Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summertime is tri-time

I will be the first to admit that I am incredibly lucky to have my summers off.  Yes, teachers work their @$$e$ off all year long, and deserve this time to recover (mostly mentally).  For me, though, in addition to needing the mental time off, the sport of triathlon would be utterly impossible if I worked full time during the summer... at least distance triathlon would be out of the picture.  I have no idea how others do it!

With not having a job to focus on, I am able to do two and sometimes three workouts a day.  I don't have to wake up quite as early (at least not every day) to fit in my workouts.  I can do "bricks" (back-to-back workouts such as swim-bike or bike-run).  I also have time to recover physically and mentally during the day, since I have very little to worry about (other than playing chauffeur to my kiddos and their summer activities).  

I am still working with my run coach, George, for tri season.  I have found his methods to suite me, and things continue to go swimmingly.  My training schedule changes almost weekly, but typically I swim twice a week, bike 3-4 times a week, and run 3-4 times a week.   Everything is based on minutes (instead of miles), which has been a great thing for me mentally.  I don't worry as much about how far I'm going or my pace when I am just trying to get the minutes in.

The past two weeks have been big ones, training-wise.  In addition to my other workouts, I had 135 running minutes (about 15 miles) a week ago Friday, followed by a 140 minute (40 mile) bike ride on Saturday + 2 miles of running.  This past weekend I ran 130 minutes (14 miles) on Saturday and biked 160 minutes (45 miles) + 2 miles of running on Sunday.  My body is holding up, but I am always more than ready for my Monday rest day!

Coming up this weekend is the Mingoman triathlon.  I raced in the sprint distance last year, intervalling the run as I was still in recovery mode from my stress fracture.  I also had a horrible bike leg, likely due to mechanical issues that I was unaware of.  This year, I am stoked to be back at the race, and I am doing the Olympic triathlon this year.  The swim (0.9 miles) and run (6.2 miles) are both twice as long as the sprint that I did last year, but the bike is just a few more miles.  I am most concerned with the run leg.  After a less-than-stellar 5K at the end of my sprint triathlon just over two weeks ago, I am wondering how my body will do with a 10K.  

Goals... after analyzing each part of the race, I have the following goals:

A Goal: under 2:50.  This breaks down as 28 min on the swim, 84 min on the bike, and 55 min on the run, plus 3 total minutes of transition time.  I know that the swim and bike (18 mph) are totally possible... again, it's the run that worries me.  

B Goal: under 3:00.  I got this time by saying to myself, "Well this gives me an extra 10 minutes from my A Goal" LOL.  

C Goal: Finish with a smile.  Anything can happen in the world of triathlon. ANYTHING.  Finishing is never, ever a given, and I will be grateful when I do.  And hey, it'll be a PR regardless!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Race recap: Central Ohio Multisport Festival Sprint Triathlon (6/4/17)

The sport of triathlon is kind of like running, where there are many different distances.  In running, you have the track events (most are super short) and the road races (typically 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, ultra... plus many other random distances).  In triathlon, the shortest distance is typically called a "mini" or super-sprint.  Next is sprint, then Olympic, then half-Ironman, then (full) Ironman.  The weird thing about triathlons is that with mini and sprint triathlons, the distance isn't standardized.  By that I mean the distances vary from race to race (e.g. for one race you might swim 0.3 miles and bike 10 miles, but for another you might swim 0.5 miles and bike 14 miles).  It definitely makes it hard to compare races!   For this race, the swim was 0.45 miles, the bike was 13.9 miles (was supposed to be 12.4 but due to construction, the route was changed), and the run was a 5K (3.1 miles, typical for sprint tris).  

This was my second-ever sprint triathlon.  Keep in mind, I am a relative newbie to this sport, having only done one mini (2015), one sprint and one half Ironman (2016), and a couple of indoor triathlons.  My other sprint tri was done on a super-long bike course--we went almost 22 miles!  That's almost the bike distance for Olympic triathlons!  So, I knew this would be a PR, but that wasn't my goal going into the race.  I had a C goal of finishing, a B goal of under 1:35, and an A goal of under 1:30.  I felt that my A goal was very attainable... until I tripped and fell during my 13-mile long run two days before the race!  My poor palms took the brunt of the fall.  Of course, my very first thought was "Oh NO, I have a triathlon in two days!"  I had no idea how I would be able to swim in the dirty water of Alum Creek with my hands all torn up the way they were.  Fortunately, the land of Facebook friends exists, and I got tons of advice on how to patch myself up.  Overall, my injured limbs ended up being a non-issue.  I hated how the "waterproof" tape flapped around during the swim, and I did have a little pain when I would transition from aero to the horns on the bike, but otherwise things were fine, thank goodness.

I suppose that focusing on my hands did allow me to forget about being too nervous for the actual race!  I showed up at the beach pretty early, at around 6:20. I hate to be late to anything!  
Favorite part of races... the sunrise.
I was happy to see several of my friends shortly after arriving.  The hour or so before the transition area (where we racked our bikes) closed flew by, with selfies, setting up transitions, applying numerous bandages (okay, that was just me), etc.  

Pre-race selfie with some of the MRTT gals!

There is an art to setting up transition...
The women's 39 and under sprint triathlon was set to go off at 7:48 AM, shortly after the women's 40 and over sprint race started.  I hung out with my friends on the bank of the water, making the decision to go ahead and get wet before the race started (and staying in the water as well... it was pretty chilly in the water, around 65 degrees, but I'd decided on no wet suit since I'd be in the water for such a short time).  Things were moving slowly so we didn't actually start until 7:56 AM.  I was more than ready to get the show on the road!  One of my biggest concerns was how my hands would feel in the water. My friend Tamara told me that I shouldn't worry; that adrenaline would take over.  She was exactly right--I don't remember feeling any pain at all, just those stupid bandages flapping!  

