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:
|965M Swim Rank||450|
|965M Swim Time||23:48|
|28M Bike Rank||229|
|28M Bike Time||1:24:49|
|6 5M Run Rank||173|
|6 5M Run Time||52:48|
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.