As of this weekend the 2012 tri season ended for me with The Great Six Flags Olympic Tri and what a day it was! I went into this race with a race plan from Coach P of "No Pressure, Just Have Fun". We were working to make sure this race would not be a total season ender for me. Although I hadn't had any issues with my IT band last week, I wasn't going to try to bring the pain back just for a race.
Friday night finally got here and Nick and I headed down to the usually hole-in-the-wall, scary stink-bomb type hotel you get when you pay $89 for the night and were in bed by 9pm. We both had had a very long week, so there was nothing keeping us awake that night. The alarm went off at 5am and we packed up and headed to Six Flags to set up my transition area. I downed the usual pre-race breakfast of a scoop of protein, a banana and 1.25 cups of applesauce and sipped on some Gatorade on the quick ride there. But I have to admit, even though the pre-race prep had begun, I was still not totally into it. I even began to consider if I could just switch to the sprint. But Nick wouldn't have it and nor would I.
So I headed over and set up my transition area. Once set up we started our trek into the park to the lake where we would swim. Although the start was supposed to be at 7am at 6:40 they were driving around saying last call for our start. Well this is where the first obstacle presented itself. I still had not had a chance to hit a bathroom. And the only bathroom open to us was about 3/10 of a mile away from the swim start. So I had to pass on the potty break. And this was a new strategy for me!
We kept on walking to the swim start and that is when it clicked that I would have to run the 4/10 of a mile to transition after my swim, either in my flip flops (recipe for disaster) or barefoot. I hadn't know we were going that far in the beginning or I would have brought my sneakers with me. Well knowing that my flip flops would get too slippery I decided to go barefoot. Good decision? We'll get back to that one later.
We go to the lake, learned the course and got ready to begin. When we hopped in I realized it was a bit colder than expected but I just used my own personal wet suit warming methods and I was good to go. Off went the horn and off we went. And did we ever. A lot of these women were brutal and not very consistent swimmers. So we kept spreading out only to have people swim directly into you. I was feeling a bit out of it and I don't think I really settled into a good stroke until half way through. But once I did, I was out of there. Next thing I knew I was passing people left and right and the last buoy was getting closer and closer. The next thing I knew I was climbing out and getting ready to high tail it back to the transition area.
Swim: 23:58- my fastest Olympic swim yet
So now to the 4/10 of a mile run back barefoot. Well the first half was fine, the second half, on the other hand, was hell. It was all loose gravel. By the time I got to the transition entrance I had started walking and was worried my feet were bleeding. They were burning so bad that I was beginning to think crawling to my bike would be faster. By the time I got to my bike, I was hurting, but I threw on my cleats and helmet and headed out for my ride.
T1: 6:07- actually pretty average for my AG
The bike was set after set of rolling hills that seemed to be never ending. The only great thing, was a) I knew I was supposed to "take it easy" and b) the scenery was amazing! I mean it was so beautiful. All farmland, horse farms and mansions in the middle of no where. So while your legs were on fire, climbing all of the damn hills, you at least had something nice to look at. Other than the scenery and never ending hills, the ride was pretty uneventful. I gave a sigh of relief as I headed back into the parking lot and began thinking about my run.
Bike: 1:27- faster than my usually hilly course average, so I was ok with it
T2: 1:17 - now that is more my style
So now it was time to run. I gave Nick a wave and headed into the park for my two loop course. We ran through different sections of the park and then out to the Haunted Hayride trail. And yes, it was a trail. Again, as I always say, I wish they would mention trail runs in the race description so you would be prepared, but no such luck. The trail was actually pretty nice although a bit rocky. Somewhere during mile two I gave my ankle a good twist and decided it was time to pay attention to what I was doing. I hit my first mile at 8:20 and realized I may have come out too fast. After all, I was supposed to be taking it easy, but apparently I wasn't. (Surprise, surprise.) There were a few very small climbs and I made sure to ease up on those to give my IT band a break. After the first three miles, I was feeling worn but not too bad.
As I passed the finish line and entered into my second loop I saw Nick and he jumped in with me. We figured as long as he made it past the security guard into the park, he could finish up the race with me. He made it past and then the next three miles were just good fun. I had someone to talk to, and that helped me to not push myself too hard and we still kept up a decent pace. But I must say I was happy when I was done.
Run: 55:59- not too slow, but definitely not taking it easy pace
And the icing on the cake, I ended up 3rd in my age group, so I got a fancy little award plaque to bring home!
We spent the rest of the day in Great Adventure walking around, playing games and going on rides. I would definitely recommend this race to anyone in the area. It was set up great and if anything it is worth it just for the scenery on the ride.
So now, I ended my 2012 tri season by placing and now I am moving on to see what kind of damage I can do to my upcoming marathon. On to some run training!!