Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Flat to First, Part 2

Even though I was super psyched up after watching Ironman Louisville, Brian scheduled me some down time. I usually try to schedule a big race mid-summer so I can divide the triathlon season into two parts. A midseason break really helps me deal with my fluctuations in motivation and training performance. The way my schedule was playing out I did not get a break neatly folded in a package with streamers and glitter. A break was forced upon me because I was struggling with my motivation, purpose, and pace. Honestly I thought the timing could not be worse but now as I write this I am thankful I have a brilliant coach who could see the writing on the wall. It is a fine line to walk when you are trying to balance life, work, and differing levels of training induced fatigue. Sometimes you need to push forward to make fitness gains Sometimes you need to back off to make fitness gains. The tell-tale sign I need a real break? I suddenly hate swimming. I suddenly hate swimming with a passion. 

Luckily, I see nothing but clear skies ahead, so on with the show!

Inside Out Sports White Lake International 2013
Is that a name or what!?!

Swim (20:23)
I dunno why but this swim felt hard to me. The gun went off and I started thrashing around. James Haycraft was meandering next to me and creeping closer and closer. It was getting a little uncomfortable. I was so distracted by the going ons to my left I completely lost sight of Matt Wisthoff. As soon as I dropped James like a bad habit, I was able to focus in on Wisthoff as he was making his approach into the first turn buoy. I was eager to make the turn as the prevailing currents and/or wind was blowing water into my face and I was struggling to sight and breathe. Luckily things did improve after I made the first turn and I tried not to lose more ground behind Matt. Before the race started I noticed the final stretch of sighting buoys was off the line to the swim finish so when I made the final turn I took a couple of breaststrokes to focus in on the orange dancing man at the end of the dock.  I completely ignored the sighting buoys floating way off to the left and took a direct line into the finish. Anyone who chose to follow the sighting buoys easily swam an additional 25m and was forced to cut hard towards the swim exit. I did not feel like I was swimming especially fast but I was still disappointed when I exited the water and someone yelled "22 minutes." Spectators are great but you can't believe everything you hear. Luckily he was wrong and since I entered and exited T1 alone I figured I had to be doing ok. 

T1 (1:22)
I saw Matt exit just as I was rounding the corner. I did not see anyone enter transition before I left which was a good feeling. I was getting tired of seeing James. 

Bike (1:10:53)
By the time I got on the bike Matt was out of sight. Just me and my bike. I did not mind so much as the course is flat and with only four turns there are no surprises to anticipate. Unless you count the guy who rolled up next to me in a big truck and tried to talk to me as I was approaching one of the few turns on the course. I have no idea what he was saying to me but he eventually got the hint that I could not nor was I interested in hearing him and drove off. Why do people do weird things? Why do people ask you the time when you are very clearly running a threshold interval through the park? Why? Sorry, I digress. Dave Williams passed me early in the ride and James passed me at mile 3.01. I was not passed again until the run which is really really cool. I kept thinking "if no guys are passing me the probability of a girl passing me is dropping exponentially."  I made a point to be conservative on the first half of the ride. I split the ride into quarters and concentrated on building my watts each quarter. I am glad I was conservative going out because there was a little head wind. I did not fight it and just relaxed as I moved along the course. As I was building my effort a tail wind was gaining and giving me more speed. I took advantage of that and finished the course right where I wanted to be. 

T2 (1:08)
I should have used my flying dismount. The conditions were perfect but I chickened out . . . again. Oh well, I grabbed my number and a gel and made my way to the transition exit. 

Run (42:53)
The run at White Lake is flat and hot. With little shade and a rising sun there is nowhere to hide.  My goal was to build the run. It is waaaaay too easy to get off the bike and start the run too fast. I knew I would probably go out a little too fast so I tried to keep calm and relaxed. I wanted the first quarter to feel easy. I was passed by a couple of guys but as I closed in on the turnaround I was confident I was holding a good pace. However, after the turnaround I started to pick it up. I knew I was close to breaking the fastest time put down on that course but I would have to make a final push. I tried to build through the last three miles so that the last mile felt like I was running pretty much as hard as I could go. When I crossed the finish line I was pretty pumped. A final time of 2:16:37 meant that I just beat the fastest time on that course by 3 minutes! I know there are a lot of variables there but when you are chasing ghosts you gotta work with what you got. 

I'm guessing I'm a little more shy than #2
3 races down 2 to go. I needed a good performance at White Lake to be competitive in the series. I was not sure I was going to race the NCTS again this year. I went back and forth about it with my coach. The early season knee injury changed the focus of my season a bit and while I was not ready to race a 70.3 this summer, I was certainly ready to try my hand a sprint here and there. This week I have come to the conclusion that I will not be pursuing the NCTS next year. I had the opportunity to race a couple of races outside of the series and I really enjoyed them. It is time to mix it up a bit. Set Up puts on great events and I have been racing with them since I first started. In fact I won the SCTS quite some time ago, circa 2005, when everyone still raced in speedos and bikinis.