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!
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!