Monday, August 22, 2011

Nationals Race Report +

Thursday – took a full on rest day. Slept in, went to the farmers market. Packed and got myself ready for Burlington!

Friday – Finished packing and headed up to Burlington. It was a long drive and due to various circumstances I was only able to get a few minutes in riding my bike on the run course before I had to check it in to transition. Didn’t get to swim or anything like that but sometimes your just not ready to race it just becomes time to go do it. Overall felt really stressed out about getting up there and getting myself ready to go. It all worked out but it wasn’t easy.

Saturday – Race day! I was really kinda nervous for this race. It felt weird. I haven’t really been nervous for a race since my first triathlon but the nerves were going in the morning for sure. I don’t know if it was because of the level of competition I was going to be facing or because I wasn’t feeling confident in my abilities with the downtime and modified training with the injury. I know that I am the kind of athlete that loves to race and feels better about my racing the more I race. The more I am away from it the less fine tuned I become with it. It has been a hard season in that sense. Due to the injury I’ve raced very little and that isn’t to my liking. So I was finally gonna do some racing! I felt a little better once I got a clif bar down. Got to the race early. Got setup in transition. Everything was going smoothly. We could not get in the water until the actual race. So I just got my wetsuit on and didn’t do any warmup because I couldn’t take my bike out and I didn’t want to run. The race organization was very good. However, they really gave you minimal guidance. You needed to just do it they didn’t go over things a bunch of times or call your waves etc. We were herded like cattle through a building on the water waiting to get into the lake. It was a deep water start so we need to jump off the dock and tread water for a few minutes before the gun went off. The water temp was actually 74 so it was pretty nice. Not too cold and decent wetsuit temp. I was a little surprised by the swim course. I didn’t expect the water in lake champlain to be that rough. We were swimming in the breakwater behind the rock walls but I still had some waves crashing over my head at various points. It also had about 5 turns in the swim course which all were heavily crowded. I think this was the swim I had the most contact in yet. I never swam by myself for the whole course. I don’t know if there were just that many athletes but the entire course felt busy the entire time. As we turned back towards to the boat docks where the swim exit was the sun was directly in my eyes so I couldn’t see the buoy at all. I was following the swimmers in front of me at that point since it was all I could see. I thing everyone ended up swimming a little wide around that turn probably because no one could see all that well or the water was pushing up that way. Im not really sure. I felt like I sighted and swim decently through the rest of the course. the water quality was pretty good as I started my hydration plan a little early due to conditions. Out of the water and I was running to transition. I passed several people. I got into transition and I thought I dropped my goggles while I was stripping off my wetsuit so I ran back to look for them because I didn’t want to get a penalty for disregarded gear. I couldn’t find them and I was losing time so that point I just abandoned the mission to find them since I figured I would just take my chances penalty wise instead of looking any longer. Grabbed damon and we were running out onto the bike course. The bike course was basically rolling hills the entire way. There were decent climbs in the beginning to get you out of the lake and the city and onto the interstate. I felt like the bike course was kinda on the technical side. There were a lot of tight turns in close sections. Again the beginning and the end were in the city so it wasn’t an open view. The interstate section was rolling hills including one great descent were you pass under an underpass that had people standing on it just screaming for you. that was so much fun! It was like being on a rollercoaster. I biked pretty decently. I had some sections were I felt pretty bad namely which I first got on the bike after getting out of the water and started climning. Then sections were I recovered a bit and then sections where I felt crappy again. Overall I didn’t redline the bike the entire way although I wish I could have! I need to get better biking legs. Men were just passing me left and right and it was annoying me. Why are they so fast!!!!! Had another decent transition to my run. The legs felt good. The design of the run course has your climbing a big steep hill right out of transition. I mean literally right out of transition. There were tons of people lining both sides of the hill just cheering everyone up it. I was determined not to walk any of the run. I know that sounds funny but with my knee running is tough for me but I told myself there is no way no matter what so up the hill I ran even when others were walking up next to me. That felt good and it set the tone for the rest of my run. Now I didn’t run all that fast compared to most people on the course but I kept a really consistent pace from the beginning to the end. Probably picking up my pace more towards the end. I only walked to drink some Gatorade on the course. I did gels on the bike but I just didn’t want them on the run. It was actually pretty hot so every aid station I grabbed a water that went over my head and a Gatorade to drink. The last 3 – 4 mile are on the Burlington bikeway that runs along lake champlain. It was really pretty and flat so if you can run fast and you have something left you can make a killing in that section of the race. The race was interesting in the fact that the city really came out to support the race. I felt like there were people cheering on the race almost everywhere that was possible. some sections like the interstate or the bikeway werent as populated but overall it was a great crowd.. But it was also a little weird in that very few people were cheering each other on in the race. I had a few people say things to me but overall compared most tris I’ve done this was a really serious really competitive one. It was all good though. As you come off the bikeway into waterfront park you can see and hear the finish so I start taking off and the guy starts racing me. So the two of us are just sprinting down this shoot like there is a fire behind us not giving each other an inch. I mean were banging shoulders as we run. The funniest part is all of the people standing next to the chute are cheering for me to beat him. Sadly I let my newly found fans down as he beat me in the last few feet before the line. But it was good fun and a great way to end the race. The finish line was utter chaos. no one knew where to go people were just piled up. I got my medal, staggered over to medical and got ice for my knees. they i just parked it for awhile and talked to some fellow racers. While i didn't qualify for worlds it was fun to race with the people that did. super motivating to see what level I need to be at. I do really like olympic distance races.

I really loved the city of Burlington. It’s a super bike friendly city. They have bike lanes and parking everywhere and tons of people were using them. They also had lots of vegan food options available which made it really easy for me to be there which I loved!
sunday before leaving town. ron and i headed out on the burlington bike way for a 16 mile ride. easy pace took about an hour. legs were a little sore when i got up otherwise felt fine. my knee is pretty much the same still hurts. no really any better or worse.

monday - feeling pretty good. - went to swim in the morning. did 500 of drills to warmup. then 20 minutes of easy swimming. thought about form most of the time since i didn't have to count laps or go fast.  did a little cool down swimming with a pull buoy.

Did some step ups at CF. bw  2 sets of 10 each leg forward and later. repeated it adding ten pounds and then repeated it adding 20 pounds. My knee felt kinda stressed after these this afternoon. Did some stretching between the sets and also did sets of 15 reps each leg of negative calf  raises off a step. Still trying to loosen up these tight lower legs.

I really ready to gear up for pocono mountain. the race isn't that far off and id really like to have a good race there. I've got some limitations because of the knee and the timing but i want to make the most of it.

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