Saturday, August 28, 2010

Utah Half

I was so excited going into this race. One last race, a good long one, a good challenge, and one I'd done before. I knew I could do better this time than 3 years ago and unknowingly pregnant, but was excited to see how much better. I have more experience and know how to push myself even more now, a great base from IMSG, and am just stronger. I've worked hard on improving my bike strength and skills in the last year or two, and it's showing, so this was going to be fun to see.

I got on the road late Friday, got the kids to Grandma's, checked in at the Marriot (which was very cool, felt so official), and headed to my hubby's cousins house in Orem to sleep. Slept well and rose bright and early at 4am to eat and head out. Got to Utah Lake a little later than I'd like, and was concerned about getting a good spot so I jumped out of the car grabbed my bike and rode right over without bringing anything else. Turns out I didn't really need to go that fast, but oh well.
Now starts my being too casual in transition before the race and hustle to the start while forgetting a few things. After placing my bag in the car quite a distance from transition, and getting ready to grab the wetsuit and walk down, I realize I left my cap and goggle in the car. Ran back over barefoot to get them, and luckily remembered to get my timing chip too. I realized on the way over though, that I do really like getting to a race more than 90 minutes before the start. I forgot to put my wedding ring away (slips off my finger swimming), so I ran it over to my friend Grant who was volunteering to hold onto. Then I realize I didn't put on any Chamois Butt'r, a very nice and pretty essential butt cream basically. Helps to reduce friction in the saddle. Figured I could do without it though, just wouldn't be as comfortable (and it wasn't). Then the last thing I realize I forgot was to put my Garmin I took special attention to charging the night before, on my bike so it's alerts can tell me when to take my nutrition. VERY important to me. I can't just take it when I feel like it, it needs to be every 15 minutes, that's what works for me. I did happen to have my sweet cheap Powertri stopwatch style watch in transition though, so that'd have to do. Onto the race.
That's me in the pink cap. Thanks for the cool swim pics Craig!

1.2 mile Swim- 36:16
, 5th woman. A good swim! The water felt great, and a sleeveless wetsuit was for sure the way to go for me. It is SO very murky though, hard to get used to seeing grey as soon as you put your eyes in the water. I had mostly open water, not too much contact or passing to deal with, and it was lovely to have the clouds covering the rising son. LOVED not having to deal with glare. My time is about 5 minutes slower than I predicted, so I'm sure it was long some, but not sure how much. My arms felt good, it was a nice swim. I have some shoulder/tricep thing starting to flare up in the right arm, so it's good I'll have some time to give it off. Getting out was tricky with a super slippery boat ramp, but they had 4 guys lined up in the water to help pull you out.
T1- 1:12, 1st woman. Easy peasy, not much to write about. Got the wetsuit off easy and remembered to grab the Powertri watch. Mounted well.
Thank you Chris for the great as always bike pics!
56 mile Bike - 2:42.44, 20.6mph avg, 6th woman. Rode comfortably hard. Never huffing and puffing like I am sometimes with sprints or olympics, but riding at a good pace. Nutrition went down well, I was pleased I was able to watch the time on the watch for when I'd need nutrition, but not be staring at it the whole time. The legs were tired at times, but cooperated. The winds were pretty good to me, but were pretty hard to deal with heading south back from the turn around. That was a tough 3 mile or so stretch. After that it was a manageable crosswind or a tail wind. Oh and the rest of the weather was great except for a 2 minute or so long microburst that left us all soaked and primed for all the dirt on the road. Thankfully it stopped. I was sure my running shoes and socks would be soaked, but thankfully were only a little damp. Oh but hey, the good thing about wet roads? Shows you where every pothole is! Which is especially helpful for any of you that have ridden near West Mountain.

