Showdown: A Race Report

Along with all the professionalism that was just oozing out of my ears yesterday, I was not totally thrilled about racing today. This was pretty much how I felt:

“Ugh, that girl over there looks fast.”

Look, I didn’t run all of March. I’ve upped my running to a total longest run of 5 miles. None of it fast. I had no, no idea what would happen when I started to run. Not to mention that because of that I’ve been a psychotic mess about even being ready to race. Today, I just wanted to go out and, most importantly, test my legs for Alcatraz. But, also, I wanted to win.

The swim is short. It’s a U and it’s supposedly a half mile, but yeah, not really. All the girls in my under-35 wave were collegiate swimmers or water polo-ers. Or one of was talking about missing crew practice that morning. Fantastic. But, I figured I can fake a short swim.

We started running into the water and I just swam as hard as I could/stay in front/don’t let anyone go/it’s not that long. Which was a fantastic plan until someone hit my goggles off and I was wondering why I was holding them in my hand. I put them back on and was forced under the buoy to get back in the swim. I fought back into 3rd, swam in a front pack, with one girl about 15 seconds ahead. It was a hard and fast swim, faster than I’ve swum in awhile, but I’ve also gotten to be a much better swimmer. We swam a 4:30. Which is crazy — last year I swam a 6:06 — and also that’s about as long as I can fake being a collegiate swimmer. I think the swim times for everyone might be a little fast, because they were starting the waves one or two minutes earlier than their scheduled times and yeah 4:30? But, whatever, I still swam as fast as the super fast swimmers around me.

See, Kelly coming out with the front swimmers:

Then, we had to run our bikes up this long, steep access road. Last year, we had to bike up it, but I guess that wasn’t safe with people going up and down. So, this year: run.

You know what is really difficult? Sprinting up a steep hill, with a bike, in bike shoes (no, I don’t know how to do flying mounts yet), with two other girls sprinting too.

The bike was fine. I pulled into first pretty quickly, because it’s a fairly technical, winding bike and I know the route really well. Then, I just pounded as hard as I could on the flatter and uphill sections and focused on not slowing down on the downhill parts. I biked the same time as last year with a slower bike (not my fancy TT bike) and having to run up that hill, which stupidly counted in the bike split.

Then, came the part I had been dreading: Running.

As soon as I jumped off my bike I started running full-out as fast as I could. Then, whoa, I had to bring that back down. We had to run back down the steep access road in bike shoes with your bike going faster down the hill than you. And then you grab the brakes to try and stop the bike and it flips up behind you. I think I swore some. Maybe.

The run was surprisingly fine. Mostly, it went by really fast. I sang songs to myself and tried to pass as many people as possible. I ran as fast as I could. I didn’t want to get caught and I wanted to make sure I beat the women in the other wave. And it worked. The girls behind me looked like they were running fast, but they didn’t put any time on me. I was pretty much physically done and then I saw the last turn back into the park. I pushed it to the finish, hoping for a 20 minute run, but ran 21:25 instead. Which is slow. But. It’s only 15 seconds slower than the fastest woman’s run and 45 seconds slower than my run last year. It’s a slow run course for everyone.

Alcatraz might be ok.

Lat year, starting at this race and then almost every race the whole year I sang Taylor Swift’s Love Story in my head. It turned around bad races and was my fall-back for everything.

Today, I had a new song stuck in my head on the bike and the whole run: Eminem’s Lose Yourself. Specifically, this verse:

Imma change what you call rage

Tear this mother-fucking roof off like two dogs caged

I was playing in the beginning, but the mood all changed

I’ve been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage

Um, new theme for the year?

This is me going ‘oh shit, is my ankle bleeding?’

5 thoughts on “Showdown: A Race Report

  1. Congrats on your win Kelly! Sounds like your swim has improved a lot and your run is not too far off even with almost no running. Good new for Alcatrez!

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