Thursday, June 23, 2011

Victoria Sprint - Race Report

My initial reaction when I crossed the finish line on Sunday was to be happy; I had beaten my time from last year at this race by about a minute. I improved my swim, T1, T2 and run times over last years, which is always a good thing and definitely something to be proud of.

However (here comes the 'but'), if I’m completely honest, I was a little disappointed in the race as a whole (damn my high expectations, haha).

So, from the beginning….

My swim was good. The first turn buoy was exceptionally close, and so to put it mildly, it was freakin’ rough and chaotic up to that first turn. Can you say washing machine? In an attempt to escape the crowds a bit, I went slightly wide out of that first turn and found some open water.

Aside from the horrible smell of gasoline that seemed to be hovering on the lake surface as I crossed the back stretch of the swim triangle (did anyone else notice that?), the next bit of the swim went really really well. I found a great rhythm and really just felt strong and relaxed through the whole thing. I came out of the water in a good position and was looking forward to a good hard bike and a solid run.

T1 was also a high point. I cut a few seconds off of last year’s time (good enough to be the 2nd fastest T1 in the women’s field) and I had a great bike mount (if I do say so myself). I was on the road pounding the pedals in no time.

Unfortunately, the bike leg was my main source of disappointment on this race. I don’t know why, but I just felt BAD. Every part of my legs burned and ached with every rotation of the pedals and I just never felt like I found any sort of flow at all. I jockeyed back and forth with a couple women throughout the loop, but for the most part, it seemed like people were passing me as if I was standing still. Top that off with the fact that I felt like I was pretty much hyperventilating the whole time (ugh) and the feeling that I was working WAY too hard for how fast (or slow) I was actually moving, and well, it wasn’t my finest moment. Having never really experienced a bike leg like that before, it’s a bit hard to explain.

Needless to say, I was happy to arrive at T2. My dismount was smooth and I was in and out of transition in 43 seconds (26 seconds faster than last year – yay!). I think I managed to approach the transitions calmly, but with enough speed, that I was in and out without too much thought. (Sometimes I think transitions are actually my strongest part of a short race, haha).

As I was heading out of T2 and onto the run course, I was pretty confident that I was going to have a good run.

My legs were still definitely hurting a bit (my damn calves were screaming!), but I actually felt like I was pushing through it and it seemed like I was moving at an okay pace. I didn’t get passed by anyone (that is until the last 1k when two girls overtook me - they were flying!) and seemed to be holding my position on the run. While I was in the moment and the race was happening (and even right after), I actually didn’t feel like I had a bad run. It wasn’t my best effort ever, but it was okay.

Unfortunately, when I looked at my time after the fact, I was really surprised that, while it was faster than last year at this race, it was slower than just two weeks ago at Shawnigan, and admittedly, I was really disappointed that it took me almost 26 minutes!

I suppose, the source of disappointment with my run came from the fact that I don't feel like I should be running that slow. Much like the bike, I just felt like I was working too hard for how fast I was actually moving.

Negativity aside, it was still a really fun day (there is something really addicting and thrilling about the fast short races) and there were lots of positives. I was really happy with my swim and transitions! There are more races to come this season and, as always, I’ve left some room for improvement.

I guess my perfect race is still out there, just waiting to be had :)

Photo by: Split-Seconds Photography

Also, big love to Kirsten who smashed her pervious Half Iron PB by nearly 20 minutes! That is pretty amazing if you ask me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It’s almost race day…

Victoria Sprint this weekend at Elk Lake!

So, a few quick and random thoughts as Sunday approaches…

1) I’m actually pretty excited to race. Hoping for some good sunshine on race morning and a beautiful day to be out cheering on all the participants in the Half Iron (especially Kirsten – hopefully she has kicked the horrendous cold and allergies that have been plaguing her this week by the time the gun goes off).

2) Last weekend I had a great training run off the bike at Elk Lake and am hoping to replicate that feeling this weekend in a race setting. Fingers crossed!
[Actually, maybe I just need more positive self-talk – I WILL have a strong run off the bike this Sunday… and a fast swim, speedy transitions and a great bike too, right?]

3) One thing I miss about long course racing – the EAT EAT DRINK DRINK day on the calendar. There is not quite the same need to carbo load for a sprint eh?

4) Last but not least... I’m kinda excited for my new race hoody :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Title-less Post

Gosh, the weeks sure have been rolling along…

The weekend of June 4/5 was spent in the sunny Okanagan as Kirsten took on the Oliver Half Iron. Shane and I joined her for the whirlwind trip in order to spend a little time in Penticton with Doug & Di and to pick up our new (to us) barbeque.

Considering what a quick trip it was (arrival late Friday night, departure early Monday morning) it was a really great time and actually felt like a bit of a vacation. The weather was amazingly hot and I managed to get in a couple really good bikes (and even a so-so run). It was so nice to be out on the road in some different (yet still familiar) territory, just ripping it up and working on the bike short tan lines. I love riding in Penticton!

As for the race (and the main reason for the trip), Kirsten did great! The conditions were tough – nearing 30 degrees with not a stitch of wind or shade to be seen. Obviously I can’t speak for her, but I know it wasn’t easy. That said, from a spectating point of view - it was wonderful. I was pleasantly surprised how spectator friendly the course was and Shane and I managed to see Kirsten zip past at various intervals throughout the day without too much effort on our part.

Once home from Penticton it was back into the regular routine of swim, work, run, eat, sleep, bike, work, run, eat, sleep, swim, work… (well, you get the point). Last week actually felt like a fairly heavy week of training, but that will taper off this week as I start to get my head (and body) into race mode for the Victoria Sprint this coming weekend at Elk Lake.

I have to say I’m really looking forward to the Victoria Sprint. I did the sprint distance at this race last year and had a great time. It was so much fun. Also, since I did this last year, I figure I will be able to compare my times and see if my goal of “getting faster” this season is being attained in a race setting.

I have a feeling I might get a few more nerves than I had for Shawnigan… so, fingers crossed that I can pull it all together come race day.