People always ask me ‘ohhh, how’s the Patch going?’ and I really ought to have a super awesome answer that also makes them feel appropriately annoying, because I just don’t know how many times I can say 1. there is no “the” and 2. busy.
So, yes, I finally put together an ok half-Ironman-distance race last weekend, but I haven’t really had much to say about it, because, oddly enough, life didn’t stop after that. Shock.
Big Kahuna was on Sept. 11 — side note: as we were all standing on the beach before the start, people are like pumping themselves up and jumping up and down and yelling “Go Lauren” and “Team in Training, yay!” and this girl next to me (in the exact same super peppy, cheering voice) goes: “Yeah, Sept. 11. Never forget! WOOOO!” I couldn’t (inappropriately) stop laughing.
It was a fine race. How is work? Fine. How was the race? Fine. How is wedding planning? Fine.
Turns out, I know how to swim. Who knew. Swam my ass off – just crazy hard the whole time. After the 50m of hard swimming, head down at the beginning, I realized I was pulling away from the people around me and looked up. 50m in, there was a girl already 20 feet ahead — that was the closest I was to her all day.
I swam hard, just really hard, thought my arms were burning off the whole time. Why? Because, for some reason, I had this giant fear that the girls behind me would catch me. No idea why this was such a huge fear, probably some emotional issues , but I was just terrified they would catch me. This is probably the same fear that terrifies me when I’m even close to an interval on the track – I prefer to be significantly under the interval, so I don’t have to be scared I won’t make it.
Came out of the water second. Ran up the sand, crossed the timing mat, ran up the ramp and looked at my watch. 29:15! Sweet, I must have been like 28:40-something. Nope, I officially crossed the mat in 29:00. Sigh. But, second fastest swim of the day and I felt good about it.
I got on the bike second. I came off the bike second. Not a lot happened in between. (I actually had no idea I was second. Somehow, all the spectators missed the girl in first. I missed the girl in first. So, I was convinced I was winning, no worries, until I started the run. Oops.)
I hit the turnaround on the bike in 1:13. I finished the bike in 2:36. If you can do math, you would think I blew up — and, I mean, I probably did a little — but, really, you turned around and almost got knocked backwards by the wind. The super smart and not at all annoying guys who were riding by me (ok, just one guy, who stayed behind me and then sprinted from wheel to wheel and then drifted backwards and then sprinted onto the next wheel that passed, was really annoying) kept standing up and pushing into the wind. Hmmm…
I started the run strong. I ran strong for awhile. Then, I stopped running strong. I was running along ticking off 7:15 miles – which was fine – and I was on pace to go like 4:47 and I was ecstatic. I even promised myself if I went under 4:50 I would just be done for the year. Then, in between a 7:00 mile and a 7:40 was an 11:30 mile. That didn’t seem quite right. I want my damn 3.5 minutes back!
Even if the mile 8 marker was off (it was), I stopped running anything resembling 7:15 miles shortly after that. I didn’t even really know it. The last coherent thought I remember is “And, then my legs gave out.” (Yes, most of my thoughts during races are of the narrative variety directed at an unnamed third party). Then, it’s just sort of a blur. I kept “running” and I kept “pushing” and hoping somehow another mile marker would be off in the negative direction and I’d still come in under 4:50 — it never happened, the stupid run is like 13.5 miles and slow, not that it’s any different than it’s always been every year — and eventually I made it to the beach and then eventually I made it through the sand to the finish.
Evidently, I slowed down a lot. I was like 5-6 minutes behind the girl in first at the turnaround; I ended up 13 minutes behind her. But, I had NO idea I was slowing down that much. I couldn’t really see my watch or read it. I couldn’t add. I was fine, didn’t end up in the med tent or anything, but man, I hate the last four miles of these things.
This is me at the start of the run. I don’t even remember going over this bridge. At first, I thought this must have been near the end because I have no recollection of it, but I’m still wearing my glasses, so. And, also, what the fuck is up with my run:
This is the only good picture of me from the race. It’s my ‘I can see the finish and I will not fall down before the finish line’ look:
I went 4:52 and came in second. Which is fine, solid, satisfying to put together an ok half after a year of trying to come to grips with a significantly longer race. (Though in all fairness to myself, I probably would have put together an ok half at Steelhead, there just wasn’t a swim.)
And, it was nice to remember that oh, right, I’m not completely, totally awful. I’m just used to racing with girls who are good enough to make me feel like I’m completely, totally awful.
But, it would have been nicer to have run 4 minutes faster.