|Gypsy and I at the finish with our medals!|
Backing up a bit, I was headed into the race slightly undertrained. With only a few weeks of running happening since my cortisone shot in my hip, and some life interference, I knew I could finish, but was uncertain on just what sort of
hot mess shape I'd be in when I did so. Sun MultiSports puts on a great race - it was first in their series and despite a challenging bike course (with a hill described as "epic") I was looking forward to taking it on.
|Testing the waters at Lake Fairlee|
|All set up|
Alarms at 5:45, breakfast that we'd brought from home (continental breakfast didn't start until 6:30! puh-huh!) and we were off. We arrived in time to set up our transition zones, listen to the race announcements, hit the portapotties one last time and then it was pretty much time to start. Originally the swim out had involved a 0.2 mile run along gravel - for which the Jedi had made me custom glitter glue decorated flip flops with my name and race number. Could he be more adorable? BUT the tunnel we were to run through (?) was flooded, so that was nixed in favor of a shorter, non gravel jaunt back into transition.
|Bling-ed out flip flops.... and my name!!!|
The Swim: 20:43
Much as I would love to take credit for a 0.9 mile swim in 20 minutes, in reality all the athletes agreed that the swim course must have been measured short. Which, for me, was just fine, as I spent the entire swim being pummeled. For reasons I don't understand, the first Olympic wave was the Elites and women under 45 (me), and then 4 minutes after us all the men under 45 were sent. The result of which was every man (and some women) swimming on top of me, punching me, kicking me, the entire way. Just as the chaos of the women's start was beginning to spread out, then men caught up. It was a washing machine. If anything I am proud that I kept my head and wasn't phased or panicked by that much physical contact in the swim. There were several points I got a wave in the face and coughed, and one spot were I kicked someone and my foot connected with something hard - enough that it really hurt my foot (and probably them as well). Ouch.
Upon exiting the water, I got a really nice surprise. My sister in law and 4 year old niece had come to cheer me on! That (and being out of the crazy water!) was the reason I was so excited in this photo:
|My cheering section couldn't be cuter!|
I had a lot of fun on the bike. Truly. The first 16 miles were mostly downhill or flat, and I pulled a good pace - 18 mph or higher - for the whole thing. The course goes by some of the most pastoral landscapes you can imagine. The cows and horses were definitely cheering me on!
Then the Epic Hill hit. It was tough. My speed crawled to 8 mph for the 2 mile climb. Following the big hill the road was badly cracked and I couldn't get my speed back up. This hurt my overall bike time, but I still finished fairly strong and feeling good with an overall pace of 15.5 mph. Not what I had secretly hoped for, but I'm looking forward to working on my hill climbing in the weeks coming up. I also drank an entire bottle of Nuun and ate 2 GUs while in motion, which a critical part of my nutrition plan. Another element I nailed!
Second transition was also uneventful. Helmet off, switch shoes, flip belt around. Around mile 20 on the bike I had a premonition of the run not being fun (my legs were wobbly!). As I ran out I saw my SIL and niece again, this time with a great big "Go Miranda!" sign. I asked my SIL (who is an amazing athlete and runner) if she would do the run leg for me. Sadly she declined and we both laughed....
|Run out of T2 - SIl will you run for me???|
The Run: 1:08:21
The run was hot. And sunny. I had sweat crystallized on my sunburned skin and was itchy and uncomfortable. It was a rolling out-and-back, which the Olys had to run once and the HalfIrons twice. Which means I got to watch a lot of people really not having fun. Truly - I didn't see a single person with a spring in their step at this point. I stuck to my plan of running/walking 4:1 intervals, with the occasional exception of when water stops fell in the middle. I was not the only one with this strategy! Close to the turnaround I finally saw Gypsy coming back the other way and we got to do our customary high-five in the middle of the road. Races really are more fun with friends. Ate my peanut M&Ms at the turnaround (last element of my nutrition plan success!). I ate ice at every mile. God bless to race organizers for having ice on the run! To make matters a little more interesting, the foot I'd hurt on the swim (the same that landed me on crutches for most of last fall) started to really hurt on the run. By mile 4 I was seriously wondering if I was headed back into the boot after the race. But I more or less just toughed it out, remembered my coach's advice to "not be afraid to hurt" (check, Sheriff!) and just stuck with it.
|In the chute!|
|Waving to my niece|
The Finish! 3:16:02
13 out of 14 in my age group and 133 overall. I was very happy. It's not the most impressive finish in terms of rank, but I was midpack until the run, where I watched at least 4-5 women in my AG pass me. There's nothing I could have done short of risking injury. Way more important that any numbers though is that I had a great time, and I had good friends and my family there at the finish line. Gill (who competed in the Aquabike) and Gypsy (who finished within seconds of the three hour mark!) were waiting for me at the finish, as was my SIL and little niece. Photos were snapped, I immediately plunged my foot in the waiting ice bath, and it was great. So so great.
|Gypsy, Gill and I at the bottom of the gorge|
|This is what tired (ok, really relaxed) looks like after my first Oly!|