Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Little Domination

We can amend item 13 on the anniversary list.  I won my age group at the Webster Lake Tri.


Obviously, an age group win has a lot to do with who shows up.  My age group only had 8 competitors in it.  But, looking across age groups, I was the 5th woman home, out of 63.  That, I'm pretty proud of.  I hadn't gone in with explicit hopes of placing.  I went in wanting to have a low-stakes race where I could work on my race strategy and just go hard.  And I did just that.

The last time I did this course, it was my second triathlon ever, way back in 2007. Throughout the race on Sunday, I kept remembering how I felt at various points during that race all those years ago. 

R (the impetus to this whole triathlon thing), me and A, 2007 Danskin Sprint
Pre-race:
A came with and was an excellent spectathlete, but she didn't race herself.  Definitely the smart move with a broken toe, but also a super tough call to make.  We got to the race course a little shy of 90 minutes before the race. Registered, racked, walked through the transitions, bathroom, got in the water to warm up, nutrition, and start.  It all went so smoothly.  The racks were numbered, but we didn't have assigned spots.  When we got there, mine was the first bike on the rack, so I put it right on the end.  I also brought one of those reflective ankle bands to mark the end of the rack.  Coming into transition, I could quickly scan the racks and find my spot easily.

BTT ladies ready to tackle Webster Lake
Swim:
The plan here was to start solid, then kick it up a gear once the initial chaos had calmed.  This strategy worked perfectly.  At the start I lined myself up directly behind a fellow BTTer, whom I knew to be a strong swimmer (she went on to be the first place woman).  We got the countdown, and we were off.  Immediately, I could start to see a fast pack forming ahead of me, maybe 5-7 swimmers.  I thought briefly about sprinting up to get on feet, but I held back.  At the first turn (it was a triangular course), I started pushing harder, and I started passing people, not just ladies either, I was passing guys from the wave ahead of us.  In fact, I felt like I swam most of this swim passing through the guys.  In the end, I passed most of the girls who had gone out hard in that initial pack.

Distance: 0.42 mi (according to Garmin)
Time:  10:44 (1:27 per 100yds)
Rank in AG: 1 / 8
Rank in Women: 3 / 63
Rank overall: 12 / 185

T1:
This course has the longest trek from the swim to transition of any race outside of Pumpkinman (which offers a prize to the "King/Queen of the Hill").  When I did the race back in 2007, I stashed some flip flops near the swim exit and wore them for the run up to transition.  This year, I felt like it wasn't as rocky as I remembered, and that I was tougher than before, so I opted for barefoot running.  I had a consistent, but not super speedy pace.  I got passed by one woman on the hill.  I took a quick look at her, and knew she wasn't in my age group, so I decided not to give chase.  I ended up getting out of transition faster than her anyway, but she overtook me almost immediately, and set the fastest female bike split for the day.

Time: 3:26
Rank in AG: 1 / 8
Rank in Women: 7 / 63
Rank overall:  26 / 185

Bike:
Looking at the elevation map, it looks like one big hill.  But what I remembered from 2007 was that the hill actually feels like 3 hills, that first one (in red), then the big purple one has a little leveling out that allows you to catch your breath a bit.  I was thankful to remember this.  Just about to the top of the hill, I got passed by another woman.  I wasn't confident of her age group, but I was pretty sure that the second digit was a 7, which would mean I couldn't have been racing against her.  I still didn't know how many women were ahead of me.  It was all dudes out there.  But I stuck to the plan.  The one thing that I seemed to have missed in my race prep was turning on the sound on my garmin.  It was giving me alerts to eat every 20 minutes, but only flashing them on the screen, not making noise.  I thought about trying to fix this as I rode, (which is not uncommon for me) but I decided I'd be better served by just focusing on cranking on the bike.

Distance: 12 mi
Time:  37:49
Speed: 19.0 mph
Rank in AG: 1 / 8
Rank in Women: 9 / 63
Rank overall:  47 / 185

T2:
This went exactly as rehearsed.  Yay for transition practice.

Time: 0:52
Rank in AG: 1 / 8
Rank in Women: 5 / 63
Rank overall:  23 / 185

Run:
Coming in off the bike, I could see the runners heading out.  I saw the woman who first passed me on the bike, then my teammate, then one other girl, whom I hadn't seen before, so I concluded she must have come out of the swim before me.  I didn't see the second woman who passed me on the bike, but I figured I must have just not seen her.  This meant I was at worst in second place in my AG, and in 5th in the women's race.  As I rounded the corner from transition, A told me she thought there were maybe 2 girls ahead of me in my AG.

Starting the run.  This guy stuck on my heals for about half a mile after I passed him
The goal of the run was to go hard for the first half, and harder for the second half.  In trying to drop the guy in the picture, I went a little bit too hard out to the first turn.  We went over an overpass that was a vicious hill in my memory, but in this race it was an undulation, not a pace killer.  As I was coming into the turn around, I could see the leaders in the women's race.  My teammate in first, the first biker, and the girl I hadn't seen before in third.  I spotted the second biker in fourth.  I thought the gap to her didn't seem unbridgeable.  But when I turned around myself, I didn't find another gear to shift into.  Definitely went a bit too hard on that first bit.  I tried to maintain.  When I hit the turn back onto the main road, I felt like I was running well, if a little gassed.  I ran the first half in 7:00 minute miles, and the second half in 7:11.  Not quite the plan, but still a solid 7:04 average (with the sprint at the end).  I did not catch the 4th place woman, but I also did not get caught by any other women either.

Distance: 2.71 (according to Garmin)
Time: 19:09
Pace: 7:04
Rank in AG: 1 / 8
Rank in Women: 4 / 63
Rank overall:  27 / 185

Total:
In the end, this race was incredibly fun.  It's so nice to just have a race go well.  To have no expectations and then to surprise myself.  The day before the race, my friend J, who was also racing, suggested that we should both win our age groups the following day.  I was a little nervous to make that sort of prediction, cause I didn't want those expectations.  But he had it right.  We both won our age groups.  I makes me want to do more (small) sprints.

Prophesy fulfilled, with J

Women's 30-34 podium, with teammate B!

Time: 1:12:00 
Rank in AG: 1 / 8
Rank in Women: 5 / 63
Rank overall: 26 / 185

2 comments:

RunningShorts June 26, 2012 at 9:15 PM  

You look good on that podium!!

Shannon June 27, 2012 at 4:18 PM  

horray!! it's nice when things come together on race day after all your hard training :)

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