Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lessons Learned

This is actually a race report but i decided that what i took from this race was more education than anything so why not blog about it! I have very mixed feelings about this race. Some of it was the race itself, some of it is that I am ready to be done with my season and start planning for 2011!

Sept 11 was the Square Lake short course. As you know Square lake is the lake that i swim at weekly. IT IS LOVELY! ...usually....

Saturday it was a bit angry but it was by no means the worst i have seen it, temperature wise OR wind wise. So I was confident since we got to wear wetsuits that i would be just fine. Actually I was hoping friday night that we would have an angry lake. Bring it on!

Having never done this race before and knowing that at times the organizer has struggled to get enough help I made sure to have my course knowledge down and to know exactly where i needed to go, etc.. I felt pretty confident in the bike course and knew it was punchy with some tricky cornering and an infamous covered bridge that drops you down into Marine on the St. Croix. Having raced my bike on that course i knew that when its wet under there you have to use caution otherwise...ruh roh. So i felt ready for that.

The run is fun, lotsa gravel roads, some punchy little hills and then some longer ones to the finish. Yeah, lets RACE!

Race day turned out to be warmer than I thought. IT was about 53 when i got up and when i got to Square it was misting a bit and the roads / T area was very wet. Bummer. I racked, and pretty soon that got to be a mess bc they dont have Elite racks so people were just putting their bikes wherever. That is ok. I just figure you gotta be able to get in and out so i tried not to let it phase me. I got warmed up, got my wetsuit on and went down to the beach around 7:45 to get a warm up swim in. The race was SCHEDULED to start at 8am. OR so that was the plan.

It was cold! I Got in but since sometimes these races dont start on time, and another guy got in and said he was freezing now ( tick tock) i didnt really do a good warm up. That may have come back to haunt me, i am not sure. So when we finally got to start Wave 1 was ready to go.
"one more minute!" was shouted about 3x, sigh.

And when we finally took off it was the ELITE men and women. AND....
Men ( boys?) under 30 yo ( say that bc i talked to at least 3 high school boys)

Ok that must have been the biggest wave i have ever been in for a beach start.
And yes I Got hammered. I was good for about 150 yards and then all the sudden i had a BIG person on top of me. Not just clawing at my feet, but literally in a bear hug around my midsection. Ok my core may not be too big but since this wasnt going away I made the FIGHT OR FLIGHT decision to leave a mark, and I did the strongest kick and body thrust with my core that i could muster and ya know what? bye bye leech. Of course i was quite pleased with myself but at the same time the huge adrenalin rush left me gasping for air. I thought of Kari. ( sorry Mayhew) and i pulled up and did some breast stroke. I thought " can i keep going?" I saw a person doing backstroke right ahead of me. Seriously? how far back am i? And so i just did breast stroke, then some easy free, then some breast stroke. and some easy free. I started to feel better and told myself that i can swim as EASY AS I NEED to. Just keep moving forward.

Funny, tho in hindsight where did the BIG LEECH go? I mean nobody went by anyways when i was nearly at the turn buoy ( swimming Clockwise, rectangle) to head back across the lake i started to feel ok and started to pick it up. I swam strong and started passing people and passed a bunch of people as i headed back into the beach. I came in with another gal, that was funny bc Laura and I swam eye to eye for about the last 300 yards ( it was a 1/2 mile swim)and we got out together and said good job. I think there was one elite woman ahead of us, but then it was Laura and Me. I saw no other women as we ran up the steps ( long steps!) and went to our bikes.

I got out of T1 fast. NO messing around. I was on the road and didnt see Laura and didnt see anyone else anywhere near or behind me. I was flying and having a good ride. But i looked down and had blood all over my aero bars, and my water bottle. Red, goes with the GEAR WEST colors at least. I am not sure how i got that but i had a pretty good cut on my left hand. and it was just bleeding like there was no tommorrow. Whatever. I did a quick check to be sure that was the only place i was bleeding and it was so i carried on.

There was a bit fo wind, but nothing that was really upsetting me, and i passed the elite woman who came out of the water first. It was hard to tell since there were relays in there and our calves were just marked with our ages so i have no idea if the guys were AG, relay or Elite. Anyways..I felt good on the bike and thou little punchy hills made the spedometer say 16-18mph i also had some good stretches were the disk was carrying me at 24-26mph. I passed a few guys, and was passed back by a few guys as well. With only a 16.5 mile bike i was feeling pretty confident. At about mile 12 I got passed by the Jenny and another guy. We all came into T2 pretty close together, though the guy stopped about 100 yards from the dismount ?? not sure why...

I decided early on not to wear arm warmers. I just figured this was practice and it would be good to see if i could do it and still shift. I was fine. My Kiwami gear dries in about 3 minutes, so i was just fine, not cold at all and my fingers worked. The sun wasnt even out so i felt lucky.

My feet, on the other hand...I did lose some time in T2 bc i couldnt get my right foot into my shoe bc i couldnt feel my feet. It was a bit humerous bc i was dancing around with 3 toes in and 2 toes out and couldnt figure out why they would not go in easily. Then my braids got stuck on the aero bars, so bye bye Herbal Essence hair endorsements:) But i ran out right after Jenny, and did my best to keep reminding myself to run hard, practice my nutrition, and keep #2 intact. Plus an old adage from bike racing was " You never know what is going on up the road," as if you are dropped from a pack and are riding solo or with one other person you never know what is going on up there, so you always need to keep your plan and dont give up. That is how i ran, i figured you never know what the person ahead of you is doing.

It was a good run, i felt fast and i felt light and i felt like i had a good pace that i could have carried over for another few miles for a 10k. I did a track wko earlier this week which was short but hard, and i really have been so pleased with how my run speed is improving.

