So here goes!
If you managed to slog through my race plan a few posts back, you probably saw that my plan was to get up at 4:30 and leave the house by 5:40. Haha - here's the plan, and in brackets, how it really went.
4:30 Get up, eat yogurt and banana, coffee, water (Ooops, I set the alarm for pm instead of am, Erik woke me from a dead sleep at 5:05, jumped out of bed, showered, ate, did last minute stuff, and left the house about 6am - at this point I wasn't too worried because I was using last year's times and my wave was 15 minutes later than last year so I had some leeway)
5:40 Leave house, drive, park, set up transition (had to park further away than expected, got sent directly to long line for body marking before being allowed into transition)
6:00-6:30 Body marking (6:45 finally arrive in transition, set up some stuff, then head to long line for bathroom, 7:15 finish set up, put on wetsuit, run to beach)
7:10-7:15 Short warm up swim (7:25 very short warm up swim, windy, cool air, brrrr)
7:30 My wave start (Scramble to beach in time to hear the whistle and run into the water.)
My swim was probably my best event this year. Go figure. I seeded myself fairly close to the front, and to the left, close to the line for the buoys. There was only one woman directly in front of me at the start, but lots of women to my right and a few to my left. They split the sprint women into two groups this year, under 40 and over 40 so there were only about 50-60 women in my wave and that made a difference I think.
I planned to go easy at first but I felt confident and strong right from the start to I kept at it. I had NONE of the anxiety that I had in my practice swim the day before and I'm pretty sure that's because I wasn't swimming alone today. Good thing.
It was breezy and the water was choppy but not too difficult. I swam fairly straight and managed to stay out of other people's way this time so didn't get hit much, except on one turn.
I passed the first 2 buoys, made the turn and kept swimming strong and steady but didn't push too hard or get out of breath. I stayed with breathing on one side most of the time. I noticed there weren't too many people from my wave ahead of me at this point. At one point, I saw a larger group of swimmers ahead but realized they had yellow caps and were the men from the earlier wave. Yes!
Once I had made the long haul to the next buoy and turned back towards the shore, I swam harder and got to the beach in 16:27 for the swim leg, a minute faster than last year! I was so happy!
Although I had sussed out the pathway through the maze of bikes in transition (1600+), and thought I had a foolproof path, I STILL managed to turn one row early and lost about 20 seconds or so doing the extra running on an already very long distance from the beach.
Wetsuit off, shoes and helmet on, quick drink and grab the bike all seemed to go quickly and smoothly but my T1 time was still 3:34, pretty sucky. The fastest T1 times were around the 2 minute mark with the avg fast time about 2:30 but I imagine some of those women didn't wear wetsuits. My time last year was 3:01 without a wetsuit (for comparison).
My quads felt a little tired on the bike but not too bad - I didn't hit the lap button on the Knox Mtn climb but I think it was about 2:15 (my best time is about 2:00) so I was a bit disappointed about that. Overall I felt I rode pretty well. It was windy on the bike course as well and that had a significant effect on my time, especially on the flats and on Glenmore when it was a head wind. As I came round the course to start the second lap, I could see my time was just over 20 minutes for the first lap so went for a negative split on the second lap. I climbed Knox strongly this time and although I don't know my time, I realized more than halfway up, I was cross-chained in my big ring up front. Idiot. I laughed at myself and commented to a guy who was passing me at that moment. Pretty stupid but it probably gave me some extra oomph up that ugly hill. :)
Because the younger women were already out on the course 10 minutes ahead of me, I had very little female competition on the bike leg. The super fast women were also fast swimmers so they were well ahead of me, and I was ahead of the rest of the other women. Only one woman passed me and that was almost immediately after coming out of transition. I passed a number of men and women from the earlier waves, as well as a couple of faster swimmers from my wave. My second bike split was about 19:something so I was happier with that lap but my total time was still only 40:14, 2 minutes slower than last year. I truly believe most of that time loss was due to the wind.
Last year, over 35% of the women maintained an avg bike speed over 30 km/h or higher, this year only 15% did. Clearly the wind was an issue for everyone.
I came into T2 and changed shoes/hat etc fairly quickly I thought, but again, I still seemed to be a little slow on transitions in general. I admit I do put on my socks in T2 instead of T1 so my T2 is sometimes slower than other women for that alone. I'm not going to stop that though. I find I can bike in bare feet without any problems, and it's much easier to put socks on later than when my feet are still damp/sandy from the swim. T2 - 1:53, only 4 seconds slower than last year.
My goal was to run the first km in 6 min and then the rest in 5:30-5:50. I felt good though and my legs did not feel heavy so my first km was 5:39. I slowed down a bit and my second km was 5:55.
For whatever reason, after the 2km mark, my STUPID IT band decided to act up again. It is SO random and few and far between that I never know when it's going to happen. I have not had any ITB problems for over a month and thought that was behind me now (and in addition, my shins felt absolutely fine in the run, no pain whatsoever). It was right knee as usual, and it kept tightening up until I finally decided to stop and stretch it for 15-20 seconds, then went back to running. My 3rd km was about 6:08 pace, and then it tightened up again so I stretched once more. Fourth km was 6:16 and last km was 6:09 for a total run time of 31:01. Ugh. I'm wondering if I should get an IT band strap to wear in races?
My total time was 1:33:11. I would have been happy with 1:32 given the wind on the bike but the run killed it for me, once again. (Are you getting tired of hearing about my running troubles because I'm getting tired of having them.. ;)
Anyway, overall I was pretty happy with my race. I had no texpected to do as well as I did given my lack of training and I was super excited about my relatively great swim time!
Well there were lots of tough ladies in my age group this year and I came in 11/19. Interestingly enough, even if I'd had my fourth place time from last year, I still would have come in 10th this year so I really should be pretty happy with my performance over all. They have not posted the World's Qualifiers yet so I will have to wait for that. I am in 5th place in the 50-54 AG right now but I'm not sure how many women in my AG are 49 and will be in the 50-54 next year.
Swim - 16:27 - 6th in my AG
T1 - 3:34
Bike - 40:14 - 6th in my AG
T2 - 1:53
Run - 31:01 - 15th in my AG
Total time: 1:33:11
The run is definitely where these ladies kill me. The faster women are doing that run in 21-27 minutes. Yowza, if only I could get my running improved, I'd do so well!
Well, I will! I am going to work on my run ALL WINTER and no matter what, I am going to be a better runner next year. Definitely.
After the race, we celebrated with beer and pulled pork sandwiches at the beer gardens and then watch the olympic tri and the elite racers come in. It was pretty exciting watching Lauren Groves and Simon Whitfield both come in first!