I was waiting for the results to get posted before I posted my report but I dont know how long that will take. I rather update while the experience is fresh in my head.
My goal was a 2-hour finish and I failed...I finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes. I felt very defeated at the end of the race and spent the following hours coming to terms with how I did. On one hand, I want to own my performance and not make exuses but on the other hand, I dont want to beat myself up.
The race started off as I planned. The first 3.5 mile trail run was a bit hillier/technical than I had gathered based on the course description. I was hoping for around a 7-min/mile pace and ended up with a 7:19. But I was happy with where I stood in the pack.
I get to the first transition and this is wear things started to go wrong. First, I failed to pre-adjust my helmet. I fuddled around with it for what seemed to be forever. Next, I put on my sunglasses and the moisture in the air made them fog up beyond visibility. I cleaned them, put them on. Didnt work. So I repeated. And repeated. In hindsight, I should have just said screw it.
By now, I am noticing a lot of women coming into the transition and leaving the transition. Who cares if you finish the run minutes before most people if you are just going to spend those minutes messing around in the transition.
I take off my gloves to untie my running shoes and decide not to put them back on. At that point, I just felt like I needed to get in my bike and GO.
So, that is what I did.
Oy, my legs felt immediately tired. Although I did do bricks as part of my training (bike, run) I failed to do a single reverse brick (run, bike). In fact, it never even occurred to me! However, by mile 5 on my bike I was in my groove and doing quite well.
The bike course was challenging. There was not a single flat moment. On one of the larger climbs that stretched multiple miles, I decided I needed to go into my lower gear. Remember how I did not put on my gloves? BIG MISTAKE. My hands were frozen to the point of numbness. I was unable to bend my fingers. This made switching gears nearly impossible. It felt like forever before I finally was able to get my bike into the propper gear. I felt good during the hill climb and then it is time for the downhill. I needed to get my bike back into middle gear, if not the big gear but my frozen fingers couldnt get the gear to switch. I decided to just ride my bike in the small gear, which made me slow. So many women passed me on the downhill (which, like the uphill, extended multiple miles).
As each woman passed me, I mentally unraveled. This was my probably my biggest mistake because once you talk yourself down, its really hard to talk yourself back up. I think I told myself I sucked, that I would never be a real cyclist, and that this race was over for me.
21 miles is a long bike ride though (for me, at least) and by the end of it, I was feeling OK. I knew I was not in the front of the pack, but I also knew I was not in the back of the pack. I knew at this point I was going to be a middle of the pack finisher so my goal at this point was just to do that - finish.
My second transition was just as slow as my first. My fingers were so frozen, and so stiff, that I struggled to tie my running shoes. I tried to open a bag of sport jelly beans - that was a big fail / waste of time. It was at this point that I realized I was very, very thirtsy. My had yet to take a single sip of water.
Not properly hydrating is a rookie mistake and once you realize you are thirsty, its too late.
I drank a small dixie cup of water provided at the aide station and it did nothing to quench my thirst. So, I just went onto the second run. The second run was very hilly and very technical, even moreso than I was expecting. I just ran to finish and made sure that no women passed me. Towards the end, I had a second wind and was able to pass two women.
I was very happy when I passed the finish line, even though I didnt do as well as I wanted to do. I was especially happy I was done when it started to rain. At least I beat the rain!!
So - in hindsight:- I wish I took the 20 seconds it would have taken to put my gloves on. It was such a small thing and it would have made a huge difference.
- I wish I didnt bother with my sunglasses. That alone would have saved me a minute.
- I wish I trained better. I did very few workouts that went over 2 hours. I did plenty of days that totaled 2 hours but an hour on the AM and an hour in the PM does not equal 2 non-stop hours. This was a scheduling conflict, but I could have made it happen a few times. I did not feel pysically prepared for the length of this race.
- I wish I did reverse bricks during training
- I wish I drank water after the first run and during the bike ride
It was a beautiful race and although it was cold, I cannot complain about the weather. It was a hard race - filled with experienced competitors - I dont think I gave the race the respect it deserved. Next year I will train longer, train appropriately and do it again!
My husband did get some good photos for me.........
Start of the race:
Coming into the first transition:
(I always make a very serious point to look and wave to all cameras)
After the bike ride:
(Note my glove-less hand!!!)
And the token finish photo of me messing around with my Garmin. I dont think I have a single photo of me finishing the race and not doing something with my Garmin:
I think they are flattering photos, my legs look strong.
Although my legs are nothing compared to these lovely stems: