Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Race Report: Huntington Sprint Triathlon, 2013


I am so ridiculously happy.  Folks, we have made PROGRESS.  Like, real, quantifiable progress.

Not my highest placing:  2nd in AG, and by a few seconds, too.  At first glance, this may seem not good.  But I tell ya what--the best part about this sport is that ultimately, you're really racing yourself.  And self from last year?  From 10 YEARS ago?  You got schooled.  You got annihilated.

I've done this same course the past three years.  On one hand, part of me says, really Sara?  The same race three times?  I think you need to get out more.  To which I answer, I know. But I'm cheap, and this race is in my backyard.  So yeah.  This is what I do now that I'm 36 with two small kids.  I do a very local race three times, and I FREAKING LOVE IT.  So there.

The other nice thing about this is that it's the same course, so I can really measure my progress.  Aside from Lake Erie who is a total brat and decides to be a washing machine sometimes (like during this race), everything else is constant.  So, looking at that, here's some simple numbers:

2011: 1:16.47, 1st AG
2012: 1:15.21, 2nd AG
2013: 1:12.52, 2nd AG

4 minutes in two years on a sprint course. See I'm giddy just typing that.  I went off in the "old lady" wave this year, folks.  I am becoming more and more aware that I am not getting any younger.  But my old butt is kicking my younger butt's ass.  And yes, that's three references to my butt in one sentence. Top that.

WELL, the results were JUST posted and...there are no splits.  I love it.  This is a local race and there are often mistakes, so I'm gonna have to roll with it.  But I have no clue what my T1, T2, swim, or run times are.  Kinda blows.  I'm gonna have to do some investigating on my Garmin and will hopefully come up with some better numbers soon. For now, I'll go with what I know!

First off, couldn't be more proud of my girls Krystal and Kate who both did their first sprint triathlons today and ROCKED IT with big smiles on their faces.  I do believe they are hooked.  Mission accomplished!  New training buddies. :)
YAY, Krystal! That is the face of one tired, happy triathlete
I am also super proud of my girl TG, who is a supermom and a super woman and juggles and balances her beautiful daughters with her husband's travel schedule and still does it with style and grace.  She wasn't going to race and at the last minute decided to, and I am so happy she was there.  And she did a fabulous job, too!  She makes me smile. Awesome race to all three of you ladies!

The swim: somewhere in the range of 10:40 or so when I hit the beach. Boo.

Ugh.  I know I say that every year but UGH.  Lake Erie had some serious PMS this time.  Not only that, but I was in the "old lady" wave which was the last to go, and I swear that the waves got even worse.  I watched the waves ahead of me get thrown around like rag dolls. Finally got in and of course, had a rough time getting a rhythm.  Just when I was about to make the last turn the guard stopped me and said, "Stop! You are ON THE ROCKS."  And I was like, crap, I am!  Somehow I was on the breakwall's waves and about to hit my head.  Awesome!  Finally got to the beach and knew once again my swim blew.  It's so frustrating.  Whatever...all I could do was just move forward from there.  Ran up to T1.

And then I saw a surprise: Matt with the kids!  I really didn't expect that.  There's this running joke that although we go to all the kids events (of course) and most of Matt' soccer games, for the ONE TIME A YEAR I RACE LOCALLY, my kids generally are cranky, throw tantrums, won't smile, and scream in general about how FREAKING UNHAPPY THEY ARE TO BE THERE CAN WE GO HOME NOW I WANNA WATCH BACKYARDIGANS THIS IS TOTAL TORTURE.  Yes.  Once a year mommy races.  ONCE.  It's a disaster every time.  So to see Matt there with them knowing how hard it was to get them there that early (with a bedtime of almost 10pm the night before) really meant a lot.  I was expecting them grouchy at the finish for 5 minutes...not at the whole race.  Love all three of them so much.  Even got a smile and a big high five out of my Emmy.  That gave me a huge boost!

