Thursday, May 31, 2012

Quassy Race Plan: New Beginnings

It's almost here, and I'm getting excited.  I wasn't feeling much anticipation for the race last week, but then I made my race day spreadsheet and started practicing my transitions (bike mounts and dismounts, hitting the lap button on my watch, trying out different hair styles [my hair is long enough for braids again, my historical go-to style, but they are a pain in the butt to do at 4am, and I can never seem to get them tight enough, but of course going for the short hair option of two little piggies and a pony sometimes creates hot spots on my head, and requires that I fish the pony through my helmet in transition] - yeah, you can see why I need to practice).  I'm feeling ready.

This is my first attempt at this race.  I did the Pat Griskus last year, which has the same transition area but  different bike and run courses, so they're not comparable. 
Quassy Bike Elevation
Quassy Bike Elevation

Quassy Run Elevation
I don't have specific time goals for the race cause the course is HILLY, far too hilly for PRs.  But that said, I'm anxious to see what I can do with the training base I've built over the last 9 months with my coach.

Generally, I'm a slave to my Garmin.  I use alerts to tell me when I'm going too fast, not working hard enough, or when it's time to eat.  At the Newton Chilly Half, I used both the virtual partner and the HR alerts.  And you know what, it might have been technology overkill (Sacrilege!).  This time around, with my new Garmin 910XT, I'm only going to use the time alerts to remind me to take some gel.  But of course, I still have heart rates and power numbers and paces and cadence all to keep track of.  And somehow once I get moving, my ability to remember numbers completely goes out the window.  My solution:  numbers on my gel flasks.  I have separate ones for bike and run each with the relevant numbers for their sports.  We'll see how this works out, or if they're impossible to read in the heat of the moment.

The other element that has been occupying my pre-race brain is the temperature of the swim.  Two weeks ago, I went out to Walden for a swim.  The water temperature was roughly 58 degrees, and I got cold.  Really cold.  It reminded me of Mooseman last year, which just happens to be this same weekend.  After the swim, I put on pants and a jacket.  I stood in the sun.  I tried jogging in place.  I would still get these bouts of shivers.  I futzed around for almost an hour waiting for my body to warm back up before I went on my run.  And even then I didn't feel fully recovered until 20 minutes into my run.  I spoke with my coach about it and he pointed out that I can lose a lot of heat from my core because I have a sleeveless wetsuit.  I'm not ready to buy another wetsuit (this sport is so damn expensive, why couldn't I choose just one discipline!) For this race, I've borrowed a full wetsuit from a teammate, but as of two days ago the water temperature at Quassy was 67 at the race course.  And last weekend I went back to Walden and swam in my own sleeveless suit with no trouble at all.  So I'm leaving the suit choice up to a game-time decision.  On the one hand, I won't get cold in the full suit and air temperatures are slated to be in the low 60s, so a little extra heat generated on the swim wouldn't be a bad thing.  On the other, it's just nice to race in my own kit.

One other point:  I read through the athlete guide, and it looks like they won't be having traditional water stops on the course.  Instead there will be pouches of water.   8oz pouches of water.  I can see the appeal of this to the organizers: 1) sponsors 2) no concern about contamination 3) easier on the volunteers.  But as an athlete, I don't want 8 oz in one go.  I don't want to have to carefully tear open a pouch just enough to get to the water, but not so much that I create a water balloon explosion.  They say never try anything new on race day, but it seems this one is out of my control.

Well, that's it.  Time to go out, have fun and get faster with each and every stroke and step.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Ok, Slacky McBlogsALittle, it's time for an update.

My first tri of the season is this week.  Really, I have no idea how it's already here.  I don't feel unprepared, I just don't feel like it can be nearly June.  I've got some transition practices to knock out over the next week, so hopefully, I'll arrive at the race course better than rusty.  But the first race of the season always feels like a bit of a craps shoot.  I've put in the hours training, but there's no substitute for a race.  I'll have to talk it over with my coach, but expect a race plan here over the next few days.

What I'm most proud of and excited by in the lead up to this race is my running.  It was mid-March before I got the all-clear to start back again.  I'm now running close to 20 miles per week, completely pain free.  It feels like a miracle.

Then there's other firsts.

This weekend was R's first half marathon.  I was stoked to cheer her on as she crossed another goal off her list.  I continue to be in awe of her determination and progress.  Halves are my favorite distance, so I was also eager for her to get a taste of the distance that you can't just go and do.  The distance that is equal parts legs, heart and brains.  And she totally rocked it.  Each time we saw her, she had a smile on her face.  She stuck to her plan and knocked out her goal.  It was fantastic!  And then she signed up for another.  I love it!

And finally, last fall when I switched coaches, I started down a path of regimented training for the 2012 Age Group Nationals Championship.  I realized that this style of coaching, though exactly what I was looking for, was not one that was super conducive with social training.  However, I've been proved wrong.  This winter I've done almost every single trainer ride with my friend A.  I've done nearly all of my swims with her as well.  She's been flexible enough to go along with my plan and steadfast enough to get me to all of my workouts.  I'm not sure I would have gotten them done without her.  (She left for vacation last week, and I'm super glad I have a taper week now, otherwise...)  

The happy byproduct of all this training with A is that she's decided she's ready to tackle her first Olympic distance triathlon at this year's Mass State race.  And she's decided to tackle it on her very own first road bike.  She's been a champ doing most of our bike rides on my road bike which is much too small for her. A few weeks ago, we went to the local bike shop and came out with a bike, pedals, shoes, a helmet, sunnies, and a saddle bag.  She is ready to roll.

So here's to the start of the 2012 season, and here's to new challenges, new goals and PRs.

  © Blogger template 'Solitude' by 2008 | Photo by Jaredflo

Back to TOP