Monday, March 31, 2008

First Race Ever

This is my third triathlon season, the Lone Star 1/4 Ironman ("QIM?") was kind of like my first race--for a number of reasons.

I won't dwell on the race or give you a nauseating post, because my times are impressive to me alone, not to anyone that is affirmatively fast. But there was something different in the race for me.

First, in the swim, it was like my first race ever because I freaked out and hyperventilated like I was a total newb. To be fair, it was the first time in the open water since Ironman Wisconsin, but I was very disappointed in the way it started. I hacked and wheezed and gasped--too much time between the warmup and the start.

Unlike a total newb, I was able to flip onto my back, give myself a good cussing out, and then get going. (I think I also got pissed at myself because the lifeguards on the jet ski saw me breast stroke and flip over and started to come to my rescue like I was a non-swimmer instead of an Ironman).

Once I got going, I was generally pleased with my stroke and my sighting. The bouys seemed to come and go quickly, although I did not have a good set of goggles for the overcast and grey conditions and couldn't see a dang thing. As a result, there was some zig zagging (especially later in the swim when my form deteriorated). And although I was happy with the level of my effort, I was not happy with my time. I know I was swimming faster than my Ironman pace, and the numbers show it was exactly the same. Thus, my working hypothesis is that the swim was long--substantially so. If not, I am even more wretched in the water than I thought.

The really notable thing was the bike and the run. These were like my first race ever because it was the first time I actually tried to "race." I wore no heart rate monitor and determined to just go as hard as I thought I could maintain and pass as many people as possible. I really have never gone hard in a triathlon. The first year I was content to finish. The second was three HIMs and Ironman Wisconsin, all of which I feared not finishing if I went hard. So, this was a first--a first "race."

On the bike in particular, I made it my goal to gobble up as many competitors as possible, maintain a high cadence in the wind, try to hold above 20 mph no matter how much I hurt, and pay no heed to whether I had any run legs. In the end, I averaged just touch under 20 mph, and taking out the portion of the course to and from the sea wall, where it was impossible to maintain a high speed with any safety, my average speed would have been above 20 mph.

Hmmm. Maybe I should get some aero wheels or a pointy helmet . . . .

Same thing in the run. No heart rate monitor, run as strong as the pain would allow, pass as many people as possible. In this I did pretty well for the first four miles, averaging better than 8 minute pace, then collapsed and weakened a bit in the heat during mile 5-6. This was mostly mental on a desolate part of the course and I am not to pleased with that, but I picked it up a bit on the way home for an average pace of about 8 minute miles off a hard bike.

Here are the numbers for the QIM:


Clock Time2:45:58
Chip Time2:45:58
Overall Place213
Gender Place164
Division Place28
965M Swim Rank450
965M Swim Time23:48
T1 Time02:30
28M Bike Rank229
28M Bike Time1:24:49
T2 Time02:01
6 5M Run Rank173
6 5M Run Time52:48

The numbers show a bit of objective progress, but the what they don't show is the change between my ears and in my "heart" if you believe in such things. I will never podium at anything, but I want to be through with doubting myself and fearing the DNF. I want to accept the pain as a companion of proper effort rather than a harbinger of impending failure.

I want to get off the hamster wheel and see what's outside the cage.


Bigun said...

and that's the difference between sprints and olys vs. LD "events" - racing is FUN! Glad you had a good time (fun) - and ran your a$$ off! Awesome.

KCWoodhead said...

Way to RACE yesterday. I did the same for myself on Saturday and it was certainly new territory for me.

Bolder said...


climbing the ladder to iron!

21stCenturyMom said...


That panic in the water thing is weird. I freaked out in my last 2 races last year in ways I did not in the first 4 - go figure.

I am also looking forward to going hard in my first race this year - something I've never done before. I hope my experience is as good as yours.

Supalinds said...

Great race, you done good.

Trisaratops said...

Awesome job!!!

You just got me SO. PUMPED. TO. RACE! Way to kick boo-tay out there. What a great way to start the season!

Sarah said...

Congrats on a great race! I've never met you, but I'm a Houston triathlete as well. I passed you on the course when you were just a few hundred feet from the finish line and I was headed out for the second half of the run. I recognized you from your blog and called "Go Greyhound!" Just in case you were wondering who that was. :)

Unknown said...

congrats... and, um, DAMN GINA! Your old ass beat me! well done.

Captain Cactus said...

Great work Greyhound! I'm pleased to hear that you're also working on the "embrace the pain" mantra that I've got going this year. As my coach keeps telling me ... you never know where the limit is until you completely blow up. Here's to blowing up this year!

TJ said...

Way to hit it hard Grey.
Awesome race!

SWTrigal said...

Wow-for a "first race" feeling-you really did great!


There ya go...while the hamsters are spinning aimlessly, you'll be hammering to new levels. 8 min miles?!! Damn boy!! Have fun this season!

Brent Buckner said...

Love the armadillo event logo.

Glad you're having fun pushing the red line!

Pharmie said...

Great race!

monica said...

that's why i like the shorter races. you get to really feel the pain in a different way from this stupid ironman thing. STUPID IRONMAN...

LittleRachet said...

It was a great day to race! I think we all zig zagged a bit in the swim - my goggles weren't the best for the overcast day either.

Good job outta you!

Unknown said...

Great job on the race! Way to put it all out there.

CoachLiz said...

fantastic job on your race! Glad to see you before I hopped in the gulf.

Run Over Cancer said...

Lonestar QIM was my very first Triathlon and I'm amazed by you. Keep up the great work!

Viv said...

Great race, and heart felt report!