Sunday, July 14, 2013

First Tri back

Riding my bike on the course on Saturday afternoon seemed like a good idea.  After all, last year I had one of my fastest bike splits (20.7mph average) on little bike work on this same course, so I knew the course....what could go wrong?

Technically, nothing actually went wrong.  Except the fact that my confidence flopped.  I freaked out being on the busier streets, got nervous going down the hills (which were NOTHING in comparison to the IMWI course!!!) and couldn't help but think that my brakes would go out.

Last Sunday, I rode 2 loops of the Ironman Wisconsin course with no issue.  Let me tell you, that course is the opposite of flat.  Constant ups and downs.  And here I was freaking out over baby hills in comparison.

Ryan tried to calm me down a bit while we waited for John, Brittany, Oscar and Rose to get into town to go to dinner. Honestly, I have no idea where the panic came from since I was completely confident and fine today during the race, but I have to believe my nerves just kind of caught up to me.

We went to Thunder Bay Restaurant to get some yummy bison and Spotted Cow in our systems.  Oh, and the incredible biscuits with even better sweet butter.  It was seriously the best pre-race meal ever.  We went to bed pretty early as we all knew how horrible it would be waking up at 4am.

Our alarms went off...two or three times...before we finally all woke up.  Every time I do a tri, I always ask myself the morning of the race why I do these things.  After the race, I know the answer (even when it's not a good day), but at 4am, there is nothing I want more than to sleep.

We woke up, ate a little breakfast and headed to transition.  We had just enough time to set everything up before the Elite wave lined up.  Yep, I started in the Elite wave.  I thought doing so might give me motivation and the extra push I could need later in the race as all of my competition would be ahead of me due to the fact that I'm a poor swimmer and just an okay cyclist.

Well, let's just say that coming out of the water in 2nd to last place in the Elite wave was not exactly motivational.  I did my research and looked up the other girls in the field, and realized I had a shot at being around 3 others in the swim.  AND my Garmin confirmed that my swim was almost 4 minutes faster than last year.  So how I only beat one girl out of the water just blew my mind.

8:04 swim split (equates to 25:31 mile), almost 4 min faster than last year.

Did I mention I didn't wear a wetsuit, which would have saved me just about 1:00?  I'll get back to this at the end of my race recap. It ends in a lesson learned, a $100 lesson learned.

The transition from the swim to the bike was a LONG one.  Basically, you came out of the water, had to run probably 0.1-0.15 of a mile (for those who have raced the Chicago Triathlon, it's about the same length from coming out of Lake Michigan to the bike) in your bare feet and then get to your bike rack.  Oh, did I mention that there are large sharp rocks that you have to climb over to get out of the water?  Apparently they weren't in all parts as Ryan did not encounter any, but the rest of our group did, and we were NOT happy about it.

Seeing the bike rack where all of the female and male elites racked their bikes now be almost empty pretty much made me want to give up. I quickly took off my speed suit (what I had to use instead of a wetsuit as we could not find my wetsuit from when I last wore it in Eagleman) and headed out up the windy hill, passing one girl along the way, making me feel a little more motivated to get going.

40:30 bike split, 20.7mph, same as last year.

Well, the good news is that my power was good.  The bad news is that my legs never really got in the groove.  My quads were burning and I kept thinking I was rocking this ride...and then I'd look at my watch and wonder why it was telling me differently.  On the bright side, my dismount was "nice!" according to a spectator.

Luckily, the run was another story.  The same long transition from the swim was what was used from the bike in to the run out.  Yay for another barefoot run on a now slippery ground with rocks!

I made the choice to put on socks as last time I ran in just my flats (Galena Tri), I had bad blisters for a week.  Based on my run split, that was most definitely the smartest decision I made all day.

The first turn we made on the run, an adorable little girl said to her mom, "Mommy, look at that girl, she's going so fast!"...and that's how my run started.  It was going to be a GOOD day!

Just before my first mile, I passed one girl.

6:05.  With three pretty decent (up)hills in this mile, I was very happy with this split, but wanted more out of myself.  I knew mile 2 was going to have more hills in it plus lots of out-and-back type turns, so having a faster mile wasn't necessarily an easy goal to have.

6:07.  Two more female elites plus one 15-year-old girl (elite) who was super sweet down, at least three more to go.  Gotta keep moving.

5:48.  I hauled as fast as I could this last mile.  We had a pretty challenging uphill before our descent and push to the finish.  I could see one other female, but my time to catch her was limited and I was literally going as fast as I could.

She finished less than 10 seconds ahead of me. This continued to bother me throughout the day until official results were posted.  Apparently a girl who had either signed up for the Olympic and switched to the Sprint or just started in the age group instead of Elite wave finished 2nd overall, placing me 5th.

I knew local pro Jackie Arendt would be unbeatable (she places well amongst pros in like big-time races), so I wanted to see my time gap from her to me decrease.

Last year, she beat me by just under 10 minutes.  This year, she beat me by 7.  She was super nice as always after the race and even told me she kept thinking on the run, "I gotta keep hauling or Jacqui's going to catch me" hear HER say those words made me about cry.  Jackie is a solid triathlete in all three disciplines, so to hear her say that about my run really boosted my confidence (thanks Jackie:)).

While the course changed from last year, my time drop of 9 minutes clearly shows improvement and that maybe I didn't lose as much as I thought I did from the accident.  One thing is clear though: my run is finally back.  After frustrating workouts and then a recovery week, I was questioning whether my running this spring was a fluke.

Oh, and the lesson I learned: no matter how short the distance, WEAR A WETSUIT (when allowed).

Case in point: today's triathlon.  I was edged out of 3rd place ($100!!) by 58 seconds.  Can you guess how much time I save by wearing a wetsuit?  1:00 (for the 400 we swam).

We had to wait for quite awhile for awards as there are two train crossings that caused some bikers to lose time, and that all had to be adjusted.  While the adjustments were being made, one of the competitors in the Olympic distance (friends with Ryan) came over to talk to us.

Somehow we started talking about my accident....and when he heard I was on a P4, he told us of all the brake issues they've had.  Apparently this bike was created by engineers, who outsourced the bike for parts such as brakes. Well, the P4 didn't have a very long shelf-life.

Did I mention this guy is SPONSORED by Cervelo?  Yeah, so he knows a thing or two about those bikes.  SO, just wanted to clarify that I'm not a total klutz and my bike was basically set up for failure, which actually made me feel much better about riding.

Time to get back out on those roads and TRAIN for this Kona thing!:)
 John and Brittany after completing her first tri!
 New bike for today's race


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