Was I ever excited to sleep in my own bed the previous night. It was our last day of the race, and my biggest, so I was nervous to get it under way. We woke up at 5:45am, I dressed in a million cycling layers as it was still dark and chilly as! I think about 1-2C? The official clothing count included: full-length bibs, warm socks, shoes, full neoprene shoe covers, undershirt, jersey, arm warmers, windproof jacket, full-length gloves. We drove out to Tarras, I got into my wave. They were delaying the start until first light so that we wouldn't have to wear bike lights.
I must preface this by saying that when I'm cold, I'm pretty useless. That's why I love hot-weather races. Everyone else wilts in the heat, while I just sweat, drink a lot, and am happy as shit! I'm absolutely giddy for Hawaii 70.3, and my best races have been in extreme heat (90-100F plus).
Stage 8: 42k road bike
It was cold. From Tarras to Hawea Flat was actually quite windy, with a Northwesterly headwind. No surprise!! Only a 50kph or so headwind, but damn, it was a chilly one. I was pretty useless, as I'd lost group after group. I knew I was getting tired when I started to get grumpy, thinking to myself: "Why is everyone DOING THIS WRONG? Why don't they just go at the speed I want them to go at??" Each group was either going too fast or too slow for my liking. What can I say, not my best moment, I was a very whiny cyclist this morning. I came in in 1h30 and the only benefit to this slow cycle was that it flushed out most of the soreness I'd been having in my calves from the 2 long runs of the previous days. I passed off my bib to Tracey and she was off for a ~3hr kayak down the Clutha river from Albert Town to Bendigo Reach.
Stage 9: 39k kayak
I, in turn, got out of the damp, cold clothes, had a quick quick shower in Luggate at my boyfriend's place, shoved food in my mouth, then headed down to Bendigo Reach to
1- set up my bike gear 3k away from the river
2- sit tight, get a mini calf massage from Chrissy, massage therapist/support crew to Tracey
3- eat food
4- wait for Tracey to come in so that I can start my run/ride.
Those two pictures pretty much sum it up. Even though it was warm, the sun was shining brilliantly... I was STILL cold. I was tired, and all my energy was being used to keep warm, although my body wasn't even doing that efficiently. Thankfully, the adrenaline kicked in. I was absolutely calm and lazy, in a borrowed puffy jacket up until 2 moments before Tracey's kayak hit shore. I ripped everything off, a bib was jammed onto my upper body and I started running in the direction everyone else was going.
Stage 10: 3k run + 53k bike
Yep, I ran. I wasn't feeling too hot, so I used the 3k to warm up (which I did, quite quickly in fact) and to loosen up the muscles. Nothing impressive here, quite slow as far as 3k runs go. I got into my shoes, ran to the road and started cycling. The first thing I did after 5' of settling in was take a 2x caffeine Gu gel. Wheeeeee!! Comparing this morning's ride (42k) with the afternoon's (53k) was like night and day. To put it in perspective, I did the afternoon's ride, at 11k longer, in less time than I did the morning ride. I finished the 53k in 1:28, and the cumulative run+ride time was 1:43. Woohoo!!!
It was a ride from Bendigo Reach along Lake Dunstan, through the gorge and into Clyde. I knew that I had to make a call: run the final stage (11k trail run) as planned but risk losing 3rd place open female team, or give the bib over to Tracey who was still quite fresh, with no running and a mtb stage of hers was cancelled from day 2. I handed the bib over and was quite happy to do so as I quickly realized that I biked the shit out of that ride and was TOAST.
|I love this photo - not artistic or nice in any way, but we are|
so in sync, our shadows match and everything!
|WHEEEEE!!! 3-day race DONE and in the books!|
Now it's all about recovering, putting my head down, and training straight through to Hawaii 70.3. I do love living like a monk, not racing for a stretch, and just training solidly for weeks. No racing, no drama, nothing exciting, just good ol' fashioned hard work.
Goldrush had me really thinking about exploring new races... not necessarily to "race" them but to "experience" them. For example, I've tentatively got a 50k or 80k trail run race in the books for August in Naseby (central Otago again). If I can figure out more about the run course of Ultraman Canada or Ultraman Wales, and if they are not pavement-run focused, then I'd want to attempt that in a year or so... I'm dying to submit my entry into Leadman Epic 250 (5k swim-223k bike-22k run) in Oregon of September of this year or Vegas March 2013. That's something I'm reaaaaally excited to try.
I think I want to find a nice blend of training most of the year to go fast (70.3-focused), and maybe 1 adventure/long race every 1-1.5 years. It's exhausting and, honestly, slow to always be training for Ironman. I'm finding it really pleasant to just go out riding for 2-2.5 hours, really killing it compared to the 5-6 hour rides where I'm just not at a level to DO those at anything but slow and steady.
Wheee!! And it'll be an exciting couple of months/years ahead. For now, my heart is on Hawaii 70.3 June 2 and nothing else.