Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 Kinetic 1/2 Race Report: I'll Be Back...

I'd been looking forward to this race for a couple months now  - as last year it was a great PR for me and boost in my confidence for my Ironman training.  It has a fast bike course, a challenging 3 loop run course and a somewhat standard swim course.  I really loved the bike course in 2012, but even more so in 2013 as they changed to 1 loop - of fast rolling hills.  Pretty much my favorite.  On Thursday night I wrote out my race plan, packed my bags, and double checked everything insuring I'd be ready to leave Friday afternoon.  I was hopeful of a potential PR if executed almost perfectly - but not every race can go as planned.

PRE-RACE: Saturday AM

Kinetic 1/2 has a 7am start time, which meant a 4:45am wake-up.  This was followed by my usual breakfast loading bikes in/on the car and heading to the race site.  The weather turned out to be pretty great as compared to the thunderstorms that were predicted for Saturday morning all week leading up to race day.  We had a few drops of rain fall while setting up transition, but nothing substantial.  Just enough to make me want to put a garbage bag over my run and bike shoes before heading off to check out the lake, National Anthem, and swim start.

**SetUp events had a snafu or 2 in their timing system so I guesstimated my T1 and T2 based on last years times.  Our 2013 results or posted with T1 included in swim time, and T2 included in the run time**

THE SWIM - 41:55 (AG Rank 11)

Looking at swim rank and not time, this was a much better swim for me than last year.  The course seemed to be a bit long, possibly due to the buoy's drifting as the swim got underway.  As my wave was waiting for the start of the race we were given a 2 minute warning which in past experience would by followed by a possibly a 1 min or 30 sec warning but most definitely and 10 second countdown.  Pink caps got no love this  year, all we got was a random air horn.  Good thing everyone else was just as surprised as I was.  The water was choppy and there was a bit of a breeze coming across the lake.  The swim is a triangular course, but the first leg out seemed to take forever - it may be a bit longer than the other 2 legs.  After making the first turn I felt in my grove and pretty strong, though I seemed to be swimming mostly alone.  The occasional male from the wave behind me would swim past but I didn't see many other pink caps near me.  About 1/2 way I caught up to another pink cap and attempted to pass her but soon realized I was better off just drafting off her. I definitely saved a ton of energy and  probably swam  a bit fast on the 3rd leg thanks to her draft!

T1 - 2:18

As a ran out of the water and ran past the nice girl who pulled me in I thought about thanking her for the pull but decided it'd be better to keep that to myself.  I ran into transition, grabbed my helmet, sun glasses, and pulled on bike shoes before running out with Mr.  I had an awesome transition spot basically right at the corning of bike in/bike out.  No running all the way through transition in bike shoes, yay!

THE BIKE - 2:44:07 (AG rank 3rd)

