Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SummiTri Sprint Distance Triathlon

I was looking for an Oly triathlon.  My previous Oly race left me with a bad taste in my mouth due to my sucky swim. Dang it!!  I was looking to improve in the event distance, and specifically tackle, and nail, the swim ... however... There. Were. None.  :(   I did find a Sprint triathlon in Munroe Falls, so I jumped on that bandwagon and figured, what the heck, I could use a good sprint tri experience right about now - at least let me ROCK the swim and be respectable in the bike and run.

This triathlon was at Munroe Falls and I have learned a bit about the layout of the land down there with various rides, but I had never actually been to this location.  On this particular morning, I would have company: My son Kevin, my daughter Jaime, and my husband Ted.  Samantha, my oldest, was at a slumber party.  So, me, and my entourage of 3 headed down to Monroe Falls.  I was running a bit later than I feel comfortable with.  I like to get there early and have my choice of the rack real estate. I hate to  have to squeeze in between others as they sprawl out and claim the prime real estate locations.  When we parked, I grabbed up my bike and b-lined to the registration table, leaving my family in the dust.  My pre-race jitters usually result in me being pretty intense, impatient, anxious.  I wish I could be more relaxed! I hope that gets better in time.  However, I will always prefer to arrive early and have my packet, chip and bike racked as early as possible.  I think once that is squared away, I can do a better job of relaxing, focusing, stretching and trying to be a little more pleasant. 

So, I squeezed my tiny bike into a tiny space and had to ask my "neighbors" to move their stuff just a bit so I could lay down my stuff.  Ugh, can I just mention how much I LOVE the higher end race events where you have your own space??  The Rev3 events have your name in your rack space so there's one less thing to worry about.    After transition was set up, I headed off to the john, where a nice line was forming. Only 2 stalls :(   Ugh.  I was lucky to get in line and be done in 10 minutes.  This race could have used to rent 10 porta-potties for the race!  Many ladies were heading for the woods, and I'd have done the same if needed.

'The announcer started to give the pre-race directions and the swim was an out and back - with a U-turn UNDER A LANE LINE! Not only that, but you had to swim under a lane line again to exit.  That was a new race experience!  Now let's recap: my PRIMARY goal for this race was to ROCK THE SWIM.  Tackle it, swim strong, and not have an anxiety attack.  I wish the swim was longer, but this is all I had - 400 yards.  We started in the water, which Janet Edwards pointed out to me, seems to result in less anxiety as you don't have to run off a beach or jump off a dock.  When the buzzer rang, I started my swim, chanting my mantra in a rhythmic way.  I focused on breathing, I focused on staying calm. I was near the front of the pack and actually found myself being held back by the row of swimmers ahead of me.  Wow.  THAT felt good.  I figured I'd just settle here and see how it went.  In the past, the problem usually sets in at the 4 minute mark.  I was feeling GOOD!  I got to the turn around and was thrilled with how comfortable I felt. Dipped under the lane line and settled in the outside lane, right up next to the lane line so I could use it to guide me, rather than sighting regularly.  Plus, most of the other swimmers were hugging the inside lane line, so I had my own little area, fully unobstructed by others.  Long and strong, and attitude of gratitude.  Then, about the 4 minute mark, I got that adrenaline rush, the HR sky-rocketed, and my legs felt numb.  OH NO!  This is exactly the feeling I get - this is the panic attack.  Damn it! I look up and I'm nearly there.  I really started focusing on how well this swim has been going and I absolutely WILL NOT LET IT BE RUINED!  I really focused on my breathing and bringing my HR back down.  I didn't stop.  I didn't switch to breast stroke. I continued.  And, then I was done! Before I knew it, I was at the finish and exiting the lake. I hit my split time: 6:58.  Oh. My. God.   I just had a good swim.  A really good swim!  Wow.

Transition went smoothly - I was getting excited that this could be a good race.  T1=1:31.  On to the bike leg.  There were some rollers on this course, and 2 good climbs, but not near the steepness that I struggle with.  This would be 2 loops.  I was settling in with my breathing and then started to attack the hills.  I passed a few people!  I settled in with 3 ladies and we jockeyed positions throughout the course. I felt strong and it was nice to have those girls to pass, then get passed, then try to pass again.  I had no technical issues and the bike went smoothly.  Bike = 38.24 (avg. 18.75)

The second transition went smoothly, and my split gave me T2=1:41.  Off for the run.  I heard, but didn't see, Ted and the kids cheering, heard him yell that I was way ahead of pace.  I had hoped to do better than my last year time of ~1:28:30 (which, should be noted, was my 2nd Sprint triathlon, and Sprint tri distances are not necessarily consistent from race to race, unlike Oly, 70.3, and IM).  For the run, I wasn't on empty, but I HAD given a lot to both the swim and bike, so I was fading a bit.  I tried to hang with a few ladies from my AG.  I did not rock the run.  While running is usually a strength of mine, I can regularly do a 5K in 22-23 minutes, I am not yet able to translate that effort into the run in a triathlon :(   I know this is a huge area of improvement I need to work on.  NEED MORE BRICKS!!!  I've been focusing on the bike primarily this season, so my running has been sidelined for the most part.  I really need to figure out how to hold a faster pace on the run after the bike.   Anyhow, the course was 2 loops and I love that it took us through the crowd near transition, that cheering always is helpful for me!  I heard Kim and some CTC peeps cheer me on, and I heard Ted and the kids cheering, with Ted telling me I was still ahead of pace.  On the run I had been doing a bit of cat & mouse with a 44 yr old woman - a woman in my age group.  As we neared the finish, I saw her about 50 yards ahead.  The competitive part of me wanted her ... so, I kicked it in.  I closed the gap. I beat her into the chute, and took 3rd place in my AG!  I know my run wasn't a stellar performance, but overall I was very happy with the race. Run=30:00.   Sprint Tri = 1:18:36   Next year I want 1:10:00 :) Totally a realistic goal for me! I can improve that run, I know it.

So, I was happy with that race!  In the mean time, I've found some people interested in doing OW swim at Headland's beach Tuesday evenings!  I will love to have more OW practice and that starts this week.  This weekend, a holiday weekend - woo hoo! - I actually have NO RACES on the schedule.  I know most of you will be floored by that :)  I considered looking for a road race, but I got a call from a new friend, Elizabeth,  and we planned 2 training workouts - a 12 mile run on Saturday and a 60 mile ride on Sunday.  I'm totally thrilled to have those lined up and to have a buddy to train with.  Liz is training for her first 70.3 in August or September, and has been making fantastic improvements in all 3 legs.  She beat me in a Duathlon a few weeks back and ended up taking first place overall women! I couldn't be happier for her. She's a strong runner and I can definitely use the help in that area, especially maintaining a consistent pace. 

I'm not convinced the panic attacks are over for the swim, but I feel optimistic that I can regain control when they happen.  I suppose I'll have an opportunity to prove that in 2 weeks, as I head out to Providence, Rhode Island for an Ironman 70.3 event - my first "official" IM event.   This one looks to be interesting in that there is a split transition.  Hmm ... curious how that will work out. Guess I'll find out soon.  In the mean time ... Ohm ...

Peace out!


  1. Way to go girl! Not only a great swim, but that was a very nice bike split too! Looks like this is going to be one fantastic year for you!

  2. Congratulations on your AG place! Good job.