Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Race Recap - IronGirl Sprint Webster


Sometimes, races sneak up on you.  As I wrote in my post before vacation, the Irongirl Sprint triathlon in Webster two weekends ago was one of those sneaky races.  Side note for concerned citizens, I did find my best goggles, but not in time for this race....

The mantra, "work hard, play hard" seems to have been chosen for me lately.  Just as I was working seemingless endless hours before this race and my trip to Lake Placid, I have slammed back into the workweek with the force of a train hitting concrete.  Long hours in the office, followed by a quick tuck in for the kids and more hours at the computer for my class and odd jobs until late into the night.  I've now also come down with the same stomach bug that my daughter got at IMLP.  (So forgive me if this is even less coherant than usual).  The chances of me getting any training in any time soon seems to be dwindling...

That might be okay though, if my result of IronGirl are any indicator.  I did, in fact, crush the race.  After hardly any workouts in the week before.  After almost forgetting about it.  After resolving to just have a good time and do the best I could on that day.  Let's hope Cranberry Oly at the end of August will be similar...

I'm getting ahead of myself.  Rewind back a few months, when my good friend Legos asked me to race this sprint with her.  This would be her first triathlon, and after being a spectator at Title 9 last fall (best sherpa friend!) she was interested.  Of course I was going to be there with her!  Title 9 was also an all-women's race.  Truthfully, I don't usually go into the "girl power" type athletic events, but I have to admit that IG had a great vibe.  Women of all shapes, sizes, and ages being awesome.  That is a powerful thing.  Plus, after being swam over by ever male age grouper there was at New England Trifest, I was ok with being closer to the middle of field based on my gender alone.

Webster is close to where I live, so it was a short drive and an early morning to get there and get set up.  This is the largest race I've done so far, with over 500 participants.  So many, in fact, that athelete check-in was mandatory the day before or the Friday before the race.  I went on Friday to get my race packet and bracelet, which I then got to sport the rest of the weekend.  I also had to park about a mile away from the race venue, and then ride my bike with my gear to the start.  I followed another woman that knew where she was going, but didn't pay enough attention (that becomes important later).

Race bling.
At least it's pretty
I got set up and had plenty of time to wander around.  I am chronically early.  Legos was coming down with her husband, who gets the credit for all these lovely race photos.  The morning was unseasonably cool (we love using the phrase "polar vortex" now), however the water was above 78 degrees, so wetsuits were not permitted if you times were to count toward rankings.  It was really crazy how much warmer the water was than the air.  So much that after a half an hour of standing in my tri kit on the cold beach, the start of my wave was a relief.  I usually like to warm up in the water, but it was so cold that I decided against it so I wouldn't be both cold AND wet while waiting for the race start.

Swim course at Lake Chaubunagungamaug.  Really.  That's it's name.

The Swim: 1/3 Mile in 13:01

I was just a touch nervous about the swim.  My last couple of open water swims with no wetsuit hadn't felt great.  My back was still tight and painful.  But I had no great troubles on the swim leg, and came out of the water firmly in the middle of my wave.  My wave was the first half of my age group (split alphabetically), so I felt like I was in good shape.  In reality, my time was a bit slower than I'd like, which I attribute to swinging a little too wide around the buoys and other swimmers.  I think I was still a bit shy after the pummeling I took at NE Trifest, which slowed me down just a bit.  Two days after the race I checked my paces in the pool just to be sure - right on target.  So I must have simple taken the long way around.

Running to T1
Transition is so much easier without a wetsuit.  2:58, with a decent run from the beach.  'Nuff said.

The Bike: 45:59 (15.7 mph)

The bike course was rolling hills (maybe one big hill) over 12 miles around the lake.  I felt great.  Two people total passed me, only one of which was in my age group.  I passed nearly 100 other riders.  I do not have delusions of being a super biker, but it is my strongest sport of the three, and I will admit that it did feel good to pick that many people off.  T2 was also quick and smooth at 2:26.

The Run: 3 miles in 27:18 (9:06 pace)

Here's the part where you'll all start to laugh at me.  As I started the run, I decided that I was winning.  Okay, maybe not winning, but close to the top of my age group.  After all, Lego's husband had told me as I came out of the water that I was fast, and I had only lost a single person in my AG on the bike.  That's not bad!  If triathlon is primarily mental, I decided it couldn't hurt to convince myself that I was in the lead.  Giggle.  I am never in the lead.....

Anyway, it seemed to work, because the run leg of this race is the fastest I've ever ran a 5k.  I can't even blame a short course, because my watch agreed.  It was cool, it's wasn't very hilly, but still a 9:06 pace is much faster than anything I've ever run before.  It felt great.  I lost a few women in my age group (no longer winning), but in the chute another woman tried to pass me and I sprinted, leaving her behind.  I wasn't going to drop another slot in the rankings!

I ended up being 22 out of 86 in my AG.  I'm not sure exactly where those other 21 women were - I didn't see most of them! - but I'm still very happy with how I did.  It feels gratifying that, after a year of training, I could do well in a sprint without too much trouble.
The verdict
Legos is a Triathlete!!!
Perspective is a curious thing.  I'm writing this recap after watching IMLP.  There's no way to watch an IM and not feel small.  To feel humbled.

Just as I'm questioning my abilities as an athlete, I'm also questioning the pointfulness of this blog.  I'm struggling to keep perspective that a year ago I couldn't run a single mile.  To remember how far I've come.  I don't see myself as doing anything particularly noteworthy or inspirational, especially compared to others.  With work being so heavy, with my family responsibilities, I'm going to have to make some decisions.  Decisions about training, about maintaining this blog, and about what is next for me.  My last triathlon of the season is in three weeks, and I can't help but worry that I will not be ready.  I am feeling exceptionally unready for large chunks of my life responsibilities.  I've already had to shut down our bakery business this year.  There just isn't time for everything....

So stay tuned (or don't).  Once I sort it out I'll let you know....

Have you ever done a race with very little prep?  How did it go?

1 comment:

Courtney Fields said...

Way to kill it!!!! You had such a fantastic race! And with little training means you are much stronger and more capable then you give yourself credit for. I hope you're proud of this race, because you definitely should be =)

As for life, it gets crazy sometimes. I often times question all of the things I have going on. Do what you need to do for you. But just know that you do have people cheering for you. Just because an Ironman may not be in your future does not mean you are not inspiring or noteworthy. You are amazing! Revel in it, because it's true!

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