Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Aflac Iron Girl Columbia August 24, 2008

After May 1st (ankle spraining day) and an eventual MRI that showed 2 torn ligaments, a torn tendon and a bruised bone, I had to pull out of my planned events for the rest of the spring and summer. With virtually no training I toed the line at IG knowing this would make for an interesting experience. Since Annapolis Tri was cancelled, this was my one and only chance to complete a triathlon for the year! So, I thought I would just look at it as a training day and use it to assess where I stand with my ankle and ham/glute injury.

But, as most of you athletes know, trying not to "race" is tough.

The swim pretty much sucked. I am not complaining here, just my lack of time in the pool and how I positioned myself made for a crazy first third of the race. I could not find a rhythm and was constantly being hit and running into others. This made my breathing rate sky rocket. I finally hit somewhat of a groove after the first turn, by swimming way out. I have used this tactic in the past. You swim a bit longer, but the benefit is that you don;t have to fight and swim at the same time.

I was happy to exit the water and head up for the bike, which I assumed would be my strongest leg. I tried to be careful with the uneven footing through transition. Once at my bike it took me FOREVER to get my ankle brace on. My T1 time was almost 5 minutes! But, as others flew past, I kept telling myself that it was better to be safe then sorry. In the end I am glad I took that time.

Once on the bike, I actually felt pretty good. I tried hard to use the downhills to my advantage and be consistent on the numerous climbs. My quad started to ache right off the bat, but I just ignored it and kept moving. Only 2 ladies passed me on the course and I lost count of the women I passed. But, most were in the older age group that was a wave or two ahead of us.

I rode into dismount feeling pretty good about the bike effort and wondered how the run would go. It was getting hot and this run is hilly (just like the bike). T2 went a whole lot smoother and faster.

Out on the run course, I immediately started passing people, despite that it felt like I was crawling. My ankle was not happy about being asked to run, but it wasn't painful to the point of needing to stop. In fact, the pain shifts around depending on the terrain. What really hurt was my left leg (the original chronic injury). My entire hamstring and butt were in pain and I felt like I was dragging the leg along.

I visually latched onto a lady in my age group and focused on her back. She was going a decent pace and I curbed the desire to try to pass her. The hills were as expected. Painful. Especially "Gatorade Hill", but they had lots of little perks like a ice cold wet sponge at the top.
The last 1/2 mile, of the 3.4 mile run portion, was out in the sun. I was glad I was one of the early waves. I came across the line with mixed emotions. But heck! At least I could do this! A few months ago it was all in question. I had some hope. I know I have a very long way to go, but this was something positive.

Overall I was 5 min slower then my attempt at IG Columbia last year. 2 of those minutes were the first transition. So, without training, I was able to only come in about 3 min behind last year's attempt. Plus, I finally got to wear my cool Annapolis Tri outfit!

Official Results:
.62 mile swim - 17.5 mile bike - 3.4 mile run

Overall Place: 176
Overall Time: 1:56:51
Gender Place: 176
Athletes in Gender: 1665

Division Place: 25
Athletes in Division: 332
Swim Time: 22:17
Swim Place: 525

Transition 1 Time: 4:24
Transition 1 Place: 1040

Bike Time: 59:52
Bike Pace: 17.5
Bike Place: 143

Transition 2 Time: 1:37
Transition 2 Place: 427
Run Time: 28:45
Run Pace: 8:13
Run Place: 158

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