Monday, May 26, 2014

Polar Bear Tri - Tri #1

That was the earliest Triathlon I’ve ever done. It was a chilly morning as to be expected for the coast of Maine and with the winterish spring we’ve had. I was worried about staying warm during the bike. The swim was held in the Bowdin College pool. IT WAS HUGE, well normal for most but the pool we train in is 2 lanes, 4 feet deep, 13 yards long. This pool was 16 lanes, 15 feet deep and 25 yards long. My warmup had to be carefully calculated because of the designated swim practice time and when the transition was closing. I typically warm up by biking, running then swimming all in about an hour before I start. The pool was open from 7:30-8 transition closed at 8:10 and my wave wasn’t starting until 9:15. So I made sure I had an extra pair of sneakers because I had no access to my race shoes after 8:10. 

After swim warm up and the shock of swimming in 15 feet of water I stepped outside to see how the air temp would feel when soaking wet, burrrr. I quickly ran a long sleeve in transition just in case. The waves were assigned but not the lanes. So I figured there would be a free for all for the lane closest to the door to transition. There wasn’t so I grabbed it and shared it will a guy named Jeff. Every athlete had to submit a time they could swim the 525 yards in. Maury suggested 8:30 for me. Wave 5 was up and we jumped into the water it was chilly. I swam up and back and we started 30 secs later. I really don’t know what happened in the pool it kinda fell apart and I was slow but didn’t feel that slow. When I’m training in the winter, I don’t focus on perfecting my flip turns because I am an open water swimmer but flip turns are crucial for speed in the pool. 

When I finished my 21 lengths I got out and looked at my watch, it said 10 mins I was shocked. As soon as I entered the transition area I shut that out and refocused on the bike. I put my shoes and helmet on and ran to the mount line. I passed a few racers, so many athletes, the less competitive ones, are not quick here but that’s ok. I love the bike leg, it’s the fastest, I’m the strongest here and I make up so much lost time. That needs to change. I passed between 20-25 athletes and was only passed by one guy rgggg. I also passed a few guys with super expensive bikes and aero helmets- love that feeling! It’s all about the training! The course was very nice and the town had swept the shoulders it was so smooth for spring racing. There were no real hills and I maintained an average speed of 22.7 mph. 

As I approached the TA I shift up to an easier gear and spin a bit faster to get my legs ready to run, I dismounted and ran right to my spot. I forgot to put my sunglasses on before my helmet in T1 so I had to take them off then put them back on, not good. As I ran towards the timing mat I wrapped my number belt around my waist that saves some time, I strongly suggest that technique. I came up on a guy with in 2 mins and he said I knew you’d get me in the run. It was the guy that passed me on the bike!! I was so excited inside. 80% of the run was on grass/in the woods on trail, which was nice and engaging. There were mile markers but I read the athlete guide and it stated that both mile 1 and 2 were at the aid stations. When I reached the first one I hit the split button and looked, it said 5:11 I didn’t think I was running that fast but cool!! I kept running and turned the corner and there was a big Mile 1 sign. I looked at the time and it was 6:41 I should have hit split again so I could see my second mile split but I got confused and thought it would change my overall time somehow. The mind doesn’t always work well in race mode. The course was split into 2 laps with the second lap being shorter so that threw me off a little. Each time I passed a runner I made sure to say good job, it makes me feel good and I know how awesome it makes me feel when it’s said to me. I’m going to work on being a little nicer during races. Not that I am ever the opposite but I don’t ever say anything to anyone because I am so focused. Interacting makes me smile, which in turn will hopefully make me faster, and more relaxed. After the 2nd lap split I had just a little more to go. The course popped out of the woods into the finish chute and was lined with spectators. I’ve raced tri for 6 summers now and that feeling never gets old and I don’t think it ever will. If it does then I need to move on. Some how you always find a little more in you to go just a little faster. As I neared the line the announcer Andy Schlact announced my name along with “one of the premier triathletes in the granite state who represented the US very well in the World Tri Championships in London” I gave it all I had left and crossed the finish line with a huge smile. 

After my heart rate went down I made sure to go for a jog so my legs didn’t cramp up. When I returned Gina looked at the results. I was 3rd female!! As I said in previous blogs I never believe the results until I hear for sure when they announce the podium. I drank my recovery drink and put my legs up keeping the lactic acid from pooling. I went for another longer run and as I passed the TA someone yelled to get my attention. It was the guy I passed on the run. He asked what my bike time was and we chatted about the race. He is racing the White Mountains Tri in Franconia so we agreed we see each other there. He finished the conversation with “Well gotta go have my jack and coke” Really you just raced why do you need alcohol. That totally turned me off.

I studied the results a bit more and the top two females swam 2 mins quicker than me and I finished about 3 mins behind them, it’s so frustrating but it just makes me more determined to work harder.

The award ceremony started with the top 3 females. “In 3rd place Angela Cox, in a time of 1:02:00” then he announced 2nd and 1st place. Unmm wait what about me? I scanned the results again and saw Angela at the bottom with about 10 other athletes who didn’t have complete results. So they must have manually added her chip time. 4th is still pretty good though and I was first in my age group!

I found the race director and thanked her for a great race something else I’m going to start doing. She thanked me for coming down from N. Conway and asked if I was racing the Pirate Tri again. It’s conflicting with another race so I won’t be racing it. It was a beautiful sunny day but I was having a hard time enjoying it. I had mixed feelings about my race, I was so mad at my slow swim time but happy about the rest of the race. I work so hard all winter training three mornings a week and then I swim a 10 min 525 yards.  I have gotten faster but I’m still missing something. My lower half doesn’t float that well so I have some drag especially in the pool. Eventually something will click for me in the swim! 

Overall: 30/ 253
Female: 4/119
Age Group: 1/23

View results online here

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