Saturday, July 7, 2012

SheRox Sprint Race Report

For as many years as I've been writing these reports, you know there's ALWAYS something that happens at a race. There are few (if any) perfect races.

But it isn't all that noise, all those external issues that make a race good or bad. It's how we handle them.

SheRox Sprint Triathlon 750m/10.7 mile bike/5k

I have never done this race before. I watched it last year when I was training for boulder. I had a long ride planned that day and didn't realize there was a race going on. When I was done my ride, I looked up the finish times. DAMN, bitches are FAST.  

Mental note: AVOID SheRox

Fast Forward to this year, I'm registered and ready to go. Ready to compete against those insanely fast women.

So, there's that.

Then, there's also the fact that 2 weeks ago I found out that my nemesis was also planning on racing. 

Why I'm not particularly fond of her:
1.) She gives triathletes a bad name.
2.) She's mean.
3.) She has a huge ego.
4.) She's one of the faster swimmers. (I often finished within seconds of her at our Dip n Dashes.....which means she beat me at every single race).

But maybe the most important reason:
When we found out that we'd both be at SheRox, she said, "Oh, I'll stick around and cheer you in."





I want to do well. I run my race to the best of my ability. The results will be what they are. But, DO NOT call me out like that. 

Cuz I will open a can of whoop ass every time.

Let's get on with the race.

I took a tour of the course first thing in the morning. The transitions were ridiculous. The run from the water was .25 mile up a very steep hill. Crazy steep. Next (minus the hill) a similarly long run from transition to the point where you can actually mount and dismount your bike. 

Running is not exactly my strong point. The more running there is, the more that will hurt my time in the long run. 

I turn to My Mike, and I say "I have to take my wetsuit off right at swim exit. It's the only way I will be able to keep up with everyone."

Of course, he replies, "You are brillant."

Let's talk goals. My goal for this race: sub 1:30, aggressive goal: 1:25.  Broken down like this:
Swim: 14:00
Bike: 20.5 mph
Run: sub 32:55

I was in the last wave. I took off at a moderate pace. I hit the 325m mark in 5:07. I was happy with that. We turned. The next 100 was into the current (not a strong current at all). then we turned and the rest was straight home with the current.

I step on the beach in 14:05 (garmin time). PERFECT. I wasn't out of breath, wasn't tired. Felt like I just had a nice little swim.

On the beach, I stopped and stripped my suit off super fast. My Mike yells at me "Sandra got out in 11:00, 3 minutes ahead of you, but she didn't look good."

I took off running up hill. I yelled back. "No problem. I will catch her on the bike."

When I said that, everyone started cheering for me. People were yelling "GO GET HER. You'll catch her!"  

Note: Taking my wetsuit off at water's edge, really was brilliant. I ran the quarter of a mile in about 2:00, uphill, and I passed other women who were walking with their wetsuits on.

I run into T1, throw my wetsuit down, put on my helmet, and I'm outta there fast. the fastest t1 time of my AG in under 1 minute.'s the dumb part....we have to run with our bikes, not just through transition, but down a path toward the road, make a left turn THEN we can mount our bikes.

Again, NOT good for someone who is not the best (but getting better) at running.

Clearly this race was design by a RUNNER for RUNNERS.

I hop on the the bike at the same time another women in my AG did. (She ended up coming in #1 on the bike. I was #2).

We were neck in neck the ENTIRE way. I would beat her on climbs and she'd pass me on the downhills.

I couldn't shake her. (BTW-she ended up coming in 3rd. Well deserved. Well played little lady. Well played).

Then, I made my mistake. at 5 miles, I reached back for my GU. Nothing. both packets fell out of my short pockets. Within those few seconds of loss of concentration, she took off, and I couldn't catch her. Well, I probably could....see LESSONS the bottom.

BIKE: my garmin posted my speed as 20.2 mph. Officially speed was 19.7....that's with the long transition calculated in. I'm fine with that. Next time, I will be 21 mph. Count on it.

All of a sudden, I realize that I have no idea where sandra was. How did she get so fast? She must have beat me again. That's when My Mike yells: Sandra hasn't come in yet. You're number 2. GO!!!

