Monday, August 30, 2010

Lauren's Lake Stevens 70.3 Racing in the Pacific Northwest Microwave Oven Report

Given the rather intense past 2 weeks of training I thought I should post a quick Lake Stevens race report before my memory of this race fades into oblivion.

I decided to put Lake Stevens on the schedule because of the nice rolling hills bike course, the cool temps associated with the Seattle area, and the fact that Seattle is a short AIR ALASKA flight away from me. (side note: I love this airline. LOVE IT. Who can argue with $50 bike fees ...when they actually charge them...and cheap upgrades.) While the hills remained intact, temps that weekend skyrocketed into the high 90s...reminiscent of (shudder) WILDFLOWER and the lake of fire.

Pataky had a fishing trip planned for this weekend so I was flying relatively solo. MarkyV was nice enough to drive me around the Pacific Northwest, but not nice enough to build my bike. :) Nevertheless, I had no mechanicals during the race and the bike lived to fight another day.

On race morning, we found out that the pro swim would be non-wetsuit. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, I was actually cool with this proclamation, as the day before I had overheated trying to swim for 15 minutes in the lake. After much discussion about whether we would have a dive or water start, the powers that be determined that this would be an "in water" start. I was relieved because I don't really do dive starts. I mean, I was a competitive diver in middle school and could throw down a front 2.5 double twister or reverse one and a half pike like nobody's business, but give me a front dive with goggles and I'm not a fan.

Race morning was different than Calgary. I got up early, took a hot shower, got to the race site early, and did my warm up run. Lesson learned. The swim start was painful as usual. The female pros started separate from the men though (LOVE THIS). I took out the swim as fast as I could for as long as I could and for once I found myself in a pack....hurting in a pack....not just slacking in a pack (key difference). I stayed with most of this pack the entire time. The ebullience I felt about this can be witnessed on my "swim in" race photo. Usually I have a scowl on my face, but if you look closely, and perhaps enlarge the image x 5 million, you might actually see the beginnings of a smile. My swim time was nothing to write home about, but I left the water in a positive mental state.

The first loop of the bike course was great and I felt much stronger than I did 2 weeks prior at Calgary. After the first loop, however, many of us had to weave through the age group race. Most of the age groupers were great about staying to the right, but I did come across a few rogue men.... My bike split for this course was faster than my Calgary split, despite Lake Stevens being more hilly..hooray!

I jumped off my bike and departed T2. Linsey Corbin and her very awesome orange shoes passed me in the first mile and I tried to keep her in sight as long as possible. I felt Haley Cooper-Scott behind me for awhile and was unable to hold her off at the half-way mark. I managed to not lose much time on her, though, and finished the hilly and crazy hot run in 8th...much closer to the overall winning time than my 5th place showing at Calgary.

I would like to send a shout out to the professional runner-looking guy who encouraged me to loosen up while creeping up one of the looped steep hills. I must have looked like the hunch back of Notre Dame wearing black spandex decorated with powergel and salt.

Seeing that Matt was not around to take photos and create documentaries of the race, I will leave you with what awaited me in my fridge when I returned home to California that night.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lauren's Calgary 70.3 race and Purse visit report

I raced Calgary 70.3 a few weekends ago and the race was bookend-ed (is that a word) by a Purse visit....exciting! Lindsey was in town to visit friends and have some quiet time up at our place in Kirkwood while I was racing. Unfortunately, she did manage to wound herself twice, with a fall on a deadly trail run up at Kirkwood and a 20mph run-in with my back tire on a ride a few days after the race, in which I had to pull off my greatest traffic cop moves to prevent cars from running over Lindsey...who had landed head first and was splayed out across Stevens Canyon road. Ironically, the first words she uttered was an apology for thinking she had ruined my season....she mentioned this as she was still on the ground across multiple lanes of traffic. What a friend! the race report.

I chose Calgary 70.3 to placate Matt. I knew it was close to the mountains and he is a sucker for all things mountain, so he agreed to go. The venue was fantastic... rolling hills, cold and clear lake. The only bad thing about this race was the presence of mosquitoes. These were not your typical mosquitoes, mind you. They were more like vultures preying on live humans. Matt purchased some mosquito repellent and quickly became very popular with all of the spectators on race day.

Race morning was a bit rough for me. I had to get up at 2:30 my body time and didn't feel awake until about mile 30 of the bike course. We got to the race start and sat in the car for 30 minutes as it was pouring down rain (on my uncovered bike). I finally had to get out of the car and set up transition in the mud pit. I failed to do my typical warm up run as I was freezing to death and didn't want to run in the freezing rain. I quickly threw on my wetsuit and got down to the boat dock for the swim start.

My swim start was the best start I have ever had...for 200 yards. The gun went off and I swam as hard as I have ever swam and was staying with the faster people. When I realized this, though, all of the sudden I slowed down and 5 girls passed me. Before I could think about latching on, they were gone. I swam the rest of the race about a minute behind the medium speed swimmers, according to Matt, who took a depressing photo of me with a kayak following. I thought I was the last swimmer since the freaking kayak was on my feet the whole time, but it turns out there were other girls behind me.

I got out of the water, stripped off the wetsuit, did my traditional ankle collapse/fall in T1, hopped on my bike, and was off....but not really, as for some reason I could not get my watts to an acceptable level. I threw down a couple of caffeine power gels in hopes that the caffeine would wake me up, but I felt like I was riding through mud. I could barely get out of my normal zone 2. The rain stopped about halfway through the ride and I finally started picking up the watts and pace. I passed 3 girls and was encouraged every time I saw Matt at a random intersection, screaming at me to stop being a baby and go through the turns faster. Yes, I do not like turning in rain.

I finally finished the 56 mile ride plus a bonus 2 miles (dislike the bonus miles on days when I can't ride to save my life) and was ready to run. It took me about 2 miles before I could feel my toes. A top age group man was running right behind me for most of the run, which was great because it pushed me, but I was a bit delusional and occasionally thought that he was one of the pro girls behind me. The run was hilly but nice and cool. At the turnaround I was in 5th place, but I saw 3 girls behind me and tried to go faster. With 1.5 miles to go a film crew on a motorbike decided to film me. I think this was a blessing in disguise, as there was another girl a minute behind me at this point. GOD FORBID I look slow on camera AND get passed right before the finish line. I ran down the finish chute in 5th place, got some water, and was immediately swarmed...... mosquitoes.

While I was happy to be on the podium, I was a bit disappointed in my splits overall. However, the conditions were tough and I learned much about racing in the rain and cold. The race organization and volunteers were excellent and I highly recommend this race...just bring mosquito spray.

My friend and official Canadian sloot Jonnyo checking out our fabulous car rental. I am probably doing one of my pre-race nervous laughs.

Checking out the swim start in my Tsunami suit..hoping that the imagery of a tsunami will soak into my brain

Cold and wet early morning transition

The end

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