Saturday, March 26, 2016

Vanilla ICEbreaker Race Report 2016

This was my first triathlon of the season and my 5th year back at Icebreaker.  I have said it before, but this is the perfect way to start off race season.  It's early season when most people are getting antsy to race.  It is also done by Racetri, in my opinion, the best race company in Utah.  Aaron doesn't leave any stone unturned and always puts on a well organized, super fun, and great event. It has grown quite a bit in the 5 years that I have been doing it!

I have been training hard for this race!  Which is kind of weird in that I have always gone into a sprint thinking I can complete it, while always training for longer distances.  Ben and I have been working on getting faster and competitive at the shorter distances this year, so I felt really ready for it.  I knew it was going to be a different type of race when I pulled onto the street the pool is on early this morning and was actually nervous!  I haven't been nervous for a sprint since I did my first one 5 years ago!!

The weather had been a concern all week.  It was showing it was supposed to actually snow the night before this race and have a high for the day of 50.  But that "high" in temps wouldn't come until long after the race was completed.  Looking at the hourly forecast, it was going to be 38 degrees when we left the pool and got onto the bike.  That forecast was dead on.  Yikes!

I thought a lot about what to wear on the bike, if anything as far as extra layers were concerned.  I finally decided to suck it up and just wear my tri kit.  This is my first of 4 attempts to qualify for Nationals, so I knew that in my super competitive age group, I needed every second I could get, so I would just go for it.


I had a chance to get in and warm up before the race start.  I swam 200-250 with short bursts of speed in there as Ben had told me in my pre-race instructions.  I actually liked being in the water because it was so much warmer than standing on the side of the pool, even though it is warm in there.  I felt good, and was just ready to do this!  We lined up in our self seeded fashion. In the past, based on projected finish time, you get a 0-5 on your hand at body marking, with the 0 being the fastest.  I have always gone with a 1 and it has always been accurate.  However, they only asked about 1/3 of the people swimming their times, so people were everywhere.  While in line with my friend Mary, we noticed the people starting ahead of us were NOT seeded correctly.  Jerks!  That really irritates me, because it just causes congestion and mess for the rest of us.

It was finally my turn to go and when they said GO, I went!  I felt good, focused on going sustainable hard, and the first 100 was great.  Then we ran into issues with those that didn't seed correctly.  It got crazy and I was getting past, while getting backed up behind others, and it was more of an aggressive open water scenario, right in the middle of the pool.  That tends to tick me off so I just pushed my way past those that were clogging it and got through the next 200.  It seemed to go quicker than past years, and it did! Final swim time was 6:16...a 15 second PR for this swim! Keep in mind this "swim" time also includes a run from the pool, out of the building, across a parking lot, and into the softball field where transition is.  A PR nonetheless!


I had decided against the extra layers to save time.  I tossed my goggles and swim cap down, grabbed my helmet, glasses, bike shoes and was off.  It felt slow, but was still under a minute.  My fastest time for T1 in this race is :48. but today was :57


I so wanted a strong bike split!  I got on, and was off down the initial quick downhill, and then to the gradual uphill.  I noticed immediately that my chain was slipping between gears.  What the?!?  I found if I shifted up it stopped, but in a couple of lower gears is would switch between a couple nonstop.  Ghost shifting?  Either way, its going to a mechanic to figure that one out.

Anyhow, I just tried to push where I could.  I noticed I forgot to hit the right button on my Garmin leavin T1, and it paused it, so I lost about 5 minutes as far as it was concerned.  I fixed this while riding though.  I was glad to get to the top of the hill where it levels off and you can actually settle into aero for a bit.  I felt really good.  My legs felt strong, and even though it was cold, it wasn't bad.  I past a few people on this section of the course.  I was excited to get to Alpine Highway where you can just FLY!  I really tried to punch it at this part of the course and felt I was doing well and it did feel like flying!  I love moments on the bike like that!

I started the second bike loop and it was much like the first.  By now the slower swimmers were starting their first loop, so there was more congestion on the course.  It wasn't really a problem, but I sure wish more people learned what ON YOUR LEFT means!  I got to the top again and pushed hard the second half of the loop and enjoyed the downhill.  I told myself to NOT fall off my bike like last year when coming into the bike dismount area, and am pleased to report that I did not :)

I grabbed my bike and ran for transition. Total bike split for this year was 41:07.  Not happy with this, because I don't feel like it reflected how I felt I did.  I felt like I was faster, and felt stronger than past years, but apparently there is some work to do.


This is where I first noticed how cold I really was.  My hands were so numb I really struggled with my shoes and in particular getting my bike helmet undone! I actually had to have a volunteer help me get it up unclipped!  I was ready to do my run with it if she hadn't have helped me!  I also noticed I had no feeling in my toes.  This felt like a slow transition time and it was, at 1:35


I noticed as I struggled with my shoes that my dear friend Meagen was leaving T2 at the same time. I  wanted to keep up with her.  I threw on my hat and ran off after her and was able to be with her as we went up the first part of the hill.  I kept doing what Ben said to do, try to maintain the effort from the 5k a few weeks ago, and feel like I was being pushed up the hill, vs pulled.  That hill is awful. Like really awful.  But, I just powered up and noticed a woman in my age group pass me.  Dang it!

I was thrilled to make it to the top of that hill and I just tried to relax a little from the hill effort, but still go hard.  I was getting passed, but all by men, so I didn't care.  There were many from my team that were passing me and they would yell "Go get em Kate!" as they did.  I love that on the course!

We got to the downhill on the Alpine Highway and I was feeling good, like really good.  I just gunned it.  I passed several people on this portion, which is such a boost because this is where I am usually the one to get passed!  As I rounded back into the rec center about a .25 mile from the finish line, I heard my friend Bryan behind me.  He said to me, "Here we go Kate.  You and I are going to finish this together and go get that BAM guy up there.  Ready?  Let's go!"  And we were off like a bat out of hell, but he is WAY faster than I am, so I couldn't keep pace with him, though it was an awesome push there at the end.  When I got onto the field and saw the finish, I literally had to suppress the urge to puke, but pushed hard anyhow.  It was awful and awesome at the same time :)

Final run time was 27:18, a PR for this run course for me!  SWEET!!!  I can't tell you how stoked I am about this run!  Running has been my nemesis, and to finally have a solid run like this, I was thrilled!  The hard work, drills, intervals, hill work, etc, is paying off!

Final time for this race was 1:17:16.  Not a PR, mainly because I lost time on the bike and T2. However, it wasn't far from a PR, only :22 seconds.


This is where it's party time!  I met up with Meagan, and we took our obligatory yearly Icebreaker picture.  Love this girl!  She's going to rock her first Ironman this summer!

And below is what makes getting out of bed and driving an hour and fifteen minutes and then racing in 38 degree weather worth it.  Seriously, where else are you going to get a Vanilla Ice medal?  I love the Swim, Bike, Collaborate and Listen on it :)

Though I am disappointed that I didn't qualify for Nationals at this race (this is the one I qualified at 2 years ago), I am still thrilled with how I did, even with my disappointment in my bike.  I have seen so much progress already in a short time frame, I am excited to see what the rest of the season holds.  I loved racing today.  I loved seeing my tri friends.  I loved really pushing it and crossing yet another finish line.  I am reminded of how awesome, yet painful, short course can be.

What's next?  I have 8 weeks until Salem Spring on May 21.

So, with that, happy training and RACING all!

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