Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lake Murray RR

Even though I now have a tan, which I certainly wasn't sporting at the Lake Murray race, I'll try to jog my memory....

After driving to Panama City Beach, having a Blast w/ Marit & Mary, racing, getting an IV, driving back, organizing a 5K, and directing that 5K... I didn't know if my body had a sprint tri in it.

Leading up to the MDA 5K - I was already planning to pull out of Lake Murray. And then, getting up at 4:00 am to set up for the race - I really had decided to skip the tri. Setting up, standing and working all day (luckily the weather was perfect, sunny - but not at all hot), then tearing down and packing up... my body said "no go." I ran the 5K course, as part of my prescribed training schedule, and to grab anything we might have missed (a Set Up Events arrow marker, btw - which I then carried for 1.5 miles).

So, I drove my sorry & exhausted butt home. The week leading up to the race, I'd been emailing back and forth w/ Nicole R about race travel arrangements. She was planning to drive there with Jeff - and meet up with Tracy. There was room if I wanted to stay with them. I told them that I was in.....

but after a long day at the 5K.... would they be mad if I backed out?! Just as I got home, Nicole called my cell phone. "are you driving yourself, or do you want to ride with me and Jeff?" she asked. I told her my hesitations, I told her I really didn't want to race, I told her that I was too tired and just wanted to stay home...
that's when she said, "well Jeff and I just finished 100 - so get your stuff together and get over here. I'm tired too, I don't want to race either, so let's just go and have fun!"

Huh, can't argue with a pair that just rode 100 the day before a sprint tri. (fyi, they are training for IM Austria)

Ok, Ok... I mentally tried to remove any expectations or pressures about this race from my thoughts, grabbed my transition bag (still full of PCB sand), got my bike in the car, and drove to Nicole's house.

Jeff, Nicole, and I packed into Jeff's truck and made our way toward Columbia. fyi, even on the ride there... I still wasn't convinced that I'd race ;) he he he. This is by far, the most I'd ever vacillated about racing. I've made it a point to race for fun - as a hobby, but this race wasn't feeling fun. Being into it, mentally, is so important - and if your mind isn't in the game, it can make for a long day.

We went to packet pick-up and then to the hotel. Tracy was there waiting. Her opening line was something like this, "I need a beer - do we really have to race in the morning?!" HA, good to know we were all on the same page. I have never seen such a group of deflated triathletes dragging around the day before a stinking race!!!

Much to Princess Nicole's dismay, we walked across the parking lot for a Fazoli's feast. Pasta in hand, we walked back to our rooms, changed for bed, and crawled under the covers to eat dinner. Mind you, it was about 6:30 pm.

I'm pretty sure I fell asleep by 7:00 pm. Yes, the sun was still out.

Unfortunately, there was no new race ZING when I woke up. We all seemed to go through the motions, packed up, and drove to Lake Murray. The only pre-race excitement was my wetsuit zipper getting stuck. Thank God Tracy was able to get it fixed. The zipper actually had me stuck in the thing... because if it just wouldn't have zipped initially, I'm sure I would have said - "forget it, I'll go without."

We made our way to the chilly water (yes, I was really glad to have a wetsuit on). The waves were a bit larger than normal (come to find out, there was a wind advisory being announced on the news). But, just coming off 5 ft swells at Gulf Coast - the lake waves didn't appear too bad.

Our small open wave went off first... and I actually felt like I held on longer than normal. The swim seemed to finish quickly and I made my way to transition. Always such a joy to get to the "open wave rack" to see your LONE bike waiting. Bryan BN gave me a smile, clapped a bit in jest, and said, "go get 'em on the bike Long." Getting my wetsuit off provided a challenge and I vividly remember looking at Bryan and saying, "I feel like I'm going to die."
He just laughed (what a teammate)

After 7 attempts at getting my shoe clipped in (I was not functioning properly, seriously).... I was finally off and riding. Right after getting out of the park, I caught sight of my right wrist. There, in all it's shiny, silver glory was my Gulf Coast participant band. My teeth gritted down and I pushed harder. Suddenly this race took a redemption tone.

I rode that course like it was a bike TT. Up the hills, into the wind, trying to find anyone ahead of me. As I made my way back to the transition area I heard volunteers say, "first female." Well, riding with some anger will pay off.

The run was lonely. A 5K within the park grounds. The lead men were already well ahead. I pushed to a hard, but manageable pace. After training for a 1/2 IM - running a 5K is quite a shock to the system! Tracy and Lindsay were right behind me - both looking strong.

Crossing the finish line felt great... but, I knew there were many waves of females yet to come in. People always ask what place you got, and I'm usually at a loss for what to say. Maybe I finished 3rd in the open category - but 5th overall?! Or, I was the 1st female to finish Lake Murray, but like the results show: Kat posted the fastest time of the day. It didn't really matter. I felt like I had redeemed my GC performance. I felt good. On a windy day, one week after a 1/2 IM, I turned in a time faster than I'd achieved at the same race in 2007. Sweet.

Forced myself to do a cool down run with Jeff, Nicole, Kat, Troy (Kat's proclaimed "boy toy"). This was the highlight of my day... weak, and NOT wanting to run another step... I trotted around the course with these ya-hoo's. See pic, as I think Kat is a Sam McGlone look alike.
Troy told some story about blowing snot rockets at the gym, while on a treadmill. My legs were so weak, I almost collapsed in laughter.

At the end of the day, I was so glad I'd HTFU'd and done this race. It's amazing how you can sometimes surprise yourself. In training, there are days I feel like poo - and assume my workout will suffer... but, then you go and PR something! Same with races. I was tired, I didn't really want to race, but I found that fire as I set out on my bike.

Thanks to Nicole for "making" me go. I had a great time with you, Jeff, and Tracy. Also great to meet Kat (OA winner) and Troy. What a trip, what a race, what a cool down run, what a group of tri-people. Love it! (and ps, I cut off my GC wristband)


Sally said...

What an up and down emotional & physical couple of days. Glad you did well and had FUN at the race. Love you honey. Mom

Mendy said...

You simply never cease to amaze me with your ability. Amazing race, Ashley! Look at you - PR at a race you didn't even want to do.

nicole said...

and here i thought that you would wear the race band from gc forever!

Kellye Mills said...

Great job Ashley!! Towards the end of the season last year, I started feeling that way towards the little sprint distance races, but you always feel good afterwards!! Congratulations on a really successful race!