The swim portion went all right.  I never really got into a good rhythm.  It was an out-and-back, and while I had a relatively clear lane on the way out, I felt crowded on the way back (likely because I was catching up to the Olympic tri athletes who had started before us).  I also swam right into someone who was on their first length but had become lost in the water. Oops!  It happens.  I only got swam over top of one time (a huge guy doing the Olympic), and best of all, no panic attacks.  This used to be an issue for me.  Now that I've told myself I don't have all-out race the swim, it's much easier for me to relax on the opening leg.  I do think that I need to learn how to start pushing the swim a bit more, though.  I have a ton of pool speed, and it's just not translating the way I'd like for it to in the open water.  My split was a 17:52 (which includes the 30-ish seconds that it took me to run out of the water and up to the transition area.  I had a pretty fast transition (no socks helped!), and was out on the bike in 1:24.

I am happy to report that I had no issues clipping or unclipping from my bike, which is a huge victory for me!  I was able to ride in aero for almost all of the ride, which is also a big win in my book--not only because it's faster, but because it allowed me to not put weight on my hands (which I had to do when I was braking or turning).  I felt great on the bike overall.  The only negative was the fact that the roads were not closed for the race.  This was a problem on the way out, and even more so on the way back, as I encountered lines of cars at intersections and had no choice but to slow down, or in one case basically stop!  Talk about annoying, and losing momentum... I tried to not let the traffic affect me mentally, and just did what I could during the race.  No female riders passed me, although several males doing the sprint distance did (no surprise).  My average pace was 19.1 mph, which is good, but not great. I definitely feel I am capable of averaging 20 mph, especially on a closed course.  Heart rate, for some reason, was higher than it usually is on the bike (average 157). Transition two went seamlessly, and was even faster than T1 (:58).

Then, the run... oh, the run.  I am trying to think of something good to say about the 5K that ended this race.  I honestly can't think of anything.  It was over 50% trail, which as pretty much everyone knows, I just don't do.  The race started running through a grassy meadow (dirt path), and then up the side of a mountain hill through the woods.  At about the half-mile mark, we reached the top of the dam, and were at last on paved ground again.  However, that was short lived.  A half-mile later, and the road turned into a dirt path... which turned into a grassy dirt path.  I honestly had no clue how "trail-y" this run was going to be!  My calves were livid (super duper tight), and I permitted them two short walk breaks (at the water stops at mile 0.5 and at mile 2).  The run was also an out-and-back (this tri seriously should be renamed the "Out and Back Triathlon", so at mile 1.55 we turned around and headed back.  I was able again to see most of my friends.  First Jenni ("Oh crap, she's in my age group and she's only like 15 seconds back... and she's a fast runner.  There goes my 1st place AG hopes"), then Jen ("Oh double-crap, she's gonna smoke by me any time, she's such a fast runner"), then Kate ("Oh great she looks so strong, she's gonna catch me too!"), then Tracey ("She looks as bad as I feel--finally someone else in misery!").

I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to hold off Jenni, and I was right.  As we ran down the hill, with about a half-mile left, I heard her behind me.  I asked myself if I had anything more to give.  My brain and body gave me a resounding "Heck, NO!", and I told her to go ahead and pass me, that I had nothing left.  I was so happy to see the parking lot leading back to the finish!  Paved road!  I ended up finishing the 5K with a 27:13 (average pace of 8:47).  Sounds better than it actually was... definitely not the most stellar run in the world, as I'd hoped for around a 25-26.  At least the course wasn't long (I had 3.09 on my Garmin).  Heart rate was 161, which was expected due to the humidity.  Overall time was a 1:31:27 by my Garmin.

Shortly after we finished... me, Jen, Jenni and Melanie.
The total time difference between the four of us was less than 45 seconds!
Four of the top five overall females in the race.

I recovered pretty quickly once I got my medal around my race, and happily got a hamburger and chips--yes, even though it was only 9:30 AM, I was all about the food!  My friends and I chatted about the race, and I contemplated leaving before the awards ceremony.  After all, Jenni had definitely won our age group.  Why stay?  Tracey said I should hang out for a bit longer, and so I ended up being present when I heard "Women's sprint, 3rd overall, Marcie Hatfield."  What the...?!!  I was totally shocked but super thrilled.  

This picture says it all...

Beth and I staged this because I was so unprepared during the actual ceremony!

I had no idea that I was in the hunt for an overall award!  Jenni of course was 2nd, but then my friend Danielle was announced as 1st overall.  The problem?  Danielle had done the duathlon!  The du athletes had finished ahead of us.  I knew she'd transferred from the tri to the du, and informed the race director as such.  It was an easy switch, and all of a sudden I was 2nd overall.  WOW!  There were a ton of other issues with the results (including another duathlete being in the tri results, the times for the 39-under women being 1.5 minutes slower than what they actually were, and the times for the 40-over women being a good 9+ minutes slower than what they actually were).  Things are actually still up in the air.  My friends and I have been trying to figure out how the results will shake out once they figure out the timing error.  It looks like I might end up 3rd overall again (a 40+ year old *may* have beat me by 3 seconds).  I've decided not to let it bug me... especially since I expected nothing at all from this race!  

Awards!  Tracey (1st 35-39), Jen (1st 30-34), Melanie (1st 40-44), and me

My #1 take-away: I need more bike-run bricks.  That run was horrible.  I have an Olympic tri in less than three weeks, meaning I will be running a 10K after swimming just under a mile and biking almost 25 miles.  I need to be ready for that 10K!