Sunday, June 12, 2011

Green Lakes Triathlon 2011: The Race Report

Yesterday I ran the Green Lakes Sprint Triathlon for the first time. The race was made up of a half-mile swim, a 20K (12.6 mile) bike ride, and a 5K (3.1 mile) run on the trails around the lakes.

Last weekend I did my first and only two open water swims prior to the race. As documented in this post, the Oneida Shores Open Water Swim didn't go too well. Although my swim at Green Lakes the day after was better, I was still nervous about the swim.

In addition, I was nervous about the bike. I had riden the course two times and had to walk part of the hills both times. I wanted to badly to make it up all the hills on two wheels, but questioned whether I had it in me or not.

A few weeks ago I went to a seminar put on by Coach Kelly at the Y and I was the only one to attend. The topic was how to train your brain. Although Coach Kelly and I had done the exercises in the past, it was good to do it again.

In addition, last Monday I attended a seminar put on my Lisa Barnes who is also a triathlon coach. I figured it would be good to get a different perspective on things.

With all the negative thinking I had about the swim and bike, I really tried to use Kelly and Lisa's tips to have a more positive attitude going into the race.

The day before at work I was a bundle of nerves thinking about the race. Once I got out for the day, I was happy that I coudl concentrate on the race. Alex and I headed to Fleet Feet after he got out of school. I was given #265 and was in wave 3 of 4. After karate and dinner, I loaded my bike in the car, packed my bags, then headed to bed. Unlinke Iron Girl Eve, I fell right asleep and slept like a baby.

My alarm went off at 5:15 AM and I felt good and rested. I had my iced mocha, PB&J bagel, and was ready to head out just before 6:30. It had rained during the night and while I was getting ready. I was bummed thinking that it would rain during the race, but since it was out of my control I just accepted the fact that it would be a wet race.

God must have been looking down on us because the rain stopped just about the time I got to the park and it didn't rain again while we were there. Thank you!!!

I saw Maria and Erika in the parking lot when I arrived and we headed up to get our timing chips and body marking. George and Jane were there helping out, so it was nice to see some familiar faces. We headed back to get our gear then it was off to set up transition.

Unlike Iron Girl where we were just assigned a row, here we had a specific spot. I got lucky and was right next to the support legs so I had a little extra room to put stuff between me and my neighbor.

More and more familiar faces started to show, so it was nice to have them for some mutual support. I don't know if it was the race itself, the fact it was co-ed, or that most of us were grizzled veterans now, but it didn't have the warm, fuzzy feeling of Iron Girl and I missed that.

We all headed to the beach for the race meeting at 8:00 Am. After the meeting we were allowed to warm up in the water which I took full advantage of because I didn't want a repeat of last week. The 72* water felt like bath water compared to 65* last week. Yee haw!

At 8:30 AM, the 1st wave was off and 5 min later wave two headed out. I was calm and ready for battle when our gun sounded at 8:40.

I tried to stay to the right to avoid traffic as much as possible. I did good about the first helf out then some guy started holding me up. Eventually I had to tread water to let him by, then I was on my way again.

Unlike last week, I did a freestyle stroke the entire way and felt great. When I got out of the water, the clock read 26:30something. Minus 10 minutes, that put me at 16:30something. I was really happy about it until my splits came out online and they had me at 18:10. It took me about 1:30 to get to the stupid timing mat, so that didn't make me very happy.

Today I wasn't terribly concerned with transitions and it showed. I put my bike jersey on, got a drink, took my time with my shoes, etc. This all contributed to a 3:03 time. Gotta work on that before Iron Girl.

Coming out of the park there is a small hill that nearly killed me. I was still breathing hard from the swim which made the hill feel like torture. Since this was the smallest of the four hills, I got a little nervous and figured I was doomed. But, I told myself that my breathing would eventually relax and I would rock the remaining three hills.

All during the first half of the bike, I concentrated on calming my breathing and saving my legs for the hills because both would be tested with the hills in the second half of the ride. Hill two also felt tough, but I made it up with the momentum from the downhill right before.

Now for hill three on Pierson Road. Got into the "granny gear" pretty quickly and just tried to stay calm. A couple riders around me gave up and walked, but I stayed calm and pedalled to the top. I felt tired, but good. The big one was next.

The worst thing about this hill is that you can't get any momentum heading into it because there is a sharp right turn into the park and then you're at the hill. Got into the "granny gear" again and just kept telling myself "slow and steady." During last week's ride I almost made it to the top, but gave up not too far from the top. When I got to the same spot I gave up at last week, I just reminded myself that I was almost there. Next thing I knew my pedalling became quicker and easier and I was actually able to switch to harder gears...I MADE IT!!! WOO HOO!!! I just wanted to shout for joy, but I figured people would think I was crazy. Well, I probably have to be to do this stuff anyway, right?

The ride down the hill was a pleasure as I relaxed my legs and flew. My bike computer wasn't working, so I don't know how fast I got up to. As I approached transition, a guy was passing me on the left, so I started to move to the right, but then I heard some lady yelling at me. I didn't think that was very smart of her to pass on my right. She appologized as we were dismounting, but she's got to wake up next time if you ask me.

Time on the bike was 48:04. I really wasn't sure what I wanted to aim for on the ride, so I'll take it!

Learning from Iron Girl, I brought an extra pair of socks to run in. It added time to my transition, but my feet definitely felt better with dry socks on. I'll have to experiment more to see if this is actually worth it or not. Time 1:52.

The trail run was nice because it was easy on my hip and foot. But it also slowed me down. I was hoping to see improvement, but I knew it would be difficult due to the terrain. About half way through I got a side cramp that forced me to walk a little and stretch. Coming to the finish, I saw some Y friends who cheered me on to the finish. Time was 33:39. Better than Iron Girl, so I'm excited to see what I can do there in August.

My goal was to be under 1:45:00 and I achieved that barely. (Seems like a repeat of Mountain Goat!) My time was 1:44:48, so I'll take it for my fist time doing this race.

Here is how I did compared to the field:
335/383 Overall
123/158 Women
26/31 Age group

I'm pleased, but I do wish I did better. My next post will be the 3G look back on the race.


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