Feels Just Like it Should: The Baldwin Park 2013 Sprint Tri RR

Let's jump in my El Camino (uh huh)
Roll the windows down
Thought we'd see what kinda trouble we can find out on this messed-up little town
Put The Boss on the radio (uh huh)
Take whatever comes
We'll be flyin' down the highway with my arm around you
Singin' Born to Run
 
And it feels just like it should
Must be some kinda miracle
Yeah, a smile on my face, and the rain ain't ever gonna fall
It feels so good
Yeah, it's almost spiritual
Tomorrow'd nowhere in sight - right now, right here, tonight
It feels just like it should
Pat Green, Feels Just Like it Should
 
 

Site of Today's Race: Baldwin Park

 
Baldwin Park is a tiny race.  A TEENY-tiny race. If it was longer than a sprint, it'd be flat-out boring because there'd be no one out on the course after the first fast people finished. (Side note: there's a reason the half marathon is cheap.)  160 finishers here versus 230+ WOMEN only a few weeks ago at Rocketman.
 
Anyway.  So this race is close to my heart, despite the tiny-ness, because of the bike course.  It is like a circuit (or some criterium races).  You whirl around 4-5 times as fast as you can go.  You have to know you might get close to people.  You have to be comfortable with your bike.
 
That's fabulous, since the bike is my strength and I'm kinda crazy. 
 
However, I have not been cycling the distances I was, nor with the fast people I was.  And a few weeks ago at Rocketman I was knee-knockin' thinking about barely averaging 18-19.  And, to tell you the truth, I was waffling all over the place thinking I might do a race that wasn't so teeny, and I almost talked myself right out of racing, even though it may be my last race before I have to have more surgery and radiation.
 
And then my coach said "you're racing." 
 
His one piece of advice to me was "go hard." 
 
And I went hard. While I have gotten good at going balls out, usually I let myself catch my breath at some point during the swim.  Today I did not. I told myself, not allowed. Ricci said go hard. 
 
This race is always changing - location of transition, distances, etc. It isn't well-organized. So you know if you do it that you follow the distances on your GPS and not what the RD says the distance was.  The swim was longer than it should have been, but GPS isn't great in the water so who knows how much longer.  Like I said, you accept the teeny-ness of the race in both size and organization level.  But still, I wasn't expecting my swim time to be a full 1-1.4 minutes SLOWER than last year. 
 
So I needed to make it up on the bike.
 
I thought to myself, please don't let me be slower than last year.
 
The bike was awesome.  I LOVE this style of race.  The corners, getting close to people - so much more exciting than straight flats. I kept exchanging places with this woman in a green tri suit and disc wheel.  We talked with each other all race.  We talked about how we thought we were going to hear the bell for preems because it felt like a crit. When I sailed into transition, I knew I had a bike PR.
I've always wanted to average over 20.  I always somehow miss it by a few tenths. And I could just feel that I had it.
 
And it feels just like it should
Must be some kinda miracle
 
But there was no time to check that.  I had to get out on the run and see if my slowed pace at Rocketman a few weeks ago was myth or fact.
 
Unfortunately, my legs were pretty stiff - unusual for me off the bike. I kept looking at my watch trying to guess if I'd make or beat last year's time.  I kept seeing slower paces than I wanted to see on my Global Trainer.  So I kept having this conversation with myself:
 
Go harder.
I can't.  I'm going as hard as I can.
Are you puking or passing out?
No.
Then go harder.
But my head hurts.
Are you puking or passing out?
No.
Then go harder.
 
When I finally rounded the corner to the finish, I was 2 minutes slower than last year.  The longer swim and being off my run pace by 30-45" a mile took a toll.  The run was still quicker than Rocketman, but not my usual.
 
I grabbed a snow cone and some water.  The woman in the green tri suit came up to me and thanked me for motivating her. I said the same to her. It was a lot of fun.
 
And I looked at my bike split.  20.5 mph average.
 
I DID IT!
 
And then the results got posted.
 
The #1 woman overall was only 7 minutes faster than me, and #2 and #3 were only about 3 minutes faster.  I was pretty sure I'd just finished around the top 5 overall.
 
Wait - where are the results for my age group?
 
Blinkblink.
 
That's ME.
 
I'm #1.
 
I lept into the air.  After years of placing 2, 3, 5, 7 - I finally won.  And not by a technicality.  Not because of a small field (my age group was one of the biggest age groups of women).  Not even because of the screwy course (I had one of the fastest bike splits - man OR woman - of the whole race).  I was among the top women overall on the course.  I won because I genuinely worked hard and earned it.
 
So I didn't PR.
 
I got something else out of today instead.
 
It feels so good
Yeah, it's almost spiritual
 
I came home and saw that a final grade in one of my classes posted - another A.  An A in my final project on the other class - so even a C wouldn't keep me from an A there.
 
I put my medal next to the trophy I won at work.  I am sure I have more to say, but one more final is due.
 
It has been a banner week.
 
And it feels just like it should
Must be some kinda miracle
Yeah, a smile on my face, and the rain ain't ever gonna fall
It feels so good
Yeah, it's almost spiritual
Tomorrow'd nowhere in sight - right now, right here, tonight
It feels just like it should
 

1 tidbits of wizdom:

Alili said...

YES!!!!!

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