Monday, September 03, 2007

Back in Black: Star Triathlon 2007

I called Moab Friday to find out that the fork they got in for my bike was not the correct size. But, they had found one on another bike they had there and found that it worked. It was actually a more expensive fork, but they gave it to me for the same price. So after I had picked up the kids from school and helped them work on their science fair project, I headed to Murfreesboro to pick up the bike. I was SO happy to have her back!!! I took her for a test spin that night before bed and realized that one of the elbow rests on the aerobars had been flattened, so I used a pair of pliers and bent it back up the way it should go. I also realized that my rear wheel was still not true, but I figured everything was good enough for Saturday's race. I couldn't help but hear "Back in Black" playing in my head as I was getting ready. I also installed my Profile Design Aerodrink water bottle between my aerobars. I got the rest of my gear ready, and got a good night's sleep.

Since this race starts only 2 miles from my house I got to sleep later than I do on a normal race day. I got down to the rec center at about 7:20 and started getting my transition set up. There were lots of people I know here this year. Michele, ofcourse, was here. This would be Don's second triathlon. And it would be the first for Justin, a long time family friend. Tracy, Gary and Eric were doing a relay for the first time, and I talked to several other local guys who were competing for the first time. Steve, who did the Staggerwing Duathlon a few weeks back, was here to do his first tri, too. And ofcourse Mike and Tom were here from T-Town. It is really awesome to see how many people are taking the "Tri-Plunge" around here lately!

Ok, incase you don't know, I finished 2nd overall female at this race last year. By like one step. A step. That kind of thing doesn't just go away, if you know what I mean. I haven't just "let it go". I could have gained one more step at any point on that course last year, and believe me, I have gone back over each step in my mind many, many times. Sure, it's a small local race. It's not the Olympics. No big deal, right? Speak for yourself. One. step. I let some chick(don't worry, I know her name and will never forget it) come in here from Nashville and beat my ass on my own home turf by ONE STEP. Needless to say, I realized that I might not win this race this year. You never know who's going to show up. And there are plenty of triathletes in Middle Tennessee that can take me to school any day of the week. But I was NOT going to lose to anyone by one step this time.

This is a reverse tri - a mass start for the run. It's a 5k run, a 14 mile bike, and a 200 yd pool swim. At the end of the swim, you jump out of the pool and run through the door, which is the finish line. So we all lined up for the run start. I really wanted to be a little closer up than I was, so I squeezed up a little closer. As I was standing there I accidentally brushed up against another female that I didn't know, but out of the corner of my eye I noticed her pink polk-a-dot swim suit and her looking at me like I had invaded her space. "Oh well," I thought. Leslie, the race director, yelled 3-2-1-Go and we were off. I started out fairly comfortable, but definitely pushing. After about a half mile I saw pink polk-a-dots ahead of me and thought I atleast better keep her in sight. My friend Lynn from Nashville was pulling ahead fast - she is a speedy runner. I wasn't sure who else was up there, but I knew that my pace was about right. As we headed into the park after the first mile, I saw J.T. and the boys driving by with the video camera. They were yelling for me as they headed to Briar's football game!! I also noticed that Don was right behind me. Don can kick my butt on the bike, so I knew if he could stay with me on this run he would beat me. By the time we got to the turnaround, though, I noticed that Don had dropped back a bit. I stayed within about 20 yards of pink pokadots nearly the whole time, gaining some on her during the home stretch. As we got back near the rec center, I heard my Dad yelling for me. I gave it a little bit extra, and finished the run with a 5k PR. Running into transition, Leslie said "Lana, I think you are the third female". Official Run Time: 23:26

I didn't waste any time in T-1. I got my helmet and shoes on and started pushing my bike out. I noticed pink polk-a-dots pushing hers out too. We took off down the road and I saw right away that she was a strong biker. Of course those Zipp wheels she had made her seem even faster. I caught up to her soon after we crossed over the interstate, and settled into a good pace. But it wasn't long until I heard "on your left" and she was passing me back. "UGH...great," I thought. So I dropped out of her draft zone and let her lead. I kept her as close as I could without drafting, and had all kinds of thoughts go through my head. I thought "Whew...she's just too strong. I think she might can catch the others, so just don't let her get too far ahead. Second place isn't that bad." And then I would think about the ONE STEP from last year. And I would get furious with myself. And finally, about the time we got to Forest Mill, I said "Forget it. This is it. This is my leg of this event. I don't need to lolly-gag along and let it come down to whoever can swim the fastest 200 like last year. I'm letting the hammer down, and I'm letting it down all the way. If I run out of gas, at least I'll know I gave it 100%." And I let the hammer down. And I flew past her. And I didn't let up. I hammered so hard I thought I would cry. My legs burned. My lungs burned. I was gasping for every breath I could get. I didn't look back to see how far or how close pink polk-a-dots was behind. I just hammered. And then I saw Lynn. "YES! First female coming up!" I thought to myself. I got up beside her and said "Hey Lynn! Are you the first female?" And she said "Nope, there's one more ahead. Go get her!!" I said "C'mon and go with me!!" And I hammered. And my legs and lungs burned. Every few minutes I would reach down and take a sip from my new Aerodrink bottle, and it was great. No lost momentum while getting a drink. I came upon several more bikes, and started going around, and then I noticed that one of them was a female. "OMG-that's her-the first female!!" Is she just going to let me pass her like this?!?! She was smiling. And I hate to say it, but I was not. I was hurting, but it was the best hurt I've ever felt. Moving into first place female, I didn't care how bad it hurt. Hurt was good. Hurt meant that I wasn't leaving anything out there. As I approached the turnaround I yelled at Jay who was directing the bikes through and said "Any girls been through here yet?" and he yelled "NOPE!" and I was pretty sure that I was in first. As I headed back looked over and saw that pink-polka-dots had passed Lynn and the other girl two. She was in second, and a little too close for comfort. So I kept hammering. I saw my mom, Dad, and Holly, and I hammered harder. I could not hear anything except for gasping breaths, my grunts of discomfort, and the occasional swallow of gatorade going down my throat. As I approached the place where we turned off the highway to head back to the rec center, I looked back to see who was near. There was Don!!! I wasn't at all surprised! He passed me on the turn and I yelled "Go Don!! Push it! Push it!" I didn't see any females close behind, and I was ecstatic. But I was not over confident - I was still terrified that someone would catch me in the pool. I ran into T-2, threw my bike up on the rack, kicked off my shoes, grabbed my goggles and swim cap and took off sprinting towards the pool like a child running from a snake. Official Bike + Transition Time:41:29

