Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I pulled 2nd place out of my ass

Here is the question:

Would you rather come in first, second or third during a race where you missed your goal and/or made dumb mistakes? 


Would you rather hit your goals and come in last?

I came in second place (AG) after racing one of my worst races ever.

and I was PISSED.

Go ahead, tell me to be happy about coming in second. I don't care. I missed my goals by 10 minutes. 

You guys have been reading about my tri adventures since 2005. You know that I have always been a back of the packer.  I have never really dreamed of coming in first, second or third. That would always be *nice*, but it doesn't represent who I am or what I can do.

All a medal means is that faster people didn't show up to race that day.

And that's why I'M PISSED OFF. 

I realize that is not exactly true.

MY point is that ANYTHING can happen on race day. Getting 1st, 2nd or 3rd doesn't mean anything more than your day went better than someone else's.

Why should I be happy with a 2nd place when I missed my goal by 10 minutes? And that wasn't even my aggressive goal!

Here's the story:

This was my first sprint since 2008. I could have sworn that I did one in 2009 or 2010, but I can't find any results. 

I have never been so nervous before a race. I've been training with Ricci for 6 months now, and this was my first race with my new plan and focus. In the past, I've just done sprints for completion. I never really raced them.

Before the race, I watched the transition videos 4 times, taking different notes each time and practicing things. I read over the sprint strategy...too many times to count....and I got last minute advice from Coach.

The race was in the evening on a very hot day. I took all of that into account and planned my day out pretty well. 

Still, nothing calmed me down. I can't tell you how nervous I was. My Mike was standing on the beach and he kept giving me this sign to breathe. I knew I must have looked like I was going to be sick because that's how I felt.

I managed to pull off a PR; even though, I made a ton of mistakes. PR, yes. Hit my goal: No. 

What I really wanted to get out of this race was to just DO IT. Race a sprint and give me a point of reference for the rest of my season. 


I am really comfortable on the swim. But I went about it all wrong. We had a beach start. I was literally shaking as I stood there. When it was time for us to go, I took off like a bat out of hell. My form was all jacked up. My heart rate felt like it was through the roof. I kept up that pace until I got to the first buoy. It would take me awhile to recover. I had to slow down. I didn't want to ruin my bike and run because I swam too fast. I caught and passed most of the men in the previous wave. When I got out of the water, I was still a mess. 

I had to walk the hill back to transition.

I know this was entirely fueled my my nerves. I've had great ow swims this week. It would be better for me to focus on form and the speed will follow; instead of going out there like crazy. 


I was looking forward to this. I will try to keep this short. I hopped on the bike and was ready to go. I scouted out the route before hand and knew that we started on a hill. I took it easy. I let a few people pass me. Once we got to the top, it was all over. Drop the hammer? Not exactly. 

I was passing people like they were standing still, but I was holding back. After the swim, I was worried about going too hard and really suffering during the run. I made a goal that I wasn't going to let a woman pass me. When a guy passed, I would stay with him if I could. That's when I realized that I could climb hills better than I thought. I could catch these guys on the uphill. They would pass me on the downs. A couple of months before the race, I watched coach Troy's video on cresting a hill. I'd been practicing the technique. It worked. I got to the top, and I would end up being ahead until we were halfway down. 

Toward the end, a guy pulled along side of me and said "Don't let me beat you. You beat me on the hills, but we're heading down now. Don't let me beat you" And he took off. The race was on. hahahahaha! No kidding, we were flying. We pulled into transition together.

I can't say I was disappointed with my speed because it was a PR. I averaged about 19.5 mph. I was disappointed because I held back too much. I was concerned about being able to run. Turns out, I was right....given how dehydrated I was. 

Bike Mistake:

My plan was one bottle of infinit on the bike, get water at the aid station. I never saw an aid station. I finished the infinit and needed water. I had a small bottle of water in transition. I drank it down on the way out on the run. But, it wasn't enough. Next time, I will bring 2 bottles. 


I drank the little bottle of water. I wasn't even at the half mile mark when my stomach started cramping. There HAS to be an aid station on the run. 

And there was....at the halfway mark. I really wish the RD had put an aid station at the 1 mile mark. Then we could have hit it twice. It's not the RD's fault that I messed up my nutrition. At the same time, it was hot out there. 

I really missed my goal on the run. I run 5ks at a 9:35 pace. My goal for the 3 miles was 10:00 pace. I finished with a 10:58 pace. (And yes, that is a tie with my previous sprint pr, but it was slower than I could go had I done a better job of....well, just EVERYTHING).

OH! Another thing about the run. It was hilly. I wasn't expecting that at all. I've run out at this reservoir quite a bit, but have never run that course. 

With a mile left, my calf started cramping. It was like little shots of lightning. At this point, I'm dreaming about water. I'm staring out at the reservoir filled with water, and I can't drink! OH the pain!

That's it. the finish is uphill through some sand, then a short sprint to the finish.

It really was a day of mixed emotions.

Now that I got that *first* race of the season done, I know what I need to fix. My transitions were fast. I was in and out, faster than I have in the past. I need to use more control and focus on form on the swim. I need to fuel better on the bike and not be afraid to "drop the hammer". :) 

Then, the run will be easier. I wouldn't say it was a sufferfest, but cramps hurt a little bit. 

After I finish, I sat down with My Mike and we had the BBQ. He was going on and on about my PR and how fast I went past on the bike and how great it was that I came out ahead of so many men in the previous wave. I listened to him, and I realized that he was right. I did well.

Then he says, "You need to race more." 
Me: "You sound like Ricci."
Mike: "He's right. What do these races cost? $100? You need to race more. I know you made mistakes but that's because you hadn't raced in awhile. If you get out there, you'll be in race mentality more often. So, what's next?"


Finish time: 1:31 and almost 4 minute PR. 2nd place F45-49, but there were only a few of us in the 45-49 AG. My placing doesn't matter as much as my time anyway. (**update** there were in fact 10 of us).

The end result is that I still have to learn how to race a sprint.

That's what this race was supposed to show me, and it did.

You can be sure, I will not make the same mistakes twice.

Next time, I will be ready. 

Next race: Less than a month.