Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ramblin' Rose Raleigh

Second Triathlon of the year finished on Sunday. I really enjoyed it and actually had my best race ever.

I actually cut 14 minutes off of my previous best time across the same distance and an easier course. The course from sunday was definitely tougher than the Chapel Hill course and hills and climbing on the bike had me wanting to curse... A LOT!!!

I am very pleased with my performance in the race and with overall effort mentally and physically. I still need to do more run training, but I set three personal bests in the swim, bike and run. Now for the official race report.

The early wakeup call is the part I hate most about doing triathlons I am a girl who really likes to sleep. Especially sleep in to about 9am. I was up at 5am and out the door by 5:30 to meet my friend and combine our gear into her van and head to the race site.

We got to the race site around 6:45 am and picked up her packet and both of us got body marked. We headed to transition and set our stuff up in our areas. After that I headed towards the pool to warm up. Unfortunately, I jumped in the pool with my post race shorts on over my race shorts. Whoopsy. Once I was finished with my warm up I took them back out to my transition spot and hung them over the end and I then jogged a little for some additional warmup. After that, I headed over to the post-race area to grab a little food to gnosh on as I had not eaten anything at that point.

Pre-race ceremonies and then into the pool area. I really enjoyed it. They were running a dual swim and we were allowed to run and jump into the pool. Some people were walking up and sliding into the pool while others, (me included) were full on kamikaze run and jump into the pool. I finished the swim in 5:30 for 225 yards. Additionally, the pool time includes my ladder exit and my run to the pool exit, about 30-35 yards.

Transition was a comedy of errors, but my times were still pretty quick. I was so quick getting my socks and cycling shoes on as I put my helmet and glasses on. Somehow my bike had been knocked askew before I came in and only brake grip was hanging, which meant I had to tweak my bars to get my bike off the rack. I finally unracked my bike and took off running and realized that my cleats didn't sound right, then I realized that I had failed to removed my cleat covers that I had put on saturday after my charity ride to walk back to the van through the vineyard. I knew I was going to lose at the mount line outside of transition and was not happy about it but there wasn't anything I could do about it at that point but gripe about my stupidity.

I also didn't have a pocket to put the covers in and didn't want to be penalized for abandoned equipment so I put them down the back of my tri shorts, hopped on my bike and away I went. Transition 1 time was 2:23

The bike leg was BRUTAL to say the least. I knew when I topped out at 32 mph on the first downhill that the way back in was going to be grueling. I was trying to make up some of the time I lost because of being a doofus with the cleat covers and I knew I would pay the price for that on the run and I already stink on the run anyway, but I had to be aggressive on the bike but not kill the legs. I was cornering on rails and taking some very aggressive paths around those corners. It was by far the most aggressive I have ever been on the bike in a race and some friends of mine that I ride with on mondays have commented since the race about how aggressive I was on the bike. I took the 9 mile bike leg in 37:24 and that is saying something considering the difficulty of the bike leg.

I consider myself quite fortunate to have not been penalized for a dismount line penalty. I literally stood my bike on it's front tire just shy of the dismount line. I popped my right foot out of my shoe, leaving both shoes on the bike and ran into transition in my socks. I grabbed my running shoes, slipped them on, popped my helmet off, grabbed my visor, put it on and grabbed my race number and put it on as I ran out of transition. I jogged the first minute out of transition and actually settled into my 1:1 jog/walk rhythm. Transition 2 time was 1:48

Run leg was 2 miles and it wasn't the toughest run course I've ever had, but it also wasn't White Lake. Combos of uphill and downhill. the only thing I would change of the course would be the lack of water heading out on the run. I think it was just about 3/4 mile in for the water. That is usually why I carry my own and I regret not doing so again. Well, I made the 1 mile turn around at 14:10 and was disappointed that I was in jeopardy of going over 30 minutes on the run again and I seriously didn't want to do that again. As I came around the turn around, I saw the it was nearly completely downhill to the water station and I needed to use that to my advantage and make up some time. I did!! I finished the second mile in 11 minutes.

I actually finished strong in a race for the first time ever where I picked up the pace and pushed hard through the finish line.

Run time was 25:38 and my overall race time was 1:12:41

I am very happy with my race and even happier that after I finished I was able to head back into transition, meet my friend as she came off the bike and paced her out of transition and onto the run. I then headed to the water station and waited for her to get there the first time and the second time. After that, I headed to the finish line to get a picture of her finishing her first triathlon.

It was a great day for both of us and we had a blast.

We are looking at a new race next month called Three Little Pigs in Smithfield, NC. I'll let you know.

