Sunday, July 15, 2012

Couples Tri 2012

Cool finisher medals! Photo by Ed Sparks
Couples is one of my favorite races. It's a Jack & Adam's/High Five event so it's really well organized and has a super fun atmosphere. The course at Decker Lake is fairly tough, but I kinda like it anyway. I had a pretty tough race at Couples last year since I raced with bronchitis and a sinus infection. I hoped to redeem myself this year. I hadn't raced a tri since February, so I was really excited!

Connie and I Coupled again this year with the same name "Heather & Connie's Excellent Adventure" and we did packet pickup and lunch together again too. We had a great time (maybe better than last year since we actually knew each other this year!).

I went to bed but got woken up by thunderstorms, I knew that might make the bike course wet and slower and it would make the run muddy, I knew my chances of PRing the course might not be very good on a wet course, but I knew I'd still have a fun race so I wasn't too concerned. I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm and got up to check the weather forecast, it said 70% chance of thunderstorms at 7am- oh no! I knew if it was stormy they wouldn't let us swim. I just hoped the forecast was wrong.

I got to Decker early enough to get a sweet parking spot and as soon as I got out of the car, I heard Logan announce "there is no chance of rain until 11am today" hmmm, I hoped he was right! I got my transition area set up with the other Tri Zoners racing in the "female friends" category, then headed to the tent to hang out. I planned to use Pre-Race for this race, I knew it could be really good or really bad. At 7:40 I drank my bottle of Pre-Race. A few minutes later Eva asked what Pre-Race was (I'm sure she was immediately sorry!) I could already feel it coursing through my veins as I jumped up from my chair and animatedly told her some of my crazy Pre-Race stories! **If my experience with Pre-Race today makes you want to try it, PLEASE see the disclaimer at the bottom of this post**

I got down to the swim start too late to do a warm up swim and I really wanted one. I couldn't stand still, I really wanted to get in the water! Finally it was our turn and I got in the water next to Nicki and Kim. The Female Friends wave is usually not very friendly at the swim start and this year was no exception, I swam the first few strokes Tarzan style to try to find some open water, I got kicked, hit and grabbed but nothing hard enough to really hurt. After a minute or 2 I found some space and could really swim, I knew I had to take it a little easy the first couple minutes since I didn't get a warm up swim. But soon I was warmed up and feeling good, around turn buoy 1 and onto the straight section, I took this a little wide to get around a few slower people, maybe I should have just swum over them, oh well. Turn buoy 2 and the home stretch felt the fastest! I crossed the timing mat at 19:03, compared to 18:10 in 2010 (my previous Couples PR, I'm not going to compare to 2011's dismal times), a little slower, but I had a good warm up swim and a great start in 2010.
coming out of the water. Photo by Miguel Ortiz
I hurried through T1 in 3:22 compared to 3:50 in 2010. I could feel the Pre-Race as I fumbled with my bike glove, then took a deep breath and chilled a little. This is actually my fastest T1 ever at Decker.

I rolled my bike to the mount line and waited a few seconds for the people in front  of me to go, so I wouldn't run into them. I hate the mount line, it's always crowded and unpredictable, I'm always afraid of accidents at the mount line. But I got going with no issues and sped down the first little hill. On Decker Lane I passed by Kim H. with a flat, Oh NO!! I've been working hard on my biking this year, so I really hoped to have a good ride. I hoped my Pre-Race focus would be on a fast bike. Turns out my Pre-Race focus was on optimal gearing. (I thought about gearing when I rode Decker with Sandra a couple weeks ago, so I assume that's where that focus came from) I tend to be a lazy shifter and am generally happy to coast down hills. But today, I HAD to have perfect resistance at all times! When I turned onto Lindell my average speed was 17.4 mph- unheard of for me! I got up Little Tard with no drama and as I flew down Blue Bluff, Sandra flew by me- wow she's fast on that new tri bike! I was having a great ride and so much fun! And I don't think I've ever pedaled so much on downhills! As I was working my way up Big Tard feeling super happy with my ride, I felt/saw someone passing me really close, I heard her say my name so I knew it was someone I knew and I didn't need to worry. Just as I looked over to see who it was, Laura reached over and pinched my ass!! haha!! Later she told me that she could hear me laughing as she came up behind me, I don't remember LAUGHING while riding up Big Tard, but I was happy enough that I believe it! Thank you Pre-Race!! I finished the ride in 42:37 compared to 48:02 in 2010, and at a pace of 15.8 mph, my third fastest pace in any tri ever (and at DECKER!)

I rushed through T2 as well in 1:44 compared to 1;51 in 2010. This is also my fastest T2 ever at Decker.

I think I'm trying to wave at Ed here. Photo by Ed Sparks
I started the run right by Laura, we chatted a little, I told her I had an awesome bike, I assumed she'd get ahead of me since she's a fast runner, but I was keeping up right behind her! I stayed with her almost to the top of powerline hill, then I had to walk for a minute and let her go. I also saw David spectating (while I was walking- sigh), at the top of powerline hill, I ran down the hill and into the woods still feeling good. Mile 1 was 10:44, maybe a little too fast for me on the wood chippy trail at Decker. Mile 2 was slightly slower even with quite a bit of downhill, my legs were starting to feel a little tired. Pre-Race makes me hungry (faster metabolism?) so I probably should have drunk more Infinit on the bike, I only drank about half my bottle. Mile 3 includes that huge hill, I walked most of it- I'm not sure I've ever run the entire thing, but today I walked quite a bit of it, even when I saw Lynn cheering at the top and heard her encouraging me to run! But I got to the top and was able to pick it up and run well on the flat into the finish. Run time was 34:42 compared to 37:20 in 2010. Under 11 minute miles at Decker! I'm blaming that on Newton running shoes instead of Pre-Race!
Finish Line!! Photo by Ed Sparks
Overall time was 1:41:31 compared to 1:49:14 in 2010, a PR by 7:43!!

After finishing I went back to the big hill and hung out with Lynn, then ran in with Connie so we could finish as a team, hopefully Liz got a good picture :)
Even if Liz (official race photographer) didn't get a good picture, at least Ed did! Thanks Ed! Photo by Ed Sparks
For all my concern about the weather, it was actually a beautiful day for a race! The bike course was dry and the run course wasn't really muddy at all!

As always, post-race at Couples was a lot of fun! I think my favorite moment was when I heard my name, I turned and saw some brunette I didn't know, but then I did a double take- it was Kim H. in a brunette wig! and Eva had a blonde one! Legally Blonde & Brunette wore backwards wigs post-race!

Thanks for being such a great Couples partner again Connie!!

**Pre-Race Disclaimer- Pre-Race is a supplement by First Endurance, it is completely legal but it is very powerful. It contains caffeine-which really affects me- and other interesting stuff that does things like "increase mental focus" which sounds great, and it is when you can focus on the right thing. I have had some great experiences with Pre-Race, and some really miserable experiences with it! For me, I don't necessarily get to choose what I will focus on, but Pre-Race definitely makes me focus on something! When it's the right thing- it's great, but when it's the wrong thing it's pretty awful! If you choose to try it, please try it in training a few times before racing on it and please start with just half a scoop! The scoop is tiny, but a little goes a LONG way!! Obviously it affects different people differently, and it REALLY affects me, just ask those who hung around me today!


Richard said...

Congrats on the huge PR! I'm sure lots of hard work is the secret. Good job on that, Heather!

I'm intrigued by the Pre-Race, but think I will be sticking with my own concoction for now. Maybe I will give it a try this off-season.

Merry said...

Always enjoy your stories. And am looking for PreRace to try tomorrow and may have to take to Spain.