2009 Oceanside 70.3

Oceanside 70.3 is the unofficial kickoff for spring.
Stacy and I pre-race. Like the ski hat? I told you I get confused about my sports.
I had a lot of fun training for the race this winter with Stacy, Elizabeth, and Julie. I definitely recommend training with others when you can. On days you are short on enthusiasm others can send some your way. My husband, Tim didn't get to train much....OK. Face it. He didn't train at all which actually served to calm my nerves. I usually wonder if I have done enough. I really couldn't complain since my "low volume" year is 5x as much training as Tim's. Everybody is different. For me, doing a fair amount of training and hanging with others is the exact amount social pressure I need to keep me from being a neurotic monster. It's the perfect balance of shutting up my brain and just keeping up. It is soooo fuuunn.

I was worried I wouldn't get excited for the race. I did. Thursday and Friday I spent exchanging texts with Elizabeth, Julie, and Stacy. It served to get me pretty fired up.

My in-laws arrived Thursday night. After work they kindly saved me from 7:30 p.m. cereal. We went to dinner at a great Italian restaurant in LJ. Tim met us there around 8:30 p.m. when he was finished with journal club. My in-laws are really great. We spent the whole dinner talking this winter's ski trips. They kept telling me how fast I was going to go and how fabulous I would be..... My father in law said I would blow by him. I knew he was just trying to pump me up. I knew there was no way. He wouldn't even need age grading to help him out. The half is his event and I have never raced him on his new bike. The bike he rides used to be owned by a pro and it has won world class time trials. I know it's the Indian, not the arrow, but it seems like it has a little magic. I'm learning right now that meeting your potential is about more than executing what you are physically capable. It's about tapping into mental toughness.

I'm becoming such an advanced triathlete I brought my own marker for body marking....the true ICU nurse always has a Sharpie. I have been known to label my water bottles just like I do IV tubings and bags. You don't really think I can add and subtract my caloric I & O's while my heart rate is 170 do you?

So that's Elizabeth who I chase up and down the mountains and occasionally around Fiesta Island.
She's on her way to first place.

On Friday I was really excited. I was nervous I would expend all my energy bouncing off the walls and be tired on Saturday. I texted Elizabeth and asked her how on earth I was going to behave myself and get myself through the race tomorrow....she responded "with speed and grace." I said, that's you...I will mimic you. I'm not sure how graceful I was. I got to the finish line faster than ever before....so I am halfway there. Sort of.
Tim executes mental toughness to make up for no training....Nice job.
He still beat me! Actually he holds the Neuschwander win for this year. I think Bruce can keep his Speedo's - the ones I had made by Splish that say "Age Graded Champ." I wasn't real thrilled about the wave start orders Mr. Ironman came up with. My wave started near the end with primarily the guys 30-34 to follow. AKA ....swim over the top of me. The good thing was I started 8 minutes in front of Tim which meant we would be very close together on the course. If I was 1 minute faster at every discipline including transition....we could have finished together.
The swim was relatively uneventful. I really wasn't cold. I entered the water with Stacy at my side. Not being alone kept me from any freak out thoughts in the final few minutes before racing. Not hyperventilating before racing is always a good thing. The beginning of the swim was the usual cluster. I found rhythm quickly and thought I was swimming great. When I came out of the water it seemed like a long run through transition. I have a hard time equilibrating after long, cold swim. As I ran forward everything seemed to rotate sideways. I just wanted to get to my bike, sit down and pull off my wet suit. I'm going to blow my blog horn now: If you're going to walk in transition. MOVE RIGHT PLEASE. This is a race. The carpet is for running to your transition spot. It is NOT a sidewalk and NOT a side-stand. All these people were walking on the carpet and if I wanted to run I had to run barefoot and dizzy on the pavement. I was so worried I would stub something and fall down. I thought I swam well as a lot of bikes were still in transition. I did notice Stacy's bike was long gone. I saddled up and headed out to catch her. I bobbled a few times in transition. I confused the bike mount spot and started to mount my bike early..then had to do it over again. I also realized my number was still on my bike. Not exactly graceful. I was 2 minutes slower than at Wildflower last year. Maybe each ski trip cost me a minute. It was worth it:)
I think my actual bike ride consisted of some speed and grace. I don't know what else to say except I was very comfortable throughout the ride. I kept my heart rate low. I was hoping to nail the run and thought my bike was good enough. I didn't think too much. The body and bike just did its thing. I can't resist to blow my blog horn once again: People in the no pass zone at mile 25....that is not the coffee break zone. I didn't pass. I went 11.5 mph because some guy four guys up was munching on his Cliff bar. We should have been rolling above 20mph through this section. Some people passed through there and I wanted too. I was afraid I would get a penalty. The rules are the rules. I paid to play by them but I couldn't resist the urge to announce that we were traveling at a pace of 11.5. Dude...11.5 is slower than I ride my bike with a basket full of groceries. Today is the RACE that some of us trained for. I finished the bike feeling good and fresh. I saw Tim heading out on the run. He wasn't too far ahead. He passed me in the swim. That wasn't very nice of him was it? :)
I started running....this is where everything gets really fuzzy. I knew I wanted to run 8:15 -8:30 pace/mile. I was breathing fast. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. My Garmin said my pace was 7:20. Running confuses me. This is funny because the Garmin never says I run that fast. In fact I was starting to think it was broken and only able to report paces above 8:00 minute/miles :) I couldn't really think logically here. All I could think was I needed to get under control and just keep moving. Moving for the next 13 miles. Soon I hit the sand. There is about a 1/4 mile section of sand on this course that you run through a total of 4 times during this race. It really wasn't hard but annoying....like a fly that keeps buzzing. You want to swat it and smash it and never hear it again. Not enough sand running where it is an epic accomplishment...like the old days of Superfrog. Enough to jack up your shoes. Enough to ignite my "just get it done legs" that actually go faster to get it over. This made it challenging to navigate around the walkers who cannot move right. No....I must navigate around them and the firm sand they are walking on.....more sand in my shoes. Soon after I was at the TCSD love stop aid station. It was all a blur, tons of club members. I saw Jess, Angie, and Joanne (I think). They were jumping and cheering so hard and with so much energy I almost cried. It made a lump in my throat. The vision of them was a blur, but I noticed Jess seemed to look really fabulous and cute. You rock sister.... So off to mile 2 I headed still running above pace and slightly distraught. I kept trying to keep good form and run smoothly. I passed Paul and Beth...Paul of course told me to catch Tim, while Beth was jumping and cheering like the other girls had been. I was touched my this as Beth is a real runner... and she could run this pace in her sleep yet she was cheering so hard. I kept going. I heard Julie's voice. I hoped she was killing it....She was. She is SO FAST. I got myself a little more under control but soon started struggling to maintain a fast enough pace. I eventually saw Stacy at a turn around. She had dropped her salt tablets on the bike. I had extra and wanted to hand some off to her. I knew she was having a tough race because she hadn't passed me yet. She's another one of those real runners....who now is a real swimmer and cyclist. Basically she is a triple threat:)
Stacy...The triple threat!