Now for my issues on the bike. Man I hate having to learn during important times like races. I am not using these as crutches for my overall time or place at all, just telling you about my day. I wasn't too upset about these at the time, or now.
#1 About mile 15 we went over a bump that didn't seem that big to me, but my bike thought otherwise and my flask went flying off the holder on my frame onto the road. Dang it! Besides the fact that it's littering, I couldn't just leave those 300 necessary calories behind. I thought for 2 seconds about taking the HEED on the course, but it wouldn't be concentrated enough like the EFS Liquid Shot, and I'd be drinking a gallon to get the same calories. So I turned around and tried not to get run over while I grabbed it. Probably cost me 30 seconds.
#2 Construction surprised the race director with 2 weeks to go before the race, so we had to use a different way over the freeway....a bigger overpass that we couldn't close. That meant if you come to a stoplight, you have to stop. And there were volunteers there to make sure you did. I mean I guess they'd stop you, or at least write your number down. Anyway, guess who had to stop at 3? That would be me. Stopped at one on the way out, and 2 on the way back. Can I just say how un-natural it feels to stop during a race and just stand there?? It's so weird and so very frustrating. Lights probably cost me 3 minutes total.
#3 At the last light it stopped a girl ahead of me who I really needed to keep up with - sweet!!! Yeah, until I put my foot up to get ready to push the pedal down on the green light and my chain fell off - CRAP! No time to fix it before the light turned red again, so I had to run across the 3 lane street in my bike shoes while everyone rode on to fix the chain. Probably cost me 90 seconds.
#4 Coming into T2 one of my shoes fell off my bike - DOH! I asked someone to throw it, but the volunteer told everyone not to touch it (could be perceived as outside assistance, I didn't think so though since I didn't need it for the run, I just didn't want to lose it). I started to go after it, but realized I would mess my timing up if I went over the mats again so just said "screw it", literally, out loud. Not the best sportsmanship, I know. Someone did end up brining it in though. Which they didn't have to, I just wanted it at least on the grass, I'd find it later.
#5 I really missed that Chamois Butt'r......

....nevertheless! I was having a good time throughout the swim and bike, see that smile? PROOF!

T2 - 1:08
, 1st woman. Not bad for taking 10 or so seconds deciding what to do about my shoe. Chose to wear socks today, it's kind of an obvious decision in such a long run. Not a big deal, but not something I'd typically take the time to do. Racetri put out lots of bike racks today, and it was really nice not to be crowded in.

13.1 mile Run- 1:42.23, 7:49 avg, 3rd woman (1st OV ran a 1:39, a gal around 10th OV ran a 1:30....really?? Props to her!) Oh man, those first 5 miles, I hated it. My legs were still tired from Hobblecreek, and I was just not in the mood to run. It seemed hot and hard and I was sure I'd walk. I was also sure the miles would go so slowly. Fortunately after about mile 6 things perked up a bit. My right foot hurt again (not where the fracture was last year, near the ball of my foot was and has been achy), but other that that I was ok. Thank goodness my stomach hung in there, nothing worse than running with an angry stomach. I took both flasks with me, had Liquid Shot in one, and would fill the other with water to use as spare in between aid stations. So glad I did because there were points where they were spaced a little far, or my mouth was dry, or I had to take the LS away from a station. I realized about mile 5 that I may have been grumpy because I was running 7 min miles. Didn't mean to, really wanted to keep it at 8, but that's hard without mile markers every mile and without a Garmin. I think that's my body's go-to race pace. I was pleased to have that much time in the bank and to be able to slow down a little though. The last 6 miles went better. I was building a lead on the women behind me who had me a little worried early on, and was creeping up a little on the woman in front of me. The running wasn't exactly easy, but was at least steady now.
* Funny thought about this course. There are 2 out and back sections, and one loop and you repeat all of that twice. I love out and back's so you can see your competition, and it was fun seeing so many people I knew on the out and backs, but kind of hard too because I get into my zone when things get tough and it was hard to feel like I had to say hi and wave to everyone I knew everytime we passed. I loved seeing them and giving a thumbs up, it was just distracting occasionally. THANK YOU to all my friend and fellow racers for saying anything to me and cheering though, I don't want to sound ungrateful AT ALL! I really do appreciate it!*
So I was running happy the last 4 or so miles now because I realized I was for sure safe in 3rd and would be able to end my season having placed overall in every triathlon I did (save IMSG that's a little different). Imagine my surprise when I approached the finish line and heard "Congratulations to the 4th place woman".........Wait, what??

