Musselman is more than just a race. it's an entire weekend of activity. There's a sprint on Saturday, along with a kite festival, 12 hours of visual arts, a pre-race meeting, pre-race dinner, pancake breakfast, etc...
And it's GORGEOUS up there. Actually, when Ack and I were riding around on Saturday, he said "I'm not going to tell anyone about this race!!" for fear of it being infiltrated and/or selling out even earlier. And then he got stung by a bee. Damn karma!
Ok, on to race morning...I got up early to make sure I could get my potty in. No problem. But I didn't really have an appetite, which is UBER unusual for me. go figure. I stole Ack's car and went to get some coffee (he still doesn't know about this. hehehe). We went down to the race site early and set up everything in transition. I ran into some peeps from TTT and Team USA and before I knew it, I needed to get a warm-up in and my wetsuit on. It was all a blur from there.
After the Canadian Anthem and the Star Spangled Banner, we got corralled for the swim start. I was in the third wave at 7:06. Some of those pink cap girls were just anxious!!! All getting up in front of the start buoys and all. But, anyway, I know I don't have sprint muscles, so I figured I'd just make my way through them after the first 500. The swim was fairly uneventful except for the fact that there were plenty of men in the two waves ahead that didn't know how to swim. More than five times, I was dodging breast stroke kicks. I kept trying to look for pink caps ahead and there weren't too many. I came out of the water and glanced at my watch once in T1 to see 31 something and was a little disappointed. It was a fast swim last year, but I was also swimming more last year. Total swim time 31:37.
T2, I saw Ack leaving as I was racking my bike (I was positioned right next to the exit) and yelled for him. I saw this chick that was obviously a viable threat. And she was a little ahead of me. I couldn't get my helmet to fit my head. WTF? Finally slammed it on, and went on my way, but it was a slow T2...2:31.
I felt good from the get-go on the bike, ya know, except the throbbing headache from my too tight aero helmet. I was passing people left and right. I think maybe 5 men passed me and stayed ahead through the whole 56 miles. I took in water to start. And man, I was thirsty!!! I wanted an ice cold coke about half way through, and took a few swigs of my gatorade instead. I was trying to remember to take in calories, but I was feeling great, and again, not hungry, so I just kept going. It was obvious when a headwind or tailwind hit. Speeds varied from 17 to 28 on the flats depending on the wind.
About 20 miles in, I reached back to the strap in my helmet and gave it another hard tug and felt the sweet relief of lessened pressure on my skull! I ended up only taking in about 500 calories (liquid and solid combined), which, in retrospect was not enough for me. I was sweating immensely. I felt great throughout and ended up just 3 secs off the fastest bike split, which is huge for me. I guess I caught quite a few women on the bike. Time: 2:40.40 for a 21.0 mph avg.
T2 was ok. I was HOT! but I moved fairly quickly, or so I thought. And moved on to what I thought would be a great end to a good race start. I had about 1:43 to accomplish my sub-5 hour goal.
I started out running and feeling ok, thinking my run legs would come after a mile or two, per usual... Some guy struck up a conversation. He was from Ithaca, couldn't understand why I'd travel for a race. Apparently, people who live up there take for granted that they have so much beauty around, somewhat unlike Cincy/Dayton. Anyway, he was running awfully close to me, asked me my pace. I told him I hadd no clue, maybe 7:30? He informed me it was 7:15 and that it was too fast for him. And then he elbowed me for the third time and apologized. I told him he needed to back off (in my not-so-subtle sassy tone).
I was informed I was the second female by lots of spectators. I ran up to this other guy that I was playing tag with on the bike, I saw Ack climbing a hill in front of me at about mile 2.5-3...and as I was climbing that hill, I looked back and saw that viable threat chick TRUCKING it about a quarter mile behind me. Oh dear God! I hit the flats and she came up on me. I said some encouraging words and she said some back...and I told her that there was only one girl ahead, told her to go get her. Several surrounding men told me to go after her...but I knew I didn't have it in me at that point. And then the chills struck. I was trying to take in water and squeeze sponges over my head, but I was feeling horrible!! I took a gel. I dumped ice down my top. Nada.
I saw Ack and screamed for him, he yelled back "you're catching me already?" Sheesh! I thought it was taking forever to catch him! And then it took even longer to actually catch him. And then another girl passed me. Ugh. So, I was thinking "great. I just went from 2nd to 4th...and I have no chance of catching those girls". I was so defeated. One foot in front of another. Top 5. Just get top 5...
Around mile 8, another skinny little runner chick passed me, flying. I was in sooo much pain. My hammies, my back, my feet, calves. I just wanted to walk. I had never felt so bad on the run in a race. I was fighting some demons in my head. And I had that all-too-familiar wince of "why can't something just be easy for once" that I've been allowing myself to feel far too much lately. I took in some endurolytes. A little coke, 2 shot blocks. It was too late. I hung on for dear life. I was just running scared at that point. As I crossed the finish line, I saw 5:00.24... 25 flipping seconds off the sub 5 hour goal . Grr. But I did crack top 5. run time: 1:43.39, 7:55 pace.
Turns out two of those girls ahead of me were in a prior wave so I finished third female. I took home some cash and a bottle of wine. I learned a great lesson. Um....eat, even when not hungry. Don't rely upon a supposed "strength". My run is typically fun and strong. Not so much here. But it was a new PR. So Ack and I went out and celebrated with a burrito and beer.
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