Monday, September 12, 2011

Lobsterman Race Report: Bringing it home

The final race of the season was a gorgeous one. Before we get into the recap though, I have to recognize how well this race was organized. Not just for the athletes (most races have knowledgeable volunteers and well-marked courses), but for spectators as well. This may seem small, but they had spectator food. Many races just have their sponsors (e.g., a protein shake, a yogurt sample) available, but for a longer race like this, it's really nice to have breakfast available to the families out there supporting. So, thanks, Lobsterman.

One note, more to myself than the organizers, get the extra-small shirt. The vendor for the shirts has clearly changed their sizing. My small shirt from this year's race is about 2 inches wider than the one from two years ago.

Onto the race. The water which I was expecting to be quite cold, was fine. They announced it was 68 when they measured in the morning (before the tide had really come in). I think it was a little cooler than that, but still nothing compared with two years ago.

The swim was only 3 buoys: 3 turns, a diamond shape. The way out to the first buoy was smooth sailing. I could see I was in second place about 20 feet behind the first place girl, but she wasn't putting any more water between us. It was a little seaweedy, but reminded me how much I love swimming in salt water - so buoyant. Making the first turn it was tough to find the 2nd buoy: sunshine, rougher water, catching the wave ahead of us and about 400 yards of distance all made it difficult, but no repeats of Nationals.

Coming out of the water, a friend told me I was in third for the age group. Transition was tough. I struggled to put on my garmin after the swim. I needed to use it so that I'd have heart rate data for the ride, but I can't swim in the watch. It felt like forever. Looking back, however, my transition time wasn't that far off. Onto the bike.

Note to Future-Laura: Next time you do this race, remember that first hill deserves a granny gear. It looks like it's not that tall, but it just keeps turning and climbing, and I definitely attempted it in too high of a gear, which is clear from that heart rate spike in the first mile. There was not a single foot of flat on this course. And heading out it just did not feel very fast, but I just kept grinding away at it. I got passed by several women in the 40-49 age groups (geez, those ladies are fast), but wasn't until about half way that I got passed by a woman with 34 on her calf. Then at mile 20 or so, I got passed by Lauren. I thought that put me in 5th.

Off the bike, I thought about what my coach told me, about getting faster throughout the race. The first thing you have to do is go back up that killer hill. Ok, head down, cadence up. Not much really stands out from the run: it was hilly, and it hurt. I didn't look at the watch much other than to occassionally check my pace. That was it, just run hard.

Coming back into the park, I knew I'd be close to my 2:40 goal. I hadn't timed the swim, but I knew the bike and run were coming in just under 2:10, that meant if my swim and T1 were on target, I would hit it.

And the verdict: 2:40:20. So close to breaking into the 2:30s. I can review every detail of this race to try to find those last 20 seconds. Could I have gotten that watch on more quickly, could I have pushed the downhills just a little bit more? I'm not going to beat myself up about it. 2:40 is still a minute better than nationals on a much trickier course. And I felt good throughout the race.

Here we have it. Looks like I was second out of the water, and further passed the first person in transition, putting me in first as we went out onto the bike. On the bike I was passed by two people, putting me in third, which I held for the remainder of the race.

Here we are winning our mugs. I was awarded second (once again my height makes me look like third. As best I can tell, the woman who came in second had a bib number that was out of the range of our age group. I'm guessing this meant she registered late, so she didn't get included in our age group awards. That is definitely a shame.

Next up, fall running season!


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