adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Posts tagged ‘Olympic distance triathlon’

race report: HITS Grand Junction Oly

It might only come out once, so savor it, people: Mr. Prepared was right.

Alright, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get on with the backstory, right?  I have been hemming and hawing about doing this race at Highline State Park near Grand Junction for about 3 weeks.  I have been completely avoiding it- didn’t make any camping or hotel reservations, didn’t find someone to watch the dog, etc., etc.  I knew that I was underprepared, certainly not where I imagined I would be when I signed up for the race in January.  I tried to switch distances earlier this week, but it was too late.  I tried to reason with Mr. Prepared that it was only a $35 New Year’s entry fee, so we could easily skip it without guilt.  But he stood firm.  He made a hotel reservation.  He found someone to watch the dog.  He changed out my tires, packed the car, gave me a pillow and told me to take a nap on the way.  After my nap, I watched this video by the Cyber Crush, which helped me remember why showing up to this race was important.

Since I was stuck going, I reasoned that I could take the race easy, make it a long intensity workout, and not sweat it.  Which was a giant fat lie to myself.  A lie I kept repeating to myself until we got there this morning.  For those of you who don’t know me, I am pretty competitive.  A lot of women feel the need to downplay their competitiveness, but I will be straight up honest and tell you I am.  But if you look at it my way, competing against others on my own in a healthy outlet like triathlon is a hell of a lot better than taking my competitive nature and yelling my head off at my kid’s soccer game or driving super aggressively through the school parking lot.  It is what it is, so when I come to a competition, I come to compete…not for some long intensity workout.  But I knew that today I couldn’t rely on being really prepared or really rested, or anything like that…today was a COLD SHOWER THERAPY kind of day.  It was time to find out if I could shut down my negative thinking while busting my guts out there.

The lake was warmer than I thought it would be at this time of year, so while the air temp was cold, it was not the numbing freezingness of last October’s race here.  Once we started, I fell into a decent rhythm by about 500 meters.  I knew there was one women out of in front of me somewhere, but I wasn’t worried.  I was really enjoying the swim by about 1000 meters, and I started thinking that maybe I should do another lap, or just get out and stop…end on a high note, you know?  But of course I couldn’t stop myself…I could hardly keep myself upright as I ran to the transition, since I had completely forgotten my ear plugs (which proves they really do work!) and was super dizzy at the swim exit.  T1 was a disaster, as I couldn’t stand and put on my shoes since I was shaking, and I wanted my light windbreaker, which I couldn’t get on, although it certainly didn’t help that the transition area lady was yelling at me that I should have put on more Bodyglide (like, thanks, your advice after the fact is sooo helpful!).  Fortunately, they had adorable stools, and I sat and pulled it together.

just to be clear, I snapped this before the race, although my time in transition 1 might imply otherwise.

just to be clear, I snapped this before the race, although my time in transition 1 might imply otherwise.

So then it was off on the bike.  I felt pretty good for the first half.  I am having a little love/hate relationship with my bike right now because sometimes it feels like it’s not “enough bike” for me.  I know we need to do some tinkering, upgrading, etc., but we really haven’t gotten around to it.  Plus, it’s kind of rush when you pass by the people with super fancy bikes and aero helmets on your Specialized Allez Sport stock bike and outlet-purchased helmet.  Just sayin’.  Getting to the turnaround was great, but I could tell I was starting to flag around Mile 20.  There were a lot of positive and negative thoughts going on as a couple of ladies passed me at the end of the bike.  I had to keep my mind from wandering down the spiral of, “What am I doing out here? I am just a mom with too much back fat hanging out.”  I kept up the positive mantras, and when they didn’t shut the negative thoughts down, I just started singing Macklemore in my head.  Totally worked.

Until about Mile 4 of the run, anyways.  I had been bargaining with my body that if it would just give me 2 good miles, I would stop for a pee break.  Which it did, and I did.  Then a bargain for 1 more mile to the turnaround.  Then 1.5 more miles back to the final aid station.  And that’s about when my body decided it had had enough.  Another person pounded up the hill in front of me, and I started walking.  Just to the top, where a volunteer was like, “You still got it!  You’re one of the top ten ladies!”  And that became my mantra, as I closed my eyes, prayed no cars would hit me, and ran another hard mile.  I had to take a little break to walk up the hill before I got onto the dam (mostly because I wanted the finish at the end of the dam to look good, since everyone was watching there).  I put my head down and chugged out the last .2 miles.  My run time was a little ugly, but so was the course, which they admittedly changed the night before to a bit hillier course.

Once I caught my breath, I THANKED Mr. Prepared and told him that he was right.  Which made him beam.  He admitted, “You know, that was a calculated risk, making you go out there and do it.  I knew it could be either a disaster or have a huge payoff.  Looks like I calculated correctly this time.”

HITS Triathlon Grand Junction Olympic- 1500 m swim/24.8 bike/6.2 run:
Swim: 23:51/ T1: 4:34/Bike: 1:18/T2: 1:06/Run: 1:01
Time: 2:49:27/ 8th Overall Women

BTW, big shout out to the HITS Triathlon Series!  They made this event AWESOME!  I hope this venue can be their new Colorado home.

