Monday, August 19, 2013

Rattlesnake Olympic Triathlon Race Report

Weekend #3 in August and here I am racing for the 3rd time this month.

And once again, I'm making things interesting for my coach by throwing in some races that really don't belong with my season goals.  Fun stuff!  The main reason why I was doing this race is because I registered last year but had to roll it over to 2013 because I broke my heel in 2012.  I signed up for the "Crazy Back-to-Back" which meant I'd be doing the Oly on Sat and the Sprint on Sun.  I knew I had the endurance and strength, thanks to IMCDA.  I just didn't know where my speed was.  Only one way to find out!

Hurray, I get to sleep in my own bed and get up at 5 AM.  This race is about 25 min from my house, which is AWESOME.  I made sure I got there by 6 to ensure a good transition spot.  My triathlon club runs transition, which is always fun.  I chatted with some friends, got marked up by another friend for good mojo (complete with smiley faces).  We've had a ton of smoke in the area from fires burning in Utah and Idaho, so sunsets and sunrises have been pretty darn amazing.  This morning was no exception:

I was instructed by my coach to do a 10 min run as warm-up, so I grabbed a few club-mates and we went for a jog.  Then it was a final transition check to make sure everything was just so.  I was a bit of a dummy and only brought 1 package of Honey Stinger chews.  I decided to save those for the run.  Fortunately, I had some spare SunRype Fruit Strip bars (120 cals each).  They are really easy on your stomach so I decided to eat that on the bike.  I also had 50% diluted EFS drink mix to drink.

I had enough time to wrestle into my sleeveless wetsuit and take a a chug of my (really disgusting, but really effective) mixture of 100 cal Liquid Shot + 1/2 scoop of Pre-Race, which makes me feel like a rabid squirrel for the swim start.

I headed down to the swim beach and got in the water.  I was actually surprised with how cold it felt and wondered if my sleeveless wetsuit was a good choice.  I brought all 3 of my swim items.  My full wetsuit, my sleeveless (which I had bought 2 years ago but NEVER worn, even in practice) and my speedskin.  I stood there for a good minute, debating on if it was worth it to run back up the hill and wrestle on the full wetsuit.  I decided against it, which was the right call.  I did a few little out and backs, mainly to get used to the cold.  Then it was time to get in line for the swim start.

The one thing I'm not a huge fan of for this race is how they do the swim.  Its a time trial start, women first and then oldest to youngest, each 5 seconds apart.  The benefit to doing the Back-to-Back is that we get to go ahead of the people who are just doing the Oly race.  That means less standing around and (theoretically) less heat as the race goes on.

I was number 43 (yay!) and my group of women seemed pretty friendly.  After not much time, it was my turn in the start chute to go.  #42 went on, I got ready to go and they decided to hold me back to let the two people with rafts go ahead of me.  I wasn't happy but I also felt like an ass for not being happy.  These two guys were racing with their disabled kids, which is amazing.  But I was pissed because I had to stand there and wait for them to get set up and into the water, watching all hope of drafting off of someone head way out into the distance.  Boo.

Finally I get to go.  Nothing but clear water - not a person to draft off of, which has been my recent reason for swimming success.  The cool thing about this swim is that it is 2 "loops".  The first loop is more of an out and back - the trick is that there's a yellow rope keeping the out side separate from the back side, so you don't really need to sight (other than to gauge where the last buoy is).  You just need to follow the yellow rope.  So that's what I did.  A few times I was following a bit too closely and swam into the buoy (or swam under it).  But it worked pretty well.

The start of the 2nd loop was a bit crazy because they were still releasing age-groupers while we were whipping through.  I saw a friend of mine having a really rough go of it.  She was swimming breaststroke and looked panicked.  Every time she came up for air another arm would come over her head.  I asked if she was ok and she said yes and I kept swimming.  The rest of my swim was remarkably clean.  Follow the rope, no big deal.  The last leg split away from the rope but I must have done ok sighting.  My pace was a comfortable fast - a bit faster than IM but not so fast that I was dying.

