Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cotton Country 2006 (race report)

I got a new PR on my run today!
Okay, well, it's possible that most of us were just trying to outrun the mosquitoes. Turns out that this little town near Lubbuck gets all its annual precipitation in the same month, and then they have a mosquito bloom. I never saw such aggressive mosquitoes. They were biting me through my clothes. I was HAPPY to start running.

In any case, what exactly my PR is all depends on how long the run was. It was supposed to be a 5K. At one point during the run I saw a painted arrow that said, "TURN AROUND," but nobody else was turning around, and I'm damned if I'm going to be DQ'd for going off course, so I kept running. Some distance after that, I saw a volunteer who said, "turn around here".

During that time I had two people head of me that I'd picked to try and pass, using a kind of slow and steady increased pace, working on not blowing myself up by going out too fast. I found out that one of them was Shy-try girl. She didn't have an A on her calf like I did, so I didn't realize it was her until I heard a very quiet hello. I turned to see who it was, and then saw the T-shirt from the tri she did last weekend, so I said Hi back, but I could barely talk. I really was working hard just to pass anyone.

There was some other guy that was keeping pace with me for a while, really friendly, talking a mile a minute, but jeez, I can't talk when I'm running. I can barely breathe. eventually ran off, clearly bored with my failure to hold up my end of a conversation while running. I spent the rest of the race trying to catch up to him again, for no other reason that to see if I could. I never did catch up to him on the run, but I passed him on the bike later. He said, "Good job!"

Damn straight.
Hope you pedal as hard as you talk, talking boy.

It's ugly when I'm feeling competitive.

But back to the run. Every once in a while I'd think too myself, in a whining kind of thinking voice, "this is too fast. I can't keep this up. I'm breathless. this is too hard". I would then promptly punish myself for such whimpiness by doing 50 yards or so at a much faster pace. I did that a lot. I should do it again, because it made me fast.

Also, as it turns out, that the volunteer was in the wrong place. Oops! Estimates are that the run was actually 3.3 or 3.4 miles. If that's true, then my run pace was between 10:00 and 10:14. That's the fastest I've ever run before. EVAR.

Okay, okay, so it's not exactly blazing fast.
It's my PR, and I'm keeping it.

The twelve-mile out-and-back bike headed out in a 20 to 30 mph wind gusts. Whee. You know, there's nothing I like better than riding into a headwind. You?

Seriously, though, after I do the initial cursing of the almighty and asking myself why I do this crap, I've come to accept that if I race in West Texas and New Mexico in the spring and fall, I'm going to be battling some pretty bad winds.

This is one area in which I'm glad I was heavy. It was quite a chore heading into that wind. All I could hear was WHOOOOOSH. Every once in a while there would be a nice little cross gust, and I kept thinking, geeze, I'm glad I'm heavy. Any lighter and the bike would just start going sideways.

I was also thinking to myself, "Don't assume that there's going to be any wind behind you when you turn around". Wind on the plains in Texas is tricky. It may FEEL like you're heading into it, but then you turn around, and you're heading into it again. Wind in my face on the OUT and BACK? S$&T!

At the same time, I'm crawling along at what I'm sure is about 4 miles per hour, and the road is bumpy, so I'm trying to look at my back tire without crashing or running off the road, convinced that it must be low on air. I had the same sensation last year.

When I went around the turnaround, the world fell silent. Holy S&$T, I actually had a tail wind. --At this point, mind you, I had gone, oh, zero miles and was apparently standing still, according to my malfunctioning cyclometer.

In any case I headed back as fast as I could, and never felt any more wind. It was quiet and calm. It was actually surreal: I could see plants blowing almost sideways, and things blowing across the road, but I didn't feel anything.

I could also see Shy-tri girl on her way out, and how hard she was working. I wanted to shout some encouragement, something like, "it's AWESOME on the way back!" but I knew that all she could hear was WHOOOOSH.

I think my pool swim was pretty fast, but I'll never know. Not only does this triathlon not record splits, but I didn't push the watch buttons right. All I know is that my bike and swim together were 57 minutes, and my run was 34 minutes. My overall time was 1:34.

Afterwards, there are shower facitilites, and I tried a new trick: I used a spa exfoliating glove to take off the permanant marker number, and it works SPLENDIDLY. They fed the triathletes hamburgers with fixin's and chips. (I had the buns and fixins minus the burgers). The first place awards are little "trophies" that are cotton bales. Now I have two! (See above)

  1. A new PR for my run.
  2. Athena, first place.
  3. Although the run was longer, and the wind was gusting pretty heavily, I beat my time last year by 6 minutes.
  4. Last year, as I reported, I got my ass kicked by a man in the 65-70 age group, and I was dead last. I'm happy to report that this year I beat him. Yeah, I know. I'm pathetic, right?
  5. Sweet baboo got first place, Clydesdale. (And he was going to relax on this tri. Yeah, right.)
  6. This is a very cool, fast, very fun little sprint. The race director, DeeDee, is a hoot. And they feel you.
In other news, we stopped at REI and got new socks for next weeks REDMAN, as well as two boxes of Cliffbars, on sale.
My REDMAN Bib number, by the way, is 1254. I don't know if they'll "track" us online, but in case they do, you can track me by that number]

The socks --> are INJINJI socks.

Aside from looking very cool with sandals, they have individual compartments for each toe, to cut down on sweaty rubbing blistery stuff. Fellow Athena Helen says they are great for marathons and endurance runs, but I just can't wait to wear them to work some day with sandals and see if anyone notices. There's just something very nerdly cool about them.

Less than a week to the start of the REDMAN. By this time next week, I should be soaking, or sleeping. With my finishers medal around my neck. My motto is, "I'll take the damned medal off when my legs stop hurting."



  1. Congratulations! That's some great running!!

    I've heard a lot of folks adore those socks, but I've never tried them. Report later, please!!!

  2. Awesome report! You totally had me laughing (which I needed after the indignity of sitting 90 minutes in a waiting room for a f%^$#ng gynie appt). I've done a race with 20-30 mph headwinds, so I totally feel your pain there. Your description of going with the tailwind was so dead-on - I feel the same thing every time we're sailing with the wind. It totally weirds me out.


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