This is the first race in my comeback that I’m not satisfied with. The venue was perfect, the race organization was flawless and the weather was ideal. I finished 8th place in a very competitive race. But my performance was totally flat. I went through the motions, but lacked the spark needed to do something great. Looking back, I took on too much non-race focused stuff leading up to the race. It was hard not to – just this week I turned the corner back into normal energy levels. Anyone who’s gone through this can relate: while pregnant all of your energy is zapped for months on end. Then you have the baby and what little energy you have goes right into taking care of a newborn. Eventually you start coming around and have start having some good, productive days. And finally, one day you feel like Superwoman. This energy overload hit me this week (7 long months post-baby, thank you very much) – nothing hurt, I was working out three times a day, running around doing lots of non-race stuff and checking things off my to do list that had been there forever. I’ve realized that I’m still human and that resting, both physically and mentally, going into a race is key. This shows that I’m out of practice! As I look back on the race, it turns out there are a bunch of other lessons I need to relearn now that I’m back to racing.
The swim What I’m most annoyed by was the way I swam and the way I wasn’t able to recover from it. The race was a beach start and I wasn’t aggressive running into the water. This is how I broke my toe last February and I only done this once since then. By the time I started swimming I was lost in the shuffle and it took me awhile to figure out where the leaders were. I was several yards back and wasn’t even sure where the course was and weather we were on it. When I got out of the water, I had no idea what place I was in, especially since at that point we were mixed up with athletes from the half ironman race and with pro guys that we caught up to. Then there was a long run out of transition which caused me to lose time to the people who were in front of me (turns out there were a bunch). REMINDER: Take charge in the swim and be aware of your surroundings.
The Bike One thing I need to work on is going hard on the bike from the start. It helps in these things to go out hard, catch up to the group ahead of you and then maybe back off the pace a little. It took me a few minutes to get going and I actually got passed by three people at the beginning of the bike, one of them being Laurel. Once I got going, I broke away and tried to catch whoever was in front of me (I still had no idea who was out there). I rode by myself for several miles, passing by Lauren G., who was on the side of the road waiting out a penalty. At about mile 18, Lauren caught up to me and we rode the rest of the way almost side by side. There was some unintentional close riding (ie, against the rules), which made me very, very nervous because I didn’t want to be the next one to serve a penalty. REMINDER: Get the bike and go HARD!
The Run I finished the bike in 4th place, about 1 minute down from the leaders. Unfortunately, I wasn’t about to hold this position and got passed by 3 people. Nothing was clicking. Like I mentioned earlier, it just felt flat. Blah. Not moving fast at all and my back hurt. This baffles me because I’m running pain-free and I’m lighter than I’ll ever be (which is also baffling and due to no effort on my part). When I got home from the race, I explained to SJ that I was disappointed by this and he casually reminded me that I’ve only run one mile under six minute pace, so how did I expect to run a 10k at that pace. He’s always good for telling me like it is. And he’s right. I’ve just hit my weekly mileage high this week – all of 23 miles. Even though I got passed in the last half mile by 2 people, I finished strong and carried Amy across the finish line. REMINDER: even if you start the run hurting, keep pushing.
It takes a lot of nerve to enter a race full of fit women gearing up for the championship season. I was definitely outclassed yesterday and it was an honor just to stand on the podium (holding Amy!) with these fast ladies. And I’m going to give myself some credit for at least being a factor in the race for part of it. Not getting the best out of myself doesn’t make me feel good, but it does get me fired up for the next opportunity. That’ll be at in Branson, Missouri on September 22.