Race Report: Greenville
400 meter swim (in a 50 meter pool): 11:36
15 mile bike: 55:08, average speed 16.3 mph
5k run: 34:27 (pace 11:01)
5 out of 5 in my age group, 134 out of 162 women and ahead of 20 men
We took my son back to boarding school yesterday, and that was harder than I had expected. Even though last year went well for him, it is still hard to let him go off into a world that I don't know to grow away from us. We stopped on the way home to pick up my race packet and to go out to dinner to celebrate my husband's 61st birthday. We weren't out late, but I didn't have much time to get myself organized. Driving to the race I worried I might have forgotten something, but I hadn't.
This morning my daughter and I got up at 5 am--the race start was at 7 so we were supposed to be there at 6 am (I was actually aiming for 6:15). We got there in good time and partly because the parking was disorganized we got a good space. I got my chip and got marked and set up in transition, and still had 20 minutes or so before the race meeting. After the meeting they were starting people every 10 seconds--I had submitted a swim time of 11 minutes and so my start time wasn't until 8:06 am. They did say athletes would be allowed to enter transition through the side gate after the race started, but asked people to avoid that if possible. This is a problem for me because I am very nearsighted (sphere and cylinder add up to worse than -10). I do have prescription swim goggles, but was I going to sit around wearing them for over an hour until my start time? I decided that I would.
Last year I didn't plan to do this race because I was intimidated by a pool swim, since I didn't know how to do flip turns (actually I wouldn't have been able to do it because I was injured). So it was very interesting to watch the other swimmers and discover than only perhaps the 100 fastest people did flip turns, almost everyone else stopped and stuck their head up and either pushed off from the wall under the rope or went under the rope and then pushed off. I said I would try flip turns and if they didn't work I would go under the rope and then push off.
The starting line moved efficiently--they put 8 or 10 people in the water waiting their turn. There was supposed to be a one minute break and then one person ahead of me, but that person didn't show up. There were three late starters who thought they were going ahead of me during the break but they only let one go so they called me quickly. I found myself pretty out of breath so I didn't try the flip turns. Most of the time the swimming was fairly clear but we did have one big backup--my daughter said there were 11 swimmers in my lane at that point. I went under the rope and two people just ahead of me were on the wall--I don't know why they didn't push off in the left side of the lane but they were blocking my push off. I'm actually happy with my swim time--the fastest I swam it in practice was 11:26 and the swim time includes the run out of the building and down the hill to transition. Both my daughter and I forgot to start our watches.
I had worried about the rough surface for the run to transition, but it was fine. I had a bit of a hard time putting on my shirt. I'm still looking for a sleeveless top that won't chafe, in which case I will swim in it. So far the only top that works to keep me from chafing under the arms is a short sleeved top with seamless mesh underarms, which doesn't seem good for swimming so I swim in my sports bra.
The bike was fun. It was rolling except for a flat stretch at the end, but no seriously hard hills. I felt I was going fast, and indeed 16.3 mph is my fastest average not on a flat course. I passed 4 or 5 people, mostly on mountain bikes, and the fast novices who started behind me didn't pass me until the later part of the course. I even repassed one who was on a mountain bike--he was faster than I was when it was a matter of power but I could pass him on the downhill where I had a big aerodynamic advantage in the drops.
T2 was uneventful. I finished my 24 oz. of water, and I had taken two salt capsules and eaten most of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the bike.
The run was a two lap course up and down and up and down short hills. I quickly started walking the steepest uphills, but I felt I kept up my pace well the rest of the time. I was slower than I thought--my goal is to be close to 10 minute miles and I averaged just over 11. I did also walk the water stops except I skipped the last one entirely, they had 4 water stops in a 5K!. It didn't feel as hot as my last race--the weather for Greenville says 83 at 11 am. I tripped on a rock on the dirt road part of the course, but didn't go down. I was watching the people who passed me, and they were mostly novices.
Then maybe a quarter of a mile from the finish I was passed by a woman in my age group. I didn't think about having started at different times, so I thought we were racing for a place, even if it was last in the age group. I was able to keep on her shoulder, but then when we got to the finish chute she speeded up more than I did and I could't pass her. It meant I gave my all at the end, and that felt good.
My daughter and I didn't stay for the awards, as I had agreed to be a workshop leader for a freshman computer orientation session at 1 pm. But I was very impressed by the woman below, who won her age group with a time of 2:08. Age: 81.