Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oliver Sprint Tri Race Report

Wow, what a weekend!

I was super stressed out and nervous in the few days leading up to the race, and I eventually figured out that it was mainly because I had not had no opportunity to swim in the lake since last August and it was still a big unknown.

Saturday morning I got up and settled into packing up and getting the house in order. We left around 2:00 and drove the 1 1/2 hours to Oliver where I first went for a swim, and then picked up the race package. The water was considerably warmer than it had been two weeks earlier and the air temp at the time was about 32C (90F). Water temp was about 19C, or 66F. It took me about 5-10 minutes of swimming to settle myself down and feel comfortable. At first my heart was pounding and I found it hard to breathe properly but eventually, that feeling went away, and I swam far enough to know I was going to be ok the next day.

I went to the race meeting at 5pm and then drove 20 minutes to Osoyoos where our hotel was located. (Coincidentally, our hotel is at the bottom of the hill where my avatar and podcast photo was taken.)

I had some chicken and rice and a banana for dinner, and then relaxed and took it easy for the evening. I was tired so we were asleep before 10.

I got up at 6am and got my stuff organized. I had also brought my own breakfast food - the usual - yogurt, banana, and a handful of oatmeal, but I was pretty nervous and had a hard time getting the food down. I also began to sip on a bottle of nuun/carbo pro.

We checked out and left the hotel around 7am, got to Oliver and set up transition. I also got body marked - #103 - and picked up my timing chip ankle band. My friend Paul, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, was not able to race, but met me in transition and we chatted a little before he had to head out to do his volunteer duties. It was great to see a familiar face!

I met some of the women in my age grou, 6 of us in all for the sprint, and then put my wetsuit on and headed down to the beach when transition closed at 8:30. This is the first year they had an Olympic distance in addition to the Sprint, so there were two waves. The Oly's left first, at 8:30, and then we started when the last Oly had started their second swim lap, at about 8:55.

Everyone was really spread out waiting in the water so I got myself into the middle of the pack, figuring I was less nervous this year and wouldn't have to swim way in the back like last time. I have never swum with men before so I wasn't sure where I'd fare with them. As it turned out, I found myself having to swim around quite a few people, and as usual, I got stuck for awhile behind some breast strokers. I think that is fairly common in a sprint race because there are so many beginners. Next time, in a similar kind of race, I'm going to get about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way back of the front. I think I can handle it ok now.

I felt fine the whole swim, very little in the way of nerves, although my goggles fogged up a lot and I could hardly see after about 250m. It was quite windy and the waves pushed me off course a few times, but overall, I swim fairly straight and managed just fine. Once I passed the turn around bouy, I kicked it up a notch and started to swim faster, especially the last 200m.

Erik was close by as I got out of the water, and although I didn't see him, I heard him yell out 15:45! I was stoked, it was a great swim time for me. I was still a ways away from the timing mat though so the time was not official.

Swim time: 16:26 (goal was 18:00) 56/113 people, 12/50 women, 2/6 AG

I had my wetsuit half stripped and my goggles off right away, and I went straight to my bike and put on my shoes (no socks), my helmet, sunglasses, and grabbed a quick guzzle from my bottle. I also tore the top open from a gel and shoved into back into my bento box. Then I headed out on my bike.

T1: 1:55 (goal was 2:00) 25/113 people

It was still fairly windy but for the first 4 km, the wind was behind me. My HR was fairly high and I tried to eat some of the gel, but couldn't get it down. I also tried to drink some of my water/nuun/carbo-pro but had a tough time swallowing when I was working so hard.

I felt strong going up the first hill, which is fairly steep, and I was able to pass a few people right off the bat. Once at the top, I hammered along the plateau to the turn around point and then had to face the wind for about 9km. My speed down the big hill only hit about 52kmh, when weeks earlier I had hit 68kmh, so the wind was definitely a factor.

I saw very few women on the bike course, and for the most part, I played leap frog with about 5-6 men. And the 2nd turn around point, I knew I had only 5km to go and with the wind behind me now, I went as hard as I could. I left several men behind me at the point. I was watching my time and was pretty disappointed that I was not going to meet my time goal of 34 minutes but I figured the wind had seriously affected my time. Soon I was at T2, ready to begin the run.

Bike (18 km): 36:36 (goal 34:00) 32/113 people, 6/50 women, 2/6 women

T2 went quickly. All I had to do was rack my bike, and there were only 37 bikes in the area so it was easy to find my spot. I changed shoes, grabbed my hat and a drink, then took off.

