Saturday, June 4, 2016

Daybreak Sprint Tri - Win some, lose some

Ugh.  Where do I begin?  I am still pretty peeved at how this race went.  However, one of the ways I process things is to just write things down, and this is my blog after all, so if it comes across as bitter, negative, pissy, what have you, you can take it or leave it for what it is.  Not every race is a PR, a podium finish, or sunshine and roses.  Today was definitely not any of the above!

I started the week very excited about this race.  I sorta forgot it was even race week, or at least couldn't really focus on the fact that it was initially since it was the last week of school and in all the craziness that is wrapping up a school year and graduation, it was in the back of my mind, but not my main focus this week.

I had planned to pick up my packet on Saturday morning before the race as I usually do seeing as how most races I do seem to be 45-60 minutes away.  I then went back and reread the race week email and it said that same day packet pick up was NOT an option.  Well crap!  I readjusted my Friday schedule and made the 84 mile round trip trek to get my packet.  I got there and they handed me my shirt, my bib number, and a bag with a bottle of water and a bunch of ads.  I asked about my timing chip and swim cap.  The lady replied that I would have to wait in line to get them the next morning.  Why exactly did I drive all the way down here again?  I was a little peeved, but it is what it is.  

I then went home and did race prep.  I always love this. I  pump up music, and listen to it as I pack my stuff, prep my bike, etc.  I don't consider it a chore at all, I thoroughly enjoy the process.  I started to get into race mode and get seriously excited.  I didn't sleep much the night before, and I didn't even care, I was just excited!

This morning Ken and I got up a 4:30 to get down there by 6:00 when transition opened.  I imagined there would be tons of people waiting in line for their chips and caps, and I had also heard that there hadn't been adequate racking space in year's past, so I wanted to get a good spot.  When we got there, neither situation was as bad as I imagined and it all actually went quite smoothly. I then enjoyed visiting with my SLTC friends and Kim, who came in from Wendover.  I love this part!  Nate Last, a sports psychologist associated with the club, gave an awesome pre-race speech to our team.  It was perfect for getting into the zone!


Ben had told me to do the swim in a way that I "had another gear available, but don't use it".  I think this was wise and probably because I started out WAY too fast at Salem, so I planned to do just that.  With this being a time trial start, I knew it would help me accomplish this without the craziness of a group start.  I got into the water and lined up along the dock til they asked my number, and told me to go. I started out smooth and easy, sighting the bridge. I fell into a good rhythm and tried to maintain it.  I passed a ton of people on this swim, but didn't feel like I was maxed out.  I wasn't using that extra gear as Ben said.  I had no problem staying on course, and the swim went very fast for me.  I came to the end and actually saw several people cut the course at the end by not going to the final buoy!  What the hell?  I really, really hope it wasn't intentional, but apparently those people were disqualified, so no worries there.  

I made a point to hit the lap button on my Garmin the second I left the water. I wanted my real swim time, not the official swim time that includes a run across the beach, across the grass, messing with the wetsuit, and into transition.  My Garmin swim time was 13:51.3 for 863 yards, or a pace of 1:36/100.  I am actually stoked with this. I can't ever remember being that fast in an OWS.  My official swim time according to when I crossed over the mats was 14:22.  Fastest swim split in my division!


Pretty uneventful.  I racked my bike, and was a little annoyed that apparently someone came in late, rammed their bike and crap, complete with 5 gallon bucket next to my stuff, shoving some of mine to the side.  Who does that?  Oh well, anyhow, I threw my cap and goggles down, ripped off the wetsuit, untangled my bike from the "let's bring the bucket" person's stuff, and made my way out of T1 and then made the run all the way down a cobblestone path to the bike mount area.  Final T1 time was 1:27.


I started off on the bike prepared for the first half being up hill then you turn around a cone and it's literally all down hill back to transition.  However, the mile or two to get to the main road where that uphill starts is a down hill.  It is a fast bike start.  I was cruising through the first couple of intersections, feeling pretty good about things, and I noticed none of the intersections were labeled. I couldn't remember exactly which street we were supposed to turn on, but I figured there would be a volunteer, a sign, the road painted, a police officer, SOMETHING to let us know where to turn.  Well, I supposed wrong.  I got all the way down to a very busy street and realized I was lost.  I had no idea where I had gotten off course, but there I was.  I turned around and started going back up the hill I had just flown down and I found an officer directing traffic.  I asked him where I was supposed to turn and he said, "Ah man!  You're way off!" Gee, thanks.  He pointed me 3 intersections further up to where to turn.  Are you friggin kidding me?  How had I missed it?  I was 50 shades of pissed.  I had a "screw it all, I'm just going back to transition and turning in my chip and giving the director a piece of my mind" moment.  As I pedaled to where I missed the turn, I came to  my senses and immediately thought what I have prided myself on.  I am not a quitter, plain and simple. I've certainly done things way harder than this. I told myself a long time ago I would never quit a race unless an official or medical personnel told me my day was over.  I am not going to give up this easily.  I thought of how much I admired Meredith Kessler a year or so ago in Kona when she was having a crappy race, yet still finished, when most other pros would have quit, and many of them did.  She was a good 2-3 hours passed her projected finish time, yet she still finished.  I sent her an email after that and she said something that has always stuck with me.  She said in her reply email, "you must honor the finish".  If she can do that in Kona, I can do that at a local sprint tri.

