It’s my first tri of the year and although its not an A priority race I did this same race last year so I have some major expectations. I want to improve my swim by 5 minutes, maintain my transition times from last year, bike about 1 mph faster, and maintain my run pace from last year. I would love to get close to a 2:38 finish, which would put me fairly close to last years 3 rd place for my age group. Last year I placed 6 out of 12 in my age group and 128 out of 256.
I'll talk about the race experience first and then pre race set up and nutrition.
The water temperature is about 70 degrees and I think for the first time I feel comfortable and ready for the swim. I tried a new technique using plastic shopping bags to get my wetsuit on and with this technique my shoulders feel much more free. I could spare about 5 pounds and it would fit better overall. This is only my 3rd race in this suit and last year I was a little lighter. Today I weigh 120 for the record. I had about 3 minutes for a warm up swim before announcements. Triton teammates Audra and Loren found me and was nice to have someone to talk to before starting the race, definitely helped to settle nerves because I'm not all in my head. I lined up for the shore entry to the left and one row back. I'm getting more comfortable taking a more aggressive start position but don't want to be in the middle of the pack.
The route is one circle of a fairly clear lake. There are 5 buoys that and not uniformly placed and must swim clockwise around them. The best way to sight will be to breathe on the right, which is a little less comfortable for me than my left. My main concern is drifting to the right so will be sure to sight often. There are 4 waves and all the women are in my wave, which is third. I like this, as while on the rest of the course it’s easier to assess my position within the women category.
The swim start was not too aggressive or chaotic. I was very controlled and held close to the pack up to the first buoy. It is quite bright as the sun is coming up and after the second buoy have a hard time seeing the next one. At this point I'm still in a fairly close group and can see a line of swimmers to follow. By the fourth buoy the fourth wave has caught up with me. Not worried about this but try to position myself to follow them and draft. This didn't work. They were way too fast and I'm getting frustrated with the sighting as my blue cps women are now rather dispersed and the sun is in my eyes. I know from the fourth to the exit I did terribly in swimming a straight line. After downloading my Garmin I see from the GPS that I did fairly fell, better than I thought. I wanted to finish the swim in 34 minutes and my clock on Garmin said 35:17. Running to transition I am happy it is over and totally fine with my time since it is almost 5 minutes faster than last year.
Transition 1 didn't go so well. My ankle chip was coming loose and I had to adjust that. I sat down to take off wetsuit and struggled a lot with getting my feet through. I think I'm going to experiment with sitting at waters edge for these easy exits and take advantage of a wet environment. Also going to try standing but holding on to something like the fence that always encloses a transition area. The only equipment new today is wearing gloves and that took a bit longer than I expected because of wet hands. Felt good getting on the bike, but it took 2:42 whereas last year I did it in 1:52. Bummed about this.
From last year I recall being tired of hills, just wanting a little room to cruise on a flat section for awhile. What I didn't remember was spending so much time out of the saddle. Because of road conditions they shortened the route this year by about 2 miles so unadjusted my time goal. I wanted to ride about 18 mph, as opposed to last years 17.18 average. My Garmin is capable of giving me all the info I need except cadence. I managed to loose my cadence sensor in the process of a tune up and my replacement is in the mail. Since last year I upgraded my transition bars to aero bars, new wheels and tires, and a hands free water source. With those tools alone I felt it reasonable to improve at least a little. I was wrong.
I played some of the descents a bit slower than last year. Some roads were so bumpy my teeth were clattering and the last thing I want is an accident or blow out. When I wasn't cruising down a hill, most with tight turns, I was climbing. When climbing I spent at least 20 percent out of the saddle, not something I've been doing in training and frankly have not had the opportunity to ride any hills this steep this year. The adjustment from the bike tech made this morning saved my life. I talk about that later.
Passing was no problem on this course. Riders were very safe and there was little traffic on the nutty portions of the course. Sitting here later in the day my hands hurt. Toward the end I started having trouble shifting with my left hand. Not a relaxing ride, lots of tension in my body. Don't know how much of that is due to stress of climbing or the descents. Thinking if I want to place anytime soon in need a flat or rolling course. This is not my specialty. Per my Garmin, this 22.79 mile bike was finished in 1:22 at a lousy 16.6 mph. But surprisingly I improved greatly in my placement during the bike, so not sure how to take that news.
Transition 2 went smoothly at 1:35. Usually I go sock less and pay the price. Today I put socks on and didn't loose any time for it. Actually did T2 faster than last year even though position at racks was worse.
