Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Last Triathlon of 2010"

...or... "the triathlon that almost killed my love for triathlons"

YWCA Womens Sprint Triathlon

Minneapolis, MN
August 15th, 2010
I did this race with my sister, and friends J and A.

Night Before/Pre-Race:

The night before the race, we ate out at Bucca Di Beppo in Eden Prairie, MN. Sometimes I am leary about eating pasta the night before a race, but we selected wisely and I ate just enough to feel comfortable.

I went to bed pretty early, close to 9pm, but struggled to get a good night's sleep. I fell asleep around 930pm, woke at 11pm, 3:10am, and then again at 4am. The alarm went off at 4:40am and I know that I didn't sleep much between then and 3am, but I felt ready to go. J and her hubby picked my sister and I up at 5:30am, and then met up with A.

We arrived at Lake Nokomis around 6am to find our spot and set up transition. With the high number of participants, the transition are became pretty snug. We had heard that close to 1,200 women were participating in this event and over half of them were first timers! How awesome is that?!

After getting bodymarked, timing chips, and checking the out the water, the transition area closed at 730am. Our wave (15 out of 18) wasn't expected to start until 842am so we had quite a bit of time to stand around on the beach.

If I remember correctly, I ate half of a clif bar at about 715am and then took my first gu at about 820am.
(please note the smile)

The Swim:
500 Yds - 15:24

In past triathlons, I never took the time to get aquainted with the water prior to jumping for the swim and in past swims there has been a going trend that my heart rate will jump through the roof when starting the swim. Other bloggers have mentioned getting used to the water prior to the start of the swim and that is what I planned to do for this race. About 20 minutes before our wave started, I spent a few minutes "warming up" in the water. The water was already 80 degrees and probably the warmest water I have ever swam in before.

Before we new it, our wave was on the shore line waiting for the countdown. The plan was to stay to the back and on the outside of the group. Everything started out just fine and I was feeling pretty strong. After we took our first turn, things started to go down hill. My breathing was off, probably too shallow, and I started to feel a pinch in the middle of my back every time I would breath in. At this point, there were multiple times where I would have to roll over on my back and catch my breath. When on my back, I would take a deep breath and my breathing reminded me of how one breathes while bawling their eyes out. You know what I am talking about?

So, needless to say, the rest of the swim was horrible and I was ready to call it quits. I had a bad attitude at this point that stuck with me through pretty much the rest of the triathlon and I wanted to be done.

Transition 1:

I reached the shoreline and it took everything in me to run/walk through the sand and into transition. The distance from the water to our transition area was the longest transition I have ever done.

I felt like the swim took everything out of me and I could barely manage to do much more than walk through most of the transition. Isn't it written all over my face?

I was hoping that if I took my time getting ready to ride that my heart rate would come down a bit and my breathing would become more regular. Once I was ready, I grabbed my bike and took off. But, I will admit, I struggled to get on my bike at first. It was rediculous.

The Bike:

15 miles - 57:07 (15.76 mph average)
I was so happy to be out of the water but knew I needed to take it easy to start, which was quite easy because it nearly seemed impossible to go more than 13mph at the start of the bike. geez.
The course was relatively flat, but there was some wind that never seemed to be at my back, no matter which direction I was going. In fact, there were a couple wind gusts that almost knocked me over while passing another girl over a bridge. I think if I would have fallen at that point I would have been done. For reals.
After about ten or 15 minutes of riding, I was able to pick up some speed, despite the fact that I felt like I was having breathing issues anytime I really picked up the pace or climbed any "hills". I saw 18-19mph quite a few times, but nothing to get me above a 16mph average. But, given the conditions, I will take what I have.
Usually, prior to the last few miles of the bike, I have gotten into a habit of taking a gu to get me through the run. However, this time, I wasn't feeling too good and was afraid I would puke if I took one.
As I was approaching the transition area, I saw my family and was happy to be done with the ride. Getting off the bike was much easier than getting on less than an hour earlier.