I got 2nd OA and had the pleasure of seeing some gals from my Y that were doing the race. KJ won her AG ( 45-49) and Amy did her very first Tri, in rough conditions. Her son was so amped that he said he is doing it next year as well. I stayed till the very end, even tho i wanted to go home and see my family and to get some coffee to warm up, bc I wanted to see if i could win something as Gear West was generously there giving away a wetsuit, and a knapsack and helment and lotsa neat stuff. I was super close to the wetsuit number and so wanted to get it so i could give it to rich ( and then convince him to do more Tri's!) but another gal was closer.

So Lessons? Did i forget the moral of the story? :)
1) Never give up on the swim. Do whatever you need to do to keep moving forward, and know that you are ok. I have a harder time in cold water, I am not sure if that mattered or not, but likely it did. So i need to get a better warm up and also try to seed myself a bit better. But in a wave like that? I mean?? and also i know that the 70.3's i did ( KS and TX) were deep water starts. I loved those. Wish we had more here.

2)Be proud of my bike no matter what. I am used to being the RABBIT, Bonny and I do alot of TT's where she is chasing me so i am not new to that position. I need to keep that TT mentality for 4 more weeks! I rode really well today. I have no regrets.

3) Run! Oh how i love you my run. and how i love my kinvara's and how i love my PT who has helped me be able to run injury free, and my ART doc, and my coach for putting my rehab in my TP plan and of course i love myself for doing the exercises:) You may not know that but when i first decided 2+ years ago to start doing more Tri after tennis/bike racing, I couldnt run more than 3 miles without pain and injury knocking at my door. I would do 1 race a summer ( usually Waconia or IronGirl Du ) and i would be sore for at least a week from the run. I still have a great respect for the run, but to have a coach that knows my body, yet pushes it appropriately, and to have the last 2 years that i have had running injury free makes me feel like a frickin rockstar! I love it. I want to be 45 yo and run faster than i did when i was younger ( ok fill in the blank, i am not picky.) 44yo will do.

4) And last lesson, is that this Tri thing is bigger than I am. That is good to know, and good to remember. I am not curing Cancer. I felt a bit like a Bridesmaid AGAIN yesterday. Its like WIN A RACE, would ya? But then i realized that i am winning everyday.

Last year i did my first half distance race. Liberty Tri, June 2009. I remember emailing my coach and saying " I think i should wait till August for Pigman, I cant do a Half in June." I think this was in like february. Ha! She set me straight and i did great, i had a ball. I loved it. I did what i should for that race. I raced cautiously but with a smile on my face and came across the line in 5:06. I was amazed. 1st AG.

As cliche as that sounds. I would think i was a Tri bridesmaid if i didnt have the most wonderful husband in the world, and a great balanced and fun life. I am SO lucky to be where i am today! And very grateful for all the friends, family, work, my health, wow so much to be grateful for!

And of course i cannot leave out Ruby and Ruby's pal, Henry. Dogs really do make the world go round. Oh, or was that LOVE that makes the world go round? :)


runningyankee said...

i am in no way shape or form offended by your thoughts of me. totally on target. BUT you would be super proud- ive come along way baby - first tri this year i did have the HOLY SHIT 5 minutes, today i barreled thru 57 degree water no problem and PRd :) BUT i do hope you also think of me when you eat yorks.. do you eat enough of those?? and lastly i heart ruby. truly i do.
2oa is muy bueno :)!!!

Suzie said...

You must have kicked the leech in the family jewels for him to dissapear like that. Great race Julia, you should be very proud of yourself. Look at Ruby's HUGE tounge! I love it!

Damie said...

good lessons- yes this is bigger than us and we are so lucky!!! you have some very good competition up there, so that win will feel so good when it happens. I mean, you are racing ELITE! which means studs are showing up, you included. You are awesome. Proud of you!!!!!!! (and yes, keep swimming forward...remember my backstroke race? ughh!!!!)

cheryl said...

Another awesome result! Glad you dealt with a rough swim and still went on to have a great race. I can see you hopping around with shoes half on, braids stuck in the bars on your bike. You have great balance in your life Julia - its working for you!

Michelle Simmons said...

Congrats on another solid day!! I know what you mean aboutbeing the bridesmaid... I swear I was 2nd in just about every race I did this year! But it's good to have someone to chase, right??

ADC said...

Great race Julia. You have no idea how much you inspire me every time I read your blog. You just have such an amazing attitude.

Beth said...

Great race Julia!! So happy for you - you are going to be awesome at BOUS where it will be warm and the water will be bath-like! :) Congrats again and yes, I do think dogs make the world go round... ;)

Angela and David said...

I love my Kinarvas as well.

Great job! You are a beast!

I saw all kinds of people out in Gear West gear on the bike course on Saturday. Very nice people. Only after I passed them did I think to ask them if they knew you.

Betsy said...

Nice work! I love Square Lake even though the organization is sketchy and it's cold and at the burn out point of the season!

The 1st year I did it I went into the covered bridge with a 15 passenger van pulling a trailer and it scared the SHIT out of me! The next year they at least had some course support out there slowing vehicles down.

Jennifer Harrison said...

GlAD you had fun, did awesome and learned something to make you even faster and smarter at BOUS! And, balance is key - good work! :)

SSB said...

Congrats on the race! You'll rock at BOUS.

Black Knight said...

Great race and inspiring report. Indeed every race is a new experience and a new lesson learned. Congrats on the awesome result.

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

ya to get through it! Once the swim is over, its gets better, right? haha.

Dr. TriRunner said...

Lots of great messages!! I really like the thought of "you never know what's going on up the road" ... so so true!

You made me miss my doggy :( ahhhh, some day, some day.