Sunday, December 6, 2009

Race Report: Phuket

Well, that's the last race of the year done and dusted. Did I get the result I wanted? NO. Did I improve on last year? A TAD. Am I annoyed? At the wheel suckers...YES! At me? No, not really...feeling a little flat at the moment but I am taking A LOT of positives from this morning. It was very hot out there I am told. Look at the blue sky! Weird thing is...did not feel the heat at all!!! COOL...literally and physically:)
Here we go...
I arrived on Wednesday evening and this is the first race I have officially worked AND raced. It's not that easy. You don't get to chill out when you want, you stand on your feet all day and eating is something you do when time allows and you grab what the hell you can.
Having said that. I simply LOVE being around other triathletes. Talking and chatting about the sport and what we at TBB do comes easily...I love it. The only time it gets hard is when the crowds subside and then my energy levels start to lag. I feed off other peoples energy...I am an energy VAMPIRE!!
Another plus about working is I really do not have time to fret about the race. Each race this year I have managed to remain calm and relaxed (most of the time) and this weekend was proof that I am finally getting a grip on it. Nerves came this morning on cue as I see all the other almost 800 athletes waiting to run into the water.
It was very blustery this morning and the past few days I have experienced some nightmare headwinds on the bike. So windy this morning I didn't dip in the sea before hand. And am very glad I didn't, some people that did I saw them hopping around trying to stay warm. So in my books that was a VERY good call.
I am slowly getting my head around this swimming lark. Today I was swimming WITH people. In the past I have done my utmost to find 'empty' water so I can swim alone and not risk getting hit. While it was still slow, I am proud of the fact that I was looking to swim with people and on their feet. This is what I need to do in races and I am finally getting the confidence after almost two years, to do it. I can go faster, because I know I swim faster in training..but in race conditions for me this is a huge breakthrough. I am still scared...but not as much :)
Came out the sea with Bliss and we headed into the pond for the final 680metres. Sun is directly in your eyes swimming this section but once again I just kept looking to swim with or on someone. Came out with Bliss, smacked her bum and into transition.
Transition: My bike was next to Bliss's...I threw my gear on while she wiped her face!!! She then smacked me on the bum...tally HO!
Here we go head down big gear. On your right, on your right, on your right...I will be saying those words in my sleep tonight!! Got to the hills and carried on passing all sorts. Feeling very strong. Legs feeling VERY good. No Lactic?? No Pain?? Of course heart was popping out up the hills but then its back to normal.
Now I did a very SILLY thing today that may have lost me a minute or two. Very embarrassed to admit this..but it is my blog and honesty is the policy here. I forgot about the 3rd hill. A steep but short little baby. At the time I got upon it I was in big chain BIG gear. So when I went to drop the chain...of course it wouldn't go down. PANIC!!! There was no way on God's earth I could have grinded up that hill in the big chain #11. I made the snap decision to dismount and RUN. Go back down and start again would take too long and be dangerous. So I 'sprinted' in shoes about 50meters got back on and then had to re-overtake all the buggers who had just gone by me!!
No biggie...just rather embarrassed about the whole thing and that incident lost me my sub 1:40 split!!! Grrrrr.
Flying along, nasty headwinds and having to really push at times. The weird thing is even though it was hard work, my legs were not complaining. I was passing quite a few people and thought to myself - 'I bet they are right behind me, this is so slow' but when I looked...there was no ONE in sight...COOL. I am STRONG :)
The only thing that got me peeved on the bike was the 2 tour-de-France sized Pelotons I saw whizzing back on the highway after the U-turn. I was just approaching the U-turn so was catching the girls who were tucked away inside there having a FREE 'insert expletive' RIDE.
Took a couple of gels on the bike...if I had more I would have had them too. Not that I needed them but I had a delivery of GU mint choc gel and they are GORGEOUS!!!
Time: 1:40
T2 -another panic...where was my slot??? running up and down looking for my rack I found it and 'threw' George on, only for the whole bloody thing to come crashing down!!! HELP. Thank you to whoever was spectating and standing behind, that erected the thing again. I lost serious time here too...Grrrr.
Out on the run, still shaking my head in disbelief at the bike rack crashing down. Again...very weird. I felt GOOD. I felt I was running at a good click but I had NO PAIN what-so-ever in my legs?? Breathing was under control. So now I am asking myself...push harder??? What do I do?? Once my feet got soaked and running on the grass the movement caused a lot of discomfort. It got worse but I kept telling myself you can handle it all the while you keep going. Deal with the feet when you stop. I really dislike running on the grass and trails. As soon as I hit the asphalt I felt the pace quicken. ON the second loop I was still in a comfortable zone. I was overtaking people...good looking people. Should I have pushed harder?
Finished in 3:17, just over a minute quicker than last year. I got 3rd in my age group and the 3rd quickest AG female bike split - but it was an HONEST split!
Physically I feel I could go do it all over again. Feel very fresh and raring to go. Boss tells me it was a training race. My race is in February. Yes it is.
I know short distance is NOT my thing...but I still want to WIN. Put me in a ballroom dancing competition and I will want to doesn't matter what it is and if I am any good at the sport...I JUST want to WIN!!! Okay, so you get the message.
But, we can't win them all and I am happy with my work for today. I am pleased with the 'confidence' progress on the swim, pleased with the comfort and power on the bike and very pleased to run so comfortably that I felt I could have just kept on going for another 30k.
Next Sunday I will be doing my first of 8, 3hour runs in the buildup to IM MY. The real work starts when I get home on Tuesday...still awaiting instruction as to exactly when!!

But will be a celebration. I am going to drink beer and dance and wear my NEW T-shirt that I have been saving for this night...the phrase on it says it will have to wait for the pictures to see for yourself :)
And if I happen to NOT have a hangover tomorrow morning...I will train. Why? Because training is my lifestyle and racing strong and healthy is my little reward:)
HUGE HUGE thanks to my 'boys' Daniel and Xion Chen for their awesome mechanical support this weekend. Thanks also to Alex and Erin for their support on the course and to Jens who sadly couldn't race but snapped these pictures and emailed me so quickly:)
Well done to everyone who raced today and a special WELL DONE to Mattie from teamTBB. He came in 2nd. Christmas has come early to Mattie and his girl Joyette...well deserved...awesome job!