Monday, June 4, 2012

Race Report: Win at Salem YMCA Sprint Tri

This is just the second year for the Salem YMCA Sprint Tri - 300y swim, 15k bike, 5k run. It's close to home and the local tri community turns out to race, volunteer, or watch and cheer making it a very nice event for newer triathletes and kids especially. A tremendous amount of work goes into putting on this triathlon and I expect it to continue to grow and draw more participants.

It was the maiden race for the yellow shoes and it turns out they really are pretty fast! They ran me through the finish chute over seven minutes ahead of the second place woman to a solid win. 

I finished in 51:46, shaving 6:10 off off my time from last year, and beating all but five men out of 196 racers (some of whom are threatening to replace the term "chicked" with "Corted"!).

The time reduction is the part that gets me really excited because as we know we are really racing against ourselves. Placing is more a matter of who shows up on race day.

There were time improvements on every segment but the majority was of course on the bike - 1:42 and run - 3:53. The run course had changed this year and I was not running with tendonitis or any other issues so that was a big part of it. This 5K is another new 5k PR for me!  Full results here.
  • Swim (300y) - 5:20 (8/84 women; would have been 47/111 men)
  • T1 - 0:44 (1/84)
  • Bike (15k) - 24:23 (1/84; 5/111)
  • T2 - 0:37 (4/84)
  • Run (5k) - 20:44 (1/84; 11/111)
  • Total - 51:46 (1/84; 6/111)
One-on-One athletes Kim, Jennifer, Tanya, and I all made top six!
It's so much easier doing a race for the second time. I knew the pool closed pretty early for warmups so I got a good session in, then I sat in the sauna to "pre-heat" until it was closer to go time. It was a quiet escape from the collective nerves of the racers.

50 degrees pre-race, I was cold and bundled up!

It's no secret I am not a fan of the pool swim. This year I actually worked on my snake-swim turns. Unfortunately, it seems I practiced them all in one direction - the wrong direction! I need to get comfortable doing them with my left arm touching and leading; I'm very right-handed.

I was seeded 52 based on my submitted swim time (1:35 per 100) which I knew was conservative but turned out to be too conservative. I passed two people then hit a double-body-logjam and actually had to stand up and pause for a bit before swimming past both of them. It didn't rattle me. I felt strong and confident on the swim and exited quickly up the stairs to transition.

I felt good but not great on the bike. I glanced at my Garmin and saw my HR was in the low 160's. I know Coach Jim says not to worry about that stuff but lately I've been getting it to the mid and upper 160s on hard efforts. I shook off the concern that I was somehow not working hard enough and just gave it all I had at the moment. The ride was over FAST and I'd only thought to drink once out there. Next time I'm only filling the bottle half way - no sense hauling what I am not using.

This was my one-year anniversary with the QRoo bike! Happy Anniversary Teddy Roo!!

I've been training sockless for the past few weeks and this is my first sockless race, saving me a bit of time in T2. I had no problems. The 5k run is a two-looper with a short but fairly steep up and down on each. My friend Michelle was cheering at the turnaround and that helped enormously. Never underestimate the power of some loud encouragement! My stomach hurt for the entire run (a first) so I just tried to stay relaxed and ignore it, trusting it would not develop into full-fledged cramping or worse. Thankfully it didn't and I even set a new 5k PR for myself, besting what I did last month.

As I approached the finish I heard the announcer say something about the "first woman across the finish line." That felt good as I knew there were a fair number of women ahead of me in the pool, but with this race format, one never knows till it's all said and done. I got some high-fives as I neared the timing mat and crossed over knowing I had given it what I had on the day.

Post-race I got to catch up with the Roanoke and Blacksburg area friends and enjoy the absolutely perfect day under the sun. It was hard to sit still from the post-race adrenaline and I felt like I could have/should have knocked out a 10 mile run or something just to calm myself down.

There is not a lot I would change other than some things related to the swim. This race affirmed that the training process is working, that progress is continuing, and that the Smith Mountain Lake race  was not a total fluke. Coach Jim said something a few weeks ago in an email about "staying the course." More than ever, I need to stick closely to the plan, pushing when required and holding back too. I need to stay healthy and hungry and continue to let the speed, endurance, and toughness just come as I head toward the big A races of Nationals and Worlds.

I want to end with this great time-lapse video of the transition area by Casey Mills. It reminds me of a colony of insects - we are all so busy-busy!!

Next up, Bath County Sprint on June 23! Thanks to ALL of my sponsors and supporters including Solar Connexion, Hyperion Consulting, Endurance Films, and of course to my family and Coach Jim!