Friday, June 6, 2014

2014 Tri for Real #1 - Race Report

I was pretty nervous going into this race. I had injured my right calf around mile nine of the Avenue of the Vines and I was afraid of making matters worse by racing two weeks after the injury. Since I didn't want the pressure of beating last year's time, I came up with the following goals for this race:
  • Don't swim slower than last year (I need to work on my goals LOL)
  • Have a strong bike leg. Average 20 mph.
  • Don't make matters worse on the run. If it hurts, STOP!!!
Pre-Race

Breakfast consisted of two fried eggs on a piece of toast liberally covered in unsalted, grass fed butter. I also had a cup of coffee and some FRS.  Since I had packed my bag the night before and prepped my bike, all I had to do after I finished eating was get dressed and head out the door. I opted for my Zoot outfit that coordinates with my bike. (I haven't had a chance to break in my new team kit and did not want to run six miles with that stiff pad in the shorts.)

When we got to Rancho Seco, I checked in, got my body markings, and set up my transition area. HS decided to volunteer instead of standing around waiting for me to finish. About an hour before the race start, I drank my chia fresca and chatted with my teammates...trying to keep my mind off of the race. 15 minutes before the start, I ate a GU, zipped up my wetsuit and headed to the water.

It still seems weird swimming next to the cooling towers.

Swim

TBF has started using chip timing this year. However, the timing mats were at the top of the grass area going into T1 not down by the water's edge where they had taken the tag off of my wetsuit last year. I decided to stop my Garmin at the same point I had stopped it in the previous two races so I could compare them.

Goal #1 achieved
I was sure my time was going to be slower this year. I started drafting an older gentleman (no, it wasn't James) that I figured was some sort of masters swimmer. I assumed he would have lots of experience and would swim in a straight line. When I finally decided to sight for myself, I realized we were headed towards a kayak. Crap!

At first I thought he was swimming for help but he was just going off course. He corrected himself and once again headed towards the turn buoy. Ok, that was enough of following that guy.

A little zig...a little zag
On a positive note, I felt relaxed enough during the swim to think about things like being long in the water and bilateral breathing and about how much longer I was going to have to swim ;-)

T1

I came out of the water feeling pretty good. Heck, how can you not feel good after swimming for almost a mile and not drowning?  I ran up the grass and listened for the beep as I crossed the timing mats (just paranoid that my time isn't going to be recorded). My wetsuit came off easily and I quickly changed into my bike shoes and helmet. I stuffed a Clif "Chocolate and Coconut" bar into my mouth and grabbed my bike. Time for a little fun!

Bike

The bike went great! My average speed was 20.2 mph and I felt strong the entire ride. The bike is becoming my favorite part of triathlons!

Goal #2 achieved 
My only regret is that I forgot to stop my Garmin when I entered T2. I had racked my bike before I realized I was still timing the bike portion. Oh well, makes it easier to improve my average speed next time.

T2

Transition went much better than my T2 at the Tri for Real #2 where I just sort of blanked out. After that race, HS asked me what I was doing because it was pretty obvious I wasn't focused on the race. Who knows what I was doing...all I know is that I missed first place by 19 seconds so I didn't want to do that again this time. Hustle was the name of the game.

Last year HS reminded me to take off my helmet, this year I had my BFF, Kim, there to do the honors :-)

Run

No surprises this season. I knew what to expect on the run course and I was determined to hold my speed down so I didn't re-injure my leg. My first few miles were faster than I wanted to go, and I tried to slow down a bit.

By mile 3 my quads were screaming...probably in part to my bike pace and I wanted to stop. I reminded myself that my quads were not the issue and just because they were tired was no reason to stop. At this point, the course turned into a single track trail that meandered around the edge of the lake. I really like this part, mostly because you don't see a lot of other people.

Goal #3...I won't tell
At a bend in the trail, I had the opportunity to see if anyone was chasing me. There was no one in site. I tried doing a little math in my head to see if it was even possible for a competitor to catch me if I maintained my pace. Unfortunately, I lose all ability to do math in a race and I gave up trying to figure anything out...I just kept running.

As I came up to the final aid station, I called out for water and ice. Water in my mouth, ice down my top. The volunteer cheerfully reported that I had about a mile to go. About a minute later I felt a pain in my right calf. NOOOOOOO!!!!

At this point, I didn't know what to do. My leg/head was saying "stop" but my heart was saying "run". The trail arched upwards and I knew that trying to run up a hill with the pain in my leg could potentially end my season. I slowed to a walk...I wanted to cry. It was like Avenue of the Vines all over again. So close, yet so far away.

I crested the hill and started shuffling a little faster. I changed up my stride a bit until I found something that didn't hurt as much. All I could think was "I am going to be in sooooo much trouble"...oh well, half a mile to go!

I kept going. The best part of the day was sprint (sort of) to the finish! DONE!

Post Race

Overall, I am very pleased with my efforts. While improving on last year's time was not one of my goals, I did end up setting a new PR for this course. Last year my best time was 2:43:19. I finished it in 2:40:28 today...and that's after adding a couple of minutes to my best run time!

Who does #2 work for?
(That's an Austin Powers reference LOL)
Going forward, I am going to do the Father's Day sprint triathlon with the team and them I'm going to stay away from races until maybe the Tri for Real #2 in July. I clearly cannot be trusted with my own well being when in the middle of a race. Barb's Race will be no fun if I have to walk the run.