Jordan and I left for Sudbury in the wee hours of the morn. We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts where I got a large coffee, and she got some super greasy bacon and egg sandwich. I guess you can do that when you're 10! I would have hurled the half digested remains of that sandwich all over someone while biking--I just know it.
When we got to Sudbury the place was already buzzing. I found a few of my athletes (Jen and Kim) checking in, and I started to feel that excited, nervous, pre-race energy that both tortures me and also feels exciting and good. Jordan and I set up transition. She was convinced she would want to put on shorts, shirt, socks, gloves after the swim. I told her she certainly could, but if she wanted to just race in her bathing suit, that was fine too. I would be racing in my bathing suit, so she certainly wouldn't be the only one.
The swim at Sudbury is a pool swim. Swimmers are organized according to the 400 yard seed time they put in their race application. I had put 5:15 for a seed, and I had put Jordan at 6:15. Both times were fairly accurate for us. This put me at number 56, meaning there were 55 people in this race who thought they'd swim faster than a 5:15 for a 400. Hmmmmm..... Jordan was number 157. So 156 people out of the 426 competing thought they could swim faster than a 6:15. In case you are having trouble doing the math in your head, that is an average 100 yard pace of roughly 1:33. Very interesting. It appears there are quite a few hidden swimmers out there! Either that or people lie, or have no clue, or figured they would become magically faster on race day--or all three.
Anyway. The only bad part about the seed times for Jordan and me is that it meant I had to leave her when the line to start the race began to form. I think this panicked me way more than her. I kept looking for numbers 156 or 158 so I could instruct them to watch her and make sure she was okay. Never did find them. Jordan later reported that number 156 was a middle-aged woman--very nice, somewhat rotund and motherly. Phew. Thank you number 156!
The race began and we all watched the fastest swimmers in the race glide (seemingly) effortlessly through their 400s. The fastest person of the day swam a 4:18. That time INCLUDES running to T1! So... we are talking a 4:05 maybe? That is 1:01 per HUNDRED. Dear God.
Anyway, finally it was my turn. I vowed NOT to take it out way too hard. My friend Tracy who is a very experienced and awesome swimmer (number 24 in this race) explained that the totally hypoxic exhaustion I feel at 75 yards in basically every swim race I do is likely because I take it out too hard and don't breathe enough early on. So I vowed to take it out hard, but not too hard, and to breathe more than I felt I needed to for the first 100 yards. It worked. I felt awesome! I also felt annoyed. At the 75 I had to pass the swimmer ahead of me. At 125 I passed the next swimmer. This is what I mean by the lying that goes on with seed times in a race like this. Having to pass another swimmer when there are swimmers going up and down lanes is inefficient, scary, and difficult, and most of all it slows you up! I was pissed! I wasn't the only person who this happened to:
After trying to pass the woman in front of her (yes, the nice motherly woman, #156) for 200 yards, Jordan finally resorts to diving and swimming UNDER her to get ahead:
I finished my swim in 5:19. Jordan finished in 6:17 according to Andy's watch. (This doesn't include our runs to T1.) Anyway... I had the 36th fastest swim of the day; Jordan had the 95th fastest swim. That means that I was faster than 20 people who claimed to have a faster 400 seed time than me, and Jordan was faster than 62 people who claimed to be faster than her!
(Yes, I am a little preoccupied with this... ) haha!
Onto the bike. My transition was pretty fast (for me) given that I did not have to strip off a wet suit. I just put on my shoes and helmet and went. The bike was just 7 miles. Because I am endurance athlete, 7 miles is barely a warm up for me. I find it hard to go from 0 to 22 mph in like a milli-second. But I tried, and so within a milli-second I was breathing so heavily I thought I might have a heart attack. I pushed. I tried to keep my cadence up. I pushed more. I tried not to stop pedaling when I cornered (failed at that, though, I stopped pedaling for part of every corner I encountered!), I pushed and stayed in aero and pusehd some more.
