Monday, June 06, 2011

Racing for Recovery Half Ironman 2011

My big A race of the year is in the books. Yesterday was the Racing for Recovery Half Ironman in Monroe, Michigan (where?) I had big goals for this race. Some I hit; some I didn't. Here's the rundown. ***Note, lots of pictures in this post***

I had a great "pre-race." Saturday morning I had a great ride and run and after getting to the site Saturday afternoon, I had a great open water swim. Dinner was eaten and then I got a full 8 hours of sleep. Yep you read that right: EIGHT FREAKIN' HOURS!!! I was prepared and calm Sunday morning.

The race was small with only about 40 women, so I decided to swim strong from the front. The men went off first, and then all the women strolled into the water. Here I am getting ready for the swim:

3,2,1, GO!!! And I was off and fast. I had worked my way out of the mess of women and by the first buoy I was catching men. By the time we were swimming across the beach, I was in a pack with two other women and drafting well. I probably touched the toes of the woman in front of me 20 times! For most of the swim I thought maybe I was in the lead pack. I could see no other pink swim caps in front of me. Before the last turn buoy, though, I got totally cock blocked when a man stood up right in front of me, causing me to stop and work around him, thus losing the two women I was swimming with. I caught back up with one of them, but she swam so close to me she pushed me into a bouy and she was off again. Finally I was around the last turn, heading for home. I got up to the swim exit, ripped off the top of my wetsuit, and looked at my watch. Hot damn! 37 minutes! That was a great swim! I saw Dave and he told me I was in the top ten women. I walked my way into transition, calming my heart rate down, and now it was time to ride.

Swim - 37:34, 1:53/100m pace, 2nd AG

T1 - 2:41

The plan for the ride was to just go by heart rate and stick to the nutrition plan. Now, I totally made an amateur move and tried something new. I got the quick release for my Garmin and the cadence/speed sensor, but the first time I really used it was for this race. I placed the Garmin on my bike before the race and made sure it was reading my heart rate. When I got to my bike after the swim, it was reading 180. Geezy Pete! Seriously?! I had walked through transition. How could my heart rate be so high? I started on the bike easy, hoping the heart rate would come down. The plan was to be in zone 2 for the whole ride. 180 was somewhere around zone 5. I did not see my heart rate drop into at least zone 3 until an hour and a half into the ride and it NEVER fell into zone 2. I wondered the entire ride if it was actually reading correctly.

Since this was my first time using my Garmin as my bike computer, I still haven't figured out what I would like to see on the Garmin while riding. One thing I wasn't seeing was average speed, which made figuring out how long I was going to be biking or if I was doing "well" difficult. Late in the ride I started doing some math and it wasn't looking good. I was hoping to be on the bike for 3 hours and it was going to go longer than that. Of course, dropping my chain TWICE didn't help my cause either. The ride was rough, my mental status was shot, and my stomach didn't feel all that great as I came into transition.

Bike - 3:11:17, 17.6 mph avg, 7th AG

T2 - 1:07

I made it through transition quickly, but I was a mess. I met Dave on the way out of transition and kind of broke down. He walked with me a bit and settled me down. Then I started running. Even with that walk I still hit the first mile mark in 8:33. Okay, maybe this won't be so bad. Just after the first mile marker was a port-a-john, and I stopped. This was the ONLY time during he entire race that I peed. Yep, I was dehydrated. With the pit stop, I hit the next mile at 8:49. Thank goodness I'm a runner. I started to get into rhythm, counting every step along the way. When I needed to walk through a water stop I did, but it looked like I was still able to run 8:30s pretty consistently. I was catching TONS of people and starting to feel better. At the halfway point I saw Dave, who reassured me I was looking good and that most people were looking really bad. It was time to go catch them.

But starting the second lap my stomach started to revolt again. I kept thinking to myself, "you only have to make it less than an hour. Just hold on one hour, stomach." I needed to make up some time so I decided not to walk the water stops anymore. It didn't matter, though, I was losing time. 8:30s became 8:40s became 8:50s. During the out and back section, I finally saw my competition ahead of me. If I wanted to get on the podium, I had to catch those chicks. And I did. I raked in three women in my age group in the last 4 miles. Here I am breaking the heart of a few men too:

Finally I saw Dave again and it was time to haul to the finish line. I wasn't going to hit some of the time goals I had established for myself, but I still had a shot at a PR. Move legs!

Run - 1:53:28, 8:40 pace, 2nd AG

Total - 5:46:05, 4th AG, 13th female

Well, it was a new PR, but barely. A whopping 47 seconds. I missed the podium in my age group by one spot (and 9 minutes!). I have mixed feelings about this race. I thought there was a better race in me, but how can I be so tough on myself with the results I posted? I am disappointed with my bike, but ecstatic about my swim. Today, I'm sore, thirsty and hungry like the wolf. And tomorrow, it's back to training. There are still bigger races to come...


Colleen said...

Meredith, I think you had a fabulous race. Get that Garmin figured out for sure - sounds like you might have been getting someone else's numbers???? I don't know. You had a kick ass swim and of course, you had a great run (you're bike wasn't bad either... but I know you didn't hit your goals and that can be frustrating). You should be proud of your race and excited for things to come this season!!!

Congrats girl!

jeff said...

nice recap, mer. how did the tyr wetsuit perform for the race? any problems getting it off during transition?

have you tried using ginger during long races/workouts when your stomach starts to rebel? i've carried gingerbread cookies in my pack during my ultras for years and it may be a placebo, but they've always worked for me when my tummy starts freaking out. i have other friends who swear by ginger chews.

can't wait to read what other fun you've got up your sleeve for this year!

Megan said...

YEAH! Monroe, that's my hometown! Maybe some year, I'll go home and do this race. :)

LittleRachet said...

Wow, those are awesome numbers, especially the swim!! ZOOM! I know the mixed feeling thing - the disappointments are learning experiences, right? Regardless, congrats on a great race! And all of your pics are fantastic!!

Melissa C said...

Great job Meredith! Your swim was amazing! You must have been swimming with Becky for a bit, the girl from Team Aquaphor that was not with me on Sat.

The run was DANG HOT! I was so glad I am a runner too! Ugh! I didn't pee until the race was about dehyrated!!!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on the race

You can customize your screens on the Garmin, up to 4 things, that are most important you while riding.

Patty said...

I am an aspiring triathlete and love reading reports like these! It helps motivate a beginner like me that seems to struggle with EVERYTHING know that even the big dogs have less than their ideal race! Great job, nonetheless! And I love the pic of you pulling ahead of the men!