Things have been pretty routine since my last post. Training has gone well. I really believe that the short distance races/training has been good for me, both physically and mentally. It's been fun and challenging at the same time. Doing races every two weeks has made it a little tough on the training, but now that is done and I'm just training for my "A"race, olympic distance, 9/5.
I raced in La Porte, IN on Saturday. It was the 30th anniversary of the race. It's run by the YMCA and they do an excellent job. The swim is 1/4 mile (it always seems shorter to me); the bike is 12.4 miles; and the run is 3.3 miles (always seems longer to me). I've done the race 3 times in the past--once as a relay on the bike, and twice by myself. The last time I did it was 2006. It's on the same weekend as Steelhead (which I did in 2007), and last year I did Racine, which is the week before.
It was a beautiful day, weather-wise. I little breezy on the bike, but my mechanic decided early in the week that I would use my 404 and not my disk--turned out to be a smart decision. It started raining on the way home--that worked out great.
As I looked around before the start on the beach, I saw a lot of very fit-looking "older" ladies. Last time I finished 2nd in my age group. This year, I was hoping for a top 3 finish. Actually, I just planned to swim, bike and run as hard as I could and see what would happen.
I had a good swim, although I got caught (again) in a group of slower swimmers for the first half. Women 35 and older were the second to last wave--under 17 and relays were last. The waves started 5 minutes apart, so there really was no bunching up on the course. My swim was about a minute faster than last time, so that was good.
I knew my cyclometer wasn't working before the race. It konked out on me earlier in the week. Jerry thought he fixed it, but when we got to the race, he couldn't get it to work. (Turns out I needed a new battery, which is what I thought in the first place.) So....I had no idea how fast I was going, or where I was on the course. I only saw one marking at 10 miles. In the past the course was really crowded, and the first 4 miles was. But I passed a lot of people before the turn around (it's an out and back course), and the last half of the course was pretty open. Plus, I think we had the wind at our back. I wanted to equal or better my time of 34:28--ended up with 35:53 (20.7 mph). I seem to be stuck on that 20.7 number this year!
The run was HARD! My heart rate monitor kept going in and out (I need a new strap; both of mine are pretty warn). When it was working, I was above my AT, so I know I was working hard. However, I know my pace was not what I wanted. I really wanted to go under 9 min, but I ended up running 32:10 (9:37). BTW--each race my run time has gotten slower--YIKES!
My transitions were both about 1 minute, which is good for me. When I was done, I was convinced I left everything on the course. I couldn't have gone any faster. My final time was 1:18:10--43 seconds slower than last time--1:17:33. I was really hoping to break 1:17, but it didn't happen. I had no idea where I finished. I really don't worry about that. Jerry always goes to check the results.
I changed clothes and chatted with a nice young man (he finished 3d in 20-24, and his girlfriend finished 1st 20-24). We were racked across from each other, and talked for a little bit. Jerry came over and told me that I won my age group (by about 5 minutes).
Turns out I did pretty well--1/11 age group; 12/123 women; 6th place on the bike. As usual, my swim was about the middle of the pack, and my run--well, we won't talk about that. The race director announced this was the largest number of athletes in the 30 year history of the race.
I was really happy with my place, but would really like to improve on my times. I guess being three years older and a certain number of pounds heavier doesn't help. But you know, when I look at the women who finished after me, I definitely do not LOOK like I would be faster than them. It just goes to show that you can't always judge a triathlete by the way they look. I would love to look like them, but I would NOT like to give up my time.
I have to add that my RA has really been acting up. I think the weather has been a factor--the change in temp and rain makes it worse. Stress is also a huge factor, something I'm dealing with in a major way right now.
So, all in all, I was very happy with the day. I really didn't feel my best before or after the race. I'm hoping things will settle down and I can put it all together for my last race. It would be so cool if I could win my age group there too. I last did the race in 2007 and placed 1st in my age group. This will be my last USAT race in the 50-54 division. Next year I'll age up. The race is very competitive and has a challenging bike course. I did my PR for an olympic distance there in 2007, and had my fastest 40K bike time. We'll see--I can only do my best, and I will be happy if I do that.
Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend, particularly all my friends and acquaintances who kicked butt at Steelhead. Every single one of you are amazing, and should be very proud of such a great accomplishment. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend--there are probably a lot of races--I know the Naperville Sprint is Sunday. Have fun. I'll be at the Warren Dunes with Melissa's gym. I plan to bring my wetsuit and practice swimming in Lake Michigan while I'm there.
So until next time--God bless!