For some reason…this post actually was published on a page instead of here on the blog roll. This was originally written the week of October 21st, 2013…
Yahoo, I get to do another race report!! That, in and of itself, is a victory for me…regardless of the results. But I am happy to be able to reflect on a successful first race back which is an added bonus. This past weekend, I (finally) got to participate in one of Andy Stewart’s long standing triathlons which is termed “Try Andy’s Tri.” This year was the 21st anniversary of the event, wow!
The morning started off very cold. As a Texas gal, I’m used to sweating and find comfort in having to hydrate and fuel with plenty of electrolytes. The cooler weather racing, although a nice change, is just not something I’m very well accustomed to. Regardless, I was just happy to be waking up to some race nerves and getting out there again to see what I had. After several months of what begins to feel like meaningless miles and meters, this is just what the doctor ordered.
We were able to jump in the water about 15 minutes ahead of time which sounds rather unappealing when you’re standing in the 45 degree air with tons of layers on. But I knew that in a short (read, fast) swim, the warmup is crucial. I stripped down and got ready. The water actually felt better than I expected and I was able to get into a good rhythm for the start. I really should get some clear lens goggles though – it was still quite dark! This was a fairly small field but for my first race back, I think that’s a good thing. We all lined up and as soon as the gun went off, I just tried to straight shot it across the lake as quickly as possible. A few of the guys’ arms caught my feet as they veered to the left while I was heading diagonally towards the right but I finally broke away and surprisingly found myself out front. Liz Baugher, my teammate, friend, and fellow competitor, is the stronger swimmer for sure but she had some issues sighting and I think the guys actually followed her (rightfully so!). I shocked myself by reaching those finish buoys first but everyone was right on my heels. Since I chose to take my speedsuit off, I actually came out of transition behind. Numb fingers don’t work very well!
After a rather slow “flying mount” (I put this in quotations because it in no way looks like I’m flying…especially when I am cold), I slowly got my feet into my shoes. Again, cold extremities just do not function as well. The toe covers left on my shoes helped a little bit. I soon discovered a little technical issue with my bike – the chain kept dropping from the big to the small ring even though I was in the middle of my gearing. I think all of those countless miles have just worn it out – it likely just needs to be replaced. After shifting gingerly and withstanding 4 drops, I finally got it to stick for the rest of the ride.
During races this short, I tend to just go by feel; as in, I just go as hard as I can. I don’t want to see my heart rate data and don’t need to see pace. So with that, I just went. I caught up with Liz and then the guys were nowhere to be seen after a few minutes and so there we were in no man’s land just pedaling away. Keeping the intensity up in that situation can be difficult but with a race this short (and being as cold as I was), I just tried to stay focused on the moment and “push push push.” Another little equipment challenge was my racing suit; it actually had at some point come unzipped! A few miles into the race, I felt a little draft and looked down to discover my stomach was uncovered….whoops! I couldn’t zip it up with one hand so I just left it.
The 10 miles passed quickly and before I knew it, I was turning in for T2. I’m a little better at flying dismounts so no quotes needed here It certainly wasn’t my fastest transition but I made it out and my cold hands finally were able to snap my race belt buckle. This time I chose to wore a visor as well – with the new short hair, I get some crazy helmet hair! And let’s be honest, a girl is always thinking about that.
So off I went out of transition and onto the run. I knew Liz and the others were close behind. My feet felt so heavy from being cold. I could hear them “clomp clomp clomp” along the road but I just tried to stay relaxed, leaned forward, and went. My goal, again, was to go as hard as I could. I was most nervous about this portion. Perhaps the numb feet helped me not to think about my left heel too much. After about 1 mile, I didn’t see anyone in front or behind me – the loop had quite a few turns inside of a neighborhood so straightaways weren’t very long. The course was 2 loops so that’s always fun because you get to see your supporters twice! By the end of the first loop, my lungs were definitely feeling that cold air…they were tight. The second loop I had a bit more company since there were now more runners out there.
I was surprised how good I felt and just kept on pushing hard. I’m sure if it was a course any longer, I would have begun to bonk a tad just due to the fact that I have very little run mileage on my legs and feet. But I was able to finish strong and came out the overall female winner for the day.
As always, I had fun catching up with racing friends, teammates, and some of my junior athletes I coach from TriElite Racing afterwards as well. They did quite well and definitely made me (as always) a proud coach!
All in all, it was a great race and a perfect way to cap off the season. I’ve only raced a mere 3.5 triathlons this year (the half was a relay) due to the 1) broken hand and 2) plantar fasciitis. But the non-race experiences are just as valuable (if not more, sometimes) and I’m sure they’ll come in handy in the future. Now I’m off to enjoy a little R&R while reflecting on this past season and looking forward to the next!