Sunday, October 15, 2006

Naenae Triathlon- race report

Today was a whole heap of fun. I think I could learn to like this triathon business! Got up at 6:20 this morning, and forced a bowl of oatmeal (with strawberries, almonds and canned peaches) down. My appetite has been so screwy recently- not at all like me- but I managed to finish it. I did some stretching, took my bike out for a couple of minutes then woke P.

I b*tched and moaned most of the way to the race. We forgot to take good tunes with us. I was tired, my tummy felt funny. The weather was pants, I wasn't in the mood. Poor P, it must have been like travelling with a 3 year old. Arrived out at Naenae and queued to register, still not in the mood. Definitely the closest I've ever been to flagging a race, but I didn't stay at home last night, wake P up or pay thirty bucks to chuck it in! Race briefing was uneventful. I couldn't hear much, but it didn't seem like I missed anything important.

Run was OK. I wasn't running strong, and was passed by some people I shouldn't have been passed by. But felt like I was in about the part of the pack where I belong (near the back of the men, middle/front of the women). I spend so much of my training and racing with men in their early 50s! But they're great, and always so helpful, friendly and wise! The first mile or so was an eternity. I must have looked at my watch about 4 times before I'd been out ten minutes! Was happy to see P and a couple from Harriers at about 14 minutes and hoped this meant I was not too far from transition. By this time, I was happy. My pace felt good, although my legs were struggling too much for a 4k! Did a big, happy, two-handed wave but P didn't catch that. Transition was just over 5 minutes from that point, and I was pleased to hit the cones at 19:37 and to be well at my bike by 20:00. Yay! That's sub-8. Not much sub-8, and not the time I should be getting but you know, I'll take it! Lesson learned: Don't kill legs the day before. Push hard!

T 1 was quite good! I clipped in fairly quickly and rode off. My speed til the first turn around was between 28 and 31 kph. Not spectacular, but passed the mountain bikes and a few of the faster ones. Was fun having a semi-decent bike and being able to pass people who'd passed me on the run :-) After the first turn it got windy and my speed slowed by about 5kph. Yuck. We rode back past the swimming pool/transition area and I gave P another big wave, but a big car passed me so no pic. I was feeling really happy. Thanking marshalls, shouting out thanks to my supporters. It was fun! Seeing P and my harriers friends gave me a short burst of speed, but that didn't last long, as I was about to hit the real wind. I'm not sure what the speeds were like, but it wasn't fun. The side wind was the worst- still adjusting to the lighter bike and I hate that feeling where I think it's going to blow over. I rode slowly into the wind, and it seemed that every time I got to shift my gears up, I'd hit another gust. I got passed a couple of times, but apart from one couple I passed everyone back. I'll never know, but I felt like I definitely passed more than passed me on the bike. Finally, we hit the tail wind. Sailed over the overpass (a little nervous, so slowed on the turn) and enjoyed watching the (now fixed) computer edging up a bit as I rode along the next flat. Before I knew it, I was coming back towards T2, so I started unclipping, but try as I might, my left (normal unclipping) foot would not budge. As I turned towards the cones, I gave up and took my right foot off. I stopped in the dismount area, and pulled to the edge, but couldn't for the life of me get unclipped. Eventually I realised that the shoe was coming away from the cleat, and that I was going to have to take the foot out of the shoe instead. Oops! Unfortunately, I didn't pick the smoothest way of doing this, so I kinda capsized. I guess the marshalls weren't allowed to help, but it would have been easier for him, me and the panicked ambulance officer if he'd just undone that velcro. Anyway, I unvelcroed, picked myself up and headed into t2. I wasn't happy with my bike time. I could have gained a minute or so by being less timid, and a few minutes by riding stronger and better. It'll come! Lessons learned: work on dismounts, buy new computer that measures cadence.

In T2, I realised I might have missed something in the briefing when I started running towards the pool and the crowd of spectators started yelling "wrong way!!" Ooops. I felt a bit stupid, and I'm sure it was obvious enough that no-one else stuffed up, but I sort of think it might be smart to actually include this sort of info in race instructions. Like: "After dismounting, run through T2 and then instead of going through the main pool door, run through the carpark, along a path and through the back door you've probably never seen.." Maybe? Anyway, bare feet and brick legs made the short run harder than I expected. We all climbed in at the shallow end and headed off. There was a bit of awkward politeness in the swim. People sort of waited at the end of the lanes (we basically zigzagged across the 6 lanes, so no flip turns etc) and it was a bit of a mess. I was quite zapped. I breathed a LOT and couldn't really manage to use anything in the way of smart technique. The pics show my legs trailing behind me, which is what it felt like. Ah well! I stuck with freestyle and did OK. I saw P as I swam, and tried to wave. He didn't see, but I loved being able to give him a big happy wave even though I was swimming. Got passed by a couple of people but couldn't be bothered swimming any more aggressively, though I worked quite hard and when I finished, I was stuffed. Lessons learned: I was glad for my "endurance" training in the pool. It's hard to swim fast when you're tired and there are people everywhere.

My finish time was 1:12:04. Quite a long time between entering T2 and getting out of the pool! But well within my vague goal. Yay! No official results yet. I suspect I'll be somewhere in the middle of my age group. It wasn't a great race, and I didn't win the bike spot prize, though I did get a voucher for 15% off wetsuits in my race pack! 15% is a decent amount off a wetsuit, and I'm in the market (need one before my tri in November).

Overall lessons learned:

1- The things that make me nervous about triathlon (transitions, looking like a dork) are not a big deal. I know I learnt this at that du, but I'm feeling it so much more now! It's OK. I've got so much time to get good at transitions, and who cares if I make a dork of myself when I can't unclip? Sure, it would be better not to, but it WILL be OK...

2- It's fun to race! I'm definitely taking it less seriously than I took running races. I know I'll be more focussed as I improve, and I know I'll be disappointed if I don't do well in my next sprint, or in my first Oly, but I am loving just having fun.

I spent the rest of my day shopping with my sisters, and buying things I can't afford. It was great.

Cool- P just flicked on the TV and the women's ITU World Cup race (in Hungary) is on ESPN (yes, it was awhile ago). Nice timing! I'm really looking forward to watching it LIVE in a few weeks. They've come off the bike, and man they're looking fast coming into that run! Such amazing bodies...

Anyway, I'm off for a massage and then to sleep. YAY. Not in the mood for work tomorrow, but ah well!


JohnnyTri said...

Congradulations on your race! You did great. Learned some things as well. First races are always a little akward but thats why there first in the season. I can see you will only get better! Totally awesome.
For me, my first race of the 07 season is my first 1/2 distance but finishing is the goal.
Have a great work week!

Jodi said...

Great race report and congrats on your first!

You'll be amazed the difference a taper will make in your legs on race day.



Rachel said...

Great race! I love the pic (especially the first one--is that the "before"?). Anyway, I always feel awful before I race too. Then I get going and everything is fine. Now, if I don't feel funny beforehand, I worry.

Wes said...

Sounds like you had a great race in very trying conditions. Well done!! You are going to get better and better and better from here on out!

Jessica said...

How interesting that your swim was last! I never heard of that before (but I'm fairly new, anyway).

Congratulations on getting through that morning annoyance and doing it!

Ellie80 said...

Great read kate - but the weather looked terrible! I like the idea of the reverse order too. Good luck with the next challenge!