Monday, August 20, 2007
Finally A Plan Comes Together
I would like to start this post with two of my favorite letters. P. And. R. Baby.
Saturday I ran another 10k, you know, to see what the old girl had in her and, though I didn't place (to my knowledge - they only gave out medals to the top four men and women and the top finishers in each age group), I beat my previous 10k time by almost two minutes: 54:55, avg pace 8:50/mile. Right. On.
Now the original plan for Saturday was to pre-register for the race, get out there as soon as the sun was up and hammer out a 25 mile bike before the race - you know, the perfect race-pace brick. However, I didn't get my entry off in time so pre-registering was out. Plan B was to get out there at the crack of dawn and hammer out an hour as hard as I could go - and hopefully get in close to 20 miles. Also didn't happen. Hubby came along and raced the 5k (He also PRd - GO HUBBY! I theorize that he was in the top three in his age group but, unless they post the results as they promised, we won't know) and came along on the bike. Alas, his bike is just not as fast as Pyro and, though he told me I should leave him behind, I just couldn't. I mean, a guy gets up at 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday to ride with you and then run a road race - you don't just leave him in your dust. The up side was that we found a really beautiful road to ride - it was flat and smooth and skirted the edge of the bluff for the entire way (though, I noticed on the way back that the speed limit was 55 - there wasn't a lot of traffic but they were going pretty fast - not sure that's the best route for future trips). The down side was that we got in just under 12 miles in 50 min. Not exactly the hammer fest I'd planned - still, it was a ride and it was a nice warm up for my legs and, hey, I can't complain about a PR, now can I?
So, in the end, Saturday was all good. Which leads us to Sunday. The last couple of weeks, I've seemed to have a hard time executing my plans. Sometimes the weather gets in the way, once it was Pyro's gears going all wanky, sometimes I've just felt "off", other times its just been circumstances (see above). Life is like that, as I'm sure you all know. Still, its been frustrating to the point that I'd started to believe that planning was just futile and to really fear that I would not be adequately prepared for my A race in just under two weeks. Thankfully, yesterday put at least some of those feelings to rest.
Lake St. Louis schedules two practice swims on the two Sundays preceding the race. Being new to open water, there is no way I was going to miss out on that opportunity. Yesterday's plan was to get in the water at 7:00, the earliest possible start time, knock out the 1500 then do the bike course twice. That's fifty miles - longer than I've ever ridden before (40 was my previous record). Maybe too big a jump, but I wanted to have the confidence that I could more than handle this course and I knew that riding it twice in a row would give that to me.
As soon as I arrived, I met one of my blog-land buddies - Tryan. He doesn't have a blog (yet) but he's posted comments here and there and we've shot some emails back and forth. How cool to be looking around at all these people, feeling like a totally clueless newb, absolutely out of place, and finding a friend. Thanks, Tryan! We chatted a bit then headed for the water.
Someone had stolen the first buoy during the night so they sent a kayaker to the far shore where the buoy was supposed to be. He looked so small in the distance. I took a deep breath (or 50) and reminded myself that I'd swam further than this course out at Creve Coeur, it was just compacted into laps so you couldn't see how far you'd actually gone. Tryan just jumped in and started - he's much braver and faster than I! After standing in the water (which was perfect, by the way - I felt sorry for those who thought they needed wetsuits, they missed out) and gathering my courage for a bit, I started out. I had decided that I was just going to cruise the course, just get a feel and see how long my "cruise speed" would take me, then make a decision about what my race pace should be. Based on Creve Coeur times, I figured it would take between 40 and 45 minutes. So I cruised to kayak, then buoy after buoy until, before I knew it, I was heading for shore. I went off course a bit in the last stretch when I misunderstood what a fireman on the course told us about which buoy to aim for (its really hard to hear with a swim cap on). I ended up somewhere between 50 and 100 meters off and a kayaker was kind enough to point out the two buoys we were supposed to swim between. But, it was cool. I never felt tired and rarely felt anything close to fear, so that was all good. And my time: 37:40! Sahweet! I have to give props to the Lake St. Louis Fire Department and the volunteers out there on kayaks - those folks were everywhere! I got out of the water feeling great and ready to tackle the bike. I saw Tryan again in the parking lot, he was heading out for the course and invited me to ride with him but I wanted to get my packet at City Hall (which was along the course) and then ride out from there so we parted ways until I saw him at City Hall after my first loop. He did the whole course, including the run, in around 2:30! For a practice! Dang, he is going to kick some butt in the race.
About half way through my first loop, I just knew I couldn't make a second. I had come down what seemed to be the biggest hill of the course and I knew I was going to have to go back up it. And my legs felt like toast. So, I started the second half of the first loop fully intending to call it quits after one. Then, I got to the "monster hill". There was a chick in front of me who was obviously more skilled on the bike than I - she was in aero almost constantly while I didn't get down even once - we both started the hill together and I groaned "here we go" to which she grunted her reply. Then. I passed her. Like she was tied to a frickin post (thanks 21st Century Mom, for that expression). That's when I knew that I would do the whole fifty. The whole hilly, painful fifty. And I did. The second loop was much harder than the first, but I did it. All told, the ride took 3:25. Not horrible for the amount of hills and the fact that, while I pushed it at times, I wasn't "racing" the course. Finally, a plan comes together.
Posted by Larissa at 7:58 AM