Tuesday, April 24, 2012

NOLA 70.3 Race report

So... what can I say?!  I guess to start off, again, with the fact that I love this city. I love love love it.  it is so good to me.  It's so good to me, that I made a last minute decision, and skipped my flight today, and re-booked for next wednesday.  That is so that I can spend another 9 days, with an emphasis on taking in The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

because right now, I am crying a little, because life is so hard ;)

anyway, back to the race.

You may (or may not, because only people in the tri world, care about such things) know that NOLA 70.3 was changed into a duathlon this year.  For the second year in a row, actually.  It was changed, for the same reasons:  winds out of the north were causing Lake Ponchatrain to be un-safe for swimmers.  Honestly, I think that a lot of people are "not surprised."  That being said... there one of the biggest things that a race director cannot do, is change the weather.  The days going up to the race were really super nice.  Then, a cold front moved in, bringing the rains on saturday, and BIG winds on sunday.  If given the chance to swim, i probably would've taken it... only because I am a strong swimmer.  But, I would've hated it.  the waves were big.

so, they did what they could do, given the circumstances.  I was super bummed, but, you know.  It was also OK.

but, let's back up a bit.  I guess my saturday was a little "unconventional" for a pre-race-day.  you know that rule that says "stay off your feet, and don't eat crap?"  well, it was kinda ignored.  My beloved was here, and we both wanted to experience the city.  as much as we could, without being on our feet too much ;)  We started off the day with a carb-loading breakfast at Ruby Slipper Cafe  with Kirsten's (my friend, who I am staying with) athletes.  This is the only picture I have so far of the weekend (since my beloved took them all, and took the camera back to Vancouver today!). 

then down to the race-expo for a normal, and quick check-in.  We then went to the World War II museum, to check out the fantastic Tom Hanks produced WWII movie, and the exhibits.  By this time, I was pretty close to being ready for a bit of "feet up time."  We went back home for a while, did a bike check in, looked at the waves, and went down towards the french quarter.  We walked around a bit, ate some classic Beignets and cafe au lait at the famous Cafe du Monde, and made it back to Frenchman street.  We then indulged in what NOLA is famous for.  Food and Jazz.  We hit up Adolfo's for some early dinner, because we knew we would have to wait if we were any later.  THen, walking around the street, we hit up the The spotted cat first, and the Three Muses, next.  3 locations, 3 different drinks (wine with dinner, beer for jazz, and cocktail accompanied with roasted cashews and ice cream for more jazz).  The most sitting I did, was on bar stools.

what?!  a race the next morning?!  HAHAHAHAHA!

went home, and was in bed by 10pm.  don't worry, I drank water and nuun water as well throughout the night.

Regular race morning, nothing big to report.

My wave was the last off the start line.  I waited a long time between setting up my "Transition" zone.  It was strange that my transition zone consisted of my bike (with everything on it), and a helmet on the ground.  Everything else I would need for the day was already on me, because I was running!  It took almost 1.5hrs between transition closed, to when I went off on my 2.1mile run.

I decided to take the 1st run off fairly moderate.  I didn't want to kill myself, because I knew very well that in doing so, I would only save about a minute, and it could come back and bite me later.  Instead, I wanted to start off on a positive note.  So, i started mid-pack.  I wanted to encourage all the ladies around me, so everytime I would pass someone, or someone would pass me, it was a good luck!  have fun!

raced into T1, saw my beloved taking pictures, gave him a few smooches, and went on my way.  My transitions were BOTH super fast (:55, and 1:31, respectively).  apparently, the second fastest in my age group, for both.  Just flew through them.  on my way onto the bike.

now, here is the funny thing about my bike.  Apparently, I have a sweet spot.  Let's look at all my 70.3 times for bikes:
NOLA 2009: 2:51.45 (avg: 19.56mi/hr)
Mooseman 2010: 3:24.50 (so, ok.  this one included a flat, a broken derailler, and a car almost hitting me)
Syracuse 2010: 2:50 (avg: 19.69m/hr)
Hawaii 2011: 2:49.47 (avg 19.79mi/hr)
NOLA 2012: 2:35.41 (avg. 20mi/hr)

so... we are improving.  but very very slowly.  HA!  and, yes, I do understand that in 2009, i then ran a 2hr15min 1/2 marathon.  I went way faster this year on that run; But, I consider myself a strong cyclist.  I love cycling, I do it a lot.  it's my favourite out of the three. so, I do think I can push it a bit harder.

