It's that time of year again - time for the sprint tri called the Beaver Freezer. You can jump to the results by following this link, or you can hear my fascinating tale of mystery and intrigue.
A friend of mine from Wyoming (a 2-time Ironman finisher, who'd just run a half marathon last weekend) flew into town to race the Freezer with me. Yay!
Daisy drove to Corvallis Friday afternoon. She, Simone and I jumped on our bikes and rode through campus to downtown to give Daisy an overview of the course and to pick up our packets. Simone was a trooper and did the 8.5 miles with no complaints, though we'd not dressed expecting the temperature to drop the 10 degrees it did. She had fun, and hopped into the bath when we got home to warm up.
Simone took to Daisy like a new best friend, and Mary and I were barely on Simone's radar. Daisy was great and enjoyed hanging with Simone (Daisy's boys are older and have grown out of the lovey-dovey stage).
Wait, a triathlon?
Yah, even though I don't like running and I hadn't been in a pool since last April for the Beaver Freezer 2011! I did make the effort to ensure my goggles still worked and I knew how to breathe - by swimming maybe 800 yards 3 days before the race. And I've been running about once a week since January (just looked it up, 17 runs this year according to Strava).
We have pancakes for dinner (Daisy's favorite pre-race dinner) and go to bed a little after 10. We roll out of bed in the morning - I rustle up some eggs, toast, and a banana, and off to the race we go at a little after 7am.
It's cold, about 32 degrees and frosty, but the sun is shining. As we put our gear on the racks and I finish showing Daisy around the course, the sun totally comes out and it's actually warm. We pose for some photos:
Daisy's heat is at 9:15, intentionally early so she can make it back to Portland for her flight out (didn't want to miss Easter with the family - an unfortunate coincidence of schedules), and mine is at 9:30. I'm not quite sure how things will go - I've swum once in a year and am signed up for swimming the 500 in 8:30, which seems much much faster than the nearly 10 minutes my pace was a couple days earlier.
Daisy goes to do an actual warm up beforehand (she's got a coach and everything, probably a wise decision if you're regularly doing Ironman races), so I listen to some music on my Ipod and jog a little bit around the athletic field.
I run into Troy who is volunteering at the race, and later into Mel who is racing the same heat as me (dum... dum... dum... (foreshadowing)). I'm more than a little intimidated by the two of them. He regularly comes in the top 3 in the Cat 1 MTB races (#2 in the Mudslinger), and Mel does the same (#3 in Mudslinger) - oh, and Mel placed 6th in her age group in the Xterra world championships. But they are about the coolest people, it's mostly just me psyching myself out.
I see Daisy briefly before she heads off to her start and I strip down and head into the pool for my heat. That's the last I see of Daisy until we meet at her car.
I'm getting read for the swim and notice that the drawstring in my shorts has disappeared. Gaaaah!!! It's not a really big deal, they're pretty snug so I'm not afraid of them falling off, but I like to tie my wedding band into the shorts because it flops around a little bit on my finger while I'm swimming and I don't like that. I shake it off and figure it'll be OK. While swimming warm-up laps I notice the back of my shorts billow out a little bit each time I kick off the wall. Ok... good to know.
I'm in lane 1, right by the door (yay) and 4th in my lane, meaning I don't have to worry too much about slowing anyone down. We wish each other good luck and put our goggles on.
The time ticks down and we're off.
It turns out, we're all right about the same speed, or at least, the first guy goes just fast enough that none of us want to pass him. I pass #3, and then am stuck behind #2, until on the 3rd to last length the old guy (#3) taps my feet. I snarl to myself, "dude, there's nowhere to go..." and let him pass. Since it's the last lap, at the far end I just turn and swim down the left side of the lane, which puts me at the ladder to get out - bonus, easy out and 3' less of swimming.
I run out of the pool, passing people on the mat on the way to the transition area. I can't believe how slow people are jogging, but whatever. I didn't know it, but I'd just swum 500 yards in 8:07, nearly a PR - not bad for not swimming for year.
