I did this race following a week of relative inactivity, largely due to the home improvement projects I had going on, which included hitting my head twice and falling down some stairs. The stair incident, I believe, has led to a bruised rib and a few choice knots in my left shoulder. Those were really my only “workouts”, so while this was supposed to be an “easy week” I’m not quite sure this is what Panther had in mind. (The 2nd head hitting incident occurred last night and dropped me to my knees it hurt so bad. I was fairly certain I’d have at least one black eye today, since impact was at the bridge of my nose, but aside from being sore, it’s not bad at all).
My pre-race brick yesterday included a 4 mile bike (which led to a flat tire at mile 3), and a 1 mile run. I concluded earlier in the week that swimming with a bruised rib is definitely not enjoyable because I had to bail on a swim workout on Tuesday after only about 400m at St. Stephens. I simply could not catch my breath, breathe to the left side, pull with my left arm, and I just wanted to puke from the pain. I also concluded during the 1 mile run yesterday that running is too jarring with an injury, and that running without swinging your left arm is simply impossible. Good news is that riding was okay. No pain = good times.
So, this morning, Dionn came over at 5:45am and we carpooled to New Braunfels. Parked, bodymarked, transition setup, run warmup, bike warmup – hold up! They would not let us out of transition with our bikes so I scratched that and made my way to the water. Swim warmup was about 7 minutes of trying to determine if I needed to change my breathing pattern since my left side is giving me such problems after the fall on the stairs. I ultimately concluded that it’s not a good idea to change this on race day, especially when you’ve had your pattern in place for over 4 years.
2nd bathroom stop, and I’m ready to go. Swim was okay, although I could feel myself being cautious in the water. I’m not super-fast in the water, anyway, so this was of little concern. Swim time = 7:58. Definitely not 300m, but I’ll take it since it was a minute faster than the 500m swim at Rogue Women's Tri last year. T1 = 1:26.
The first hill on the I-35 access road on the bike sucks. But once past that, it wasn’t so bad. I could not find a single person for the first 5 miles in my age group, but passed a lot from the 40-44 and 45-49 age groupers. Finally, at just past mile 5, I saw one girl. We played tag team a bit and I finally took her on the bike. We made some small talk about trying to beat each other, and I told her I expected she’d catch me on the run, and that in fact, I would be disappointed if I didn’t see her passing me. I mean, this is why we’re out there, right? Plus, it’s an all-women event and a total love fest. I passed one other age-grouper on the bike, but not another single one in sight. My average speed was 18.9 mph. Bike = 38:01. This was the fastest I have EVER raced, so I’m really proud of that. T2 to the run was 54 seconds.
So now the run. Wow. I’m not sure I could have disappointed myself more than on this run, but I have to keep remembering that I cannot swing my left arm or get a good deep breath at all right now. My Rookie mile pace was little over 8:30 and I really wanted to keep it near that or under, but sadly my pace was (eek!) 9:44. Needless to say, the girl I'd passed on the bike and challenged to catch me on the run, ran right by me in the muddy part of the run. Bless Darla - when we passed each other on the run she yelled "fire your guns" and I mustered every bit of what I had left, but it simply was not enough.
My overall time, even counting the extra 200m of swim was 1:07:51, and surprisingly, it was over a minute faster than my Rookie time. I ended up placing 11th in my age group. 2 of the top 3 in my age group are pro athlete, Ironman racers, which Dionn and I decided isn’t quite fair (there was no Elite category at the race today). Panther thinks they’re all juicing anyway (which isn’t exactly what he said, but I’ll just pretend that’s what I heard).
Team Shorey (aka my parents) came to the race to take photos and cheer me on. They were wearing their lightning bolt t-shirts (in honor of my nickname) and are always very supportive. They seem to really enjoy their own race strategy of mapping out all the places where they can find me during a race, and I see them all the time – before the swim, after the swim, transitions, on the bike, on the run, at the end. They are amazing!
After the race, Dionn and I drank 3 mimosas, promptly stepped in an ant pile while loading our bikes on my car, and then met Panther for post-race drinks back in Austin. We had entirely too much fun talking about many strange things before finally heading home.
So my lessons learned today:
- Don’t skip workouts, even if you have home improvement projects going on.
- Avoid falling down stairs as much as possible.
- Consider skipping a race if you’re injured.
- Beware of ant piles.
- Schedule a doctor’s/PT appointment as soon as possible.
- I need some good Karma.
The best news is that Dionn beat her nemesis, a girl we went to junior high with named Tracy Lord (yes, that’s really her name). Go D! I'm also very proud of Darla and Jane. They both finished strong and seemed to have a great time. I'm also proud of Barbara and Deann, past Ironmaniacs who were out there racing and looking good! It was also nice to see Panther, Buzz, Lulu and Mark E. out there volunteering.
By the way, Mark introduced me to a girl with a cast on her arm/wrist who was also volunteering. Apparently, she raced Ironman Coeur d'Alene and broke her arm getting kicked in the swim. She then proceeded to not only finish the swim, BUT THE ENTIRE RACE. Makes me feel like crap griping about my tiny little injury.