Monday, July 26, 2010

Bronze at Bala!

My second triathlon of the season, and my placing improved!

Bala is beautiful and the day was perfect. I did not sleep in this time and my younger son was with me, which I always appreciate -- he's been my cheering squad since my first tri, runs with me on the course and has only missed two ... which happened to be my last two. It was nice to have him back.

My goal this time was to try to improve transition. When I began triathlons I made a conscious decision to not worry much about transition but to make sure I was comfortable going into the next leg. Now I've done a whole bunch I've gotten faster but still not where I should be. My goal was to have each transition come in under 2 minutes.

So, the swim -- wave starts, and thanks to my age and gender I was one of the later starts. I don't mind that though -- I'd rather be later than first, frankly. I tried but failed to find someone to draft, so I was on my own. At one point I saw someone who looked to be struggling and called out to make sure he was okay, and he said he was, so I continued on. The first half of the swim was moderate. The last half was much better, and it had nothing to do with current but was because of my breathing patterns. There's a way I breathe when I train which works very well for me but just doesn't work in races. You'd think I'd figure this out at some point and stop trying to do it during the race! Next time. Once I settled into the proper racing breathing pattern I sped up quite a bit. My swim time was 15:36 for 750m (including the short run up) so it was pretty close to my last race.

T1 went pretty well, I thought. Took off the wetsuit, shoved a bit of banana in my mouth, threw my helmet and shoes on and went running off. My time was 1:57, so I made my under 2 minutes goal!

I kept hearing about how challenging the bike course was, but I found it pretty good. Again, I didn't do quite as well at the beginning as the rest, and in retrospect I think that was because I kept hearing how challenging it was and was waiting for the big hills! They never really came and it was honestly just a nice ride. A couple of guys passed me at the beginning and then I passed dozens, especially in the last quarter. I did think my time had been better than it was, but I did 30k in 59:26 including the run up/back from transition. One of the faster women's times.

T2 I thought I might not have beat my 2 minutes because as it turned out I hadn't done my helmet up properly and couldn't get it undone. I had to somehow slip the strap over my head (not sure how I managed that) but as it turned out T2 was 1:31 -- pretty good!

But as soon as I started running, I knew what was coming. I'd been really, really dumb the night before and ate some curry and rice. Normally this food is totally fine, but running ... er ... churns things up in the digestive system. The gas pains began, and definitely affected my running. My son was waiting for me and it was so great to have him there through the run. I was pretty sure I didn't have a great run time and I was right -- 42:36 for 7.5 km. I should have been at least two and more like three or four minutes faster. And since the woman who came in second was less than two minutes faster than me, that hurt a little! Next time I have to listen to myself when I tell myself not to eat something before a race. The woman who came in first was about 15 minutes faster (yes, really!) so I wouldn't have had a chance at that position.

Anyway, I did feel I'd had a good race and anxiously awaited the results. I was thrilled to see I'd come in 3rd, and my son was very proud of me. Then I was afraid there might not have been very many people in my age group -- it's not nearly as good coming in 3rd out of 5 as it is coming in 3rd out of 12, for example. As it turned out, there were 17 in my group so I felt even better. And overall I came in 21st out of 150 women. I was pretty pleased with that too, at nearly 45.

Onward and upward, I guess now I'm shooting for second. Wish me luck!

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