Tuesday, May 28, 2013

St George 70.3 Race Report Part 2

Wow.  May is almost over, and I still haven't written part two of my race report!  I need to get on it, as soon I will have other races done, and more reports to write!  It is a rainy rainy spring day here in Vancouver~  it seems a bit more like winter, honestly.  But, despite the sun not shining, you can count on me getting out to New Brighton Park, and swimming in that outdoor pool.  Its pretty much one of my favourite things about the summer.  Outdoor pools.  Here is a instagram of the pool the other day.

now, what I am going to do about the bike ride that is on tap, i am not quite sure.  For now, I will drink coffee, write my blog, and go finish painting the new colours in my washrooms.  I'll think about my bike later.  Finally, I am turning 30.  For my 30th birthday, I want 30$ for Malawi.  Go here to see what I am talking about.

St George 70.3 Bike
Oh Man, what a course.  I had driven about 3/4 of the course the night before the race, and I knew that there would be some good climbs, some good downhills.  

The first big hill was about 5km out of transition, and I felt good.  The sun had not quite come all the way over the mountains yet, so it was still a little cool.  No complaining there, and just happy to be feeling awesome.  I had NO idea how many women of my agegroup were out in front of me, or behind me.  But, I was doing some passing of people, and some other people were passing me.  The roads were a bit bumpy, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Things started getting serious at about mile 20, where climbing picked up, and there was a turn into a neighbourhood that I wasnt expecting. 

there is nothing like thinking you're at the top of a hill, and then there is another 2 miles. Oh well. 

I was enjoying the bike, and feeling solid.  I felt like I was getting enough nutrition in.  Then, all of a sudden, there were the bits that I wasn't expecting... a few sections of riding bikepaths through Southern Utah neighbourhoods.  Love that they added a a bit of alleycat racing on tribikes into this race.  Finally, we started climbing the canyon.  I had heard mixed reviews... everything from "it's a killer!" to "it's no big deal, manageable."   Let's sum it up like this... at the start of the climb, I was moving at about 30km/hr.  At the top, 360m higher in elevation, i was moving 9km/hr.  The best part was that my HR was consistant throughout. At least I wasn't pushing my bike.  I heard some people did that.

I turned onto the road home, and hit it on the down hill.  Felt AWESOME.  Until my left contact lens started itching, and flipping in my eye ball, and then fell out.  I rode and ran the rest of the race with no depth perception.  it sucked.  Also, at this point, I thought that i would need to go pee.  but, nope.  Nothing.  Crap.... not enough fuel over the course of this ride.  Rolled into T2, not terribly happy with my time, but not disappointed, either.  I was ready to get going on the run, but feeling that it was going to be a challenge.

t2: no big deal.  only tried to get a volunteer to find my contact lens in my eyeball.  that was unsuccessful.

I get going, take in some fuel, and start going along.  The run was an out and back along a parkway, with two spurs.   On the St George Website, the elevation profile did not appear to be a killer.  I thought it would be challenging, but, I had. no. idea.

BAM.  within 2 miles, it was uphill.  And, I couldn't keep running.  i knew that this was a problem, but, at this point, I thought... "ok, no big deal, you'll get through the brick soon enough."  

I don't remember much about the run, except about how hard it was.  it was HOT, so I ran on the white lines, and grabbed ice/sponges when possible.  It was steep, so I power walked with purpose going up the hills.  I hadn't peed at all during the race, so I took as much liquid and fuel as possible during the aid stations.  There were a lot of women in my AG passing me, and that was hard on the competitive mind set, so i often ran saying "running as slow as ever, is faster than your fastest walk." I had to refrain from crying many times, and I just prayed that I would make a sub-2hr 1/2 marathon. That wouldn't happen.

I started picking it up, when I knew that it was downhill to home.  Then, there was that second spur.  and, it was uphill.  At that point, i just about had it.  I think this was about that point.  I finished off the race, with tears streaming down my face. When i got a side stich, that was it... I couldn't hold it in, and frankly, as dehydrated as I was, it kinda surprised me that I still had liquid in my body to cry.  When someone cheered "keep that smile on your face!" i kinda laughed, because it wasn't a smile... it was a grimace.  But, I was done.  I didn't have a terrible finishing time, but i felt defeated.  I felt sore and tired.  I felt successful for finishing the hardest race that I have ever done. there were so many emotions, wrapped into one.

Post race, i was not happy.  What I was happy about was being able to meet, and go out for dinner with Erin and her hubby, Tim.  IT was great to meet two people who are so easy to get along with, and who understand what you just experienced.  

top 5 things i would do different:
1) more running of hills prior to race day.
2) more training at elevations other than sea level.
3) take in more fluid and nutrition on the bike, especially when it is hot. train for this.
4) do not fly to race the day before. relax more on the day before the race.
5) Remember that it is just a triathlon.  Its not totally worth crying about. 

I do believe that we need races like this, to remind us that what we do is hard.  To remind us that it doesn't come naturally, and it takes time, dedication, and effort.  If every race that I had is a PB, or a successful finishing placement, or was hard enough, but not so hard that i think "i've got this under my belt,"  then I honestly don't think that I would improve.  We need races that kick our ass.  So that we can go back and try again.  Improve on what we did.  Be defeated, so that we can rise up and succeed.

and, that is why i will go back next year. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

St George 70.3 Race Report part 1: pre-race, and swim

It has been just over one week from St George 70.3 "US pro championship" race.

Last year, after the Vancouver Subaru 1/2 Iron, I stated "it's hard to say which race is the hardest race I've ever done."  Well, I am 95% sure that I am confident to state that this was BY FAR the hardest race I have ever done.  And, im glad that I have waited a week to write this report.  It takes a while to digest races like St George.

As my newest Vancouver Triathlete friend, Erin, stated, when Ironman made this race the US pro championships, registration SOARED.  I barely got registered, as on Facebook, it stated that there were only 5 slots left. So, as planned, back in feb, I was registered.  It would be my first race in the (what I perceive as) super crazy fast new agegroup: females 30-34.  I counted the other registrants in my AG... 140.  WHAT THE?!?!  really? This kinda made me nervous.  And, when I saw that the super inspirational Sonja W was going to be racing, i knew... I knew it would be a competitive day.

here we go:

mistake #1: flying the day before the race.  I flew from Bellingham, on alaska Airlines. Honestly, this all went perfectly.  The anxiety came with the fact that I had about 5 hours to get my bike, rental car, meet my mum at the Vegas airport, and drive to St George to register and check my bike.  One day also does not give enough time to adjust to heat in the desert, an elevation gain of 1000m, and an hour time difference.  I was SO stressed out, and could not relax the day prior to the race.  That night was not very restful.

that being said, i got the bike checked in 10 minutes before close, was able to drive 1/2 the bike course, have a great dinner, and was there.  I made it.  Southern Utah is BEAUTIFUL... The town of St George is welcoming, and a perfect size for a race.  the area around town has more activities than you can possibly do in a 4 day trip.

Race morning was normal.  beautiful morning.  A B&B 4 blocks from T2/finish, meaning I could walk to the race shuttles, who gave us packed morning breakfasts. no wind, perfect weather. LOTS OF BIKES!  It took a while to go to the toilet, but i did.  less than 10mins prior to my start time.  Yikes.

I placed myself close to the front of swarm of 30-34 year old women.  and i looked around.  Man.  are they fit.  They look awesome.  We waded into the water for the floating start, and it was cold.  somewhat expecting this,  I gave positive self talk, and dunked my head a few times, tried to get some water into the wetsuit, and told myself to chill out.  Don't go out too fast, or else you will have a hard time breathing.

race mistake #2: no open water/cold swims prior to race day.

it was a good swim.  Not *amazing,* but good.   the start was interesting as one woman turned around and said "hey!  what is everyone doing, pushing up here?  if you are going to swim sub-30, you should be here..."  I knew I would be 32ish.  One thing that I was really happy with was how straight I went.  Garmin says the swim was a bit long.  

The beginning of the swim took a while to get going, but i was super happy with the clenliness and clam state of the water...  but, I definitely had a few moments of breathlessness.  so, it was just a race of keeping consistant.  try to keep the arms going at a reasonable pace, sight properly, and don't get stuck up behind people.  While I was swimming, I thought there were maybe 6 or so women in bright green caps ahead of me.  I  could see a lot of them during the swim.  I was kinda bummed when I found out that my result was 16th in AG, at the end of the race.  

Swim Details Division Rank: 16
Split NameDistanceSplit TimeRace TimePaceDiv. RankOverall RankGender Rank
Total1.2 mi32:1532:151:40/100m1626358

T1:  I ran out of the swim, happy. this was the first and last time that I saw my mum during the race, cheering for me.  I was happy to be there, nice to have wetsuit strippers, helped out another guy who couldnt find his zipper, and got on the way.  Everything had to be stuffed into a bag, with nothing on your bike.  It's kinda annoying to get have to get that rubber suit into a bag.  

So FAR, so good.  Getting on that bike, I was happy.