It's kinda funny because I started short-course, then switched to long-course, and am now sort of transitioning myself back to the short-course mentality. And I really feel like they are almost two different sports in a sense. For me, the long-course is about enduring and being smart. The short-course is about redlining, being uncomfortable, and taking risks. I enjoy them both, but I'm definitely having a lot of fun with the short stuff right now. I feel like it fits a little better into my life to go super hard and then go home. So we'll see where this takes me, but for now, here are my thoughts on yesterday's sprint.
First of all, I'm sitting here with coffee the next day and...moment of truth...the ACHILLES DOES NOT HURT. Yahoooooooooooyipppeeeeeee! This was the true test of yesterday, and I passed. So happy!
I think the biggest difference for me between a sprint and a half-ironman is that the little things matter SO much more in the sprint. In the longer distances, the little things still matter of course, but a mistake of a few seconds doesn't usually affect me like it would in the sprint distance. I definitely made a couple of mistakes yesterday that cost me 1st in my age group, but I am still extremely proud with my first race all season after this nasty, annoying injury.
But of course there's always room to improve. :)
Got to transition, wearing my Ballin' Team Shirt (which is totally my new favorite)...thanks, Inch!
We lined up on the beach and I saw a girl that I knew was a strong competitor. I'll call her 34, because I noticed she was NOT in my age group this year (a perk of getting old, I guess!). I figured I'd try to hang with her on the run. But my run this year would be a huge question mark, so I wasn't sure I could do it.
As we all lined up on the beach, we watched the guys ahead of us going off and saw many, many of them STANDING up on rocks by the buoy and having to jump off them. We all commented on how we should watch out for those dangerous rocks. I then thought of two more things. 1) man, it's crowded and there's a lot of us in the F 39 and Under wave and 2) Hmmm, I probably should have practiced running in off the beach.
And then, we were off!
Mistake #1 and probably my costliest: piss-poor positioning on the swim. I was reminded how positioning here is really everything, and I was too hesitant. I should have sprinted out and knocked people over if I needed to, but I got stuck behind a massive wall of chicks. I was immediately frustrated. I tried to go around them, but I was literally blocked on all sides. I tried to keep swimming, and that wasn't working. I tried to sort of nudge a few with my stroke and that didn't work, either. I realized that if I was going to move at all in this swim, I'd need to hack a bit. But I'm nice! I don't want to hack! Oh, the dilemma. Finally as we approached the buoy and I was at a standstill I realized there wasn't time for this in a sprint, and I'm nice 364 days and 23 hours and 50 minutes out of the year, so if I need to be a little bitchy right now, it's probably okay. Right?
Sigh. See? I still feel bad.
But I went for it and just started going. I am pretty sure the girls around me were not my biggest fans, but I knew I needed to get around them. I finally did, but this cost me a lot of time. I probably lost at least a minute on the swim just because of bad positioning. Once things opened up a bit I caught a good draft and tried to just stay smooth, but I definitely know I need to improve this--not even my stroke as much, but how to handle a big bottleneck.
On a positive note, Ana came out right at my heels, so she had a fabulous swim! Great job, Ana!
The run up to T1 is almost as long as the swim--probably close to .2 miles or so--which is added into the swim time.
Swim Time = 7:57 according to website, which it totally NOT right. I'm going to go ahead and say 11:57. Something got MASSIVELY wrong on the swim times here. Most of my AG wave is significantly faster than every other wave. I think they had our chips timed up to go with 40+ but I know that I saw a ton of legs around me with 35, 36, 37, 38, and 39s and we all had light blue caps with all the 34 and under chicks, too. However, I think a few in my AG must have gone off with the 40+ wave. Sigh. So what that means is the overall rank for the females in this race is all jacked up. And possibly the AG results for my group. Bummer. Such is the life of a small, local race.
T1 time = 1:03
Okay, here's where something ridiculous happened. I told Ana to go get 'em and "be the monster I created" ;) and thought I was all set to go. Took off and stood at the mount line to get on my bike where there were TONS of spectators and many of my friends. And then I heard about 5 people say, "Sara...you're helmet is on backwards...." snickering and giggling.
