I kept staring at the comment that was posed on the screen by one of my EN coaches, “The question is not whether you NEED to race. Do you WANT to race? Because that is all that matters.” I had hit them up in the forums about racing this weekend and whether is was “necessary” to race before my 70.3 in June. Before he responded, I had decided that I didn’t really want to race this weekend. Too much admin, time, money wasted on a course I could do any day of the week. But once I read his reply, my inner thoughts immediately jumped to, “Why don’t I want to race? Isn’t that the whole point of training-to race?” And I knew immediately that even if I didn’t want to race, I NEEDED to race- to save myself from falling into a common training pitfall- not being able to see the forest for the trees.
Most athletes train to compete. For many, the competition is their favorite part. I like to compete too, but I like the predictability that day-to-day training brings me. I can get VERY comfortable training. Which is not a good thing. However, my training has been very uncomfortable, off-schedule, and unpredictable lately, which made me grumpy, exhausted, and frustrated. Throwing a race on top of trying to balance the schedule? No thank you.
But I needed the race to remember why I do all the regimented training. And also to remember that it’s OK sometimes to not follow the schedule exactly and if you’re tired, it’s OK to skip a workout here and there. I’m not out here saving lives. I’m just trying to have fun.
So I went into Friday with that attitude. I tested out the long sleeve wetsuit in the pool Friday morning, picked up my packet late Friday, and took the bike home from the rack room at Hometown after we figured out how to adjust the back brake so it would stop rubbing.
Saturday morning I got up extra early because I knew I would forget something- the beginning of the season I always have jitters because I haven’t done any pre-race routine in so long. When I got there, I saw Claudia right away in the parking lot and she saved me with a bike pump, since I hadn’t remembered to bring mine or pump up my tires -*head smack* . It was nice to have a friend in transition with me, since I haven’t had that since moving away from CO. It was also so nice that so many people from Hamburg Fitness tri team came out- Deb, Rex, Marcelo, Wes, and everyone else! They have really welcomed me to their team and that’s been a lot of fun.
It started before I was even ready– not much time to warm up even, since I spent more time talking and le ss time prepping! The water was warmer than I thought, making me wish I had worn the sleeveless since it is so much easier to get off. As I imagined, without ear plugs (forgotten!) I was super dizzy coming out of the water and had a hard time getting the wetsuit unzipped, much less off my feet. My first transition time was SLOW. Embarrassingly slow, but what could I do? So I hopped on the bike and took off- with a purpose, of course. The main goal of the bike was to “flatten” any hills, keep my cadence consistent, and not cross-chain (or I would never live it down at the bike shop). The course is very familiar to me, as I ride it at least once every couple of weeks, so I knew I could work on keeping the cadence at a reasonable 85-90 RPM. Keeping the power consistent and “flattening” out the hills proved to be more difficult. My competitive nature tends to kick in, and with a sprint, I just kind of went for it. Overall, I was satisfied with how I felt on the bike. Unfortunately, my time was not as fast as I hoped, but I had held back a little, reminding myself I needed to survive a brisk 60 mile ride the next day!
On the run, I just went for it because I was feeling pretty good and happy! I was SO GLAD that I raced, and I knew I was doing well. The run course is fairly easy, so it felt great and I was able to clock a new personal best 5k- 24:06. I was surprised when I crossed the finish line to find out that I had finished first overall in 1:17:20.XX! This was a great experience for me to have before my “A” race, although in the past week I wished I had the guts to have raced the Olympic with the “big guns”, I can take away the satisfaction of knowing that I am out there doing something for the right reasons when I race Rev3 WI Dells in June. Now I can’t wait!!