Monday, July 18, 2011

Wet Dog-Good News, Bad News

I did my third tri Saturday....

The overall good news is:  I met my goal!!  The bad news is:  I didn't set a very ambitious goal!

The Swim

NOT a picture of this race....
I'll start with the bad news.  This race has an individual wave start.  Participants are supposed to line up in numerical order (numbers are based on the projected swim finish time you supply when registering for the race) and they send you into the river one at a time about every 5 seconds.  That part was good.  The bad part about this was I had NO IDEA what my swim time was going to be.  I THOUGHT wanted to be toward the back so I didn't get passed by too many people trying to swim over me and so there would be no pressure.  ( pressure for me in a race?  As if that's even possible!)  That left me waiting a LONG, LONG time to enter the water.  The race was supposed to start at 7, which didn't end up happening (it was more like 7:20-7:30 maybe).  I didn't go into the water until 8:20 according to my Timex data.  The worst part about starting so late - I had my pre-race banana at like 6:30.  (More on this in the bike section.) 

Racers did NOT line up numerically.  I think I could have gone in anytime I wanted to....but I was NERVOUS.  In Frank Maples (which was reverse order, so the swim was at the end) I did the back stroke the whole way (400 yards I think).  In Iron Girl I did the breast stroke the whole way (500 or so meters).   Starting as far back as I did meant I was with all the people who really couldn't swim (or were as nervous as I was!).

The good news about the swim??  First off I met the only goal I set, to swim freestyle the whole way and stay calm.  Other than a few "catch my breath and see where I'm at" breast strokes I DID IT!!  I made GREAT time (for ME) on the swim.   I didn't panic.  I remembered my training and used my arms more than my legs.  I sighted well (until my goggles fogged up a bit).  I'm very pleased with my swim.  Yes, it was slow, but I can get faster.  The most important thing is that I really SWAM, and I did feel like I could have kept swimming longer!  (I finished 12/24 in my age group.)


The good news first.  My T1 time was 4/24 in my age group!

The bad news:  The finish mat for the swim was about maybe 300-400 meters away from the water's edge which was strange.  The only reason that makes sense is the fact there wasn't a good way to keep the participants away from a mat at the water's edge since the swim was an out and back.  Anyway...that meant some of the swim time should have been counted in T1 time, but not that big of a deal really.  

Not my bike...

The good news??  Uh.  Um.  Well....  I didn't wreck.  That's good.  I didn't fall over at dismount like I did at Iron Girl.  That's good too.

The bad news...I TANKED, I completely TANKED on the bike Saturday.  I thought it was my worst showing on the bike yet, but actually when I went back and looked, I did much worse in Iron Girl.  However, Saturday was 9 miles, Iron Girl was 18.  Saturday was pretty flat, Iron Girl was hilly.  I've been training HARD.  I'll talk more about what I think happened at the end but right now I'll say I just couldn't get my legs working.   I finished 18/24.


The good news...I finished 5/24.  The bad news most likely would not have changed that ranking so I can't completely call it bad.  I was so disappointed about my showing on the bike I wasn't thinking.  When I racked my bike and changed shoes, I ran the wrong way (toward the bike route instead of the run route) and lost a few seconds.  However, the 4th place T2 time was 12 seconds faster and I don't think I lost that much time....although it would have moved me up at least one place in the total standings.  

The shoe I wear, but not MY shoe...

The bad news is I had a HORRIBLE cramp/stitch under my right rib for the first mile and a half.  It slowed me down much more than I wanted.

However, the good news is I finished strong.  The last mile was the fastest and I could tell.  My average pace was 9:37 and I finished 13/24 which isn't horrible, considering half of it was slow. 

As usual I sprinted in full on at the end.  It was kind of funny.  To get to the finish you had to run straight down a road, make a right and then to the finish.  There was a girl who ran past me to the end of the road to the cheers of all her friends.  She thought she was done and stopped.  She was wearing head phones so she didn't hear everyone yelling at her to keep going....  I ran past her motioning for her to come on ...and EASILY beat her in the sprint to the finish.  When I looked at the pictures my husband took, she had been behind me all down the road and must have thought she was shooting past me at the end.  

I finished 15/24 in my age group.

Lessons Learned

First off...FOOD.  Yes, it's always an issue with me and I'm trying to get that down.  Long story short I didn't have enough calories the day before the race (net of about 350 total...I didn't realize this or I would have eaten more)....I only had a banana before the race but because it took me so long to get in the water, it ended up being almost 2 hours before the start.  And I didn't take a Gu until half way through the bike.  I think that might have been what contributed to my cramp/stitch.  That combined with the fact I only drank a few sips of water and a few sips of Nuun/water (maybe 8 ounces total, if that).  I really think lack of fuel is what caused my poor performance on the bike.  I think the Gu hit and allowed me to finish the run feeling strong.

So.... 1)  EAT MORE FOOD the day before.  MAKE SURE to get enough GOOD FOOD leading up to a race.  2) EAT first thing on the bike, even if I don't think I need it.  I know you can't catch up on fuel if you get behind.  I know it.  I've heard it over and over again.  But, this race was so short I didn't really think I would need fuel even though I had it on my bike just in case.  Combined with the lack of food the day before and the prolonged start time, I was racing on NOTHING.  3)  DRINK on the bike.  I don't know if this really affected me as much as it could have because it wasn't as hot as it could have been.  (The weather was as perfect as it could get in my opinion!!)  However, I know once you feel thirsty it's too late.

Overall I'm not displeased.  I'm pretty proud of my swim performance.  I timed the swim only and (if the distance is right) my pace was as fast as/faster than I go in training---in a pool, with rests between laps.  (Who knows if the distance is right??  I heard people saying it was actually longer than 400 yards, but if that's the case then I went even faster than I thought!)

Thanks for stopping in...come again soon!


Don't hold back, tell it like it is....