Sunday, June 19, 2011

Griskus Race Report: Racing by Feel

Two things:

I took second in my age group at the Pat Griskus Triathlon on Saturday.

Did you know Scooby Doo is a Great Dane? (I didn't, until I checked the pocket internets.)

Ok, back up. This race did not go to plan:

  • I underestimated the amount of time needed at the race course. I didn't get to do my warm up run or swim.
  • It was so foggy, we couldn't see the buoys. The organizers considered cancelling the swim before they decided to shorten it down to about 750 yards. That first buoy was still so tough to see, the first wave went off in two different directions. Luckily, I was in the 4th wave.
  • When I got on my bike the computer was not working. Damn. I hadn't checked it after traveling down to the race, and the sensor must have gotten knocked. About 20 miles into the race, I decided to check my mileage and realized that it was my cadence sensor, not my distance sensor, that wasn't working. I had averaged 17.2 for the race. Max of 38.
  • I drank a little over 24 oz of heed on the bike, not the planned 36, and I didn't eat my final gu, cause my stomach was very cranky when I started the run. (If anyone has suggestions for this, I'm all ears, want to experiment with some different strategies before Nationals)
Standing on the start line, fretting about the lack of warm up and the unpredictable swims, one of my teammates reminded me that sometimes the best races happen when things don't go to plan. And I guess this was a case in point.

The night before the race, I started stressing that I had once again set unattainable goals. How long have I wanted to run sub 8s and to swim 1:40s? It feels like those have been my goals for the last year, and yet I never seem to meet them.

As I was thinking about that the morning of the race, I was reminded of something one of our assistant coaches told me a while back, "If you want to get faster, all you have to do is go faster." Simple, right? Out on the bike, and more so on the run, I kept thinking to myself that I needed to go faster. No letting up (and many more cliches). But it seemed to work. I passed the 2 mile marker in sub 15 (with a significant downhill), and ended up completing the run in 45 minutes. I'm still not convinced that the run was a full 10K, cause otherwise that would be a 4 minute PR, but still, it felt fast, particularly for the course.

After the race, I went to wait for my friends to finish up. Sitting there, I thought about my 17.2mph bike, and my 45 minute run, and I decided regardless of how I finished relative to my age group (2 girls had passed me on the bike, and I'd passed 1), that I had achieved my goals. When I checked the results, they listed me as 3rd in my age group. Then at the awards, the woman who was listed 1st in my age group ended up being 3rd overall female, so each of the awards bumped up, and I was awarded 2nd. It was awesome.

Debriefing with my coach afterwards, she asked me, 1) would I have gone faster with a speedometer on the bike and 2) if I could have gone harder on the run. I'm not really sure about either. The speedometer, I think probably not. I focused on pushing up those hills, and knowing my speed on that hilly of a course, probably wouldn't have mattered that much. On the run, I definitely expected a longer chute, so I had just picked it up to a sprint when I crossed the finish line. I could have put a bit more into the last 400 yards, but I'm not sure how much of that would have translated to an over all time.

Regardless, I'm incredibly happy with my performance at this race and the confidence its given me going into nationals. I know the competition will be fierce, but I can feel certain that I belong there now.


Shannon June 21, 2011 at 3:49 PM  

Congrats!!! I've traditionally raced by feel... but sometimes i wonder what devices would make me do :)

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