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 card...at 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 :)
POST RACE THOUGHTS:
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!