Saturday, June 14, 2014

Race Report: Midsummer Super Sprint Triathlon

Hello, all!! Did you miss me? If you've been checking out my Facebook page, then you'll know I haven't disappeared completely, but I have been pretty busy for the last couple of weeks. But it's been a good sort of busy - and fun! I've been able to do the quick posting of a status or a picture on Facebook - and I need to get in the habit of swinging over here and doing the same. For some reason I feel that I need to post a long and thoughtful exposition on my blog. But I suppose a few words are better than nothing.

But now it's time for a race report - and this is a very important post! So be prepared for a long-winded rambling from yours truly!

Let me begin with a little background: I signed up for this Super Sprint (which was billed as 250 yard pool swim, 11 mile bike, and 2.25 mile run) back in February when my triathlon club decided to make it the goal race for all of the newbies. I was happy to do it to support the team, even though the short distances wouldn't help me very much with my Half Ironman training.

But then 2 weeks ago, I joined the team for a group ride (my first group ride in 2 months due to a busy schedule). They dropped me almost immediately - "drop" when you're talking about cycling means they left me behind and didn't wait for me. I was very upset. It was especially hard because just a few days before I had had the great experience I posted about in the post below this one where the strong guys waited for me. It made me not want to do this event, or anything else with this group.

I had been having a really hard time getting motivated in the last few days - especially since I learned that there would be a swim event today on the river in Augusta followed by a bike ride of the course. I could be doing something productive, with people who wouldn't leave me behind.

But I had already paid for this event, and committed to it. And I would get to see my friend BJ who had done the Oly with me in April. So I decided to go.

And I'm very, very glad that I did.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous today (though there was a good bit of fog on the drive over. It burned off when the sun came up all the way). I arrived an hour before the race start and saw lots of the team already there. They greeted me warmly! BJ arrived and set up next to me! I was so glad to see her. We took lots of pictures!

Ready to rock the race

My transition area... I need to learn to set up with my stuff near by down wheel.
I was in an earlier wave than BJ so I started off first. While I was waiting for the pool swim to start, I decided that I would focus on my mental aspect of the race since I struggle mightily with that. If I couldn't get a good physical workout then I would get a mental one. We lined up in the order of our projected swim time, and I placed myself where I could take it nice and easy. Last year, when I did my first Super Sprint with a pool swim, I got myself all messed up with the churning water and trying to go too fast because people behind me had placed themselves too fast.

So this time, I started off nice and slowly and monitored my breathing. I wanted to go a little faster with each lap, but I didn't want to get my heart racing. The turns were a challenge for me, as was going under the lane ropes because of the shallow water (only 3 foot deep at that side). I noticed the lady behind me closing in, but I didn't let it freak me out. I figured if she wanted to pass me, she could touch my foot and I would get out of the way at the next wall. But she never did. So I just swam MY pace. In the end, I finished over a minute faster than my estimated swim time. And my breathing was nice and even. I jogged over to the transition area with the team members who were in Wave 2 cheering me on.

I took time in T1 to clean the grass off my feet. You can see in my transition area picture that I have an extra towel laying over the top of everything. That was for the grass. :D

I headed out of transition onto the bike. Here I realized that I had hit the stop button instead of lap when I came out of the pool, so I didn't have an accurate measure of my T1 time. I hit the lap button twice to get to the Bike mode. (I was able to get the time later from my official finish time less my Garmin time). The bike course was 2 laps and it was supposed to be 11 miles but Garmin only registered 9.6 miles total. Not a biggie - this wasn't about the distance.

There was a pretty good sized hill on the course, and I reminded myself to ride my own ride and not push too hard. I tried to remember to keep my legs nice and loose and spin up the hill. I did a better job of this on the 2nd loop since I knew what to expect. I drank my energy drink twice on the ride. I know I didn't really need it, but it was good practice.

Came back to transition and put up my bike. Awkwardly. Really need to learn how to rack my bike like a pro. I wasted time here having to go around the stands. I put on my shoes, and took off again.

On the run, we tackled that same hill that was on the bike. I tried hard to remember something I'd read recently about effective running off the bike: "Go more slowly than you think you need to." The idea behind this is to conserve energy in the run. Your legs feel weird coming off the bike and you feel like you're going SO slowly. Embrace it. You have time to catch up later on! So I embraced the feeling like I was going a snail's pace, coupled with the long (but not very steep) hill. Imagine my surprise when my first mile was right under a 10 minute mile! So it was true - I felt like I was going slowly but I wasn't. I rounded the hill and got to a nice flat area. There was only a mile to go and I had done such a good job at keeping my thoughts focused and positive. I passed a few folks on the team and talked to them and we encouraged each other.

I saw something in the distance but couldn't really tell what it was. Finally it dawned on me that it was the finish line! I kicked it into gear so I could do this downhill finish in a hurry! Garmin says that I was doing a 7 minute mile as a crossed the finish! LOL

Finish line selfie - medals are always a good thing!
Since BJ was in the 2nd wave, I was able to get some great pictures of her on the course and at the finish! After she had finished, I packed up my stuff - and got back just in time to hear the awards starting. This was fantastic since the last race I did with these folks they waited to do the awards until way later. Surprisingly enough, I came in 2nd in my age group - only missing 1st place by 39 seconds! WOOHOO!

My first triathlon age group award - and there were at least 3 of us in the age group so that makes it even better! It feels more real! LOL
So even though I hadn't wanted to do this race, it ended up being a wonderful experience (even without the age group award). I was very successful mentally, which is probably more challenging for me than the physical aspect.

I have a Sprint race to do in 2 weeks that I was bummed about (since there is an Oly that same day). But now I'm going to use it as another mental practice/tune up, and that makes me excited! Let's see if I can apply these principles that I used today to an Open Water Swim and a longer bike and run!

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