Monday, May 26, 2014

Sugarloaf Ride

Seems like my Ignite Endurance team members are always heading off for a ride to Sugarloaf Mountain. It's about a 40 mile ride from DC and the starting point is about 10 miles from us here in Falls Church. I don't generally ride long, haven't ridden more than 50 probably since I last trained for a half Iron in 2009. Until yesterday I had never been, as just picking up a century ride is not something I am really able to do.

When our family was discussing Memorial Day plans, I wanted to do some hiking with the kids. My husband suggested I do the ride to Sugarloaf, which has short hiking trails, good for families with little ones. They would give me a head start (a sizable one) and meet me there for hiking. It was a terrific morning and I had a terrific ride, though it was a little hillier than I have been doing, and not on the portions of the route I was expecting hills.

In the end I beat them there by about 15 minutes (winner!) so I go a little rest (though I hung out on shoulder and when I saw them, I let them catch me at the parking lot--I suspected the going entertainment on the ride had been looking out the window for Mommy and I didn't want to disappoint). The rest was needed though, since the second part of my workout included some stretches of carrying a squirmy 30 pounds up the steepest parts of the mountain.

Sugarloaf was a success, though. I'll have to figure out a way to get back.

Kinetic Sprint Race Report

This race report is a little delayed, but here goes.

Kinetic Sprint

I really like this early season race and I keep going back. The venue is terrific and the race is fast and I always know people there. It was my first open water road triathlon (that's kind of a specific category, I know, but it was also my first road triathlon with more than 35 people in it) and I foresee continuing to return.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I wasn't sure how this was going to go this year. I have been training, but, like I said, I haven't been laser-focused on this race or anything. Luckily I've done enough (if I counted right, this was my 25th triathlon), that I wasn't panicking. You can't change the preparations you haven't done, so I just marched forward with my regular race day routine.

I drove down the morning of and got there in plenty of time for set up and warm up and even some chatting.

Swim: 12:54 for 750 m
It is such a pleasure to be at a race and be able to talk to people I don't get to see that often that taking advantage of this almost literally caused me to miss my wave. I don't think I have ever done that before. I joked, "Oh I better go or I'll miss my wave" and then when I crossed the beach to the start it really was my wave in the water already. Whoops.

The swim was rather uneventful. After this cold winter I was surprised that the water was 68 degrees, but it was perfect. The only really notable thing was that at one point in the first couple of minutes another woman literally grabbed by ankle and tried to pull me backwards. Now, I know as much as anyone that it can get scrappy on the swim and it rarely really seems worth noting, but this was unusual. I hope I didn't knock her goggles off when I responded.

I did try to keep focused on working hard the whole swim, as getting distracted can be a problem for me, and I think I performed better than average (for me) on this. 

T1: 2:17
I know that this transition has a bit of a run to it, but I never fail to be disappointed with my transition time at this this race. 

Bike: 44:47 for 15.5 miles
The bike course is in its second year of being shorter and flatter than the old course. I decided to push it this year a little harder than I have in the past, not as hard as I could go for just biking, but trying to find the edge of how hard I can bike and still run decently. As I said to a friend recently, this is kind of the defining question in triathlon, right?  I am pretty sure I have been looking for the limit for the past few years of racing. Someday the limit will come naturally, maybe?

I carved about :30 off last year's bike time, but then again, I was pushing hard last year too. There was a lot of back and forth in the first couple of miles as the crowds thinned out, but for the most part people were civil and careful throughout this. There were two women (from the same team, it appeared) who both pulled out into the left lane right in front of me to pass someone without even a glance backwards, causing me to have to pull up and wait for them to complete their pass in order for me to pass them. I guess that's their right, as they were in front of me on the road, but it seemed pretty rude to pull out in front of someone going faster.

I think a woman or two passed me in these early miles, not from my age group, but after we got to the top of the hill on the way out of the park, I am pretty sure I wasn't passed. The fastest female bike in the race was about 4:30 minutes faster than my time, though, kind of a lot over 15 miles, so I need work on that. More speed work on the bike and more focused work in general on the bike would definitely be a good way to go.

T2: 0:54

That's a transition time I can get behind, I think.

Run: 23:37 for 5k

The run at Kinetic always starts out rough. The first half mile out of transition is a pretty steep hill and with biking legs, I always feel like it's a slog and that I am going so slowly I might as well walk. Luckily I have the memory to also know that this rarely ends up to be a true assessment of the situation, as that mile has frequently been respectable. This year was no different, as I suffered through it and used the crowd to keep me from walking then discovered at the end of the first mile that I had managed an 8 min mile for it.

I followed my basic approach of seeing people up ahead and trying to catch them (I caught a couple of women though no one in my age group) and reminding myself how sweet and fast the last .5 mile of the run course is, all downhill through the shade. I kept an eye out behind me, but there didn't seem to be anyone coming up fast, so I pushed it, but didn't panic, into the finish line.

After crossing, I bent over at the waist. I knew one of the guys working the finishing tent and he asked if I was feeling ok. "Never. Never at the end of a race." That's about right, but maybe also how it should be. I then saw a very excellent looking chair in the shade of the tent and sat in it for about 5 minutes. There were two other women taking refuge there and we had a nice chat about the race. I felt no rush, one of the luxuries of being at race day alone. On the other hand, when I went to rinse off in the lake and all the kids were playing in the water and on the beach, I really wanted mine to be there too, so a toss up.

Race Time: 1:24:28

Good enough for 3rd age group (down one from last year) and 10th overall for the women (same as last year, strangely enough).

Thanks to Airrosti  for helping me over the winter with injuries, to Tri360 for all my bike and triathlon needs, to Rudy Project for my prescription sunglasses, without which running and cycling would be much harder,  and Skratch and GuEnergy for various fueling and hydration needs. All these products sure do make training more comfortable and enjoyable.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Race Week

I missed two race reports so I'll give the very shortest versions possible.

Shamrock half marathon: March - second fastest on record. Very pleased. Liked the tailwind on the way home. Ran near a guy in a purple oxford and a white linen suit much of the time.

Fountainhead BYB 5 Miler: April - Decided Spring isn't Spring without the Backyard Burn. Suffered, per usual at Fountainhead, but managed a 2nd AG, 3rd OA. Was beaten by a 12 year old.

This Sunday is Mother's Day and once again I am celebrating by racing Kinetic Sprint.

I feel totally unprepared. I was really happy with my running preparation through my 10k, but that was about 3 months ago and I kind of feel like it has fallen apart since then. And not just the running. Maybe it is because I haven't buckled down and written an actual plan since I finished the 10k plan (I KNOW, I know, just do it) but I somehow feel that I haven't been even training, even though I know I have.

Well - the good thing is, there isn't anything to do at this point other than eat well, try to get some sleep, and execute as well as possible on race day. I wouldn't say I am nervous, but I did admit to Dave tonight that I am terrified. I don't know why, because it hurts just as much no matter how fit you are - the only thing different is the time the clock stops.

I'll let you know how it goes.