Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pacific Grove Sprint Triathon Recap (Seriously I'm still training for a marathon over here.)

Athlinks recently posed the following question on Facebook:

"How many events do you use to train for other events or experiment?"

Two years ago, I would have said, "zero." I only did events when I felt like I was ready for them. I would train hard for months, and that training would lead up to one big awesome run that I had put all of my energy into.

In the past two years, I've done at least 10 events that were just for fun, or experimental on some level. But, who am I kidding? Isn't it all an experiment?

Take last year's Turkey Trot 10k. I was still on my I-am-(half)-Ironwoman parade, and had just set a personal record for a 10k two weeks prior. "Ha!" I thought, "a 10k? I will nail this." About 2 miles into the race, I realized that it ain't happening, whereby I resorted to gawk at other runners, stop at a mimosa station, and give high-fives to children spectators. This day would not be lost on dead running legs!

Then there are days, like the Silicon Valley Triathlon where I use it to train for Wildflower, and ended up getting second in my age group. So, an experiment with surprising results. Unfortunately Wildflower, which I had trained for, didn't go well.

So, you see - it's ALL an experiment.

I signed up for the Pacific Grove Sprint Triathlon on a whim this year. It definitely wasn't a race that fit into marathon training. At. All. But, Pac Grove was my first triathlon two years ago, and I feel kind of nostalgic about swimming through a cold cove of kelp. Plus, it was the first year I could be there on a Sunday to do the sprint distance with my friends from the Mighty Broncos - the people who got me to sign up for my first triathlon two years ago.

According to the results from last year's sprint race, I thought the third place spot for my age group was attainable. I tried to put together a best-case scenario for the course. I honestly had no idea how long it would take me to swim .25 miles because I've never done it, so I timed myself at the pool one day and figured 8 minutes isn't too bad. As long as I could be closer to 19 mph on the bike, I could make up for my slower swim time. Then, I would need to run as close to 7 minute miles as possible. The run is only 2 measly little miles. How hard could that be? Hmmm.... I hadn't done any bricks workouts in weeks.

Then there were transitions.  For about a week, I considered no wet suit, and putting cage pedals on my bike to avoid another shoe change. I opted to do it the way I am used to. It's too cold to swim without a wet suit, not to mention kelp protection, and I would end up losing too much power on my bike without the proper shoes.

This whole thing was an experiment. My Garmin charger was misplaced, so I could only go off of how I felt. I wanted to see what I thought a full-out effort feels like for just over an hour. 1:10 would be a great time. Maybe at 1:06 I could podium (depends on the competition). . . could go either way.

Swim .25 miles: 8 minutes, 23 seconds
I got right in the front for the swim. "I'm slower, but people can climb over me," I thought. The kelp wasn't too bad this year (possibly mowed down by the Olympic distance race the day before), and the water was a balmy 60 degrees. I fought my way through a couple of people at the beginning, but I remembered that it was a short swim, so I tried to keep the momentum going.

Transition 1 (Swim to Bike): 2 minutes, 36 seconds
Pacific Grove has kind of a long transition from water to bike, so I was a little dizzy putting on my bike shoes, but I noticed there were still a lot of bikes on the rack. Translation: still a lot of people swimming. So, I'd better get going!

Bike 12 miles: 39 minutes, 23 seconds
Only a few men passed me on the bike. There are so many people doing multiple loops on this course, that I couldn't locate the other ladies in my age group. Translation = they were faster swimmers and already ahead of me. As long as I could hold my place, I was happy with that.

Transition 2 (Bike to Run): 1 minute, 23 seconds
Back to the bike to run transition, I was feeling feisty.

Run 2 miles: 14 minutes, 32 seconds
No excuses on this run. So I headed out for 2 laps of running as fast as possible. The first lap was pretty difficult, and the hill on the second half was enough to make me worry that my lead legs were going at a 10 minute pace. But, the second lap felt really good, and I felt confident that my time was under 1:10.

Overall time: 1 hour, 6 minutes, 21 seconds
A good race overall, and 3rd in my age group was just the icing on the cake. Tons of fun. It it worth mentioning that I was in the top 10 women overall, but also that there was a 15-year old, and a 12-year old girl in the top 10. Holy bejeezus! The 12-year old's swim split was faster than most of the men.

It almost makes me want a daughter. Almost.

I really like shorter distances, and think I could still improve a bit. Next year may be the year of short course triathlon. It would be awesome to go to nationals in my new 35-39 age group.

Now back to your regularly scheduled marathon training program. . .
3rd place in my Age Group. What will 35-39 bring next year?

Relay podium madness! I'm proud to know and love the people in the top two relay teams! Go Mighty Broncos!
Finally settled. 

A special shout out to my favorite German triathlon friend, Thomas. He had a really awesome race! Then he was robbed of a medal. (Ask him about it. I am protecting the innocent.) 

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