Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Reston Triathlon 2009

Race: Reston Triathlon
Date: Sunday, September 13, 2009
Location: Reston, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - Olympic Distance
Division: Athena
Time: 3:22:40

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Race Report:

Race morning

I didn't sleep much the night before. I don't know why I would have been anxious about this race. It is a major social-hour(ish) race with many local triathletes coming to compete against each other. It's just one big party of a race when it all boils down to it. It is jokingly called the "World Championship" race because it's where all the locals prove who is the best. However, the competition is tough out there, too. Lots of speedy guys and gals trying to prove they are the best and that leaves the not-so-speedy types like me looking around to see where everyone went! But, I digress...

My morning was about as good as it could have been. I woke up a little earlier than I expected at 4:30 a.m. then made a bowl of oatmeal and cut up 1/2 a banana and added about 5-10 golden raisins and some cinnamon. This was the first time I had prepared this meal before a race but this was a day of firsts so I figured I might as well go all out! This breakfast turned out to be a really excellent choice. The rest of my morning went off without a hitch (thankfully UNLIKE IronGirl which was a disaster!).

I raced this tri last year but thanks to Hurricane Hannah coming through the night before the swim portion of the race was canceled and replaced with a second run. So, this was really my first time doing an Olympic distance tri and it was the first time I had experienced two transition areas.

After getting my chip, pumping my tires and visiting the little girls room I hopped on my bike and rode a mile - IN THE DARK - WITH MY WETSUIT ON - to the first transition area and the beginning of the swim. I've seen several videos from IronMan races in the past and riding in the dark to the transition brought back memories of those videos I had seen where there is all this activity happening and it's still pitch dark outside. My mind immediately started thinking about my upcoming race in June of next year - a half Ironman. I'm already getting excited about it and I haven't even started training for it. But, this is now...this is Reston...and I've got a great race day ahead of me.

Swim (1 mi) : 43:08 min

Brrrrr.....Yesterday I was told the lake temps were 76 degrees. At the high school before the race they were announcing the temps were 72-73 degrees. Once we got to the lake they were saying 70 degrees! All I know is that the water was COLD and I was SOOOO thankful my coach had encouraged me to rent a wetsuit. The swim was kinda fun. I was told by an experienced Reston triathlete that I should go on the inside of the group to swim (because I told her I don't swim straight!). There were buoys on the left and we would circle them to the left and then come back down to finish. She said there was a rope that marked the "path" and I'd know if I was swimming in the wrong place because I would see the line. Well, that line and I became intimate friends. I am surprised I didn't get some sort of penalty for being on the line all the time! I tried to get away from it but I somehow kept going back toward it! I really need to practice my lateral breathing more so I can keep a better eye out on my left side. Another interesting thing that happened not once...not twice...but several that I would take one stroke and be up on someone's back! I had never had that happen to me before...but other people were doing it to me, too. It was somewhat funny. I had a little bit of an issue with the wetsuit (being worn for the first time during the race) because I felt it kept choking me. I had to stop about 3 times just to tug at the neck. But, overall I was pleased with my swim times as I typically swim 1 mile about 5-10 minutes slower than this.

T1 2:35
I'm actually surprised this wasn't slower. I had to run all the way back into the "woods" to get my bike! I was literally on the third row from the back. Then, they had this rule that you had to put all your swim gear in this bag (unlike just throwing things down like I normally do) and then tie up the bag so they could take it to the 2nd transition area. Not to mention that I had to get my wetsuit off my body - which actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. THANK YOU, BODY GLIDE!!! Anyway, I got on my bike and off I went.

Bike (22.3 mi): 1:19:55

I had a goal to finish this ride in 1:10. In retrospect that was actually a pretty lofty goal. That would have given me a pace of 19 mph. The fastest I've ever gone in a race has averaged 16 mph (for this type of distance). But, I was pretty pleased with almost a 17 mph pace. The bike portion was mostly uneventful - I was pretty consistent and strong throughout. There was one time where a lady crashed (for no apparent reason) right in front of me. But, other than that things went as expected. I loved the downhills with speeds of approx 35 mph and the wonderful straight stretch on South Lakes going about 28-32 mph. It made up for the "rolling hills" on Lawyers Road.

T2 1:19
Nothing major. I was starting to feel some allergy issues toward the end of the bike and knew that would affect my run, though.

Run (6.2 miles): 1:15:45

Toes. Numb. Thighs. Hurting. Toes...Toes...NUMB!!! It took me about 40 minutes to warm up my toes. I didn't know if they would even warm up before the finish line! By the time they finally warmed up I was able to pick up the pace and run about a 10:30 min/mile pace. However, the first 40 minutes put me so far behind that I wasn't able to catch up. The run was obviously the worst part of my race today but the race volunteers were AMAZING and there were some guys out there just pushing you through the pain...pushing you toward the finish. "GO 407 - keep up the pace on this hill (I swear, I thought this guy was going to run the hill FOR me!"..." "Let the finishing announcers pull you the rest of the way in..." And, of course, it was nice to see some familiar faces out there on both the run ("Daddy" Mike) and the bike (Shawn). THANK YOU for volunteering!!!

Post Race:

It was SO GREAT to see my family at the finish line. They have been unable to attend many of my races so it always brings a smile to my face to see them there. It was great to see my teammate Christina, too. She was there supporting her husband as he crushed the course!!! Loved seeing my running girl Janet there (and my son totally loved seeing Luke!). And, of course, my sweet little coach traveled across the state of VA today to cheer on all her girls. I can't believe she did it but it was great to see her there after I crossed the finish line.

Summary and lessons learned

Practice lateral breathing
Practice hills on both the bike & in my run. They are killing me on every race.

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