August 24, 2008
Sprint Distance: .62 mile SWIM / 17.5 mile BIKE / 3.4 mile RUN
Athena - 39 and under: 17 of 28
1250 of 1632 overall
Swim - 28:53
Bike: 1:14:49 (14.0 mph)
Run: 43:47 (12:53 minute pace)
Summary: That felt good and was FUN, let's do that again!
Long Version: In July 2007, I raced the Danskin Women's Triathlon in Webster, MA. Just 2 weeks later I would start 7 months of physical therapy for a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder. That injury would put off swimming and all thing Triathlon for me for the next year. So it was with some trepidation and on the heels of signing up for Ironman USA 2009 that I toed the line at IronGirl Columbia.
I have a recently updated bike setup (from triple to a compact crank, the addition of aero bars and a new narrower handle bar set up, and a new saddle) that took a few weeks to dial in, I had about 6 weeks of consistent, pain free swimming under my belt, I am currently 26 pounds lighter than in July 2007 and a I hired a local TRI coach (Hi Coach Bob!) to help me keep my Ironman training on track over the next year. IronGirl Columbia would be a first chance to see how all these changes were translating.
I got to the race about 6AM and got a decent parking spot in Centennial Park. Pretty quickly, I found myself easing into the familiar routine of getting number marked, setting up transition and pumping the bikes tires. I checked in with Coach Bob on the cell phone, finished by looking for a good rack marker to recognize coming out of the swim (a tree) and left transition to meet up with Coach Bob to talk for a bit before hitting the Port-O-Johns for a quick stop and then wandering over to the swim start.
Coach Bob and I went over and said HI to our friends at the Ulman Cancer Fund tent and then we watched the other waves go off. After a quick walk along Centennial Lake to see where the first swim turn buoy was, Bob gave me some great advice (Have Fun!) and I walked over to the swim start to wait with the other Athenas and 20-24 age group ladies for the start of Wave 8. I stood close to the front of the group and as soon as they let our Wave enter the water, 7 minute prior to the start, I was in the water, warming up, getting comfy being in the lake and looking for the best line. In a short 7 minutes, it was time to GO!
Yeah, I know, SLOW SWIM TIME, I finished 24th out of 28 in my division but I found victory in two significant ways: 1) No shoulder pain 2) I kept myself calm, cool and relaxed and swam freestyle the entire time.
Where did the time go? LOL I think I spent it putting socks on my wet feet and marveling in the fact that I had a pain-free swim. I obviously need to practice some transitions this year...
Bike: 1:14:49 (14.0 mph)
Regardless of what some might call a leisurely pace, I know that I had a fantastic bike on what is a hilly and challenging course. I took full advantage of my descending skills whenever possible and it paid off in places overall. When I started the Bike, I was in 24th place overall in my division. When I got OFF the bike heading into T2, I had moved into 14th place overall in my division, passing nearly half my division. Earlier in the week, my fiance Jim and I talked about my biking time and I was thinking that I was looking at about 1:30 as a bike time based on training numbers
and a 3:00 finish overall. Jim had suggested that make a goal to break 2:30 as a finish time and try to go sub 1:15 on the bike. I was thrilled when I hit the T2 map to see 1:14:49 on my watch! I made my first GOAL!
Umm... did I mention that I need to work on my transitions? This should have been easily under 1:00 since all I did was change shoes and take off my helmet.
RUN: 43:47 (12:53 minute pace)
I had told Coach Bob that I wanted to try running the entire run leg but I didn't know how realistic that might be. I only recently began to run distances of 30 minutes without any walk breaks for the first time since May 2005. While my training runs have been feeling good, I really have not had a lot of bricks under my belt and didn't know what to expect of my legs after a hilly bike ride. For the most part, I was able to keep the walk breaks to a minimum for the first 2 miles but the big climb just before Mile 3 took a lot out of me and what should have been a relaxed,easy downhill last 1.4 miles became an effort. The cool morning had turned to a bright sunny day and I was looking for every little bit of shade I could find in that last mile but there was not much to be found. Having done the Columbia OLY distance TRI 3 times previously, I know the finishing mile very well and I have to admit I took a small
walk break at the last small incline before the decent to the finish line. I probably didn't need that walk break but I was hot and ready for some shade. At the crest of the last small hill, I lifted my head and just focused on the finish line. It wasn't until those last 100 yards that I thought to look at the race clock and realized, with a big SMILE, that I have come within a few minutes of the GOAL time that Jim and I set for me a few days before...
While I hadn't broken 2:30, I had come pretty close and I had a fantastic race day overall. Everything went well, I had no pain, I had lots of fun on the bike and when all was said and done, only 3 people in my Athena division managed to pass me on the run.
It was the best possible way to start the first race of my "Season of Training for IM USA 2009" and the season looks bright! Next stop, 4 weeks - Savageman OLY distance. It will not be an easy OLY but I am ready to use it as a benchmark for what I need to improve between Sept 08 and Columbia OLY Tri in May 2009.
Life is Good! LiveSTRONG!