Monday, March 14, 2011

Non-FAQs Race Report

Q. What race did you do?
A: The Shamrock St. Patrick’s Day Duathlon and 5k in Hampstead, Maryland.

Q: Yeah, so that narrows it down to two races. What race did you do?
A: The Shamrock St. Patrick’s Day Duathlon in Hampstead, Maryland.

Q: What were the distances?
A: Until the night before the race I thought that the distances were a 2.5-mile run, a 10-mile bike and a 2.5-mile run. I also thought that the course would be relatively flat. I thought I’d be done in an hour ten, an hour fifteen if my run legs didn’t show up for the second run. And then my cousin, who we stayed with for the weekend, informed me that it was in fact a 15-mile, hilly bike. Bill informed me it had categorized climbs. Fantastic, considering I’ve ridden my road bike once outside since October and three times on the trainer ever.

Q: What words came out of your mouth when you learned about the mileage and climbs?
A: Aw, shucks. Whoopsie-daisy. Gee whiz, dawg.

Q: Are you happy about daylight savings time?
A: Generally, yes. Except not when it’s the night before a race that starts at 7:30 a.m. In that case I’d rather it get dark out at 3 p.m. every day for the rest of the year.

Q: What were you thinking?
A: I wanted to run a 7:00 pace for the five miles of running and, once I realized that the bike was actually 15 hilly miles, finish the ride in less than an hour for a total of 1:35:00. Initially I expected Bill and I to be the only ones at the race – a battle of two. Then we thought about it and realized that the field would likely not be crazy small and would, in fact, likely be competitive. Maryland seems to have a fairly active tri scene, and after another cold, snowy winter there were likely to be a ton of competitive triathletes eager for the first race of the season after months stuck on trainers, treadmills and indoor pools.

Q: What did you see when you arrived in transition?
A: Expensive wheels. Lots of expensive wheels. The bike next to me cost more than my last car. The wheelset was more than two months of our mortgage. And it wasn’t even the nicest bike on the racks. People eyed each other up and seemed to be taking the race more seriously than I’ve taken any of mine. Except the lady wearing a green feather boa on top of her race kit. She was sort of awesome.

Q: So are you ever going to discuss the actual race?
A: Ok.
The race director had us gather ‘round, told us nothing too useful, blew a whistle and we were off for a lap around a hilly parking lot before running up a hill through a neighborhood, around a cone and back to transition. I ran hard but not as hard as I could, reminding myself that the bike was probably going to make me grumpy.
Bill had a more eventful run than I did – a 5k started simultaneously and that course went past the duathlon course and the first 10 runners apparently forgot to turn around. I saw Bill run past the turnaround but he was too far ahead of me already for me to do anything about it. They figured it out at some point as Bill flew past me about 5 minutes later, simultaneously cussing and zooming. I caught up to him in transition but he sped out before I even had my shoes on.

A brief downhill started the bike, followed by a false flat and then hills. And also hills. And then hills. Followed by hills. And farms. I sucked amazingly at the uphills. Got passed by at least one person on just about every major climb. I felt like I was going as hard as I could most of the time, too. I held my own on the downhills though and was sort of excited to peek at my maximum speed on one of the climbs and see 42 miles per hour. That’s fast for me. Not necessarily safe for me though.

The only people I passed on the bike were two guys who didn’t manage to dodge the approximately 8 trillion potholes sprayed over miles 7 until about 10 of the course. I felt bad but they both seemed ok and I couldn’t quite handle the thought of more people passing me so I didn’t stop. There were also major portions of the ride when I forgot I was racing – no one in front of me, no one behind me and pretty things to look at. I started playing sightseer instead of playing racer. The course was beautiful. Then I’d hear the whoosh of a disk wheel creeping up behind me and I’d remember that I was in a race and that I hadn’t spent enough time on my road bike to really compete.

Once I managed to make it back to transition I realized that there were two women on their way out as I dumped my bike and yanked on my shoes. I made it my goal to catch at least one of them. They were running side by side about 100 yards in front of me and then one started to drop back a bit. My legs decided to cooperate, fortunately, and I very slowly started reeling her in. Bill was on his way back at that point and pretty much demanded that I catch her as we passed each other. Sounded good to me so just before the turnaround I went. Then I worked on closing the gap to the next woman. I was getting closer and closer but ran out of room – by the time she finished I was about 15 yards behind. At least having someone to chase the last half of the run kept me motivated.

I crossed the line in 1:32:XX, I think. I’d forgotten my watch, only glimpsed at the clock as I finished and the results aren’t posted yet. I was satisfied with my time but not thrilled with the way I placed. I was hoping to be in the top five but I think I might have managed to be in the top 10, which might not sound so bad … except there were only about 25 women in the race. I was satisfied with my run but not with how I stacked up in the bike.

And I soon went into a state of mild panic about the 60-mile ride along Skyline Drive in the Rev3. On mountain bikes. With backpacks. In an attempt to make me feel better/pee in my pants/drop out/hate geography one of my teammates sent me this:
An elevation graph or an EKG of someone who needs
a cardiologist as soon as possible? You decide.

Q: What rocked?
A: My cousin and her two freakin adorable little kids were at the finish line. They are 2 and 1, and were bundled, wrapped, covered and all tucked in their stroller. The kids looked confused.
“Mama, why did you get us up so early, dress us like our next stop is the Iditarod and make us sit in the stroller to watch people run around,” their cute little faces seemed to ask.

Q: Are there pictures?
A: Here. I stole these off of my cousin’s Facebook page. If we are Facebook BFFs there are pictures of a post-race nasty me with the adorable wee ones. I am not posting them here because it is freakin’ weird to post pictures of other people’s kids on your blog without asking.

Good thing the cones and ropes are there to keep back the large rabid crowd and
a truck with a tarp on it.
This picture makes me laugh. I am pretty sure that is me. Also Blogger
won't let me post these pictures in chronological order. That is all.


Abby said...

Um, I'm kind of in love with this race report format.

And if it makes you feel any better, I think we only have to bike a little bit past the first big peak... I could, of course, be wrong about that.

Abby said...

And PS - we will not be running 7 minute miles (or anything approximating 7 minute miles) during the loop on Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Good job on the race! It looks pretty fast to me!

Mallory said...

Great job!!! That is an AWESOME race report. So funny!

Emily said...

congrats on the race! the words coming out of my mouth would have been a whole lot more foul than that.

A Prelude To... said...

Loved the NON FAQs!!

I've totally done that whole forget I'm racing and start sightseeing thing before on lonely parts of courses, too!

I was in the kind of a mode when I passed two people on my bike in my first ever triathlon and was so stoked I was passing people until I realized they were bums on bikes - totally hungover and reeking like booze as I passed them. Sad took me a while to catch them :p

Anonymous said...

Awesome post run wrap up. Thanks for the laugh in the middle of the day. Any stories that evoke the thought of foul language is appreciated!

Terri said...

Great race recap! And, holy cow - that ekg, um, I mean, elevation map! :) I run a lot of hills, but those are HILLS!

Anonymous said...

Clever way to recap the race. Your posts are always so entertaining... Sounds like you did well to me. I would have been walking my bike up those hills. If I owned a bike that is.