Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ice Breaker - Race Report

Worn out from chasing squirrels.
Not sure what possessed me to do this race.  I guess knowing that I needed to practice open water swimming was one reason.  I had a plan in my head for this race.  I was going to do my race and not worry about what was going on around me or how fast other people were swimming.  Unfortunately, I think I am part Terrier.

If my dogs see a squirrel, that's it...they go crazy and there is nothing I can say or do to get them to stop.    They are so bad that I can't let them in the front yard for fear that they would see a squirrel and run off or get hit by a car.  That is what happens to me at a race start.  While this may be ok at a 5k or a duathlon, it is not ok at a triathlon when my weakest sport is first.  Unfortunately, I hear the horn sound for the start and I take off like I'm chasing squirrels.

Pre-Race

Had two fried eggs over fingerling potatoes with a cup of coffee about 5:30am.  I really wanted eggs on toast, but we were out of bread.  I was a little nervous and had a hard time eating.  On the way up to Folsom Lake, I did manage to eat a Pop Tart.

Check-in was smooth.  Mike, Eric and I walked down to the water to watch the start of the sprint. After that, Eric and I went for a warm up run.

Swim

Absolutely the worst swim I have ever had.  I got in early and warmed up just like James said to do.  I swam a little freestyle and everything felt great.  While the men were getting started, the first buoy came loose and had to be repositioned.  I was hoping that they moved it in closer.  At this point, I was not thinking about my plan for the swim.

As I was getting acclimated to the water, I noticed that my wetsuit felt like it was holding water in the lower part of my legs.  Not sure if that was normal or not, but at least it was warm.

When it finally came time for my wave to start, I positioned myself over to the far side just to stay out of the pack (just like James said).  The horn sounded and we all ran towards the water.  When I thought that I was finally in water deep enough to swim in, I dived in...unfortunately, the water was about 18" deep in the area I aimed for.  It wasn't quite a belly flop, but it was not pretty.  I stood back up and kept running out towards deeper water.

Squirrel!!!  Seriously, what am I doing out in front?
When it was finally deep enough to swim, I started freestyle.  It felt ok for a bit, I might have gone about 100 yards, but then it all went south.  My arms felt really cold and I was having a hard time breathing.  I tried doing a bit of breaststroke, but because the water was so choppy, I didn't really seem to go anywhere.  I rolled over onto my back and told myself to relax and to breathe.  I did this for a while and then decided it was time to swim again.

Unfortunately, by this time, my goggles were completely fogged up.  Not that you can see a great deal with your face in the water, but when you lift your head up to sight and can't see anything, it stinks.  I tried a little more breaststroke, and then switched to side stroke (which seemed to work better).  After a while, I rolled onto my back again.  Back stroke saved my race.  I could get through the water and breathe at the same time.  At this point, I really didn't care if I went straight.

I'm glad James wasn't here to watch this!
After I rounded the first buoy, I continued to struggle with the cold.  My legs felt like lead and I scanned the horizon for the kayaks.  Unfortunately, neither one was close enough for my liking.

About half way between the first turn and the final turn, I came up to one of the kayaks and asked if I could hang on and try and fix my goggles.  I rinsed them out and started trying to swim freestyle again.  Once again my goggles fogged up.  I moved them back up to the top of my head and rolled over onto my back,

After I finally rounded the final turn, I seriously thought about giving up.  I was cold and tired and extremely disappointed.  The only thing that kept me going was the thought that no matter how crappy I felt about this swim, I would feel 100 times worse if I stopped and didn't finish the race.  I swam on my back until I could finally touch the bottom.  I walked out of the water dejected and proceeded to walk up the hill while Lindsey tried to get some "action" shots.

The long, sandy walk of shame to T1.
Close to the top of the hill I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and I started to jog.  My bike time would have been much faster had I got my head back in the game sooner.

T1

The first transition went as well as could be expected.  I had some GU, washed it down with a sports drink and put on my helmet and shoes.  We were allowed to ride out of transition, but my tired legs had a hard time getting clipped in.

Bike

Chasing one final female rider before T2.
I am so much more comfortable on my bike compared to my first triathlon. I knew I was going to have to make up time on the bike.  Any time there was a descent, I was riding fast (for me).  If I saw a female in front of me, I worked to chase her down and managed to pass quite a few ladies.

My legs burned on the hills, but I didn't let that slow me down.  I was determined to make up lost time.  I had completed a duathlon on this course earlier in the year, so I was pretty familiar with what to expect.

Before the race, I was worried about being cold on the bike.  Honestly, I don't remember being cold at all.  I was very happy with the bike portion of this race.

T2

Unclipped without incident.  Remembered to take my helmet off.  No sand or rocks in my running shoes.  All was well in the world.

Run

Beautiful location for a trail run
Previously I had stated that I would mark myself down if I walked on the run.  However, that was before I knew how hilly this course actually was.  I have learned from previous trail runs that running up hill is not always the most efficient thing you can do.  In fact, with a steep hill, you can almost walk as fast as you run...and the walking doesn't kill your legs.

Some of the descents were pretty steep too.  Loose gravel like sand over rocks makes for a slippery surface. I took my time going downhill because I didn't want to injure myself.  Once I got to the flat land and only had a mile to go, I picked up the pace.

Happy to see the finish.
When I saw the clock at the finish line, it said 2:08 something.  Since I was the 6th wave, I had to subtract 25 minutes to figure my time.  The fact that I was able to do any math at all at this point was amazing.  I quickly realized that I had beaten my goal time.

Final Thoughts

When I visualized this race, this is not how I expected it to go.  I had pictured a slow but steady freestyle from buoy to buoy.  I didn't expect to be leading the pack, but I also didn't expect to be one of the last ones out of the water.

Mike said I should be very proud of myself for battling back and not giving up.  I suppose he's right.  I hate it when he's right!  LOL  I'll be back next year!