Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oooohhhh....So That's What They Mean By "Race"

Ever since I started participating in distance races that are geared more towards the endurance side, I have mostly considered myself to “do” these races, as opposed to “race” the races.


Because I am not really fast, so I don’t really feel like I am “racing” when I do the longer stuff – I do them, and get them done.

To me, “racing” means to have some speed, and it’s pretty clear speed has not been in my physical make-up.

You can’t even rearrange the letters in my name to get the word “speed.”

So yeah - that right there more or less proves it.

In fact, I feel that - with the exception of one race this season (Kenosha ½ marathon) - I have in fact become noticeably slower and more easily fatigued since the whole kidney thing – but that’s a post for another time.

I guess that’s also why I don’t usually post my race times – it’s not because I am embarrassed or anything – it’s just that the accomplishment of finishing is usually enough for me, especially this year, when nothing was really "planned" and my training has been...creative. I take pride in crossing that line, no matter what pain it brings.

That said - Today I raced my second ever (can you believe) International distance race.

Notice I said “raced?”

Raced – as in – intentionally tried to go fast.

Well, fast for me, which might be different than a regular person’s fast.

Mine’s more like Department of Motor Vehicles fast.

So I signed up last minute for the Pleasant Prairie triathlon in Wisconsin after I got the racing bug from Steelhead 70.3 two weekends ago.

And without putting you through a regular race report, I will simply say this:

It was FAR AND BEYOND the best race I have ever raced.

In every discipline, I felt strong – like I could swim/bike/run all day long.

And the best part –I never stopped – not even when I grabbed water – on the run.

Like, I kept running. And running. And running.

It never hurt, I never fatigued, I never got sore.

Having said that, though – there is one thing that I messed up and I don’t really have an explanation for which is - Despite feeling stronger than strong on the swim, I was nine minutes off my expected time.


The weird thing is that, even though the whole race was great, I actually felt the swim was the best (oh my gosh- did those words just get typed by my fingers? well now I've done it - Michael Phelps and his fish fins is probably going to strike me dead with his bong any second now for such blasphemy).

But seriously - I really felt powerful and smooth. No calf cramps, good rotation, strong stroke, lots of open space. I was swimming and thought to myself – “Oh, so this is what bloggers mean when they write about good, smooth, gliding swims!! I love it!!”

So imagine my surprise when I exited the water and saw 37 minutes on my watch.

Hold up.


*cue me trying to run up the sand hill while staring bug-eyed at my watch, snot smeared across my check and loudly belching a massive lake-water burp as I yank my goggles off*

I actually said out loud to no one in particular, "Bitch - WHAT?!"

37 minutes?!?

Dead people FLOAT faster than that.

I mean, I got off track a few times due to my own poor sighting, but nine minutes worth of zigzagging?

I don’t think so.

I mean, heck – that’s just about what I did the Steelhead swim in two weeks ago, and that was a half-Iron.

Hell, I was a floaty noodle and margarita away from a lazy river float.

I guess I should have known something was wrong when I was suddenly surrounded by waaaay different swim caps about halfway through – but I had somehow managed to convince myself that I was just swimming soooo fast, I was actually passing the group ahead of me.

HAHA! I mean, how narcissistic of me is that? I was literally being passed by not one, but TWO groups of people who started after me, and I was like, “Check ME out! How you like me now, Triathlon? Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride, ain’t nothin’ gonna slow me down – Oh No!”


Oh well.

So instead of coming in at my expected 2:45, I actually finished at 2:54.

That's not so say I am disappointed - I am soooo NOT disappointed because of how good I felt all morning. In fact, I am pretty ecstatic at my little milestones today - noticable strength, no walking, good mental positive thoughts, strong finish. I mean, sure - my swim stroke my be as efficient as my diaper changing skills (read: not so much and grosssssss), but it's workable with practice.

I know that, if I keep trying, training, and practicing the right way, the speed AND the strength will start to come together better *says Captian Obvious.* I am most impressed with how strong I felt across the board that, while not Speedy McFast Pants, I can securely say I don’t really care what my watch read.

Because today, I did not measure myself by my watch.

And any day that I don't begatively judge myself is an accomplishment in itself.

(pictures to follow in next post)


xt4 said...

That was awesome. I'm proud of you.

rUntoNamAste said...

You're awesome and this post is exactly what I needed to read after my halfie today. Indeed time does not always equate satisfaction with one's performance.

You go girl!

Tri-Angle said...

Sweet McCue!
Nice job

MissAllycat said...

You. Are. Awesome. Congrats on a rock star race.

Carolina John said...

very cool! just to pull out an oly like that is quite an accomplishment. and it still makes my 42 minute oly swim seem fast. maybe i should try it with margharitas next time.

21stCenturyMom said...

I had kind of the same experience in my last Oly. I didn't think I was swimming all that great but it wasn't bad - but it was. And I biked my ass off. And I ran - mostly. And I was 10 minutes off last year's time. Poop! But it was a good race so there! Glad you are feeling good about your race because you know as well as I do that a huge percentage of the population hadn't even considered getting out of bed by the time you crossed the finish line. And then they ate bacon and donuts and you did not. Or did - doesn't matter because you EARNED it!

Vertical Man said...

Great job! I once set what I thought was a major swim PR in a Wisconsin Oly tri, only to have another racer inform me that the swim course was WAY short. Maybe the reverse happened to you.

And a nice, easy, FAST Oly race after a Half-IM is a to be expected after all that over-distance training and racing you've been doing. Stepping down from Half-IM to Oly feels SWEET!

Hua said...

Hey, that's great!! You felt good during race? AWESOME!

Erin said...


I hear you on the "fast for me" stuff, but whatev, it's the pushing yourself that matters. And isn't that -- the pushing yourself beyond what you thought you could do or how fast you thought you could go -- just like crack?! I had the same experience and all the sudden I'm scanning the web for more races to do -- more, more, more!!!

Great, great post. Glad to hear things are going well. And congrats on the nephew. He's too precious.

Tri-Angle said...

Pictures in the next post?

When would that be?

Danielle in Iowa said...

That swim course was long. I decree it to be so.