OMG, today has been a day to remember. Jim Casper was right. Yes Jim, you were right.
Anytime someone would complain about a part of a ride or grouse about a hill, Jim would look at them with a dead straight poker face, let the grin grow and say.... "It'll make you stronger." I have been tested more this year on the bike than in the past 4 yrs. My second year training for the ms ride, I didn't really keep track, but figured, I spent about 350-400 miles training, plus the 105 in New Bern. I had two off years for training and then this year, with the surge in attendance and the weekly training rides, I amassed close to 500 miles before the ride, plus the 80 in New Bern. I have done a couple rides since New Bern ( which I haven't done in the past.)
Yesterday, I did a 15 miles ride just to loosen the legs up before the race today. Little did I know that the route would kick my backside and fortunately, I decided to spin rather than work too hard.
Today, after my alarm went off at 5am. WTH. I got up, showered, got dressed and headed out for the race. Definitely not my first triathlon, but it was definitely a different feeling than the first 3. I was resigned to the fact that I hadn't trained the swim all summer and that due to a partially torn patellar tendon, I would not be able to run today.
My start time was 8:58:30.
I eased into the pool, with a touch of nerves, then the countdown 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO!!!
I took off at what felt like a reasonable pace, breathing every 5 strokes in the first 50. Then I started getting caught by the swimmer behind me. I decided to race my race, stopped for a few seconds and let her pass me and then continued on. All things considered, compared to last years time, I lost 11 seconds in the pool, I didn't even look at my transition times. They were perfect for me, I'm not a flyer and won't compete. I just do what I need to do and go. I ended up getting a little light-headed in transition and sat on my bucket and got my cycling shoes on and everything else.
Jogged out of transition, mounted and took off. The bad thing about this course is that there is a two-stage hill right after the first turn and it is a real bugger of a hill. I wasn't ready for it last year and this year, it still bit me. By the time I reached the top, I was going about 7 mph or so. Once I crested, I started grabbing gears for the downhill side and blazed it at 28 mph. Corned like Lance Armstrong on rails and kept right on going. being familiar with the course from last year, I knew where to attack and where to spin and it paid HUGE!!!! dividends this year. I got passed by the girl that was right behind me. She caught me in transition and we are friends from our MS cycling. I didn't see her again until I finished, but that's okay. I was racing my race. It always takes me about 6 miles or so to get the legs fulling going on the bike. I know it and I go at whatever pace/cadence I can and just keep spinning. (BTW, Dory from Finding Nemo was my friend today during the race. Just keep swimming, swimming swimming...... spinning, spinning, spinning........ walking, walking, walking....) I don't think the grin left my face the whole time. I was having fun and that's what it's all about. I burned up the bike course in a sizzling 33 minutes. WOW!!! Last year, i rode it in 44 minutes. HOLY CADENCE CHANGE BATMAN!!! All my time in the saddle this year made a HUGE difference.
I passed two people in the final 200 yds and run into transition, but was promptly passed back.
My run this year was all walk. I tore my patellar tendon in Ohio and did not know it until about 2 weeks ago. My orthopedist said I could still race as long as I walked. I did for the most part outside of jogging in transition and about 3 minutes out on the run course. This run course must not like me, because I fell... AGAIN!!! Last year, I tripped coming across a speed table and bit the dust, rolled and kept right on going. This year, I heard a runner coming behind me (we were on the sidewalk) and stepped into the grass to give her room as I was walking. As she passed me, I hit a hidden hole in the yard I was walking in, rolled my left ankle and down I went.
If you have ever wondered about what the atmosphere of a triathlon is, let me say this. The woman that passed me, came back, asked if I was okay, helped me to my feet and made sure I was okay. It took me a few minutes to get back up to my walk speed, but I was able to go. I walked up to the last 100 yds and jogged across the finish with my hands held high. I had done it again... I was a triathlete again. It's such an affirmation to hear those words when you cross the finish line.
Kara Prater, you are a triathlete. That is the first time I have heard those words at the end of a race. It made my day and the smile has yet to leave my face. I looked up my times from last year and realized the following.
I cut 11 minutes off my bike like for a 33 minute PB on this course.
I cut 3 minutes off my overall time for another PB. AND THAT WAS WALKING!!! Imagine what I can do next year.
Keep following, changes will be coming. I hope to train most of the winter and be ready for more tri's next year. Maybe even a few lbs lighter. WOULDN'T THAT BE AWESOME!!!