Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Grand Rapids Tri 2017

The swim (or should o say struggle...)

I had been putting in some good work in the pool and was swimming very well lately, so I was expecting a really strong swim, if nothing else on Sunday.  Well, that didn't happen, unfortunately.  I get more nervous when I have to wear a wetsuit.  I hate swimming with it on, because it's just not comfortable.  But everyone else was so I better wear it because I wanted to swim as fast as I could and the wetsuit does help.

In the beginning of any triathlon I have ever done, people always start out wayyyy wayyy way too fast.  There's a lot of thrashing and kicking going on.  I've been swam over before.  Well this time, during the first 500m I ended up turning my head to breathe, and swallowed a huge gulp of someone's kicked splash.  The heart rate was high in the beginning and I was gasping for air- I had to stop swimming.  I panicked a bit- I have never felt this panicked in the water before- I couldn't breathe and thought I might be experiencing a drowning-like feeling.  I almost waved my arms for help, but told myself to calm the heck down and try to breathe normally.  I was gasping for air for awhile.  I tried to swim, but still was having a hard time getting my breath.  I grabbed at my wetsuit collar to undo the Velcro, but I couldn't grab it.  So I stopped again.  At this point I had let most of the females pass me it seemed, and there was nothing I could really do about it until I felt safe enough to try swimming again.  Thankfully I calmed down enough, and was able to undo my Velcro at the neck so I could breathe better.  I no longer cared if the long zipper strap was flapping in the water behind me, I needed to breathe better.  That helped, and on I went!  I ended up passing most of the people who passed me when I started struggling.  Phew!  I was out on my own, away from all those people.  Unfortunately I had lost some time there, seemed like 40-50sec or more who knows.  I was just glad to get into a nice rhythm and relax.  I breathed almost every stroke after that incident and that's ok.  I have decided to start out at the very end from now on to avoid getting kicked at and splashed around.  Wow that was the scariest moment ever in a triathlon swim for me.  Thankfully I was only off the top females time by 50 seconds, not too bad considering things, just frustrated I wasn't up there with them.  

T1:  a note about this- I got my wetsuit off and was ready to go, however the GR triathlon has a very strange transition set up to me- it's one longggg line.  The 70.3 distance is at the front and run out, Olympic is in the middle, and the sprint is in the back.  I had to wait in this long line to get out of transition and there was nothing I could do about it :(. So my T1 was 3 min long.  Racers were coming in from the bike one way, and us racers trying to get out of transition were in a line the opposite direction.  There was no me running around these people because I simply couldn't or else I'd run right into a racer coming from the opposite direction.  For this reason, I definitely do NOT like the GR triathlon transition set up.  But that's probably the only way they can fit it in.  I guess....

The bike:  I felt pretty strong at first.  You know, I was going 24-30mph at any given time in my watt zone.  Of course we had a Tailwind.  The course was out and back.  I focused on drinking early and often, and took in some honey stinger chews to supplement my calorie intake.  Worked well.  Probably drank about 30-35oz on the bike.  

Now on the way back to transition....the wind hit pretty hard.  So I let my power drop.  Yep-couldn't even maintain correct wattage and then I decided that was probably for the best.  I wasn't going to fight it because I knew if I did, I would just have an awful run.  So I just did what I could in the wind.  1:07-pretty slow for myself, my average wattage was only 5 lower than usual so who knows.  Or maybe I'm just not as strong this year.....yet!

The run:

I actually felt really good.  Coming off the bike though I was a bit sore, so I took it easier the first mile.  I also noticed I wasn't too hot, considering it was supposed to get up to the 90s later that day- it wasn't humid yet.  I must have gotten my nutrition and hydration right!  I ran quickly, but it felt easier than it normally does for me.  I ended up passing a girl who was in 3rd on the run. This never happens on the run haha.  I stayed pretty consistent with my pace- around a 7:30ish pace until the last mile.  I thought I had seen another girl up ahead.  So I picked up the pace to see if I could catch her, and at that point- some guy was running next to me and said he would pace off me since he was doing the half.  That mile I did start to notice the heat.  I started to slow but that person kept motivating me which really helped.  At the second to last aid station I drank 2 cups of water- it was hot and I was getting a bit dehydrated.  I probably should have just drank 1 because my stomach started to feel odd right after that.  Ah the finish line!  I ran as fast as I could to the finish!  My last mile ended up being 7:15.  I actually negative split the last 3 miles too which never happens.  It wasn't a PR probably because of the heat but it was close and I'm proud of that run!  Probably could have ran faster, oh well.

I didn't know what place I had come in, but when I found out I came in 3rd which meant I won some prize $ I was a bit shocked because I really struggled and lost time on the swim!  

Now a long break from racing.  I'm going to focus on everything really.  My upper body is starting to get stronger for the swim, I need to work on getting in some 3-4hr rides, and work on some off the bike runs.  I think not racing as much as I did the past years will really help me focus on my weaknesses and get faster for the goal race.  I just hope I can swim strong and show it from now on- never want to experience this again!