My expectation for this race: Normal swim, something in the 39-40 minute range, a good bike since that's what I've been doing so much of, and a lackluster at best run. Also, I know there's going to be a high of 95 degrees, with no shade on the course. So it's going to be a tough day.
Swim -- Was THAT The Gun?
With three minutes until the start, we amble into the lake and start to swim toward the start line, which is several hundred feet away. It's cold by my standards, at 60 degrees, but with a steady supply of nervousness, that coldness isn't noticeable. We're a few hundred feet from the start line when we hear a gun go off. The woman next to me and I look at each other puzzled, and then we hear, "The 35-39 year-old women are off!", and we frantically realize we missed our start gun and start swimming.
I was hoping to finish in 38 minutes, but with the late start, it turned out to be more like 41 minutes.
Now here's my strength at this point. I've done three insanely hilly rides, the Malibu 7 Canyons Century, L'Etaupe with four loops of the Rock Store climb, and the Mulholland Challenge 120. So I knew that this would be my strongest leg, and my running isn't up to where it was before my fracture, so I knew to go hard on the bike. But, I knew not to go too hard, because I needed to have some gas left in me for the run portion of the race. I passed people while climbing hills, maybe about 60 or so people going up Snow Canyon, the long climb of the bike course, but on flats and downhills plenty of people passed me. I projected that I would finish the 56-mile bike ride in 3 hours 30 minutes. My actual time: 3:09. Disbelief. Wow.
So there in the picture above, at the start of the run, I'm yelling to my coach, I can't believe how fast I just did that bike?! Given my lack of recent run training, and the 90+ degree heat and lack of shade, I started conservatively. I knew I would run the course, walking the length of the aid stations, and if truly necessary on an uphill, I would walk. But, I didn't need to walk. I reminded myself, what I lacked in running over the past few months, I had in my years of endurance training. I am an endurance mule. Drink, stay hydrated, keep jogging.
The out-and-back nature of the course was pretty awesome for seeing teammates and cheering them on.
A funny thing happened on the run -- I felt good. I was keeping pace, felt no need to walk other than the aid stations. And at no point did I feel that awful exhausted when will this horrible thing end feeling? Did I not push hard enough?
That run that I projected would take me 2 hours and 30 minutes? 2:08.
Overall time -- 6:09. Oddly, my fastest 70.3 time ever, on the toughest course and the hottest day. I'm elated.
That means that Vineman 70.3 and Silverman 70.3 will hopefully be under 6 hours. That's going to be my goal.