Monday, June 07, 2010

Mooseman Race Report or rolling with the punches

Which is safer riding or walking my bike through a thunderstorm? Well, the tires are rubber, so I'm not grounded when I'm riding, but I am soaked to the bone, so that probably doesn't matter. The frame is carbon, so it shouldn't be attracting the lightning right?

These are my thoughts as I pedaled my way to transition on Saturday morning for the Mooseman Olympic distance. The race did not go according to anyone's plans. We awoke to massive thunderstorms at 5am. At 7am they canceled the swim and postponed the race til 9, and I pedaled back to our little cabin. At this point, I felt very much on the fence as to whether or not I should bother with this race. The ride was cut down to 17 miles because a portion of the course had been washed out, and no swim at all meant my ability to practice my race routine was pretty much out the window. There's a part of me that wants to throw in the towel, promise myself I'll go for a ride later that day and go back to bed. And plenty of people did just that. But here I was, all ready to race with nowhere to go. I thought about my friend Natalia. You remember her, right? Well she's been struggling since the half marathon with injury. Her foot hurts to put weight on, the inside of her shin has been acting up, then on Friday the outside started to ache too, and she was just bummed. And rightfully so, being injured sucks. But despite this, she rallied to come out to Mooseman with the plan of making it a swim-bike for training purposes (she even left her sneaks at home, so she wouldn't be tempted.) I thought about Talia, and then I thought I've got two weeks til this half ironman, and giving up on things is not going to get me across the finish line.

Back out to the course we go! Screw my nutrition, let's use this race to get mentally prepped. Out on the bike things feel pretty good. I'm even holding a much faster pace than in practice. I make it up devil hill, passing two guys walking their bikes, and I pass my friend Audrey on the way to the turn on 3A. Feeling good. Then she passes me back. Hmm, this will never do. I know she will clobber me on the run, so I need to put in a good effort on the bike. I pass her back. OK, sweet, no wait, here she comes again. Goddammit, Audrey. I actually say this to her as I pass her one final time. Then I focus on racing, looking over my shoulder every now and then to see if she's making another move. I pull into transition cleanly.

After some brief confusion over some one else's bike being in my rack ("just put your bike anywhere," yells a volunteer - yes, that's what got us in this mess in the first place). I'm out on the run. My goal here is to mentally prep for the half. It's just about half of the distance of the run I'll face in two weeks, so let's treat it like that one. I go out thinking about, just turning my legs over, keeping good form, not pushing it. I start picking people off. I also start using the techniques I learned at the marathon to get water, and it works terrific. Audrey passes me on her way back, and I realize she passed me in transition. Boo. But I keep in mind this is about mental prep. At mile 5, I feel pretty good. Bit of a cramp in my right calf, but otherwise feeling good. It's time to ramp up this cruisey pace. I think about my tuesday night track practices. It's just four more laps. Go! I pick people off. A friend snaps this great picture as I run by the BTT tent.

I feel great. I look great (check out that left elbow, Ali - it is so far back!) I pass one guy, who had the gall to pass me back in the winding paths around transition that lead to the finish. On the last turn, I pull up next to him and say "Come on!", but he looks back and says "Go!" So I do, I pass him and sprint, yes, all out sprint to the finish. Damn. That felt great. I ran a 51 minute 10K. That's pretty close to my all time PR. This is making me think that my goal of breaking 50 minutes may be attainable this season if I do a 10K alone. Sweet.

The following day, Natalia and I volunteer in transition for the half ironman. I'll post more details later, but here's the super awesome t-shirt I got from the ironman tent. I mean really - it's math AND triathlon, has there ever been a more perfect t for me?


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