Monday, August 22, 2011

Post-Race Musings

Well, another Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon is in the bag - and I had a GREAT day! The weather was perfect, the organizers and volunteers excellent, and the competition fierce.  I am so happy that I entered the race again this year even if I hadn't done any race-specific training in the past few months, and it looks like my overall fitness was able to carry me through.

The Stats

Time: 1:31:21  (Goal: 1:33:00)

Swim:  16:21 (Goal: under 16:30)
T1: 3:31 (Goal: 3:00 - again had trouble pulling wetsuit off left foot because of hip)
Bike: 41:18 (Goal: under 42:00)
T2: 1:46 (Goal: 1:30)
Run: 28:26 (Goal: under 30:00)


Overall, I'm happy with my race.  I had a lot of fun and I beat all of my goals with the exception of my transition times. I still seem to struggle with working quickly and efficiently in this area. Until my hip is better, I will have trouble getting my wetsuit off in races where there is no wetsuit stripping so that much is beyond my means, but I clearly dawdled in T2 - there's no reason to be 20 seconds slower than last year. I didn't FEEL like I was dawdling but I can't explain why I was so much slower. I put my socks on in T1 this year too. I need to practice more I guess.

I'm happiest with my swim - my swim time was EXACTLY the same as last year's swim time, amazingly enough. I have only swum 19,000m this year (8 hours in total) and most of that was before my June Half Iron.  I only swam 2600m in July and 4000m in August.

HOWEVER, I do not recommend my haphazard swim training by any means. I think I've been extremely lucky not to have my lackadaisical approach come back and bite me.  Now that Erik is interested in triathlon, I would like to hire a swim coach to work with the two of us once a week for a month or so and help me correct my stroke. I'm convinced that with continued upper body strength work and some stroke correction, I can shave at least a minute or two off my sprint swim time.

I was pleasantly surprised by my run - as I mentioned in my previous post, I had no idea if I'd be able to run a sub 30 minute 5k at this point, but happily, I did!  And now, the day after, my legs are feeling pretty darn good.  I'm pretty sure I will recover from this race pretty quickly, and with any luck at all, I'll be able to do my planned 16km run next weekend.

I am most disappointed by my bike leg.  I knew it wasn't going to be up to par because I haven't put enough time into my bike training this summer, but it still bugs me to see it in print.  My time was only 25 seconds slower than last year but truth be told, that 25 second difference is deceiving.  Last year I had some wind to contend with and this year's conditions were perfect. It's really more like a 2-3 minute difference.  I'm not too worried about my bike fitness though - I know it just takes more time in the saddle and that's easily remedied.

Placing in this race:

11/22 in my age group (Women 50-54)

On an interesting side note - last year's personal best time of 1:29:18, which gave me a 4th place in my age group, would only have given my 9th place this year. That goes to show you that you never know who is going to show up in any given race - so it's best to only race against yourself. :)

133/263 in women  (My bike was my strongest leg, 107/263)

292/466 overall (Again, my bike was my strongest leg, 267/466)

What did I learn?

It felt great to do a race just for the fun of it and not worry too much about how well I would do.  With my current focus on marathon training, it's pretty hard to simultaneously train for a sprint triathlon, but that's no reason to miss a fun, local race, just because I know it's not going to be a personal best this time.

When you're a newcomer to the sport, it's quite possible to make drastic improvements every time you race - your training becomes more and more race specific and it's not too hard to beat your last time, every time you race. But after awhile, those improvements may only be a few seconds in any given leg of the race, and oftentimes, you may peak in one area but fall off in another. 

As always, my main goal is always to have fun and stay fit, and keep facing those fears!  I think my greatest achievement in the past year is to finally be past the swim demons. I find that I now feel very confident in the water and yet I also know that no matter what happens, I will always be able to calm myself down and continue on in a race.  That has been my biggest challenge over the past 4 years and it's a good feeling to know I have finally kicked it.

Coming Up

* My hip MRI and arthrogram is tomorrow - I'll post about it when I get the results.
* Back to marathon training - long run on the weekend - hopefully 16 km (10 miles)
* Another tweetup - Erik and I spent some quality time this weekend with our friend Chad from the Can Do Tri Podcast.  
* KG in the news? More info to come.  Stay tuned!


jeff swain said...

Hi Barb,

I think you did great and I love the observation of not getting caught up in placement because you never know who is going to show up. As you say, that is why it is always best to race against yourself.

I hope the MRI turns out well. Wouldn't want "the pretty buff" local celebrity-teacher-athlete on the shelf :) BTW, I thought the newspaper article was great too!


Kelownagurl said...

Thank you SO much Jeff, on all fronts. :)