Sunday, August 23, 2009

Clear Lake Olympic Distance Tri - 8/22/09

What a race! I hit the splits I was hoping to hit and tried to keep it red-lined the entire race. I am happy with my effort and learned some lessons along the way that I will try to apply for my future shorter distance races. This is the second year I have done this race (although last year it was not a full Oly, so you can't really compare the times).

Overall Time: 2:35:46.5
Overall AG Place: 6th of 23

The Swim
1.5K (.93 miles / 1636 yards)
14th of 23 in AG
pace 1:56 per 100 yards

--> my swim time in 2008 for a 1K course (.62 miles or 1091 yards) was 29:37.1, so I am thrilled with my improvement (but still NOT satisfied, I know I can get faster)!

This was a rectangular course, set up for a clockwise swim. The water was really warm (think bath tub water, and I don't mean an ice bath!), so no wetsuits allowed. The start was a bit rough because there were a lot of very sharp rocks and many people got cuts trying to get started and during warm up. My left leg got a couple of scratches, but nothing serious.

I wanted to keep a pace better than 2:00 min per 100 yards, which I have never done in a race. I know that I can keep a 1:50 min/100 yards or better in the pool, but that includes pushing off the wall, so I knew my OWS time would be slower. I took a banana Hammer gel right before my wave went off.

This is definitely the best open water swim I have ever done. My stroke, rotation and sighting were great. I felt like I was keeping a decent pace and my pull felt strong. My sighting could have been better on the last leg (the home stretch) but it was still better than all of my previous races! I think the thing I was most pleased with was that I didn't have to resort to breast stroke at all during the race, even for sighting (which is when I have had to breast stroke in previous races or when I got tired).

I learned this morning that another athlete saw a 4 or 5 foot gator before the swim start during his warm up. Thank God I didn't know that race morning. Ignorance is bliss! I don't think it would have made me faster, it would have freaked me out and I would have panicked (which would not have been good for my stroke!).

T1: 1:36.2 / 10th of 23 is AG

I ran up the ramp to my bike and passed lots of people on the way. I decided that I might take longer than others to put on socks, etc., but I could save time by running hard to my bike. I saw Doug and got a fist bump, which always makes me run a little faster. I had taken note before the race of the exact path I had to take to get to my bike (second row of racks, turn right, 5th rack on the left) and this helped. I put on my socks, shoes, bike helmet and sunglasses and was off.

Lesson learned - this is my first race in road shoes (versus my old mountain shoes) and I am tearing up my cleats by running in them. I think I am going to focus on trying to put my shoes on once I am on the bike before my next shorter distance race. I am definitely not going to stress about that for IM.

The Bike
24.8 miles
21.2 mph
3rd(!) of 23 in AG

--> 2008 bike pace was 18.3 mph on a shorter course and I averaged 19.7 mph in April on a 28 mile course. I think my consistent long weekend rides are starting to pay off!

This was a single loop, mostly flat and fast course. Save for one section, the roads were smooth and the ride was great. There was one traffic light that did not have a police officer directing traffic, but when I got there, the cars were letting the bikes go, so it didn't slow me down much. I tried to keep a comfortably hard and strong effort on the bike and not let myself fall into an easier comfortable pace. I took a Hammer gel 30 minutes into the bike (1 hour into the race). I am thrilled with my bike time. My husband (who would love for me to buy a new bike) keeps taunting me with, "imagine how much faster you would have been on a lighter bike with better wheels" ...

Getting off my bike at the dismount line, heading into T2 I collided with a girl who I had been leap frogging with for the last half of the bike. I am not sure if it was my fault or hers (we were NOT on our bikes), I think I zigged and she zigged too when I thought she was going to zag, but no harm was done and we were both fine. I apologized several times (at the scene, again in transition and on the run course, what can I say, I felt terrible!) because I certainly didn't plan on a collision!

Talking with the other athlete I collided with

My only complaints about the bike course (besides the unmanned light, that was just dangerous!):

1. Riders who would not stay to the right on roads with little to no shoulder that made it difficult to pass with traffic.

2. Riders who would not fall back when passed per the USAT rules. I have no problem with leap frogging, it happens when you have riders with equal strength and speed on the bike, but there were a couple of people who were like bad drivers. They would speed up when you tried to pass and then when they pass you, they would immediately slow down so that you are on their back wheel if you keep your same pace.

T2: 1:33.2 / 15th of 23 in AG

There were 5 people whose T2 times are showing as 0:00, but they have overall times and run splits, so I guess the timing chips didn't register or the results are not final. Normalizing for this I would say, I was probably 10th of 23 in AG. I am usually faster in T2 since I already have my socks on. Thankfully, the difference in transitions between 5th and 10th is seconds, not minutes! I saw Doug again on the way out and got another fist bump to carry me home.

The Run
8:18 pace
3rd (!) of 23 in my AG

--> 2008 pace for this race was 8:56, but I was able to run an 8:10 pace for 6.5 miles at Lonestar

This was an out and back run course. I was aiming for around an 8:00 min pace, but my body didn't quite have it in me. I got a couple of side stitches that quickly went away and didn't affect my pace too much. I took a Hammer gel at the one mile mark and that seemed to help. I was happy with my overall effort, especially given how hard I pushed the bike. The only thing I forgot was to take a couple of Endurolytes since I just drink water on the bike and the run, but it wasn't horribly hot, so I don't think it hurt my overall time too much. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me for the last .75 miles. I didn't look at my Garmin to check my pace because at that point, I was running as fast as I could and my pace was irrelevant, but I definitely think that this last effort helped bring down my overall run pace.

Overall Race Thoughts:

I was definitely trying to compete not just complete this race. I think my body did everything I asked of it. More speed work will help with my ability to race at harder efforts / higher intensity. I get so nervous before a race, but I while I am on the course, I am just happy. I love racing!


Allie said...

Congrats on finishing and doing so great! What a rock star! Hope you are relaxing today!


Great race. Overall place? Judging on bike and run, 3rd or 4th in AG?

Couple pointers: When you run into someone and you aren't sure who is at fault (or even if you know it's you), you yell, "Get out of my way Beeach". Takes some practice. :)

Also, when the old man says buy a new bike, you buy a new bike. Any cash for clunkers programs in Houston for bikes?


Kelly said...

Nice race, Anne!! You looked so fast in that finish line pic!!

And...if your husband wants you to get a new bike, you get a new bike!!!

Love the new banner, btw.

Anne said...

Bob - thanks for the reminder, I updated the race report to inlcude my overall AG place, which was 6th. Despite my improvements in the water, I still need to shave several minutes off my swim time to be AG competitive in these smaller, local races. Is there such thing as a pinch swimmer? :)

Paige said...

You seriously look like you are tearing it up in that finish line picture. Great job!