Sunday, October 2, 2011

White Lake International - September 10

Short version of long story - signed up for Nation's Triathlon in D.C. on September 11. Due to lots of rain, the Potomac was deemed unsafe for the swim, and on the Thursday before the race, they cancelled the swim. Quick check with Tisha - we're going to White Lake instead to do the White Lake International.

So glad I switched to this event. Not because I didn't want to do Nation's, but we ended up kinda falling into a great setup for lodging, met a couple of women who have done B2B half and are training for B2B full - new friends! - and the weather was lovely. And a 2 hour drive vs. 5 hours certainly made the return trip easier. Tisha had a hip injury and elected to not compete, so she became the Sherpa. Thank goodness.

Slept pretty well, except I ended up on the couch (ruled out the available air mattress that smelled moldy). Sore back when I woke up, and a little sore on my left hip. Not my last reference to the left hip. Ate Balance Bar and Sugar Free Red Bull at 0600 (race time 0840), then had  Odwalla bar at 0730 and Gu and G2 at 0830. Nutrition was all good throughout the race. Very happy with how I felt and tolerated the combination of Gu, bars and G2.

Swim - I knew I had some rocky moments during the swim but wasn't quite expecting a 35:50. Was dealing with some slightly leaky goggles and felt like I was fighting my wetsuit (should have practiced in it on Thursday night - I had it with me too, darn it). It's a sleeveless wetsuit, but just felt more constricted in the chest and legs today. Got hit quite a few times in the first 300 meters, then ended up in a clearer area as many passed me.
Between 600 and 700 meters, I suddenly found myself way off course. I have no idea if that's because I wasn't sighting correctly due to the leaky goggles or just not paying attention. Was able to get back on track but for the rest of the swim, I was looking up every four strokes to make sure I didn't do that again. The veering off course and the more frequent sighting probably cost me some time. Not good. 35:50 18 of 35

Transition - ugh, struggled with the wetsuit. I know better. Not happy with my time at all. 2:38 19 of 35 women.

Bike - no computer other than cadence and no Garmin. So really no idea where I was. Just focused on a cadence around 85, tried to make sure I was in a gear that would push without causing any muscle stress or overt fatigue and occasionally checked the computer clock to see how long I had been riding. Just go go go.
Gu at about mile 4, as Bri recommended waiting until I was settled on the bike so that my heart rate was a little lower. Good call :-)
Left hip started acting up around mile 4 - but not the same way I had experienced before due to aero position. I don't know what was going on, especially that early in the ride, but later in the bike, I ended up having to stand up a few times just to stretch out.  For those of you who have competed at White Lake, you know about the teeth-shocking bumps every ten seconds and the patching that makes it worse? Ow. Ow. Ow. Reminded me that I will wear a second pair of bike shorts at B2B because my tri suit has basically a layer of cotton for padding.

Was passed by some super fast older men who started after me. Heard a guy yell at me from behind and thought I was doing something wrong. Turns out it was Doug Robinson who saw my OSB jersey and yelled, "Who's your coach - Marty or Bri?" as he was passing me.

I passed him on the run later and re-introduced myself from our Monday runs :-)

Then later in the ride passed a few women. Felt stronger on the last five miles after we got on smoother pavement. Ate all of my energy gels too - which meant I had had two Gu's, the pack of energy gels and a full bottle of G2 by this time. No mental yuck a la Washington, although my mind certainly did wander. I hope I can focus more strongly for the longer rides in prep for B2B.
Ended up out of aero position more in the second half of the bike than I wanted to, as my hip was getting more achy.
Total time for 28 miles - 1:31:42 (18.34 mph) for 15 of 35 women
I'll take that 18.34, thank you very much, especially given how slow some of my recent training rides have been.

Transition 2 1:33 7 of 35. That's more like it.

Run - so I'm starting with an achy right hip. No idea of my time. Over 85 degrees by now and there is no shade beyond the transition area. Plus it's an out-and-back and they basically gave us the shoulder of the highway and put two lanes of runners on that.
First mile. Suck it up and just keep running. I purposefully did not hit my lap button on my Garmin because I didn't want to be looking down at it and fixating on "I'm going too slow - I suck!". Did look down once in a while and saw the occasional 8 or 9. I'm okay with that. Just want to get through this first mile and then I will
settle in.

30-second walk break at the 15-minute mark. I think I will always use some sort of walk break - the question will be timing it. Will probably make it more intentional and planned though.

Mile two - remember the road patching I wrote about earlier and the two runners on a shoulder? So I was staying way to the right, and when I passed someone (which I did often - woo hoo!), I would call out "On your left" and speed up, move around them, and get back to the far right side. Planted my left foot on some of the black road patching and my foot went out from under me.

Yes, I fell. On the RUN. Seriously. Who does that? Other than me, I guess. So so so stupid. And of course, I landed on the achy left hip, plus my left knee and the heels of both hands. Stood up, assessed, grabbed G2 bottle and started running, because I'm now thinking to myself, I've got to finish this run before I stiffen up, which will be about thirty minutes from now. Stopped at water stop for mile 2 to pour water over my hands that were scratched and bleeding, dumped water down my chest and back, and started running again.

Mile 3, pass more people (yay!). Feeling surprisingly good, although slightly embarrassed. Hip is fine, knee is fine. Hands hurt but I don't need them to run, so who cares. Suck down some sport beans and G2. Short 30 second walk break at about 3.5 miles.

Mile 4, 30 second walk break. Checking Garmin more frequently and doing the math in my head. Good possibilities here for the run time. Another 30 second walk break at about 4.6 miles and I decide that's the last one.

Mile 5.1 - hit the lap button and kick in.
The last mile? 8:06.
Stupid six seconds again. Really?

Chip time was 54:16. 9 out of 35 women
Which means that had I not run that 10K two weeks ago, I would have PR'd my overall 10K run at the end of an Olympic tri.
And this was after I FELL.
Fell down, stood up, looked down, stopped at the water stop, and lost at least 90 seconds. Still got a 54:16. That's an 8:45 pace.

Washington, by the way, was 1:04:40. Finally got some closure on that, I promise :-)

Overall time 3:05:56, 15 of 35

Okay, so I'm not real satisfied with that overall time. Swim was much slower than Washington by 3 minutes (evidently I'm on a 3 minute swim yo-yo because Washington was 3 minutes faster than Flowers). T1 was slow. Bike was decent but there's lots of room for improvement there.

But the run? I'm so so happy with the run and what I was able to accomplish physically and mentally. I was passed by maybe 6 or 7 people and I must have passed at least 30. That last mile at 8:06 just felt great. Hard but great. I felt so strong finally.

That's why I want to run more this season.
I will finish B2B and be very VERY happy with finishing a 70.3 triathlon. I will try to not completely wreck myself at B2B but still push for good results. However, I know I will gain more fulfillment out of the California marathon, regardless of what my final time turns out to be, because it has potential to be so far beyond anything I thought I was capable of at the beginning of this year. That really excites me and I've NEVER been excited about running. Before now.

Of course, the first thing Bri advised me about focusing on the run was to remain injury-free, and I'm not sure what my body will feel like tomorrow. BUT I would like to try.

Left to right - Michele Rivera, Deirdre Dowd, Jenn Mayfield, Avril Young

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