The bike:
2011--36:19, 2012--36:23, THIS YEAR: 34:42!  21.5mph YAY

Okay, so I haven't been riding all that much, but I feel like it's been good quality and I've been producing numbers I like.  So I was going to hammer the heck out of it and try to catch some of the top girls.  Passed a bunch of people immediately, then came up on who I thought might be my friend Beth. I yelled, "HEY SEXY LADAYYYYYY!" as I passed her, only to realize it wasn't Beth.  Awkward.  Started laughing and tried to explain myself to this poor girl, only to say, "Well, you're still a sexy ladayyyy!" and take off, mortified.  And now we're officially introduced--hi, Michelle! I swear I'm not a serial killer/harasser!  Nice to meet you!

Anyway, I know this course so I turned it on.  I had my average speed up to 21.8 at one point.  I can't say enough about how much I love my Quintana Roo CD0.1.  I feel like the fit is just dialed in perfectly and I was flying. I also heart my CycleOps PowerTap as it's really been a great way to see my progress since with my irregular heartbeat, heart rate training just seems to do nothing but make me angry.  I think dropping a few pounds has helped with my cycling output and seeing the numbers improve on the PowerTap is always motivating!  On the way back the road is a little rough and I think there may have been a teensy tiny little headwind as I slowed down a little bit, but I kept thinking, "this is it:  this is the ride of my life today."  Finished back at T2 with a humongous course PR and an average speed of 21.5mph and 172 watts.  Last year I went 20.1! Huge improvement for me.  Me likey.
Super happy with this effort! Now time to RUN

The run: to the best of my graph analyzing ability, I believe I went 23:43!

FINALLY I am pretty darn sure I went sub-24!  I am so so so sad the timing company does not have ANY splits.  Of course, the race of my freakin' life and I forgot to hit "lap" on my watch.  I figured, no problem! That's what chip timing is for!  FAIL.

2011-- 26:11, 2012-- 25:17. THIS YEAR: 23:43! Yahoooooooo

Now, I went into this thing saying I wanted to see at least a minute off my run.  I really wasn't expecting the huge gains on the bike that I saw, so I was pretty freaking pumped.  I wanted to have an equally surprising run.  My goal was to go sub-24 for the first time ever in a sprint tri.  I knew that I may even have a snowball's shot in hell at making the top 5 or so women at this rate and had a good gauge on who was ahead of me.  I got to see everyone as I headed out and it was as I expected.  I saw my girl Allanjel running like a boss at the high school and cheered her on.  I thought maybe I might be able to catch her, but she's a tough chick and I was back pretty far.  Time to turn it up.  Over the course of the next 1.5 miles I really tried to dig deep and focus, and I chipped away at the distance between us.  My mile splits were benefitting, too--this was definitely the fastest 5K in a sprint I've ever raced.  In the end, I got pretty close but ran out of course to catch her.  The fact that I even got this close made me happy:

About 20 yards from the finish line, heading straight uphill!  Allenjel is in the green and black kit.  I have the obnoxious blue shoes. We're basically Macca and Raelert.
Trying so freakin' hard to make it up that hill fast
Gave it all I had.
Props to Allenjel on a solid race and big thanks to her for making me run faster!  It's always good to have strong competition to bring out the best in you, and she didn't let me have it easy.
The 1-2 girls!  And guess what we both ride?  The super awesome Quintana Roo CD0.1!  

Overall time: 1:12.52

2/12 F 35-39

7/74 overall females, 38/200 total racers

I'm elated.  That word is probably too weak for what I am.  I'm really, really happy folks.  See, I already admitted last year that I'm not training as much as you are or really anyone.  Sometimes I feel like I have no business lining up next to people who train way more than I do and thinking I have a shot at hanging with them.  So when I do, and I can even remotely be in the same breath as them?  It makes me happy.  It makes me think I must have a little talent somewhere in here.  Now, of course I wonder what I could do if I did have more time to train, but I don't and I won't and that's the way I like it so that wonder is fleeting.  I do, however, know that I keep dropping myself every single year and getting better and better versus me.  And at the risk of sounding like an after school special like Duffy Moon or something (who else out there from the late-80s knows what I'm talking about? HOLLAAAA) that, ultimately, is the best prize ever.

