Giant Acorn Race Musings

Tonight, poor Ethel the bike has to go into the shop for repairs.  And a bath, because man, that bike is DIRTY.  I’m thinking I screwed up the derailleur when I changed the tire, so that’s got to get fixed.  It may be an easy fix that I can do myself, but at this point, I’d just rather have the pros do it.  It’s never a bad idea to get a tuneup anyway.  And since I’m out of town this weekend, it’s not like I’m going to be getting a ton of riding in over the next week anyway.

I still feel weirdly guilty about Sunday’s race at Giant Acorn.  How can I be disappointed when I was allowed to finish and others weren’t?  I guess on some level it’s because I race against myself and don’t compare myself to others.  I want everyone to have a great race, and that didn’t happen for us.  I’m not going to say it was a bad race.  In fact, I plan to go do it again.  It just wasn’t our day.

I think I just had higher expectations of myself, and even with the bike breakdown, I still was hoping for a better finish.  I probably should have sat down and figured out an estimated finish time, because then I would have had something to compare it to.   A rough estimate would have had me with a 35-40 minute swim, 1:30-1:45 bike, a 90 minute run, and probably a total of 8-10 minutes in transition.  That puts me anywhere between 3:45 and 4:05 (I think, the caffeine hasn’t set in yet).  So hitting a 4:13 isn’t bad if I subtract the 15ish minutes to change my tire.  It’s right where I thought I would be.  I just didn’t actually think about it.  And maybe that was my mistake.  I should have gone in with some sort of a rough estimate.  Not a goal time, just a “Given my training, this is how the race should go.”  I would have aimed to finish on the faster end of the range, but it’s always good to have an idea of what you’re facing.  I hadn’t put any thought into it.

So it is what it is, and I know that I have a lot of work to do over the winter.  I’m determined to improve my cycling, because that’s where I think I have the best chance of showing significant improvements.  The swim isn’t going to get a ton faster, and even if I cut a minute per mile off my run pace, that’s still only about a 6 minute increase.  And I’m not going to be able to cut that much time off of my run pace anytime soon.  So for now, cycling it is.

Once Ethel gets back from the shop.

Race Report: Giant Acorn International

IMG_1622Before I start the race report for Giant Acorn International, my longest triathlon to date, I would like to give you a recap of the past three days.  Saturday, my hard drive tanked and now my computer is in the shop.  Sunday… you’ll see.  This morning, I dropped my earring, it bounced off the dresser and landed in my coffee.  Of course, I fished it out and still drank the coffee.  But it’s been an interesting few days.

So.  On to the race recap.

This was my first Olympic distance race, but I really wasn’t too worried about it.  I had put in the time and I was ready.  I really didn’t have any predicted finish times, but I certainly wasn’t worried about the 4 hour time limit.  I figured I would be just fine.  Not fast, but not at risk of being swept.

Of course, I needed something to stress about, so it was whether or not to wear my wetsuit.  I’m faster in it.  I don’t need it, but it’s nice to wear for longer swims.  And I’ve had issues with cold water.  It’s sleeveless, but I just wasn’t sure what my personal “too warm for a wetsuit” temperature was.  Race morning, the water was 72-73 degrees.  So I just went with it.

This was an in-water start, which I love, plus there was a chance to get into the water before the race.  I was in the last swim wave, which again, didn’t worry me.  I knew that the swim cutoff was 1:10 (after the last wave, I assumed), so I wasn’t worried.  I didn’t know what the cutoff for the other legs were because I didn’t think I needed to be concerned.  How wrong I was.

Horn goes, swim swim swim.  I was in the pack for a while, then dropped back.  I felt like I was going so slowly, though I certainly wasn’t the last one out of the water.  It did make me want to work on being a faster swimmer.  But again, I didn’t panic so that’s the key.

I’m not sure where the transition mat was, but I definitely walked the sandy, rocky path to transition.

Swim: 1500m in  37:15.  Not bad.

The long walk to transition worked against me, but I managed to get out of transition in a decent amount of time, considering I had to get out of my wetsuit.

T1: 4:29

I got on my bike and just couldn’t get comfortable.  I couldn’t decide if it was my legs or the pavement or what was going on.  Finally, about 2.5 miles in, I stopped to look at my bike and see if something was rattling.

My rear tire was completely flat.  I may have been riding on the flat the entire time.  That can’t be good.

So I worked to change my tire as I watched other athletes fly by.  Any thought of placing well went out of my head.  A number of people asked me if I had what I needed and I did.  I knew what I was doing, but I’m not great at the CO2 inflating.  I’m always worried about overinflating, so I ended up with an underinflated tire.  Never good for riding.

I also somehow managed to screw up my derailleur, so I didn’t have access to all my gears during the remaining 20+ miles.  It sucked.  And I was all alone for most of it.  I came upon a few cyclists near the end, but at this point, my motivation was waning.  I was really down and frustrated with the whole situation.  And wondering just how much this bike repair was going to cost me.

Also I was covered in dirt and bike grease.  Awesome.

Because my computer is in the shop, I haven’t downloaded my Garmin stats to see how long I was at a standstill, but based on the 5 mile lap times and my average pace, it’s safe to say I lost 15 minutes.  I’m sure I also lost time with the damaged derailleur and underinflated tire, but there’s no good way to quantify that, so I’m not thinking about it.

I started to watch my pace and wondered if I would be able to make the 4 hour time limit.  I cruised into the bike finish and asked if I could still start the run.  I had 12 minutes.  Thank goodness.

Around the mile 20 mark, I found Liz, who was on the ground changing her tire.  It was not a good day for bikes.  But she was doing well, so I figured she would catch me on the run.

Bike: 25.25 miles: 2:01:33.

