him I’d like to say, Race hard Mummy! Thanks Noddie! I was grinning as the gun went off and we charged in.
Ahem. It has belatedly occurred to me that possible explanations for my recent woeful swims might be a) hardly any swimming and b) doing all my training at drill pace (now where did I put that mensa application?). Thus the Plan for the swim was to trust the form created by all those drills, and keep my stroke rate up No Matter What. The water was nippy but quite pleasant – and so clear! So pretty! I concentrated on a strong catch and high stroke rate and pretty soon it was time to puff and pant up the beach to enthusiastic cheering from M and Noddie (actually just M: Noddie called out to tell me she’d had two jelly snakes already). For a moment it seemed that the bastard wetsuit wasn’t going to unzip, but my silent swearing at it did the trick and T1 was no more glacially slow than usual. Running on tippytoes in my fab new proper road bike shoes was funny! The nong who could neither get on his bike, nor stay out of the way of those who could, was not.
As you know, season 08-09 has been the summer of fit in whatever training I can and then show up and make the best of it on the day. I really felt that on Sunday. Everyone rode past me like I was tied to a tree – they always do, but today it upset me a little bit. I thought of Iron Mary’s wise words – I’m pushing my envelope, the others are pushing theirs and tried not to mind and to focus on what I was doing. It was a perfect day for a ride too, no wind, fairly cool, and the two-loop course was good because I could 'chunk it' – four times five km, even I can do that! I drank my water and ate my sport beans and kept on pedalling with my fab new proper road bike shoes. M and Noddie screamed encouragement (Noddie: M bought me a babychino!) and then I was at the dismount line, almost failing to unclip, but not quite. Time to run.
My knee hurt at the start of the the run - WTF? My foot hurt too! And my neck hurt! WTF?I caught myself thinking that I just wasn’t feeling it today. Whoa! Bleat alert!! Bleat alert! Now now, I thought, this Will Not Do. I could wallow in crapitude or I could…not. Time to find my happy place, quicksticks. Time to bring out the relaxed form that I had practiced all those mornings. Time to tell myself to shut the f#$% UP because I didn’t come here to listen to your WHINING has this been a bit of a theme in my races this season?…hmmm…. Relax, breathe, balance…. I was too tired to sing my usual little song but when I felt like walking I’d remind myself if you can’t keep it up, slow it down. Hold your form, just hold your form….One cool thing happened during the run – the fifth Athena (wouldn’t that be a good movie?) only passed me at the halfway mark! I’m usually stone motherless last by the first lap of the bike! It was good to see the finish arch, and even better to see M and Noddie yelling and waving (Run Mummy run! I had some chips!). I was so delighted to see them I rushed up and gave Noddie a big kiss, then ran over the timing mat. I didn’t need those five seconds. Even after three huge cups of Gatorade, I felt bone weary and had a foul headache, but I was determined to stay and cheer the Athena presentations. Yay Jana! Great win! You rock!
Post-race activities included a belated birthday lunch at a café with M and G and Secret Sara (who is off to do the Paris half-marathon in two weeks!!!), crawling home through a traffic jam with a wired and cranky Noddie, and crashing so heavily on the couch that I didn’t hear the Spousal Unit come home.
Question for the week: will I do a 3.5km ocean swim the morning after my sister-in-law’s fortieth birthday party? Decisions, decisions….
More anon, rolling stones!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Race report: Gatorade 5 Elwood