Sunday, August 8, 2010

Greater Cleveland Triathlon Race Report

Well this is a race report I've been wanting to write for A LONG TIME!!! Today I did GCT in Mentor, OH. The race director is a friend, and lots of tri peeps do this event. It's a great time to see everyone. They also put on a kid's triathlon the day before and all 3 chicklets did that this year - each doing very good and learning what it means to struggle with exhaustion, cramps, not getting first place, and exhibiting good sportsmanship.  I'm very proud of all 3 of them! :)

Yesterday I was beat. I mean tired to the bone. I napped. I went to bed early.  I have been getting a lot of grief from various "well meaners" who feel I'm over training. I don't happen to think that's so, but I HAVE been over extended with work responsibilities, family stuff as well as training. My teaching assignment ended this week and a few students are griping about their grades, which causes me stress. I truly believe my body is tired because, for once, it CAN be. I actually have a tiny bit of down time and I think my body is making the most of that.  Anyway, early to bed last night.

This morning when I awoke, I got up to make coffee and, for the first time, had a fleeting thought: I don't really feel like racing today.  That's SO unusual for me! I've been nervous and wanted to eject, but not indifferent. Anyway, I paid for the race so, barring injury or illness, I was going to use it as a training day, as I typically do.

I arrived at 6:15 and got my bike racked. I prepared my transition area then off to use the portapotty.  I put on my headphones to try to distract myself and get in the groove a bit. After using the facilities, I returned to transition and was abruptly grabbed by none other than the Transition Nazi. Frankly he startled me and was very abrasive in his tone and demeanor, as he pulled me over to the side. Dude, DON'T TOUCH ME! I was immediately pissed and wondered what the heck this man was doing to me. He began to chastize me for using headphones. Now, I've attended the USAT rules clinic, as well as reading many pre-race instructions, and I'm aware that headphones are restricted in USAT sanctioned events, however, in the hours preceding the events, we've been allowed to use them. This was addressed specifically in my Rev3 races and other local races too. I've never seen it written that headphones are prohibited at any time - only during races. I suppose that is possibly true, I don't dispute that yet, and will look into it, but the point here is the abrasive and confrontational manner in which this was addressed with me. I literally was startled by how this man handled me!  He would not let me enter transition. I asked what was his solution, then? He said they must be immediately taken off the premises and that I was not to go into transition with them. I informed him that would be a problem for me, because my car keys were in transition ... how shall I proceed Mr. Transition Nazi??  He was clearly very angry and continued to chastise me about it being MY responsibility to KNOW THE RULES.  Well, dude, I did think I knew them! And I still think you are wrong ... I'm still not convinced I'm wrong, but I'm not looking to argue this with you right now.  He then reluctantly let me go into transition to get my car keys. I did a big FU to him by NOT returning the ipod to the car :)  I tucked it into my tri bag.

This year, the weather was great and there would be no cancellation of the swim. We had a pre-race meeting - which NO ONE COULD HEAR! It sounded like the teacher in Charlie Brown's class: Wa wa, WAH, wa, wa WAH.  We all shook our heads and laughed!

Now down to the beach for the 1 mile hike to the start. I would be swimming sans wetsuit again, as apparently I'm not a SMALL, but a Medium :(  Had to send it back - hoping to have it for the half in 2 weeks! My wave would go off third. The wind was picking up and the waves were rolling pretty big.  Off we went. I felt good, had NO panic, and my swim stroke was long and strong, as I passed people left and right. As I raised my head to sight, I couldn't see any other yellow caps, only purple and pink. I must have been one of the first in my heat! :) Swim time was approximately 26 minutes, and given the fact that we were swimming against the waves, I wasn't too upset with that time. And, I'm loving the fact that I'm okay swimming sans wetsuit!

Transition went well, no hiccups! Off with my bike and mounted smoothly, easing into the road without incident. Last year a very tall dude mowed me over and my chain came off, leaving me needing help to get it back on. I was happy to not have that to deal with this year!