T2: 1:16 (goal 1:00) (33/113 people)

Right away, I had a hill to climb and my legs felt heavy. I tried to shake it off, and loosen up as I ran but the feeling continued. I could see I was running really slowly, slower than a 10 min mile.

After about 1 km, my left ankle began to hurt. Not only was the timing chip band rubbing it raw, but the ankle itself was aching and hurting. When I eventually began to favour it, I stopped and tried to loosen and stretch it and then walk a bit. I did this about 3 times until I was at the 2 km mark. At this point, I decided to loosen the band a bit to at least alleviate the rubbing a bit. I then realized that the band itself was too tight and the constriction was causing the pain.

I took a few more walk breaks until I reached the turn around point, then things started to feel a bit better. However, I was feeling pretty frustrated by this point. Quite a few people were passing me, although most of them were men, and there was no way I could keep up. My goal time came and went around the 4km mark and I was able to start pushing it a little harder. I doubt even then that I was able to run much faster than a 10 min mile though. It's amazing how your body just won't do what you want it to do sometimes.

As I got closer to the finish line, I pushed as hard as I could to try to at least come close to a 1:28 time and I was able to make that last small goal. Erik was there at the finish line, taking pictures as I ran down the short steep hill. I was content with my overall time, but not particularly happy with the way the race had ended.

Run: 32:09 (goal - 29:00 min) 83/113, 28/50 women, 3/6 age group

Overall time:

1:28:20 (goal 1:23-1:28) 57/113 people, 17/50 women, 3/6 age group

So I beat my swim goal.

I met my transition goals.

I met, and perhaps beat, my bike goal considering the wind.

I did not come close to meeting my run goal.

What did I learn?

1. Start myself closer to the front of the swim.

2. Eat my gel before the swim. Drink more if I can. Maybe carry a water bottle on the run if it's hot.

3. Somehow learn to run faster. I really believe that will happen. It's still early in the season and I've had a number of injuries to contend with.

4. Don't be afraid to pass men on the bike. I'm still hesitant to pass them, especially if they look like roadies. I'm getting better at it though. :)

5. Wear my timing chip looser!!!!

I think that is all. I've analyzed it to death! :)

Erik and I both recorded some audio before, during, and after the race, and that is now available in Episode #22 of my podcast if you want to hear it.

Kelownagurl Tris Podcast Website

There is also a slideshow of my triathlon photos that Erik took.

Slideshow of Photos

Both can be found on my podcast blog, as well as on itunes.

I want to thank Brian Grenier who has coached me for the last 10 weeks, and to Darin Booten at Kona Endurance Pro who sponsored me. I appreciate all you have done for me - thank you!!


Lybbe said...

Fantastic race report. Not sure if there's any way you can overcome your running struggles, but I know you'll keep trying. If you get that sorted out you'll be #1 on the podium!

untpawgal02 said...

Awesomely amazing job well done! Oh and tops in the age group... makes the race so much sweeter :) Congrats!

Glenn Jones said...

Wow! Great job out on the course! Thanks for taking the time to share you experiences with us!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Thanks for the race report & well done!! Wow. The ankle biter feels painful.

Sheila said...

Thanks for the race report. So helpful and insightful for someone like me to read, who will be doing my 1st tri soon. Sounds like you did great. I mean, you did it as hard as you could. It was the best you could do that day under the circumstances. For running faster you'll probably want to incorporate some speed work. It will come...

Susan Knight said...

Nice to meet you!! Glad you had a good race.. nothing is better than meeting personal goals, those are the victory's that count!

Paul said...

Great bike time Barb! I agree, take the gel before the swim. Once on the bike you want to focus on riding and nothing else. The race is short enough to not necessitate extra nutrition.

Unfortunately it takes the body longer to adapt to running than it does'll get faster.

Loved the slide show. Eric was very mobile to get all the shots he did.

It's starting to look like I might do gonna join me?

Michael said...

Great report! Just what I need as I prepare for my first tri! Mabye I won't have to learn EVERYTHING the hard way. Thanks!

CewTwo said...

Wow! Awesome race report! Your description made it very real. Thanks for sharing.

I might try a tri someday (if it weren't for that darn swimming part...)

Running Chicks in PDX said...

Wow great job,, I always lean something from your experience. You will get faster on your run it just takes time..