Yeah. 4th. My first thought was that they were wrong and one was a relay or something. I NEVER saw another woman and had plenty of opportunities, or I wouldn't have thought I was in 3rd. But nope, there really were 3 ahead of me. I guess I may have missed the lady who finished in second because she went the wrong way on the course the first time around leaving off the first out and back. She ran it twice in a row on the 2nd time to make up for it I guess. I hope she covered all the ground to get from the first out and back to the second. I'm not going to play mental games thinking she didn't though. The race ended as it did. And yes, I was super disappointed (still am just a little). I really let it ruin my otherwise basically spot on race.
I was under the bike and run times I wanted by 3 minutes each. Those 3 minutes I was over the 5 hours I could have made up not having to stop at lights. Oh and I dropped 45 or so minutes off 3 years ago. But still, not getting to place overall in my last race for a while was really hard. I'm not ungrateful for an age group spot, I realize so very many people want and strive for that, but that's not what's important to me right now. I hope people will understand that. I'm challenging and expecting of myself something different. I think I'm capable of overall, have achieved it in every race except this one, and don't really want to hear that "well maybe you're just meant for shorter stuff", or "it's good to still have things/people to work toward" or what not. I could have placed overall, I'm capable of it, there were just 3 other women there today that were too. At least we were all within 5 minutes of each other. I don't think I'm all that, that I should be winning every race. You betcha there are some great talented women out there to compete with! That's good. I wouldn't want to win every race because there wasn't competition there for overall. All that said, yes, I'm still bumed, but I think mostly because I thought I was in 3rd the whole time. Several people told me that, and that's what I saw. No one told me I was in 4th. It was just hard to be surprised like that. Thank you to those friends that let me whine about it after the race. It was hard not having my family there, so thanks for being a shoulder for me.

I'm tired of not letting myself be happy for the great things I've been able to do racing wise this year. I have raced more than I ever have, and have raced among and gained friendships with some really great ladies (and guys), and I've done really great! It is so exciting, really it is! But I manage to find some reason not to get excited or to find something to be disappointed in. That can't happen. I should be over the moon with how I've done this year. So I think it's time for a break.
Thank you thank you thank you to all the great friends and fans (meaning you haven't come talked to me yet - do it!) that I have out there who are so kind and supportive, and to my family. I'm so fortunate to have all of you! Thank you to Powertri too, whom without, I could not have raced as much as I have.Their sponsorship has also helped me make so many new friends, being more visible in the Triathlon community. I really am grateful for this life. I'm grateful for a strong healthy body, for all the training and racing experiences I've had this year, and for the many more I look forward to in the future!


Mrs. Miller said...

Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts about the Utah Half. I am so sorry that I was a part of any of your sadness. It was a stressful, sad situation for me as well. The volunteer misled me at the first water station on the run. I assure you that I absolutely ran the entire 13.1 miles. I probably did more in the confusion. As soon as I realized my mistake on the second loop, my heart sunk, and I absolutely fixed it not knowing what the outcome would be. I am surprised that people were telling you that you were in third. They told me I was in first and then second after Anne passed me. Again I am so sorry for causing any mental confusion or disappointment. I was so excited to find your blog from Ali Black's page. I love reading about other triathletes experiences. Thanks again for sharing.

Leslie said...

Ah Lynette, I'm glad you found my blog, and I'm sorry for your stress too! I really have no hard feelings toward you at all, you raced a great race (including a super fast swim! Maybe one of the reasons I didn't see you for sure on the bike turn around) and it wasn't your fault I came in 4th. Like I said in the post, there were just 3 other women capable of overall Saturday. And I believe you did the whole 13.1 now too, as I was concerned you headed directly right from transition and didn't hit that first aid station before missing the jetty.

I know I was told I was in 3rd by the guy with the clipboard at the north/south trail turnaround, and it was difficult knowing who was on what loop on the second loop because all the racers were mixed now with first loop runners. All is well, I'm sorry you had that kind of stress - NEVER what an athlete wants. Congrats to you again on a great race and lets keep in touch!

The life of a Triathlete said...

Leslie, like always you kicked butt. Can't wait to see you next year.

Paul said...

Leslie, Thank you for the report, I love seeing how you experts view the races and analyze the details. I'm sorry for your race frustrations. Delays that are out of our control are sooo frustrating! What you do is so un-reachable by most of us; knowing that our frustrations and challenges are not unique gives us hope and encouragement.

Stephanie said...

Don't worry sis, I know exactly the frustration you must have been feeling. We are perfectionists and nothing but our best expectation will do, right?
I hope you know I love looking at these posts. It seriously makes me feel like a proud mother to see you succeed like this!

Michelle and Justin said...

You did great Leslie! It sounds like you need a break. You have been racing like crazy and excelling in everything. Way to go this year. I'm sure I'll see you out there next season ;-)

Sara said...

Sorry that comments like mine on FB weren't what you wanted to hear after your race. Of course, from the original brief post, I didn't know your whole situation, with the delays at stoplights, and not knowing about the other racer ahead and such. I know that even if you had placed OV, you would still have more to reach for, because you never settle---and you have jumped up and accomplished soo much, especially this season.