The halfway turn seemed to be moving further away. I just kept digging deeper and deeper to try to keep the pace below 8:30. It wasn't happening. I refused to give up though I felt like I had blown up. I've been told I need to do a better job managing the discomfort of racing. I knew I was paying back for starting too fast but you can't blame a girl for trying. I keep joking that one day I'm just going to wake up and be fast. We all know this isn't how it works. I just kept digging. I tried to salvage.I tried to think of any way I could to run faster....that's why I threw my empty water bottle at Jess and Angie. It really flew. I didn't know I could throw so hard. They looked confused. I think....I was confused. Hopefully they understood. It seemed several calves with age 30-34 passed me. My Mother in Law was the official calf counter of the weekend...she only counts for Bruce though as there are too many calves to count in front of Tim and I. Anyway I had about a mile to go and I thought I might cry as it seemed like eternity. Scratch that. It seemed the last 4 miles had been eternity. What could be beyond eternity? People lie like rugs when they say after Ironman full everything is easy. This was certainly not easy. I don't think it is supposed to be easy. Then I passed the TCSD love stop aid station. For about 3/10 of a mile I was distracted from my eternity thoughts. Darell Steel came out dressed in TCSD orange to run with me. For a few seconds, it helped immensely. I stopped thinking about the struggling and felt a smile spreading across my face. I confessed I had come a long way but I had fallen off pace. He was my voice of reason and told me exactly what I wanted to hear: I was almost home and I was running a good pace. Soon I could see the finish and I hustled it in. The finish is where the party is at.
After the race I walked around in post race glow. Even though it was hard. I was happy. The wheels were also turning about how I could go faster next time and how I couldn't wait to have a shower or at least get these disgusting clothes off. We went for fish tacos in Carlsbad. This is a Neuschwander family tradition. My father in law said he was retiring....this is a tradition too. Tim said he was in pain because of me....another tradition. I tried to talk to Tim and Bruce into signing up for another race - (another tradition). ;)


Mer! said...

Way to rock Jen!!!! I miss being out there with you guys, but you're keeping the girl power out there!! AWESOME RACE!!!! and I read on someone else's blog about the slow people walking on the carpet. I'm with you...if you want to walk or stand, MOVE OVER they should realize some people actually DO run in transition (even if we look like we're waddling)......
Your 2009 is off to a great start!!!

tim said...

you forgot to mention that you got a roll-down spot for Worlds - which you passed up!!! And you tried to convince me to sign up for IMAZ this year - which I passed up!!!

Nikee Pomper said...

Way to go Jen! I am glad you found a spot on the racks in the morning. Kinda crazy how much space people were taking up.

Saturday was the first time I've seen your bike. Umm, hands down the absolute cutest bike at the race!
Great Job!

Mary said...

okay, I just spent like an hour on your blog catching up...it was like Christmas :) You did so awesome Sat. I had a blast cheering for you out there! 2009 is going to be great...can't wait to hang out and train a bit again :)

JMoTriBella said...

Jen -

You rocked on Saturday! We were so excited to see you run past. You looked great. No worries on the water bottle. We honestly thought nothing of it. Angie has it with her....so we'll have to plan a party at Angie and Tina's new pads so you can get it back. :) Also, you'll have to meet Heather (she was the other one with us). I don't think you've met her yet. She's new to SD and very very cool. Thanks for the sweet comments above.....although I think you must have been pretty out of it. I was sweaty and gross post-ride, and you thought I looked fabulous. :) I guess sweaty is hot in our minds! :) Can't wait to see how you do the rest of this season. See you soon!

Shan said...

Nice work Jen - you looked great out there!! Way to represent girl!! :-D

Anonymous said...

a 12 minute stop for mimosas on one of those yachts is not good for your swim time

Anonymous said...

those "racers" on the carpet were saying the same things about you on the swim, "hey, this is a race not floatie time," as they tried to get around you...you crushed them on the bike though. great job.