Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rose City Triathlon Race Report

Rose City Triathlon
September 13, 2014
Tyler, Texas

Man O Man where did this season go?! Everyone is winding down and getting their final triathlons in. I knew I wouldn't be racing as much as last summer, but I'm not ready for the season to end yet. I have Girl Power in New Orleans, then Santa Rosa Island, which, sadly, I probably won't be going to. After moving the Shreveport, driving to Pensacola just doesn't make a ton of sense. I really needed to find a different race and compete near my new home.

A few weeks ago both Kyle and Ginger both suggested I do the Rose City Triathlon in Tyler, Texas. So I thought about it, procrastinated, and registered on Monday (the last minute!). They have a pro/elite wave, and after looking at previous results, I thought it would be a good move to race head-to-head with some of the faster competitors in the area.

Ginger and I left early Saturday morning. Have I mentioned how grateful I am that she's in
Shreveport?!? When she left Hattiesburg I was TORN UP! She was my long ride/swim lane/bitch buddy! I had no idea that we would be reunited.  After she left I did most of my training with Brinn, Nadine, and the Reeves. Your training buddies become a part of your routine and a part of who you are. I was devastated to leave them. Leaving Hattiesburg was heartbreaking, but having Ginger right here has been such a blessing. She's introduced me to the local endurance community and has helped me keep up with my training through the chaos. I would be lost without her!

This picture was taken at the H.A.M.R. TIME! kids triathlon clinic in June. L->R Brinn, Nadine, Ruthie, Rebecca, & me.  
We got to the race site with plenty of time, but I was feeling anxious AGAIN! What's the deal? Last year I never got nervous, I was just FOCUSED. Maybe it's because I haven't been racing as much? Or maybe I'm traumatized from Miami... I think it's because I now have higher expectations for myself and I stress about meeting them. I did my bike warm up solo (couldn't find Ginger), rode away from the race site, and called my dad. He had sent a good luck text so I knew he was already awake. I felt much more relaxed after our conversation.

We were told the transition area closed promptly at 7:30 and that our swim warm-ups had to be done at that time, too. My wave went first at 8:00. It was in the 60's, and I couldn't decide if I needed to go ahead and swim then freeze for 30 minutes, or if I should just stay warm. I went ahead and swam, then put my warm-ups back on. About 15 minutes before our wave, they told us that the pro/elite wave could get in an warm up. AWESOME!!! The water was so warm. I swam to the turn around spot & back, got in a few pickups, and was feeling ok. Still anxious... it was windy, the water was choppy, we'd be swimming right into the chop, oh and- I must be the worst swimmer out here! I told myself to relax, that even if that was true, this is where I need to be. Deep breaths and wait to go.

Swim 10:22 for 650m
A few years of hard work and
I'm coming out in front of the boys :)
There were 4 women and 5 (i think) men in the pro/elite wave. As soon as we heard "go" we all took off. Kyle has us practice pacing a lot, so I feel pretty comfortable with going out at a fast pace to stay with the group before settling in. I jumped on someone's feet and worked hard to keep up. I could see that we were starting to fall into some sort of order, and I wasn't left behind!

The week after Rocketman Kyle and I went to the pool for a short loosen-up swim. He told me that
this winter we would work hard to change my stroke, but that I needed to be able to adapt to the water conditions and not just glide through the water with long strokes. We did a couple 25's working on faster arm turnover and swimming with my core, and 25's were about all I could manage without being completely gassed. Over the past few weeks I have been working really hard to change my stroke, and it's gotten easier. Even better, my shoulder doesn't hurt as much, and any discomfort feels more like soreness from muscle weakness and less like I'm damaging my body. The timing could not have been more perfect, the water conditions for this race definitely called for some aggressive turnover.

We turned the first corner and were in a straight line. I kept sighting and saw that part of the line was swimming to the right/outside of the course. I thought about sticking with the group- maybe they were trying to compensate for the wind- but decided to stay straight. I focused on the turn ahead and kept turning my arms over. After the last turn I realized that there were men around me, but no one was in front of me. I'd worked my way up to the front of the 2nd group of swimmers. Ok, maybe I CAN hang... I exited the water and Ginger yelled at me to GO!

T1 :31.5
The transition area was really close to the boat ramp. I fumbled around to get my speed suit off, but still really quick transitions. I've got some ground to make up.

Bike 33:28, 21.5mph
The guys passed me pretty early on, but I kept them in sight for most of the bike. This was a VERY technical course. Lots of turns, windy roads, rolling hills. I have a tendency of taking turns a little aggressively, and I told myself to be cautious for this race. Even so, riding with a disc in the back was not a great idea; I will NOT be using it next year if they keep the same course! I didn't feel like I was in control while braking to turn. The roads were pretty torn up; it was hard to see the potholes until you were right on top of them, and there were a few times I braced myself halfway expecting to lose control. One of these holes caused the lead woman, a professional triathlete, to wreck. SCARY! Other than that the course was challenging but fun, and the volunteers were great at EVERY turn.

T2 :23.2 
2nd female in.  Fastest female transition (I'll take what I can get!)

Run 22.59, 7:11min/mile
Tired. I was pretty conservative for the first half mile to let my legs loosen up. It was really cool out so it didn't take long before I felt like I could bump the intensity up. I saw Rachel Olsen, one of my new training buddies, and she was moving... her strides looked long and powerful, she was killing it! She cheered for me and I gave her a thumbs up. I kept looking back to see where the next woman was, but didn't see her until close to a mile in. She might have been closing in on me, but I didn't think she would make up enough ground to catch me. I thought about Kyle and his expectations, so I kept pushing and ran as hard as I could. There were a few out and backs on the course on paved trails, so we hit a few small inclines. The last mile was flat and overlapped with the bike course. I picked up the pace and just held on. Ginger rode by and yelled "GO!". She told me she had placed a stick on the ground exactly 1/2 mile from the finish, and when I saw it I thought, "just an 800 left" and picked it up.
Overall Women

Finish 1:07:44
2nd overall woman & $300. I don't think I could have expected much more for this race, so I'm happy. Definitely looking forward to finishing the season strong at Girl Power, cooler temperatures, and a winter of improvement!

Shreveport REPRESENTED! We were 1st, 2nd, and 4th Overall Women/1st Masters Woamn and 1st Male Grandmasters. Coincidentally, we all swim with Kyle at noon!
Rachel won 1st overall... She rocked it!
Our group bike rides must be working :)

Shreveport group! Ginger, Me, Rachel, & Brian