Transition 2:

Once entering the transition area, I didn't have far to go before reaching my area. I threw my bike on the rack, ripped off the helmet and bike shoes, threw on my tennies and visor and was off. It all seemed to happen so fast at the time, but when I think about two and a half minutes, that's a lot of time for the little amount of things I did. As much as I wasn't looking forward to the run, I was so glad to be off the bike and 2/3 done with this race.
The Run:
5K - 40:54 - 13:11/mile average
Like I said before, I had a pretty bad attitude and really just wanted to be done at this point. I don't think anything would have changed my attitude at this point. However, as soon as I left the transition area, I saw my family and was so happy to be running.

I found my running legs right away, but still struggled to get any good air. Breathing was still really shallow and my lungs just hurt. J and I ended up doing a lot of run/walk intervals and looking back I know I walked a lot more than I needed. We did do a lot of talking and became distracted at times.
Despite what I thought was a bad race all around, this picture makes me happy. My brother-in-law snapped this as I was starting the run... and I am smiling.
As I neared the finish line, all I wanted to do was finish in under 2 hours. According to my watch, I was cutting it close. I kept telling J, "leave it all out on the course"... and that's exactly what I felt like I was doing. The last tenth of a mile I picked up the pace and sprinted across the finish line with my Dad's words "Finish Strong" running through my head over and over again. It felt so good to be done! And done I was.

Bib#: 859
Division: 30-34
Overall place: 688
Division Place: 111 out of 142

Swim 500 Yds: 15:24
T1: 4:17
Bike 15 miles: 57:07
T2: 2:34
Run 3.1 miles: 40:54

Overall: 2:00:13

Post Race & After Thoughts:

After the race we were handed dog tags and water. There was a huge tent set up with a wonderful array of food: wraps, bananas, clementines, cookies, chips, watermelon wedges, nutrigrain bars, candy, etc.
I know my "training" wasn't ideal the last month leading up to this race, especially with a week of while on vacay. Looking back it seems like I was just putting in the workouts, but wasn't really following any sort of schedule or plan. That irritates me.
Does anyone else deal with such breathing issues? After talking with my mom about it a couple times, I wonder if there's anything in the water that irritates my allergies and affects my breathing. Sounds weird, but I just don't know what to do. I wish I had the ability to do more open water swims, but there isn't much for lakes that I know of around here.
This race was set up so well. There were tons and tons of volunteers that were amazing. I have had a week to think about this race and it bugs me know almost as much as it bugged me when I crossed the finish line. I was just so frustrated and still am. The idea of doing this race again next year has crossed my mind a handful of times. I feel like I have a fight to pick with it and want to do better.
Here's a picture of us after the race. Yes, another smile, but I think I was so happy to be done and just ready to go. Three of us are wearing our race shirts, which happened to be very nice technical tees. Love it!


Julie said...

You were just 20 minutes away from where I live! Nice job on your race:) Holy cow, look at all of those bikes! I think it is awesome how many people are attempting to do is inspiring! Great recap and wonderful pics:)

Erika said...

I've never had an issue with breathing like handled it way better than I. I would have literally panicked out in the middle of the lake!! Way to go on finishing another race "strong!" You should be proud!!

AM! said...

just have to fun it would be to do a tri with my sis. that's just too cool:-)

SavvyFitChica said...

Aww, honey,I'm sorry you had a rough race but I'm incredibly proud of you. Anyone can finish a race (5K, tri, marathon) when it's easy. But what you did showed heart and determination.

Today's Triumph said...

I am sorry it didn't go as well as you were hoping. I felt the same way, but now looking back, I think we should both just be happy we finished it! It was tough, but we never gave up - and that's the whole point right? I think we should definitely take it on again next year, just to show the race what we can do on our best day! It was awesome to be able to do it with you and with friends and with lots of awesome ladies and with our family cheering us on! Good job sister!!

Anonymous said...

Great job!!

My breathing gets all jacked when I swim, but I always thought that was because of high anxiety paired with exercise induced asthma. Funny thing is, I have the asthma thing under control when running, so I have no idea why I can't seem to catch my breath when swimming.

Deanna said...

Loved reading your recap! I love your honesty with how tough some parts were for you. You did awesome--sticking it out and finishing strong. Great job. Hope you enjoy a rest day today!

