Monday, August 19, 2013

Rattlesnake Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Yes, I did two tris in one weekend.  Because I have mental issues.  Here's the report from the Oly the day prior.

Getting up for the 2nd tri sucked.  I was happily asleep and sleeping HARD.  And then the alarm.  Boo. Time to get up and race.  Again.

Pre-race routine was pretty much identical as yesterdays, except I was out of gluten-free bread.  So I ate 2 SunRype Fruit Source bars.  I was pretty much "meh" about the whole thing.  It had been a good 2 years since I raced anything fast.  And (yes, I am a certified Ironman snob now) getting excited over something as short as a sprint just wasn't going to happen.  My friends working transition kept asking me if I was ready, which was pretty funny.  I was tired and wanted my bed, but nope, I had this silly race to do.  Of course I could do a Sprint, even on tired legs.  That's what Ironman training does for you.

This whining is a bit in jest.  Once I got moving, it was fine.  I did my 10 min warm-up run by myself this time.  I felt stiff but not sore.  I was hoping the stiffness would go away and for the most part, it did.

I tried to keep to my time management on track today and did ok.  I was running a bit behind and ended up being still in the water for the National Anthem.  Awkward.  So I stood in the water, hand over heart, and then quickly rushed into the swim start line when it was over.  I was greeted by familiar faces (we all raced yesterday) and everyone was happy that today was only a sprint.  I was so blah about this race that I honestly had no idea how long the swim and bike were, other than "less than yesterday" and I knew the bike turn-around was at the road where I typically take a left to go ride a 60 mile loop.
don't I look like I'd rather be in bed?
Today's coach-mandated mission was to go fast.  She was very curious to see how this would go (and to see the data - help!).  I have done virtually ZERO speed work since early June so we weren't quite sure how this would go.

Fortunately, unlike yesterday, they let the raft people go first.  Yay!  The swim was 500 meters and I opted to wear my sleeveless wetsuit again, since we had strippers.  No yellow rope to follow today, so I was having to rely on drafting and sighting to get through.  Well, drafting didn't happen because apparently I was too fast.  My instructions were to really try to redline the swim, since it was so short.  The problem was - I just didn't have that gear.  I was swimming fast but not fast enough to really, truly hurt.  I was trying, but it just wouldn't happen.  So I just held on to "fast and smooth".  (my lack of gears is because I literally haven't had to swim fast in probably 2 years).

I only had one person pass me in the swim and she was FAST.  I tried to stay on her feet but she really was hauling.  The entire swim was clean and without issue, so there really isn't much to write about.  Swim, kick, keep my head down, hope I swim straight, aim for the swim exit flags, touch sand, stand up, and done.

I think I came out pretty quick too, because my transition friends all seemed a bit surprised to see me.

Time: 7:57 (1:35/100 m pace) 
Age Group: 5/52 (YEAH!)
Overall:  55/355

Either I swim REALLY good in my sleeveless wetsuit (a possibility) or the swim was still short.  I really don't know - what are the odds of both races being really short?  (of course I assume it was short twice instead of giving myself credit for being a fast swimmer.....  ) This is a minute PR for this distance.  Either way, I think I have finally figured out how to do an OWS to my indoor pool potential.

Time: 1:20
Age Group: 13/52
Overall: 105/335

Dang, I lost some places there.  Need to be faster.

With this being a sprint, the goal was to go hard and hold on.  I really wanted to stay in my big ring, especially after not being able to hold on yesterday.  I had a feeling I could manage to do this because I stayed big ring up until today's turn around during the Oly yesterday.

I got on Merlin and realized I was at the back of a good-sized pack (legal) and there wasn't anyone behind me.  Sweet.  It was go time.  Not a ton to report here, I just tried to stay big ring and to keep my HR up.  

I was going to be trixy and try to use the multisport feature on my fancy new Garmin 910.  I normally don't swim with it, because it is SO huge and it gets tangled in my full wetsuit, but today I was wearing the sleeveless and I thought I could save some transition time by having it on my wrist this time.  I got it all set up as I stood in line for the swim start, got in, swam, got in transition, then hopped on my bike and realized that I didn't actually hit start.  Bummer.  So not only do I NOT have swim splits, but my bike split is a bit mangled because there's a swim and T1 in there.  :facepalm:

The bike takes you through the park (that the reservoir is located in) and then out on Quincy.  I was maybe on the first hill on Quincy when I noticed an older gentleman ahead of me.  This was odd, because I should have had only (older) women ahead of me on the swim.  I was number 43 and he was 82, which meant that he should have started about 3 min behind me.  This also meant to be in this place at this time, he would have had a sub-4 min swim.  That is highly unlikely, which meant he cut the swim course short or did some other weird shenanigans.  It was also weird because I was passing him up the hills (he'd pass me downhill because he was heavier than me).  And he was having to stand up and mash up the hills - not what you would expect from someone starting 40 spots behind me with a rocking swim.  I took a mental note to take to the refs (for reference, you need their Bib # and 2 other points of ID like bike color/brand, clothing type/color, etc).  I felt a little odd turning the guy in, but it would have been really unfair if he got an age group award.  I checked the official results for his info today and there's no record of him at all, not even a DNF or penalty.  So either I got the bib number wrong (which would be really bad) or they caught him cheating and erased his results.  So weird!  I need to see if he has race photos, and that will solve the mystery for me.

