Yesterday was the first race, officially, of the 2007 season. Held at White Sands Missel Range, it's the second time I've done this race, a reverse tri, my favorite kind. We started out about 8:15, and it was in the mid to upper 30's. On the 5K run I was hanging with 3-time Athena champ Karen for a while, which is pretty astonishing in itself because I've NEVER been able to do that. After a while, I took off and did some strides, finishing just ahead of her on the run. My overall pace was around 10:30, pretty good for me, considering how cold it was. I was focused on a girl and her boyfriend, whom Karen had nicknamed "Pinkass" since she appeared to be running in pajama bottoms with the word, PINK emblazoned on the butt. I passed them once and then they passed me, toward the end of the run. I've discovered that if I find someone who is usually a bit faster than I am, I can push myself to stay with them. That's my new strategy.
I spent the rest of the race imagining Karen closing in on me. Just over my shoulder. Whatsat? Is that her breathing?
I headed out on what I thought was a 20K bike. I THOUGHT it was 20K. I had asked Sweet Baboo the night before and he said, "I think it's 20k." We've done 19 races in this series, so we've kind of lost track of how long each one is. yeah, I know. I should have asked. Or looked at my T-shirt.
In any case it was the first time I'd been on my bike since Soma, and it felt really strange. There are two things about this bike course that are annoying; first, there's a part of it that goes uphill, and you feel it, but it doesn't really look like it's going uphill because there are rolling hills around you and mountains and stuff; all you know is that you're looking down at your speedometer and you're going something like 11 or 12 mph and giving it all you've got in a low gear going nowhere. Second, there is lots of frost heaving on this road, so there are jarring bumps at pretty regularly spaced intervals that suck the energy right out of you. However, there's usually a refreshing lack of wind that you don't get the rest of the year.
The title of today's post comes from the fact that, for some reason, some people don't read up on triathlon before doing one. This race attracts a lot of newbies (there were about 170 people there, total) and they were all over the road. "On your left!" You might shout. Followed by "Well, on your right, I guess" for the person who was riding along the yellow line. One racer was riding over into the oncoming lane.
My biggest criticism about this race is that, since it's not a USAT santioned event, nobody gets penalized for this kind of stupid behavior. For instance, Pinkass and her boyfriend rode side-by-side during the entire bike split, taking up the entire lane. I know this because I had to pass them, twice. "Please ride to the right, so that you can be passed on the left" I said, as nicely as possible when I went by, but they ignored me." I passed Pinkass twice, having to cross the yellow line to do it once, and she passed me twice, toward the end of the bike.
The whole time, of course, I imagined that Karen was right behind me, ready to pass me at any second. I was determined not to look behind me, trying to stick to the saying, "the race is ahead of you."
Of course, the bike was NOT 20K. At 15K I started hammering away, thinking I only had about 3 miles to go. A cruel, cruel misconception. I passed 20K sign, and my legs were getting tired, and I was still way out in the desert. I passed the 25K sign and people were starting their final sprints, passing me. By now, I was cursing freely. I was wearing out. I rolled into T2 at 30K, pretty much on momentum about 1:12 after I started. Yeah, I know. I did two half irons. This should be easy, right? Nope - I was breathless and tired when I hit that pool. and CRANKY.
I stripped down--tights, jacket, bolero, gloves, shoes--to my skinsuit and grabbled my goggles, and then tried desperately to get past a man-a spectator-who was meandering down the walkway to the pool sipping a cup of coffee. Finally, in desperation (God forgive me) I dropped my shoulder and KNOCKED him out of my way (I figure Nytro would appreciate that). There certain advantages in having extra mass "Sorry, excuse me," I muttered to the guy, feeling neither sorry nor like I needed excusing. In any case, Meandering Coffee Man gasped and stumbled off to the side, trying not to drop his coffee.
By the way, I learned that move from a childhood of playing "Red rover" in Alabama. Another advantage of having been a tomboy.
When I got to the pool, there were four or five people standing around not getting in, and I think it was because, the moment you stepped into the indoor pool area, your goggles fogged up. I didn't care, because I knew once I hit the pool they would clear, but meanwhile, here were these clowns blocking the entrence to the pool! I considered briefly the shoulder drop knock move again, but finally slid past a couple people and jumped in. I don't know what my swim split was for the 400 meters because I forgot to press the button on my watch, but I think it was about 9 or 10 minutes.
At the awards ceremony I was stunned when my name was called out, 3rd place, 40-44 females. Even more stunned when I found out that one the 2nd place winner had been put in the wrong age group, so I actually took 2nd. I wasn't expecting to win anything in this race. I had a couple of small goals that I was trying to meet, but I didn't expect any hardware out of it. Cool!
Results: 2nd place, female 40-44
Last year's time: 2:08
This year's time, 1:59
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