Unless you stop waiting a few years ago when I stopped writing at all consistently. In that case, well, SURPRISE! Here I am! Remember me?
I have three truly exciting things on which to report: Rev3 OOB, IM Maryland, and my trip to Kona to sherpa Ange in the IMWC. Today I will only get to the first of these three. I had ambition to write about all three in one post, but then I got real.
In late August I completed my third half IM of the season--the REV 3 Old Orchard Beach Half. The race takes place in OOB, Maine, about 1 mile from where I live in the summer--so it's a bit of a necessity that I do either the Oly or the half distance every year.
Here's how the race went:
I had a great swim, a super lame bike in which I missed a turn and rode into a ditch, and a very solid run.
Sadly, I don't remember the day with a crystal clear lens. The bike, especially, is a bit foggy around the edges. This is not because I was dehydrated or inebriated or- ated of any kind at at any point during the race. The race just happened a long time ago now and I'm getting older...memory ain't what it used to be, etc.
Anyway, here's what I remember:
My friend Anne was there. She is an uber awesome amazing triathlete, and she is MY FAVORITE PERSON to draft off of in the swim because she is faster than me, but not so much faster that I can't stay on her feet. This probably makes me a reprehensible person. She's my friend, and yet when I see her at a race I get all hyper excited because maybe I can find her feet and latch on! (Sorry, Anne. I'm terrible.) Anyway. We ran into the water, I splashed around a bit, and then I found her... and I followed her lovely feet from the first salty wave to the end of the swim. We stumbled out of the water together, and in the ultimate show of unfairness, I stumbled out JUST before her, by like a second. Actually, I remember now that what really happened was that I stayed on her feet the whole swim until I caught a wave at the tail end of it and rode that wave in. (It might be a slight advantage that I swim in this stretch of ocean and ride its waves every summer.) Anyway, this is why I am a bit in front of her here. So right. I know what you think of me. But I did have a great swim! I was first in our AG! (I know, I know...)
Here I am coming out of the water. Anne is right behind me in the pink cap.
Anyway. Anne was having none of this. She saw me, and (probably) disgusted, she turned on the jets, and put a minute on me just running into transition. Actually, I think she was probably out of transition and on her bike before I even got to transition. Anne is a better swimmer than me. She is also better at transitioning fast (obviously) than me. Finally, she is a better cyclist than me. Actually, she's a way way wayyyyyyyyy better cyclist than me. So I had had my fun. I knew I wouldn't see her again until she passed me coming the other direction, finishing the run as I started it. Okay, maybe she wouldn't be that far ahead, but you get the picture.
I'm not sure, but it might be I'm not a badass like Anne (or the other trillion female badasses on the bike I know, like Carrie, Ange, Michelle S, Rebecca P, and OMG I could go on and on) because of attitude.
Anne coming out of transition on the bike:
Mary coming out of transition on the bike:
Hmmm. I don't know... Who do you think will win? It's definitely a toss up here.
So, one of my goals for next season is to get strong and get badass on the bike. Also, I plan to never smile again in any race picture ever and I plan to stay in aero every second of every ride, and also I plan to get my bike all pimped out so it's actually super aero and not a big mess like it is now. I will never be strong on the bike like Carrie, Anne and Ange--I get that--but I would like to be MORE BADASS than I am now... which is to say, not badass at all.
Okay, I digress.
In addition to not being a badass on the bike even on a good day, I was not feeling it on this particular ride. The OOB course is also the place in which I train like every day in the summer, so it felt like I was just on a training ride with 1,000 of my best buddies as opposed to in a race. Unfortunately, my 1,000 best buddies kept leaving me in the dust. I swear I passed no one and I got passed one trillion times. I just had no umph. In retrospect, I think my bike problem stemmed from the fact that at that point in the season I was five weeks out from IM Maryland. My training for the weeks leading up to the race had been pretty intense, and though I did rest a good four days before the race, it wasn't enough to get my legs back. I could feel fatigue in my quads from the first pedal stroke, and my mojo was MIA. This was most apparent to me when at a sharp left-hand turn, a turn I have made on like every training ride ever, I spaced out, missed the turn, and rode into a grassy ditch. I didn't fall. I just ... rode into a ditch. Did I panic? No. I was like... hmmm. I just rode into a ditch. I pulled myself out, and then proceeded to try to pull the grass from my chain and cassette. Racers rode past me, probably chuckling, like, WTF, she just rode into a ditch! And since I didn't actually fall, I had no war wounds and I couldn't cry and be all like, I crashed! OMG! Nope. I just had grass in my shorts and bike grease on my calves. Awesome.
Later in the ride I saw Alina and Andy, who had come out to support me in the race. Andy had been taking pictures of cyclists all day so that when I got there he would be all practiced and get an AWESOME shot of me. He was down on the ground and all professional looking, so racers thought he was a race photographer and they smiled at him! For example:
The second girl is totally smiling for the camera. All I want to say is this: Lose the losers number 371! WTF--people have no shame in drafting-land. Really? Ride your own damn race you cheaters.
(My turn to be disgusted? But drafting in the swim is legal!! ;)
Finally, FINALLY I turned the corner and Alina could flash her awesome sign!!
Anyway, they saw me, and then Andy got in there and got the picture!! Woot!
JK. Andy took like 100 awesome pictures. This one cracked me up.
I finished the bike in fine, but very slowwwwwww style. I finished so deep in the bike results I couldn't even find myself later on when I went to look. Argh.
One advantage of my slow bike turned out to be that it allowed me to run well. I felt AWESOME when I finally got onto the run course. It was hot and humid, but I was running people down right and left and feeling like I was all that. This lasted until about mile 8, and probably would have lasted the whole run if I had just taken a gel at mile 8 like I was supposed to do. It wasn't even that bad after mile 8. It just didn't feel as awesomely smooth as it had before mile 8.
On a side note, here's something WEIRD. My number belt went under my tri top and was up around my waist, and I didn't even know this! I had some chafing when I finished, but I never freaking noticed that my scratchy, paper race number and my belt were completely up and under my shirt, by my bra. Seriously?
This is about mile 5. Note-- my face when I don't know I'm being photographed. Also note my crumply belly--paper number scratching away beneath my shirt. I'm hot!
I am, however, always, truly happy at the end of a race. Why? BECAUSE IT'S OVER! And when it's over I instantly forget how I planned to give up racing forever just five minutes earlier. Insanity.
In this race I ran myself from like 500th place to 3rd in my AG and 10th woman overall. I'm super proud of that--except maybe I shouldn't be proud because I had to run myself up from like 500th place because my bike sucked so bad. This race actually foreshadows the race I would do in five weeks--Ironman Maryland--where I had a very mediocre bike and a really solid run.
It's not a bad way to race.
I just want more.
Of course I do!
Okay, more later.
And thank you to Alina and Andy for running all over the course to cheer me on, and to Andy for taking all of these awesome pics! (I even love that one on the bike... ;)And to Ange for being my loyal, supportive, awesome, smart, friend and coach.
In closing, here is a picture of the sun setting in Ocean Park, just a mile down the road from the race site. Love that place. Miss that place.