Two Weekends…..

Two Races…..

Two Chances to Practice what I LOVE!!!!!

I am pretty terrible at remembering to take pictures during my (sometimes dismal) attempts at Triathlon…I am still in the newbie realm that requires me to focus intently on calming my nerves before every race instead of practicing my ‘skinny’ poses in my tri-suit….but don’t worry…I get better with every race….

Oxford Endurance Weekend: Tri-Oxford Sprint Triathlon

300m Pool Swim/13mile bike/5k Run+ Lots of Hills & Heat = A challenge!

Tri-Oxford Transition Area Set Up

I was late signing up for this race but really wanted to get a race in before meeting my nemesis Herb Parsons at the Annie Oakley Sprint Triathlon the following weekend…since having my appendix out earlier in the summer had interfered with my previous race schedule…Tri-Oxford became the place of choice to ‘test the waters’ so to speak.  Even though the race started bright and early at 7am, it was HOT running in! Overall, a smooth race, a beautiful and very hilly bike course followed by an immediate half mile climb as soon as I got off the bike. Only major hiccup was/is my complete inability to reach for my water bottle without kissing the pavement and falling off my bike….so I was pretty dehydrated by the time I made the bike/run transition and I REALLY felt it for the first half of the run!  That’s what happens when you spend too much time teaching a spin class and not enough time out on the open road learning the intimate details of how not to face plant on your road bike.  Lesson Learned = Schedule Changed, what you gain in muscle stamina & endurance in spin class (not to mention the awesome music and super fun instructor :)) will not replace simple lessons in BALANCE learned on the road, hence I can’t get to my water bottle or stand up on my road bike…sometimes the truth hurts. All that said…I still got second in my age division….

Shockingly Small, Maybe Non-Existant Age Division

I trust that none of you will look up these (purposefully blurred) race results to see how ‘legit’ I am not! Real friends just wouldn’t ask…and none of mine have…hahaha. I did consider my general decision to ignore the course map during this race….had I known there were going to be hills, hills, hills would I have done any better? Probably not.  Just like a pointy helmet won’t make me any faster, unless I’m racing in Death Valley or the Rockies, the course map is relative to my ability to finish whatever obstacle is put before me. Maybe someday I’ll be fast enough that luxury items like pointy helmets and tri-bars will actually make a difference…for now I’ll stick with the intermediate goal of reaching for my water bottle!

Annie Oakley Sprint Triathlon

400m Lake Swim/10mile Bike/2mile Trail Run

ARCH NEMESIS = HERB PARSONS LAKE

Anyone who knows me at all knows that my first Triathlon was Annie Oakley 2011 and has heard the humorous and harrowing retelling of my tragic lake swim saga…my relationship with ‘Herb’ really got off to  a bad start.  After learning to swim from a talented 17 y/o on the high school swim team last summer and practicing at the local YMCA pool I knew as I approached the 2011 AO Race that I wasn’t necessarily ‘ready’ but thought I would be ok…survive the swim…live to fight another day. I was completely unprepared for ‘Herb’ and his offensive onslaught to my senses…thick, warm, smelly, viscous, yellow water…jeepers creepers….worst swim of my life…ever!!!!

BUT THAT WAS LAST YEAR…

2012 Pre-Race, Nerves = Under Control

Needless to say, my pre-race anxiety was significantly ramped up due to my life altering and humbling experience with ‘Herb’ the year before, I employed every mantra, prayer, scripture, positive self talk, relaxing music, deep breathing and denial technique in my arsenal to keep my heart rate under control before the race….and it worked.  I was calm and careful not to over-supplement so that over-caffeination wouldn’t play a role in my nerves (that’s another very funny story).  Sometimes it helps tremendously just to go through the motions before a race, there is so much to do, remember, prepare and set up that your mind has a hard time getting carried away by fear…the night before is another issue altogether!

The race itself,  as always is a series of small successes and failures, some of which can be refined, trained for and improved at the next race, others that are completely unforeseen and can only be tackled as they arrive in your path….my swim…while much better than last year was not spectacular.  The water still felt like soup, but I was not scared, my stroke was a mess, but I was not scared, I was not fast, but I was not scared, I didn’t ever stop even though I was slow, I was not panicking, scared or falling too far behind.  However like all things athletic for me, there is vast room for improvement!

Swim/Bike Transition + Honey Stinger

As you can see from the picture, I temporarily amended my water bottle problem with an addition to my handlebars….all you bike geeks out there might find this funny…but guess what…it worked!  This clunky, dumb looking water bottle cage on my handlebars kept me from eating pavement and hydrated for the run, it won’t stay there forever but its working for now.  The bike went well and was somewhat surreal, as I don’t really remember the bike portion from last years race because ‘Herb’ was that traumatic, so it was like I was out on the course for the first time.  Made great time until I lost my chain, twice, going up hill (barefoot in the snow) and had to dismount the second time to reset the chain (unforeseen challenges), at which point I was passed my many of the people I had worked so hard to get around (racing = humility). I finished the bike and made the transition to the run feeling pretty good, hydrated and with a little life left in my legs.  I had frozen chocolate coconut water in my small handheld water bottle the night before in preparation for the run, and while I damaged the bottle in the freezer and wore a lot of it, this was the best addition to my race day….ever!!!! Wow, I love Chocolate Coconut Water, and I really love it when its icy, cold and at the end of a triathlon, this could be my secret to greatness.  Overall, I felt like I could have gone further on the bike and run…the swim however needs serious work. I met my goal time, and would have beaten it had I not lost my chain but I am beyond my skill set here when it comes to creative training solutions for the water, for now my plan is to ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming,’ and to swim harder when I do, keeping my heart rate higher and stretching my lung capacity….feel free to chime in with words of wisdom on the subject….

My next tri is a month away and a 500m lake swim, I don’t have to be fast, sexy or cool in the swim…I would just like to be consistent and maintain my form/stroke…that means I’m going to be swimming at least three days a week until then.

Hope it was a great weekend for you! Mondays are inevitable, but so are RACEdays!

Advertisements