Sunday, May 31, 2015

I'm Not a Sprintah...

Due to availability, time, location, etc I decided to do 2 sprint triathlons this season in addition to a 70.3 and 140.6. The first was yesterday. It was the Blalock Lakes Sprint. I did the Olympic there last year and someone forgot to remind me, I didn't want to do it again. Here's why: The lake is dirty (not toxic, dirt-y). The ride is tough with lots of hills of which I truly only enjoy the down. The run is sunny and hilly. HILLY. Did I mention the hills?

Now, this year unlike last year, I have been running hills. Also unlike last year, I have been climbing hills on my bike. Every.Single.Weekend. Just sayin'... My usual strategy for a triathlon: Don't drown. Don't crash. Finish upright and smiling. Coach had other ideas: Put the pedal down and don't let up until you finish. Ugg, Coach, I'm not a sprinter!

This race had the feeling of a family reunion: friendly faces, lots of support. Humoring my race day OCD, Leah agreed to drive down with me an hour earlier than her original plan. However, that gave us prime spots racking our bikes and plenty of time to socialize and warm-up.

As I wait for our Ironwilled kits from Champs-Systems to come in, I was able to quickly snag this Fusion Sports top customized to represent Ironwilled: Women who TRI.
I also wanted to show my support of my coaching team with my Dynamo Multisport cap!
Sunscreen was applied and my transition was sent up. A quick warm-up and it was time start the events. I was the second to last wave to start. When it was our turn, I looked around and realized I was in the front row. I took a giant step backwards and to the side to get out of the way. Swimming is not my strength and there was no reason to put myself in the middle of the mix when it wasn't necessary. I started to the side as was recommended last summer and in I went. Coach: Swim hard. The distance of 600 meters is not an issue. I actually swam almost 5x that recently. It was the intensity of the swim I had to wrap my head around. (It was the intensity of the entire race I was trying to wrap my head around.) I swam with purpose, I swam with effort. I found my way in towards the buoys and when someone wouldn't stop grabbing and slapping my foot, I may have just kicked her off me. Steadily I started catching the back of the pack of previous waves. Out of the water I went.
Thanks Mike and All3 Sports for the picture!
I don't practice transitions so I was pleased at how quickly I got out. Stacy was up in Raleigh cheering on the 70.3 so Coach Mike from AVC Endurance took her role for her. All I hear as I'm running into transition and trying to get my shoes on is Mike, "Hurry up, Shawna. this is a RACE!" I bust my butt to get out of transition, I'm sure practice would help.
Thanks Mike for the pictures going and coming back in to transition!
On to the bike course... Coach: You have an immediate hill, settle in to you bike and let everyone pull away from you. Then when you crest the hill, pick them off one by one. And that was how I attacked the bike course. Easy, steady up the hill, and then power down. I don't think dad liked hearing this stat, but my fastest pace was 32mph, of course it was down hill! The bike was hard as I came out of the swim with my heart rate elevated and it never came down. I played leap-frog with a few people. They would pass me on the up, I would pass them on the down. Stacy would be proud, I rolled right up the to dismount line before I got off my bike.
Coming back in on the bike I spotted Nadya and gave her a big wave!
Another okay transition, did I mention I don't practice this? Out on to the run I went. My buddy Mike from All3 was standing in such a way that he could see the bikes come in, the runners finish and people start their run out of transition, but he didn't see me. So I yelled, "Mike, where's my love?" Well Coach Mike and All3 Mike apparently heard me so I got 2 big booming cheers, score!
Coach Mike and me before I realized my timing ship was on the wrong leg.
The run was tough. Straight up a hill like the bike. Coach: Push the run. What do you have left? My initial thought on the run was that I had nothing left. I left it all on the swim and the bike. I remember thinking last year that my pace slowed on each mile. It was different route as it was 6.2 miles not 3.1, but this year I NEGATIVE split! Apparently I did have something left. Now, it also helps that the elevation drastically changed with each mile. The most climb was in the first mile, but I had significant drops in pace in each mile on the run. The run is an out and back so I was able to cheer on and high-5 quite a number of people I knew.

I know it doesn't look like it, but I am running in hard. One day my feet will come off the ground!
As I finally spotted the last hill before the descent to the finish line I came across the young man (17!!) who won over all, his buddy and Coach Mike. The boys were cheering everyone on and Mike rode a bit offering support as I finished as strong as I could. The boys were terrific. (Side note: I found them later and told them how great it was to have them out there and if they were wondering if it mattered to anyone that they were out there cheering, it does! Please keep doing it.)

Meanwhile, I hear cowbell and see coach Dan from Endurance Concepts and he tells me the guy ahead of me said girls can't sprint. That's a crock because as I pass the guy in front of me, I realize he can't say anything right now. However, it was enough of encouragement to pick off the only person in front of me. I sucked it up and left it all in the last bit of the course.
My buddy Brad is the one with the big grin, it's always terrific to see him at races.
Thank you Nadya for the picture!
Hey Coach, I CRUSHED IT! 6 out of 10 in my age group. So what? I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Followed my race plan and kicked my own ass!

Icing on the cake...I got to see a TON of Ironwilled ladies!

We hung out and waiting for Leah to get her bling for earning second in Age Group (my age group too :( ). She's a extremely strong athlete!

Then it was Waffle House for brunch. And that, is how you wrap up a good race day.

No comments:

Post a Comment