Archive for the ‘Triathlon’ Category

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Race Recap: Miles Perret Mini Triathlon 2011

August 24, 2011

I’ve been trying to write this recap for days.  I decided tonight I’m just going to DO IT.  The biggest problem is that it was a bad race.  And I’ve never had such a bad race before.

The race was a 200 yd swim, 8 mile bike, and a 2 mile run.  So the swim was shorter and the bike longer than the Rocketchix I did.  It was not a USAT sanctioned race and I figured it would likely be a “beginner” race.  I was surprised at how little information I recieved about the race.  Just an email about a week before about packet pickup, when transtion opened, and parking pretty much.  I was thankful that I had done a tri before so I knew how things would work.  The race was about an hour/hour and half away from home, so I decided it’d be nice to leave the afternoon before so I could do early packet pickup and have time to check into the hotel and have a nice relaxing night with The Man.  Check, check, and check.  Though somehow I ended up making the hotel registration for the  Hilton in Baton Rouge and not Lafayette, so I didn’t get the awesome deal I was expecting.  But we still got an upgrade to a junior sweet and an extra 20 dollars will not break me.  We went to a wonderful Indian resturant with a fun atmosphere, delicious food and attentive, but not intrusive service.  Loved it.

The hotel was on the race route and we just walked down to transition area.  This is where things started to go wrong.  I expected things to be more “casual” I guess is the best term, especially when packet pickup turned out to be a race number and t-shirt and that’s it.  Still it was a little surprising to realize that they weren’t even organized in how they were  body marking people.  Some of us got our age group markings, some didn’t.  Some people got three markings.   Some got six.  It was… odd.

Then we moved to transition and I was just shocked.  So small.  So cramped.  And not organized.  Instead of having an assigned rack based on race number it was a free for all.  It was mostly in the parking lot, but there wasn’t room so those of us getting there not right at 5 ended up up on a grassy curb, shoved up against some bushes.  Also as there wasn’t an assigned number of bikes per rack, no one was racking in opposite directions, just all facing forward, taking up more room than they probably should.  I got an end space right next to the bushes and blame that early morning transition set up for the FOUR mosquito bites I got ON MY BUTT! I was also a little nervouse about how many NICE tri bikes and road bikes I was seeing.  Wasn’t this a beginner race?  Shouldn’t there be more hybrids and mountain bikes?

After set up we wandered over to the pool, to escape the mosquitoes and just settled in for the wait.  My race number was pretty high, so I knew that I’d be getting into the pool later.  When we registered we had to give our estimated swim time so I assumed that we would be seeded and given our race numbers based on that time.  It soon became apparent that had not happened.  Hardcore triathletes were scatter throughout with kids, and those of us with extra padding.  There didn’t seem to be any pattern at all.  Which was even more apparent when people started getting in the pool.  The first man in was passed before he got to the end of the lane and I think he was probably the 8th person out.  Sometimes there would be three people standing and waiting to go under the lane rope to start swimming as they had all reached the end of the lane at once.  I saw a man doing a sort of modified breast/backstroke within the first 50 or so people, going very slowly and making it very difficult for people to pass him as his arm movement took up so much of the lane.  Once I saw three men try to pass another man all at the same time.  Four big men trying to squeeze in the same area of a lane.  It might as well have been an open swim for them.  All I could hope for was that I wouldn’t be kicked or swum over.

Luckily my swim went smoothly.  I passed on person and was passed once.  I realized that I REALLY need to practice swimming under the rope lanes on turns.  I was SO SLOW during the turns.  I finished in just under 5 minutes, right where I expected and wanted to be and I walked/shuffled to transition.  I swear I didn’t think I was moving that slowly, but my transition time was pretty much as long as my swim time.  Two minutes longer than my T1 time in Rocketchix.  I took off on the bike, after manuvering around people in transtion who were just standing around talking to a racer (WTF?) and reminded myself to PUSH.  Goals for this triathlon were to finish under 1)1:30 and 1:20 if I could, 2)to improve my paces for each event as only the run was the same distance, 3)try for around 12mph on the bike and 4)to work HARD.  When I had so much trouble on the bike in Rocketchix I sort of just gave up.  All I wanted to do was finish, and I was already with the back of the packers, but not where anyone could really pass me on the run so I just kinda gave up.

