After the race, I jumped right back into a 14 hour training week. It’s taken me until today to catch my breath and put down a few thoughts about the race itself.
There were a few goals and objectives heading into this event:
Negative split all 3 areas
Improve transition/move through with purpose
Race “my” race..DO NOT race to place…***BIG ONE***
Come out 1st in my AG in the swim
Most of these were instructions given by my coach, which I agreed upon whole-heartedly….and 1 may have been an expectation that I simply demanded of myself.
Race morning was a crispy 47F outside…
Water temperature was hovering around 60F…..That might as well be Arctic waters for us in South Mississippi. Just so you know, I have to talk myself into the pool at 78F….
So we’re racked and ready…..and decide to head down to test the waters.
It was cold. I couldn’t feel my face, hands, or my feet. I couldn’t tell if I was kicking or feel my stroke at all….My face was the worst…..it was totally numb and I was getting a headache after only being in a few minutes…
Luckily it was a short 600 meters!
However, I did decide this must be how people die during the swim portion of triathlon. They get into this cold water and go all out and have some sort of vaso-spasm or constriction. After being in this frigid lake, I totally see how it could happen, especially on a longer swim. I promptly decided to simply SWIM…..to hell with speed. Nice full strokes and get the hell out was now the objective!
It was a time trial start and I was #24. My husband was #25. I hit the water and no sooner than I thought, “Holy shit this cold!” did I see him FLYING by me on the left. I said a small prayer that HE didn’t have a heart attack and focused on smooth strokes and sighting.
I ended up with a really good swim. I went buoy to buoy….didn’t swim ANY extra distance or stray off course. I swam the last 300m faster than the 1st so I achieved the goal of a negative split…
I ended up 1st in my AG in the swim with an average pace of 1:36/100y.
I wasn’t so happy with my overall time, but considering the conditions and how I swam.. I’m coming to terms with it more and more each day!
This is a hilly course and I don’t ride or race hills often so I knew pacing was going to be an issue, but I was up for the task.
This was also my 1st race with my Quarq power meter. I was given no rules about power/wattage(yeah!!) other than to go all out. I believe phrase “violent effort” was how my coach actually phrased it, but I also had to keep that negative split in mind…
Heres the interesting thing, I rode the entire course and never looked at my speed once. All I checked were my watts and cadence…
It’s official, I’ve been converted to a power meter junkie!
I ended up with an average of 162 watts/18.7 mph for the ride AND I did pick up more wattage on the back half than the front….AND the back half had a touch more elevation as well… so all in all I paced perfectly.
Could I have ridden harder? Probably…hard to tell. I wouldn’t exactly call my effort “violent”, but my ability to pace was spot on so since that is a key skill I’m focusing on for my 70.3 and 140.6 I’m going to take it and run….so to speak
Last time I raced this course, a few years ago, I was averaging closer to 17.1 mph…Progress is a good thing!
This run course sucks. There is no nice way to say it. It’s VERY hilly, but that’s not the issue. The problem lies with the terrain itself. There are two very steep areas that are off-road.
The 1st area is right around mile 1 and it’s a mix of sand, clay, and rock. The 2nd is closer to the end, around mile 2.5, and is a winding trail with pine straw covered rock.
This wouldn’t pose a problem if you have trails to run on daily, but for those of us…or just me….who don’t and who also have VERY flexible ankles/feet and are running in flat shoes with lock laces it just doesn’t work real well. In order to do this well, I’d need a very supportive shoe and real laces to lock my ankle in nice and tight!
As a result, I walked most of the off-road areas. I simply wasn’t willing to roll an ankle (happened more times than I care to count on much flatter surfaces) 4 weeks away from my half-ironman.
That being said, it was still a good run. I again, was able to negative split the 5k by keeping a lid on myself as I came out of T2. I do have a tendency to go out too fast so I’ve worked countess hours on run pacing strategies and they are finally starting to pay off…
I averaged under a 8:50/min/mi for the 5k and while I expected a bit more, I was generally pleased considering the circumstances.
ehhh….not good, not great.
T1 was a nightmare coming out of that frigid water. Everyone was right around 2-3 minutes and I was closer to 3.
I helped my husband get his jersey on since his hands were numb and to be perfectly honest, my brain was not working….co-ordination was off… I seriously doubted my ability to even RIDE my bike!
T2 was fine. I was on the far side so it took a bit longer to get in and out, but I did so in just over a minute. I was pleased with that…there was not much more I would’ve done here.
I ended up about 3 minutes faster than the last time I was here. I’m told I can’t compare my times, on a course, year over year because so many things other than performance can effect the outcome.
Lucky You….I’ll spare you the paragraph about how I wanted improve more than 3 minutes and all the many ways I would’ve done so!
All in all it was a good day. I didn’t place like I’d hoped, but that wasn’t really the “ultimate” objective.
My coach gave me an A+ for the day and I also gained some precious wattage for training and racing purposes…YEAH! :)
I think the most valuable thing I’m seeing develop is that ability to pace successfully.
In the past, I’ve pushed so hard riding in attempt to “make up time” for what I’ll loose on the run because I’m not a 6-7 min/miler…I’ve had a really hard time buying into the, “make it up on the run” philosophy. But by backing off a bit on the bike, I’m able to run a bit closer to my stand alone 5k time….or 13.1 time in day-to-day training.
As days go by, that gap is closing and we continue to tinker with workouts and get closer to the correct formula. It’s definitely an art and takes a lot of diligent effort, but there is no doubt, the longer the race the bigger the return.
So what’s next you may ask?
Well let me tell you because I am SOOO excited!!
In a few weeks we’re having our 1st OWS here on the MS Gulf Coast!!
1 mile in the Gulf!
I CAN NOT WAIT!
No worries about biking or running after…..or how fast can I get my wetsuit off….
Just 1 mile…
How fast can you go?
Woo-Hoo!! Good Times!!
Swim Happy, My Friends!