24 August 2009

Feeling Good

This past weekend was a big boost in my confidence for Ironman Florida. I had more than enough hours for the week by Thursday so I took Friday off and did my 90 mile bike ride on Friday (I had the IronGirl triathlon on Sunday, my normal bike day). I stuck around on the bike trails in the DC area - I rode out to Mt Vernon and back, took the Capital Crescent Trail up to Bethesda and back, went up into Rock Creek Park and then zipped around Hain's Point 4 times before heading back into Arlington up the Custis Trail and onto the W&OD trail. The last few miles of the bike, I noticed that the storm clouds were gathering. Storms weren't supposed to start until three and it was only a little after 2 so I figured I could beat the rain and finish my ride. Unfortunately, at mile 88.5, Mother Nature proved me wrong and I got caught in a ridiculous rain storm. I was soaked within one minute of the rain starting - it was windy too! Made it home, squelched down the hall to the apartment, and in the time it took for me to change into my running clothes, it stopped raining and I zipped out for a 5 mile run. I was tired at the end of the day, but I felt great! I could've kept on running if I needed to. Mark and I ate gnocci for dinner with pesto - perfect!

Saturday morning I went running with Karen - I love running with her because we are so close in pace, we're both really competitive, and we push each other. And I love doing racing with her for those same reasons - you never know which one of us will cross the finish line first. And I'm motivated to try to catch her when she's in front of me and vice versa - and I'm so happy for her when she has a great race and finishes before me. I don't think I'd be as good a racer if I didn't have Karen to train and race with. And running with her makes the time fly. Before we knew it, my 20 mile run and her 14 mile run were finished. We did the hilly Military Road route, kept a great pace, drank copious amounts of water, and I looked like I had gone swimming by the time I finished running. After the run, I tried icing myself in our cooler (didn't work too well, my legs are too big), put on my compression socks, and ate lots of food. I had a PB&J sandwhich, then went up to my aunt Amy's house and had another lunch (yummy) and then went out to Columbia, MD to drop of my bike and pick up my packet for Sunday's IronGirl race. Had gnocci again for dinner (yummy!), scrounged around for newspaper to help dry out my running shoes (soaked with sweat) and biking shoes (still soaked with rainwater) because it's no fun to race in wet, smelly shoes. The only newspapers I found were my Wall Street Journal Commemorative Inauguration issues for Barack Obama's inauguration. And I fully support Obama and was thrilled he was elected, but I didn't want to race in wet shoes, so I pulled out the sections that didn't have Obama articles, and stuffed them in my shoes.

Race day was great! IronGirl 2007 was my first road triathlon so I was eager to see if I had improved these past two years. I rode up with Leighton and it was soooooo great to spend the day with her; we're both so busy that we don't see each other nearly enough. We got an awesome parking spot right by the park exit AND the bike transition (we got to watch the pro women fly by on the start of their bike legs), the race official let Leighton rack her bike that morning, and the weather was PERFECT! Leighton and I were in the second to last wave, the first women finished the race while I was treading water waiting for the start. My goal for the swim (1000m) was to keep as straight a line as possible and not swim off course. I literally hit every buoy as I swam, so I definitely met that goal. I had hoped to swim it in 20 minutes, but finished in 22 minutes (44th fastest in my age group), still two minutes faster than two years ago. I felt strong on the swim, so I guess that's what matters most. And I didn't drown, also a bonus.
The bike was pretty good - a hilly course and I passed a fair number of people, both in and not in my age group. Half of my age group started 8 minutes ahead of me so I didn't know if these girls were in my wave or in the wave in front of me. But it didn't matter, my race strategy was just to go hard for as long as possible. Hardly anyone passed me on the bike (yay! I think my biking is finally improving) and it took me 56:16 to do the 17.5 mile bike course (averaging 18.7 mph, 7th fastest in my age group). And the run seemed to come together too; I started off feeling strong, I didn't love the hills and there were times I just wished the finish line was just in front of me, but I wanted to catch as many girls in my age group as possible and I didn't want anyone to catch me. Nobody passed me and I felt like I kept a consistent pace over the 3.4 mile course. My time was 25:32 for the run, a pace of 7:31/mile and the 4th fastest in the age group. My overall time was 1:49:09, fifth place in my age group (out of 181 girls) and 39th overall (out of 1600+ girls). My time was over two minutes faster than the 2007 IronGirl and I didn't do a 90 mile bike ride, 5 mile run, and 20 mile run in the 48 hours preceding the 2007 race so I'm pretty happy with the results.

Highlight of the day, going on an impromptu movie date with Mark on Sunday afternoon (Harry Potter) and then getting some Birthday Cake Remix from ColdStone (best ice cream flavor!) Then early to bed because I was tired.

Recovery week was never so welcome!
Happy Training!

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