Monday, November 7, 2011

Beach 2 Battleship Race Report


Leading up to this race, I had high hopes. I had been running faster than ever and feeling incredibly strong. I was dropping boys left and right on all of my runs. To make it even better, Bobby was coming to be race sherpa and super friend. It was the one thing to give the race the CREW energy that fuels me.
 
We drove 11 hours to the pre-race dinner. Set Up Events put on a spectacular show. The expo, for a somewhat small race in comparison to others I had been to, really felt like a BIG DEAL and it was! John and I were treated like super stars, but I looked around and noticed that we weren't the only ones. The volunteers and staff were genuinely excited and interested in the athletes. It was a fun time. We didn't think we'd go to the athlete dinner that Thursday night when we arrived because its hard to eat gluten free at race events and the food is never that good. But it was free and already cooked so I walked in and took a look. It was amazing! Seriously! B2B has the best pre-race dinner I've ever had. Hands down (what does that even mean?) I was highly impressed.

That night we jumped in the ocean and made a wish. It was the loveliest evening.

Race morning I went through the usual race morning ritual and made myself race-pretty with my race make up. After I got my face and my kit on, I joined the others in the kitchen. I had never taken a coffee taper seriously before and this was going to be my first cup of coffee in over a week. I don't normally coffee taper because I don't drink much in the first place. I did it this time as an experiment and I swear it worked. I had a renewed vigor! A passion for life that felt overwhelming. I loved everything and everyone and I was ready to DESTROY THE FACE OFF OF THAT WINDY RACE COURSE WITH FURIOUS EVIL MONSTER DEATH KILLERS! I was ready to race.

It was awesome to have April, Bobby, John and Augie to hang with in the morning. Its not the deepest we've ever rolled, but it was still relatively deep and was deep enough to make me feel the love and support. I was excited for the swim because the current promised to make it the fastest of my life. The gun went off and the race started to the tune of Eminem. Awesome. I asked my coach, Coach Dreamy, how I should pace my swim. He said "swim as hard as you can". I may not have swam the whole thing as hard as I can but I didn't swim scared. I got right in there. I beat the crap out of everyone who beat on me. I didn't hide from the other swimmers, afraid I'd get a boo-boo. I was tough. This was a first. Everyone watch out, from now on I'm fearless. Then I swam a little out of the way for some reason. Just a little. No big. I got out of the water, looked at my watch, saw 50 minutes and thought "greeeeeeat. I'll never PR a swim again".

After a quick and successful T1, I was bundled up a bit for the bike when I passed a bank clock that told me it was 51 degrees. It was also windy. Then it got windier and even colder. I thought to myself, "wah". I pedaled hard to warm up. For the first 60 miles I was shaking and cold and drilling into the wind. I was careful not to draft because I wanted this to be my effort. I wanted to see how I stood up against the wind and cold. I focused on my nutrition and fought through. Did I mention I wore thigh highs with skulls on them instead of knee warmers? It was sexy. I started to wonder if I might be hypothermic and at what point I would have to quit. I decided that I would ride until my legs stopped making circles with the pedals underneath me or until someone pulled me off the course. I'm never going to drop out of a race unless I can't do it. I had been told that the wind would become a tailwind around mile 70 and seriously planned on that. I imagined sunshine and rainbow star sprinkles with unicorn smiles and marshmallow kittens at mile 70. I thought I would destroy someone for being wrong about that. And then, at mile 70 I saw my shadow beneath me. The sun was out! I laughed and said something out loud about my shadow like I was a maniac. I was so happy. In fact, I was happy even when I was physically miserable. I love racing!

I finished the bike and couldn't wait to run, as usual. T1 was uneventful and easy to navigate. I saw Augie's wife Meryl and that made me happy to have a cheerleader-volunteer.

At the start of the run I felt great. I wondered if I might break 4 hours for the marathon. I wondered if I might break 12 hours for the ironma... I mean, 140.6 distance. I started with the obsessive math. If I held back for a 9 min pace and maintained that I could do set some PRs. The run is described as mostly flat. Then I heard rumors that it isn't really flat. I thought, "well, to wimpy and negative people anything might not be flat". So I expected a flat run. I was wrong. There were 2 bridges with climbs then a steep dip into town and climb back out. Reverse that to come back to the turn around, then repeat it for a second loop. That is 6 good climbs. The good news is, I'm a running machine and I love a bit of a challenge because it gives me an advantage. Bring it. As I approached mile 2, the lead man was right behind me and I knew he was losing steam. He could hardly keep up with my pace and I was holding back. I wanted to keep him on my rearview to watch John overtake him. It was a cool spot to spectate from. Only one girl passed me on the run. She was flying. The course was super awesome. I loved the crowd downtown and there was a park with foot bridges and happy volunteers. I felt amazing and at mile 20-21 I realized I was running a 7:30 pace and had to chill out. I met a kick ass guy named Buck who recognized me from the interwebs. He was a welcomed distraction. I held back until mile 23 when I let myself drop the hammer and drill it in as hard as I wanted. I could not believe the time as I ran into the finisher's chute. I flew. Ecstatic. What an amazing feeling!

11:23:39?!?!

What.

Pinch me. I still can't believe it. 8th woman overall and the 5th fastest (women's) run split!

Thank you to Augie for planting the seed to do this race and for showing me how tough I am with his crazy ass training ideas. Thank you to Stacey Richardson for making my B2B experience so wonderful and for being so welcoming. I gained an awesome new tri-friend in her. And thank you, thank you, thank you to John for coaching me for this. I never thought I would accomplish half of what he has pushed me to achieve. He says I'm still only part of the way there and I believe him. I'm going to continue to do everything he tells me to do for my 2012 season. The man is a tri-genius and the best boyfriend in all the cosmos. I am deeply grateful.

5 comments:

Jamie said...

Awesome work Christine! So proud of you.

HolisticGuru said...

Thanks Jamie! That means a lot to me!

goSonja said...

You are so totally rad! The thigh highs were a very nice touch. With your attitude, John is correct, you are simply starting to scratch the surface!

runsingteach said...

You are a total badass! So super fast! NICE JOB!

theunicycleguy said...

It was cold, windy, and hellish out there and you crushed it!

way to go!