Thursday, October 4, 2012

Poke - a - Nose 70.3

Out with the old and in with the new! Before I get into the race report I wanted to take a second to say goodbye and good riddance to something that my friend Ryan should have retired back in 1988. But he didn't. He hung on to that dear, wrinkly, decrepit wetsuit for some unknown reason to the rest of the triathlon world who could clearly see it resembled the creature below.

It was so textured and NON buoyant that he could actually strip it off without unzipping.  So when we arrived at the Pocono's 70.3 expo we started our hunt for an upgrade to the 'elephant.'  As imagined, it wasn't hard to find an upgrade.  But apparently 2012 neoprene is a world of difference from neoprene circa 1988 and I think Ryan still might be wrestling with his wetsuit somewhere in the Pocono's...

The next day we drove the course which proved to be an EXCELLENT idea as part of the course had wash out - twice!

We were also able to ride the technical portion of the course prior to race day which proved to be EXCELLENT idea number two! Read on for the deets...

Race morning was cool and misty - just the way I like it. I had enough time in transition to realize that I would go sans arm warmers and gloves. I walked over to Ryan's transition and saw that he would be doing the exact opposite.  His transition site was complete with all the winter riding gear including the one piece snowsuit from The Christmas Story ('just in case' he told me).

We were in the water before we knew it as the announcer was yelling: Pros have 5 minutes before the start. I took 3 strokes and then I heard: Pros have 90 seconds before the start. What was that?! Oh well, here we go.  Except it was super misty and foggy and no one could see a thing. Everyone was shouting: We have no clue where we are going! The announcer shouts back: Just follow the jet ski! We shout back: where the heck is the jet ski!?  BAM! Here we go into the mist.  The blind leading the blind. It actually added a new dynamic to the swim. I swam without a clue where I was until about the ten minute mark when who do I see to my right? Ryan! And who do I see to my left? Tenille!  Perfect spot. Just stay on Tenille's hip. This proved difficult as this girl can swim.  I exited the water and clicked my Garmin 901XT.  (By the way if you don't have one of these - GET ONE.)  My Garmin showed 24:01 - short swim! But we all swam blind - so I will take it.

I was out of transition in 3rd and decided to approach the 4 mile screaming descent the same way I approached the swim - blind!  Don't worry - I didn't close my eyes but I did cover my Garmin because historically as soon as I hit 40mph the breaks go on. But not this time my friends! I passed girl number 2 and was proud of myself for once not being a chicken. It was only later when I looked at my Garmin Power File that I realized I had set a new personal downhill record of 48.3 MPH!!! OH YEAH!!! This little chicken learned how to bike downhill!

The next section was a flat-ish out and back. At this time I was riding steady with 3 other girls. There were two Referee's on motorcycles escorting us the entire out and back making sure we were being legal and not drafting or slotting in.  I was feeling antsy like I wanted to just GO when super biker Beth Shutt when flying by, making a 100 yard gap in no time.  I put my head down and the chase began! This was a race after all!  I watched the Watts spike and starting to think: Coach Kurt will most likely rip me a  new one for this little stunt.  I had already committed though and once I caught Beth decided to make a move to see if I could shake her.  Nope.  The course then took a jog to the left onto a roller coaster section complete with sharp downhills and banked corners. The one section I had practiced over and over and over and over and over the day before.  I took advantage of this and tried to make another move on Beth.  Didn't work. But, we did shake the other three girls and for the rest of the ride it would be me and Beth going back and forth.  The plan was to get as far away from the rest of the pro girls as possible going into T2 because the run fitness is coming along....but it is a work in progress.

Beth and I entered transition together and I remember thinking how awesome this bike course is - but I was excited for the run!   Especially because I got to wear these BAD BOYS:

Despite what the course map looks like - the run is NOT flat. That's just false advertising. It starts up hill and goes down hill, then up hill, down hill, up, up, up, up, until the turn around and then repeat. When I hit the turn around I had the pleasure of seeing 6 pro girls within 1 minute of me. GULP! RUN AMBER!!!!!  The closest was Beth and she was so close at times that the runners going in the other direction would cheer for me and 5 seconds later I would hear them say to Beth: Go get her! She is dying! You can catch her! This really lit a fire under my posterior and I willed every little mitochondria to MOVE!!!  Beth was not giving up and every time I committed the cardinal sin and looked behind I felt like she was gaining.  I also knew that the Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman Mont Tremblant Champion was running strong behind me along with a slew of other quick runners.  I have never had to will my legs to turn over while constantly trying to convince myself I wasn't dying so frequently. I fought harder than I have in a long time.  The runners going the other direction were encouraging and I used their energy and cheers to power my stride.  In what felt like an eternity I finally passed a spectator who yelled: 200 yards to the finish. FINALLY!  I sprinted as fast as my little legs could go and crossed the line in 2nd. Just 22 seconds ahead of the speedy Beth Shutt. Phew!  I gave Tenille ( the winner) a big hug at the line and smiled big! In the end it was a good, honest, gritty race to the end - just what I like!!

Two thumbs up to the Pocono's 70.3

                                              Next up is Miami 70.3 - WOOHOO!