The bike course was a double loop and I was excited because it meant I wouldn’t be facing long stretches into the wind like with Rocketchix.  I started out strong at around 13-14mph and felt okay.  I ended up passing a kid, but it took me a bit because he kept swerving to try and keep me from passing.  I’m ALL for kids participating in the sport but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they know the basic rules.  This is when a little bit of anger started.  Lots of people passed me, but it didn’t feel as horrible as when it happened in May.  Possibly because the roads were closed so there was plenty of room and and I didn’t have to hear “On your left” every 20 seconds.  I made my second loop and after a bit realized I wasn’t really seeing anyone on the course anymore.  Had I fallen THAT far behind?  I had thought that a lot of the people passing me were on their second loop.  Soon the only other racers I saw were the runners on the run course and perhaps one biker far in the distance.  I started to feel a bit discouraged.

I pulled into T2 and as I was grabbing for water I was surprised to look up and realize The Man was right next to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to see him, but WHAT was he doing in transition?  Shouldn’t it still have been closed to non racers?  I was feeling REALLY thirsty so I decided to take my water bottle with me and I am so thankful I did.  The run course was down the sidewalk between the road and a parking lot and then into the parking lot, all the way to the end and back.  No shade.  SO HOT!  I could feel the sun beating down and bouncing back up.  And I realized I was really far back.  And that I just could not run.  Every time I tried I just ended up slowing down to walk.  I had no energy.  And then I overheard a cop say I was the last person.  And I felt like shit.  I felt like I was a failure and I didn’t know how I was doing so badly.  The heat was obviously getting to me.  By the time I had run to the end of the parking lot and was heading back I was in tears.  I actually thought about quitting and instead of turning around just walking on back to tranition and taking a DNF.  But somehow, I kept going.  I kept crying, but I kept going.  All I could think about was just running into The Man’s arms and sobbing.  It’s all I really wanted to do.  By this time I had reached the cop who was saying something as he was about to pull away (I think he was congratulating me.  I was so delirious I don’t really know.) and low and behold there is another runner!  Our outfits were nearly identical so it was easy to see why the cop thought I was the last one.

I suppose I should be ashamed that realizing I was not the last person on the course gave me a little pick me up.  But it did.  I stopped crying at least.  Then I think all the water I had drank finally sank in.  (I had hydrated like crazy the day before, but I should have drank more that morning.  I think was more dehydrated than I realized.) And I was running by all my fellow racers who were leaving.  And every. single. one. of them said something nice to me.  I also changed the way I reacted to those comments. Others had tired to encourage me in the parking lot as they were packing up their cars, but when they said “Good job” I just laughed disparagingly or shook my head: “Yeah. Right.” I was taking their positvie energy and making it negative.  Thinking: “They say good job, but they’re already done.  I’m so much worse than them.  It’s pathetic.  I’m pathetic.”  As I hit the last half mile or so I started to react differently.  When they said “Good job” I said “Thanks.”  Or great race.  I smiled.  Sometimes I said something first.  I created and fed off the triathlon, fellow racer feeling.  And I stopped walking and ran (or you know, shuffled) towards the finish line.

I was feeling so much better.  As I turned onto the sidewalk for the final 100 yards I even pulled out a little more energy to well, not quite sprint, but to at least lengthen my stride. Even thought I could see them taking down the flags at the finishline.  I knew I was the next to last person.  They could start breaking down.  But as I got closer I realized noone was even paying attention to me.  The race wasn’t chipped, they were using some other timing system that involved machines that looked like old fashioned adding machines, calling out people’s numbers, so it was actually kind of important that they realized I was you know, finishing.  So I called out, “239 coming in!” and one of the ladies kind of laughed and then looked at me and said, “Wait, are you serious?”  They had told them the race was finished and that everyone was done.  One of the machines had even been turned off.  What. The. Fuck?  I told them about the other lady still out there and then kissed The Man.  Or at least I think I did.

