Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pre-Fitbloggin' updates: Quarry Ridge Triathlon

Because I was doing a triathlon on Wednesday, my normal weigh-in day, I went to another center to weigh in on Tuesday evening. A weird artifact of the Weight Watchers app seems to be that if your weigh-in week starts on Wednesday, then it gets confused if you weigh-in on Tuesday. My Tuesday weight replaced my last week's weight on my graph, and since I lost the 1.2 I gained last week, it's as if it never happened. 

On  race day, there was a thunderstorm. USA Triathlon rules require waiting an hour after the last thunder or lightning before start. The weather radar looked ugly, so we were all setting up without knowing if we were going to actually get to race. We were all feeling a little goofy.

I set up my transition area leaving all my shoes in the plastic grocery bags I used to keep them from getting dirt all over my triathlon backpack. Plastic grocery bags are so useful for triathlons that I'm surprised that some company hasn't started to market specialized logo versions to triathletes for $10 each (triathlon gear can become an expensive habit). 

I was glad when the rain started to lighten up so I could take a photo of how to set up a transition area for my presentation at Fitbloggin'.  Usually I set the helmet the other way and put my sunglasses inside, but it was still raining so I flipped the helmet to keep my sunglasses semi-dry.  You can see that there is not a lot of space for each athlete -- think hand towel, not beach towel. 
Here I have my sunglasses and helmet on my bike's , my (under the helmet), my bike shoes and running shoes (with socks inside), a shirt to throw on over my trisuit with the number pinned to it, and a towel and a bottle of sports drink (Skratch Labs Pineapples) for transition.  

My goals for this race were really modest. I'm still recovering from my hamstring strain, so I hoped to do well on the swim and bike and just survive the run. I didn't even wear a watch so I wouldn't worry myself with how slow I was.

I have to be honest -- I still get anxious before every race. When the weather was bad, I started to half-hope it wouldn't go because I was nervous. But then the sun came out and I was ready to race. 

It was a time-trial start, which meant that we arranged ourselves on steps based on our expected swim times (I put myself near the beginning of the second step, estimating 9-10 minutes for the swim). It was only a 400-yard swim with lots of turns so it got pretty crowded in the water.

I felt pretty good coming out of the swim. The bike leg felt hard -- I kept getting passed by people who were slower swimmers than me but faster cyclists. I have been doing mostly women's-only races, so the fact that the field was half men was probably part of my sense that I was going slower than usual -- I actually averaged more than 17 mph on the bike, according to the partial results I saw on race day. I'm still waiting for the full results to be posted. I slipped getting off my bike and almost fell, and the officials laughed when they heard me drop an F-bomb.

My running shoes and socks were soaked -- I should have left the plastic bag on top. I did the run leg as run-walk intervals -- I ran until I felt like I couldn't run, then walked. My toes and hamstring were both bothering me a little so I walked more than I would have liked.  I got a lot of "keep going," and "you're looking good" from the other runners, which gave me the distinct sense that I was not looking good. I got over myself, though, and smiled at the other runners as much as possible and tried to keep my spirits up.  It was a rough slog.  I had to stop to take off my socks because my feet were so swollen that I didn't think I could take it otherwise, and that helped me speed up a little. I would guess my run was 40 minutes or more because of all the walk breaks.

Overall, it was not my best race, but I liked racing in the evening -- it was cool to be relaxing at the after party watching the sun set.  I had a beer, which tasted like the best thing in the world.  The only thing that felt better than the plastic chair I was sitting in was my hot shower later.

The thing that makes me feel great about this race was that I could decide to do it and just do it -- I had been training enough to be ready to finish a tri with two weeks' notice.  I hadn't done a lot of run training, which showed, but I felt very prepared for the swim and the bike.

I'm planning to do another event in July on a similar course.  We'll see how much I can improve by then.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07