Well the good news is that I did Rage another year. I was able to eek out another 70.3.
The bad news is that I barely eeked it out! It wasn’t quiet up to last year’s performance (but just barely).
The ugly news is that I still have a lot of work to do before CDA. I need to work on something (read: EVERYTHING).
The number breakdown:
Right off the bat, I can see that I improved on something’s over last year but regressed on others.
The day started off anticlimactic. This was my first Rage that I planned on being alone the entire time. Usually the Mrs. comes out to cheer me on, but this year her schedule was full and she couldn’t get away. This was OK as I always feel so bad for dragging my family out to sit in the hot sun for 6-7 hours waiting for me to show up so that I can say “thanks” and then go to bed! Anyway, I started the morning off trying to make sure that I was on time for everything (and not still on the shore daydreaming when the swim starts like last time!). Of course, I failed miserably, and showed up to transition way later than I planned on. But in the end it worked out OK and I made it to the shore in time to see JT and Coach Jackie.
The swim started and I felt good and smooth, not fast but not awkward, which is a good thing because I had only had 1 or 2 OWS prior to the race. I was never able to latch on a set of feet but it didn’t seem to matter. I felt all alone out there on the water and had to remind myself to keep pushing the pace and not relax into a mindless pace. Either I took a really wide line or the women’s’ 70.3 start was delayed because I wasn’t passed by any women until almost the final 3rd of the swim. Just after that we joined in with the sprint people and I lost a lot time to beginner swimmers who were struggling out there. I had set my Garmin to yell at me if my paced dropped below a certain level and prior to joining the sprint, my watch had only gone off once (which is good!). Once we joined the sprint, it went off probably 5 times. This means to me that I slowed down a lot for the final part of the swim.
Still even with all the jumble of the sprint, I was out of the water and onto the shore by 39:xx. I think this a PR for me, but right after there is a long climb to Transition. It took me 2 minutes of running just to get to the timing mats! Along the way, I passed Stef, who was out cheering people on. As I passed her, I said the same thing I always seem to say “God, I am so tired!” I don’t know what it is but it seems that every time I see Stef, I am exhausted.
After T1, it was onto the bike.
The whole week leading up to Rage, I was feeling apprehensive. I have been doing a lot less training that last year and I just didn’t feel like my bike was up to the same par. Plus this year I didn’t have JohnnyTri out on the course chasing me down and pushing me forward.
I had talked to coach about my race plan and we agreed that I should just goes as hard as I could on the swim and bike and screw the run. I know I can run that far so what if I had no legs. It sounded great on paper, but unfortunately, my body just wasn’t following the plan. I just never could maintain that feeling of anguish on the bike that tells you that you are working it. Instead, my body fell back on getting through the mileage and keeping the pace nice and easy.
By the time I hit the halfway point I already knew that this was going to be slower than last year, but I was secretly hoping that my body was planning on a negative split. Actually, I did negatively split, but not enough. I was able to pass about 5-10 people on the way back, and most of that was on the hills as I think the heat and hills were starting to wear everyone else down.
I was even able to save a racer. She was having trouble getting water from the aid station people and kept dropping the water. I watched her as she (now gun shy) moved from the far outside of the road to the middle and then finally almost all the way across the street trying to get away/maintain a safe distance from the water boys. Predictably, they didn’t pass off the bottle well and it dropped and rolled away. Luckily I had a spare bottle on me and as I rode passed her, I handed it off to her. I am sure that I FREAKED her out giving her a bottle while I rode passed her but she was able to maintain a straight line and nobody crashed! I felt like a stud!
Onto the run, which started off pathetic. I have been working on progressive run (making every mile slightly faster than the last). I figured I would start it off slow and finish with blazing speed. But the second I hit the hill (and the first 4 miles is one big uphill climb), I knew I was in trouble.
I couldn’t maintain any sort of a run pace for more than 15-30 seconds and I was forced to walk almost the entire first 4 miles. It was during this time, that I saw the first and second women coming in. I got to see Hillary Biscay as she ran passed on her way to a strong second place finish!
I didn’t start to feel better and actually feel like I could run until trail evened out and joined up with the 6 tunnel path. Here it is all level and flat and hard crushed dirt. It was also about this time that I was surprised to be joined by the Mrs.! She was able to get her schedule cleared and decided to come out and join me for the final part of the run, plus she was able to get in her workout too!
She ran with me for a few miles and then waited for me to go to the turn around point and I would rejoin her. It was great having her there! It was such an uplifting moment to see her out there. I was glad she hadn’t joined me a few miles earlier as I was down in the dumps and would have been poor company, but I was so glad to have her then.
She ran with me all the way to the final mile. From there I was feeling good enough to (finally) put some speed on and blazed through the last mile, passing about 5 runners in the process. Of course it helps that it was mostly downhill, but I will take whatever I can get!
Now that the race is done, I have time to consider what went wrong and what went right. My swim seems to be going good, I need to work on OWS and on maintaining speed over long distance. The run needs some work. I need to do more hills and more bricks. Mainly, I see the most room for improvement on the bike. I really got work on speed. This year was one mile per hour slower than last year and made a big difference. If I had been able to maintain the same speed as last year, I would have had bettered my Rage time by 14 minutes.
Before the season started for me, my goal was to work on speed and then work on distance. Somewhere down the path, I got lost and now I need to improve by my speed and my endurance at the same time.
And I better hurry up too! Not much time left!