"Did the competition send you?" - 5:30 am, race morning, to my 5-month old son.
It is on. Race season has started and I have some goals.
Yesterday I raced the Brooklyn Duathlon, and it was a good way to shake off the cobwebs. The last time I raced on a bike was at Triathlon Nationals in 2010 and since yesterday's race, I had only been outdoors on a bicycle three times. Compound that with my being Elizabeth Taylor and my P2 being Richard Burton. I sold my trusty bike, bought another, sold it, then re-bought a P2 while I wait for the P3. This new-old-not mine P2 had some snags that left my neck and shoulders feeling jacked. Thanks to Coach Cane and the good folks at Brickwell who were able to get my bike ready for Sunday. I definitely still like the bike, but it wasn’t my P2 (Katie is doing justice to that bike in Texas).
We have been working on my run more—I do the Thursday night tempo run with the team, a long run on the weekend, and I try to run to and from school at least 3 times a week. Jonathan trusted that the bike would come back naturally; as did I. So when I first rode outdoors, and no longer rode like, in Jonathan’s words, I had nothing to live for, I felt defeated. We made some adjustments to the bike, did some more computrainer rides, and hoped for the best.
Jonathan felt confident; I did not. The night before the race, Saturday, Simon woke up every hour. We went to seder on Friday where he got lots of love and hand-holding (more so than just from us). And we came home late and went to bed even later. On race night, I tossed and turned and when it was time to really wake up, I looked at Simon and asked, “Did the competition send you?” Remember though, it’s the night before the night before that really counts.
We loaded the car and along with my awesome teammate Fabian Gallardo, headed to the race. We got there with enough time to use the bathroom, set up, and do a little warm up. I ran for 10 mins and tried to do some pickups. I felt tired! I went over to Coach and told him so. “I don’t want to hear it. It does you no good to talk like that,” was his response. Damn, shut down. I got on the starting line and he said one thing to me, “Remember who you are.”
Start of the run, I’m working hard but making sure I don’t try to win the run at the cost of the race (Yes, people do this). I give a good effort and am comfortable coming into T1 in 2nd place. I also know that the woman ahead of me, Anna Fyodorova, has good top end speed, so I am fine with my place. Once I get into transition, I remain calm—too calm as I see in the results how slow that was, ugh—and hurry out on the bike. It takes forever to clip into the pedals but I don’t get frazzled. The last time I did this race, I rode out of the park. Who gets lost on a loop? Me! Today, I want to put up a decent bike split, and the way to ensure that is to stay calm and focused. I feel like the old me in terms of position on the bike, but not in my ability to climb the hills. That’s okay, I keep pedaling, and when I need inspiration, I glimpse at my road i.d.: Nicole Sin Quee, BAMF. Samuel L. Jackson has the wallet; I have the bracelet.
When I come through each successive lap, I look to Coach. I want numbers. All he says is, “You got this.” I know I do. I come off the bike with a good lead into T2. Again, apparently with no urgency as yet another slow transition. I start the run knowing that it is going to hurt. Duatlons are hard; they hurt. Okay, it’s not going to hurt more for me than the next person. I focus on my breathing and hang on to the guy in front of me. I really want to apologize to him for making so much noise. There are no mile markers, but I hear when his watch signals 1 mile. Thank you for that! One to go. I have 3 thoughts that I replay in this last mile: BAMF, “remember who you are”, and “I got this. I pushed a baby out…” I do not let up and finish the last 2 miles at a 6:23 pace, good enough for the overall win.
Here are the numbers:
- Rank for run-bike-run: 2-1-1.
- 3rd fastest overall time since this new course in 2006. (Cassie Mcwilliam and Randy Wintermantel hold the top two spots. Coach Cane is my Rainman and informs me of this info.)
- Time: 55:47; 18th overall (first male 50:41).
- In 2010 my time was 57:09.
My bike isn't where I want it to be, but I am certainly pleased with the returns. And Baby Simon promises to figure out this sleep thing stat.