I can usually tell how a race is going to go by the song I start singing to myself during the bike. Something filled with teenage angst, Linkin Park for example, is not a good omen. Jazz, or singer/song writer types, likewise are no good. Norah Jones or Ella Fitzgerald, while strong beautiful women, don’t inspire a leg pumpingly good bike ride. At IM Kansas 70.3 however, I immediately starting singing Footloose, for no apparent reason. It’s been at least 2 months since I last watched the movie. But it was just right for the day.
To back up a bit, I was in Lawrence, KS last weekend visiting dear friends from college Brooke and Mario to celebrate Brooke’s 30th birthday and her first half-ironman race. The race has been on my calendar since she announced her intentions last year.
My lead up to the race was less than ideal. I worked a lot that week, and hadn’t slept well since then. The time difference oddly affected me much worse than usual, and I felt a sore throat and cold coming on the day before the race. I got to the point where I asked my man-friend Artie if he would still love me if I didn’t finish the race. He said “No.” So, I steeled myself for the worse and figured I’d better get to the line.
Race morning I surprisingly felt good. After a few hours of sleep I awoke filled with adrenaline and instant espresso. I was unorganized and panicky all-morning, while Brooke the first-timer was cool and calm. After I forgot to do at least 8 things in transition and made us a little late, we finally got into line at the start and prepared for the day.
The Swim for Izzy
The wind was gradually picking up through the morning and we got into a fairly choppy lake. I had some trouble finding a swim rhythm, as per my usual. I felt like I was swimming like Brooke and Mario’s 3-legged dog walks. But I settled in on the return trip, to a slow but comfortable pace. I emerged in 31 minutes. This is a limiter, and should be a focus for the next few months. “I got this feelin’ / Time’s just holding me down”. Gee thanks Kevin Bacon.
The Bike for Kevin Bacon
I happily jumped on my Shiv-tastic Shiv-Bot for a rolling ride through the real “Merica. I was happy to see cows and cornfields, and remembering Kevin Bacon, vowed to “tear up this town”. I had some water and a 1/2 Bonk Breaker fairly soon out of transition as I was a little hungry. Once settled into a nice pace, I took my first peek at my computer and realized I was riding about 30 watts higher than usual for a 1/2 IM. I tried to rein it in, and made sure my breathing stayed measured and HR was low. Each time I took a peek I was at the same elevated wattage. Figuring my power meter was broken I just kept on singing, picturing Kevin Bacon dancing and pedaling. It never felt hard and I was still energized by the end of the 56 miles. Kevin told me that I “can fly if I’d only cut loose” and he was right! I dismounted in 2:31 with a normalized power that was equal to my 60 min pace from my lab test at Trio 2 weeks ago.
The run for my marriage
Since Artie would leave me if I didn’t finish, I starting running at a comfortable clip, not wishing to crumble like cookie. I knew that I was second off the bike in my division. The mind-numbing course brought us through three different out and backs per lap, in a two lap course. Needless to say I could keep an eye on #1, but she was so far ahead I knew that I should just focus on not slowing down. He (Kevin Bacon I mean) kept telling me“Dig way down in your heart / You’re yearning, burning for some / Somebody to tell you / That life (the girl in 3rd place) ain’t passin’ you by!”
The good part of the run course is that I could see our entourage of Artie, Mario, Katie, Annette, and Izzy 6 different times during the run. That helped keep the spirits high and feet quick. Reminding myself to cut footloose with each step, I just focused on form and cadence and trucked on to a PR in the 70.3 distance with a 1:35 run. My Skechers GOrun Speed shoes felt light on my feet, and Artie’s constant encouragement kept me moving. It would be a bummer to lose him over a race!
Post-race we had a phenomenal camp site set up and a cooler full of Free State beer, local to Lawrence. We partied on until the awards, where I was really happy to find out I was 2nd in the division and 3rd female amateur overall! Because we had the absolute best weather conditions that one can hope for in the mid-West, I may end my run at this race on a high note, but I’m extremely glad we made the trip to race with Brooke and experience a new part of the country.
Thanks Skechers for the super support and fast feet, Gerardo at Fortius Coaching for the great plan, Pur Pak for the vitamins and overall health, Bonk Breaker for the breakfast and bike course fuel, MooMotion for the training gear and for outfitting Brooke, and of course Cynergy Cycles for the job, bike case and bike! And thanks for the cheering Katie, Mario, Artie, Annette, Izzy, and Triple C from afar!