Race Recap: Greeley Sprint Tri

13 Jun

That was my face getting out of the swim.

Already, you can tell the race went well.

But let me back up. I did my second open water swim practice on Saturday afternoon at Big Soda Lake Beach again. This time, there was only one other (real) swimmer there using the lap lane so I didn’t have to worry about running into someone else. I put my pool tactics into practice and the swim actually went very well. I was swimming relatively straight and was relaxed. I {almost} panicked after my first length because I feared getting out of breath but I just slowed my stroke down and took longer breaths. I did 8 lengths, which I calculate to be about 640 meters (each length is about 80). I went to bed that night feeling more optimistic and less scared.

Race morning came early at 4:00 am. I woke Travis up (we had discussed the need for his prompt rising, which he did – I was so proud and grateful), then took a quick shower, got dressed, and put my hair up and lotion on my arms and legs where I anticipated no body marking to be. As I’ve mentioned before, lotion helps wetsuits slide off easily but it also makes body marking rub off. So I use regular lotion (to avoid weird tan line blotches) and just put the lotion where I know there is/will be no body marking – on my arms from right above my elbow down and on my legs minus the back calves. But I forgot to put on Body Glide before getting dressed, which I was painfully aware of during my post-race shower. Chafing – ouch!

Since it was so early, I wasn’t that hungry when I woke up so I put peanut butter on 2 bagels (one for me, one for Travis) and packed that, along with 2 yogurts and some grapes, into my lunchbox to eat on the 1-hour drive up to Greeley. I also decided that it was long enough until the race (we weren’t scheduled to go until 7:30) that I could venture to drink some coffee. We were pulling out of the driveway (after returning once to retrieve our phones) at 4:40.

We arrived at the race site at 5:45, after some arguments over roads being closed and wrong directions (sleep deprivation = snippyness). I got my packet quickly, set up my transition area, near D (my racing friend), Michelle, and Susan (who both work with D at the racing company I worked for last year). For both of them, this was first triathlon and they were a little nervous about the swim.

I appreciated having the extra time waiting around because I feel so much more mentally prepared and peaceful when I have more than enough time to get everything together – even though its probably a little boring for Travis. I remembered to tape my Shotbloks to my bike, had time for a 10 minute jog to warm up, and used the restroom twice. So far, so good.

Swim

Five minutes before transition closed, I discovered that because the lake was so small (see picture above) and the swim start was a time trial instead of a wave, the warm up time was over when transition closed. Meaning I had missed the warm up time. Crap it! There went my strategy for the swim… Even though the water was about 10 degrees warmer than the Boulder Res, I was still worried I would get in, get out of breath with the cold water, and be toast.

As we waited around 20 minutes for the Adult Age Group to start, I had decided to go use the bathroom when I heard the announcer say that the Age Groupers could get in the water and warm up while we were waiting. I chose warming up in the water over going to the bathroom, which I believe was a good, but not ideal, decision (more on that later). The water was actually fairly warm and I was feeling good about the swim.

After warming up, we waited another 30 minutes to start due to timing issues (since I was a race timer last year, I can’t really be mad – it’s complicated and messy.) Finally, almost an hour later than planned, the Age Groupers started going. The order was Men, oldest to youngest, and then Women, oldest to youngest. So I was in last 30 or so people to go.

Finally, it was my turn. When they told me to go, I waded down the rubber mat into the water (this was a man-made lake, so the drop-off was pretty steep) and then did the breaststroke for about 10 seconds, letting the water get back into my wetsuit before putting my face in the water.

Then I started swimming. The first 100 meters were great – I felt totally relaxed and at ease. I can totally do this! I thought to myself.

Then I started noticing water getting in my mouth when I turned to breath so I started swallowing when I should have been breathing out underwater. My breathing got slightly off and I was tempted to panic. Why am I doing this again? Since when do I like swimming? As I rounded the second far buoy and started making my way back, I had the thought, “Why would I ever want to do an Olympic triathlon? I can barely stand 500 meters, let alone 1500!” I was able to mostly keep my cool through the whole swim and slowly, the yellow ducks marking the swim exit came closer and closer. I actually made it the whole way swimming! I did it! I did it!

Now you can see why I was smiling and giving a thumbs up when I came out of the water. The swim was OVER!

Official Time: 13:19

T1

The race organizers had wetsuit strippers on hand but I don’t have that much difficulty getting mine off myself so I declined their offer of help. Like usual, I pulled my wetsuit down to my waist during the run to my spot, then pulled it all the way off at my bike. Both Michelle and Susan, who had started the swim after me, were both at their bikes already! Those little speed demons! I was glad that they had survived the swim though. (Susan later told me that it was a horrible experience and she didn’t think she’d ever do another one. I can relate to that feeling!)

I put on my socks, shoes, race belt, helmet and sunglasses, grabbed my bike and was off.

Official Time: 2:06 (gotta love those smaller transition areas!)

Bike

Just like at the Boulder Sunrise, I was pleasantly surprised by how good my legs felt on the bike. I passed quite a few people and definitely pushed myself (maybe a titch too hard). I ate my Shotbloks around Mile 4. The only noteworthy thing about the bike was how bad I had to pee for the last 3 miles. It was seriously painful. I had had to pee since before the swim took off. I now wonder why I didn’t run to pee then, since we stood around waiting for almost an hour. I had contemplated peeing in my wetsuit but didn’t want to do it standing around and couldn’t do it while swimming. I contemplated peeing on the bike but that’s just gross. So I resolved to pee (in a portapoo) when I got back to transition.