Marlene said...

Sounds like a tough one; nothing like starting out struggling with your breathing. I hope you can figure out what's causing that!

Congrats on pushing through and finishing strong!

Amanda said...

I'm sorry that you felt this wasn't a great race for you, but I'm so glad you guys were there! I really wish you would have been with us at Waconia,too. If you and your sis are in for next year, then I am too for sure! It was fun to see you and I thought you did great. I had a similar experience during Waconia-that swim...I barely made it out of the water! Let's get another indoor on the books soon!

Wes said...

It's so important to get into the groove at the start of the race. Breathing is SO important on the swim (no pun intended), and every little "issue" is compounded by the fact that less oxygen makes it worse!

Good for you for persevering and finishing up strong. There's a good lesson in here for you, and have a great start to your school year!

Jess said...

Sorry the race didn't go how you wanted/hoped it would, but you still pushed through and finished!

BTW, I had a little laugh at the 80 degree temp of the water. Our pool is often in the low 90s in the summer! And, I know a lot of people here who feel that 87 is the "perfect" water temp for swimming ;)

RunToTheFinish said...

i'm still amazed at your times considering you felt like it didn't go well, way to go and inspire those of us too weenie to step up :)

any tips for how to get the sand off in that first transition??

Katie A. said...

You did an amazing job considering how crappy you felt - be proud lady! I have no help on the breathing part, but maybe working on a mantra to use when you're in that situation again would help.
Congrats on finishing!

Anonymous said...

You gutted it out and came home in one piece - great job!

Anonymous said...

Hey- you toughed it out and did it! I think the tougher races teach us more honestly! Way to go!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

The emotional ups and downs are really hard to push through, thanks for sharing that in your post! Looks like a huge event and so cool that so many of the athletes were first-timers! Nice tech t's too!

J said...

Great job on the tri! I know that whole bad attitude feeling during a race and it is the worst. Glad you pushed through and finished. Don't know about the breathing issues. I sometimes have trouble if I feel panicked in the water for some reason or get tired.

MCM Mama said...

Congrats on surviving a hard race.

Shannon said...

THat race sounded grueling! I give you a lot of credit for pushing through and finishing. I think its harder to push through physical fatigue than the "bad attitude" that we all have sometimes. Congratulations on finishing your 2010 Tri season :)

Running Librarian said...

Great job on pushing through a tough race. Keep looking forward to the next one.

Anonymous said...

It's the tough races that don't go as planned that make us stronger. Sorry to hear about the race, but you pushed through and did great with a smile even on your face! I totally hear you when you talk about just "going through the motions", when that happens to me I take a little time off to regroup.

Holly said...

Sorry this tri didn't go as well as you'd hoped. I definitely think you should try it again next year! :)

Kristen said...

Sorry the tri didn't go as well as you hoped but you still did really awesome!! As for the breathing - warming up before hand seemed to help me a little and just really making sure I didn't go out to fast. I also try and swim out from the pack a little as I find the feeling of being trapped among lots of flailing arms and legs makes me nervous. Although being allergic to something in the water seems very plausible too.

Cute picture of all you girls!

sugar magnolia said...

First of all, I recently found your blog and love it! I am doing my first tri in one month (a sprint) and reading this really helped me mentally see what goes on. I think I'm about your pace too, so it was doubly fun for me to read! You rock!

zbsports said...

Great event and you did a good run. I like the action of the race so cool.

Badgergirl said...

Sounds like a tough tri. But nice job pushing through and finishing strong!

Jennifer said...

Hi,wanted to chime in on your breathing issue... not sure if it's the same, but I had a hard time catching my breath when I first started swimming but then learned to slow my kick WAY down. Now instead of flutter kicking, I'll do a slow and steady 3 beat kick, mainly for balance and a little propulsion, but most of my work is from my upper body. This has made it a lot easier to get into a rhythm, not let my heart & breathing rate go high, and save my legs for the bike. Also, I take a puff of albuterol (for exercise-induced asthma) before I swim. Lasts the whole tri. Hope that helps!