In my excitement, I started running out when I realized that I had my helmet on. No wait. I didn't notice the helmet. Heather did. With a quick little hand motion and, "Um, you gotta a little something stuck to your head." I realized my mistake. WTF? I had to run all the way back to my bike. 

The Run
Here we go. I'm feeling really good. the run starts on an uphill. Pretty good sized. I think to myself, "This is PERFECT. I need to remember to start slower. This will really help me."

I'm pacing pretty good. I feel great. I have never felt so good during a race. 

top of the hill: .65 miles. AWESOME. I'll hit that hard on the way back. 

At mile 2, I start to pick up the pace. At mile 2, I glance at my watch. I SWEAR it said 1:17.

I'm a little disappointed, but I knew I was heading to a pr. Heck all I had to do was run less than a 13 minute mile, and I'll PR. But, I wanted MORE than that. I set my sights on a finish time of 1:27. Thinking, well the aggressive goal was PRETTY AGGRESSIVE.

At the halfway point of the run, I stopped for water and gatorade. I didn't have anything on the bike except for water, and I didn't want the problem with cramping that I had at my last race.

With 1 mile left, I hit hard. Mild ups and downs and then the .65 downhill. It's about the only time I can hit an 8:30 mile. 

At this point, I'm running about as hard as I can run. 

Keep in mind...I have NO idea what my time is.

I cross the finish line and don't even look at the clock.

My Mike comes running at me, SCREAMING "1:23!! 1:23!!!! I THINK YOU PLACED 1:23!! You were going so fast. I almost missed you on the bike. You were coming in hot!"

I wrinkle up my face and I'm thinking "'re delusional. There's no way I was 1:23."

I look at my Garmin: 1:23:45 which just happens to be my offical time.

That's.not.possible. How did that happen?

We hung around waiting for the results. Placing would ROCK, but I'm still walking around dazed and confused as to how I possibly pulled off a 1:23.

results are finally up: 5th place. 5th place.

I've never come in above 50%, let alone top 10. NEVER.

We sit down. Mike's munching on my post race burrito when he says, "Oh hey look. Sandra just crossed the finish line."

12 minutes after me.

"You should go congratulate her. Let her know."

"Nah, that's not my style. She'll see the results."

1:23. What is that? a 9 minute? 10 minute pr? I don't know. I'm still not thinking straight.

I don't even feel like I did a 1:23. 

Thrilled? I can't even begin to explain how happy I am. I looked at the official results. All the runners around me ran their 5ks at around 8:30 pace or so. Then there's my little ole 10:29 pace coming in 5th. 

There's something to be said for executing a race to plan and being good at the swim and really good on the bike. 

But with every race, there's the good and the "where can I improve"

Lessons learned:
1.) don't lose concentration on the bike. 
2.) On the short rides, GU is fine, but those shorts pockets were too shallow. Next time, I'll wear my shorts with the leg pockets. 

What I did well:
1.) I followed the plan. 
2.) I didn't go out like a bat out of hell.
3.) Even when I thought I was behind or coming in close to a PR, I kept my focus up instead of taking the "defeatist" mentality. I wasn't going to give up today.

Where do I go from here:

These are the nagging questions, post race analysis. 

Did I go hard enough? I'm not sure. I feel pretty confident that I could have upped the intensity a little bit in each event. 

But SHOULD I have? should I have gone faster on the swim? Would that have hurt my bike?

I could have gone faster on the bike. Would that have hurt my run?

I could have gone faster on the run. I should have gone faster on the run. 

For the first time, I feel like I have untapped potential. Yes, I can be a faster runner. One of these times, I'll break that damn 10:00 pace. 

But I can be faster on the bike. Is that being cocky? Or confident? I was 10th overall today (on the bike). I could have been faster, which is pretty amazing when you realize that I am in the 45-49 AG.

I'll tell you what wasn't cocky...but just plain truth...passing all those women in the early waves on the bike. Times don't lie.

My next race is 7/28. It's an international distance race.

Right now, I'm going to put my feet up, put on some cheesie 80's movie and eat frozen yogurt.

thanks for reading.