Sunday, April 27, 2014

Richmond Tri Club Sprint - Race Report

A training workshop originally scheduled for earlier in April got rescheduled to April 26, the same day as the Richmond Tri Club Sprint Triathlon, so I decided to go ahead and sign up for the race. It was a spring: 400m swim, 13-mile bike, 5k run

This isn't a race I'd normally do since Richmond is a couple hours away, but since I was already going to be there... Plus, the race started at 7:00, which would give me time to race, shower, change and still make my workshop by 10:00am.

But it did mean I had to leave my house by 3:30am in order to make it there, pick up my packet, and get everything situated in transition. Since I knew I would be leaving my house in something akin to a coma, I laid everything out the night before, then packed it up and had it ready in the car.

Sigh. Remember the good ol' days of footraces where all I had to remember was my bib number and to throw some clothes on? Those days are long past.

I arrived (it was cold!!) and set everything out in transition, determined to remember to face the right way on the bucket when I sat down this time so I wouldn't have to keep stretching behind me to reach stuff.  Yeah, I still didn't do very well in transition.

The Swim (400 meters)

This is a very unique swim in that it is an "open water style pool swim." It was a 50-meter pool (twice the length of the normal size pool), seven foot deep everywhere, that had buoys. They had us start in groups of 10 (based on estimated swim time). Nobody was allowed to kick off the walls as we started or as you zig-zagged up and down the pool around the buoy.

It gave me a nice taste of an open water swim without the dark cold water.  It was choppy and we were all swimming all over each other.

I loved it.

Admittedly, I couldn't go as fast as I wanted because I couldn't figure out how to get around the couple of guys in front of me for a long while. But compared to my sprint tri a couple of weeks ago, I felt so much better in the water.

For one thing, I didn't wear my heart monitor and (sorry guys, overshare) I loosened the hook on my running bra before the swim. This way I had nothing that felt like it was constricting my chest. I also was able to warm up for about 10 minutes in the smaller (25 yd) warm-up pool about 45 minutes before the race started. I'm not sure that actually did any good, but I felt like it did.

I was glad I have been working on breathing out of both sides, because I got next to someone for at least 25 yards who was splashing like a maniac on my right side, forcing me to breathe to my left. It wasn't my preference, but I was able to handle it no problem.

Everything got a little jammed up at the end trying to get out of the pool. I should've just jumped up on the wall rather than waiting to use the ladder.

Total Time: 9:04 

Evidently transitions are just not my thing. It took me even longer in this transition than in my race a couple of weeks ago! Unbelievable.

I am proud to say I faced the correct way on the bucket this time, so I wasn't reaching around behind me trying to find my stuff. My fingers weren't working too well because of the cold (low 50s, and I was soaking wet) and I ended up hardly getting my feet dried off at all. But -- helmet and sunglasses on, socks and bike shoes on and I was ready to go.

My real problem began when I noticed my HR monitor belt laying over my handle bars as I was running (in my bike shoes -- not fun) through transition. I had made it about 100 yards when I saw the HR monitor (which I had decided earlier not to use in this race because it gave me fits last time; plus, it's a sprint -- who cares about HR?). I knew I had to do something with it; I couldn't just keep it laying over my handle bars.

Sitting here at my computer, all nice and dry and warm with no pressure, I can clearly and easily figure out multiple things I could've done with the HR belt:
  • Put it around my waist as a belt
  • Looped it around my arm multiple times -- annoying, but not problematic
  • Handed it to a volunteer and asked them to stash it at the transition tent
  • Put it in the small pouch I have attached to Shane West designed to carry nutrition or, say, a HR monitor belt that is in my way
But instead of doing any of these things, I ran (with Shane West in tow of course) ALL THE WAY BACK TO MY BUCKET, threw the HR monitor in with my stuff than ran all the way back out of transition.


A friend suggested leaving my helmet upside down on the bike with my sunglasses inside to shave a few seconds off my transition time. I will definitely do that next time, although I'm thinking a post-swim lobotomy might actually do me more good.

Total time: 2:59

Bike (13 miles)
Course was just over 20k at 13 miles. Although I couldn't feel my feet because of my cold/wet socks, I had a pretty good time on the bike except for the hills. I need more hill training, not necessarily for IMFL but for my half-iron in Augusta in September. I just don't know how to get the training around here in super flat Virginia Beach.

I knew I needed more hill work when I got to a big hill, kept shifting to an easier and easier gear until I ran out of gears. Then what was I supposed to do? Fortunately I was at the top of that hill by the time the time I bottomed out of gears, because what was my next step?  (Btw, this is a real question, if anybody had suggestions I would love to hear them. I'll take anything)

Besides the hills, felt pretty good. What goes up, usually comes down after all.

Total time: 44:27

A little bit better (not that it could be worse than T1). It was a big transition area and I had a while to run in my bike shoes, which seems so slow to me. But once I got my bike racked, I calmly put on my shoes and running hat. No problems.

Total time: 1:58

Run (3.1 miles)
Run felt pretty great for me once I made it through the first mile. My Garmin was all screwed up (had been all day) so I had no idea how fast I was going or how far I had gone. I just kept running.

Once again, I ran with my iPhone in my hand listening to music through its stereo. I had the volume pretty low so I don't think anyone could've heard it without being right next to me (although who wouldn't want to hear some FloRida while in a triathlon??)

No issues or problems in the run. It was a great pace for me. Shaved nearly 2 minutes off my race a couple weeks ago.

Total time: 28:44

Overall Race Time: 1:27:10

Overall Thoughts:
My ranking was much lower in this race than the last (89/162 women compared to last race's 101/203) which discouraged me a bit. But really my bike and run times were a little faster so I shouldn't feel that way.

Nutrition was pretty basic: drank an Ensure in the morning during the drive, along with a couple cups of coffee. Also ate a banana and peanut butter as well as some crackers. Had a Hammer gel on the bike and a couple of shot bloks on the run.

I'm glad I did this race, if only for the swim part. It was a confidence builder I needed. The rest of my Tri's will be in open water (although my next race is not scheduled until July, this was my "May" tri and June is just crazy for me with travel). Looking forward to that next challenge.

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