Tuesday, April 08, 2008

going to long-course du worlds

LC worlds qualifier
6 april, north carolina
8k run - 53k bike - 8k run

in early april i'm usually emerging from hibernation, dusting off the tri bike and slouching into speedwork. this year the first race of the season was the regional qualifier for long course duathlon worlds this summer. who knows the strange ways of USA Triathlon? not i.

because of the rude beginning to the season, and because i'd like to step up the game this year, i appealed for coaching advice to someone whom i revere as much for his attitude as his storied athletic career. he graciously accepted and under this oracle's direction i have bitched, whined and wept over my top tube; but here it is april and i'm standing at the start of an A race feeling entitled to one of the top 2 slots in my age group that will send me to belgium in august. i feel entitled because i've done my homework and the Oracle and i have a Strategy. we didn't want to change too many things in my first race in 6 months, so the strategy is pretty simple: go hard and don't fuck up the transitions like i usually do.

8k run
the run course is flat and fast, if you're fast. i'm not. i'm safe, content to sit with the lead group of women, none of whom i know because i don't race this far from home. i recognised only 1 name on the pre-reg list -- Stacey R -- who's studly enough to be out of my league and coaches other studs. i peg the woman beside me as stacey based on body type and the fact that she chatters and chirps encouragement through the first half-mile. who talks that much during a race?? someone who's saving something for the bike, i now realise. but anyway.

a chick wearing compression socks that look suspiciously like arm warmers has had enough of the chatter, or maybe wants to win the race, because she shoots up the road at the 2 mile mark. no one else responds, so after a half-mile of indecision i do, and for the rest of the first run i linger in no man's land about 20sec back from her. she runs well, i note, but she doesn't have a cycling ass, so it will be interesting to see what she does on a bike.

into the transition zone... and so much for Strategy. i put my helmet on over the sunglasses on top of my head, i lose my balance trying to kick off my shoes and plant one foot in a puddle and the other in the helmet of the person next to me. i swear every time i enter a TZ i turn into a total moron.

i never thought anyone could have a slower transition than me unless they were maybe a beaver or reclining chair, but i make it outta there before compression-sock chick, and when i mount the bike i'm first F.

53K bike
how do you ride the beginning of a 32mi bike when you're in first place? good thing i don't have to worry about this for long! i'm toodling in my small ring when a tightly compact aero-human in a pointy helmet shoots by me like a bullet train. now SHE has a cycling ass. hmmmm - i strategise - i think it is time for snacks - and i am enjoying a tasty e-gel and accelerade when stacey rips by. let's chase her down! - she yells chirpingly while i gape at her, drooling gel. who talks that much during a race??? people who've got their shit together, maybe, because i don't. i can't get in a groove, the mental jukebox is skipping all over the place, and i've forgotten how to time-trial rolling courses.

i endeavor to keep stacey and aerogirl in sight, but i'm struggling and at mile 16 they're small specks. like insects. i am watching all the insects march along... and then i have my song. my legs feel better -- or maybe we've left the worst of the rollers behind -- and by mile 20 i've gained some ground on aerogirl, but stacey's still way out there. when another woman passes me i use her as motivation to leave aerogirl behind. the woman in front of me wasn't part of the lead group of runners, so unless she was totally dogging the first run i should be able to take her in the second. still, the voice of the Oracle's there telling me every second i make up in the bike is one i don't have to make up in the run, so i'm at her heels coming into transition.

8k run
T2's smoother: the only malfunction i have is trying to put on two left shoes. the Oracle suggested 2 pairs of flats; what he neglected to mention to the moron is that they should not look exactly the same. aerogirl and i leave the TZ at the same time, stacey's 2min up the road with second place 20sec ahead of me. i know second's within reach; i don't know about stacey.

i gain on second slowly and pass her in the first mile. i can't make up time on stacey, though. she's too good, too experienced; and i finish 1:37 back from her, roughly a minute of that lost in transition.

this is going to be easy - said the Oracle afterward. there is no question that you can go A LOT faster.

there is work to be done.
and i am going to belgium.


fatmammycat said...

You are indeed going. I might fly over to cheer you on if I'm not bogged down in the middle of something hideous work-wise and even then I might skip out for a day.

finn said...

that'd be awesome.
there's beer there, so i hear.

Mayrasmom said...

Sounds like it went pretty well. Congrats on qualifying for the worlds.

fatmammycat said...

BELGIAN beer. I can see it now, me , sun, belgian beer and NOT having to exert myself. Oh yes, I'll make a flag and wave that, can't have you doing ALL the work.

Subhangi said...

Congratulations. Be sure to reward yourself with the food of the Spartans.

aquaasho said...

Wow great race and great account!

finn said...

thanks all!

beer and chocolate and fries, oh my! fries with mayonnaise, too, which in belgium maybe isn't as vile as it sounds in delaware.

FMC now that you (presumably) can feel your legs again are you sore from your tenner?

Mayrasmom said...

Believe it or not, I tried mayo on fries just last week. Not very appealing to me. Maybe Belgian Mayo is better than what we have here...

finn said...

maybe it's made of chocolate, and it's like dipping fries in your chocolate milkshake.

time for Snacks!!!

fatmammycat said...

Legs feel dandy. CG and I just signed ourselves up from two more runs for char-i-dee.
After that it's the adidas pre-marathon races in the park. Bring it on.
Frites and mussels, beer and mayo, that will be some FINE dining.

finn said...

what a good friend you are to share the bug with CG. when & how far is your next event?

frites & mussels, and beer & mayo, in a region renowned for treating psych patients and the mentally ill.

I'd say that's about right.

fatmammycat said...

Seems to fit all the criteria needed, if we can add some glitzy dresses and ice skating I'd say we have us a winer.