I woke up today to the sort of weather that actually makes you want to leave the house! Unlike my previous tri (and du) race days,the sun was rising over the hills, the sea was (mostly) flat and there was a slight layer of cloud. We were running bit late, but the race start was delayed, so had enough time to warm up and muck around for awhile.
My goal for the (500m) swim was reasonably conservative; sub-10. One of the hardest things about sea swimming for me is not knowing where you are. I find it hard to pick off victims and pass them. I think I was a little conservative in the swim, and I really need to practice sea swimming more- I still do this awful hyperventilating style breathing and splash all over the place! Also- when the water is as nice as it was today, there's no hurry! Still, I was happy to see 9:29 when I came out of the water!
T1 was much better than last time. No idea on the split- 2:30ish I'm guessing- maybe a bit more when you include the run up the beach (which was slow- the beach is quite rocky etc and I am nervous about re-slicing that toe!) I mounted easily and took off.
I stuck to my strategy on the bike- keeping the legs moving and the gears average. I average a good speed for the first 5ks or so, passed a bunch of people up the hill (most of whom passed me back on the way down) and kept a good cadence up for most of the first half (though some sneaky headwinds got in my way coming up to the turnaround). A young girl came off her bike in front of me (drinking, I think) and I slowed and considered stopping. I kept going though, as there didn't seem to be anyone immediately behind me, and I wanted to get a marshall ASAP. Still- I felt incredibly guilty. Fortunately, the marshalls were not far ahead and I know they got to her very quickly. She was OK, but unsurprisingly very upset. The more I think about it, the worse I feel actually, but I honestly felt like I was making the best decision for the right reasons at the time. On the way back I realised that she was my transition neighbour and felt even worse. She and her mother seemed quite nervous, and she had been doing really well. Luckily, I saw her parents waiting for her on the way back so I called out to them. I hope it was the right girl, and that I didn't cause them a lot of worry for nothing.
I had my eye on a woman who had passed on the downhill. I think a problem with the ride was that there were not people immediately in front of me the whole time. I also used the woman as a pace-keeper and as an excuse instead of as a target! Instead of thinking, "Ha- she's slowing, get her now!" my brain said "Uh-oh. I'm feeling slow. But look, the gap is slowly closing. She's slow too. It must just be a hard bit. That's OK." No Kate, it's not OK. RIDE! I need to get that killer instinct! I have a teeny bit when I run, but the rest of the time, I cruise too much, especially on a nice day when it's fun to be on that bike. I also need to rethink my strategy. I kept it easy, but didn't drive enough, and saved my legs too much! I did pass her on the way back, but too late. She was not wearing cycle shoes (exactly- I should have passed her WAY back!!) and beat me into (and out of) T2. "Not for long, honey" I thought to myself (OK. Some killer instinct). Not sure how long the total bike. With T1 and T2 it was a little under 50 though.
I came out of T2 reasonably quickly (well, not TOO slow) and headed onto the run. A two lap run, which I was not happy about. I've done lots of 2.5k legs at that course but never more, so this was my first time having to do the stinky turnaround instead of crossing that wonderful finish line! You also have to run on a lot of gravel. I passed red and blue lady pretty quickly, but kept the first 1.25k easy. There's a bit of headwind on the way there, and it was disheartening seeing WAY more people going the other way than I had remembered seeing the other way on the bike! I think my first half was a little slower than I would have liked. I definitely prefer the out and back- going out on the 2nd loop I felt like I had much more to go than I would after the turn on an out and back 5k!! I started feeling much stronger in the second lap, about half way through the first 1.25k. But, again, I cruised a little. The only people passing me were little boys who I knew I couldn't keep up with. That's my other problem. If someone (male OR female) passes me and I judge that they look "better" than me I tend to leave them to it. That's a GOOD strategy at the beginning of a 10k, but not so smart in the last 750m of a 5k! I should have pushed MUCH more. I finished strong, but not with the mega sprints I have been pulling out recently. I really need motivation for those- either some other racer trying to pull away at the end, or a spectator giving me a kick. I saw 1:24:xx which was enough motivation to keep it under 1:25, but I didn't really need that, as I came in at 1:24:35. I felt pretty normal, not like after New Plymouth, where I was about ready to puke! Darn it. Work harder next time.
Not the best for perfect conditions, but a good race, more lessons learned and a fabulous experience. I have so much FUN in triathlons. And this one was so stress free. It was also the first tri where I have not done anything silly. Mounting and dismounting were smooth, no issues with clipping in and out, no chain problems, etc...
Every time I come into T1, I think, "I HAVE to do an Oly." Unfortunately, in between races, I tend to think, "I HAVE to do a marathon." I know I will do both, but this season they are mutually exclusive. I am planning one more tri in this series- 22 Jan, I think. I'm also trying to convince my honey to do the Du!! I could do the Oly then. I will have finished Round the Mountain and will theoretically have a lot of solid bike and swim training. I should also have enough time to get some running in between 2 Jan and 22 Jan. BUT, the 2.8k swim is only 6 days later. AND, I like the idea of doing the rest of the sprint series (there are two more after the Jan which I could enter) to see if I could break 1:20 (should be able to take at least 30s off the swim, 4 mins off the bike, 1:30 off that run) Arrgh. I'll put that it the too hard basket, and head off to brunch with my sister, who's starting her first big grown-up job (out of town) tomorrow.
Happy weekends everyone!
Footnote: There are no official results yet, but since my AG up until Feb is small and uncompetitive, I see my time would have placed me 1st, 4th, 2nd, 2nd and 3rd in my AG in the past few races! Yay for being 20-24 and boo for turning 25 soon!
Update: Checked prov results, and was second in AG (out of THREE-hehe). My T1 was much slower than I thought- I know I came out of the water at 9:29, but I left T1 at 13:59!!! Bike was MUCH better than I thought- bike + T2 were 43:50 in total! Run was worse than I thought- 26:44!! Appalling. Ah well, I knew I was cruising for some of it- but 2 minutes slower than NP, when I actually felt MUCH better. Need to pick up those run legs!