I have resigned myself at this point to just have a good run. No chance of catching up now. Last year I came in first for my age group in the run in 45:17. I don't anticipate doing much better. It’s a two loop course. The first mile is fast, I averaged 7:00 then it gets harder. There was a long low-grade hill that turns quite steep. Many walked that hill and I felt good to se that even though my pace was terribly I was passing people. I don't particularly like two loop courses; I do better with the unexpected. Did second loop harder. Finished in 45:13 at a 7:41 pace, which was 4 seconds faster than last year. Noticed reviewing Garmin data that the run course was short of 10 k by about .3 miles. As usual, although I felt I worked the hills strong on the bike I still had pretty strength left for my run leg.
Friday afternoon I drove up to Connecticut for the Saturday race. Driving on my own with Kramer and David will take the train after work. I settled in and chatted with Doug and Kathy for awhile (my in-laws) then took a short ride on my bike. Last week I had gotten a full tune up and asked for a new chain which required replacing the cogs as well. Fine, not in my budget but needs to be done. Had one trials ride in Prospect Park and ride went well in some ways and poorly in others. In some gears it didn’t hold, would slip out of gear. Not and ideal situation going into a race, so took bike back to shop and hoped he figured out the problem. Now in Connecticut I'm riding much more challenging terrain and gearing is really off. Worse than before I made any of these changes with the chain and such. Any steep hills results in gears slipping and even derailed at one point. I'm bummed and a bit freaked. Need to get to race early for quick tune up by local bike shop.
Ate dinner around 7 pm. Had a favorite I sometimes pick up at fairway. Baked salmon stuffed with crab. I had this with a side dish of pasta salad and broccoli raab. For dessert had a bowl of chocolate ice cream. I was in bed by 9:50 with alarm set for 4:20
I usually don't sleep well race nights but tonight was pretty sound. Love sleeping in the country with the windows open. Got a solid 6 ½ hours of sleep, which is fairly typical for me on race nights.
Woke up with little to do. My race equipment and clothes for the AM were ready before bed. My bike was set up with bento box and all my race goals written in masking tape on aero bars. Woke up and hit the pot of coffee for David and I. Set up my breakfast. Half cup rolled oats soaked overnight in yogurt with an added scoop of Isagenix isalean shake. Also packed post race meal and snack. I never like what they offer post race and like to have my own food on hand. In this case I packed Pad Thai, an apple and some snacks for David. We headed out by 5:00 with dog in tow and drank coffee and ate in the car for the one-hour drive.
After getting through race registration and body marking headed straight to bike shop tent. They were great. Felt confident leaving that I would make it through the bike leg without too much frustration. I'm getting much faster with set up and had David helped with my wetsuit. Didn't drink much water this morning but drank a lot yesterday and feel well hydrated. Had about 1 hour upon arrival to get myself organized and it was just enough time. I was a bit rushed but not stressed.
During race I felt well nourished, no digestion problems. Always feel the need to pee after the swim but it slowly subsides. During bike had a gel about 10 minutes in and then 40 minutes later. Feel this year need to do more for liquid calories. This race was fine but felt during run didn't want gels but that was all I had been training with so had one around mile 2.
Final age group results 40-44
Finished 5 out of 16
Swim 36:33. 11/16
Bike 1:23. 4/16
Run 45:12. 3/16
No surprises here. Did a bit better on bike than expected. MUST improve swim but its not all about pool time. My open water lake skills where I have to sight are terrible. In a river I am much better and don't know what in can do about this as there is basically no opportunity to swim in lakes.
When comparing my results to the top three I actually did really well. Their swims were all at least 4 minutes faster. They all had T 1 times less than 2 minutes. On the bike I feel I actually rode pretty strong. Looking at the top three I was only off by between 1 and 4 minutes. The first place did her T2 in 26 seconds. Did she run in her bike shoes? As for the run I finished only 1:40 behind the front runner.
This was a regional champ race so I qualified for national championships by finishing in top 33%. Happy with that standing but have no interest in going to Alabama.
What I would do differently is work more steep hills during training on the bike for this race, even if that means using my trainer. I worked a bit on bike to run transitions and it paid off, but feel I should be able to work at a higher HR for the run and that tells me my tank was running a bit low so need to work on nutrition at race intensity. Need to get to the pool a minimum of 2 days weekly and the 3rd day should be an open water swim. Also while doing the open water swim work on transition out of wetsuit. My T times could improve. I have a good, fluid system but it’s not good enough.
Comparison of 2010 to 2009
Finish 5/16 vs. 6/12
Swim 11/16 at 39.13min/mile vs. 9/12
T1 this year a bit worse
Bike 3/16 vs. 8/11 at 16.59mph and Av HR of 165 as planned.
T2 was on par
Run 3/16 vs. 1/11 at 7:41mm and Av HR of 181. One would think I could do better than this. I ran Paris Marathon 2 months ago at 8:07 pace and ave hr of 178bpm.