Monday, June 23, 2014

Race Report:Mighty Moss Half Iron

I wasn't sure what to expect coming into this race, both because I wasn't sure my calf would hold up after ripping it up a few weeks ago, and because I'd lost fitness accordingly not being able to do much of anything since the injury. I hadn't put nearly any time in the water, and I knew my swim was not going to be very good. I decided on a plan to swim VERY easy, bike to where I felt like I was going strong but not chunking the run, and do whatever I could on the run, being sensitive to my calf. Thankfully, everything went according to plan.

I swam well within myself, not worried about time at all, just being steady. I was deeply paranoid about cramps, and started very wide to give myself clear water. The first half mile went by without issue, but I was chafing on the neck, so I stopped for a moment to fix the velcro. I really didn't care about time! Once fixed, I felt like it was time to give it a better go, and swam a bit harder to finish off. Coming out of the water, I heard several comments that the course was long, some said 1.4, another said 1.3. The RD said it measured 1.2 even from triangle to triangle, which means I was a dope for swimming the second turn with the sighting buoys to my right unnecessarily (well, that WAS the instruction, but it wasn't a requirement!), probably added the additional 200m. I came out of the water feeling absolutely fine, so I counted it as a victory.

I rode strong, but not hard, focusing on keeping my power around 80-85%. I still didn't trust my calf, despite a couple of good rides. The first 16 miles are a steady climb, followed by rolling hills, a few longer climbs, then the descent back the same way. I passed my way to my 'normal' slot near the front and stayed true, picking the riders I was matched with and pacing accordingly. The calf felt ok, but my quads were starting to bark. Eh, that's a half for you.

Came into transition, slapped on the shoes, belt and visor, off we go. I ran fine for the first mile or so, but could tell there were some cramps trying to bubble out. I took the conservative route and switch to a walk :30\run 5 plan, which I did for most of the run, save for the last mile, which I ran through. It wasn't a great run, but I stayed focused despite not having my legs beneath me. I never fully cramped, which I'm happy with, but I also feel like I was digging as far down as I had in me that day. Psychologically, I knew it was a hard day for everyone - I knew from the bike turnaround and from a quick count in transition I was roughly in the 20s overall coming off the bike, and I was passed by a few on the run, but nothing crushing - all confirmed at the end to find I was 29th overall. The surprise was I also managed 3rd in the age group, which was a little tough to stomach.

My overall time was slower than last year by over 15 minutes, of which almost all was the swim. The takeaways are nothing groundbreaking - I need to put in the time swimming to have a good split. Duh, I'm actually happy I didn't try to go harder than I was capable of. Riding, I don't have any lessons, I was nervous about pushing harder and aggravating the injury, and my split was strong regardless. Fully healthy, I would easily have turned in a better ride. Running - I don't think I made the wrong choice about how I ran. Without the time off I *probably* would have been able to run the whole time, but it's so hard to say. Halfs are NOT easy. I'll try again next year (maybe even this year if I can find one that makes sense for me) and keep trying to improve. Last year I lost focus on the run and mailed it in for the last 6 miles, which I didn't come close to this time. I'm proud of this one, I gave it everything I had.

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