For this first time, I wasn't as concerned about my time. I just wanted to give it my best shot. Going into this event, my goals were very simple:
1) to just feel comfortable on my bike, maneuvering it, shifting gears, etc
2) to simply finish the race
3) not finish last
That being said, I was so nervous leading up to today. I even considered not doing the event all together. All sorts of things were going through my mind last night, such as:
- I should have tried the course so I would know what to expect.
- I should have practiced more hills.
- What if I have to get off my bike on a hill and walk it up?
- I've only been training for the past 3 weekends. What if that wasn't enough?
- What if it's windy like it was the last time I rode? I don't do well with wind resistance.
- What if I run out of energy?
- I've never done the entire 9 miles straight....how many times will i have to stop?
- What if my cycle starts?
I took off at a strong pace, but not too aggressive. I actually kept pace with one of my co-workers for the first mile or so. She and I had a chance to get to know each other, and we seemed to be able to pace each other pretty well. I think that she noticed that I could probably handle more, and she said "If you need to ride ahead of me, go for it." After she made that comment, we hit the first "hill" and had to part ways. I wanted to ride a bit more aggressively, especially up the "hill" to get it over with. I put in my earbuds and begin my journey. I felt great because the "hill" that I'd been so anxious about was no big deal. It was a gradual incline, but I was able to stay seated the entire time and maintained a good pace. I saw someone get off and walk their bike up. I was envisioning a super steep hill, and I was worked up about nothing. The course was a good mix of flats and gradual inclines. I felt great up to mile 6. Then, the last "hill" presented itself, which was steeper than the first but I still conquerored it like a champion. However, when I got to the top, I started to feel my energy plummet a bit. I didn't wear my camel back today, and I had my water bottle in a hip pack. So, I felt very clumsy when I would reach for my water and fumble to put it back. Not wearing my camelback was the only mis-step of the day. Anyway, when I got to the top of the "hill", I decided to coast a bit to catch my breath and get my 2nd wind. That was a good move because I was able to raise my gears and really get an aggressive cadence for the last 2.5 miles. At one point I even clocked 92 RPM on my bike computer, which was fantastic. I was almost brought to tears when I saw the "University of Texas at Dallas" sign because I knew that the finish line was right around the corner at that point. I coasted in a bit because I wanted the photogs to get some good 'action shots' of me, and I took my time crossing the finish line because one of our company reps was there taking pictures of each one of our employees as we crossed. It was such a wonderful feeling! I can't wait for the next race!
Now that it's all over, I am so glad that I did not back out of my commitment!! I am very proud of myself for going through with it. It was alot of fun, and I surprised myself along the way. During my training, I often made stops to grab water, catch my breath, etc. Today, I kept moving for the entire race - no stopping. When I crossed the finish line, my HRM clocked in about 35 minutes. I probably could have done it in 32 minutes if I hadn't been talking and leisurely riding with my co-worker initially. However, that built my confidence and then the competitor came out. Regardless, completing the course in 35ish minutes was the most suprising accomplishment of all. During my few practice rides, I rode 11.5 miles (75 mins), 13.5 miles (50 mins), 10.2 miles (45 mins), and 4.2 miles (25 mins - very windy day). The last time I was on my bike was on Labor Day. I didn't ride yesterday because I wanted to be fresh. I am great at indoor cycling/spinning, but I am so happy to have completed an outdoor course. I accomplished ALL of the goals that I set forward for myself.
Next weekend will be the 5K, which will be yet another challenge. At least it won't be my first 5K. However, I am de-conditioned for running (and haven't really trained for the event at all), so my plan will be to jog/walk as best I can. I only put in 2 miles of track work last weekend, and it was ugly - LOL. I'll post back to let you know how next Sunday goes. This was a long post, but I want to remember every moment of today and how it made me feel :-)