I'd get to my bike, put on socks/shoes/shirt/cap/helmet and I'm off. Thank goodness for the sun, it's a little cold because I'm pretty wet, but I feel pretty good. I don't like to go balls out in the pool because I feel wasted after swimming, so having been paced just under what I could have done left me with a little energy for the transition and beginning of the bike.
I'm using Sam's bike because mine needs a bike's cost worth of work to be ride-able. Thanks Sam! I find the top-tube to be a little short for my preference (not complaining, just noticing), but the bike shifts real smooth and feels pretty good. I start off by passing a bunch of people - probably 8 before the first turn even, and another 4 by the time we get onto Harrison. I realize that the really fast folks probably got out of the pool before me and had faster transitions and were ahead of me, so I might be able to not be passed on the bike course.
I hear this cheery, high-pitched voice from behind saying they were going to pass.
"Is that Mel?"
I decide to follow Mel and keep up as long as I can, maybe even try to out-sprint her at the finish. I follow closely, but to the side so I'm not drafting, and we cruise out Harrison and up 53rd/Walnut. Just after the first turnaround she throws her water bottle at me, or ... as she probably would describe it, goes to get a drink and drops her water bottle. I deftly avoid it by staring at it in horror, hoping it'll bounce back to the curb before I strike it, which it does. whew.
We race down 53rd back toward Harrison, getting ready to turn onto Harrison when a jogger decides he's going to pull a u-turn from the bike path onto the road (where we are). Mel and I yell out and he moves out of the way. We turn safely onto Harrison and head to Oak Creek.
Just before Oak Creek, Mel begins to pull away, just 30 feet or so, and at the turn onto Oak Creek, a brown pickup truck decides he's going to turn too. Of course he slows down and stops in the turn, whereupon I come parallel to him on a nearly non-existent shoulder. I'm yelling "Go Go Go!!!!" at the top of my lungs, and eventually he moves on. This takes me out of the game for a minute and Mel has doubled the gap to 60 feet. We turn around and she's slowly adding more and more distance, and by the time we're on the home stretch back into campus, she's probably a quarter mile ahead of me. She threw down the hammer and I couldn't keep up. She finished nearly a minute ahead of me (more in actuality, but she started a little behind me b/c of her swim). We high-fived at the finish line, she placed 3rd in women, 1st in her age group. You go Mel!
I finished the ride feeling good, passing one last person just before the transition area. I was happy to have only been passed by one person on the ride. My ride time was 36:09, which is works out to a 20mph average, yay!
The 2nd transition felt pretty fast, and I began running.
I never like the beginning of the run, but my legs felt fairly smooth and, while I wouldn't say light, they didn't feel like bricks.
I passed lots of people on the run. Crazy.
I did get passed by people, a reasonable number of people running way faster than me, but I definitely passed more than I was passed by - which was an odd feeling. And whenever I could think of it, I told myself, "it's only 3 laps, so step it up, you can rest later." I hoofed it pretty hard around the last corner, and while I didn't get to pass anyone on the way to the finish (or even fend anyone off) I finished strong. My run was 24:09 (assuming 2 minute T2, which didn't get recorded), which is a 7:49 mile, a PR by a long shot.
You probably notice a trend, and sure enough, I raced my fastest Freezer ever: 1:12:51. I'll have to look it up, but I think my 2nd best effort was 1:17:.. - maybe I've done a 1:15:... I placed 6th (out of 38) in my age group, 53rd (of 224) in the men, and 61st (of 409) overall.
Daisy finished 2 minutes slower than me, we were pretty well matched in the breakdown - but I had about a 2 minute edge on the bike - possibly because of my great pacer.
After I finished running, I downed some water and headed back to the car to find Daisy. She rolled down about a minute after I reached her car and we chatted as she packed her bike into the shipping case. I wished her luck getting to the plane on time and we said our goodbyes.
Maybe I'll do this again next year, it was fun to do well and feel good doing it. The sunny weather helped too.
And many thanks to my mom and dad and Simone for cheering me on. Mary had a conference today and cheered my on from afar (another casualty of happenstance scheduling).
And, of course, thanks to Daisy for coming all the way from Wyoming to race with me. I'm thinking it should be an annual event.