Sunday, July 29, 2012

Racing Anonymously

(Sorry about the lack of formatting and photos... Im posing from my ipad and cant figure out how to add the spaces?) We are having so much fun here at the lake! It's beautiful and peaceful and quiet and I'm not sure Moana is ever going to want to leave... She is having a blast playing with her cousins. It is super cute to watch. Of course since the sun doesn't go down til 9PM we have not been successful in getting her to go to bed on time... And naps... Forget 'em! Anyway. So I showed up to race a local Olympic Distance race in Portland this morning. I was really excited to do a race where I knew no one, felt no pressure (at all!), and had no expectations. And of course going in with a mind set like that resulted in a pretty good race... My assessment of it is that it is a race that reflected my training, which is what I always hope for when I race! :) Wave starts... There was an elite wave but there were only 3 men in it... They started 1' ahead of my wave which was 30-39 men and women. I lined up at the front, looked around for someone I thought I might try to draft and I have to say, it looked like slim pickings. Most of the women looked like deer in headlights and were not standing in the front line... One guy was wearing Swedish goggles and on the front line so I figured he might be my guy. I asked him if he was a swimmer and he said he was... Friendly guy. Introduced himself as Seth and then the horn went off and he was gone. So much for drafting Seth! No one else was near though so I swam alone for the whole swim... Well, until near the end when I caught and passed one of the elite guys. Maybe he should swim more? Anyway. I would say I felt good in the water- strong but relaxed and wasn't killing myself or anything. I did take note of how easy it was to swim in a well marked lake with buoys every 200M and no currents or chop or stinging sea creatures. In a wetsuit. Does it get any easier?? Felt like I took about a half hour in T1 trying to get my wetsuit off and then we had to run forever before they let us mount our bikes but finally we were allowed to start riding. The course was pretty lonely. The elite guy got out of T1 right ahead of me so I did have him in my sights for a little while but then he was gone. Then I caught/passed Swimmer Seth and then I was all alone again. Where was everyone?? I felt like I was riding pretty well but didn't seem like I was riding THAT well that the guys wouldn't start passing me, but indeed, I did not get passed on that ride today at all by anyone. Crazy! And while I was riding I was amazed at the lack of adversity I was facing... No wind. Perfectly paved road. Pancake flat. Cloudy skies and about 65 degrees. The only thing that could have made it faster might have been if there was only one u-turn instead of two. Other than that I swear there is not a faster course anywhere! Consequently I have a new 40K bike PR at 1:01:07. So that was cool. It was also sort of cool to come into T2 leading not only the women's wave, but then men's too! That was a first. I felt pretty solid running... Not fast but not slow and I managed to hold an even pace through the whole 10K. Men did start passing me once we started running and I saw some hard charging women from later waves when I was running back and I figured they were catching me but didn't really know so I just kept doing my thing... Crossed the line first but 2' later two more women came flying through so they beat me overall since they started in a later wave. Couple of thoughts about this race experience: ~Hawaii women are strong and there are a lot of fast gals to race with all the time which raises he level for us all. That's a good thing! ~The adverse conditions I face daily in training are awesome. While I may not always enjoy 25 mph winds while riding or dealing with hot sun and high humidity while running or significant ocean chop/current while swimming, I will say then on the off chance I get to race in ideal conditions, it is bliss and it feels so easy! I am glad I am not super spoiled in training because it would make me soft. ~Racing anonymously today really allowed me to just focus on swimming and biking and running as best I could without worrying at all about anyone else. That was great and as a result I feel like I did a better than normal job of racing to my ability. I need to figure out how to replicate this mindset even when I'm racing my friends. It's something about managing expectations and I'm going to have to keep working on this because I definitely don't have it nailed. ~They were serving (free!) beer from Kona Brewing Company at the finish line. They must have known I was coming! ;) Next up, more chill time at this lake house, daily swimming in the lake each afternoon, exploring Washington roads on my bike, running some of the Pacific Crest trail which is right out my door, watching Olympic swimming and gymnastics with Moana... then meeting up with friends in Boulder and pretending like I don't know them next week when we're racing.

10 comments:

mmmonyka said...

Way to go!
I am also always intimidated to race where people know me because I do not know why but even people who have never saw me run(or bike or swim) tend to think that I am fast and think that I am going to win. Must be something about my athlete-like physique or my confident look:) I have solved this pressure problem by moving from one country to another every few months:)

Good luck in Boulder! I am interested to see how you will deal with the lack of air up there.

Beth said...

Those conditions do sound perfect!! Where is that race again??? ;) HA! Congrats on your new bike PR and a well run race Michelle!

Damie said...

love it- congrats on the new PR. And yes, I hear ya....the harder the training conditions, the tougher the athlete and easier the nice races :)

tejasrunnergirl said...

Woohoo! Congrats on the great race!

Katie said...

Awesome! Congrats on a great race :) Sounds like one I need to do!

Molly said...

Congrats on such a nice race!!!! Sounds like one we all want to do based on those conditions :)

cherelli said...

Your holiday sounds like fun - and to be able to include a race or two is nice as well, especially in great conditions; have fun in Boulder!

Matt said...

congrats, sounds like a good time. Love PDX, enjoy it!!

JC said...

Congrats! Awesome bike PR and what a fantastic race:)

marian said...

congrats on your new pr!
i was there for the sprint and we were lucky indeed with the lack of wind. very different than the race in june.
somehow there was wind coming and going that time...