Anyways, back to the race, where I should have my head down and be going too hard to pay attention to people's bib numbers and bike frame details....

There were two other women that I was leap-frogging with.  Again, I would pass them on the hills and they'd pass me on the flats or downhills.  Thank you IMCDA hill training!  I passed one pretty solidly after a few hills and I passed the second one on the hill coming into the finish.  She was really cool, joking about how she thought she passed me for good on the flat, and I told her not to worry, that she'd pass me on the run.

I think I pushed pretty solidly.  My max HR was 166, my average was 153, which is a touch low for a sprint.  But I remember wondering, when I was coming back into transition, if I was going to have anything left in my legs for the run.  That's generally a good sign that you've pushed pretty hard.

I zoomed into transition and had massive cheers from my friends, which is super cool.

So Pro - staying in Aero around the final corner just before the dismount line
Time: 39:34.5 (18.16 mph)
Age Group: 10/52
Overall: 100/335

The cool thing about this bike split is that this is the third FASTEST sprint bike split for me.  The other two races?  Houston.  Flat.  Not hilly.  In other words, Thank You Merlin and IMCDA Training!  I'm really happy with this bike split.

Age Group: 5/52
Overall: 47/335

The trick here is to pop your helmet off, pop your shoes off w/out unbuckling them (I am NOT coordinated enough to take my shoes off on the fly), put your shoes on and then grab everything else (drink, hat, snacks) and deal with those as you're running.  Boom.  In, out, done.

Ok, so here was the test.  It was only a 5k.  I can run a 5k w/out stopping.  The good thing is that since this was a sprint, it was only half the distance of yesterday's race AND we were on the run course about an hour sooner, which meant it wasn't nearly as hot.

So I ran.  I turned my HR high alarm off so I wouldn't have the dumb thing beeping at me the whole time and I could just run.  I was actually pretty good at only looking at my watch for a distance check and not really looking at pace or HR.

The first 0.6 miles weren't very fun.  My calves felt like cement - just stiff and so heavy.  I normally don't feel this way in a brick so this must have been attributed to racing the day before.  I just told myself to keep running and eventually things would feel better.  And they did, somewhere around 0.6 or 0.7 mi into the run.  I think I hit a nice long shallow downhill or something and things loosened up.  Magic.  And then I ran.  I held a steady but hard pace.  Not so fast where I was dying - I kept it more like a mile repeat kind of feeling.  I wish I had run splits, because I think the speed difference was pretty significant.  In skimming over my garmin file, I see paces that are around 9 even or faster.  And the last stretch is sub-8:30.  Where did that come from?

Oh, an I had a personal asshole moment on the run.  There was an aid station at the turn around.  It was a bit warm and I was dumping water on my head to cool off (you know where this is going).  I was the only one going through the aid station.  I yelled water and pointed to a kid who nodded and handed me "water".  I dumped it on my head and I heard "oops, that was Gatorade, but it's diluted Gatorade".  I was running hard and was pretty short tempered.  I didn't curse.  But I did say something along the lines of "When someone asks for water, you need to give them water!"  Some guy yelled back at me "he's just a kid and a volunteer", publicly shaming me. I had my number flipped around to my back, giving the volunteers plenty of time to write my number down, and I half expected to see a time penalty for my comment.  Still, I think it was (slightly) justified.  And I was sticky for nearly a mile after that.  Not cool!

I crossed the finish line and my paparazzi (ie club friends) weren't at the finish line, so I'll have to wait until the official photos come out.  I think I was too fast because they didn't get my swim or run photos.  

Time: 28:53 (9:19 pace, but my garmin had me at a 3.02 distance, which is more like a 9:35 pace - still fast)
Age Group: 33/52
Overall: 201/335

So clearly, my weakness is my run.  I get my run faster and I have a good chance to place.  Except that I'm "lucky" enough to have local Kona-qualifiers in my age group so I will probably never, ever podium in Colorado.  I feel strongly that if I posted these numbers in Houston that I would have placed.

On a good note: for a sprint tri, assuming the slower 9:35 pace, this run was my 2nd fastest sprint tri run split and my 3rd fastest 5k.  Wowzers.  Again, the tris were in Houston with a flat bike and flat run.  So happy.  And so was my coach (although, this makes me more than a bit afraid of any future speedwork she gives me)

Overall Stats:
Time: 1:18:28
Age Group: 12/52
Overall: 115/335

Pretty solid day, especially since I did zero speed training.  Yay!
clearly after the fact (see: flip flops), but you get the idea

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