Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Racing in the "Big Easy"

New Orleans from Rooftop!

After 11 days on the road. I am HAPPY to be home back to my loving family and warm comfortable bed!

New Orleans is such a unique town with so much history ,and I thought it was a really fun place to have a race. The fact that Bill Burke got the race finish to end running into the French Quarter was amazing and is up there with one of the coolest race finishes. Spectators lining this area were really pumped up (or drunk) and cheered loudly. It was really a nice way to end the race.

But let me go back to the start.
The Nola race experience reminded me alot of Eagleman. If anyone reading this has done Eagleman you know choppy water, windy bike and flat hot run and this was everything that that race has! The good news is I happen to love the Eagleman course!

The day started for me at 4am after a very restless sleepless night....nerves had really kicked in and I dragged myself out of bed wishing I had a few more hours to actually sleep. Nevertheless I reminded myself that the most important sleep is two nights before the race and put it out of my mind. I got breakfast in and left the hotel early to give myself plenty of time to get down to the race site as I was staying a good 20 minute away. Despite it being my first race in 9 months I felt very calm and prepared race morning. I got a warmup in and then headed down to the water. A big disappointment was the announcement that the pro field would not be allowed to race with a wetsuit on. Even though swimming is not my strongest event this does not bother me terribly, but the cool air and cold water really bothers me. Warming up in the water was impossible and I almost would have been better waiting on the shore and not warming up at all. That 10-15 minutes waiting for the anthem and the guys to go off put me into an incredibly stiff state with uncontrollable shaking. Alot of the girls were shivering and I really don't think this is a fair rule at all.
But nevertheless despite all my complaining to myself the race was to go on and the gun went off on and we headed into the water. I got a good start dolphin diving and managing not to hyperventilate in the process. The wind was really making a mess of the lake and we were swimming into a big chop. Once we turned the first buoy was when I realised it was going to be a long swim. There were waves of 1-2 feet which made sighting quite difficult and I watched a small group of girls ahead of me head for the wrong buoy. I made the choice to stick to my own line and break the water by myself. But unfortunately I was left in no mans land with nobody around and the big spacing between buoys and the sun and the waves pushing me to the shore made it very difficult.
Well after what seemed like an hour I eventually left the battlefield and was happy to exit the swim. I was so ready to get on my new Kestrel and start the race.

On the road I quickly realized that it was not going to be the easiest bike. The new bike position was not feeling great and my legs were not happy right from the start. I could not get my power going and the wind was not helping. The first hour and half would pretty much be into a head wind. I had hoped to pass a few girls on the bike but I only passed one. So I settled into a steady effort ride reminding myself to stay in the race and to keep pushing.In efforts to keep drafting to a minimum the age groupers were kept well behind us and this made for a very fair pleasant race for the pro's on a flat course :-) At the turn around I was thrilled to have a nice tailwind which made for a very fast ride back home.

After a very rusty and quite comical T2 I was happy to be running . My husband was out there on the first mile and I mentioned to him that I was racing for time as I hadn't seen anyone for so long. Nevertheless I pushed hard on the run. My legs came around quick and I was feeling pretty good. At one point around 6 miles I got to see that I was making some ground up on the girls ahead of me. So I dug deep and was happy to finish with a 2 minute run PR.

I always like to take some positives away from races. Racing keeps you sharp and I needed to get things rollin to see where my fitness was and to shake off the cobwebs! I had no expectations for this race so the PR run on a hot humid day was a bonus!

Having Hank,John Fell, Lauren Harrison who placed 5th(AWESOME RACE ),Linsey Corbin(2nd Place),and Trakkers teammate Dede, and other friends at the finish line was great and the energy downtown in the Quarter was amazing!

Glad I made the decision to race in NOLA and I would definitely like to go back there again next year!

This is what my husband got me to eat post race.....what"s up with this...we're in New Orleans and I just raced a half Ironman. He said he was trying to keep it healthy!

Post race on Bourbon Street!


Lauren Harrison said...

LOL i love the salad shot. I hope you found more to eat than that! Great seeing you and congrats on the run PR!

Solis Performance said...

Great Stuff, Jac, and congrats on a great day.


Ryan Oilar said...

Great Race! Cool to meet you at NOLA and the water did make for a rough ride!