First off, if you haven't followed me on twitter lately or facebook...I had some sort of running issue that felt like my achilles/calf and was a little worried about running on it. I took off for 5 days (of running) over the Memorial Day weekend and just logged in many biking miles with no pain. I had to go to Canada for work the week before the race and decided to try running in Toronto.
Sidenote: If you are in Toronto, stay at the Westin Harbor, the have a morning run group at 6:30 am every morning during the week.
I didn't have to be at the facility till 9am so I figured I would attempt a 3 mile run and see how and if it was still there. I went running with another triathlete from the Westin and after about 1.5miles running about 8:00min miles it really cramped/pain in the same area. OKAY - looks like I am NOT doing my first race of the season. I decided that I would still go to the race and do the aqua-bike (the price of these races do not warrant skipping). I was going to have fun and determine if I would do this ride next year!
Background on Black Bear....
This is the Olympic course, click the elevation to see. I went to the website for Wildflower to see what the comparison was...pretty equivalent, so I decided on the road bike (after confirmation from many tweeters and facebookers). I would have loved to take out the new bike but I was worried about my handling skills during the descents and quick turns. I went for a long 60 mile hill ride a few weeks before so I felt very humble and had no expectations (that meant it was hard). I did not feel I had adequate hill training but was going to play it by ear.
I really wished I read an article in Bicycling magazine (May 2011 pg 84 - "Climb Smarter") for anyone looking for hill tips.
Anyway, I really had no nerves but then thinking back I never have nerves the day before, I always TRY to act all calm, cool and collected. I had planned on getting there the day before, stay with some relatives. I was also planning on getting to do the "practice swim" on Sat. Oddly, they had a bacteria problem and wasn't sure if the swim would still be on (meaning it would be a duathlon and that would mean no race for me)..I just wanted to do it, I didn't care if I raced or not, I was just so tired of reading my western and southern friends on twitter post about a race...I wanted to do one...
So, they decided late that night that the swim was on!! Yeah! It was going to be in a reservoir which meant the cleanest water I had ever swam in...LOL.
I got there got my transition stuff together (without the running shoes) and went to the beach. The cool part was that I was wearing my new team Triumph kit and people came and introduced themselves. I saw my friend/coach Bill to say hi and went to the water. I was looking for a couple friends which I found and I chatted profusely, which is what I do when I am EXTREMELY nervous. I was in the last wave with the over 35 crowd...which plays into things later.
Everyone left and my wave went to start. We all get out treading water and I freeze. And the water was cold maybe about 60-62 degrees byt I had a wetsuit. It is just that in a wetsuit I feel uncomfortable and can't move my arms. MENTAL NOTE - GET SLEEVELESS WETSUIT. I get the normal "oh fuck" moment and try to figure out if I can back out of this. I really WAS feeling confident, I feel like the swim has come a long way from - I can't swim to finally feel somewhat competent in the pool. Anyway, I was hoping for a 30-35 minute swim by mere calculation including my anxiety attack....but it turned into a longer attack then anticipated. It's the breathing. I know I should go in the water pre-swim, but I was more concerned with seeing someone I knew but I think I had a big learning....
DO THE PRACTICE SWIM
Anyway, if I swam the entire swim as I did at the last 500m, I would have been fine. Instead...one of the last 10 people probably out there. I do want to say this is a very small race. Anyway, I strutted (yes, strutted) into transition because I didn't know how my calve would feel up the 1/4 mile run in and out of T1.
Okay so it is very difficult bein in the end. There is a lot less people to pass, so you lose that competitive streak plus I kind of felt like I wasn't racing since I wasn't running which definitely puts a jinx on things. It was HILLY. Challenging but I remembered the hills and were they were from mapmyride.com. The best line of the day was a dude at the top of the first long 5 mile climb that said "Welcome to Mt. Pocono."
I rode and did have to do the walk of shame ONCE for a minute maybe 50ft. I accidently did not downshift before the last major steep hill and BAM. I didn't go ANYWHERE!!! I got to the first lip and rode the rest of the way. I didn't feel too guilty because the two dudes I passed where walking behind me. However, I think the highlight was the descents. I felt so alive going 35mph and then had to quickly turn. So fun!
All in all, despite the non-spectacular performance on my NON-RACE, I had a fun day and this will definitely be on my list for next year. My legs felt great (but probably cause I wasn't racing) and would have loved to run and start passing people again.
As for the prognosis: It is actually from my overpronation of my feet, the tendon that goes from your left big toe to your calve was stressed. I only have 5 weeks till Vineman, and well, I have to be honest, I prepared alot and don't know if I will be running in time...It's a little depressing but it's life and I will deal...
I am going to wait and adjust my schedule when I figure out my running situation....