On my schedule this season, I penciled in the Kinetic Sprint as my warmup for the season. My next race of the year is the Challenge Williamsburg Olympic, and I didn’t want that to be my first tri of the summer. As I’ve been saying, I have to remember how to triathlete. You can train all you want, but the confusion and adrenaline that comes with race day can only be experienced while racing.
Of course, no matter how much I said it was just a warmup and how I wasn’t really concentrating on it, I wanted this race. I wanted to do well.
Then I got either a stomach virus or food poisoning on Thursday. Not the best way to start hydrating for a long race. Also, not something I would recommend. Ever. So my goal became recovering, hydrating, and making sure I could fuel.
By the evening before the race, I was definitely recovered, though my stomach just felt small. Eating normal sized meals wasn’t the easiest. I worried I might be going in underfueled, but there wasn’t much I could do.
Laura was kind enough to come with me and be my cheer squad, though I’m not sure the 3:30 wake-up call was what she had planned for. She is awesome and didn’t complain (much).
I raced in my awesome new Team Coeur kit and I love it. Spandex is not my friend, but this kit is so comfy.
Race morning, I was nervous but excited. The weather was cloudy, which was pretty perfect. Whatever I could do to keep from getting fried. And the water was 74 degrees. Also pretty perfect from a wetsuit perspective. Much nicer than the freezing cold water I practiced in the weekend before.
I was in the last swim wave, which I hate because I always feel like I’m finishing so late, even though my finish time might not be too bad. We were a half hour after the start gun. But it also meant that I could hang out in the water until it was my time to start. That made relaxing and getting out of my head so much easier. That’s my biggest struggle with swimming.
My swim… did not feel good. Only a few minutes in and I was doubting whether or not I had the energy to do the race. I just couldn’t find my groove. I also kept swallowing water, so that probably didn’t help, but hey, easy hydration. I felt like I was really behind the pack in the swim too, but after the race, Laura said my wave was a pack, then a few swimmers, then another pack, and I was in that few swimmers section. So that’s why I felt like I was one of the stragglers.
Besides, it doesn’t matter. I’m racing for me, right?
750 meter swim – 18:45
For some reason, I was very confused during T1. I think it’s just because I felt so worn down. But I was glad to be done with the swim. I probably should have re-sprayed myself with sunscreen here and did not. I also did not put on my cooling wings, which would have protected me from the sun. Lesson learned.
T1 – 3:58
The bike was… fine. I got passed a bunch in the beginning, then slowly started picking off people, frequently on climbs, which is the most annoying place to be passing. But it shows that my hill training is working for me. I just need to get better on flats. I also need to figure out what racing really means for my legs. I always hold back just a bit because I don’t want to burn out. And that’s good, but I think I could be pushing just a bit harder.
15.5 mile bike – 1:05:02
I also should have paid attention to where the Run Out from transition was. I figured it out pretty easily, but this is one of those things I should have done pre-race. Again, trying to remember how to triathlete.
T2 – 2:08
The run felt surprisingly good. I hate 5ks because I’m slow, but I really felt like I kept a good pace. I kept glancing at my watch and seeing that I was keeping a sub-13, which is good for me on a regular day, and during a triathlon, it’s really good. I definitely tried to keep the run strategic. This course starts with a giant uphill, so I just power walked up, knowing that running would just kill my heart rate. My HRM wasn’t registering properly (it got twisted around my torso at some point) so I was just running by feel and making my intervals work for me. I’m pretty proud that I managed to run smart and still keep around a 12:50 pace.
5k run – 39:42
Total time: 2:09:34. Respectable.
So I can’t really compare this time to any of my other races, because course affects a triathlon so very much. I can’t compare it at all to Iron Girl Columbia, because that race is longer. I can compare the swim and the run at Fort Ritchie, but the bike there is just ridiculous. I love it, but it’s nuts. And I can compare my transitions here to my transitions at Giant Acorn, because even though that was an Olympic distance race, the race site is the same, so the transitions are the same.
And though I definitely didn’t feel it, by all accounts, I’ve improved.
My swim was about 20 seconds faster than Fort Ritchie. Admittedly, this could be affected by the placement of timing mats, but considering that I didn’t feel great on the swim, I think it’s a win.
Both of my transitions were faster than at Giant Acorn. The difference in T2 could be due to my frustration with my flat at Giant Acorn, but either way, I was moving better than I thought.
My run was fabulous for me. 2 minutes faster than at Fort Ritchie. Again, different course, but I definitely feel like I’m seeing run improvements.
Weirdly, I didn’t come out of this race with any great sense of accomplishment. It was more an “Okay, I did that. Now what?” Which, since this was a warmup for the season, makes perfect sense. Next up? A race that is twice as long. Fun.