Sunday, September 13, 2009

Danskin Race Results: Estrogen Extravaganza

Sherry, I know you stalked my results...don't even try to deny it! lol.

AG: 57/322
Overall: 212/1551
Time: 1:20:22
Swim .5 Mile, Bike 11 Miles, Run 3 Miles
PR for the run?????

I am in total denial. I am sure the numbers were pumped. I am sure the distances weren't as stated. However, I guess that would apply equally to everyone, so it still makes it an even playing field. On that note, my race report.....

My awesome friend Laurie once again rises to the occasion. She stayed the night with Baby Toots so Tom and I could head to Jersey's Sand Hook National Recreation Area. It is really pretty there with lovely beaches. The race itself was held on the US Coast Guard base, Ft. Hancock, that used to serve as a former US Army Fort. This coastal artillery base played an important part in the defense of New York Harbor from 1894-1974 (like you give a crap...I happen to love history). Fort Hancock is also home to the nation's oldest continuously operated lighthouse built in 1764. Ok, you can take your head out of the oven now.

We went to the Expo the day before to pick up my race packet. They gave people the option of body marking there or race day. Many folks did it there. I had my own marker in order to have my husband do it in the morning; no line! Afterwards we went to have some lunch. We kept seeing women everywhere "marked" and of course, like a good competitor I immediately looked to their calves for their age; know thy enemy. The next morning I was up before the alarm (4 am), thanks to the ladies in the room next to us (not to mention how late they were up..Ladies! We have a race in the morning!)

So NOT a morning person

We headed out to the site (Gotta love GPS). The atmosphere was so different with this being a women only race. Not sure why, but it felt less stressful, which is a good thing. Except for those little flying vampires, that ripped up my legs.

Swim .5 Mile: 16:54

Here we go, me right there in the middle

My wave start was 7:34 AM. I did wear my wetsuit. As soon as my toes were in the water I'd wished I hadn't; it wasn't that bad.

Not too bad, but not quite in yet.

I have trouble with the beginning of the swim. It takes me about .25 mile to find my stroke and I always feel like I have an elephant sitting on my chest. which makes it difficult to breathe (put me in a pool and I can swim forever, gah!) . I don't know if this is due to the wetsuit, nerves, open water or what. Unfortunately, this heavy chested, breathless feeling stays with me through the race. I digress. There were a lot of people swimming that should not have been swimming. Many a lady was swimming with a "noodle" or swimming from surfboard to surfboard.

See the noodles?

My goggles fogged up at about 1/4 mile and I had to stop and rinse them, they were fine after that. I passed a lot of women from previous waves, but I was still decidedly mediocre in the swim: rank 663, which puts me at about 42%. I do, however, still consider this a good time for me. I time myself in the pool, and I do about a 38 minute mile on a good day, so this is a good 1/2 mile time for me, especially considering I still had to run up the beach and cross the mat before the time was stopped on this leg. (oh yeah, I had to dodge a lot of noodles too). One very disconcerting thing was this backstroker next to me who I couldn't get's not right she was as fast as me on her back, I wanted to grab a noodle and beat her, but I am sure I would have been disqualified (all in good fun!)

I ran out of the water, up the beach and then the long run to T1 on a not so foot friendly asphalt, muddy, rocky pathway.

out of the water

...and up the beach

T1: 4:38

T1 started after crossing the mat out of the swim and then I still had the long run back to transition. I was pretty quick as I had halfway stripped out of my wetsuit, didn't wear socks and only had a bike helmet and sunglasses to don and I was off.

Bike 11 Miles: 31:18

I had an end spot on the rack near the run out and not far from the bike in/out. This also allowed me to put my shit on the end/outside of the rack and lots of room to maneuver. My plan for the bike was to stay in a slightly higher (easier) gear than the last sprint tri I did, yet keeping a higher cadence. I was trying to keep it at about 90 rpm like I try to do for the run. This seemed to work for me. The bike was an OAB (out and back) and on the out I was flying! Then the turnaround and the headwinds, ugh! They were tough, but I managed a 21 MPH average speed. I was passing people like crazy. Do I get "chicked" points for this? I only got passed twice, both were in a younger AG, phew! The one woman who passed me yelled, "Come on yellow bike, you and me!" I sped up and was keeping up until I realized how easy it felt, yup, drafting. I immediately backed off (I do play fair and by the rules :P). I ranked 113 in the bike which put me at the top 7% (woo hoo! It's the little victories) All in all and uneventful bike back to T2.

T2: 1:49

bike shoes off sneakers on (still no socks). Helmet off, visor, race number and watch on. Quick swig of nuun and out the gate.

Run 3 Miles: 25:41 (kind of a on)

Damn watch! Battery low, so it wouldn't record the data from the footpod, oh well. A note here on the run portion: not a real 5K. They dubbed it a 4.8K or 3 miler (2.9 to be exact, so .2 miles short). This leaves me to wonder what my time would have been had it been a full 3.1 miles? Well, if the pace calculator at Cool Runnings is to be believed, I would have done a 26:33:49. I feel a bit jipped, as it would have definitely been a PR for me, but it wasn't a real 5k distance. Obsess much?....My legs felt pretty good, but I reminded myself not to go too fast at first, just get used to the motion for a bit. That elephant was still sitting on my chest and I was having a hard time getting air into my lungs satisfactorily enough. I thought it would get better further didn't. I thought more distance would assuage the feeling, nope. My strategy was to speed up at intervals as I had trained in order to get a better time. Yeah, not happening. However, if their info is to be believed, I averaged an 8:33 mile! What?! Exactly! NEVER, did you hear me? NEVER have I averaged this on my best day. I felt like I was moving, but it was so hard since I felt like I could never get enough air in my lungs, but I kept pushing through. The finish couldn't have come soon enough. I turned it on despite feeling like I needed to put my head in a paper bag (definitely close to hyperventilating) and sprinted to the finish (the sooner I get there, the sooner it will be over!). Then I felt like I had to pee.....ok a little leak and an inglorious end to the race...shamed in front of families and small children (getting carried away).

Finish time 1:20:22

Phew! I was not feeling that smile.

As if! More like 1st prize of eating bananas and bagels.

Post Race Thoughts:


I am a sucky swimmer. I need to learn how to swim better in open water. Not an easy task around here. I also need to figure out what the hell is going on with this "heavy chested" feeling. I do not get it when I do bricks, which is why I attribute it to the swim. In any case, this is where it first rears it's ugly head and just stays with me throughout the race. Has anyone ever experienced this? Is it just a matter of getting used to swimming in a wetsuit in open water? Nerves? All of the above? It just kills me, I am not sure what to do about it. It really makes the races not fun.

More important than the swim, my run. I really need to work on my running. It is easier than trying to work on my swim (because I know fuck all about swimming and maybe a little more about running). As I understand it, you can't win a race on the swim, but if I have a good bike and run then maybe.......I won't abandon the swim, but I can get coaching for that next year when I do TNT again.

I still sit here in amazement. I feel like the numbers are a lie, like there is some trick being played on me. Yes, I felt like the race was over in a flash, but still. Even if it is all a lie, it is a lie for everyone who participated as we all did the same race. I also realize, that this race, at least in my area, does not attract the more competitive racers, and that many folks just come out to have a day of fun (repeatedly my husband kept telling me he saw some women who should not be competing - they couldn't swim, could barely ride a bike, etc). That being the probable case, I can discard the rankings, but I'll keep the times.