Monday, July 13, 2009

Triathlon # 4 results....

"If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just to finish the race - it's up to you." - Dave Scott

Well, I have now completed 4 triathlons this summer! It feels good to know that I have finished all my races I set out to do and in many cases I have exceeded my own expectations in terms of how I am doing. This race was my shortest of the season and yet somehow it was also my slowest! Being the competitive person that I am, you would think that I would be more upset but my heart is strangely at ease and I feel proud that I got out there and did it! A few days ago, I was contemplating whether or not to even do the race. I was suffering from a very sore ear and throat and I was just not myself, then my husband was swamped with work and he did not know if he was going to make the race. Trust me there where days where I just thought of staying home and playing it safe, I mean after all it was just a short triathlon what would be the harm in missing just one. But those who know me well know that I am stubborn and if I say I am going to do something, well then, I better do it!

I feel very different about this race. I feel proud that I made the effort to do it, even though my times where not my best, I still got out there, worked hard and crossed that finish line. There was a moment on the bike that it occurred to me that the past 2 races I have not stopped, looked around to soak it all in. I am so set on times, placing and so on that I am forgetting to stop and just enjoy the moment. So I did just that this race. My family was there to cheer me on, I ran into a old friend of college which was awesome and I was out there living life, having fun, burning calories and gaining more experience along the way.
I always posted my results, good or bad because regardless of the outcome I want to be accountable for each race and I know that a year from now I can look back and see how far I am come. Here is the breakdown of my race....

410 meter swim, 11 mile bike, 2 mile run
Time - 1:10 mins
Overall placing 142/298 (my race number was 142, how cool is that!)
Age group - 7/19

Swim - 410 meter lake swim - 11:11 mins
Overall 106/298
Age group - 5/19 Tied for 5th in age group...

The swim was quite hard.My time was 3 mins slower than in training but I was in completing different conditions so I do not think you can even compare the two. It was not my first open water swim but it was a first for me in a lake of this size. The wind provided a strong current which was exhausting. I felt at ease during the swim as the wave was small only 49 people, both men and women. The hardest part was getting used to the waves which was a new experience for me. I had to really lift up to breath because if I turned my head to the side I was swallowing water along with the water going up my nose, oh it was fun, LOL! So I found if I raised up a bit then I could get a good breath though it was a bit strange as I have never trained this way. I did very well with my sighting during my swim. Every 5th stroke or so I would look up while continuing my stoke, it was smooth and far better than I thought it would be. I did the breaststroke around the buoys and freestyle the entire swim. When I finished my legs where tired which was a new feeling for me. I guess it was the fact that I was kicking so hard because we were swimming parallel to the current, not sure as again all of this was a first for me. Regardless, I took my time in transition for once, but I made a big mistake in that once again I did not fuel for my bike or run. Several people have mentioned to me that on my runs I may be bonking b/c I am not refueling as I should be. I took off for my bike ride, and compared to my last race I did really well clipping my bike shoes on. Every time I ride I am getting better with this I just need to keep practicing,

Bike - 11 miles - 35:14 mins - 18.7 mph avg.
Overall 129/298
Age group 4/19

The bike ride started off very well, as I said earlier my legs where very tired for some reason but I pressed on. The route was good but a large portion of the ride was on top of a bridge overlooking the lake. It was beautiful but the same wind that gave us a challenge in the swim was there in full force on the bike. I am not used to biking in strong winds as I bike around so many tall pine trees, wind is rarely an issue here, but on top of a bridge over a lake, well that was new for me! This was the first race that I used my aerobars!!! I was a bit scared especially with the wind but I held strong and finally started to feel comfortable. The bridge was terrible in terms of the road, it was bumpy and uneven which was more annoying than anything as my aerobottle was bouncing up which made it hard to drink from. I mentioned earlier about how I stopped to soak it all in and as I result my speed slowed a bit but I think there are times where it does not need to always be about speed but rather enjoying each moment as they come along. I finished strong, and felt great. It was not my fastest ride but I enjoyed every moment of it.

Run - 2 miles - 20:18 mins - 10:09 mm pace
Overall 200/298
Age group - 13/19 (ouch, that hurt!)

Well I do not have an excuse as to why I was so slow. I would like to say it was the heat or something but I just did not have it in me on the run. Ok, yes, maybe it was my nutrition and the fact that I did not have that much to eat before the race and during the race I did not refuel but it was only a 2 mile run. I should have been able to press on. I started off slow based on the wonderful advise of some friends, but the problem was that I never really kicked it up the whole run, I just ran, steady not with a sense of urgency or like someone who was in race! I remember thinking, what are you doing, you are in a RACE girl, get with it! But I just did not have the energy, it felt as if I was going through the motions and running through mud. My cadence and stride was off and as a result I ended up with running just over a 10 min pace which is way slower than any of my training runs. Strangely enough, I am ok with this. After the race, the announcer was talking with a first time triathlete and he said that she needs to remember that for the rest of her life, she will forever be a triathlete! When I heard this it hit home, that I just finished 4 triathlons and I need to sit and enjoy my hard work and accomplishments! I could have stayed home, but I didn't and for this I am very proud of myself. Was it wise to race with a sore ear and throat, maybe not, but to me I had to at least try and I am so glad that I did!