Throw in the fact that tantrums and all, I still got a smile out of at least one, as evidenced here:

The best part of the day was having Matt and the kids there and seeing lots and lots of my multisport friends, too.  Like I said: I don't get out much, people.  Seeing everyone smiling, racing, and enjoying themselves just rocks.  I even had a few former students there doing relays, too!  I love to see young people getting into the sport.

And now, onto the next one, where I'll be a teensy tiny fish in a very big pond: Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 10th.  It's gonna be a little interesting training for this given what I have going on here over the next week, but here goes!

Happy Training!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Older and...Faster?

I decided to try a new race this year: the Bay Days 5-miler.  Well, it actually isn't new.  It's 39 years old.  And I have spent darn near every 4th of July of my life in Bay Village, Ohio (one in Germany!) and somehow I have never ran this race.  When my local tri club announced they were doing a "ride/race/ride," I thought: perfect!  Right down the street from my house = no excuse not to do it.  Plus, I could get in some good training and earn myself extra brownies at our cookout later that night.

I haven't raced 5 miles in quite some time, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I used to do that distance quite a bit with the Turkey Trot downtown and the St. Malachi race in the spring, but I haven't done them in a few years.  The best I had ever done at a 5 mile race was breaking 40 minuutes ONCE: and barely.  I think I was somewhere in the 39:45 range.  I know I've been running well lately and had a super big goal of a 37:30, but with the humidity I wasn't quite sure if I could pull it off.

Met my fellow Cleveland Tri Club members at 6:30am and pushed off for a nice easy 1 hour ride.  It was fun to ride with ACTUAL! HUMANS! for a change.  We got back, I hit the port-o-potty twice (standard) and lined up ready to race.  And we were off!

Now, all the fast kids come out for this race, literally.  It is free to high school kids, which is awesome, so every single fast high school kid runs this race.  It was kind of cool to see all these kids whizzing by and, as it turns out, to keep up with a few of them!  My first mile was a blistering (for me!) 7:10.  Oops!  Classic Trisaratops move.  I started to wonder if that meant imminent death, but I was actually feeling...good?  Bizarre!

Miles 2 and 3 I slowed down a bit but was still holding steady in the 7:20s.  In fact, when I clicked over to 3.1 on my Garmin, I was at 22:50...a two second PR for the 5K!  You know what that means, right?

(That means my 5K PR should NOT be 22:50.  You are not supposed to be able to keep going after your fastest 5K....you're supposed to almost hurl.)

Ran around my old neighborhood and then through a friend's sprinkler she had set up on her lawn (thanks, Kary!  I needed that!) and then it was time to enter the stadium at the high school.  That was a cool way to finish, too.  There were a lot of spectators out in their yards and on the course, which made it lots of fun!

Kicked it as hard as I could around the end--here's a CTC guy, Jeff, flying by me and I was admiring how freakin' fast he was going, so I tried to pick it up, too!

Hit my watch and it said 37:18.  About exploded with awesomeness and excitement.  Official race time says 37:25 so I'm not sure how I was so far off, but whatever.  This?  This was one of those perfect races where everything went right.  I blew my old PR out of the galaxy and even did better than my pie-in-the-sky goal.  So, let's review what I did to prepare:

1.  Ate a hamburger, hot dog, and lots of cake at a birthday party the night before
2.  Rode an hour before I raced
3.  Generally did not ever really imagine it would go as well as this

Reminders, all, that THIS IS ALL IN MY HEAD and when I take the pressure off myself, I kind of kick a lot of ass.  Gonna have to file that away and remember it as I approach Columbus, where I am definitely putting the pressure on.  Goals are good; obsession is not, and I consistently do better when I chill the heck out.

Snapped a pic with some local tri club buddies after the race and then headed off for an hour ride solo (the group was going 1:30 and I was pushing it with our party that night):

Headed home and made some tasty burgers some patriotic treats, and had a blast at our party.

Then woke up and turned 36.  To those who told me that I'd have to "give up all that racing stuff" once I had my first baby (remember that?  that was pleasant), and to all the experts that say that you slow down in your 30s and whatnot, I say TAKE THAT, 36.

Have a feeling this is going to be a fun (and fast) year.