I have laid out my training plan for the Princess Half Marathon in February next year at Epcot. This is my next MAJOR CHALLENGE!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Made It!! White Lake Swim Race Report

Okay, so the open water swim was definitely a bugger.

so for a full report, here goes.

Woke up this morning around 5:15 no alarm or anything else. I just woke up, maybe it was all the birds chirping around outside the tent. I slept well. I headed to the bathroom and laid back down for another 15 minutes and then started getting ready. No need for the finite details, but body glide in all the appropriate areas that could possibly rub (missed one) and grabbed the transition bag, helmet and bike shoes and off I went. I rode to the race start which was only a mile away. It was a nice casual warm up before the race. I pulled in to the race site after about 10 minutes and went straight to my rack to unpack. I had everything ready to go and went to meet my friend who drove down to kayak the swim. It was very nice to see her.

One thing I hate about race mornings is that the closer I get to start time, the more my body revolts. I've learned that a single imodium tablet stops that before it gets too bad and I can function. After two stops to plastic potty land, I got the wetsuit on, headed down to the water and in I went.

After the fiasco of 2008, I was concerned about not being able to breathe on the swim. The wetsuit definitely helped a lot. Once I was in, I pulled on the neck of the wetsuit to allow some water in and allow it to warm up. I didn't have to pee, so no pee in the wetsuit. (for my facebook friends reading that, there are two kinds of triathletes, those that do and those that lie about it. Same goes for scuba divers. It also warms you up a bit in the cold water. ) I know, I know, it sounds gross, but you do what you gotta do. So, I am in the water a good 20 minutes and warming up and finally line up with the group. I had a plan, I tried to stick with the plan, but between the mass start, getting hit, getting kicked and kicking too much, stopping and starting and stopping and starting, I lost my rhythm and then couldn't breathe. My wetsuit was doing a two-step on my breathing process. It was pulling down on my shoulders and up on my crotch so I was unable to breathe the way I normally do when swimming and add that to everything else, I made it to the 100 meter buoy and grabbed a kayak (my friend's.) I knew what I had to do. I had to slow down, catch my breath, close my eyes for a second and then start again. After catching my breath I got going again and I have to thank the woman who first worked with me on tri swimming. Her voice popped into my head as I was having trouble coming around the first turn buoy. So I flipped over onto my back, started kicking and caught my breath again. Rolled over and back to swimming. I continued that alternate until I got finished. It felt like I was in the water for over an hour, but now that I know my time, it just felt like forever. Total time for the swim was 26:17.

I got out of the water and began the long run (jog) down the pier, toward transition and was quite disconcerted with the whole swim and I'm sure when I see the pictures my husband took, they will show just how ticked off I was. I could see it just from the mini-display on the camera, let alone once it is full-size. All of a sudden though, at the end of the pier, I see my daughter and then I hear the words, I've couldn't hear for the 26 minutes I had been in the water. "GO MOMMY!!" All was right in the world and I was ready to tackle the rest of the race. Up the path into transition, pull the wetsuit off, socks and cycling shoes on, helmet and sunglasses on. Grab the bike and away I went. I ran out of the transition area, climbed on the bike and rode away for 14 miles.

For 14 miles, I rode. Two laps around White Lake from start to finish is 7 miles. Two laps around is the bike course. My plan was to go out steady on the first lap and build from that into the second lap. I realized halfway into the first lap that I was already at full bike pace and if I pushed any harder, I wouldn't have anything left for the run leg. I kept my speed and cadence steady, passing several other racers on the course. On the first lap I saw an ambulance where a racer had crashed earlier. On my second lap the ambulance and the racer were both gone. I later saw him at the finish and asked how he was. He said he was okay, but the er believed he had separated his shoulder, so of course his day was done on the bike. I had one little problem on the bike with my left cleat, it wouldn't stay clipped in. It would pop out at weird and different times, but for the most part, I was just in a zone and my effort was consistent and level. I don't remember my breathing ever getting out of control which means that I was at a good pace throughout. Total time for the bike was 52:03

Into transition at a good pace, I had to alter my strategy a little bit due to the issue with my cleats. I was going to leave the shoes on the bike, but couldn't. If I did and they fell off then I could get a penalty for abandoned equipment. So I left the shoes on, but loosened them heading into dismount and they were off, and shoes on fairly quickly, grabbed my race belt and hydration and away I went.

I headed out of transition on the run and I hear my friend, my daughter and husband cheering and it was the best sound to hear. I loved it. My daughter gave me a high five and I was off and running. I kept with my normal race strategy of walk and jog. As I was going out on the run, I was the 1 mile sign and I think it must have been short because my watch was reading around 9 minutes. WHAT!!! You've got to be kidding me. There is no way. I still think it was short, but still. If it was accurate. That was an insane first mile for me. I ended up bonking near the turnaround and made it back in 44:44 on the run.

