Saturday, August 15, 2015

USA Triathlon Nationals 2015

I've been far too busy racing and training this summer to even write about my other races!  I have some time, so I figured I'd write about Nationals.  I wasn't even sure if I was going to do Nationals this year.  About 4 weeks before, though, I signed up :).  My thoughts were, I'll give it my best shot, but Worlds 2015 is what I'm training for, and hope to taper well and go my fastest at.  So, with that mindset, I did not race at my fullest potential last week.  Also, I just wanted to qualify for Worlds 2016, I didn't care what place I took in my age group.

The swim:  The water temperature of Lake Michigan the day before was 63.  On race morning, they claimed it was 65.  But as soon as we jumped in, it definitely felt 63 or colder, the coldest I have ever swam in!!  Before the swim, I was debating on whether or not to wear my sleeveless wetsuit like last year, or the full wetsuit.  Glad I chose the full.  Here is where I first messed up my chances of getting a better swim time.  My goggles were dirty.  If you saw some of the pics Mike posted, I was trying to clean them.  Once I jumped in and warmed up, they  fogged up right away.  Great.  Being a good swimmer, I wasn't too worried, but it definitely had an effect on seeing the buoys!  Note to self, make sure your goggles are cleaned.  I cleaned them when I got home, lol.  So, last year we all started treading water.  I think I was somewhere in the middle before the gun went off last year.  This year, we had to hold onto the dock.  I also positioned myself far left.  Bad idea.  For some reason, from where I was, it looked like a direct path.  Nope.  When the gun went off, all the fast swimmers seemed like they were in the middle.  So, I had to swim over to the middle.  Once I did this, though, I got stuck mid-pack it seemed.  I was in the midst of the chaos.  I never am, I'm usually up front, or at least chasing the lead swimmers!  I couldn't move much.  I almost started hyperventilating because I couldn't get out.  It was scary.  But then I told myself to calm down because you're a good swimmer.  So, I did.  I looked around for the next yellow buoy, which was very hard to see with my foggy goggles.  Got around that.  Finally, on the turnaround, I was able to fish my way through all the swimmers and finally have more room to swim in a direct path.  I was good from then on.  Except the part where I wasn't sure to keep the orange buoy on my right or left.  Kept it on the right just in case.  I saw people doing both.  So.....after all that chaos...I think I could have swam at least a minute faster :(. But maybe it was good because my legs were more fresh for the bike and run.  I'll never know.  What I do know is that I certainly emailed Team USA about the swim for Worlds so I can know in my mind the best path to take while swimming.  The run to T1... It was long, but same as last year.  And after doing many tri's, definitely not the longest to T1.  I did struggle with my wetsuit strap a bit to pull the zipper down, but it wasn't bad.  Guess I'll tell you my swim time.  22:35 :). Still rather fast.

T1:  I struggled with my darn wetsuit again getting it off over the ankles!  The timing chip was flat this year, so I had no excuse.  Guess I have to practice more.  This transition was about 15 sec faster than last year still, so I was happy.

The bike:  Here is my true strength.  Yes, the swim is my strength as well, but after seeing I came in 21st on the swim in my age group, and 11th on the bike, I believe cycling is another strength.  I flew past a bunch of the fast swimmers in my age group, it was great.  So that put me in a good position for the run.  I don't have much to say about this except I held back just a little bit because I wanted a good run.  I have killed it on the 40k in 2 tri's this summer, and wasn't able to run well.  I biked a 1:05:11.  22.9mph.  My average power was 210watts.  My FTP (threshold number) is 240, I could have pushed harder!  So I will be doing more hour-1.5 hr bike to runs up until worlds to get used to the pain of running after.  The 1:05:11 is not my potential.  I went faster in June.

The run:  Well, I PR'd with a time of 46:35.  Could I have gone any faster?  No, not at this point in my training.  I started speed work 5 weeks ago, lol, after a cycle of hill repeats.  I did this because I wanted to get a great run at Worlds, the end goal.  I did not want to end up injured from too much speed work.  Next year I will do things a bit differently, but I am rather happy with my run!  I did slow down after mile 4 of the 10k, but that's ok because I'm not done training yet.

My total time was 2:18:44.  I could have been faster because of my swim and bike.  They take the top 18 for Worlds.  Last year I made Worlds because they took 25 in each age group when Worlds is in the home country.  It's in Cozumel next year.  Even after the roll down, I was sitting at spot 20.  My placement and times were faster than last year, so I'm pretty happy.  I may still have a chance if 2 people back out.  They roll down to the 25 athletes in each age group if someone backs out.  Even though, I'm not sure, it would be very expensive.

Also, I have learned my lesson.  I got pretty sick this week.  I have done something 5 weekends in a row.  Another reason I could have been faster at Nationals.  July 12, womens 60 mi road race, July 18, sprint tri in Defiance, July 26th, extremely hilly bike tour in the Cuyahoga Valley, August 1- Olympic distance tri, I only did this because I signed up for it and thought I could compete in the elite wave, but that didn't happen because I did not get a 2:15 or faster.  And then the weekend after Nationals.  NEVER AGAIN!  One-two races a month in the summer from now on.  But at the same time, I have done very well this season, so I'm happy.

I am looking forward to continuing training soon, feeling better today.  I do hope to PR there, but you never know, each course is different. I am so happy that I qualified last year for Worlds this year in Chicago, because I doubt I would be able to afford it if it was out of the country!  I feel very lucky.