Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My venture into short course racing

I had posted this on facebook few hours after the Mass State Olympic distance tri on Sunday after the race:

"The venture into short course racing was FUN, but not where I am at home. Pretty happy with my swim (Just another of many steps to come in the right direction), "sad" bike although I did have the fastest female bike split, and surprising to me 9th fastest bike split including men , and a "sad" run. What I was a little afraid of became reality, and 70.3 watts and 70.3 run pace proved to be hard to shake today although the effort was there. 4th Overall, 1st AG making me the Northeast Olympic AG regional champion, and 3rd Overall Massachusetts resident had however earned me the right to represent the state of MA at the 2014 Best of the US Amateur Championship Race since this was the designated race for MA and the top 3 female/male regardless of age qualify ... could be a cool experience! THANK YOU ALL for the cheers along the way! It sure is awesome to race a local race with so many friends around! Next up - Timberman 70.3 in 5 weeks

I knew that posting a status update like that may raise some eyebrows. In reality that is how I felt about my own performance on that day, and I knew I was capable of much more.Yes – I still came 4th overall, 1st AG, and 3rd Overall MA resident giving me the opportunity to represent the state of MA in 2014 at the “Best of US Amateur Championship series” (http://bestoftheustriseries.com/), but as silly as that may sound, and as much as I LOVE to win, I race because I love to test myself, because I love to give my best and I love to chase my next best race, my next best performance. Every race is about giving it my all (whatever that happens to be on that day), test my training, and push myself to the limit so I can push that limit further next time. So Yes – as awesome as it was to stand on top of that podium on Sunday, and as much as I love to win, solely winning is not the reason why I race. There are so many races out there, that on any given day, someone can beat you – it just depends who decides to show up on race day. I love to race because not only do I get to test myself physically, and mentally, but because I am always in search of the next best performance, that perfect day when everything comes together! You know that super fast swim, great bike with watts being the watts you know you can hit, and a smoking fast run – that run you know you are capable of because you have done it in your training! If you know me, you know that I am also very realistic and sometimes maybe too much. Sometimes that brain of mine holds me back, but I am working on that. Yes – I LOVE to train, I love to train because it is FUN, and based on my training, I know that Sunday (if I had THE perfect day) would have looked a bit different in terms of that final time on the clock. 

I am by no means disappointed because I gave what I had yesterday, but I have now added a bit more fuel to the fire in search of that next perfect race, which will be Timberman70.3 in 5 short weeks. I have learned a few more valuable lessons, which will help me be better come August 18th. Until then, it’s time to buckle up, and train my little butt off.

THE SWIM: 26:56 (48th/222 female, 161th/541 overall men & female)

Not the fastest compare to the girls that kicked my butt, but a very good swim for me. Even if the race was just a swim race, and I would be nowhere near the podium, I am the happiest with the swim leg of this race, and THAT is a first! (See it’s not solely about winning, but about your personal best effort/performance).
Water temperature was 77 degrees which meant a wetsuit legal swim. I actually was not very happy with that because I am a champ at overheating in my wetsuit, and I really wanted to put forth a solid effort.
I contemplated forever between wearing the wetsuit or not, but since everyone else including the top swimmers wore one, I decided it would be silly not to and put myself into potentially even more of a disadvantage right at the start of the race. Good thing I had an awesome support crew out there including my swim coach Karen, who suggested I put some ice cubes down my wetsuit – EXCELLENT idea! I stuffed my bra with some ice cubes, and I put a few on my calves too. I couldn’t get the ice to drop any further but it did the trick at least for a little bit.

I navigated well for most part, I didn’t zig zag like last time and I didn’t overheat. I probably could have swam a bit harder, but I didn’t want to get to the middle of the lake, and feel myself burning up, so I made the choice to swim hard, but not so hard that my body temperature may burn the wetsuit off me. Yes – next time I MUST swim harder, but I am working on that too. (Shut up brain)

I am borrowing Gracie's swim cap for my next race! I think that will automatically make me faster!

T1: 1:17 (9th/222 females, 59th/541overall male & female)

Not bad, not great. I got out of there as fast as I could.

How does this wetsuit come off again? 

BIKE: 54:37 (Fastest female bike split, 9th fastest overall bike split including men)

Sadly, as fast as my bike was in comparison to my competition on that day, I am quite disappointed. Yeah – I know sounds silly, I had a fast time, BUT I was nowhere near my potential. If you don’t know why, read above. I am disappointed because this was a 22 mile bike course, and my power output was VERY similar to my 56 mile power output over the last to 70.3’s I have done. I have ridden at Sunday’s power for an hour in the middle of a 100 mile ride just last week and ran just fine getting off the bike. So yes – I had a very fast bike, but far off what I am capable of on a perfect day. I just didn’t seem to be able to get my legs under me, and my breathing was labored from the get go. I would be fine with the high effort for a race this short, but the power associated with my heavy “freight train is coming like” breathing wasn’t even close to what it should have been. It was time to suck it up, ignore the numbers as much as possible and push on.  Other than that the ride was quite uneventful, and it was over in no time. 

 That's it? No more riding? 

Fireball really wanted to continue to fly - Here we are both still flying! 

T2: 0:37 (5th/222, 5th/541 overall male & female)

I was definitely in and out of there as fast as I could. Putting on socks slowed me down a little bit, but those few extra seconds are worth blister free feet.

Someone was hot before the run even started

Run Forest Run! 

RUN: 44:40 (8th/222, 46th/451 overall male & female)

Aaaaand another not so great performance. Why you ask? Let’s just say my overall pace during my half marathon at the Patriot 70.3 was faster than what I just showed on Sunday for 6.2 miles and less than half the distance. Yeah – NOT good! I have run that pace in training almost backwards (ok – I am exaggerating a little bit), but my pace should have been at least 30 seconds faster per mile than what it was on Sunday. I fought for that time on that day, and that is all I had, but now I am hungry! Like starving, famished for a GREAT run off the bike because I know I have it in me! Heat or no heat, these mega mini legs can run. That 1:27 half marathon few months ago didn’t run itself and so the quest for the perfect run off the bike continues. The run was quite uneventful. I saw the top 3 girls running opposite direction at the turn around, and they looked like they were moving. I thought I could make up some time on girl #3, but I just didn’t have it.

In summary, yesterday was one HOT, but FUN day. I haven’t raced truly a local or short course race in 3 years, and I am so glad I did yesterday. I got to see many familiar faces before, during and after the race, met some new teammates, and new faces that follow me online. 

Some of the E3 crew post race

I didn't have a perfect race, but today that was still good enough for the top of AG podium. 

In the end, it’s all about having a FUN time, and achieving success – whatever success means to you! So go out there, give your best every day, and dream! With dreams come goals, and there is nothing sweeter than achieving your goals! The sky really is the limit if you want something bad enough. 

If you still need a bit more motivation, watch this video:


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