Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two Gold Medals

Well now you know how it ends, so you only have to keep reading this blog post if you're curious about the details. ;)

Mama was pretty darn nervous this morning... riding over to the Team Time Trial I tried to calm myself down, but I swear my anxiety level was higher today than it will probably be all year. There's something about working as a team that makes me way more nervous than when I'm just doing something for myself. Like seriously, no one really cares about how I perform individually, but when there's a team of people counting on me to perform for a team result... well that leads to high anxiety!

Anyway, we got our team kits in yesterday, so we were looking sharp this morning. Actually, these are our tri kits... the road kits haven't arrived yet so we had permission to ride sleeveless today. ;)

This was the only picture I got from the day, because after this, it was all business. The girls team warmed up and decided on our order and some strategy, etc. Our race started and we had a nice build into our pace, but in all honesty, it felt pretty darn easy to me. When I was at the front I was working some, but wasn't killing myself until we got more toward the end. There was a nice cross/tail wind pushing us out to the turn around... a wind that we had to fight really hard coming home. More than once it occurred to me that our training days are way harder than this, and with something like 4 miles to go, my competitive side came out. In some sort of freak militaristic show (I swear I don't know where this came from?), I barked out something along the lines of the following: "OK LADIES, THIS IS NOT A TRAINING DAY. THIS IS A RACE. AND WE HAVE ABOUT 10 MINUTES LEFT. TIME TO WORK. ITS GONNA HURT. MAKE IT HURT. GO GO GO!!!!"

I knew we actually had more than 10 minutes left, but what the heck. I said 10 minutes because it made it seem like we were almost there. I proceeded to go to the front and put in a big solid effort. Apparently my ranting scared one of the gals, because by the time I pulled off, she was off the back. No big deal because we only needed to finish with three to make it count... I continued barking cheerleading efforts at my teammates and we all danced with that red line called Threshold until the red line called Finish Line appeared off in the distance. Then we sprinted. Official finish 1:04:44, good enough for first place in the woman's division. Great job Ladies!!

Phew. Glad that was done. I had just enough time to roll maybe a quarter mile down the road before I turned around, pedaled back to the start line, grabbed my other water bottle from a guy who fetched it for me, and heard 90 seconds 'til your start! 90 seconds... that's about how much time I had between contractions when I was giving birth to Moana. No problem.

Or... Holy crap.

It's probably good that I had such a tiny amount of rest between events because I had no time to even start to contemplate what I was about to do.

My next team involved Cat 1 Guy, Tai, and Motorpace (the one guy I knew and have been training with). The plan was that Cat 1 Guy and Tai would trade off pulls while Motorpace would sit on, close any gaps that would form, and yell at the front two to pick it up (HA! Like that would ever be my instruction!) or slow it down, based upon my legs. My job was to not lose Motorpace's wheel, while also communicating with him how I was doing.

One thing I forgot to mention is that Cat 1 guy flatted in the first few miles of his 'A' race, so he was totally fresh. We actually saw him sitting by the side of the road as we (girls) rode by and my only thought was, "Oh no! He's not even gonna be tired!"

As it turned out, it was good that Cat 1 Guy wasn't tired, because Tai flatted in the first few miles of that Mixed Team race. So now it was just Cat 1 Guy pulling and Motorpace protecting me. And I swear, it's good I don't have a computer on my bike and wasn't wearing a HR monitor, because I'm sure had I seen the numbers for the first few miles of that race I just would have quit right on the spot. I was instantly at red line and we had to have been going 30 mph (with the tailwind).

Obviously my comments to Motorpace involved something like, "I can't do this..." so he yelled up at Cat 1 Guy to back it off. That was pretty much the story of the first half of the race... me yelling "Ease up!" every once in a while as Cat 1 Guy inevitably built up the effort. We were flying with that tailwind. I actually wasn't so worried about my heart rate or breathing... it was more that my quads were on the verge of cramping and I knew it so I was trying to meter my effort so I didn't just completely seize up and have to stop all together.

We hit the turn around in less than 28 minutes (what is that, like 26 mph??) and then faced the wicked headwind to come home. Luckily this slowed Cat 1 Guy some and since I was protected and had been monitoring my effort, I felt okay. So rather than yelling "Ease up" on the way home, I was saying, "I'm okay." That felt good.

Last night my friend Nalani sent me text that said, "I hope you impress yourself tomorrow." Indeed. I remembered that text and smiled. Yes, I was impressing myself.

Last mile... bigger effort... now it's Motorpace's turn to be the cheerleader, urging me to give it everything... I didn't exactly have a sprint left, but I hung right in there for the finish in 1:01:03. Nice. Good enough for another first place, but that was just in our age division. We got beat by two other Mixed teams.

All I wanted at the finish was some water. I'd been dry since before the turn-around... Then, in true Tri-Geek fashion, I had my running shoes on within a few minutes and was off for a little jog with Amy. She was very patient with me as my quads were completely seizing up on me with every step. I had to walk it off a little, but prior experience told me it was possible to get through this transition cramping... sure enough, within about ten minutes the cramping was gone and I was good to go. We didn't go too long or too fast, but it was good for me to find out how my legs would react to running after an effort like that on the bike. My experience today told me that I need to be more careful about my nutrition and hydration during these hard efforts. It also taught me that my training partners are awesome and that what we do every Saturday works, because the pain I felt today was not much different from what we experience on a weekly basis.

A ten mile easy spin home and I called it a day. A fun day with the team! Success! :)


X-Country2 said...

That is one heck of a day! Nice work. You certainly earned those medals.

Kathy said...

awesome work my friend! I'm very proud of you and please know that you are my daily inspiration. Tell Nalini that I am going to steal her quote!


Molly said...

Wow, great job! Congratulations! I think you learned something today about what you are capable of!

Angela and David Kidd said...

Fantastic! Talk about one of those days where "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

H said...

Great work :) :) and two gold medals, you gotta love the bling, makes all of that hard work worth it. Great attitude and mental strength towards a very demanding day!

The Chapples said...

Super impressive!!

Rebecca DeWire said...

I am SUPER IMPRESSED!!!!!! WOW!!! Congrats. That is a great picture of you ladies.

Lizzie said...

That's amazing!! Congrats!

Clare said...

ok, i HAD To read it! yippee!! is it wrong that i felt better when you said your quads were cramping when you started the run? ha ha, i'm just envious of your DRIVE!!! so impressed!

Pamela said...

Well done!!!!

Angela said...

Awesome effort and results. At the end of the day, it's about being able to say you gave it absolutely everything you had to give. You are blessed to have such great training partners and team mates. Congrats on the victories but more on the effort!!

aron said...

you are amazing!!!! CONGRATS!

Charisa said...

Let's see -
#2. That sounded soooooo fun!
#3. Pacing and grabbing a wheel and realizing YOU CAN hang - sooo cool!
#4. Did I mention you ROCK!
#5. Glad you had fun too!!


Andrea said...

Awesome job Michelle. I knew you would do great!

Natalie D said...

WAy to go MAMA! you earned those medals big time!!

Heather said...

Way to go!

Jennifer Harrison said...

really impressive, Michelle after the training you have been putting in!!!!! Nice work, for sure!!! :)

DC Running Mama said...

Did you wear your medals all day and deem yourself house queen? I would have.....

Good job!!