Wow...as I sit down to start writing up my race recap, I hardly know where to begin. The truth is, that was a great race all things considered. The other truth is I don't make a habit of considering all things, right? I have good intentions of writing from the "all-things-considered" perspective, but please bear with me if I slip back into my usual tunnel vision perspective.
First of all...I haven't trained in almost FIVE full weeks. I was "cleared" to train a week ago, but every time I tried to swim my right calf cramped up and my whole leg ended up hurting. My training this past week consisted of teaching 3 Spinning classes (one of which was a good workout for me, the others were done very cautiously*), and running a total of almost 5 miles (but never more than 2 at one time).
When Dr Olsen (P3 Chiropractic and SportsCare) and I were talking two weeks ago about whether I should take another recovery week or start working out again, he asked me if I felt I could do the Wet Dog Sprint tri without training leading up to it. After a second's hesitation, I realized I actually could do it, and feel good both at the race and the next day, at my current level of fitness. THAT was a GREAT feeling. I've heard those people who say "I didn't train, I just came out to do the race" but I always thought they were either 1) lying, or 2) crazy. Well, I'm not lying and ...well...crazy is a subjective assessment but I don't think I am so that has to count for something!
Because I've been coaching the Tri @ the Y group, I used this race as a classroom so to speak, and one of my athletes was going to be racing her first tri here, so I had something other than my own pre-race nerves to think about yesterday morning when I woke up. I had packed up everything the night before so there wasn't much to do when I got up except eat a bit of breakfast and get to the race.
I can remember how nervous I was last year. Thankfully I've gotten to where I'm not such a ball of nerves anymore! I didn't know what I could expect having not trained for almost five weeks, but I was feeling pretty good overall. I knew I could complete the race, and felt like I would actually do "well".
Like I said, I was using this race as a teaching moment for my Tri group so I walked "my" athletes through my pre-race routine. I showed them how I set up on race day and how I walk through the race logistics so I will know where everything is before the start. I learned this last year...if you remember I started to run out the wrong way--I haven't made that mistake again!
I did make a new "mistake" this year. (Not really a mistake, but I did something I haven't done before, and I didn't like it, so I've made a mental note not to do it again if I can help it.) I put my bike on an end spot to where my left shoulder was by the end of the rack (instead of my right). I don't know why this seemed so horribly OFF to me, but it honestly felt like trying to write with a broken arm--just plain awkward. So, I've made a note-to-self, line up with my right shoulder to the end. (Yes, this was a choice because I was the first on one this rack so I could have done it either way.)
Let me say, I LOVE local races. There's really not enough time for me to talk to everyone I want to, but I love seeing so many people I know and catching up as much as I can with as many as I can. A couple in my Y group made signs for both me and the first-timer...other than the marathon, I think that's the first time that's happened!! I felt like a celebrity, even though really I'm sure they really wanted to make the sign for the first-timer and decided to make one for me so I didn't feel bad (and I'm SO glad they did!!!). :D
I don't usually get in the water to warm up, but at Mach Tenn, Coach Eric told me to do it...and I KNOW warming up is a good thing, so this time I did it all one my own. And...those first couple of strokes felt FANTASTIC. I knew right then it was going to be a good swim!
After a few, mostly unintelligible, words from the race director, people started lining up. I have no idea what I put down as my projected swim finish time, but I was number 203. An Athens-Sports-Hall-of-Fame friend of mine (seriously, I had to add that detail...how many Hall-of-Famers do you know??)...was a few numbers higher than that. I "knew" there was no way I could swim as fast as her, let alone faster, so I elected to let her go first. My goal at that point became to stay right on her feet the whole time. ...long story short...that's EXACTLY WHAT I DID!!
There were several times I could have even passed her, but I didn't want to get ahead of myself. I felt very comfortable staying right with her. I wasn't pushing, but I wasn't completely slacking either. There's no way to tell what might have happened if I had gone around her, I may have lost confidence or pushed too hard and ended up dropping back or I might have cut a little bit of time off my swim. Last year I met my goal of swimming the whole time in this race...this year I met my goal of staying with this person the whole time. ***NOTE-TO-SELF...once again, I need to set higher goals. Period.
Keep in mind, the mat to end the swim time is all the way across the street from the swim area, not at the swim finish. So, even though the swim is only 400m, there is about .15 mile transition included in the time. Last year my time was 12:22. This year it was 10:24!! (right at TWO MINUTES off) I tied for 10th place out of 24 in my age group. (Last year I was 12/24...so looks like pretty much everyone had a faster swim this year.)
Okay...I had THE FASTEST T1 time in my age group and THIRD FASTEST out of all 155 females!!! Smokin', even with the weirdness I felt about how my bike was racked. What can I say...I can transition pretty darn fast. I think the two women who beat me probably have their shoes attached to their bikes...that would have been the only thing I could have done to make it faster (other than racking the other direction which may have cost me half a second on T1). (For comparison, last year it was 1:21 4/24 AG, this year... 52 seconds!)
I have to say it...I think this is my fastest average per mile race speed so far. (Mach Tenn average was 17.8.) I did the nine miles in 28:12 which was an average pace of 18.8. It didn't feel good. It's a flat course and there was really no wind at all. I feel like, based on what I had been doing in training before I got hurt, I "should have" been able to go faster for nine miles. But, there were several times I looked down to see I was going over 20. I passed several people, but also got passed by several. I think all-in-all, it was a solid effort...one I hope to improve on. It was good enough for 5/24 in my age group. ((I'm going to say those other 4 have Tri bikes with racing wheels and then quickly remind myself it's not about the machine, it's about the engine. Learning to bike faster on my road bike will only help me when I get a new machine!!) (Last year: 35:24 18/24AG-yes, I stunk it up on the bike last year...maybe I was riding on flat tires?!)
My T2 wasn't as fast as it could have been if I had the guts to run with out socks. I keep saying I will practice, but I just haven't. I don't want to take the chance to get blisters so I have only done it once. Putting on socks just takes time. Also...learning to dismount with my shoes still clipped would have saved some time. Once again, this is a fear issue. My time was 1:02, good enough to tie for 6th/24 in my age group. (Last year was 1:11...and that included the time it took for me to try to run out the wrong way.)
Okay, I'm not going to belabor this section. I am not happy with my run AT ALL. I don't know why I couldn't seem to get it in gear, but I just didn't have my best run and that's all there is to it. Last year I ran it with a 9:37 pace for a total time of 29:51. This year it took me 30:31 to run the 5K (9:51 pace). I'll write a longer post later about the run as well as my post-race recap....I have a lot more to say about it than I have time to write at this time! I placed 15/24 in my age group in the run.
Overall...ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, it's okay. I'm so disappointed in my run it's hard to keep things in perspective, but, when I stop to think I cut off TEN minutes from my race time last year and came in the top 4th of my age group (6/24 overall...but since the first place gal was pulled for an overall award, really it was 5/23)....and this is after being injured and not training for 5 weeks.
It's better than okay...it's good. I did well in this race overall. There...I said it. I did well and OVERALL I'm happy with what I did. (No...that doesn't mean I'm happy with that stinking run, but that's another post!)
Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!