Sunday, June 10, 2007

Race Report: Festival of Flowers International

Short version:
75 out of 79 women
swim 1500 meters 00:52:03
T1 00:03:23
bike 24 miles 01:30:50
T2 0:02:12
run 10K 01:30:41
Overall time: 03:59:09

I haven't been doing very focused training this spring, and I'm discouraged to find I'm slower than last year. But I still wanted to do this race.

Just over a week ago I was riding my bike and was hit by a car and strained my lower back when I fell, so I worried I might have to cancel out of this race. But my back was getting better quickly, and my massage therapist said he didn't think I would do it any harm, it just might keep me from going as fast. I probably made a mistake by testing it out Saturday by doing a 20 mile bike ride followed immediately by a 1.3 mile run. My daughter and I drove down to Greenwood Saturday afternoon in plenty of time for packet pickup and then visited a most miscellaneous local museum. We stayed in a low rent Econolodge that is fairly conveniently located and has microwave and refrigerator. I took advantage of that to eat a small frozen quiche for breakfast. Doing the race for the second year I knew how to get there and we didn't have to get up so early and it was a beautiful morning.

It was windy, actually, and once the swim got out of the cove where it started there was a pretty good chop. We started into the sun and for the first leg I couldn't see the next buoy until I was about halfway there. The swim went uneventfully, and my time does include a visit to the portapotty after exiting the water before crossing the timing mat.

Transition was pretty empty, but there were a couple of people who finished the swim just ahead of me and one person who was behind me out of the water.

The bike course wasn't as flat as I remembered from last year but I was very happy to have my aerobars in the wind. I happily ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and took one electrolyte capsule--I forgot to take another. I hoped there might be someone to catch up to, but I didn't see anyone until I got to the water bottle handoff. I think the person ahead of me may have stopped to get a bottle of water, while I successfully grabbed one as I rode past. I passed her shortly thereafter, and I tried to keep my effort up to open as much of a gap as possible because she was young and I figured surely she was a faster runner than me.

The run is an out and back, so at first lots of people were coming in as I was going out. I ate a couple of gels and half a banana, and took 8 oz of water every mile and drank about half of it and poured the other half over me. It was hot--87 at 11 am in the nearest town (the town of Ninety Six). Lots of people cheered for me and that kept me from walking as many hills as I would have. I felt I speeded up around 4 miles, my splits show at least I didn't drag (13:46, 13:56, 14:51, 15:06, 14:50, 14:31). At the run turnaround I saw the person behind me wasn't gaining on me.

The run finishes up a nasty hill--a hard effort finishing.

They were finishing up announcing the awards when I finished, but I checked how many awards they had given in my age group and found I did get third in women 50-54. I was happy not to be the last finisher, as I was last year. I was 22 minutes slower than last year and I can't really use my back as an excuse--it hurt before the race and during my swim warmup then never bothered me again. Even after a two hour drive it hurts less now than it did before the race. But I feel happy I did the race, and that is what counts.

On the way home we stopped for lunch at the Jailhouse Grill in Donalds, SC. Meat and three vegetables--my pork chop was deep fried, green beans cooked to death, and classic soft brocolli casserole. The television oddly was tuned to automobile racing in Canada.

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