Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweet & Twisted 2010

Ah Sweet & Twisted, you have not yet failed to live up to your name. Why is it that the all-women’s races (I’m thinking of the Danskin and the Sweet & Twisted) are harder courses than the co-ed races?

I saw a shooting star on my drive out to Pace Bend- which I hoped would be a good luck sign. I noticed a LOT of athletes on their way to the race this time. Usually I don’t see anyone until closer to the site but there were quite a few of us caravanning in. I also passed the Kool Kones trailer, yum!

At the race site, I set up my transition spot, greeted friends (like my partner in crime, Buffy Weaver) and began to think about what kind of race I wanted to have. I visualized a swim with quick arm turnover, a bike with big power climbing up the hills and a run where I not only ran the whole way- but I spent more time running than jogging. Then I placed those thoughts in a little mental envelope and tucked it into my bra.

SWIM: I don’t know what my deal was. I was kept swimming off to the right for the first part of the swim. That was not part of my visualization. I made the turn to head back to the swim exit and I See Terri Stamm pass me on my left. She was haulin’! Again, I had to fight not to be pulled off to the right- those reeds were pokey! Good think I had on goggles! I must have a little imbalance in my stroke somewhere.
Hit the swim exit and ensured that I let the swim volunteers (who happened to be Austin firefighters) help me out of the water. I may have played it up a little. I checked my watch time and it read 00:00:00. Mermph.

Up to transition where a few ants had were curiously milling around on my stuff so I squirted them with my water bottle and got suited up for the bike.  Crap- forgot to take off the tri top (too hot to wear tri top and singlet) so off goes the helmet, off goes the tri top, on goes the singlet on goes the helmet. Sweet- let’s do this!

BIKE: Bike felt pretty solid. Although it took a while to get my legs back. The first time I hit the first hill is always the hardest for me because I’m not yet warmed up. But up and onward I went. A few friends passed me on the bike and we got to cheer each other on- I passed a few people and tried to give them some friendly encouragement. There was a little wind on the backside of the course but nothing daunting. By mile 9, I was already going through the run in my head. As I ran my back back to transition, I passed a bunch of Team Survivor and relay team athletes waiting for their turn and they gave me a big cheer. That felt great and really warmed my spirit.

RUN: On went the run shoes. There were now only 3.1 miles separating me from Lick It Bite It Or Both cupcakes. And that is 3.1 miles too many. I heard Ron on the loudspeaker announce that I was on the run course and that gave me another extra boost. Things felt okay until I hit the big hill- the only real hill on the course- but I could only manage a shuffle up that hill. In fact, I took a little break at the top of the hill to down more water and take in a Hammer gel. And harass Joey Trimyer. The run down was great- it re-energized my legs and I was able to keep a nice little pace for a while- until I hit the sandy part of the course. I tried to run on the more stable parts but the ground still shifted enough to make me work harder than I wanted to.

As it turned out, two friends of mine were the most crucial volunteers (for me) of the day. Tanner Hunt was on the course handing out icy cold towels and giving cheers to everyone and Angela Laidecker was the key volunteer at the final turnaround point. Those two could not have been in better positions as I needed a little extra oomph.
Once I left Angela, I began to open up my stride.  I finished pretty strong and aside from the break at the first water stop- I ran the whole thing.

Unfortunately, I ran it really slow. It’s my only disappointment of the race- my run time. Everything else had improved (I think my swim improved- the run to T1 and T1 times are currently included with the swim time). It seems that my run got slower from last year- when I walked most of it.

What an amazing turnout! It truly was a party- with so many great people from RLE, Rogue, Team Survivor and my friends form other training teams. And getting friendly cheers from strangers- it makes all the heat and burrs and sweat and hills more than worth it!

Truthfully I’m a little discouraged but I’ve decided to stay in the Austin Tri Olympic distance this coming Labor Day. My overall paces are faster at the longer distances and I think if I really focus over the next 2 weeks, I can improve my time over last year. After that… its back to focus on running to get ready for the Warrior Dash in November! Rawrr!

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