Now, just because I decided to keep going doesn't mean I was happy about it.  I was pretty pissy as I pedaled up the hills the first half.  I kept cursing myself, the race director, my bike, you name it.  Then I started to pass a few people, and it helped some.  I just wanted to be done. I wanted off the bike, I wasn't having fun in the least.  I started feeling glad I wasn't doing the Olympic distance to drag this crapfest out even more.  I was pretty negative.  I finally got to the turn around and my mood seemed to lift as well.  The second half of this bike course is super fast.  You can almost stop pedaling and just steer the bike.  I tried to push as much as I could on the second half, I wanted to make up for lost time and try to salvage what might be left of my race.  I flew on that second half, with a max speed of 32 at one point.  I got to T2 with a final bike time of 57:40, with 2.78 more miles than the 13 for the course.


I was a woman on a mission!  I wanted to get in and out as fast as I could and try to have a good run.  I was in and out in 56 seconds!  Heck yeah!


You know your biking is bad when you look forward to the run.  At least that is the case with me as the two disciplines have switched places for which one is my weakest of the three.  But, all jokes aside, the run has been my favorite lately.  Not sure why, but in my training, I look forward to it the most, at least it's right up there with open water swims for being my happy place.  Anyhow, I was so grateful to be off the damn bike and on the run.  I felt like I was taking some control back in the race. I headed out and immediately noticed how good my legs felt right off the bat, especially compared to  my last two races where I felt like my legs were not my own.  Granted, they were not totally fresh, but they felt remarkably better than the past two races.  I tried to ease into this run, and be patient as Ben had said, but also try to not get too comfortable either. Eye on the prize, Katie!  I noticed as I made my way around the lake for the 3.1 mile run, there were several parts where the course wasn't labeled and runners were going all different directions.  Granted, none of the paths were drastically different, but I could see how if you took one of the other, you might be shortening the course.  I shook my head as it seemed to be theme for the day of poorly marked courses.  I followed the majority of the other runners and figured if I was on the wrong path, at least I was with the majority.

The run got hot, and I wished I had a small water bottle with me.  I usually don't carry any nutrition other than water on the bike for a sprint, but it was hot enough, it would have been nice to have a small bottle on my belt.  There was one aid station half way that I did grab a water for my head to cool off and a Gatorade.  I thoroughly enjoyed other people cheering me on simply because I had my SLTC kit on, whether they knew my name or not.  I got to the second half and Ken was there to take pictures and yell for me.  This was the first race of this season he has been able to be at, so it was nice to see him and hear him out there.  Before I knew it, I ran under the bridge and the finish line was just a quarter mile away. I tried to push that last part and crossed the finish line with a final run time of 28:03, with a pace of 9:03/mile.  I wanted sub 9:00, was hoping for around 8:45, but at least it was close.

Final time for the race was 1:42:30.


  • I came home and analyzed the results (Type A, much?).  I took 5th in my age group out of 17, even with the additional miles on the bike.  Yes, getting off course cost me a podium, and very likely a qualification for Nationals, which is my primary goal this year.  
  • I had the fastest swim split for my age group, and possibly my best swim in a race ever, not just looking at the time, but also considering other factors, such as staying dead on course, not starting too fast, execution, etc.
  • I had the third fastest run for my division.  Shut the front door!! Me?  The run and I have a long history of a love/hate relationship, but apparently we are on the upswing :)
  • There are many good races along the Wasatch Front and if Daybreak would like to see me back (not likely) they need to step up their game.  Races are not cheap, and others (Racetri especially, but also TriUtah) do a superb job without being cheap or cutting corners to deliver a superior product that caters better to local athletes.  I have emailed the race director my concerns, and in his defense, he offered what seemed to be genuine interest in the feedback and in improving. 
  • You can't appreciate the good without experiencing the bad.  The longer you race, it is inevitable you will have a bad race. This was not my race for sure, but I have appreciated Ben's texts this afternoon helping me to focus on the positive and gain some perspective.  As he says, I have made progress, I need to focus on what I can control, and let this fuel the fire.  Wise words from my awesome coach!
  • The best part of my day was racing with amazing friends.  I love the people in the Salt Lake Tri Club and the support they offer on and off the course.  I also LOVED seeing Kim!  She is my sister from another mister, and any chance I have to see her is a good day.  

What's next?  I have the Dinotri out in Vernal in 3 weeks.  Though I am not entirely sure what training looks like for the next three weeks, I am guessing 2 solid weeks of regular training, and a taper-ish week before the race.  The two weeks of solid training sounds heavenly at this point, because with the past 3 weekends either being races or out of town, I haven't really had what seemed like a solid "regular" training week, and I just want to get back at it, and now with school being out, that makes it all the more appealing!

So, Happy Training and Racing!