Before I get to the race report, it's important that you understand that this race is not an accurate representation of my personality or general racing style. I wasn't treating this like a race (as evidenced by my complete lack of nervousness pre-race, which surprised the h-e-doublehockeysticks out of my husband btw). I am still the same old overly competitive, type-A crazy that my friends and family have come to know and love. I am just looking at things a little differently since my half-marathon.
I have come to the realization that not one person outside of myself truly cares what my race times are. They are excited if I meet my goal (in this case: Finish), and make a sad face if I miss it. Mostly people just respond to my mood. So far, since I have been laughing about it, people have found my last place finish pretty amusing as well & I get "but that's awesome that you finished it." And that's absolutely true.
If nothing else, I have the tenacity of a something or other and my leg could have fallen off and I was going to finish that race. So, while I may have come in last place, I kind of still won in a way (yeah, that's cheeze n' rice, I know). Anyway, if you're still with me, here is how the race went:
Very hilly, nice & sunny, it got hot - perfect morning though & the water was smooth as glass. Sa-weet! The race itself was really well run & I was very happy. Tons of water stations on the run & there were swim buddies all over. This one I'd definitely do again (and plan to actually)! I have a bone to pick with that race now, haha.
I am not a strong swimmer yet. This swim was kind of a triumph for me actually. I swam a continuous 1500 meters (.9 mile for my fellow Americans). I did it in my Blueseventy Sprint wetsuit. At first I was spazzing, my breathing was irregular, I couldn't get a rhythm. I was a mess. A girl next to me asked if I was OK and my response was "Yes, thanks - I always freak out at the beginning of swims." I front crawled, breast-stroked, and (mostly) back stroked my way to the finish. By the last 2/3 of the swim I was front crawling and breathing every third stroke. Unfortunately this was too late the leg fatigue damage was already done. I was, however, freaking STOKED that I swam the whole way!
I consider cycling to be my best sport of the three. I am pretty good at climbing (thanks mostly to my triple crank). But, I haven't ever swam almost a mile and then hopped on my bike. Oops. Legs were TIRED. Tired legs + hills = BAD. Very, very bad! Right out of the gate, I blew past about 15 people ( it was a slow swim, I had time to make up). But then the first hill came... uuuuuugh. My left hamstrong hurt & my right calf was really tight - and, wth, my butt muscles hurt. I had to stop once to adjust my brakes because the front was rubbing, I lost the people that I had passed originally.
Anyway, suffice it to say I had to push the whole 24 miles & I was so far behind that there were a few times when I considered giving up altogether. That's when I started having a mental 'chat' with myself. The following conversations took place with myself:
- Internal: If you quit, you'll feel like a loser.
- External: If you quit, you'll have to tell people and feel like a loser.
- Bribery: If you don't quit, you can stop at the Denny's by the hotel and get the French Slam and eat some &$*#ing bacon!
- Internal again: There is no shame in finishing last, there's only shame in quitting. No one but you really cares about your finishing time anyway.
I had little left to give to the run. It was a trail run, and a hilly one at that. I started to run but my legs hurt SO badly, especially my left hammy and my hips. I decided I'd walk the first mile. By the end of the first mile I was still in a hilly section so walked the hills and ran the downhills/flats. Finally, I gave up on that plan because my heart rate was insane at this point and just walked. I then ran all of mile 5 and the last .25 mile of the race. Lame, I know.
What I learned
- Swim form is unbelievably important. It's not just another thing for coaches to bug you about, really!
- I need more combination workouts - bricks, as it were.
- I still hate running. If it was a person, I'd want to punch running in the face!
- I need to cycle at higher speeds during training. I need a speedometer, RPMs are telling me nothing and my Garmin GPS is failing with the cadence monitor.
- I need a Trakkers GPS because I took so long that my husband thought I had gotten injured & carted off to the hospital. Or I just need to get faster.
- I like distance swimming more than I thought I ever could!
- Coming in last doesn't feel as awful as I had thought. I figured I'd be embarrassed but it's been kind of a fun story.
P.S. My husband thinks I'm tough & is unbelievably proud of me, as are my parents & sister. I try not to let outside opinions affect me, but this makes me :-)
P.P.S. I had a BLAST today! When I was walking (the run portion), I was thinking about how I should sign up for an extra sprint this summer. I'm a sicko, haha.