Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pacific Crest 1/2 Ironman-Take Two

Pacific Crest has been my nemesis race since 2004. In 2004, IT band problems forced me to run the Sunday 10K instead of participate in my first Olympic distance race. In 2005, my back derailleur broke during the first miles of the bike and only with the miracle work of Seth was I able to get back on the bike and finish the race. In 2006, the central Oregon heat and the physical stress of climbing Mt. Bachelor contributed to a nosebleed/face hemorrhage that slowed me to a walk for the entire last third of the race.

June 23, 2007. Time to face the beast again. But this time I was armed with the rockin' pink Kuota, many more running miles logged, some skull armwarmers and a healthy respect for racing at 4500 feet (manifested by the dissected tampons in my fuel belt-a perfect solution to bloody noses).

The weather report was looking favorable, as was the change in the bike course, which due to paving, was bypassing Mt. Bachelor (otherwise know as the 6th level of hell) and instead taking a route that turned out to be time-trial specialist's dream. So it was with a searing sense of vengeance that I approached this year's race.

The days leading up to the race were mostly without incident. We had again taken up residence in Bobcat #4...the original post-half ironman party palace. Eat, drink beer, talk bikes, make fun of Carver, rinse, repeat.

This year I also had the pure pleasure of watching my Team in Training mentees tackle their first half. I had a serious bunch of studs on my hands and was looking forward to seeing what they could do. Got so distracted that I forgot to pick up my bus pass and had to scramble to convince Sue to get up at 6am and drive me up to the lake.

Race day dawned clear and cool, but I didn't mind having to put on gloves and extra socks before heading over to set up T2. Frost on the ground meant probably no heat exhaustion in the afternoon. I could deal with that. What I could not deal with was the fact that Carver mentioned that he had the song "I'm All Out of Love, I'm So Lost Without You" stuck in his head. Which means that it immediately became stuck in mine. Which is better than having Jack Johnson or Paris Hilton stuck in my head, but not that much better.

I was trying out a few new things for this race, including the debut of my new tri-tard, purchased after deciding that I could no longer handle (1) my belly pooch hanging out in all of my race photos and (2) the distraction of pulling my singlet down every 30 seconds during the run. The decision to compete looking like a Bulgarian wrestler was not an easy one, but a girl can only handle so many bad race photos.

Spent an hour or so milling about at the lake before the race started. I like this time because the more chaos around me, the more intense the zone I can get into by race time. This year I did a pretty substantial warmup in the water, mostly because I had to pee every 1.3 minutes and the bathroom lines quickly became unbearable. I am Lindsay, human faucet.

Because I recently turned 30, I got to start the race with the big boys and girls. I've discovered that this has advantages and disadvantages. Advantage: not having to swim over people from the earlier waves. Disadvantage: being caught in the wake created by the 20 year old pros as they blew past me. Advantage: less butterflies because no 20 minute wait after the first gun goes off. Disadvantage: less people to chase on the ride.

Swim was great. Jessica H. and I had planned on drafting off of each other, but I thought I had lost her in the start. Little did I realize she was the person tapping my foot at each bouy, our predetermined passing signal. Which I chalked up to some other annoying person drafting. Doh. The last 400 or so I got a little off course, but still came out of the water feeling fast and read to rock.

Newbie lesson: ride your bike after you mount your water bottles. Because if you don't and your front mounted water bottle is loose when you ride on chip seal, you will spend the entire day covered in Gleukos. Which is not cool at hour four of the race when you discover that you hand is sticking to your face everytime you adjust your sunglasses.

Jen caught me about 6 miles into the race and we agreed to set a pace and stay legally together for the remainder of the bike course. I dropped off once at an aid station to throw out the offending water bottle, but we pretty much maintained a steady ass-kicking, blue-jersey rocking pace the rest of the ride. We kept looking at each other, trying to gauge if we were going to fast. The ride just felt too good. Peed twice on the bike. (People ask me how I do this- the keys are a complete lack of modesty, practice and some killer Kegel muscles. And a water bottle to rinse off afterwards.) The last 400 meters of the ride were the most frustrating as we had been funneled into the transition chute behind a duathlete going about 3 miles an hour. We made fun of her until she blasted by us at mile 2 of the run. Ha Ha Ha!?!?

This year I took another step forward in gross triathlete-dom. I was able to pee while tying my shoes. I figured it was this or a 10 minute tri-tard contortionist act in a 100 degree porta potty.

Then we ran. The first two miles were slow as Jen needed to stretch and I mistook the numbness in my feet for rocks in my socks and emptied my shoes at least ten times. The next nine miles were not bad. We walked the water stops and maintained a pretty good pace between stops. I was really excited to actually be running and at the possibility that we would break 6 hours if things went well.

The final two miles felt like Round 11 of a heavyweight title bout-heavy, cranky and sweaty. There was no more dancing around. Our feet only cleared the path by an inch or two with each stride and the walk breaks were numerous. At about 11.5, some jackass runs by us and states that we should pick it up because there was beer at the finish line. No shit. It's not like we are kind of folks that aren't motivated by beer. Its just that on this day, that beer would have to wait a minute or two. Jen and I simultaneously gave him the double bird, much to the amusement of the man that had settled in behind us, apparently finding our shuffling pace to suit him as well.
After the slowest two miles ever, Jen and I finished together with our hands raised in the air. We had survived. It was a great feeling to cross the finish line together, after all of the training and trials and tribulations this spring. I couldn't have done it without her!

The stats:

Total Time: 5:36:02
Swim 0:35:23
T1 2:28
Bike 2:42:15
T2 3:06
Run 2:12:50

Good for tied for 8th in our age group, 30something overall for women.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Hi Lindsay ~
I know this is an old post, but I had to tell you I enjoyed reading it. It's all such an unknown to me right now - it was nice to hear your story of the event!

Julie (TNT 2008 1/2 Ironman)