I left it in an easy gear spun up the nice hill right out of transition.  I kept it relatively easy heading out of the state park to give my legs a chance to warm up.  Just as I turned out of the state park I got a huge tailwind and I was off - only to start be poured on by the rain!  All I could think of was how I didn't leave the
garbage bag over my run shoes/socks and what I would do with soaking wet shoes once I got back.  That thought quickly faded as I was loving the tailwind and basically had "on your left" running on repeat.  The rain was short lived and the sun decided to come out, but not 2 annoying tractor trailers passed way to close and sprayed nasty road/rain water all over me - not once but 2x!  Apparently the drivers decided to pass some bikers (me included) then basically stop for the next ones - which led to us passing them again and getting doused with grossness all over again.  No big deal once the trucks were long gone.  The sun was out, the bike course was awesome, and I was eating, drinking, and having a blast.  I hit mile 10 with about a 21mph average - I was pleasantly surprised considering how easy I took it for the first couple miles heading out of the park, but the tail wind helped me out.  I know the course would only get faster from here on out and was looking forward to a fast bike split.   I was through mile 40 with a near 21.5 bike avg and was estimating I'd be back in T2 around 2:32 - 2:35 depending on the winds and how hard I could push on the last leg back before the park.  Just after mile 40 we seemed to turn into a head wind and my bike just felt slow.  I was trying to look at the brakes to see if something had started rubbing, it sounded like something was rubbing.  Didn't seem to be either brake.  Then I thought my rear tire was flat.  At this point I was pushing really hard and not going very fast, and the group of guys I had just flown past a couple  miles back was now flying past me!  There was no way a head wind was killing me this much.  I didn't know what else to do so I kept riding.  In hindsight, I should have gotten off the bike and checked it out, lesson learned.  I made it to, albeit slower than preferred (about 18.5mph) to mile 46, 47....48......and just where you turn left off of Post Oak, where I knew I could drop the hammer and try to get back in 2:32:??....I turned Left, Mr. slid right and I hit the pavement hard.  Slip 'n Slide on the pavement = no fun.  Since this was at a turn in the course there was a cop and volunteers right there, the cop ran over as he radio'd about a biker down and started asking me if I was ok.  My helmet was the first thing to hit the ground and lucky for me it did it's job perfectly.  I hopped to my feet walked a few steps and despite wanting to cry and check out my road rash I dragged Mr to the side of the road and felt the front tire - completely flat.  Oi, I was in no place to try and change the tube, especially 7-ish miles from T2.  I took out my CO2, said a small prayer, and inflated the flat tire.  Picked up the piece of my helmet that had fallen off (a removable aero cover under the back side) and continued on my
Showing off our battle wounds - a knocked out tooth on the
swim and some road rash that didn't get wrapped up.
way to T2 hoping my tire would hold enough air to get me there.  I wanted to hammer, as I knew this road could be fast (it was last weekend) but I was a nervous nelly and my left side hurt.  I rode steady, took the turns super cautiously, skipped the flying dismount, and rolled into T2 frustrated, upset, and thankful to be feeling well enough to start the run.

T2 - 2:05

It may have actually been a tad slower than this, as I when I got back from the bike I had no idea what my bike split was - my computer crapped out after the fall.  I was convinced I had probably taken >3 hours between the slow riding leading up to the crash, the crash/remedy, and slow riding back into T2.  I questioned whether or not I should even run, slipped my shoes and socks on and grabbed my nutrition, race belt, and visor.

THE RUN: 2:00:54 (Ag rank 8th)

Not a bad run for the way I was feeling - would have liked this to be at least 5 minutes faster.  The first loop was a mental struggle for me.  I was in shock of what had happened on the bike, doubted my ability to run 13.1 hilly miles with my hip, back, and shoulder hurting and didn't have a lot of motivation to try and run fast as I was convinced my bike time was most likely very slow.  After the first loop of the run I started to feel better.  I took 3 Powergels with me to take at mile 3.5, 6.5, and 9.5 -  or so I thought.  Only 2 gels made it into my pockets.  Luckily the water, Heed, and Coke on course seemed to be just fine.  They changed the direction of the loop around the cabins on the run course and oh my for some reason running that hilly circle the other way seemed way harder this year. I'm all for changing it back and dealing a bit with the crossover of athletes.  The one positive about 3 loops on the run is you get to see everyone - multiple times.  I had multiple people run past me and ask me if I had crashed on my bike since they could obviously see my road rash.  By the time the 3rd loop came around I was feeling pretty good on the run but ready to be done with the hills.  As I neared the finish line I was pleasantly surprised that the race clock was still in the 5:30's.

FINISH TIME: 5:31:21 (5th AG, 17th Female OA)

Obviously this race didn't go as planned.  I think I was on track for a great race when I crashed on the bike and though it's frustrating and upsetting that it happened I'm thankful I was still able to finish as I know too many people who haven't been able to walk away or continue racing.  Looking back I would have done a few things differently - one being gotten off my bike and just checked the darn tire for a slow leak - eliminating the crash and two not let it affect my run as much.  The entire first loop of the run I was not into it and it shows in my run time, as I know I am capable of much better than that.  My Pink Rudy Project
Wingspan needs to be replaced - which is a good thing as it means it did its job perfectly!  My head feels great, thanks Rudy!  My bike needs new handlebar tape and a frame inspection and the wheel needs ( a new tube, obviously) to be filed down on the aluminum braking surface, it got scuffed up and has some sharp edges.  Other than that I walked away with some rode rash, soreness, and burnt/blistered fingers (maybe from sliding on the pavement?).  All in all, it was still a pretty decent day partly because the crew I was with had some awesome PR's!