Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vineman 70.3 2012

I’m never quite sure how to write race reports… if you don’t know, I covered 70.3 miles on Sunday, July 15, 2012 spread out over a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run at Vineman 70.3 2012.  I crossed the finish line with my head held high and my heart soaring.  Races aren’t about the start and the finish, they are about the choices a racer makes and how a racer reacts to whatever may happen in the miles in between.  I could write down a blow by blow, first I swam…. Then I biked… Then I ran….

But that wouldn’t give the full story, because this year at Vineman 70.3 I began to find myself as a racer.

I can no longer tell myself certain “truths” about myself anymore.

The Swim

I am not ok with being a “timid” swimmer.  The kicking, slapping, grabbing, and general chaos of a swim start scares me a little, but I am more annoyed with my tendency to slow and let a swimmer who is crowding me pass than I am scared of them swimming too close.  Every swimmer who passed me drove me to dig deeper and keep my pace going.  I found the inside of the turnaround even though it was more crowded because there was no reason for me to swim any further than any other athlete out there.  And the tip coach gave me to begin to visualize T1 not only helped keep my brain occupied but also lead to my shaving over a minute off my T1 time from last year. 

Oh, and I PR’d the swim by over 4 minutes too.

1.2 miles in 38:32 – 2:00/100m pace 

The Bike

I have always believed myself to be a fairly weak cyclist.  And boy did my ride on Sunday prove me wrong.  I opted to hike my bike up the hill that is just beyond the bike mount line but once I was on and settled in, I just kept pedaling away.  I tried hard to not kill myself on the climbs, let myself loose on the descents, and pushed as hard as my HR would allow on the flats.  I didn’t worry that every time I glanced at my watch I was going faster than I normally would, my HR was in a safe place and my body felt good.  Unlike on many of my training rides, I didn’t give myself the chance to worry about blowing myself up and not getting to the finish.  I was careful to follow my nutrition plan, taking in fluids regularly, finishing my 2 hour Perpetuem bottle and a ½ of a banana before the 2 hour mark and taking in gels every 20-25 minutes beyond that.  I was going to ride smart, but ride hard.  And I did just that.  I PR’d the bike by nearly 38 minutes, and whether it was a blessing or a curse, I started my watch late so I wasn’t sure just how “ahead” of my last year self I was.  I dismounted at T2 knowing I had given the bike every bit I could and still have hope of having 13.1 miles left in my legs.  

56 miles in 3:08:26 – 17.8 mph average

The Run

I came off the bike legs feeling good.  I mean, let’s be serious, I had just laid down the best bike ride of my life, but really my legs felt great and off I went.  About a ½ mile into the run I realized I really thought I might need to pee.  Luckily with aid stations about every hour, and porti-potties at every aid station, I didn’t have to wait long… Aaahhhh potty break.  I did in fact stay very well hydrated on the bike, my full bladder was evidence of that.  The miles ticked off, it was sunny, but breezy, so not too hot.  I walked some of the hills and aid stations.  Sometime in the last few miles sweat ran into one eye, and then the other.   I was walking, not wanting to stop, and trying to wipe the painful stinging sweat out of my eyes.  Mother.  Of.  God.  How does that hurt so bad?!  My favorite moment was as I was coming into the final few 100 yards.  As you turn into Windsor High school you snake around to the side of the school and as I was coming up on the final turn I had a wonderful moment…

RACER 2009… (wait, I think *I’m* 2009) DO NOT LET THAT MAN PASS YOU!!!!!!!

 A spectator was yelling at me… I was not to let someone coming up behind me pass… Peaking over my shoulder proved the spectator right, there was a guy behind me, and he was gaining on me.

Kick it into high gear, Missy.  My garmin would later prove to me just how much I kicked it into high gear, peaking out at a 7:05 pace in the final yards of Vineman 70.3.  The man did not pass me… 

And I was finished… I PR’d the run by 22 minutes.

13.1 miles in 2:13:46 – 10:13 average pace.

Overall: 6:08:40 with a 1 hr and 8 min PR from last year.

At the finish line I squatted down to sit on my heels and fought back a few tears, there wasn’t a moment of the day that I wasn’t proud of, I didn’t know my finish time, it didn’t matter, I raced a smart race, given it all I had and that was all that mattered.  And I got a new piece of hardware to prove it. ;)

I popped into the athlete food area and grabbed a coke and water, solid foods sounded terrible at that moment.  On my way out of the athlete area I ran into my coach and his wife a scored my second pick-up of the day, some Junk Miles gear.

“The athlete tracker isn’t working, how did you do?”

I still didn’t know.  I knew I had PR’d, I thought I had likely broke the 6:45 goal I had made in my race planning, but beyond that I had no idea.  

Then I started to collect my friends and family at the finish.. My friend Beki was the first to clue me in to my performance of the day…

“Girl, PR’d by over an hour!!!”

Wait, what?  

Troy got a text from a friend…

“Total time: six –oh-eight and change”

That can’t be right...  I’m so confused…

I had thrown down a race I didn’t even know I had in me.  It’s a hard performance to wrap my head around, even days later.  Later that evening I was already thinking about how best to become a stronger runner in the coming months… Does that mean I’m not completely happy with how well I did on Sunday?  Absolutely not…

This is how happy athletes smile. ;)
 I just want to be better yet. ;)

Final thoughts:
I will never, ever, forget 2 things ever again.  Body glide to battle chafing on the swim from my wetsuit... I've got two spots on the inside of my arms to make my point..  And Hoo Ha Ride Glide.  This seems self-explanatory. 

Catching/grabbing water bottles and bananas on the move, from the bike, is a skill I'm fairly confident in.  The best purchase I've ever made is my Speedfil 40oz bottle for my bike.  I barely missed a step through the aid stations on the bike and was able to refill the bottle no problems.

Flat, warm coke (it was actually RC Cola to be honest) is delicious when you've been on the move for hours.  And sits well in a stomach that is getting questionable about gels.  

The tunnel of misters near the 1/2 way point on the run was awesome.  I would have given good money to have another later in the course too.  

I'm sorry I'm not sorry to the guy who tried to pass me in the final yards, but thanks for the kick in the ass to get things done.  :) 


HolisticGuru said...

Congrats on an incredible race! That's a blazing fast bike split! and your race report was perfect and to-the-point. Good job!

So, what's next? Run Camp with me and Frayed Laces? ;)

Ashley said...

I wish! If money grew on trees I'd be there in a heartbeat!!! Might take my own "Runcation" around then and hit the trails for a weekend solo.

Thank you! I'll be training for my first marathon next! :)

Bari said...

Wow, girl! You wanna come be my trainer? You seriously kicked that races ASS!!!

Ashley said...

Thanks girl. Any questions or advice you need, I'm always here. :)

Barb said...

WOW!! I'm so happy for you and I hope you're still floating on cloud 9. What an amazing race!!!

Brooke said...

you are freakin incredible!!! :) love this race report! and ^5 to the fan cheering you on at the finish

Ashley said...

Thanks so much ladies!! It really all came together on Sunday for me. :)

Thea @ It's Me Vs. Me said...

You are BAD ASS!! That is amazing!