Thirty-One Seconds

By now, ya’ll must know I’ve a thing for numbers; math may flummox me, but race-day numerology intrigues. So how’s this for nifty number stuff: thrice this season I placed in the top three overall, and in two of those races—yesterday’s Wrentham Halloween Duathlon and September’s Title 9 Triathlon—the difference between 1st and 3rd was precisely 31 seconds.

Kinda cool, huh?

Yesterday it was my turn to be on top, which was also cool, and makes it two years in a row I got 1st OA at this race (no pressure there!)

Another nifty number thing happened yesterday: I thought I had registered for this race months ago (early registration is my MO; gets me through the winter, having a nice full race calendar does.) But for some strange reason I never did. My goof-up meant that I had to visit the race-day registration table, and the queue put me one racer behind training partner Jim (who had made the decision to race 24 hours before.) So net-net Jim and I ended up being assigned transition areas right next to each other:

These bikes have done quite a few training runs together, so it was fitting for them to keep each other company in transition whilst their owners ran.

While I had placed first here last year, I knew whether I would repeat largely depended upon who showed up; it always does. So my goal was sanely self-focused: I wanted to whittle my time on this course to something closer to 1:05. Girl bodies can go under 1:05 on this course—I’ve seen it happen—and I wanted that very much. It wouldn’t be easy; my past performances were 1:11:20 (April 2012) and 1:10:32 (November 2011.) I’d have to improve on all splits to do it; “just” annihilating on the bike would not suffice. But it seemed possible as I’ve been making peace with this torture called “running.”

When I arrived at the venue, it was clear this might not be the year for 1:05; Hurricane Sandy was approaching and was already causing some serious gusts. They wouldn’t make running very easy, let alone riding.

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, since TV-watching Daughter #2 says Sandy is indeed on her way and the power is slated to be out by 10 am here in the greater Boston area:

Run 1: 3 miles in 21:21 (3rd female / 36th including the boys) T1: :59
How it compares: faster than both of my previous Run 1s on this course (a 21:42 last fall and a 22:55 this past spring.) The T was slow for me; previous T1s on this course have been :42 and :49. The slowness was because I exited at the same time as a half-dozen others, and we all had to single-file it over the timing mat. So it slowed us all.

The race started with a giggle for me; I was toeing the line right next to Jim, who knows all too well my predilection to “go out” too fast. When I hear the word “go!” I seem to forget that I am neither related to Usain Bolt nor competing in a 100-yard dash. So as soon as the race director gave the “Go” command and we were off, I heard Jim yell at me (from behind) “Christine—NO!” It was fantastic and gave me something to focus on other than the lactic acid as I proceeded to ignore him.

Bike: 12 miles in 32:31 (1st female / 14th including the boys) T1: :38
How it compares: Faster ride than last fall’s 33:23 (2011) but not faster than April’s  31:27 (April 2012.) I T’d better this time: past Ts were :43 and :47.
It was just a fantastic ride. It was super gusty and the road is kinda yucky in parts and I missed a few significant potholes while in the aero position by mere millimeters, which for some reason made it all the more fun. I am definitely more fearless on race day than I am on training rides.

Run 2: 2 miles in 14:32 (6th female / 54th including the boys)
How it compares: Last November I ran 14:21; in April I ran 15:21…so I was 5.5 seconds slower per mile than last year.
There are still plenty of better female runners out there than I am, and I knew chick #2 couldn’t be terribly far behind me, since I had only passed her on the bike in the last few miles (for those who know the course: I passed shortly after the North Street rotary.) So I knew I had to stay focused and relaxed and resist the overwhelming urge to freak out. A friend hanging out about a quarter-mile before the finish line employed his best soothing voice–the dulcet tones you’d use to talk someone off a cliff or tell them to not glance over their shoulder at the stalking mountain lion–to calmly tell me she was within 100 yards. The freak-out-reflex was very very strong but I did not give in and somehow reached the finish first; I was still dry-heaving 15 seconds later when Grace Kerr crossed the finish line. Another 16 seconds and we’d welcome #3, Kellie-Tabor-Hann, across the line.

The only bummer: there was a glitch with the timing chips so the awards ceremony was delayed and lots of people left…including Grace and Kellie who had busy days to get on with.

Use your imagination: Grace Kerr (20-24) should be on the “2” step and Kellie Tabor-Hann (a fellow 40-44 age grouper) should be on the “3.” Sorry you couldn’t stick around, but we all clapped for you, ladies! Kellie gets the You Rock Award for this race: she had to leave because she was running a 5K with her son later that day (!) V impressive.

Thirteen boys beat me on the bike, and three of them are here on the overall winners podium:

1st place Paul Miller rode the bike course in 27:25; 3rd place Tim Glickman (a fellow Marlborough resident) rode it in 29:32 and 2nd place Greg Palken rode it in 29:53. Rumor has it that Greg ran Run #2 barefoot as he couldn’t get his running shoes back on–apparently they were too soggy from rain! I am so impressed by this teen. Yes–he is in the Under 19 category! Total times for the Top Three boys: 57:02, 58:10 and 58:13.

So 1:05 is still “out there” as a goal for me…but I did shave a few seconds off my time on this course, on a blustery day at that, so we’re calling it good, me, myself and I all are. (Total time: 1:10:10 versus previous best of 1:10:54.)

Well, that’s all for now.  Make every second count, batten down the hatches, and go have yourself a merry little off season, everyone!


About garmin_girl

I'm a 40-something single mother of three--two great human girls and one four-legged Dalmatian banshee--who is hellbent on swimming, biking and running straight through my midlife crisis. Care to tag along? Crazy loves company! ;)
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3 Responses to Thirty-One Seconds

  1. kkirby says:

    Congratulations! Love the photo! Glad you stuck around for the awards

  2. Jim McKenna says:

    Great job!! Always like the entertaining write-ups

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