Saturday, July 9, 2016

Echo Sprint Tri Race Report

I don't know what my deal was this week, but I just couldn't get excited about this race.  Nothing at all to do with the race or the organization, I just wasn't feeling it.  I actually tried to bargain with myself and Ben to a small extent about skipping it for a training day. I finally decided since I was cheap and had paid for it, I would go and Ben felt that racing it I had nothing to lose and the fitness boost alone from racing it would be worth it.  I did all my pre race prep on Friday and though I didn't mind it, I still wasn't excited.  When my alarm went off at 4:00 am and woke me from a dead sleep I thought, "And why am I doing this again?"

I made myself get out of bed, but I was moving at a snail's pace.  I tried to put in my contacts and they just weren't working.  One eye kept feeling like there was something in it, and I kept taking it out to readjust or clean it and it just didn't work.  I pulled out a pair of one day ones I have and they were much better, but I thought, "Really?  Is this how things are going to go today?"  I then stopped for breakfast from Maverick because nothing at home sounded good.  I went to pay and the card reader wouldn't read my all.  Great.  Luckily I had cash.  I got up to the race start and picked up my packet to see my number for the day was 333.  The gal handed it to me and said, "That's HALF as bad as 666."  She thought she was funny, but again, was this another sign this was going to suck?

I set up my stuff and chilled with my SLTC peeps.  Love my tribe!  Even seeing them though I couldn't get too excited.  My friend Justin said to me he was tempted to just not even get in the water because he wasn't feeling it either.   I told him I was just going to do what Ben told me, and push as hard as I could and if I blew up on the run, who cares?  I've already qualified and have nothing to lose.

I then went back to get something from my bag in transition (we had assigned racking spots) and I saw my stuff had been completely moved around and bike was facing another direction.  A girl there (#319 to be exact) had moved it.  She said I had it facing the wrong way.  She had also taken it upon herself to move 5 other bikes in addition to mine.  What the hell? Who does that?  Another guy noticed his had been moved and called her on it.  Finally a race official told her SHE was wrong and we moved them all back.  I was so glad I caught this before my race, it would have messed with me a bit finding my routine transition set up all mixed up!


I had done my pre-race warm up in the water and it felt good.  I have never swam in this lake before, so I was glad to get my bearings.  The course looked easy to sight, though the wind was blowing and creating chop.  Further out there were actually white caps.  I don't mind these swims, I actually look forward to them and like the challenge.  They announced that this was going to be a rolling start.  I had never seen this with short course before and thought it was way cool!  However, I was going to seed myself with the 1:30-1:45 group, but my friends were one group up in the 1:15-1:30 group so I decided why not?  Turned out to be just fine!

The rolling start got going and I hit my start button on my Garmin and took off.  The first buoy I couldn't see when I tried to sight.  All I could see was the people splashing in front of me, and the waves.  I finally spotted it, and I had swung a little wide on that leg of it, but it wasn't too far off.  Going to the next buoy was a further stretch and I had a hard time staying straight due to the waves pushing us.  It was fun though and I took in several mouth fulls of water, but it was hard.  Before I realized it, I was at that second buoy and it was straight into the  swim exit!  This part was the most difficult to sight because it was directly into the sun.  I just focused on following the people in front of me and it worked okay enough.  I was glad to be done.  The swim time involved a run up a ramp and then to throw my flip flops on since it was a rocky run through transition.  Final swim time was 14:17, which was a 1:33/100 pace (keep in mind I apparently added about 170 yards to this, or the course was off).  Very happy overall with this time!


Not sure what my problem was here, but this was slow!  This is a large race and the transition area was pretty big, and I had a decent run down to my bike rack, but my final T1 time was 1:34.  Really?  I could have knit a sweater!


