Monday, August 20, 2012

US Army

Sunday was the West Point Triathlon - I wanted to do it but never got around to registering and then as it approached I knew I had not trained enough to swim a full 800 meters.  The week before I convinced Kevin to do a relay with me - he could swim/bike and I could "run".  The last time I ran one single step was July 19th with Team Lipstick and it was for 1.4 miles when I couldn't really breath at the end of that 1.4 miles.  It wasn't pretty to say the least.  Going into yesterday's race I was nervous about even being able to complete the 5k but had finally made peace with the fact that I would just have fun and be happy with a 14:00/mile.  I figured the absolute worst case scenario was that it would take me 45 minutes and I'd have to be able to live with that pace - if you can even call that a pace!

We left for the race early - it should have taken less than an hour from our house but clearly I didn't read the Athlete Guide in its entirety bc I followed the map to "The Post".  For those not in the know, like me, that means where the actual Army is - at least that's what I think it means.  I really have no clue.  All I know is a large man, holding a large rifle told me they didn't hold triathlons "On Post".  So off we went to find the actual race.  Walking from the parking lot to transition is quite a hike and those that got there after us had to hike even further and the hills are nothing to sneeze at!  Note to self: get there early next year, do packet pick up on Saturday and go to the actual race location the first time!

Once we made it packet pick up it went smoothly.  There were a ton of great volunteers moving things along and there were a lot of racers making a great morning buzz.  The greatest part of this day was the weather - it's not often that it's "chilly" on race morning but Sunday was the most beautiful day ever - I think it was my very first race without sunblock!  The weather stayed cool for the entire race, there was the perfect amount of cloud cover with perfect temps!  The only "issue" was this:

I put issue in quotes bc I wasn't swimming anyway so wetsuit or no wetsuit made no difference to me!  Kevin is an amazingly fast, competent swimmer and he's happy either way.  It worked in my favor bc that makes his T1 a bit faster (although something we REALLY need to work on - his speed on the bike makes up for the amount of time it takes him to put on socks).

He was out of the swim when I expected him to be there.  Then out on the bike we had discussed him taking 50 minutes.  I was waiting in the runners holding pen with my new "friends" - who knew that's where all the fun was?!  We had a grand old time trying to figure out who was racing in the co-ed relay category to see who we needed to run past on the course.  Kevin was back in :37 - lightning fast!  Gave me a great lead.  I was all pumped out on my run and within the first 6 minutes I saw 2 other relay runners sprint past me - damn speedy runners.  I didn't let it bother me at all as I knew there was no way I'd ever beat them but it was fun for the first 6 minutes to imagine myself on the podium!  The run ended up being quite great for me - it was the least flat course I've ever been on.  It was either going up steep or coming down steep - never a flat surface, never.  Since this race was held at West Point there were a lot of military racers and many of them were racing while holding a very large American flag.  I had trouble holding the Dixie cup of water let alone a giant flag on an even larger pole so I figured I really couldn't complain or at least not out loud!  I also knew that 95% of the people running had done the first 2 legs of this race where I was just running - they were way more tired than I.  I only walked twice for less than 10 seconds each time to get some water but ran the entire race which is a huge accomplishment for me especially after not running for so long.  Crossed the finish line in :31:42 which puts me at a 10:12/pace - lightning fast for me!  I was so excited - over the moon and put me in the right frame of mind for my next tri on Sunday - SheRox NJ.  Now I just need to get some swim training in this week and I'll feel much better.  Thankfully SheRox is only a .25 mile swim which I'm hoping I can complete without being DFL (yes, that actually means Dead Fu**ing Last).

My beloved coach, Justin, always says, "you can do any race at any distance.  It's just a matter of how you recover".  Well I learned that lesson AGAIN the hard way today.  I was feeling all kinds of invincible yesterday thinking I could run a solid 10:00/mile without really training and then I woke up this morning.  My legs are KILLING me as if I ran a marathon or at the very least a 10k.  Running a 5k should not cause me this amount of pain.  As much as it hurts to say, here it goes: JUSTIN, YOU ARE RIGHT.  YOU ARE ALWAYS RIGHT.  EVERY ATHLETE MUST TRAIN FOR EVERY DISTANCE IN ORDER TO PROPERLY RECOVER.  Blah, blah, blah.  This is what I wore to my son's appointment this morning under my jeans desperate for any help.

Overall, West Point is a GREAT race!  I truly enjoyed the venue, the people, the after food (ice pops might be the greatest post race treat EVER!).  There was some issues with wetsuits vs. non-wetsuits results/awards but since we came in 10th out of 23 that wasn't an issue we had to deal with so I wasn't paying all that much attention to that particular detail.  There is just nothing better than perfect weather, low expectations followed by great results to top of a great day of racing!  Another race we will certainly register for again next year.

Six short days to SheRox NJ!  I love an all-women's race =)