Saturday, September 19, 2015

ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Chicago 2015

I woke up at 5:30am race morning.  I ate an apple and a few pretzels because I wanted to wait until 3 hours before to eat a bit more substantial, which was a bagel with PB.  I usually eat a banana, not an apple.  So maybe that's why I had stomach issues on the run.  Who knows.  Transition was open from 6:00-9:20am.  I wanted to get there early to get ready.  It was a cold, windy morning, and my wave didn't go off until 10:33 am.  So, maybe that was a mistake, standing and sitting around being chilled.  About 50 min before my race started, my family and friends found me down by the pier of Lake Michigan and we snapped some photos.  

The swim:  Once we were allowed in the water, we had maybe a minute or so before the gun went off.  I made sure to be up by the front.  I'm happy with where I started this swim.  But gosh, there were a lot of fast swimmers!  This is World- level, let me explain.  Not National level, and for sure not local level where I always place.  So it was tough!  I about had a panic attack a minute into the swim because I saw all the leaders swim way ahead and I couldn't keep up and the cold water and I was swimming somewhere new....I told myself to calm the heck down because I know how to swim, and to swim well.  So that's what I did!  It was still challenging because it was a little wavy.  Not bad at all, but just a bit choppy.  And disheartening seeing swimmers way ahead of me :). Once I reached the stairs to get out I was really relieved. Ripped my earplugs out of my ears, pulled my cap and goggles off, and pulled my wetsuit down to my waist.  The run to transition was looooonnnngggggggg.  The longest I've ever had to do, I think, and then transition was lonnnggggg.  So once I reached the mat to cross transition, I had to run to basically the end.  And I also got confused even though I practiced beforehand.  I suddenly ducked under the rack where I thought I was.  And I was, but my bike was facing the opposite direction lol I should have stayed where I was.  I also ran past my spot, which I never do, because the dang transition was too overwhelmingly huge!  So I hurried up, grabbed my bike and took off running with it through MUD. Because it rained last night.  So at the mount line, I had a tough time clipping in because there was mud on my cleats.

The bike:  I was worried about the bike beforehand because the course was confusing.  I felt like I knew the course because I looked at it so many times online (no opportunity to ride it beforehand) but it was still confusing on paper.  But it was well marked, I had nothing to worry about.  It was very technical, with 8 uturns and I don't know how many other turns.  I didn't know how I was doing because my average power was low because of all the slowing for turns.  I just tried to kill it as much as I could.  I knew some girls in my age group were ahead of me, and only 3-4 passed me on the bike so I knew I was doing well there.  The bike was 2 laps.  Once I got to the dismount line, I almost fell over trying to unclip my shoes because of the mud in my cleats.  I managed to unclip safely, though, and ran the long trek over to transition.  Again I had to run with my bike to the very end of transition where my spot was.  Took off my bike gear, grabbed my shoes, and took off.  Then I realized I had forgotten my garmin.  I turned around and was going to go back for it, but I didn't see my bike and didn't want to waste anymore time so I decided to run without it, which I've never done.  The run is my weakest, so I like to have something for pacing.  I already had that going wrong for me. garmin said 22.9 miles once I was TO MY SPOT in transition.  That's a short 40k(24.5mi)....About half the race was through tunnels lol.  Super interesting course through Chicago.  

The run: Once I took off running without my garmin, my legs did feel like bricks, and just kept getting worse.  I was so mad,  I had done some good runs leading up to Worlds.  I tried to tell myself I was running at least a 7:30 pace.  And maybe I was at first, but the side stitch soon set in.  Felt like a huge bubble of air on my right side I couldn't do anything about.  I'm not sure why.  It was either the apple, or possible dehydration, I didn't drink my full 40 oz of heed on the bike.  It was too technical and lots of people.  I tried to drink as much as I could though, I drank close to 3/4 of it.  We had to run 3.5 laps.  That sucked, too.  Because you run past the finish line 3 times.  I knew in my head 3.5 laps but since I didn't have my garmin, it was hard to tell where I was.  I made sure to keep note.  I even asked a Team USA girl who said to keep it up, run with my heart since I left my garmin, if we ran 3 full laps, then the half lap.  She said yes, so I was comfortable.  I felt myself slowing down throughout the race.  That side stitch just kept getting worse and worse....ugh.  A Canadian in my age group passed me, so I tried to keep up with her, even passed her for a bit, then couldn't hold that pace and she ended up passing me.  I really tried to run as fast as I could with that side stitch.  Ohhhh welllllll I was happy with my swim and bike time.

Overall, a good time at my first World event.  I was just happy I made it that far, really.  I had a really great year, too.  I either won or placed top 3 in all the local triathlons I did.  I swam solid this year, PRd on the bike, and on the run.  Pretty bummed about my run at Worlds.  But you cant always have the best race possible, not even at your goal race, I guess.  This is a good learning experience for me because I usually do well under pressure.  Puts me in my place.  My body just didn't want to cooperate today :(.

So, next year, there will be more bike to run workouts starting in the winter, and not halfway through summer like this season....I was doing one a week, moved up to two 5 weeks before Worlds.  Also, more quality over quantity runs this year, too. I should also be very happy, too, because I used to injure myself a lot running.  I made it at a higher level these last 2 years without running injuries, I consider that a success!  I'm not swimming until maybe February or March.  I always pick it up real quickly.  I will be focusing on my run and bike more next season for Cozumel Worlds!!  

Thanks to all my friends and family who have supported me throughout the years, and especially to Mike who had to deal with me and my sometimes cranky self from heavy training haha.  Now we can enjoy the rest of the year with a little less stress.  We have some things planned, looking forward to the fall.  

Will I ever stop this?  Probably not.  I get too much joy and sense of accomplishment out of it,  I'm sure there will be times in my life when I have to stop exercising so much, like when we start having kids, maybe one race a year?  Haha.  I enjoy endurance exercise and the outdoors too much, love the adrenaline I get from it.  Now for a bit of a break, time to enjoy fall weather and the holidays, and more time for my other love, crocheting!!!!!!