By this point, I knew the race had a 4 hour time limit and I knew I wasn’t going to make it, but I was under the impression that once you started the run, you got to finish.  I figured that the run would take me about 90 minutes, give or take.  So when I got into transition, I was mad.  Laura was there and I asked her how everyone else was doing.  I told her about Liz and told her about my bike debacle.  I was just angry at this point and pretty down about the whole thing.  The race was not going my way.

T2: 2:35

The entire first part of this run course is up a hill.  This is a terrible idea.  TERRIBLE.  But it’s better than the finish being downhill, so I’ll take it.  It’s a looped course, so for my first loop, there were plenty of people out there, finishing their second loop.  I just worked at keeping my pace under a 14 minute mile, which is my typical triathlon goal.  It gives me something to work for.

At one point, there was a short out and back and that’s when I finally saw Liz.  She was only a few minutes behind me, and I figured she would catch me soon.  I was hot and sunburning, but wasn’t too worried about the run. I cruised into the split for the second loop, and as I started the second loop, they were taking down the run course.  This really threw me off and I got frustrated.  There were also people all over the run course, most of whom very politely moved when they realized the race was still going on.  I got lots of cheers from other participants, which was awesome.  But there were also rude people, and I ended up on the verge of tears for most of the run from mile 3-4.  That was also the giant uphill, so it was partly physical, I’m sure.

At the end of the out and back, I noticed that there was a cyclist following a runner.  I asked if she was following the last runner, and she said yes.  That meant Liz was gone.  I had no idea they were going to close the run course!  I hoped that she had been cut off and not injured.  But I was so mad on her behalf.

So I just kept moving, and feeling sorry for myself because this race had become a debacle, and finally, I finished.

Run: 10k in 1:27:13

Total time: 4:13:02.

The finish crowd was great and it was so nice to be a latecomer getting cheered in.  Much of the post-race food was gone, but the Papa John’s truck was there and we all got personal pizzas, so I still had that.  Big thumbs up there.

But overall, I was disappointed.  Even with 15 minutes on the tire change, I was still much slower than I anticipated.  It was really soul crushing.  I feel guilty about feeling bad though, since other people didn’t get to finish when they so deserved to.  But the race just didn’t go how I wanted it to, and I’m allowed to be disappointed.  And this is fuel for the winter training season.

And on the upside, I know I can change a tire on the fly.  I just can’t figure out what I did to my derailleur.  Guess I will be visiting my LBS this week!


Thursday Workout Recap

I am exhausted.  I’ve been in all day meetings for the past few days.  My life has been work, possibly workout, crash into bed.  So I’m behind on everything, including this blog.

Last week was a less busy week.

Monday – Rest day.  Choir rehearsals.  Which I love and hate all at the same time.

Tuesday – Getting home late on Mondays makes convincing myself to do speedwork very difficult. I ended up flipping the workout and doing my trainer workout tonight.  I probably didn’t push as hard as I should.

Wednesday – My workout log says “I hate running.”  That tells you how tonight’s run went.

Thursday – Team Fight swim.  My heart wasn’t in it after a rough day at work, and for the first half hour, I was miserable, but I finally got into it and am glad I went.  Gotta make sure I get there tonight too.

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 90 hard minutes on the trainer.  I sure hope these trainer rides are enough to get me through my race.

Sunday – 9 mile run.  I am so glad fall is here.  This cool weather is amazing!

Race Week

So apparently, I have a triathlon this weekend.  That means it’s race week!

This race is my first Olympic distance.  I’m not terribly worried about the distance, just about how my body will handle that long of a race.  It’s definitely going to be the longest race I’ve done in quite some time.  With a sprint, I have been sort of able to half-ass my fueling.  That’s not exactly an option in an Oly.  At least not for me.  I have to remember to actually grab my fuel in transition, etc.  I wish my tri kit had a zipper pocket that I could put an emergency gel in!

Weirdly, the part I’m most dreading about the race is the run.  And it’s only a 10k.  But it’s my worst leg, and the run part of a triathlon is hard anyway since you’ve just spent all that time swimming and biking.  But ugh.  10k.

I’m looking forward to getting to race in my wetsuit.  I’m so much faster in a wetsuit!  It’s amazing!  I’m not looking forward to having to try to quickly get out of my wetsuit.  I’m pretty sure it’s a guarantee that I will fall down.  Do any of you experienced triathletes have tips about how to get your wetsuit off in a reasonable fashion?

Slumpity Slump Slump Slump

I started this post yesterday, then got sucked into the vortex of a work crisis.  So here goes nothing.

Tuesday night, my training schedule called for a 6 mile run.  Well, actually, my training schedule called for a 6 mile run on Tuesday and a bike ride last night, but on Tuesday, I couldn’t face the treadmill, so I switched it up.  Why do today what you can put off til tomorrow?

As I have described the run in my training log, “I hate running.”  Lately, my midweek runs have been such a slog!  It’s like the last thing I want to do is run.  I’m not sure what the change has been.  I used to love it.  It’s just a slump, I think.  It could also be that I’m just not seeing a ton of improvement in my running and that’s frustrating me.  I won’t see much improvement though, with my heart issues.  There’s a bit of room to improve, and I need to remember that.  If I could just shave 30 seconds off my average mile pace, that would be amazing.

It’s tough to be in a slump.  I know that for me, what gets me out is just sticking to the plan.  At some point, something will go right and I will magically love running again.  It’s just going to take time.  And I have to remember that I’m not only doing this for my running races, but I do want to improve at triathlons too.  It’s tough when I have a great swim and bike only to be passed repeatedly on the run.  Yes, I need to get over that because it’s always going to happen, but even minor improvements will help.

For now, I’ll just rock the slump and be glad that fall tv shows have returned so I have something to watch while on the treadmill.