Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gutting It Out

So yesterday I was at the pool and chatting with two guys I see there a lot... recreational swimmers. Sam said, "Michelle I see you running all the time and all over the place! Kualoa, Kaneohe, Kailua..." Then Steve piped in with, "And biking too! I see you biking all the time!" Such is life when you live in a small town... can't hide when you're out training I guess! Then Steve asked me if I was going to be at the Waimea Bay Swim race today... Indeed, I would be... then he asked me if I ever rest/taper. I told him that I do, for some races, but not for these summer swims... (I was trying to picture the look on coach's face if I asked him to rest me for these swims... lol.) Anyway, I told Steve that while I was planning on racing to the very best of my ability today, that I would not cut any other training to try to make my time any faster. I said, "Well, let's put it this way... tomorrow I'm going to ride up to the start (34 miles) then do the swim race, then bike another 60 miles." Steve laughed and said Ok got it. I felt like the crazy gal in that I Am Training For Ironman video.

Anyway, the race was super fun this morning! Waimea Bay is beautiful in the summer (in the winter the waves here can be HUGE and crazy... but summer it's calm like a lake up there.) I was walking down the beach to the start with Nalani this morning and I made a comment about how I needed to get my brain into RACE mode... I just didn't feel like I was there mentally... I told her I needed Jana (my old swimming rival) to get really pumped up for these races. Unfortunately Jana moved away this spring... Anyway, we swam out to the start line and I heard a gal say, "Is that Michelle?" I said yes and looked at the gal who I could not really see b/c of the sun glare... She said, "It's Robin!" I laughed. Perfect! Race mode ON. Robin is an excellent swimmer and in my age group... an old friend of mine from my AZ days... she came to Hawaii to visit last summer and beat me in a couple of these swims so I knew I was going to have to really be on my game if I wanted a shot at the age group win today.

The women swimming out to the start line while the men wait on the beach... Stole this off Miki's FB page. :)


So the horn went off and we all started sprinting (see my FB page for a video of the women's start if you are so inclined!) I was out at the far buoy with the majority of the fast gals all right around me... went HARD for the first ~300M or so and then looked around me and saw that I had Nalani to my left and Lectie to my right... nice. Nalani and Lectie both beat me by ~a minute at Honu so I knew I was in good company if I was with them... Then I started channeling my inner Thomas Voekler (sorry, Cat- I know you hate him but you have to admit it's impressive what he has done the last few days) and decided that just b/c I cannot normally swim with these gals does NOT mean I couldn't today! So I made the decision to buck up and grit my teeth and gut it out and battle for position (And we did battle! That Lectie is aggressive! And I was aggressive right back! Love you, Lectie!) and I hung right in there as long as I could. Right around the last turn buoy I saw Robin come up on my right and I was like shit Michelle GO GO GO and I dug and I dug and I tried to get her back...



So ok, I lost. She got me by 5 seconds! BUT, I am happy with this race b/c for once I felt like I really tried and I did not give up mentally like I have a tendency to do sometimes when the going gets tough. And to be only 20 seconds back from Nalani, well, that's the closest I've been to her in years! We were talking about this race afterward while we were riding... I told her that I got exactly what I wanted out of it... a solid hard effort where I stayed mentally engaged and in it the whole time. The place matters less to me than the effort I gave... I did not back off when it got uncomfortable like I sometimes do. (I did not 'give' Robin that win today- she earned it!  Fair enough.) And now that I know Robin is back for the summer, well, now maybe I'll have some fire in my belly in the days leading up to the next race in the series. Stay tuned. :)

And for those of you coming out to race Kona in October, I hope you are practicing riding in the wind. Because, well, it's been freakin' W-I-N-D-Y here. Riding home was brutal. At one point I wondered if we were riding into a hurricane? That's all I'll say about that.

8 comments:

Molly said...

Erm...that last part doesn't sound fun for those of us flying out to TRAIN in October...

Kiet said...

You crack me up. This post gives me some insight to what it's going to be like training with you come August. But really, gutting it out is what it's all about.

Ginger Spansel said...

I wish I could swim as fast as you!!! Nice job there girl!!!

Aimee said...

Awesome job with the swim! Woohoo!

Teresa said...

You keep getting faster and faster...and that race looks like so much fun!!!! Keep it up!

tn

cat. said...

well done (except for the whole Voeckler part -- yuck!!) ; )

Peter said...

Gotta love the Mental Focus aspect of VESPA!

Libby said...

nice swim and great report! its so hard to stay mentally engaged on swims- very nicely done.
awesome on the winds lol.... that will get interesting I'm sure. we had super duper winds this winter- like knock you over if you aren't escheloning winds but they always calm down for summer