Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How would you like me to wrap this?

Here's my number. So call me maybe?
What can I say about Barb's Race this weekend? I could do something heartfelt and gushy. I could tell you chronologically what happened (snooze). Or try to come up with a witty comparison to something else: current events, politics, fashion - like I claim to be an expert at any of those. Maybe report on some fun people-watching? Or a list of Do's and Don'ts?

Here are the highlights, packaged in bite-sized pieces:

The Swim Course
Quote of the event: "The Russian River swim course is between 3 and 7 feet deep. So if you get into trouble during the swim, just stand up!" People really did stand up and walk some of the swim course. I kept my head down and kept swimming. I'm not even sure if walking would have helped my time at all. I struggled a bit with my stroke in the 3-foot deep water, especially with so many people around me, but I also thought it was good training for the Pacific Grove crawl through ocean kelp in September.

The Russian River at Johnson's Beach. After Lake Tahoe the water seemed like a spa retreat.
The Bike Course
The bike course is lovely. It goes by all of my favorite Russian River Valley wineries like Rochioli. Yum. I really turned up the heat on the bike course. My intention was to save a lot for the run, but I felt strong that I kept pushing myself in the lowest gear possible to get the most speed. By the last 15 miles, I'd kind of found a cohort of other women with whom I played cat and mouse, and we all started the run within minutes of each other. It made for some friendly competition, and some nice banter during the ride. I finished the bike course in about 20 minutes less than I thought I would.

The Run Course
The course was once out and back (about 8 miles) then out about half way and back (5 miles) to complete the run. The second time out I just had nothing left in me except the will to finish. I thought I was probably running 20 minute miles. Talk about my worst half marathon ever! Remember back in January when I tried to run a half marathon in over 2 hours, got bored, and ended up running it in 1:58? Yeah, well this event time was 2 hours and 13 minutes of just not being able to move any faster. When I saw my time, I was actually amazed at 2:13. I thought it was going to be more like 2:45. It was the longest 2+ hours of my life.

Motivational Tactics
First, it helps to have awesome friends who send you lots of encouraging text messages before, during, and after the race. (Love my friends - thank you guys!) Second, it's important to remember that you are really only competing with yourself. To a certain point (like during my run) you just can't do anymore. You can either deal with it and finish, or you can get a cramp and cry on the side of the road. Finally, remember if you do push yourself a bit you get to share the course with some eye candy. The Ironman competitors were on the run course at the same time, so I got to see probably the first ten finishers. All hotties. Just sayin'.
Wine and chocolates from my Sass-mates! Delivered to my room. Thanks, ladies!
Function over fashion always. In my first transition I realized that I was carrying all of my food on myself or on my bike. I had gel packets in a belt, Clif Bars in my back pockets, and the only water I planned to drink was already on the bike. I think this might have saved me some time because I didn't stop at any of the aid stations, or maybe it weighed me down. There were a few younger girls who did the entire event in starts-and-stripes bikinis. I know Olympic triathletes wear basically swim gear too, but these were not Olympic athletes. More power to you 21-year-old girls! (Maybe I'm just jealous.) In conclusion to my fashion observations, I saw a lot of those crazy-looking aerodynamic helmets that make people look like Rocket Man. I'm sorry, but if you are going to wear one of those, it should be the last straw to cut time. i.e. my amateur self should not be passing you on the bike.

Getting my gear ready.
Nutrition on the Course
Force feeding yourself really sucks, but it has to be done. I brought three Clif Bars and could only finish one. I also had 3 gel packs. I really tried to eat something every hour, but I've never been so NOT hungry in my life. Can't. Eat. Another. Bite. I used to really like Cliff Bars. Ugh.

Irate Locals
The guy who barrelled up Chalk Hill Road in a partial semi-truck as we were making our final climb - thanks for being a jackass. Some people in that area just don't like a bunch of yuppies doing triathlons. Most drivers were pretty cool though.

Snot rockets!
There were a lot of snot rockets on the course, and by the females! I'm still wiping my nose on my gloves. Need to work on this for next time. :)


  1. You finished your bike in 20min LESS than you expected?? Maybe you're not the amature you think...
    As for snot-rocket improvement, Lindsey would make a great tutor.

    1. Lindsey sent me an article about how to form a proper snot rocket. I will work on this for Pac Grove. :)

      Yeah, man. I wasn't sure about what to do on the bike. Push myself and finish faster? Or take it slow to save some energy? I don't know if going slower really uses more energy because you are using more time. I feel like those who finish "slower" but are spending more time are actually getting somewhat of the same benefits as someone who is doing it with more vigor, but are finished earlier. I should try and find some stats on that...