Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Monday, 23 August 2010

Hillerød Triathlon 2010 - Success! -- Finally!

This past year has been full of major and minor disappointments in racing. First, injury from the Trans-Alpine, then lots of training and never quite setting the PRs I expected in running. Then a slew of injuries, a so-so triathlon and and then the pregnancy.

Anyway, yesterday I felt like I had been born again. I felt young and strong. And I know from my training that I have never been in the shape I am now. But being able to display that in a race, especially a triathlon, is never guaranteed.

The day before the race, where the scene and mood is always set, SR and I were full of nerves and thus on each other's nerves. But luckily, there was a party that night, with the fun Danish tradition of song writing (this time for SR's uncle who is soon turning 60). SR and I wrote two separate songs, which ended up being the highlight of the night. His was a more straight-forward comedic piece and mine was more of love story in a short musical (á la Rocazino). We ate tons. And so did The Lorax, who ate 4 portions of Lasagna with SR and then, since I thought he hadn't eaten anything, I gave him 2 more. An hour later, out on a swing, the lasagna came back up all over his clothing.

That night we slept well in SR's parents' basement. We arrived in the morning with plenty of time to spare.

So, as I've stated before, the triathlon would be an ALMOST half ironman. To be more exact, it was 1 km swimming, 76 km biking and 20 km running.

As people were arriving, the normal dynamic developed with nervous men becoming extroverts and nervous women becoming introverts and I was no exception.

They announced shortly before the start that drafting during the bike WAS permitted. Normally drafting is not permitted in triathlons due to various reasons (safety, staggered starts, other?). This was a huge piece of news, though, since drafting would be a huge help on a windy day like yesterday.

There were staggered starts with people starting the swim every 30 seconds.

The Swim

Here was the swim hall it was held in. It was a 50 meter pool, which we would swim down and back, crossing over lanes under the lane dividers, get out of the pool, walk to the start, and do it again.

SR and I took showers separately :) and met out by the pool. I had a sore throat and felt febrile and was just really nervous, though determined to enjoy myself. I realized the strap wasn't in my goggles correctly. SR took a quick look and couldn't fix it. I started having a minor freakout and he wisely said he had to go to the bathroom one more time and left. Deep breath, ah, and I strapped the goggles. We put our chip straps around our ankles. SR would soon take off 30 seconds in front of me. We both had our wetsuits on.

When they told SR to go, he took the ladder down into the pool and I was befuddled by this. 30 seconds later, and I took a flat dive in, grateful my goggles stayed on. There were tons of people in that pool!! And it was hard to pass, but I managed to pass a few. I think my kick turns and gave me an advantage and I passed way more people than I had expected.

I ended up with the 3rd fastest female swim time of 21:12 (which included part of the transition). SR also had a much better swim than our last tri with a time of 22:39.

The bike

My transition onto the bike was okay. My new Sailfish wetsuit (my old one melted in Wisconsin :( - never leave a wetsuit inside-out in the heat) glided off beautifully. But then there was all this stuff: garmin on, gels in pocket, gloves on, Camelbak on, helmet and last socks and shoes. I ran my bike out, now seeing SR coming up to the bikes, knowing I'd see him again soon.

Here was the transition zone (earlier in the day, before all the participants had arrived).

So, the bike started out poorly. I had just learned to use the tri-bar the day before and felt a bit uncomfortable riding fast with it. A few super fast guys blew by me and I thought "this is going to be a long 76 km". Then SR blew by me, immediately to follow a guy down a wrong turn, but they quickly turned around, to pass me yet again. I couldn't get into a grove and then couldn't open my energy bar and was hungry, so I got off my bike just to open that stupid bar (actually it was a really good bar, as far as Danish bars go). Then we started biking into this horrendous headwind and I had no one to draft off. But then... a woman who had started earlier than me had a flat and got onto her bike and I started drafting. It is easy to tell by body language that someone is pissed off you are drafting and this woman definitely was. Eventually I pulled ahead to let her draft behind me, but she just immediately biked ahead of me again. This was very perplexing behaviour to me, so I just kept drafting, for a long time. What a nice free ride. If some of you reader have not drafted while biking before (I'm an old pro, now that I've done it twice) it makes biking SO MUCH EASIER. Anyway, I was all calm behind her for the first 30 km and then a faster woman passed us, and I then started drafting off of her, while the woman I had been drafting off of now had no energy to keep up. I know... it seems unfair! The second woman did not seem mad I was drafting and was qutie pleasant. We soon got into a big group, most of whom were faster than me, and I just kept drafting. Near then end of the bike, I fell behind, and just cruised to the end with a back wind and using my tri bar. It felt beautiful.

My bike time was 2:34:05. (SR called me from work this morning to say "What the hell, you bike ALMOST as fast as me!! It's impossible. Now we can actually bike together without me holding back."). I should point out his time was quite a bit better than mine at 2:25:01.

I had eaten two gels, 1 bar and drank all the sports drink in my Camelbak.

The run

One of the great things about not having clip-in shoes is that when I get off the bike, I just run. And my tri outfit means no changing shorts or shirts or anything. It even has a built-in bra and undies. A complete one piece. It's perfect. I soon realized after I started the run that my shoes needed to be retied. Oh well. So I got a breather while I took care of that.

The run was uphill through Hillerød and then uphill more into a forest all the way up to this lake after 5km
and then turn around and go downhill. Then repeat, for a total of 20km. There were lots of hills where it was tough to know if one should walk up or run. Turns out I ran them and SR walked them.

