Sunday, May 27, 2012

Race Report: BRATS Salute to the Military Tri

Race: BRATS Salute to the Military Triathlon
Date: May 27, 2012
Location: Vint Hill, VA
Race Type: Sprint: 300 meter pool swim, 11.75 mi bike, 3.1 mi run
Division: Age Group 45-49
Time: 1:22:02
Place: 2nd in Age Group

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Race Report:

I've got to tell you - this is such a great little race. Each year the race directors recognize all the military members (serving or served) at the awards ceremony. It's one of the most touching parts of the whole race event. Each year the group recognized gets bigger and bigger. Soon there won't be enough space under the gazebo for them all! 

The race is very well organized, has both adult and youth races, and a great course. The course is a pool swim, rolling hills on the bike and a pretty flat (in the sun) run. I would highly recommend this race to anyone (except those in my age group that are faster than me - you can just stay home for this one!). :)

Disclaimer: Two days prior to this event I came down with a really bad cold/flu. I had gone to sleep two nights in a row with Niquil and was dizzy and light-headed (more than normal!) for those two days. I was just thankful to be able to get out and race this one - let alone do so well. 

I love the promptness of the race timers! My results had already been sent to my email before I made it home. A few stats on the day: The weather was sunny, 75 degrees F, 83% humidity, SSW wind of 8 mph. My overall finish place was 71st, my gender finish place was 13th, and, of course, my age group place was 2nd. Pretty happy with that!

Swim (300 Meters): 7:10 (2 seconds slower than last year) - 1st in age group
They say that you can win or lose a race based on your swim times. Well, even though I still feel slow, I guess being 1st in my age group makes that comment a little untrue. I think I would have beat my time last year had there not been an issue with seeding of swimmers. There were three guys behind me that ended up passing me and they weren't very nice about it. I never felt a tap on my foot or anything so I didn't even realize they were coming up behind me. But, having to let them go when we reached the wall made me 2 second + slower.
T1: 1:52 - (19 seconds slower than last year) 1st in age group
I'm always pretty quick in transition and T1 was no exception when it came to the rankings. HOWEVER, I had several issues in T1 this time (including my race belt getting caught in my tire) so I feel I could have made up some really good time here.

Bike (11.75 mi): 42:44 (1:07 slower than last year) @ 16.5 mph - 2nd in age group

I was very disappointed in this result. Since this race last year I feel I have gotten considerably stronger than last year on the bike. Today I blame my slowness on two things: 1) I had to blow a LOT of snot rockets (yep, I do that) because I've been sick for the past few days. 2) There were three times I had to slow down to wipe salty sweat out of my eyes. I literally couldn't see anything. I'm not sure what happened here because that has never happened to me before. Maybe I need to sunglasses or a new helmet or something to hold in the sweat. Don't know. But, I feel this is what slowed me down today. I also had a little birdie in the back of my mind saying "don't give everything on the bike today because you want to save something for the run." I'm glad I listened to that birdie.

I've not had the fastest pace on this course before because of the rolling hills but, more importantly, because of the 4 tight U-turns on the course. I can't wait to do a race where no U-turns are required to see what kind of pace I can hold.

T2: 0:46:00 (0:03:05 faster than last year) - 4th place in age group 
Could have gotten on my shoes a little faster and saved a few more seconds here. 
Run (3.1 miles): 29:28 (9:30 min/mile pace) (10 seconds faster than last year) - 7th place in age group

Although I was VERY pleased with my personal result, this is what stopped me from winning first place (again!) in my age group. I've really got to work on getting faster on the run and that means two things: 1) weight loss and 2) speed work. Not sure I'm ready for either of those but...I've gotta do what I've gotta do if I want to win 1st place!

Summary and lessons learned 

This is the third time I have raced this course. The first time I raced was in 2009 and I ended up coming in 3rd place in my age group. The second year, 2011, I also placed 3rd. This year I wanted to grab that 1st place age group really bad. But, having been sick for two days I was just thrilled to have made it across the finish line. I knew my friend Amy was on the course today and knew she was both a really strong biker and runner and, sure enough, she got 1st! I'm very proud of her!!! 

Today was no personal record but I'm one step closer to that 1st place trophy! It's a great way to start the tri season for sure! 

I need to remember that when I race a sprint I need to leave everything out there in EVERY sport. I shouldn't have held back on the bike. I should have just pressed on. I should have read my race report from last year that told me that EVERY SECOND COUNTS - particularly in a sprint! Lesson learned. 

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