Friday, October 28, 2011

Racing pregnant

Being pregnant has brought me luck in triathlons. We (the baby and I) are 2 for 2 in overall wins. It's been almost 3 weeks since this race, so I may be fuzzy on some of the details (like how freezing cold it was after the race -- oh no wait, it's coming back).

If you recall, I had to race this race since a) it was put on by the base, and b) I had trained a group to race what was mostly first races, and maybe a little c) showing that even at 16 weeks preggo I could win. I have managed to pick races with low attendance for these two OAF wins, but it wasn't intentional, I promise!

The Gord had some cool nights leading up to the race, but nothing like we got Saturday night. We awoke to 35 degrees. Luckily in this case, the swim was the last event due to the lack of water in these parts as well as the lack of experience by the non-triathlete race directors in the use of that technology called "timing chips." So at least there would be no cycling in a wet trisuit. However, to put a wrinkle in my plans, the pool is located outside, and hasn't been used since Labor Day. I did what any logical, hypothermia-fearing triathlete would do: I brought my wetsuit. The logistics of getting the suit on in T2 occupied me on the drive over. I still figured the time lost would be more than made up for in the warmth and speed of my swim. Right?

When we got to the check in we were told that indeed the pool was heated (wait, and they still don't let us swim in it for 9 months of the year??). Thank goodness I now did not have to plead to use the indoor pool, beg to turn it into a duathlon, or explain that wetsuits should absolutely be legal in this race.

The warm up run got me good and out of breath, which is very usual for the first 10 minutes of running these days. Jeremy was on call and had to stop in the middle of the warm up to call a patient back. We rode through our gears and did not swim beforehand, needless to say. 

The run was a mass start of men and women from a parking lot across from transition. It was supposed to be a 5k, but I knew last year's was significantly short, and hoped this year's would be as well. I really had no idea how fast I could run, and forgot my Garmin anyway, so just went by how hard I was breathing. It was a good crowd with lots of people I knew from working on base, and a great group that I had helped train. We ran along roads and cut over to a pedestrian path, and I tried to stay on the heels of a Col I knew who had a good pace going on. Jeremy was almost out of sight. A woman was ahead of me for a few hundred yards, but her attire told me she wouldn't be an overall contender (and she probably thought the same-- I was wearing my favorite "IMFL jacket" I'd bought from Walmart before a particularly cold one). I knew at least one other woman was right on my heels. Pulling back into transition, it was immediately apparent that even as slow as I've gotten, it was well over a 5k. Later, after measuring it to be at least 3.8 miles, I calculated that I'd somehow run under 7:15 pace. Woohoo! (I should probably mention that the run elevation gain I'd estimate to be, oh... 8 feet.)

A minute lead on the next female didn't give me too much confidence, but since I was expecting to be behind after the run, it was a bonus. The flat but for some reason not fast bike course was maybe a bit windy, but passing some men, including my pacing Col made me feel better. At the turnaround I was only 2 minutes ahead by my best estimation, but I didn't get the tailwind I was expecting. 

During the 700m swim (this was SOOO long for a 5k run, 30k bike!), I was well aware of how my nervousness affected my breathing. I'd start looking at the earlier lanes to see who might be catching me, and I'd start breathing harder, gulping water, and panicking. Interesting that I'm such a mental case. 

In the end, I was almost caught by one of my first time triathlete guys who happens to be an excellent swimmer, but held off all other females by at least 8 minutes, most of which was, surprisingly, created in the swim. I had a handful of my first timers finish happy and wanting more. Success.

Jeremy had a really good race and ended up 2nd OA, whooping the rest of the family by 7 minutes! But if you consider that my legs did it for two people.... 

Since I've been taking some weekly pictures to track my progress in the girth expansion area, I got extra dorky for this one and wore my medal and tri shorts. Surely this baby BOY will turn out to be a triathlete!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's race weekend for me too!

I am actually attempting one last triathlon of the season. It's the base's annual sprint that I've trained a few people for, and therefore I had to register myself. In my last race back in July, I was very newly pregnant and didn't know it, and while I did run slow and breathe hard, it was nothing compared to the wind sucking I've been doing lately.

I have run 5Ks and probably even a few 10Ks and half marathons holding back in the past, but I've never signed up for a triathlon knowing I'd have to take it somewhat easy. It's a RACE after all! My heavy breathing may scare my fellow competitors, and I keep hearing of this "pregnancy bonk" thing, so I'm going to do my best to limit the chances of both. 

I don't know if it's fortunately or unfortunately, but I'm not really looking super pregnant yet. I have a "I just ate too many chips with queso and several pints of beer" look, especially after eating. And yesterday's slow jog felt like I was competing in the Beer Mile from how my bloated tummy felt. So most people won't know that I'm actually pregnant at this race tomorrow. 

If only I could wear the awesome present I got this week:

But the low is 42 and I imagine I'll be covering up more. But I am considering wearing the top that makes me look most pregnant, and hopefully not most beer-gutted. 

I had one of my newbies text me today to say that it was that time of the month. I'm 4 months pregnant!! No excuses. But I'm probably a little unsympathetic, because I'm sure, in the 70 or 80+ triathlons I've done that at some point, I have had the same issue. I don't remember it affecting me. The pain of racing is always worse to me. Plus, upon a little reading, I was reminded that that part of the cycle is probably best for sprint racing.

Speaking of racing, of course I'm glued to the computer today watching Ironman Hawaii. Seeing the bay, the church, Ali'i, the pier, all of that, kind of makes me want to be there. Ok, I'd really like to be there, just not racing. Still not ready for that. When I see those huge windmills like they have near Hawi I still get a little queasy. And let me just have one moment of jealousy: it is always "calm and cool" when I'm not there?? Really it just depends on how far back you start the bike :)
Thanks to Damie, I now have links to lots of race coverage over the years from this race! I first started watching IMs while on the trainer after recording the 1997 NBC coverage. I never thought I'd actually do the race, but it looked so amazing, it was nice to dream. If anybody wants to borrow my VCR tape, let me know!

While I don't see anyone out there from my computer screen that looks pregnant or even more than a pound or two overweight, I'm going to use today to motivate myself for my big end of the season race tomorrow.

Happy end of season racing to all!