After Lake Placid - Kelly said we really need to "race". Meaning lets use some of this fitness to find out what we can do on a shorter course. I was all for it - immediately.
Kelly, Linda, and I arrived in East Stroudsburg PA at approximately 11:PM on Friday night. Our road trip in my car on Friday was longish but we were enjoying each others company. There was so much traffic that our 6 hour ride turned into an 8 hour ride. My hamstrings felt it from sitting for that long.
On Saturday we went to the early morning race briefing meeting, picked up our number and bought extra GU. Glad to have the meeting done early . After that we had to drop our bike at T1. While there we realized that Kelly's tire needed to be seen by a mechanic since we could not get the air into it. Same thing happened to me at Lake Placid. The valve was shut inside the tire. We were a bit surprised when the mechanics didn't want to fix her tire saying that he didn't feel comfortable with that kind of tire. At least half of the tires in T1 were racing tires! I called over to one of the other mechanics and asked if he could please help. With some hesitation he took on the challenge. To our delight. While they fiddled around off we went to check out the water temps.
We were very worried it would be cold during the swim. To our surprise the water was warm to the touch. Yay! We jogged around T1 to sight where our bikes would be after the little jog up from the water race day, picked up Kelly's now inflated tire and off we went to none other than T2.
Yes, T2 was in the next town over and we were instructed to drop our run gear off on Saturday. After complaining a bit we realized it was fine because everything was planned out earlier than normal. We could then relax for the afternoon.
We found a diner that filled our need for an enormous carb laden breakfast. Simply heaven. Our search for bagels for race morning breakfast turned into a mad rush to each and every spot that might have bagels. Seems they had a shortage. Could it be that the race organizers scoffed up all the bagels for the volunteers? I think so.
Dinner was LOVELY. Somehow Kelly found this awesome little restaurant that served up some great dishes with simple ingredients. We ate well.
Race morning we loaded up the car again and off we went to the... shuttle bus. The shuttle bus ride, for some reason, seemed like an eternity. Perhaps it was the lovely seats on the school but that forced you to sit straight up. Or maybe it was the fact that I had to pee almost as soon as the bus drove off. I tried to distract myself by talking to Kelly and Linda about anything I could think of.
Once in T1 I discovered that the line to the port-a-johns was quite lengthy. They had about 20 stalls for 1500 athletes. I talked it up quite a bit while in line to a couple of guys trying to get a feel for the course. The description of the course was vague and we were not sure how it would be. We knew there was a swift downhill for the first 4 miles and a rather flat 20 mile section but after that it was anyone's guess.
Soon we were off . My wave was early, after the pros. I was glad. I like starting early. I hate standing around. It's annoying. I know it can be annoying for those faster 30 year olds who come up behind us 40 year old women but the race director has reasons for doing this - so it's OK with me.
I felt tight on the swim at first. The water temp was fine. I was not cold. It was foggy though. I could hardly see the buoys and had to spot more than usual. There was hardly any groping of other swimmer on me. Good. I veered off course three short times. Nothing tragically bad. We had to turn right and then left around a green buoy towards the end rather than just stay to the left of the buoys. After the green turn buoy we were supposed to head straight in but I could not see the exit. I had to stop and ask the woman in the kayak which way to go. I exited the swim in 36 FLAT. That's a whole 2 minute PR for me. After the swim I noticed EVERYONE was saying they also had an EXCELLENT swim time so I am now pretty sure the swim was a bit short. Regardless - I'm still happy with my swim because I was 10th out of 30 in my AG on the swim. Psyched!
T1 was tough because I had to get my gloves on. I was afraid of freezing to death on the 4 mile decent. Wished I wasn't so afraid because it was a few degrees warmer by then and not extremely cold. I also through on my Garmin 305 for my run splits later on. That turned out to be really annoying to have my swim watch and my Garmin 305 on my wrist. I hate when things are not exactly where they are supposed to be. My Garmin band would not stay under the little covering. My T1 time was decent at 4:27.
The Bike started off as mentioned on a 4 miles decent. Nice! That brought my average up to 24 MPH for the first 10 miles or so. I think I hit a maximum speed of 47 mph. That's what my Garmin says. Is that right? I am not sure. The 20 mile stretch of "flattish" area turned out to have quite a few inclines in my book. After that - we road into some other area with lots of ups and downs. Several hills and windy narrow roads. I had to stand on a least 4 hills. I rarely stand because I'm trying to keep my watts down on the uphills. My quads were feeling it. Part of the road was sketchy and at one point we road over a sink hole with a covering and had to go single file. Not a problem because I was by myself at that point.
At one turn - the road came to a "V" after a a downhill so I was going at a decent speed. Upon arriving at the "V" I yelled "which way?".. I could not hear them or see which direction to take so I made a wrong turn. As soon as I heard them yelling for me to turn around I did - however at that moment another cyclist had followed me into the wrong turn. I was now turning into him as he attempted to ride past me. He braked really hard trying to avoid my tire and thus propelled his entire body over his handle bars. UGH!!! I jumped off my bike in a panic.. so worried he was injured and I started to cuss. "Are you effing OK?" I yelled. He took his time getting up and eventually said " I think I'm OK but I think my ego is bruised". He also admitted that the turn was not clearly marked. A solice to me who felt a little guilty. The volunteers then rushed over and I said I'll see you later since you are OK. I tried really hard to see him ride past me but I could never find him again. I wanted to look him up later but I can't remember his number.
Around mile 35 or 40 I had to go pee really really bad and decided I was going to become one of those people who pee on the bike. I didn't want to have to go pee in T2 or on the run. It just takes too much time. I tried and I tried three times and finally was able to relieve myself. I felt sooo cool.. yep. I finished up my ride in 3:02:21 (18.4 MPH) . I'll take it!!!
T2 was a mere fog. I remember looking around for the exit which was on the opposite side. I dashed out of there in 2 minutes and 3 seconds. Not bad.
On the run I found my legs right away and probably went out too fast. I was averaging under 7:30s for the first 3 miles. I reeled myself in knowing I could not keep up this pace in my racing shoes and tired quads. I was able to hold 7:40 - 7:50 pace for most of the run. It was a very quite course. Not much talking at all. I was thrilled to see Kelly and Linda on the one loop course. I had been drinking water for the past hour and switched over to coke which was very helpful. Unfortunately at mile 10 the bees had been attracted to the sweet coke and one bee decided it wanted to be in my mouth. I quickly swatted the bee away but it then stung me on my lip. That hurt like a son-of-a-bee for the rest of the run. My face is a little swollen and I'm on steroids. Great.
The run was rough. Lots of hills if my memory serves me well. The last mile was nice though. I tried to pick it up and I think I was able to. I finished my run in 1:43:37 (7:54 pace) . Not my best run but that is fine with me. I had a great ride and this run was also descent.
I ended the race in 5:28:28. A 14 minute PR for me. Although I had done Pumpkinman in 5:38 I don't count that race as my PR because it was short. So I compared this time to my best HI leading up to this race at 5:44. Although the swim was short on this one - I would still have been at 5:30 if I did my same swim as Mooseman. So - I'm counting this as a valid PR by 14 minutes. I was all choked up at the finish line.
This HI wraps up an excellent tri season for me. I am very satisfied with how I was trained by Carrie at PBM. She's the best! Looking down the road - I want to go 5:15 in the HI now that I know more about what I think I can do. On an easier course I know I can do that.