All that good energy I had built up had completely drained out of me at the finish line.  How to make your racers feel like shit?  Shut down the finish line before they’re off the race course.  I grabbed some orange slices and a bottle of water and then moved over to transition.  I wasn’t really interested in seeing the results (I probably wasn’t on them yet anyway) or hearing the awards.  It was during this time The Man told me time.  He had been timing me on his Iphone and I’m so glad he did.  I finished in 1:22:24.  Only a couple minutes off from my super goal time.  (If I had moved quicker in T1 I probably would have beat it!)  I had done better than I realized, at least for me.  I had done better than I FELT like I was doing.  I felt better again.

Then as we started to break down and walk back to the hotel, I remembered the kid I had passed.  He hadn’t finished behind me, but in front of me.  How had he done that without passing me?  He only did one loop.  I felt crappy again.  I totally get that he’s a kid.  But he was a registered racer.  If I look at the posted results there I am way down at the bottom and there he is a hundred or so people ahead of me.  And he cheated.  And that just feels wrong.  It also makes me wonder – was he the only one?  The double loop would make it super easy to do, on purpose or on accident.  And with the lack of good communication you could have even missed that it was a double loop.  When people are shouting “Turn here for the second loop” and you’re running on race adrenaline, isn’t it possible that you only hear the first part of that statement?  It just doesn’t make me feel good about the race.

I ended up being more thankful for The Man timing me.  Not only could he lift my mood by telling me my time immediately, but he timed transitions.  The official results did not.  They just clumped both transitions in with the bike time.  So it looks like I did WORSE pace wise when I actually did better.  Annoying.  I wouldn’t have know really how I did on the bike otherwise.  I could have flown but then taken ten minutes in each transition for all anyone would know.

Overall I met or came really close to my goals, but the race experience was so bad that I felt like I had a bad race.  Really the best description of the whole thing is an emotional roller coaster.  I think my participation next year is doubtful.  But then I wonder if my negative feeling comes from just the fact that I finished next to last.  Am I really judging the race fairly?  I just don’t know.

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Committed

June 8, 2011

Last Thursday, I signed up for Speed work. One of my co-workers is also doing it, and the wife of a guy I went to library school with. I’m happy to know I’ll have at least a couple people who aren’t super fast.  People who say I’m slow and mean it.

Then on Friday, I registered for my second triathlon! Another mini one.

On Sunday – I gave up sugar, white carbs, processed food (or at least heavily processed food), caffeine, and alcohol.  In a few days I go diary and gluten free for a few weeks before I slowly start adding things back in.

I’ve also decided to do a 30 for 30 challenge.  I’ll do 30 minutes of yoga for 30 days.

I am committed on so many levels.  And so far, I feel really good about it.

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Tri again in new shoes?

May 4, 2011

Today was so beautiful out.  One of those rare spring days in *gasp* actual springtime.  They are few and far between in south Louisiana.  We went to an art/food/charity event this evening and then took a short walk around afterward and visited a bookstore, at which I bought nothing.  Amazing!

After work I headed out to my running store and perused their sale table. I picked up a new pair of running shoes.  Pretty, pretty blue!

My current shoes are fine. I really haven’t put that many miles on them at ALL in the past few months, but when I had my running injury in January, I think a contributing factor was old shoes.  So I want to make sure that as I start adding speedwork and long runs I don’t suddenly need new shoes and have to wait for them.  These will be my first pair of Asics for running and I’m hoping they work out well, but for 60 percent off – how can you pass that up?

So I might not be doing the Hottest Half 10k after all.  There is another mini-triathlon that I want to do.  I thought it was in October, but it’s in August.  A week after the Hottest Half.  I’m sure there are people who can run 6.2 miles on Sunday and then do a mini-triathlon on Saturday.  I am not one of them.  So which will I do?

Today I’m leaning toward the Tri.  And then maybe I’ll do a 10k in October…at the beach?  And then…the half marathon in December.  Does that seem possible?  I THINK so.  A few more days and then I am going to solidify my plan.  Cause it’s time for more than leisurely walks again.