On to the bike!  I was feeling really good though my heart rate was pretty high coming out of the swim and T1.  I fell into a good routine and tried to get my bearings.  I was truly racing this blind as I am not familiar with the area, hadn't done this race before, and I didn't drive the bike course beforehand.  I found it had lots of rollers and was a fun course!  It was also beautiful!  I kept thinking about how I had thought  I had pushed the bike at Dinotri two weeks ago, but when I got back to analyze my results, my HR showed it was mostly in Zone 3, which sort of makes me believe I could have pushed that more.  I made an effort to check my HR frequently during this ride to see if I was working hard enough.  Side note here.  Ben is big on RPE, or how it feels, not necessarily relying on the Garmin.  I agree whole heartedly with this philosophy in theory, but I find it isn't reliable.  Sometimes I feel I am pushing hard when in reality, I am not if you look at my cadence, or HR, or other data that shows I could probably push more.  I need to get more on board/in tune with all of that.  Not quite there yet.

I kept thinking I have nothing to lose so if I go balls to the wall, why not?  I didn't allow myself to use the small ring on the climbs, I just powered up them.  It wasn't too bad!  I passed a lot of people as well (why, oh why can't more people learn the meaning of ON YOUR LEFT?) and felt really, really good for this ride.  It was over far too quick because I was thoroughly enjoying myself and feeling great!

Final bike time for this ride was 39:48.  Fastest bike split ever in a sprint tri.  Average mph of 18.78. Finally a good bike split! Given the amount of hills, I was actually surprised by that, I am not a strong climber, though I love a good down hill :)


Nothing major to report but I passed my rack and lost some time finding the right spot.  With the gravel surface of the transition area I look my time to carefully throw on my run shoes to make sure none of those got into the shoes making for a painful run.  Final T2 time was 1:22.  Not great, but worth the extra time to not have gravel in my shoes.


I sooooooooo wanted a good run.  I feel like the goal of a sub 9:00 pace run was been so close, yet not quite attainable all season (with the exception back of Icebreaker back in March where I ran an 8:47 with a downhill course).  I just pushed, and found that right away my legs felt great.  No awkward or heavy feeling like I sometimes have post bike.  YES!  I started off on the dirt rail trail  this was on and went about my run.  I decided to push, but not quite all out until the turn around for the first half.  My watch beeped at a mile and said 9:08 pace.  It was higher than I wanted it, but I figured I would just keep dialing it up a notch as the run went on.  I passed the aid station and decided against taking anything.  I got to the turn around and decided it was really GO time! My Garmin then beeped for Mile 2 and it said 9:06.  Okay, it was a little faster than Mile 1, but time to dial it up more! That last mile HURT!  My throat started to hurt, my hamstrings were tight, but I just kept going.  When I crossed the finish line, I was light-headed and wanting to puke and would have if I hadn't have put my head down and taken some deep breaths.  Final run time was 28:42, an average pace of 9:04.  DANGIT!  With that hard effort I really thought it might be better.  And again, that sub 9 pace evaded me.

Final race time was 1:26:05.  When I saw that I was thrilled!  This is a PR for the distance by 2 minutes! (I don't count the Icebreaker sprint tri for this, because it is all shorter distances than this one and the others I've done all season).  I was pretty stoked with that.  Every race this year my overall time has gotten a little better each race.  Today my biggest time drop was on the bike, which I am thrilled with :)


1)  I am glad that I made myself do this race.  It was pretty fun to not care about the end result and try something out of the box to see what happened.  Turned out to work okay!

2)  This was a blind race in more ways than one.  As I mentioned before, I didn't know the course at all, so I couldn't get all wrapped up in analyzing it or worrying about it.  Second, this race does not put the ages of the participants or what distance they are doing on the calf muscle.  So guess what?  You have no idea who is passing you.  Are they in my age group?  Who knows!  Are they doing sprint or Olympic?  You'll never know.  It really made me focus on my own effort and race, which is a good thing :)

3)  This race is put on by TriUtah.  I haven't raced with them in almost 4 years since I did the Ogden Valley sprint tri.  I had heard nothing but good things about this race and it was all true. I loved the course, it was well organized, and the post race stuff was awesome.  Freshly made pizzas out of the back of a food truck,  Full cans of Coke ice cold waiting for you in coolers.  A shirt I will actually wear and fit well.  The medal was pretty cool.  Very well done event, I will definitely be doing more of their events in the future.

