Sunday, September 14, 2008
Lobsterman Oly Race Report
The quick synopsis:
Super fast swim. Was it the current?
Tipped over on bike after dropping my chain. That is right. I tipped over.
Killed myself on the run. I really SUFFERED. (right, Jen?)
Placed 4th in AG, but they gave me third for the usual reason: Ange was in the top three and therefore freed up a spot.
Overall a very good race for me. Much better than last year, at which it poured and I had to run with frozen stumps of feet for miles before I began to thaw.
The Long Version
It was cold and spitting rain when I finally got on the road on Friday night. I had a sick feeling. Would I have to repeat last year's race experience at Lobsterman in which I could not feel my feet until four miles into the run?
I pondered this until about Burlington, where I stopped to pick up Claire. We grabbed some dinner (on Claire, thanks!) and then headed up to Maine. Claire didn't complain that I drove like an old lady in the right lane at like 55 mph. I drive a bit like I bike, I'm afraid. We chatted and the time passed quickly. We arrived at my parents' and went right to bed as we had an early start the next morning. I slept like a baby, but Claire slept in the guest room downstairs, which has a SUPER loud grandfather clock outside it that chimes every 15 minutes. oops. Should have shut that annoying thing off. Needless to say, Claire's sleep wasn't as sound as mine...This, combined with the fact that the race people wouldn't let her wear her new, pointy, but also European helmet on the bike course, is probably why she didn't have the very fastest female bike split of the day. She was still close, though.
We rose way too early and headed to Freeport. I didn't know exactly where to go, even though I had raced there last year, but I figured we just find a car with a bike on its back and we'd be all set. We made it there. All good.
On the journey I sipped my pre-race drink, coffee, and ate a peanut butter sandwich. I also choked down part of a banana. I never want to eat before I race. Too nervous. But I knew I would need the fuel if I wanted to kick ass. And I did. Want to kick ass. really badly. I needed a good race, especially a good RUN, after Timberman.
We registered and set up in transition and all that good stuff. I talked to all my good Maine friends and began to pity myself that I didn't live up there with them, close to the pine trees and the moose and the butt cold ocean that I love so, so much. sigh.
Onward. The swim was in this very calm cove. The water temperature was only about 60 degrees, but I thought it was fine. I like swimming in cold water like I like running in cold weather. Better cold than hot,that's my opinion. Anyway. Last year at this race the current totally messed with me. I got off course and had to fight my way back. This year? All in the swimmers' favor. We zipped right out to that first buoy and it was smooth sailing after that. Our times were so fast (in general, the swimmers' times all around) that at first I thought they must have changed the course from last year. Actually, though, I think it was all the current. The race last year began at 11am. This year it began at 8:45 am. That must have something to do with it.
I have been working on speed in the pool, and I really felt that during this swim. I pushed it the whole time, and this is very unlike me. Usually I push hard, let up, and then push again at the end. I sighted off a girl in my wave. I'm still not sure who it was, though I suspect it was one of my rivals (who doesn't know she is one of my rivals, I'm sure; a woman who has beaten me every race in Maine this season, but who I will catch next year! I swear!) As I left the water I heard a friend of mine who wasn't racing shout, "Great swim, Mary! You're close to Ange!" I snorted, and I heard him chuckle. We both knew this was a big, fat lie! Very funny, Steve!
Onto to the bike.
I was really dizzy coming out of the water; more dizzy than usual. I actually had to hold onto the bike rack to brace myself because I thought I was going to tip over. Luckily, I did not tip, nor did I take the bike rack down trying to balance. I did tip later on, off my bike and when on the bike course, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I finally stripped off my wetsuit, got on all of my various biking accoutrements, and then I was off. Shakily, but still off. I mounted in my usual granny fashion --straddle the bike, clip in, push off.
The bike leg. My perennial problem. My reason for sometimes wanting to through in the towel. Argh.
My goal for the bike leg was to suffer. I am, by nature, a loafer on the bike, and this time I was NOT going to be. Anytime I was breathing easily, I would push harder. That was the plan.
As it turns out, I had a hard time with this. I worked hard, but not hard enough I don't think, through the first 10 miles. Then I started to fade. My quads were burning and I began to worry that my run was going to suffer. I tried to talk to myself by saying things like, "Stop thinking! Just suffer! Go!" But it didn't really work. Then I hit a stretch of big, steep hills at about mile 15. The course is hilly in general, but his stretch was especially annoying. And that's when it happened. I was beginning to ascend a large hill and I decided I needed to swtich to the baby ring. I did so, and I felt the chain loosen. fuck. At Mooseman when this happened I hopped right off the bike, fixed it and got going. This time I decided to see if I could keep pedaling and have it catch again. nope. no luck. It sounded horrible as I tried to pedal, like I was seriously doing damage to my bike. And then the pedals locked. Totally frozen, and I began to tip.... At the last moment I was able to unclip on the right, and so caught myself from slamming to the ground by being in a big squat. Then I rolled over, the bike on top of me.
I admit it. I just laid there for a second. I looked at the sky, took a big breath, and unclipped my left foot. I rolled the bike off me and began to inspect the damage. The chain was totally jammed up between the crank and the ??? part of the bike that is near the crank. I tried over and over to push it down to get it free. Meanwhile people zoomed by me. Agh! Finally I freed it and reset it on the small ring. My hands were black with grease and they hurt from slamming the ground from the rollover/fall.
No time to think. I got back on the bike, and slowly made my way up the rest of the hill. The rest of the bike was uneventful, but I was deflated. I knew I had lots several minutes. I was bummed. I vowed to make it up on the run.
In transition I saw Claire, who had started the wave behind me but had still caught me. I wasn't surprised by this, but it did motivate me more. How much time would I have to make up on the run to still beat Claire? Three, duh. A lot. I had to get moving!
I began the run angry. I hadn't suffered on the bike. I had fucked up the bike yet again. I would KILL myself on this run. I would have a screaming run split.
The run was hilly--more hilly then I had remembered. Still, I felt strong, if heavy with bike legs. My first mile was slow--a 7:38. I had to pick up this pace. 7:38's would not do. More than anything I wanted to match my run split from last year which was a 44:45. So far, I wasn't close to being on track. I picked up the pace and felt increasingly strong. I decided I would get faster every mile if it killed me. I managed to do this for the next three miles. Mile 5 was slower, but mile 6 was mostly downhill and the fastest of the day. I didn't match my run split of last year, but I wasn't that far off. My running has been so poor lately, that being that close was very welcome!
When I finished the race I found Ange immediately and held out my hands, palms up. "What happened?" she said. I realized they (my hands) were nothing terrible to look at. They were dirty, sure, and red, but basically unscathed. "I fell," I whimpered. She gave me a hug and said, "Oh, they look swollen." They didn't. But I felt swollen and I had a lump in my throat, and it was comforting that she was there and that she worried. Thanks, Ange.
"Did you win?" I asked. She was second. She had had a good race.
swim: 17:45 26/450
bike: 1:14:20 168/450
run: 45:47 84/450
Stay tunned for a boring and detailed analysis of last year's results compared to this year's--and also the post race goodies!