Well, at least I can chalk that up to a rookie mistake...NO I CAN'T I'VE BEEN DOING THIS ELEVEN YEARS.
To say I was embarrassed was an understatement. I smiled, tried to resist crawling into a hole, reminded myself that everyone gets in the zone and sometimes makes mistakes and then sped off as fast as I could, hopefully before anyone got a picture. ;)
I know this course like the back of my hand and I knew this was the time for me to hammer the hell out of it and pass people. So I did. My QR CD.01 handles SO smoothly and I was flying. But I did catch myself in the long-course mode a few times, coasting easily at 20 mph. I had to ask myself, "But do you have another gear in here?" to sort of snap out of it and push hard. There should be no coasting in a sprint. I knew this was the only chance with my questionable running abilities to make up ground, and I took pride in picking off people one by one. It was pretty fun! But I wanted to somehow make sure I had enough for the run, which is the mystery of triathlon anyway. I passed 34 with about 2 miles to go so I knew I was doing alright position-wise. Came into T2 with what I believed to be a PR on the bike and I was pretty sure I was holding onto 1st in the AG.
Bike time = 36:23 which is 3 1/2 seconds slower than last year. Boo! 3/19 AG (and just 2 seconds behind 2nd)
Now comes the hard part--the wounded-animal part of the race for me. Could I hold on?
T2: uneventful. Got in, got out, and thank goodness I didn't make any more stupid mistakes. Except I do remember seeing an older gentleman with a baby in a stroller IN TRANSITION by my rack. I flew in with my bike and was kind of confused and said, as politely as I could, "Excuse me! Sorry!" as I almost knocked into the stroller. I felt bad, but then I was like, "Who brings a baby in transition DURING the race?!"
But this is such a small, local race with not many rules so it didn't really surprise me.
T2 Time = 44 seconds (2/19 in AG by 1/10th of a second, so that was good!)
It started to get hot. I was a bit hesitant to push too hard here because of the ankle, so I tried to roll into the pace. 34 passed me within about 1/2 mile. I thought about hanging onto her, but I decided to let it go and just try to run my own race and NOT get injured again or do anything (too) stupid! I tried to just stay within myself and listen to my ankle and push as hard as it would let me push.
I had no watch so I ran blind. I felt like I was crawling, but I was still moving past people pretty well and not getting passed too much.
At the turnaround I noticed another girl behind me that was in my age group. I had noticed her on the beach because she looked super fit and I wondered if she was a triathlete and had done these before, or was just one of those girls who looks super fit all the time with minimal effort, you know, kinda like me. HA!
I was starting to get pretty freaking tired, and I noticed she wasn't too far behind me.
So I kept going and tried to keep my breath steady and go as hard as my legs let me. I do wish I had a watch so I'd have some knowledge of pace because I think it would have motivated me to push harder. But at any rate, as we approached about 2.5 I just sensed she was going to make her move. She did, and I tried to hang, but I had nothing left. On another day where I had more confidence on this run, I would hold onto her. Today, I was disappointed but realistic that today was about getting back out on the course and testing the achilles, and if that meant 2nd place I guess I could live with it.
But, nonetheless, I finished strong up the hill and nabbed 2nd in my AG.
|finishing up the hill|
Total 5K Run Time = 25:12 (2/19 in AG) which is somehow a whopping 53 seconds faster than last year! WOW. Maybe I should run without a watch more often? I certainly felt like I was running 10 minute miles! This is way better than I thought I could do today, so I'll take it.
|This is my, "I'm glad I'm done" face|
|I think this is still right: 2/19 in AG, despite the messed up swims. Double-blarg!|
All of the tri ladies finished strong and SMILING! Tracy actually enjoyed the swim the most, and Ana had a super solid swim, bike, and run in her debut! Tiffani and Laura all looked strong out there, too, and Christina made it through the run (although her knee hurts a bit today) so she was super-happy. They all talked about how they couldn't wait to do another!
After the race I had two parties to go to: one at a local team member of Spin Second Sole's house, Anne, which was so fun. Then, I headed to the tail end of a 6 year old birthday party at the local skate park, which was also pretty darn cute. Check out my little Sk8R Boi:
Congratulations to all that raced today, and here's to the next one! And to all my newly-hooked tri training buddies, too. :)