Do Something Epic.
The HB unit and I did something Epic November 11th. It was my first Olympic Distance Tri and his first Sprint Distance Tri. We both had injuries but they were experiences neither of us would trade.
To start the Olympic race day report I have to back up to Halloween, when I went out on my bike to do bridge repeats on the Sanibel Causeway with the team. (Another Epic Something since that bridge scares the crap out of me!) It was the best ride I had on the Causeway to date. And then…
While still clipped to my pedals.
It was the hardest and worst fall I had ever had. While there was no bruise on the outside, it hurt like hell on the inside. I took a few days off, sought some quick treatment, and went for my first run 4 days later – only to have to walk 4 miles home. This made me miserable and I knew the prognosis was not good. I suspected it was my IT Band, which has flared up before and would affect not only my run but also the bike. I sought Physical Therapy, which got me to the point where I ran 5 miles 3 days before the race. This was a positive thing and gave me some hope that I could complete the Olympic distance instead of bumping down to the Sprint Distance.
This pic was right after the fall. The smile is because you have to be like Timex “take a lickin’ and keep on tickin'”
So, now its race day. It was a rough morning, I felt rushed all the way up to the start and my head was not where I wanted it to be as I entered the water. I did my best to suck it up and get it together. I was nervous in general but also worked up about the fact that all the women racing the Olympic distance were swimming together. I knew this meant the field was small but it also meant those ridiculously competitive 40+ somethings would be in my swim wave. That I was not looking forward to. I tried to put it aside as the airhorn blew and I ran towards the water. After adjusting my wetsuit (Yes it was THAT cold) I found clean water along the outside of the masses and swam buoy to buoy. The first leg of the swim was the hardest, it was on an angle so every time I made it to a buoy, the mass of swimmers pushed outward toward me. This caused lots of pushing, shoving, swimming over people, oh and the punch to the ribs that I took. After rounding the first buoy, I decided to “race my own race” which meant not really worrying around all the people around me, kicking, punching, and pushing. I kicked it in a bit and it was a great swim, I even “chicked” a few of the guys in the wave in front of me, as Chrissy Wellington would say. This was exactly what my ego needed because as I rounded the second buoy I was starting to struggle with the idea that “racing my own race” was a bit too slow. Turns out it wasn’t, it was exactly the speed I needed it to be. I exited the swim, ran to T1 and thankfully, I didn’t struggle too much with my wetsuit, it came off quickly and easily. But I did struggle with the decision to wear an extra layer on the bike. Ultimately I went without. I ran for what seemed like forever out of T1 and mounted my bike while staring down the causeway.
Me and coach at the start. Next years goal – to keep up with her.
It was a rough bike, it was more hilly than I was used to and windy. But I had practiced for the Causeways and had ridden in the nasty wind more times than I could count. I pushed my way through the ride and the soreness. I thought I was doing well and then towards the end more women than I could count passed me on the last causeway. This was where I had what the HB unit and I call a “suck it up Mayfield” moment. I stopped pedaling, squirmed around a bit in my saddle, ate a fig newton, slugged some nuun, and yelled in my head in my best HB impression “Suck it up Mayfield!” and pushed on. I wasn’t able to make up the distance between myself and all those women that passed me but I did ride faster into T2.
Now it was on to the run. The part I had dreaded for the past week and a half. The only thing that made it a little bit better, was hearing HB’s name over the loud-speaker as he finished his race. I went bananas in transition as I put on my run shoes – everyone of course thought I was crazy. But that was ok, there was a good pep in my step as I headed out to run. The beginning of the run went well, there were stages across the run course with live music that helped immensely. I knew the words to almost every song and ran faster to the beat. I attacked the causeway uphill and down as was the plan and slowed down a little bit at mile 4 then it was back to attach the causeway and run it in. This is where I hit problems. Around Mile 5 I started to feel that nagging ‘new rubber band’ feeling in my knee and ache in my hip. I walked through the water station told my self to race my own race and keep moving forward. It worked for about a half mile, when my left knee stopped bending so no matter how hard I tried to remember all the drills I had been over with coach, I felt like I was dragging my left leg. So I executed plan B – the run/walk ending.
This did not make me happy.
It actually made me extremely sad. I felt like everything I had worked for since August went down the drain and of course I started to tear up. This is where I heard “Pick up Mayfield” it was my second “suck it up Mayfield” moment of the day but this time HB was there to save me. He had found an electrical utility box to stand on and was searching for me to come in to the finish. I ran as far as I could, which was half of the distance I had left. In between HB ran ahead and let my teammates know I was coming and they started cheering as loud as possible. I of course ran a bit faster, which didn’t help the situation. I walked a bit before I rounded the corner to the finish chute and ran it in as best I could. The clock read 3:30.
Team Physiofit – I LOVE these ladies. They keep me going. Can’t wait to rejoin them on the road and in the pool.
My finishing time of 3 and a half hours was a relief. Before falling off my bike I wanted to finish in under 3 hours. I knew this was a stretch but I had increased my speed on the bike and the run and I knew I could kick the swim. After I fell, I adjusted my hopes a bit and wanted to finish in under 3:30, which ultimately according to my timing chip, I did. My official time was 3:22, which under the circumstances I am calling a success. I checked my times and such a few hours later and was absolutely elated to see that I came in 9th in my age group. I even commented to HB, that it just didn’t make sense I was so slow how could I come in 9th. Well, I was brought back to Earth the next day when I checked the rankings of my age group. Turns out I was 9th out of the 9 women that were in my age group. That feeling sucked! But I finished so I am not dwelling on it. I will do another Olympic race but only after getting healthy. That means some time off and a few visits to a Physical Therapist. What will I do in the mean time? Learn about this thing they call down time while planning the next Epic Shit.