Ah yes. Olympic distance triathlons. the distance that made me fall in love with this sport. the distance that causes me to suffer a bit, but allows me still to do well, since it is still fairly endurance based...
I Went into Lake Chaparral Tri with high expectations. And, maybe I should not have done that. I think it made me flustered. but, more on that, later.
I also went into the tri without any taper. It is not a "A" race (yes, i do risk sounding tri-geeky when I say that), and so, we used it as a training race. the week before had no change in schedule, meaning that i was meant to do a 3.5 hour brick on saturday. I did a 3hr ride. then had breakfast, then drove the 3hrs to calgary. So, I wasn't rested, that is for sure. but, I *was* excited.
'cause i love racing. It is so much better than training.
anyway, got to the race, especially excited to ride my new flying machine. set up transition, and in my mind, know that i am going to get lost in T1. (yes, for a note, i did. ran up the wrong line coming out of the swim).
anyway, got a little swim warmup in. but, felt weird, because i was the only person doing so. Maybe that is why I cut it a bit short. get out, felt fine. listen to the man do the pre-race meeting/instruction. the woman's olympic distance was the first wave in. 8am. I figured, about 50 women.
swim: so, this was the most surprising part of the entire weekend. the start was a beach start, with a little rock on the left hand side. so, I had to position myself that I would be able to get out in front, but not have to swim over everyone. i started off, pulled in front of a group of girls, and number one girl was out quick. I caught her, tried to draft, and then suddenly realized that i felt awful. I knew that i couldn't keep that pace up, so, I dropped back. it was like the shit hit the fan. I felt awful. i tried to take swim a bit of breast stroke, but it just seemed harder than I was wanting. for the first time in my life, i thought "shit. I am going to have a DNF. I don't know if I can do this." so, I rounded the first buoy, and had to pull to the side. I took my goggles off, floated for about a minute, watch a group of about 6 girls swim by, and gave myself a "you are not going to DNF. you can't. you can't tell people you want to win, then have a DNF. get your shit together. you need to swim, not worry about the other people, and get onto that bike."
after that, it was okay. i was frustrated, I got a headache 1/2 way through, and got really ticked off at a girl who was disguising pushing me to side, and swimming overtop of me (despite the large amount of water available around us) as "drafting."
Time: 26:55 (avg 1:48/100m, which is about 15 seconds slower than normal!!! ARGH!) 8th woman out of the water.
bike: now, this was the highlight of the race. I was beat out of transition by a girl, then i passed her as she put her shoes on, then she passed me again. My transition felt flustered. I think it was because of the ridiculous swim that I had just completed. and, i think that I felt like I needed to save time. but, my new bike suited me well. there was a strong hill, both up and down. The few things that got me: a 90 degree turn at the bottom of the hill, so you couldn't just burn it down. and, the fact that I am still a little scared of going around corners fast. i think this is still a result of my 2007 crash. And, i know that I lose time on corners. I slow down so much, and it takes me too long to get back up to speed.
Time: 1:18 (avg 30.8km/hr). 8th woman out.
Run: so, every time i don't put socks on, i know it is a bad mistake. i think the max i can run without socks is about 5km. because, after that, THIS HAPPENS:
yup, in the middle of T2 I had the brilliant thought "oh, whatever. i can run without socks, it will be fine... I can save some time." why? WHY do i ever think that is a good idea?!?! so, i got a blister. I contemplated going back into transition to get my socks, but, i knew they wouldn't allow me to cross the timing mats again. so, next time I saw that boy I like, i demanded one of his socks "give me your sock." "what?" "i have a blister. i need you sock. but, it will get blood on it." "oh. okay. well, i don't need it right now." (ps... have i mentioned that it is a difference between the two of us? he loves to wear socks. i, on the other hand, believe that socks were invented as a jail for our feet.) so, after stealing his sock, i was okay.
the other thing about the run, was that you run through a park. while I was leaving T2, someone said "oh, just run around the lake." well, there was a T in the intersection, with no volunteer. and, of course, i went towards the lake (right...). well, i should've went left. so, i had about a minute and a half detour. i ran back, ticked off, and saw my next competitor. and, i really think she took that to her advantage. because she dug it in, and passed me (breathing really hard, to which I thought "go for it, girl. you can't hold that for long."). but, i think that is what got her 3rd in our age group, because from then on, she was the same distance ahead of me.
The run wasn't terrible. it wasn't great. it kinda hurt. both the blister, as well as just my body. i was tired at this point, and just kinda wanted it to end. i even looked behind me at one point to see if anyone else was going to pass me. I couldn't see anyone, so, I kinda said "okay. whatever. i don't need to push it super hard to the finish." maybe that is a bad attitude. but, it was a hard race for me. two people passed me on the run. they beat me by less than 30 seconds. (damn that blister. damn that slow T2. damn that detour. i hate mistakes)
run was long (i heard someone say her garmin got 10.9Km. and, mapmyrun confirmed that.)
AG place: 4th/18. OA women: 10/60. Total time: 2:43:20
so, not terrible. but, definitely not as good as i wanted.
And, to a degree, this is what I am struggling with. I don't want to think that I am faster than I actually am. I look at an olympic distance race, and I think "I should definitely be able to do a 2:30." but, here I ran a race (despite the mistakes) and was 13 minutes slower than what i perceive myself as being able to do.
why am I not hitting the podium in my age group? are my goals to ambitious for myself right now?
what is it that is missing? would there have been different results if I did not do a 3hr bike the day before, and a regular training week prior? how did i screw up my nutrition (i could tell something was wrong... my recovery has been really slow, and i had that headache throughout the race from the 2nd lap of the swim, until... well, today)?
anyway. this kinda race is good for any athlete. you learn from these ones, and they remind you that you always have lots to learn. I have a better perspective 2 days later, but i was really frustrated post-race. maybe the biggest thing is to stop placing un-realistic expectations onto myself.
next race (last tri of the season!?!?): SYRACUSE 70.3!!!!! wooooOOOOOOoooooo!