Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wrapping up a Loose End Before the End of the Year--Polar Bear Results

Polar Bear results are posted and my blissfully ignorant "I think I did OK" is now "I wonder who just totally kicked my bootay all over the missile range?"

Sarah Crewe.
That's who.

I have no idea if this is the same Sarah Crewe mentioned in Don Fink's training book: "Be Iron-Fit: Time-Efficient Training Secrets for Ultimate Fitness."

Or, if this is the same Sarah Crewe with a sub 12 hour Ironman under her belt, and multiple Ironman results, including Lanzarote, Florida, and Placid.

Unfortunately, the Polar Bear results lack splits.
I came in 7th of 30 females overall, second in my age group, with a grievous mid-winter run, and a 20+ mph bike under windy conditions.
Sarah Crewe was 1st female overall, and first in my age group.
Yeay to my age group!

I would have dearly liked to see her bike split, as she was 3.5 minutes faster than me on the run, but 9 minutes faster overall. With a 5:32 IM bike, (if this is the same Sarah) then Sarah can ride a bike.
Plus, she uses a disc.
When will I ever learn?

I can see that Sarah Crewe has been showing up at the local races: Ruidoso and Santa Fe--all races I didn't do this year.

Whether or not.
Sarah of the IM results or a new face in the crowd.
Hats off.
Welcome to the neighborhood.

Monday, December 15, 2008

36 degree early morning temps with a predicted 20 mph wind...

T and I signed up for the Polar Bear triathlon before we knew it was actually going to live up to it's name and be a truly COLD race.

We signed up for it because we had earned a year end award for the Southwest Challenge Series (SWCS), and the awards banquet was going take place right after the Polar Bear race. The dedicated SW Challenge administrators (Flip, Mark B, Mariana, John and his wife) put a lot of time into the awards and food, and we felt if they were going to make the effort on their end, then we were going to make the effort to be there.

Each year, I kind of wonder why I sign up for a race in the middle of winter. I say "kind of wonder" because it's a legitimate thought that just barely makes it to the surface of my awareness before getting steamrolled by years of habit and thoughtless race commitments.

Thoughtlessly and based on habit, I signed up for this race in November, when I was a month out from my final '08 race and squarely ensconced in the "off-season."

A month off from triathlon training colors all things triathlon with a rosy glow.

I spent a few more weeks doing nothing and feeling invincible. After all, I was the '08 SWCS champion for my age group, so I must be doing OK.

Two weeks before the race, I started to get a niggle of worry.

From the depths of my not very attentive brain, I started to remember how difficult the race had been the year before. In particular, one memory stood out--me coming off the bike, fumbling through transition with virtually nothing left, feeling overcooked and feverish, holding onto my goggles and barely moving toward the pool, then looking up into the eyes of the number one guy, as he encouraged me--and how embarrassed I felt. I didn't include that moment in my race report, but I did include memories of how sore my muscles were after the race, and how ill prepared I was.

Flash back to 2003, when I had a very up and down year, and T named my training efforts, "The Eight Day Training Plan." That was the year I met Bones, who took me under his wing--and I believe it was the following year that TriTeam Southwest was formed, which eventually morphed into our current Outlaws triathlon team. In 2003 everything triathlon just seemed so hard. I couldn't run three miles hard without feeling wiped out, and I certainly couldn't swim. T was gone at the time and I had a hard time focusing on training but I still, somehow, made it to 6 races that year--all due in part to my 8 day training plan. This plan consisted of procrastinating for as long as possible, than galvanized by the specter of totally making a fool of myself, squeezing in a few key workouts before the impending event...

It was this memory that cropped up as the Polar Bear neared, and I realized I had done virtually no training, except for the very occasional run, since the Longhorn 70.3 on October 5th. My memory of the Eight Day Training Plan gave me some confidence--despite the fact that I also remembered how hard those races were. I had done it before, I could do it again.

Here's a brief summary of my calendar entries for the month before the Polar Bear race:

Week of Nov. 16: 2 days "Sickish," 2 days of rock climbing, 3 days of "no exercise."
Week of Nov. 23: 2 days "short run", 3 days "no exercise," 2 days of Thanksgiving hullaballoo.
Week of Nov. 30: 3 days of "headache," 3 days of "no exercise," 1 day of rock climbing
Week of Dec. 7th: This is where my EIGHT DAY TRAINING PROGRAM kicked in: 7-mile run, 29-mile bike ride, 1500-yard swim, 3-mile run, 1 hour indoor trainer ride, 2 days of rest, then RACE DAY.

Unfortunately, I can't report on how I did, because the results are still not up. However, I felt pretty good throughout the race--turned in a decent run, caught a bazillion on a very windy bike (OK-maybe only 20, since not that many people did the race), and didn't panic in the swim.

The best indicator of how my fitness has improved over the past year? Not one iota of muscle soreness, except in the back of my neck, from not being used to the aero bike position. The race was a 5k run, 40k (25 mile) bike, and 400 yard swim, and I finished in 1:59+, second in my AG. I'm sure when I see my times, I'll wish I had gone faster, but I right now I feel pretty good about the ability to push my limits--especially with the kind of prep I had.

Now, it's firmly back to the off-season for me--especially since its snowing outside right now...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cyclocross State Championship racing

On the way out the door this morning, for the State Championship Cyclocross race at Polk middle school, T almost didn't take his second bike. But since he's finished two races on his pit bike this year, and Murphy's law seems to be a theme for this season, he decided to bring it along.

Lucky for him, he didn't need it--except as a warm up on the mud, sand, and grass course. A clean bike is a faster bike, and when the sprinklers are on the night before (at this time of year?) it's nice to warm up on your 'other' bike, and save the real deal for the race. Apparently, the sprinkler water froze in the night, and the early racers had to race on icy grass. By the time T started, the ice had melted and the grass was wet. Riding through wet grass, then into a sand pit makes for an awfully dirty bike...

When I asked him if Murphy's Law came into effect today (since it has been a season of such) he said, "Oh no, but I over cooked a bunch of corners because I forgot my prescription glasses and I couldn't judge the distance." He ended up getting the course marking tape tangled up in his handlebars twice, lost momentum, and probably lost a couple of places, too.

In the end, he placed 5th in his Age Group.
Most of all, though, "it was just fun!"

Now it's time to put up the cyclocross bike (although sometimes it doubles as a commuter), and start studying for finals (T, not me, thank goodness!). The way law school works is that they give you a whole semester of education, then one "high stakes" test at the end, for each course. I expect T's nose will be buried in books for the next two weeks....

I, on the other had, will be writing cards, mailing out packages, and trying to think of the best present ever (!) for T and my sister.

After all the end-of-year fuss is over, we are both dreaming of a warm weather vacation...