4)  Part of my issue with not wanting to do this race today is I just feel like I have been racing too much!  It was all fine and dandy when I was trying to qualify, but since I did that a few weeks ago, I really didn't want to do this one.  I never thought there was such thing as racing too much, but I think I hit that threshold.  I haven't had a build phase in training in weeks either due to races or me being out of town.  I miss that, oddly enough.  And wouldn't you know it, I am out of town again this coming week, then I thoroughly hope Ben kicks my trash for the weeks leading up to Nationals.

5) As much as I have been racing, I am still stoked for Nationals.  That will probably wrap up my tri season and I will find some running events to do in the fall to focus on my weak link.  I can't wait for that! Even though it is my weak link, it is still my most enjoyable of the three disciplines in training, so I am looking forward to that focus.

What's next? 5 weeks until Age Group Nationals in Omaha!  Happy racing and training!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Dinotri Sprint Tri Race Report

I finished this race last week and then left on vacation just a couple of day later with a million things to do in between and writing this report was not on the top of that list.  So, a week late, here it is.

I have been excited about this race because I have never done it before.  Now that I am into my 5th season of doing triathlons, I have done most of the local ones numerous times.  That isn't a bad thing, but I loved the idea of doing one I hadn't before.  Granted, this involved a 4 hour drive to Vernal, in Eastern Utah, but I am always game for a road trip.  Given the fact that our children have now reached the ages of being in a million different activities, Joshua had something on Saturday and Ken had to stay to get him to it, so I was solo for this race.  However, I was meeting Kim there, and other members of SLTC would also be there.

Once I got to Vernal I checked into my hotel and then went to meet Kim at packet pick up.  We then drove up to T1, some 20 minutes from town to do bike check in.  Two things hit me at this point, knowing this was the bike course we were driving.  First...this is surprisingly pretty.  I had several preconceived notions of Vernal, and this was not one of them.  The swim area looked like a mini Lake Powell.  This takes place at the Red Fleet State Park, and it is very pretty.  Second....holy hills! There is a huge steep hill coming out of T1 that isn't very long, but it was very intimidating looking.  But at the same time, what goes up must come down and I could also tell this was going to be a very fast bike course as well.

I asked one of the volunteers how many people were in my age group since this was a Regional Qualifier for Nationals.  He looked it up and told me 12.  Being a Regional Qualifier, the top 2 for every age group for the sprint distance would go to Nationals.  I knew that if I was smart about my race, followed Ben's advice, and also pending no getting off course (hence the Daybreak mess) I might have a decent shot!

Now to the actual race!


They allowed a swim warm up so I got in the water and swam easy with some sprints in there.  I felt really, really good.  I also was in love with this lake!  So pretty, water was clear, and temperature was perfect.  The course would be really easy to sight. I was super excited!

The swim is a deep water start off of a boat dock.  They only had four waves - Olympic Men, Olympic Women, Sprint Men and Sprint Women.  This put me in the last wave.  As we waited for other people to go, a guy from the sprint group said he heard it was good luck to do a cannonball into the water before your swim wave started.  Well, I needed all the luck I could get, so I did my cannonball.  Pretty fun because you rise to the top pretty quick in a wetsuit :)

I then treaded water until it was time to go, then I just went when I heard the horn.  I felt fast, but I didn't feel like I was working very hard.  I was passing many people and caught up to the sprint men and Olympic women waves.  It never was a very crazy swim except around the buoys where everyone was turning, but it went well and it went fast.  I loved every part of this felt fast and at the same time I knew I wasn't maxed out.  Before I knew it, I rounded the last buoy and was headed into the boat ramp to exit the swim.  Final swim time was 13:23 for the 800 meter swim.  This is a swim PR for this distance for me!  It was also the fastest swim for any of the sprint women :)


