I don’t know what happened. Honestly.
Chicken Face and I arrived at the start at 6:30 a.m. (which felt like 5:30 – thanks for nothing daylight savings time), and once I took a quick look around, my gut started to sink. Fast-looking bikes. Aero helmets. Disc wheels. Oh man, was I in over my head?
I took a look around and tried to copy as many people as I could: this is how you hang your bike up, this is where you put your helmet, this is how you lay out your stuff. My measly pile of gloves, shoes and a water bottle looked pathetic next to everyone else who had towels laid out (wait, I thought there wasn’t a swim?) and boat loads of unnecessary crap. People were warming up around the lot and exuding some serious parking lot intimidation.
I used my old bike for the race – my new baby and I still need to get better acquainted.
Once 7:30 rolled around I toed the start line, which was actually just a road hump, with the following strategy in mind (thanks, Coach Paul):
First Run (10k): Pace myself somewhere between a 10k and half marathon pace, but DO NOT go my full 10k pace or I’d surely blow up. Fueling should consist of one gel half way through the race.
Bike (40k): Give it my all. Given that this is my first bike race, Coach Paul said to just lay it all on the line to see how I feel. However, I was admonished to NOT go over heart rate zone 4 or that too would result in blowing up on the last run. Fueling should consist of hydration and 200 calories.
Last Run (5k): I obviously would not be able to go my regular 10k pace, but give it a good effort. No fueling should be needed.
Once the announcer said, “Oh, um, GO!” I found my spot in the pack with two other females ahead of me. I kept looking at my watch and thinking, “Oh god, I’m going too fast.” But the funny thing was, I felt slow and in control. Were the stars aligning? When the mile marker passed and all of our watches went off I told the other women, “Well, at least all of our watches are in sync.” They didn’t comment back. Ok then, never mind.
The 10k was two loops and I felt solid, fast, easy and strong. Chicken Face cheered me on as I entered the transition and he starting shouting at me, “Shoes first, gloves last!” I smiled, heeded his advice and starting yelling, “I have no idea how to transition!” Lets just say that my transitions need some serious work as all of the women zoomed past me.
The 40k ride consisted of five, yes five, loops. Each loop included a killer hill climb that I saw some people walking their bikes on, but I vowed never to dismount. The five loops wasn’t ideal, but I did get to see Chicken Face multiple times and shout out to him, smile for the camera, and get that extra boost of confidence.
Don’t worry, I know my outfit is super sexy and oh-so-official. Pink compression socks, orange arm warmers, and a pirate jersey that is far too short for my torso.
Throughout the entire ride, I never looked at my watch (I don’t know why) nor did I know what speed I was going. I just rode. I also tried to drink my prescribed 200 calories worth of hydration, but unfortunately, grabbing the water bottle isn’t my strong suit and I opted for 200 calories worth of my back-up: margarita flavored ClifBloks.
Despite the screeching noise my bike was making (which I chose to ignore), the entire ride was pretty seamless. Well, that is until I took a turn to sharp and started to veer off the road.
“SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!”
Instead of completely crashing, I spared my life and took out a cone instead, immediately clipping out.
“Well, that was embarrassing,” I thought. Then I went on my merry way.
As I made my way back into the final transition, Chicken Face was there to greet me (well, outside of the fence) and once again, I continued to loathe my transition skills and having to untie and tie back up my shoes. My heart rate monitor hadn’t stayed in place the entire ride and finally I shouted, “This thing is annoying as shit!” (Yes, I curse a lot). A volunteer was advising me to just forget it and go, but I had to rip it off and throw it in the transition area. I’ve yet to determine if I’ve found it again.
Coach Paul advised taking short steps as I ease into this next run, so I did just that. Naturally, my legs felt like Jell-O, but I just stayed calm and ran where my body felt comfortable. When I looked down at my watch, once again I thought, “What the hell?!”
As we entered the last stretch, my shoe came untied and there was no way that I was going to stop and fix it. I just hustled in and strangely, felt absolutely amazing.
1st in my age group, 5th female overall (out of 124 females)
Who is this person and what have you done with Page? Here’s how the splits broke down:
10k: 43:53 / 7:03 avg. pace (3rd female)
25k: 1:22:35 / 18.05 mph (11th female)
5k: 21:38 / 6:57 avg. pace (1st female)
While it was a small race, I still came away shocked. I was so incredibly nervous, but like Coach Paul said, I just need to trust in my training. I’m excited to see what the rest of this year will bring.