Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Things I Used to Know About Racing...

...I completely forgot almost everything I learned about racing.

This past weekend I raced 5 Mile Style, for those of you who haven't followed along since the beginning 5 Mile Style is a last minute decision to race. Thursday I got a text from a fellow Master's Swimmer asking me if I was in for the Splash-N-Dash this weekend, a 510 meter swim followed by a 2 mile run.

Sure! A Splash-N-Dash sounds fun! Sounds like a fun run, an easy event meant for fun...splash and dash, sounds like a good beginner race. Right? WRONG. But I will get to that.

I agreed to come out with her and do this short little ditty. I really thought it would be a simple little event with a  bunch of beginners. So I opted to wear my swimsuit and bring some tempo shorts along to throw on after the swim. Boom! Swim, shorts, shoes, run. Done.

We got there and immediately upon entering the parking lot I regretted my decision to take this race lightly. With 140.6 and 70.3 and 26.2 stickers splattered across every.single.vehicle. in the parking lot I quickly realized that here in Oklahoma a Splash-N-Dash is serious business....in NC it would be a fun run, a good starting point, a place to get your feet wet and try out the sport....not get spanked, left for dead belly up, crawling out of the water when the others are finishing the run. But I digress.

My fiend had never done an event like this so she was blissfully ignorant. I envied that of her. I wanted to be naive about how this was going to go down. But I knew. She was excited and after I accepted the fact that I was underprepared for this race and would not be winning I to was excited. Excited to get it over with. We set up our transition and it took all of 57 seconds to do so. No bike makes for a wonderfully simple transition and set up.

I'm representing the Duskin and Stephens Foundation HERE

Transition area set up...
 They announced that with the water a whopping 64 degrees this race would be wet suit legal. Great. They pointed out the wetsuit stripping stations, I wouldn't be needing that. I would be needing a heated tent to thaw out after coming out of the water. We dipped our toes in the water and it was cold. Really cold. It was a mass start so all the racers were in the water together. It wasn't a huge race, maybe a 120 athletes, but we were all there in a wad together. I decided to just go for it and submerge myself, get it over with. Once I got completely in my breath was taken away and I swam a ways to warm up. The water was so murky and red (gotta love the Oklahoma red dirt) I couldn't see even an inch in front of my own face. And then a dead crawdad body floated by....great. Gross.

After the longest "5 minutes to start" the race began. I was off. I felt slow. I felt cold. I felt like I couldn't breath. I actually felt like I didn't know how to swim anymore. I couldn't get into a rhythm. My usual breath every 5-7 strokes turned into breath every 2 strokes and from there I just could not get in a good rhythm. Once I finally finished the swim I headed to my transition. My feet were wet, sandy, and grass-covered. I tried to dry them off and shimmied into my shorts then my socks and shoes. I was off. But I quickly realized my long toe on my left foot must have been folded under and stuck on my sock because it was wet or something. Either way it was restricted and folded and it hurt. Great.

I decided to just go on. I don't really need that long crooked toe anyway. Right? It finally worked it's way out or else I just forgot about it while on the long 3/4 mile climb to the top of the hill. Half the run was trail, dirt, mud, grass, rocks, weeds, ruts. It was great! I love this kind of running. But it was also tough. After about a mile I was lose and warmed up. I felt pretty good. I passed a couple of people, got passed by another. It was an out and back and I was reminded just how awesome runners are. How great the people of this sport are. Everyone was so positive, so encouraging. Even though they all were decked out in their 2XU tri suits and I looked like a total and complete noob they were accepting, encouraging, and I can't believe I ever doubted they would be. I felt bad for being intimidated by the field when we first got there. Who cares if I was under prepared? Who cares if I wore the worst possible shorts for a tri? And they stuck to my legs and annoyed me the entire run? I was there! I was back in the game! I was coming out of retirement! I was soaking up my mojo that has been long lost! I was beaming! I was ever so thankful to my friend for twisting my arm (via two texts) to register and do this.

This was the first of a three race series and I will be doing the next one in June. I am determined to come back and shave a few minutes off my time.  I mean my transition time alone was 1:22...that is ridiculous. I once knew how to transition in lickity split! I once knew how to put my shoes and socks on quickly, I knew how to place myself in the swim start, I knew how to fuel and run, I knew how to race....but I somehow forgot everything I worked so hard to figure out. But it all came back to me while on the course....so next time I will be prepared. And it will be awesome!

YAY! We did it!

And of course....The Signature Pose...you know you've missed it!

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