The run was okay. Not stellar, but no disasters either. My stomach felt so bloated and I realized that decreasing the size of my bladder might be the only way I could help the situation. The downside of wearing a unitard tri-suit is you have to take the whole fricking thing off to pee (I have considered making a velcro pee flap). And, as I mentioned, the built in bra and undies come with. So, instead of creating a spectacle, I just peed while running. This is not something I am well-versed in. I felt fine, though, until urine hit the area of my ankel where the chip band was and burned like hell. Wowzers. I had quite a cut there.

I came through the first 5k in 24, 10k in 48 and the 20k in 1:43:52. This was the third fastest female time. SR said he had a disppointing run with leg cramps and came in with a time of 1:29:34.

The final tally

Well, I can see I've got to go to work, so I had better wrap this up.

I was shocked this morning to learn I had come in 3rd overall for the women (1st in my age group) with a total time of 4:39:10. We didn't even stick around after for the end since people were still coming in and I had never dreamed I would actually get on the podium! Well, if there was a podium, I was not there to enjoy it. But I am enjoying the fact that I finally had a race I was really proud of.

Here are the results.

Running Song of the Day: Frequent Flyer by Jon Lindsay (especially for fans of Steely Dan)


cherelli said...

Wow what an awesome race you had....hmmm, perhaps you will start calling yourself a multi-sporter rather than a runner soon? Love that you could draft on the bike, that would be my sort of had some fast times, particularly the run (tends to be around 10min slower than just a run for me after a bike and swim!). i prefer the two-piece tri a triathlon that distance I never know how well my digestion will work on that day....the thought of peeing down my legs into what could be a blister in my shoe just isn't attractive :) Well done!

Ewa said...

You are just amazing! Congratulations on a fabulous race. I can't believe you did not wait to hop onto the podium.
Peeing on the run is not something I have ever tried but I can imagine doing it, I think...
Poor Lorax, what a waste of a good lasagna.

SteveQ said...

I ended up watching the St. Paul Triathlon on Sunday, as it's held on my training route and, between it and road construction, it was impossible to drive anywhere. I was stunned at the variety in gear, from those with spokeless wheels and teardrop helmets to people on street bikes whose manufaturers I'd actually heard of. I was further convinced that a tri is just a bike race, as I was passing leaders in the run while staggering through my own long run.

It appears these things are five professionals and 500 weekend warriors. I think I could get a top-10 without training (and be last out of the water), but never be top 5!

SteveQ said...

While I'm at it, I'm thinking of making something for a race aid station - other than Red Bull and trans-fats, what else has Denmark banned that I should include?

SteveQ said...

Oh, and since my Danish is non-existent, are there 25 people yet signed up for the Bornholm 6 Day race?

mmmonyka said...

I saw your results before you did?!? That really makes me a stalker. But to my excuse, I have 6 hours advantage:)

Great race, I am glad you finally broke the bad spill! I do not know anything about swimming but your run and bike were awesome!

It is pretty funny that that woman did not want to draft behind you or rather did not want to let you ride in front of her. But who would complain, right?

How did you become such a fast swimmer? If I remember right you took couple lessons to learn the right technique, right? And then you just swam on your own or had practices with your triathlon club? I would like to try triathlon but I am sure I cannot swim that long. I need to start working on that.

sea legs girl said...

Cherelli, thanks! I think multi-sporter is just too long to write or say. I prefer aquathoner. It makes me think of the Jethro Tull song Aqualung. But that has four syllables, too. I might just have to stick with runner.

Ewa, I think the Lorax enjoyed the lasagna anyway and got a bit of nutrition out of the first 3-4 portions :).

Steve Q, you had best learn to swim and get a nice road bike before your attempt at top 10 - but SR and I would LOVE to see your attempt at and report of a triathlon. Actually I'm sure you would do quite well.

The 6 days run on Bornholm is apparently only held every 2 years so the next is in 2012. The Hammer Trail 50 and 100 mile race on Bornholm 5-6th of May this year may be a race we'll be doing, though - hopefully.

mmmonyka, I think it is so cool you found the results. If that is "stalking" I am also guilty of it many times over. I have worked a long time at swimming - started swimming (basically doggy paddle with head above water) in 2004, but really just learned the proper technique this past spring (it was about time).

SteveQ said...

Oops! I guess I knew the Bornolm 6 Day was already held in June - something I found said it was September.

Running song of the day: "Magic Collector" by Here We Go. Plenty of twink and sludge for you!

sea legs girl said...

Steve Q, now, am I confused or are you recommending "Collector" by Here we go Magic? Maybe not, but if so, you really do know my taste since I actually have ALREADY listed that as a running song of the day. If you are recommending the song "Magic Collector" by Here We Go, I feel bad it's so easily confused with the other song.

green light said...

Congrats, that's a great race. But I'm kind of shocked about the organization of it. Drafting in a tri is usually illegal because it is so dangerous with aerobars -- they become a real hazard, visibility is very poor from such a low position, most amateurs don't have the greatest handlings skills in a peleton/pace line anyway, and accidents are that much more hazardous with all those pokey bits. And what's the deal with wetsuits in a pool? I'm kind of shocked that was allowed as well.

SteveQ said...

My listing for that song read "Here We Go Magic Collector" and the break seemed more reasonable where I put it. Guess I need to wake up a bit.