My goal for the whole race was to finish in under 2 hours worst 2:15. I knew with my swim time that under 2 hours was out of the question, but when I finished and the results were posted, I came in with 2 hrs 8 min 20 seconds. I was so happy.

My best 5k time ever was 42:36 and that was a stand alone 5k. This was my best 5k in a triathlon. My bike average was also the best ever in a stand alone ride or triathlon. I am so happy with the race. Thank you all for your support and I'll post more as I am continuing to train for two upcoming 5k races.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Four days to go

Okay, only four days to go until race day. The nerves are starting to get to me a little bit, but there is nothing I can do about my preparation at this point. Essentially, it's more excitement than anything else. I am more excited than nervous, but I will admit I am a tad nervous. This is my first open water swim and I now have a little more information about what my start time is.

I will be in wave 7, women 35-39 and Athenas. We will be starting at 8:32 am and wearing sky blue swim caps to identify our swim wave. As soon as I have the link for the live tracking I will post it. Many of my friends and family have been asking for the link so they can track the race since they cannot make it to the race. Now for the goals

My very first race I ever did, I laid out some pretty lofty goals and hated every minute of the race from the first push off the wall. I had an asthma attack due to the water temperature and my day was shot from there. I was mentally done 25 yds into the swim. The rest of the race was horrid. The bike was terrible, I thought I had a flat, I could never recover my breathing after that and could never find my energy level. The run, OMG, While I wasn't DFL, I finished 194/197. So, back of the pack. I had a horrible race and learned from that to not expect a podium finish and not set my goals higher than the paces I know I can put out on a consistent basis. So, here are my goals

Swim Goal
750 yards 17:00 with a stretch goal of 15:30. I know I can swim 2:00/100 yards, but what will happen race day, with a wetsuit in the open water and drafting. If I can come out of the water in under 17:00 I'll be ecstatic.

Transition 1
I don't know the distance from swim exit to transition, but 2:30 is reasonable. I am hoping for a quick out of the wetsuit and with prior experience in races... I hope I can pull it off. The top half from the spring last year in Athena in T1 was average of 2:15.

Bike Goal
I have laid out my plan for the bike leg which is a two laps of 7 miles with two turns. On a dry course, I plan to be pretty aggressive and carry as much speed as possible through my turns and use my training to get any advantage I can going into the run. I plan to start with a reasonable pace out of transition and get warm and ramp it up the further I go, with the cautionary tale that I still have one event left. Fortunately, I have actually done some bricks this year, so I know how to come off the bike and transition into the run. Goal is 47 minutes and the stretch goal is 44 minutes.

Transition 2
This is typically the quicker of my two transitions as I am already in everything except my running shoes. I typically put my run number before the bike leg as to save a little time in T2. Out the gate and off on the run.

Run goal
Run is of course the weakest of the three disciplines for me. I have been getting stronger on the run(jog/walk) and I am happy with that, but I am still slow. If I can maintain my pace I am hoping for a 45 minute run leg with a stretch goal of 42 minutes. Considering the whole course is flat and fast, I may be able to hit at least one of my stretch goals but we'll see.

I don't have a goal of top 3, I learned the first time about that one. I do have a goal to finish. I do have a goal to have fun and enjoy every minute of this race. I have a goal to find my family everytime I am near transition and hear my daughter yell, "Go Mommy Go!!" I have a goal to airplane across the finish line and have fun doing it.

One last goal.. I am hoping for under 2 hours. I think I can do this, but with my times it will be close. we'll see what happens, but as long as I finish the time doesn't matter.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The countdown begins

Well, today was 7 days to the race.

I laid a lot out yesterday in my last big training session before the taper begins. I rode a good 30 mile ride yesterday in a touch under 2 hours. Actual on the road, ride time was 1 hour 58 minutes. The profile and route were a great challenge for me in the last week before the race.

I am looking forward to the race next weekend and the taper is officially on.

I am looking forward to kayaking the swim for the half on saturday. After that, a gentle swim and a slow lap around the bike course to stay loose. I seem to do better with a good ride the day before the race. It helps me get the legs going after the taper week. The swim will give me an OWS practice with the wetsuit and in the lake.

My concerns at this point are abating and I am now looking forward to the race. Hubby and I are camping with the little one saturday night and they are looking forward to the live tracking.

I haven't officially set my race goals yet. I plan to do that tuesday or wednesday and post them. Y'all have a great week.

Hoping to get through my work week by wednesday and just chill out before race. I am ready.