Saturday, August 12, 2006

For Len (Race Report)

This morning Husband and I got up at 3:30, ate, packed the car, and headed down to Socorro. Socorro, New Mexico is the home of the state's school of Mining and Technology. I found out that the big M that is spelled out in rocks on the mountain stands for Mining, and not for Mountain, as I'd previously supposed. It is very close to the VLA, the Very Large Array of radio telescopes that collect signals from outer space, and the Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge, where thousands of migrating birds hang out every fall. It is about a 90 minute drive from Albuquerque.

Mini-me rode with Smilin' Cody in his truck. Destination: the Socorro Chili Harvest Sprint Triathlon and Team championship.

This is a pretty good race to run. Not only was the race pack pretty great (head sweats running hat with race logo on it and water bottle) but it's well organized, with tons of enthusiastic volunteers yelling with cowbells. This race sold out somewhere well over 300. I started out my morning by eating 4 hours in advance of the race: a Boca Chick'n patty on an herb roll, and lots of Gatorade Rain, then around 6:30 I drank my Sobe No Fear drink.

The 400 m. swim is a time trial, with people being released every 10 seconds, fastest people first. You went by your race number. I was #248, so I had plenty of time to hang out and chat. The first swimmer took off at 7:30. this was my chance to use my new goggles that I bought from, and yes, I know you're not supposed to do anything new on race day, but I have to say, it turned out well. I LOVE these goggles. I may marry them. They didn't fog up, or leak, and are corrective. They're Speedo Optical goggles, and I didn't have to stop once to clear them. I just swam. I passed a couple people, but I know by now that they'll probably pass me back on the bike and/or run. Unfortunately, the bottom of the pool is pretty nasty-looking (they have a lot of rust in their water) but it was a joy nonetheless. I tend to perseverate about ANY little itch, twinge, or inconvenience, but with these goggles, as I said, I just swam.
Results: 9:38.

So, out of the water! I wish I had something witty and funny to report but this really was one of my smoother transitions. I shoved my wet feet into socks and shoes, and headed out onto the bike. Then, I started hearing this noise. Oh, crap, my wheel is crooked again.
I finally pulled a bit more to the right to pull over, just in time for some woman - I never looked at her to figure out who she might be, to scream, "On your right! I'm passing you on your right!"

Scared the crap out of me. WTF? "Why are you passing me on the right?" I yelled back; looking down, I could see her front wheel between me and the curb, about a foot away. "Get your bike back! You're not supposed to pass on the right!"
"Well, I didn't have any choice," she shot back.
Eh? Like hell. There was PLENTY of room to pass me on the left, like you're supposed to do, and besides, there were parked cars all on the right. Who tries to pass on the right? Oh, I get it. People who can't read USAT rules. Or don't care. Or have decided they'd LIKE to kiss the back end of parked cars. Whatever.
And the noise, well, it was just my race number rubbing on my tire. Crap. I lost about 3 or 4 minutes for this?

anyway, The bike starts with this really long low grade climb. There are lots of these all the way out on the 20K route, along with very bumpy roads. This is one of the best marked bike courses I've seen; volunteers and cones where posted at every turn, pointing which way to go. The interesting thing is the little marks next to bumpy areas. the whole road is kind of crappy and bumpy, so in all honesty, the whole road should have been covered with little yellow scriggly marks, but I sure appreciated the effort, particularly next to the manhole covers.
so, anyway, as I said, the whole way out is a series of low grade climbs with lots of turns, but you don't realize you're climbing, you just think you really suck at the moment on the bike. I passed a couple, and a couple of people passed me.
Results: 48 minutes.

The run was mostly flat and had water stations and enthusiastic cowbell-waving volunteers, along with a couple of folks wielding water hoses. Boy, it was hot, but all in all, I have to say that I think I had a pretty good run. I was working on "scurrying," because I've got too long a stride, which wastes energy. I was feeling pretty good, too. The first mile took about 12 minutes, but then the last 2.1 took less each, and by mile 2, I'd found my pace - for the first time I felt almost speedy, well at least for me. I wound up with a negative split, and about an 11:50 pace.

Now is the part where I explain the title of this post.
Len, aka "Pretzle" is a member of the NM Outlaws Triathlon Team. In May, at the Buffman and Squeaky Olympic distance tri, he came out of the swim complaining of dizziness. It just wouldn't go away. An ambulance ride and several days later, he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor on his medula. Pretty heavy stuff. I'm happy to report that after two surgeries, all of it has been removed, and he's in recovery, and planning to do Boston next spring. Meanwhile, however, the Outlaws had decided they wanted a particularly good showing at the NM Team Championship at this triathlon, to "win it for Len" So, toward the last part of the run a race volunteer told me I had 20 more yards to go, so I kicked it and tried to have a nice, strong finish, and came it - the last Outlaw, I think - but finished I was.

Now, out of a field of 17 Athenas, I wouldn't have expected to do too well, even given that it was divided into under 40 and Master's Athenas, but I was surprised to receive 3rd place, Master's Athena. I'll take a picture of the little plaque and post it later. Right now, I'm pretty tired.

Mini-me joined and started running with the Cross Country team at his high school this week, and he beat me by 14 minutes, winning third place in his age division. Awesome! Husband, meanwhile, won 1st place Clydesdale, overall, and that with a pulled calf muscle.

By the way, the NM Outlaws won the team championship. There were 21 Outlaws there, most of whom had first place finishes in their age divisions.
This one's for you, Len! We're sending you the trophy so that you can hold onto it this year, and come back and help us defend it in '07.

Afterwards, there were grapes, bananas, bagels, pretzles, coffee, and Lemon Gelato - wow. There was probably more, but there's only so much I can eat after a race, and besides, I wanted to go watch the kiddie triathlon that they have while you're waiting for the last runners to come in and results to be compiled.

Results: 3rd place, Athena Masters (Husband placed 1st Clydesdale, Smilin' cody got 3rd place in the under-40's Clydesdales, and Mini-me took third third age 15-17.)
Funky smell rating: :-)
No problems!
Course markings: A+, you could not get lost on this course.
Extra credit: Really happy volunteers that are super-friendly, waved cowbells, and squirted you with a water hose, and the kids tri that was held while you cooled off and waited for results.
Recommendations: The water is a bit warm, so if you really need cold water, bring your own ice; make sure your tires are in good shape because the road gets bumpy, and bring the kids, because they get their very own race after you're done, and get a finisher's medal.

1 comment:

  1. It was pretty fun, wasn't it? I had fun. I think the free coffee from Manzanares was a big plus!


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