My goal on my bike was to stay consistent and strong, leaving some gas in the tank for my run, lately my weakest leg. I felt my bike went pretty good! Now there is this pretty nasty hill at about mile 10 and I have to admit that I dismounted and walked ~ 50 yrds.  Walking it was even hard, I could get NO PURCHASE on the pavement to propel myself forward. Once it crested, I mounted the bike again and felt that was a good decision, as I had a good deal of juice left to finish the rest of the climb.  Then later, there's this really fun part where you go flying downhill for quite a while! I loved that!!!  The rest of the ride was uneventful and I came into transition feeling ready to run and had about 60 minutes to complete the 10K run.  I knew I'd have to push real hard to go under 3 hrs, which is what I really wanted!

T2 went smoothly and I started my run.  I pulled off to use the facilities, only to find the bathroom locked. WTF??  No worries, I used a bush. I have no shame and the wasted time would be WELL worth it!  However, at this point I tore my number from my race belt :(  Time to rig it by rolling it under my race belt. No one had a safety pin so that would have to do.   

I plodded ahead.  I had forgotten my Garmin so I didn't have the pace available.  I used my watch to continuously calculate how I was doing, and would I be able to go under 3 hrs?  It was hot! I did a small bit of walking, but way less than usual and my run was a little faster than usual.  I found myself passing people, rather than being passed. There were some good hills on that run! I love running DOWN hills.  Up? Not so much! When I do walk, I power walk.  I mean my walk is equivalent to some people's jog. I should mention that when I was 14 I was at the National Junior Olympic Championships for racewalking! It's not something I'm proud of, especially at age 14.  I was blackmailed into doing it by my track coach!!   However, when I walk now, it's NOT racewalk ... but I could do that for some comic relief!! 

As I approached the end, I could see that if I held my pace I'd go sub 3!  I was starting to cramp a bit in my right thigh. And, I was hurting. I was pushing myself to my max and it had me outside my comfort zone. But, I really, really wanted to break the 3 hr barrier, and new that the sacrifice of pain now would be worth it.  As I hit the 6 mile mark, with only 0.2 miles to go, I was hurting, but I held strong.  I finished!! 2:52:11.  Woot, woot!!!!

My hubby, Ted, and my 2 youngest, Jaime and Kevin, were there to help me, and more importantly, Ted brought me the NECTAR OF THE GODS: PEPSI!  (only post-race, otherwise, I don't touch the stuff) That was so delicious!!!  I was careful to check blood glucose after the colas (I had 2, I must confess!).  Surprisingly, after the race, the colas don't spike me? Not sure why that is!

After I caught my breath, I made my way to the results board, only to find that I was assessed a penalty for drafting. 2 minutes.  First off, I don't draft.  I'm a chicken, and I hate being near other cyclists, so I'm always giving everyone a wide berth.  Second, I don't even really know HOW to draft.  Is that even a real benefit? If it is, I surely don't do it.  If I'm gaining on someone, I yell "on your left" and pass - yes, within 15 seconds.  I know of this penalty, but seriously, never thought it would affect me because I don't draft!!  Not sure how it was called on me, but, oh well, I know there is no point in debating this with an official. Add the 2 minutes if you will - it STILL keeps me under 3 hrs. I'm not going to let that penalty dampen the mood - I still had a great race, and I know that I absolutely did not draft, nor benefit from anything remotely close to drafting. It's just not how I cycle. I'm such a loner on the bike, and a nervous rider, that I hate being near other cyclists :) 

How ironic that the day I least feel like racing is the day it finally all comes together? This seems to happen to me with workouts as well - the days I WANT to workout, those are only okay or blah, but the days I really DON'T want to workout, I usually have a kick ass workout. I try to keep that in mind as an additional form of motivation.

Peace out peep!


  1. Great job, PJ! You are of course right on the rule. I took a look at the rules on the web site.

    All of the rules just say that this or that is "not allowed." The Transition Nazi is apparently not aware that it is taken for granted that they mean "not allowed DURING THE RACE."

  2. Great race report and great job on breaking 3 hours! I aspire to that someday.

    I hope you get your wetsuit in time. If not I actually have an extra one-size medium-you could borrow. I believe we live close to one another, based on your description from one of your blogs.