I was happy with my bike.  I didn't kill it... it was definitely challenging in the wind.  I can't wait to upload my garmin file;  I felt like I was at a consistant effort. sometimes that effort got me going at 40km/hr, and sometimes it was 24km/hr, depending on where the wind was.  There were gusts, there were head winds, there were tail winds.   I think that with the wind, the bike was slower than planned...  there was only one other hiccup (a dropped perform bottle at an aid station, for which I had to stop and turn around and get..) which slowed me down.  That, and trying to pour the said fluid into another water bottle, b/c it didn't have a drink nipple (?) on it...  and, it spilled all over me, making me super sticky!

I saw lots of flats, and quite a few crashes on the bike route.  Not sure if it was the wind, the roads, or what...

and, finally.... onto the run.

I guess the best thing that I felt about the run, were lessons learnt from running in the heat last year in Hawaii... Stick to the white lines for cooler pavement.  load your body with sponges.  drink and eat what your body is telling you.  and look ahead of you for someone to run down, and go for them.

i was am really happy with my run.  the first 2 miles or so, I was definitely feeling like i had not done enough bricks during training, but, I knew that it would improve.  And, it did!  There were few times, where I felt like i was going to die.  I definitely didn't feel like I could go much harder, and in the last 1/2 km when a girl I had worked hard on getting a good distance on during the bike passed me flying, i was a little sad.  but, I couldn't put much more effort out.  My HRM, throughout the entire race, was sporadic.  it  ended up being all on RPE... but, my run splits (all except KM 13) were never greater than :15secs different from start to finish... Maybe the best 1/2 marathon execution I have ever had.

people on the run were awesome.  I had so many people (as, I passed A LOT of people... not because I was fast, but, because I was in the last wave... there are a lot of people to pass, ahead of me!) tell me I look great, and strong.  That was super encouraging.  I truely had NO idea how many girls in my age group were ahead of me. I did suspect, however, that I would not be in the running to qualify for Vegas 2012.

and, you know, that is OK.  do I think that I probably could've been 5 places higher (i got 9th in my age group), if there was a swim?  mmmmm, maybe. i still wouldn't have gotten a slot, there was only one in my age group (41 competitors).  Do I wish that i had a higher "percentage" finish (i normally strive for top 10%)?  yes.

do i think that if there was a swim, and the bike was 90km, I would've gotten a PR?  yes.  just barely, but, it still would've been a PR.  and.... reminder, it is april.  it is SO EARLY in the season!

so, I am happy.  this race is a testament to how much our sport changes, and how you have to adapt.  we never know the "what ifs."

I am happy.  and, I look forward to the rest of the season!  I did, going into this race, say that if I didn't qualify, I would try for another 70.3 (Lake Stephens).  But, it is a big year, this year, with lots of traveling, and lots of expenses... so, I think I will stick to the local races... that might a) cause me not to spend as much money, b) allow my family to come and watch, and c) give me some good local age group placings.

and, that is fun.  and, i do this sport because it is fun.

thanks to Kirsten Melberg for being my "billet," to my beloved for being the best race support ever, McGill Triathlon Club for letting me train them this year.  without them, this type of thing is not possible!!!

more pictures, including one with my new BFF, Mirinda Carfrae, to come!!!!


Kelly Covert said...

AWESOME!!! You ROCK!! So proud of you for executing a SMART and well-paced race. You definitely have more in you! Congrats and have fun this week!

kevin.shon said...

:) Amelia.... So proud of you. Keep up the strong work... and - get ready to play in the mountains as well... be open for it :) Love you sister,


Bonnie said...

Enjoy the balance of your time there and looking forward to photos...ignore the previous email as you are obviously NOT in Vancouver :)