Sunday, January 18, 2015

Racing Friends

Me and "Bilbo"
Funny I started working on the "year in review" post I realized I didn't write about what some might say was my best race all season, a new one called Racing Rivals.

I don't know if I would call it my best race of the season but it sure was a fun race that I'm already looking forward to doing again.  Racing Rivals was held on August 9th at Clearwater Lake in Owens Cross Roads.  I can't say enough good things about this race.  It was an inaugural race and super small but I have a feeling it will significantly increase in size this year because it certainly had a big race feel to it and it was incredibly fun.

Some of the Bicycle Cove Racing Team
I think one of my favorite things about this race was being surrounded by friends and Bicycle Cove Race Teammates!  Not to mention, the race paid for the participants to have  FREE downloads of race photos taken by KatieBeth Pierson Photography.

It's called Racing Rivals because it raises money for college scholarships for three rival colleges (Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn).  But to me it was "Racing Friends".

My start wave hamming it up!
The swim was in a TINY "lake" that is used for competitive water skiing.  It has a cool little island that you swim around (400 meters).  By the time my group wave started (I think it was the last group to go in the water) the water was murky, but no worse than any other lake ever is.  Out of the 18 people in my age group (a 10 year group because of the size of the race) my swim (10:07) put me in 5th.  My main goal for the swim was to not have to take any little "mini breaks" and to try to stay steady the whole time.  I did fairly well, until the end.  I saw that I was next to another gal who I figured was in my group and decided I needed to speed up to try to get in front of her.  I can't even remember if I did get in front of her, but I was able to speed up quite a bit according to my data!

I don't quite have the Popeye breathing down yet do I?
Transition was in a parking lot right in front of the lake-perfect placement.  I was able to get in and out in THIRTY SEVEN seconds.  I might not swim, bike or run fast, but I can T1 like no body's business!  (Second place was :50!)  So I came out of the water 5th, but I left T1 in 4th (trailing only by 4 seconds).  Transitions matter.

One of the athletes I coach was doing this race.  (I'm going to call her Blibo for a host of reasons that I'll have to share in another post...)  Since Bilbo is younger, she started 9 minutes ahead of me.  My biggest goal for the day was to catch (and pass) her.  Her biggest goal of the day was to not let that happen!  Getting on the bike I had that one thing in mind so I tried to dig as deep as I could.  The 12 mile course is slightly rolling with no real climbs or descents.  It's an out and back backwards J of a route, so there are a total of 6 turns with a turn around.  My average speed of 18.8 and time of 39:15 put me in third place on the bike and took me to third in my age group.  Of course, I had no idea where I stood.  All I knew was that I had not caught up with (and passed) Bilbo, yet.

The look on my face says it all!
I had not done the flying mount as I had planned to, but I was able to do the flying dismount (2nd time in a race).  I struggled getting my shoes on because when I put my shoe on my calf seized up.  (I would have forgotten all about this but I put it in my notes on Training Peaks for the day.)  That cramp meant T2 took me :59 which was six seconds slower than the 1st place T2er.  The fast transition did bring me seconds closer to the 2nd place spot, but I was still down by almost two full minutes.

I had been having some issues with cramping for the first time over the summer.  I'm still not entirely sure why except that because I wasn't training long I wasn't using any electrolytes on a regular basis.  That day (because of the cramping issues) I put EFS in my water bottle on the bike and I took a little hand-held of it to carry with me on the run.  I grabbed up my hat, race belt and bottle and headed out with the intention to catch (and pass) Bilbo.

To the Finish
The 3.1 mile run is an out and back that starts flat, goes up a decent climb, turns around and comes back.  I had not been running all too well all summer but catching Bilbo was a huge motivator.  My calves and feet cramped a little at first but I sucked down some EFS hoping that would help.  After a short bit the cramping passed and just left me feeling a little tight.  I remember feeling surprisingly good other than that.  Feeling good doesn't always translate into a fast run though.  My time of 30:43 put me in TWELFTH place for that section.  Thankfully I had just enough time in the bank to eek out a 3rd place age group finish by just thirty six seconds (three full minutes behind 2nd place!).

I know what you are asking...although I beat Bilbo on the clock, it wasn't by enough to catch (and pass) her.  She told me it was great motivation to know I was behind her trying to catch her the whole time.  When she was tempted to slow down she pictured me getting closer which kept her going.  (I think I've found a new strategy!)

This was a super fun race and I'm already looking forward to racing it again this next year...although I have a choice to make because Wet Dog is the weekend before.  I know I'll register for both of them, but I have never raced back to back weekends.  Sure, the distances are short, but racing short distances is HARD from start to finish!  So...I'll have to think on that one.  If you want to join me at either of these races, registration is OPEN right now!  The price for Wet Dog increases in a couple of weeks.  The price for Racing Rivals doesn't increase until July.  Maybe I can chase you this year!!

Next year end recap, you know since 2015 is almost three weeks old!