lone ranger

lone ranger

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Dust off the cobwebs"

This year, with my commitment to IMCHOO, I also have a commitment to some pretty serious training.  I have a coach, I train a lot, I work hard and with that I put extra pressure on myself.  If I'm training this much, then shouldn't I have great race results? I feel that pressure, but I know that I only put that pressure on myself.  Belews Olympic Triathlon would be the first race of the season for me and I was feeling the pressure.

Wednesday before the race I thought it would be a good idea to throw on the wetsuit for a very quick open water swim.  A couple of friends came over and we very slowly eased our way into the lake. It was 6pm on a not so warm day day. They were in long sleeve wetsuits, I was in sleeveless.  It never occurred to me the water would be too cold for sleeveless.  I put my head in the water and made it about 100 yards before coming up for air and saying "I can't do this!"  We swam an additional 100 yards and my head/brain/arms/face/hands/feet felt frozen.  I threw in the towel.  If I had to guess, I'd say that evening the water was probably about 58 degrees.  I suddenly had massive anxiety about the swim portion of this race, something that typically comes kind of easy to me.  Although that quick jaunt in the water created some anxiety, I was glad to know what I was possibly getting myself into so that I could make some changes.  Melissa Bell saved me by loaning me a long-sleeve sweet Blue Seventy Helix wetsuit, I decided I'd wear 2 swim caps and also earplugs to keep the cold water out of my inner ears.

Friday night James and Jenny came to Davidson for dinner, to spend the night and so that we could make the 90 minute drive to Stokesdale, NC together.  Wednesday through Friday I was still feeling the anxiety over this race in general. I'll be honest, I was at the point of not wanting to do the race at all.  James (my coach) is not one to give big pep talks, he's more of the HTFU kind of guy and honestly my husband kind of is too. I guess that's why it works because I'm used to it.  Without realizing it, James gave me the best advice possible and changed my attitude completely about the race.  I will paraphrase here, but at dinner James basically said: "Just go dust off the cobwebs.  We (he and Jenny) had to do it last week in New Orleans, now it's your turn."  This completely changed my attitude about the race.  He was right.  James and Jenny are phenomenal athletes, but even they had to dust off the cobwebs at that first race of the year.  His comment was also a huge reminder that I participate in these races for fun and my eye is on the prize of IMCHOO.  All of the races in between are to challenge my fitness, to test out race strategies, but most importantly for fun!  I went to bed feeling a little more at ease about my expectations.

Who takes advice from these two guys?

Belews is a fantastic race.  It is a time trial start where you take off by two's according to a 100yd swim time submitted at registration. I was number 50 and started 7 minutes after number 1 (Jenny of course).  To ease my anxiety about the water I made a point to jump in for a few minutes before the start.  It felt cold, but not nearly as cold as Lake Davidson earlier in the week.  As we lined up I was paired with number 51, a fellow 35-39 female in my age group.  If I'd been able to see her "runner legs" outside of her wetsuit I'd have known she was going to crush me on the run!

Lined up to swim.

Swim: 1500 / 25:54 / 4th

The time trial start was incredible.  It's rare to have such calm, clean water in a triathlon.  There was absolutely no reason not to go fast! I just tried to keep my head down, pull as much water as possible and remember to kick.  For some reason in the wetsuit I forget to kick, normally I'm a big kicker.  I had a small mishap in the water missing a buoy and had to turn around. It was completely my fault and I own up to the mistake. I'd say it cost me about 30 seconds or so.  I had a good swim considering, but never felt like I was pushing too hard.  I think I can or should be swimming faster, but overall I was pleased with the swim.

T1: 2:04

Usually uneventful, however quite comical.  I absolutely could not get the wetsuit off of my left foot.  The gentleman next to me was trying to give me advice and I'm going "I know, I know, I just can't get it off!"  I also decided to put socks on. I've only ever worn socks in August HIM, but I didn't want my feet to be cold and I really really didn't want to deal with blisters for the next week so I took the time to put my socks on.  I can say that it was a smart decision as I sit here blister free.  So, here's the problem with my friends doing the relay....Ashley and Jenny were actually in T1 with me during this debacle of wetsuit stripping and sock donning and they were videoing it.  So unfair! How often are your friends/spouse sitting in T1 to watch you panic? James was very kind to edit out what was probably the most embarrassing part of this video.

Bike: 27 miles / 1:30:27 / 18mph / 5th

Immediately I felt like I had very little power in my legs.   Cardiovascularly I was very very comfortable, but my legs just would not do what I was telling them to do.  The bike is my weakest sport.  I'm trying to get better, but it does not happen overnight. It's going to take time and patience. I'm not disappointed with my bike, but not particularly pleased.  I am however pleased that I rode 90% of the course in the aero position. I do not like riding aero and honestly I do not ride aero much at all unless I'm trying desperately to chase down my friends who have dropped me on a ride.  So, I'll take that as my win on the bike for the day.

I'm already thinking how can I get more aero?

T2: 1:37

Uneventful, except that I went the wrong way to exit for the run.  Rookie mistake but probably only cost me 5 seconds or so.

Run: 10k / 52:24 / 8:26 pace / 2nd

The run starts up a pretty significant hill that Ashley and James were at the top of.  I'm sure they were cheering for me, but in my mind they were heckling me as I tried to make it up the hill.  The entire run is a rolling course that I heard many complain about.  I actually thoroughly enjoyed the 2 loop course and wasn't bothered by the hills or the heat.  I realize now that I still probably wasn't running hard enough.  Other than the first mile uphill, I was really never uncomfortable on the run.  It will be interesting to push a little harder next time.  I still ended up with a 45 second 10k PR and I was pleased that I had the 2nd fastest run of my age group.  Lucky for any of you still reading this, Ashley was there for video on the run as well.

I ended up 3rd Age Group which felt like a good result for my first race of the year as I "dusted off the cobwebs".  Here's a clip of the video from the race:  


And if you haven't seen it yet, here's a a video of the ICE RACING Relay.  Thanks to James for the videos.


The best part of the race was seeing some of my closest friends out on the course.  Tristan was dusting off the cobwebs as well and I've challenged him to crush me at Carolina Olympic in 3 weeks. Tristan's brother was in town from South Africa and with more real estate he would've caught me on the run for sure.  Biggest success story goes to Hope who completed her first Olympic distance race as she trains for her first Half Ironman.  Lots of other friendly faces out on the course and really a fantastic day for a race.