Monday, June 27, 2011

Race Report: Victoria Half – New milestone!

Date/Time: June 19, 2011,6:45 am Weather: 15ish, clear
Distance: Half IM
Gun time: 4:57:07 (new pb!)
Swim: 40:10 (2:07 per 100m pace) could be better?
T1: 2:09
Bike: 2:42:25 (31.5 km/hr) not bad!
T2: 1:04
Run: 1:31:22 (4:35 per km) felt strong!
Age Group: 10/25
Overall: 81/354

It all started with the realization of a missing timing chip a little 10 minutes before the gun...

Something just felt bare on the right ankle from that internal gut feeling check. I looked around and surprisingly found a chip just a metre away sitting on the motionless grass, but the chip had read ‘411’ on the black strap. My number was 137. Close? Not even! Did I grab the wrong chip I thought. Seconds later an individual ran to snatch it up. I was left chipless only minutes away from the start.

It was a case of a rookie mistake, but a veteran’s cool. Long-story-short, FLASHBACK to last year I had experienced a similar mishap, and was missing a crank bolt until race morning and eventually got one that fitted just in time from the bike mechanic – surely I had little to worry about this time around. This was an epic mental battle from pre-start to finish.

I ran to the lady at the timing booth and kindly advised her of my situation. She opened her eyes wider than normal and was shocked as anticipated and told me in a demeaning tone, “you’ll have to pay for one if you don’t find it and nobody turns it in!!” I replied “okie, that’s a deal”, and was handed chip 500. I booked it fashionably to the starting line.

For some reason, this was one of those swim that just honestly tanked. Everything felt a bit more offside than usual. There was little time to adjust my mental focus. Even this breaststroker was making a feast by kicking a 3 metre wide span and I felt helpless without doing a lengthy detour. Out of the water I came and at this point I was a solid 253!

No time to celebrate, I dashed into T1 and did a flying mount. Ka-lump, la-lump my left shoe hit the ground a couple times before slipping my feet in.

This was a difficult bike course – rougher terrain and some false flats near the end of the (2x) lap course. I was holding a decent 32km/hr speed until the last 5km where the bike fell apart, not in the literal sense but it sure felt like it. I was passing person after person in the first 80ish km and even yo-yo-ing with a few duels with riders equipped with aero helmets and fancy deep rimmed wheels. By the time I hopped off the bike and I was in 124 (a little more respectable).

T2 teed off well.

Mental focus was in check. I felt cautiously up to the test and my legs took the first 2-3 km to fully transition into run mode. Unlike the last race where I struggled cardio-wise, this time I was able to hold a decent pace and finished the two laps within a minute of the run splits. Finished in 81st in a deeper field this year.

In personal record fashion, I recorded my fastest half IM time of 4:57:07. Sure the course was shorter. But if you measured the time with the winner’s time, I had always previously came 1-hour-plus-ish; this race was a different story and I wasn’t digitally-spanked by more than an hour. A personal milestone was born.

Thanks for reading and congrats to everyone who participated!! Also, thanks to the volunteers (including the year-round planning committee) for making this event so successful every year. =)

PS Turns out, I had left my original timming chip in my street-clothes back pocket. Lucky for me, I turned the chip in without emtying more of my pockets.