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race recap: Desert’s Edge Triathlon

The one I have been waiting for was worth the wait.

If it could have gone down any more perfectly, it would have seemed surreal.  I knew what my goal was, I worked hard to get there, and despite a few minor mishaps, it all went off without a hitch.  But there was a hiss…

Yes, a hiss that your bike tire makes when you’re unscrewing the cap to check the tire pressure in transition while chatting inanely to no one in particular right before your valve stem blows off.  You know that hiss?  I wasn’t familiar with it, but one guy pointed and said, “There’s a bike tech over there!”  I ran to the bike tech and he couldn’t get the valve stem back on the tire, but fortunately I had a tube with a longer valve stem in my bag, so he said, “Go get ready!” and I set off to warm up while he put on the new tube.  Thank you, Bike Angel Man!  The bike was all ready to go when I came back from warming up, and I was ready except for the man who tried to snake my spot in transition while my bike was gone (like, did you climb out of your warm sleeping bag into the freezing cold at 6 AM? No, you didn’t!)

It was FREEZING.  I mean maybe 40 degrees and colder in the shade.  You know, at the shady swim start and in transition.  I hopped down to the swim start, where I ran into my old friend Kathy, who was the person who ever started me on this crazy triathlon dream many years ago.  What a coincidence!  We never ended up doing a triathlon together, but my first race in 2010 was a result of a New Year’s resolution we had made waaaayyy back in 2002.  It was so great to see her on this special day!

Anyways, after talking barefoot on the frozen concrete for many minutes, my toes and feet were completely numb as I walked into the water and put on my goggles.  SNAP, the nose piece broke in 2 places.  I turned to my husband, Mr. Prepared, who looked pissed.  Like, don’t you ever check these things ahead of time?  He tried to slice off more rubber for a new nose piece while I appealed to the crowd.  A lady ran back to transition for her backup goggles.  I waited nervously, knowing it was my only hope but also aware that I am very particular about my goggles.  Somehow, they were perfect without adjustment and absolutely no leaks!  Thank you Goggle Angel Lady!

The swim was cold.  I couldn’t get going into a rhythm at first.  About halfway through the swim, I decided that I am definitely not interested in doing an open water long-distance swims AT ALL.  I had penciled one in on my race calendar for 2013, but it will be scratched.  A mile seems long.  8K would seem impossible, boring, and not fun.

However, this was fun- an Olympic distance is still so racy, like a sprint, but really requires training and preparation to do it well.  And each distance is just long enough that you are grateful for the change of discipline when it comes.  I was more than ready to get on my bike; however, I couldn’t feel my hands or my toes.  I threw on a long underwear shirt to help defray the icicles forming on my body.  Fortunately, I had done a little pre-ride of the first 3 miles the day before, and I knew there were a few quick uphills, so I prayed I would warm up.  I could hardly shift with my hands so numb, and I started to get discouraged, but I realized that every person was in the same boat as me, and if I worked hard enough, I could warm up my body.  My hands started to thaw around mile 6, and I got into a good cadence, pacing myself off some guys in front of me.  I picked off quite a few people on the bike, including some Air Force cadets (c’mon- don’t you guys work out all the time?).  I was almost thankful that I hadn’t lost any more body fat this summer, as it seemed the really skinny people were having a tough go getting warm and fast.  My legs felt very powerful and fast (thank you, Evil Genius, for your awesome taper), the bike was fast (thank you Charlie @Mountain Pedaler for the back tire size tip), and I went about exactly my goal speed!  The last climb made me ready to get off the bike and onto my wet, frozen feet.

I slipped off the long underwear, threw the sticky gels out of my shorts, and climbed into my running shoes.  The only small problem was I couldn’t actually feel my feet.   One guy yelled as we exited transition, “All I feel is numbness!”  I shouted back that it sounded like a perfect grunge song.  As Sarah’s kindergarten teacher said afterward, it was like running on stumps.  I figured if I kept pounding my feet into the ground, they would have to wake up, right?  They did…at about mile 4.  I had finally started my watch (so typical) on my way out of transition into the run, so I was pleasantly surprised to see 8:48 at the first mile marker.  I knew if I could keep it up, I would be able to put together my goal 10k pace, despite the numb feet.  I think Taylor was a little surprised to see me at 27 minutes after my first lap.  My hip started to hurt pretty badly at about 4 miles, at which time I promptly gave it an internal verbal lashing.  The last 2 miles were pretty tough, but I could hear the little girl singing at the aid station at mile 5, and I just kept looking right in front of me and trying not to look too far ahead.  Honestly, I didn’t really “kick” at the end, but I knew I had my goal without actually knowing for sure.  Sure enough, 2:39:28, under my goal of 2:40:00, and good enough for first place in my age group.

What an amazing end to this season.  I feel so blessed and lucky to have so many good people who supported me and motivated me and helped me reach my potential.  I feel very grateful I was able to complete the season injury-free and finish all of my races.  These gifts will not be lost on me at all.  I look forward to what the next racing season brings!

Desert’s Edge Olympic Triathlon
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Highline Lake State Park, Fruita, CO

 

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