Official Time: 35:19 (17 mph average)

T2

After racking my bike, taking off my helmet and grabbing my hat, I made a mad dash to the bathroom. I stopped my watch while I did so, in order to know how long my bathroom pitstop took me when compared to the official time. It probably cost me about 45 seconds. But it was totally worth it.

Official Time: 1:38

Run

Once again, I was confronted with sluggishness on the run, most likely caused by going too hard on the bike. The way out was almost all slightly uphill, so that didn’t help either. I had to stop and walk a couple of times because my heart rate was around 175, which it should have been around 165. The run course also meandered a lot with dog legs so I felt like it went on forever. I felt like I was running very slow and was so ready for the race to be over, although now that I see my running pace I’m not that disappointed – sub-10:30 is pretty good for me lately. Finally, there was the finish line – a giant gorilla!

Official Time: 32:03 (10:21 pace)

Overall Official Time: 1:24:24

Overall Watch Time: 1:23:09

Gender Placement: 74/121

Division Placement: 10/15

I like to think that if we hadn’t had to wait around so long for the race to start, I wouldn’t have had to pee and my Watch Time would be the Official Time, making this race my new PR!ย (My last race at this distance was only a 350 m swim and I did it 1:23:40). Because it doesn’t really matter one way or the other, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As far as the race itself is concerned, I think this is a great, very well-organized local race (it’s put on by the Greeley Triathlon Club). The website is informative and has course maps for the swim, bike and run. The race director sent out 2 emails before the race with information about where to park, race day timeline, etc. You get a t-shirt (very cute!), finisher’s medal and towel, plus water, a protein drink, and free burrito post-race. They play good music and the transition area, finish line and swim start are all located in the same general area, so it has a cozy atmosphere. I would recommend this race!

What I Learned:

1. I need to work on my Bike/Run transition.

Even though I have done more running than either swimming or biking in my “racing career,” the run is definitely where I’m struggling the most and not living up to my potential. And I’m pretty sure it’s because my brick workouts in preparation for these races were pretty wussy. For my future bricks, I am going to hammer it on the bike and then run, to get used to the feeling I have during racing (the only other alternative is to not go as fast on the bike and I don’t like that!)

2. If I’m serious about doing an Olympic distance, I’ll have to do the breaststroke.

Doing freestyle for an entire Olympic swim scares me enough that if my only options were that or not doing the race, I’d choose to not do the race. Doing freestyle makes me feel like I’m all alone in a watery world and it’s also harder for me to breathe calmly, especially after swallowing water or running into someone. I am glad that I now know how to do the front crawl (in case of a pool swim, like the Leadville Tri-It-High) but the breaststroke is definitely my most natural swimming method. Plus, I was actually faster doing the breaststroke. Seeing how sore I was after the Boulder Sunrise, I’ll definitely have to slowly transition back into the breaststroke. I’m still going to do plenty of the front crawl during practice, though, because I’m loving the definition in my arms!

3. I need to get me some Athlete’s HoneyMilk.

They were handing this out at the finish line and while I normally shy away from anything even remotely sugary for a good 3-4 hours after a race (even chocolate milk is too much), I decided to take a chance on this protein recovery drink. I’m glad I did! Not only did it not upset my stomach, the Honey flavor was delicious! I think I’ll buy some of this for after intense workouts and races.

What’s Next:

I think I have finally convinced Travis to do a triathlon! We just need to get him a road bike, some tri shorts, a swimsuit, and he’ll be set! (Sportsbasement.com, here I come!) So we may do a different race than the Leadville Tri, since that one is a pool swim and Travis would prefer to try his hand at open water. But I’ll gladly change plans if it means Travis will do a race!

I’ve looked for other Olympic distance triathlons in the Denver region and it appears that the Steamboat Springs Tri on August 28th is the only option for when I’ll be in town. So I’m still planning on that. I also created my new Olympic training plan last week:

{UBW stands for Upper Body Weights – though I might do some Lower Body Weights too. We’ll see. I adapted this training plan to come up with this schedule.}

This plan is subject to change, since I calculated that each week involves 7-8 hours of training – pretty much double what I have been doing. I’ll talk more about my philosophy of training in a different post but for now, I’ll say that I need to have a good balance that involves time with God and my husband. I’ve over-trained before and it resulted in me doing nothing but training, working, eating, and sleeping. Not again.

If I do need to cut back, I’ll do one long and one short workout of each discipline a week, plus one day of strength training.

Last but not least, I have decided to discontinue my triathlon training blog and merge all of my triathlon-related posts into this blog (note the tagline changed to “A Twenty-Something’s Thoughts on Life, Health and God). I started my other blog in 2009 because I felt like this blog’s focus wasn’t physical health, but spiritual health. But as my friend Cathy has been discovering and sharing with me, our spiritual health and physical health are intertwined. And because I love training for endurance races and believe that God has given me that passion, I want to try to show what it looks like to glorify God through personal excellence in a sport (and world!) that is so often rife with pride and selfish ambitions. (But I’m definitely a work in progress, so bear with me!)

Plus, it was too hard to maintain 2 blogs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

That’s all for today!

One Response to “Race Recap: Greeley Sprint Tri”

  1. Mel August 12, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Hi! I did this race, too! I really liked it. I loved that it was small and so well organized. I definitely want to do it again next year. Here’s my recap:

    http://gosetrun.tumblr.com/post/6532353022/swim-bike-run-blog

    I was 333 so, I only got in the water about a minute before you did!

    My next race is an Olympic triathlon, the Boulder Sunset on Labor Day. I’m nervous! I’m bookmarking your blog so I can read about yours.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: