Sunday, December 10, 2006

Clowns to the left of me; jokers to the right (race report)

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



  1. Very impressive - sounds like a great race for you.

    As a tri newbie I am proud to say that I stayed to the right and didn't drink coffee on the course. I'll definitely have to learn that shoulder technique ;-)

  2. Great race. 2nd Place!! What a way to start the season.

  3. Oh, Coffee man? he was a spectator. What he was doing in the chute I have no idea, but I'm assuming it's a either a mistake he won't make again, or he thinks I'm a bitch.

  4. Nice job there former-athena-turned-age-grouper! Hardware for your first race of the season. That's setting yourself up for some astronomical goals this year, I can tell.

  5. Woohoo! Way to go. You have reminded me of a dufus on one course I did. Mr. Right, we'll call him, was passing and kept yelling at people to "Keep to the right! Keep to the right!" Then he got into the lead of the pack and was riding way out in the lane. Oaf-dee-doh! I had the pleasure of passing him on the right.

  6. Is it oaf-dee-doh now? I thought it was dee-dee-dee! :-)

  7. Way to go body-checking the guy with the coffee! You're my new hero :)

    And congrats on the second place finish in your age group. That's a great accomplishment!

    The cheese sauce is from Sarah Kramer's first book How it All Vegan, not Stepaniak's Uncheese Cookbook, though I'd be curious to see her take on vegan cheese sauce.

  8. congratulations!
    and well done on not injuring yourself tacking that idiot. Sheesh.
    BTW I found your post on nutrition strategies a HUGE help in a tri I did yesterday - so THANKS

  9. Pinkass... victoria secret sweatpants. Ugh-I see them all the time. Next time I do, I will surely crack up. Good job today.

  10. Congrats on knocking off a ton of time and maintaining your "cool" with ms. "pinkass"! We want to see the BLING! :-)

  11. I have issues. Here I sit, reading this totally cool race report (thank you so much for body-checking the clueless guy, btw, you fulfilled one of my fantasies from the only-clueless-people-race-here Danskin)... and all my OCD little brain can think about is 'why isn't this the last race of '06? How is it the first race of '07? (Husband keeps telling me they have medication for this...)

  12. I saw pickass girl and immediately wondered what you would post about her. I was also passed by some guy on the right with out a warning and almost crashed because he scared the holy crap out of me. Congrats on your first outing as an age grouper. You are looking good.



    Great job!

  14. pinkass not pickass. :-)

  15. well done!

    now I know that I have left out an essential part of my training - I am not prepared to take out obstacles such as coffee man!!


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 I'm no longer involved in multisport or endurance sports. I've started my own business, a psychotherapist specializing in anxiety d...