My next race in about 5 weeks. I want to now focus on the things I did right and the areas I can improve on...

What I did right...
1. I finished. Plain and simple, it is an accomplishment that I should be proud of.
2. I had fun with this race more so than my others. I need to race hard but remember to enjoy the moment.
3. I was at ease on the swim and my breathing was far more controlled.
4. I overcame my fear of using aerobars in a race!
5. I clipped in well on my bike and my dismount was smooth.

What I need to work on....
1. Eating more before and during the GU between bike and run.
2. Pace myself but learn to push it harder through the fatigue
3. Try and get as many open water swims in as possible, get used to different conditions in the water
4. Train with hills and in different areas to learn how to bike hard in various conditions on the road
5. Lengthen my stride when running and use my arms.

Now I need to focus on this week ahead of me! Here is my schedule of workouts I have planned. I will not be swimming this week because of my ear and throat.

Week 3 of Denver half marathon training!! Goals for the week -
1. Drink a gallon of water each day
2. Burn 3,500 calories
3. Complete scheduled workouts
4. Complete 300 pushups for the week

Monday 7/13 - Rest
Tuesday 7/14 - 5 miles (4 mile run. 1 mile walk)
Wednesday 7/15 - Upper body ST, 8 mile bike and Yoga
Thursday 7/16 - 15 mile ride, Run 3 miles ( 2 miles fast,1 mile easy)
Friday 7/17 - Upper body ST, 8 mile bike and Yoga
Saturday 7/18 - 4 miles ( 3 mile easy run, 1 mile walk)
Sunday - Rest


Lori said...

Great job! 4 triathlons already this summer, so that is a huge accomplishment!

Marlene said...

That's a great quote. Congratulations!!!

erin said...

Jen, that is awesome! You have done 4 triathlons this summer, and no one can EVER take that away from you! You can look back on each of these events and be proud because you gave it your ALL (even when you were not feeling 100%). Amazing!!

Krissa said...

You amaze me! You have an expensive hobby though :) Those races really add up!

Did you start out slower on your bike? I am super slow. Like, 15 mph average slow. Are your riding routtes hilly or flat? I look forward to getting faster.

I know I say this a lot, but you ROCK!

Jen's Journey said...

I am always in awe of your support and encouragement for me....

Thank you! It means so much...

Barry said...

Great job Jen.

Brea said...

Congratulations! You are an inspiration. My goal is to do my first sprint triathlon in 2010. Need to work on my swimming and biking more. I like how you took the time to enjoy being in the moment. I've been working on that as well :)

TX Runner Mom said...

Great job on Tri #4! Glad you got to enjoy the journey too!

JKT13 said...

i've done several "sprint" tri's and it took me a while to realize that my late race fatigue was more about needing more water (ie dehydration) and my fuel (gatorade, GU, etc) was slowing down my ability to absorb it; i've since figured out that i do better if i only drink water for anything under 90 minutes; i know everyone's different, but it's something to think about; thanks again for inspiring us with your journey

Bren said...

Congratulations on your FOURTH race! WOW.... can you believe you have done so much in the short time you have been back in the states? Seriously... some people don't even do this much in a life time.

(((HUGS)) Take care of yourself this week.

kxux said...

Looks like you got the tri bug Jen ;-). Congratulations on your 4th race. You are right some days you have it and some days you don't. It is important to keep things in perspective and enjoy the moment.

Few notes on what you write about:
1. Swimming in choppy waters - best is to find one side where you can breathe easily (there is always one that is better than the other (depending on wind direction). Lifting your head higher makes you tired. I also recommend to do freestyle around buoys - that is the most congested place in the water and breaststroking is not the best idea there - you may have people swim all over you ;-).

2. Fueling - for shorter events you should be fine just taking in PowerBar or something of 200-280kcal before the race. And then water on the bike and run if you feel like you need it. If you feel that you may bonk take one gel with you on the bike and mix it in your water bottle or use Heed or Gatorade to get the 100kcal that the gel gives you. But in general you should be able to go without much fuel for 1 hour. Think about taking in the nutrition on the bike - best is about 10 minutes after you get on the bike and your stomach stabilizes from the swim. Also do not take much water or nutrition just before the run (about 5-10 minutes of the bike should be just plain water if you need it). Nutrition on the run is tough to deal with due to all the movement that your stomach it exposed to. In shorter races I try to take in all my nutrition on the bike and just sip water from about 10 minutes into the run.

3. Aerobars - yeah it takes time to get used to them and I suggest to practice as much as you can outside on your training rides. In race when you feel close to losing control of the bike - reach for the handlebars and grab the brakes if needed. It gets easier with practice. Just keep at it.

4. Not feeling well on the run - this run was fairly short and everyone suffered during at least the first 0.5 - .75 miles before they got their running legs. If you have not done many transition runs I suggest to practice them. They are fairly easy on the body - all it takes is to do long run paced run off the bike couple times a week. That way you get the body used to the feeling. After you are through few weeks of doing this you can insert some pickups into the runs or increase the intensity. Initially it is about the body getting used to the new feeling of going from bike to run.

Great job on all the racing and have safe races for the rest of the season.