Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two days; two races

I love after work race season. It's crazy and full-on, but, oh how fantastic it is to be able to experience the adrenaline and thrill of racing, for a fraction of the cost and with a fraction of the pressure! We're very lucky in Hamilton to have two high quality races right on our doorsteps, with the Hawks Eastside 5k on Tuesday nights, and the Mafia Tri Club's Twilight Mini Tri fortnightly on Wednesdays. This week, Coach Paul generously allowed us to capitalise on that luck by racing both!

Eastside 5k

You may recall that last week's 5k was satisfying, but pretty ghastly. I had hoped to take off a good bit of time this week (I was thinking a minute or so, if I was lucky), but watching the poor ducks flailing in the headwind on the way over made me pretty sceptical of my chances!

I tried to make sure I held back for the first wee while- there's some good little hills early on, and last time I was a heaving burnt out mess 1k in. As it happened, I still hit 1k at about the same time as last week, but feeling a lot less shattered. It's hard to tell if my splits were "even" or not, given the hills and the wind, but I felt as if I was "about right" most of the time (although I got passed more than I'd have liked!). I only had lap pace/time most of the way, so very little sense of how I was doing overall, apart from "OK" (I know that 5 x 5 = 25, and 4.5 x 5 = 22.5, but in between I'm just guessing). At about 4km, I checked my watch and realised for the first time that taking a minute or so off last week's 24:56 was actually going to be possible! I tried to pick up the pace a bit, and ran the final k at 4:37/km pace, for a finish time of 23:37, a 1:19 improvement on last week's time!

Although I'm still a good way off my best times, that was just what I needed to start feeling a bit more confident. I'm not going to see any more improvements like that, but at least now I am pretty sure that the 24:56 was a product of humidity and the weekend's adventure, not just plumb lack of fitness. ONE day, Runner Kate will be back.

Mafia Mini Tri

I had hoped to return to this event a couple of weeks ago, but was briefly and bizarrely sidelined with food poisoning-like symptoms as I got changed into my tri kit after work. Luckily, nothing like that this week!

I dilly dallied about whether to swim- the river's still a bit high and quite fast, and the weather wasn't great. But when I saw a 12 year old girl preparing to get in, I (wet)suited up, and joined the hardcore crew, instead of the woossy duathletes. Definitely the right decision- the water was freezing, but exhilarating, and we were carried downstream in currents of something like 6.5km/h! I overshot my exit a bit (again) and had to do mad panicky windmill arms for a few seconds to get out. The lead male swimmer waited for the 12 year old (and me, but I think I was just a bonus) and we all jogged up the giant hill to T1 together.

I whizzed through T1, and was second out on the bike course overall. Now, this was only because:
  • 12 year old had to put shorts and a jersey over her togs
  • a few other hardy swimmers had missed the start and jumped in late
  • everyone else was running, which takes a fair bit longer
...but it was still awesome. Probably the only time I will EVER experience the feeling of being first lady :)

I rode pretty well, with an AHR of 172, and average cadence of about 93. By the first roundabout (a little less than 1/4 of the way in), I could still (sometimes) see fast dude, and the late-starting swimmers were still a good distance behind me. It was pretty choice being in front of Phil! However, sooner or later, they all started to catch me. First the swimmers, then Phil and his arch rival. I managed to stay fairly close to them for most of the second lap, but then they got away from me. My secret dream was to get into T2 ahead of the actual female leader, but I knew the second time I hit the roundabout that that was a bit of a pipe dream. To be fair, she represented NZ at AG Long Distance Worlds this year, and is about to head off to Xterra Worlds too... She passed me towards the end of the second lap, and swiftly passed the two guys I was trying to keep in sight too. However, it can't have been by THAT much, as she was just leaving T2 as I pulled in.

My time for the bike was around 34ish minutes, I think, for around 16km. I always feel bad for not being able to average 30 on this course, but Phil told me today that he normally doesn't either- today was his first time, so I don't quite feel so bad!

The run. Oh the run. It's been a LONG time since I ran off the bike. Since last time I did this tri, in fact (but I didn't blog about it, or even buckeye... so I don't know what my time was). So, fittingly, my legs felt like bricks. Ow. The run starts downhill, so I was very much doing the awkward triathlete shuffle. I started at around 4:45/k, but couldn't hold it, and ended up running each of the 4 ks at about 4:55- 4:59/km. I don't think I got passed on the run, though a couple of women behind me would have been ahead of me if we'd all done the same event. I didn't do much passing either- maybe one guy who was walking, and a little leapfrogging. But I felt good, and I was working hard, and that was enough for me. I honestly feel like it was one of my best, most consistent triathlon efforts ever.

...Oh, and since I was the only female who did the medium course tri, I won!


Britt said...

How fun! Glad you had such a great night :)

Westy said...

Nice Race Reports Kate and you appear to be doing very well! Keep enjoying it! You'll be dominating the Hamilton Tri scene! :-)

Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

Wow - they are some speedy times! Congrats!!!