Fingers touched the sand, I stood up and then it was a jog up the hill, through wetsuit strippers, and into transition.

Time: 23:13 (for a 1500 m swim, including wetsuit strippers and  a pretty decent jog up the hill into transition). This is a near 4 min PR over 2011
Age Group: 10/37
Overall: 101/315

I know that the race director uses a laser sight to place the buoys, which is pretty much the best and most accurate way to get the right distance.  I am highly skeptical that the swim was really 1500 m though.  That puts me at a 1:32/100 m pace.  I can't really even do that all-out in a pool, much less in open water with an uphill jog at the end.  Hmmmm.

time: 1:32

The goal for this bike was to push at a sustainable pace, but not to push so hard that I couldn't run a fast 10k or not leave anything for tomorrow's race.  Ideally, I wanted to stay in the big ring the whole time.

There's not a whole lot to report on the bike ride.  I got on Merlin and rode.  There were hills.  There wasn't really much wind, until the end.  Just riding on a course that I'm very familiar with.  I tried to stick to my big ring resolution but that only lasted through the 3rd or 4th hill.  I was burning my legs up too much.  So I used my small ring and spun up the rest of the hills.  This was probably the right thing to do as my right adductor was whispering to me and I didn't want it to get any worse with a another race happening in 24 hrs.

I did get a "nice bike" comment at the turn around.  Merlin is pretty. :)

The last ~1.5 miles are the worst, as they're mostly uphill on chip seal.  Ugh.  Then it was a nice quick downhill into transition where I was greeted with cheers from my club.

Time: 1:28:59 (40k)
Age Group: 12/37
Overall: 176/315

I was actually a hair slower in 2011, which was on my other bike.  I'm a bit disappointed about this.  But when I look at placement, I'm actually placed higher than 2011.  So maybe 2013 was a slower year overall and I should just care about where I placed relative to other people?


The goal here to was to run sustainably hard and to limit walking.  My coach's actual words were "if you end up walking, then we're going to really need to talk".

I was running ok-ish.  I was running for a mile then walking 0.05 mi to eat/drink.  It was hot.  And hilly.  My HR was zooming up to 170 and I just wasn't feeling it.  I did pretty good until the turn around and then the hills and heat got to me and I walked more than was ideal.  One of my clubmates (who is also a coach) decided to really yell at me to run (he ran past me during one of my walk breaks).  It was actually rude the way he yelled at me - I'm not one of his athletes.  (he did apologize to me for the yelling afterwards, he was actually trying to motivate me)  Everyone else from my club was cool, we were all commiserating with each other, giving a high five, and whining about the heat.  The run turned out to be long.  My Garmin clocked it at 6.5 mile and the RD did admit that it was long.  I tried to do more running that last mile, but I don't know if I did.  My garmin ate the file, so who knows!
yay - its finally over!
I'm not super happy with the run, but I don't know if I really could have (or felt like) doing more.  Maybe if I didn't have a sprint looming over me.....

yep, that's about how I felt.  This is the 2nd week in a row that I've been photographed like this.
Time: 1:08:13  (10:58 pace.  Or a 10:29 pace for a 6.5 mi run, which actually is a pretty decent pace for an Oly.  Hmmm, maybe I should quit being cranky)
Age Group: 23/37
Overall: 211/315

Total Race Stats:
Time: 3:03:03 (I think that's a cool number).  This is a 3-min PR from 2011.  Thank you fast swim time.
Age Group: 15/37
Overall: 173/315

Post Race
I didn't eat any of the food, because it was bagel sammiches and I was avoiding bread with a Sprint in less than 24 hrs.  I did have my recovery shake, another bottle of water, and a bottle of Gatorade.  I was thirsty!  We hung around for awards and then I hung around in transition.  Then I decided I should do my coach-dictated cool down (either a 10 min swim or 30 min bike).  I chose to swim in the lake with only my tri kit, which made it sorta like an ice bath (but not as cold).  When I came back, my friends were still there and they handed me a beer.  Sweet!

Then it was home to put my feet up, eat, and get ready for tomorrow's sprint.

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