All that is well and good. It still does not make me a sprinter. Why do I attempt races this short when they are CLEARLY NOT what I a) like or b) am naturally good at? Oh well. It was still fun in a twisted kind of way. I finished the 7 mile bike in a little over 19 minutes. In this race they add your transition times into your s/b/r--so it's hard to know how fast (or slow) transition was for me, and also hard to know where I really fell in terms of competition, since my bike could have been faster, but my transitions slower, or vice versa... compared to another. I will say I successfully took off my shoes while riding and dismounted onto bare feet. Go me! Okay, so maybe I had to slow way down to do it... but I did it!
Meanwhile, Jordan was just exiting the swim.
Here she is getting on her bike:
How cute is that? Okay, maybe I think it's so cute because she is my little daughter..... :)
Onto the run. Because I had removed my shoes on the bike, I just had to take off my helmet and put on my run shoes and belt when I got to T2. Then I was off! And I felt like shit! Holy mother there was some serious LEAD in my legs!
Again, sprinting just kills me...
But off I went. I decided to just use cadence to propel me forward. I probably looked so stiff and stupid... with a little dancing of feet to get my body moving, but I wasn't sure what else to do. My quads were burning, and a fast cadence was the only "speed" I could muster. Luckily, I had had the good sense not to carry my Garmin with me, so I had no idea how slowly I might actually be going. I focused on passing people. There was a woman ahead of me who looked like she could be competition, so I did my best to catch her and run by her with some umph. As soon as I got beyond her (later I learned her name was Brooke.. she was super nice) I just felt this crushing blow of I DON'T CARE JUST LET ME STOP. I pushed that little demon out of my brain as far as I could, but he kept coming back at me. YOU ARE NOT A SPRINTER.STOP TRYING TO RUN FAST YOU LOSER. YOU ARE GOING SO SLOWLY THAT A LITTLE MORE SLOWLY WILL MAKE NO DIFFERENCE. And so on.
I passed a few more people, and then just did my best to shut off my obnoxious brain. When I saw Andy very close the end he screamed, Use your arms! Oh ya! My arms! Forgot about those things. I imagine them now, flopping loosely at my sides as I attempted to kick. So I pumped my arms, finished, and then stopped short right after the finish, about ready to puke.
Sprints just suck, I tell you.
But they are also great, because unlike puking in a long race, you are fine in like 2 seconds after a sprint. Your body just really wanted you to stop.. and you did, so it forgives you and lets you go on with your day.
And then I looked at my watch. 41:16. I had missed a PR by 5 seconds.
But on the other hand, I had only missed my PR by 5 seconds! Not so bad! I had a great race last year when I got that PR. I had felt pretty good and raced confidently. Today I was less confident and felt less good, but I was still only 5 seconds off that time!
It's all perspective.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
I chatted with my good friend Tracy and with Brooke (new friend who I valiantly passed on the run), then I found Andy and my two younger kids, Noah and Lara. Andy was congratulatory. Noah and Lara were less congratulatory, and more just "eager" for me to get them a few brownies they had been ogling at the athlete table.
Jordan was still on her second loop of the bike, so I went to change into dry running clothes so I could run with her when she started her run. She had an awesome second loop and got off the bike all smiles.
Here she is BOOKING it out of T2.
I began to run with her and she was so fast I could barely keep up! Some warm down for me! Soon she slowed slightly, though, and even though we were moving at a good clip it felt okay. She told me all about her ride and her swim, and kept saying, I'm thirsty! At mile 1.5 there was a water stop and she got a drink. Then we trucked on. Her pace slowed quite a bit for the last 3/4 of a mile, but she was still running well and only expressing a desire to stop every 10 seconds or so... :) Then she saw that the finish was close. I pointed to all the adults ahead of her that were jogging to the finish line. You can take them all, Jord! Go for it! I peeled off so she could finish alone, and she sprinted! It was awesome!
Here she is sprinting to the finish:
It turned out I placed third overall so we decided to stay for the awards. The two girls who beat me were young... one was 20 and one just barely 30. Grrrr. But hey, I'll take it. These girls were much bigger and taller than me, and the winner was 22 years younger!
It was a great race. I'm so proud of Jordan (bet you didn't figure that one out....)
And now, back to our regularly scheduled endurance training. Mooseman 1/2 Iron up next!