Cindy (Toning Class teacher) was standing there and yelled "You better go Lana - she's on your tail!!" I jumped into the pool and swam frantically to the wall. The first 50 yards were not pleasant. I had flashbacks of where I got passed last year. But I just focused on leaning on my chest and swimming like I've been taught. Rotating my body. And my legs were toast, so I was pretty much dragging them with some little kicks in between. Every time I would reach the wall, I'd look back and see that no one was near. When I made it to the last 25 yard stretch, I was pretty sure I was home free. I jumped out of the pool and through the door to finish. Official Swim Time: 4:09

I wanted to jump up and down, but I knew better. You never do that until the results are official. So I cheered on the rest of the finishers, including Don, who came in close behind me(1:10:23), and I awaited the official results. Official Race Time:1:09:04 - First Place Overall Female

Pink Polk-a-dots came in at 1:11:26 and Lynn followed at 1:12:23. I hung around and got my medal, plus the $45 first place award and $100 gift certificate to Cresent Furniture. Pretty sweet. Congrats to all my peeps who all did AWESOME - Don (3rd in his extremely tough age group), Michele(first place for the second year running in her age group), Tom (kicked my butt with a 1:07:05), Amy(very strong race!), Justin (first tri and did awesome!), Mike(if only they had a Clydesdale division!), Steve (1st place AG), Lynn (3rd overall female), Tilghman (2nd AG), and the Nester/Nester/Beachboard relay who snagged 2nd place!!

Justin, Me, Michele

Don and Tom

Justin and his family (M.J., Kimberly, Justin, and Jerry)

Dad, Me, Mom, Holly

Me and Mike

Me and Tracy

Me, Eric, Amy

I got the cigar this year.

"Cause I'm back on the track And I'm beatin' the flak..."


Lauren said...

Awesome race report, I found my reading pace picking up with your race pace! Great job!!!

Lisa said...

I wish I had read your account of the Tri before I left for Franklin. Inspirational! :) Is this your last Tri for the year?

The heat, humidity, white water rafting Sat, and the fact that I had run those long, slow 16ish miles on Friday made my run miserable today. I ran my slowest 10k in a very LONG time. I don't know my official time but it was barely under 55 mins. Those HILLS the first part were terrible! :(

Tri-Dummy said...

That was AWESOME! Great job on the bike...and you killed Polka Gurl in the pool, too! Ha!

david said...

Great Race! Great report! Congrats on First place!

qcmier said...

Great job!!! Cash prize to boot.

Taryn said...

Congratulations on your 1st place! You are so inspiring!

RunBubbaRun said...

Congrats, wow 1st place, great job..

QR bikes, gotta luv them..

Benson said...

wow, wOW, WOW! great race!

Joe said...

Woot! You are the champion!

> At the end of the swim, you
> jump out of the pool and
> run through the door

WTF? Doesn't the lifeguard yell out "NO RUNNING"?

E-Speed said...

nicely done! Way to dig deep and crush the competition. You definitely wanted it more and you earned it!

John said...


Michele said...

You did awesome. I still can't belive I missed you at the bike turn. I knew once I counted 4 females that I had missed you.

Way to dig deep and push through.

Great job! Congrats!

Does the prize money go in the new fork fund???

Rae said...

Way to go!!!! Major congrats on 1st place, that is so wonderful!! And it's great you got your bike fixed so quickly, too!

You are having a great season and I know it's going to translate into that sub4 you want so badly!

Phil said...

Fabulous race Lana. Your Pink Pokka Dot friend is probably still seeing visions of you passing her in a blur. I just love your competitive edge. You never give up.

Monica C. said...

What a great, great story! Very inspirational. Great job!