This transition involved a .2 mile run up a hill up the boat ramp and into transition. I thought that because of that I would have a slow T1 time, and also because I felt like I had a hard time getting my dang bike shoes on.  Final T1 was 2:23,


The initial hill out of transition wasn't as bad as I thought.  It was just a matter of grinding your way to the top, and it wasn't that long either.  It does suck that it is literally right out of transition though, so there is no warming up, or chance to get momentum before you are climbing it.  It was followed by a short down hill, then up another one before you hit the main road coming out of State Park.  I felt really, really good on these hills. I passed a few guys on these climbs and one of them wasn't too happy about it.  He said, "As if my swim wasn't bad enough, now I am getting passed by girls."  What. A. Tool.

I was happy to be to the top of the second hill, because I knew at that point it was basically downhill into town.  The down hill was sweet!  I looked down at my watch and I was easily with hardly effort ding 26-27 mph.  Very cool!  I tried to keep spinning my legs even though it would have been very easy to just coast. these easy miles.  Even when we headed into town, there were a few more rollers, but we had good momentum that they were no big deal.  I felt good the whole time, I tried to stay tucked into aero and push as hard as I could but still being aware of the fact that I would have to run shortly.

Final bike time for the 13 miles was 43:22.  Fastest bike split in my age group.


This was cake.  In and out in 52 seconds:)


I was the first female to hit T2.  It was pretty sweet knowing that I had a lead on ALL of the other women, but I knew I would have to bust my butt to keep it, and the run isn't exactly my strength.  I left T2 and headed out onto the run course, which, if you ask me, is the only lame part of this race.  You literally run a half mile from T2 down to a round about.  Then you run another half mile down one side, turn around a cone, then run back to the round about, repeated 3 times (to where the run course looked like a T) until you head back home.  It was mind numbing and boring.  I was so glad that I was doing the sprint and not the oly, where you would have to run that twice.  Ugh!  Surely they can come up with something better for the future, especially after such a great swim and bike course.

Anyhow, I really felt like I was pushing, so much so that I felt I could puke.  It wasn't until the top of the "t" of the run that I saw another female.  At that point I had about a mile left of the run.  I had a good lead, but I knew I may not be able to keep it, she was FAST!  And here goes the story of my life..getting passed on the run.  This would be the case for the next mile as I dropped from first overall to 4th overall, or 1st in my age group.  The first two women that passed I couldn't have caught.  They were cruising.  However, the 3rd girl that passed only beat me overall by about 18 seconds, so I can't help but think maybe I could have tried harder?  I honestly felt I had nothing left to give though, and she deserved it!  Final run time was 28:26, or a 9:03/mile pace.  Dangit!  So close but not quite the sub 9 I had hoped for.


I was elated to know that I was first in my division.  The three women who passed me all congratulated me and me them for a great race.  We all talked about how we qualified for Nationals and whether or not we would be going.  (Of course I am!).  We talked about our training, coaching, etc.  It was great to be there with great women/athletes.  I found several other people from my club and we enjoyed the post race food and waited for awards.  I was thrilled to see that my overall time was 1:28:25!

This was a great race.  I was thrilled to have all the pieces finally come together and get my first 1st place for my Division.  However, I still don't think this was my best race.  My swim was awesome, I wouldn't change anything there.  My bike was good, but I still think I could push harder.  My HR shows I was in Zone 3 for most of the ride, so I probably could have pushed more. How much more is to be determined, because I still don't want to sacrifice my run.  I still really want a run with a sub 9 pace!  However, it got the job done and I am thrilled to be going to Omaha in August!  Now to just wait for the email with my registration link!

What's next?  I do have Echo Sprint tri in a week.  I honestly couldn't care less about it now that I have qualified.  If nothing else it can be a good training day, but we'll see.  

Happy Training and Racing all!