Thursday, June 23, 2011

Westpoint Lake Triathlon

I've been meaning to write this race report for about a week now, but better late than never, I suppose.

June 12, 2011
La Grange, GA
Pertinent Facts
Swim:  28:28 (1:54/100m) - terrible, absolutely terrible (read on for further excuses)
T1: 0:49
Bike:  1:13:27 (20.3mph) - okay, nothing spectacular
T2: 0:45
Run:  43:06 (6:57/mi) - the highlight of my day
Finish Time:  2:26:34
Placement:  6th overall female, 2nd F25-29

The Details
Let me back up about a year and recall the death march that was the 2010 Westpoint Lake Triathlon.  Water temperature 90 degrees, air temperature during run 90+ degrees.  It was by far the most miserable triathlon I have competed in, and still a year later the local triathletes talk about the misery of that race day.  You can imagine the great memories I have of that race and the excitement I had to repeat in 2011!  All negative thoughts aside though, this race really did hold a special place on my calendar.  Since I start residency July 1st (think 80+ hour work weeks, lots of call nights, very little time to sleep let alone train), I knew this would be my last planned race of the 2011 tri season (or at least the last race that I was properly trained for).  My training block leading up to the race was nothing short of intense, tiring, and at times, downright frustrating.  Between having to adapt training for a week's vacation and fighting a nagging case of pes tendonitis it wasn't exactly the ideal peak block.  Nonetheless, I felt I had made some fitness gains and was ready to lay it on the line in competition.

Pre-race:  The fun started Saturday when Meghan, Tracy, April, and I had a girls trip/slumber party in La Grange. Sure, we were there to race, but that didn’t keep us from laughing into the wee hours of the morning. Besides, who ever said you need a good nights sleep to have a great race?!

Swim – I don’t have words for this swim. Evidently I took the scenic route around the lake checking out all of the different buoys that were placed rather haphazardly. The course was described to us before the start, yet half of the field seemed to swim at least an few hundred extra meters thanks to the confusion. My form felt good and I felt like I was sighting correctly to the buoys, so I'd be curious just how many hundreds of meters long the course was.  Even the fastest female swim times were nearly 24 minutes (normally 20ish min).  
T1 – After cursing my Garmin's 28min swim time, transition was quick and easy thanks.  After wasting time removing my swim skin in previous races, I was grateful for the time saved by forgoing it.
Bike – The course is pretty much nonstop rolling hills. Unlike many other races where I’ve been stuck in a pack of riders, I rode alone for the majority of the race. My bike computer never picked up my cadence or speed so I was going based on RPE and HR. Looking at the data now (HR of 164 for the first half, followed by a measly 149 the last couple miles )I definitely needed to push harder the second half of the bike. Overall a satisfying time, but lots of opportunity for more focus and pushing the intensity the entire time.
T2 – As soon as I entered transition I saw a couple of my Sport Factory teammates heading out on the run.  While we are great friends and teammates, this is a race, and seeing competition within reach was certainly motivation not to waste any time.
My Dad's attempt to catch T2 on camera.  Evidently he was a little excited in the moment and just caught a glimpse of my leg.  Good effort though - and thanks for driving down to cheer!!
Run – Knowing the brutal heat and exposed conditions of this run, my goal was to focus on my form and leg turnover and block out everything else. Despite pain in my knee with each stride I kept a consistent effort and gradually gained on the field in front of me. Once again, it’s always encouraging to have so many TSF teammates out on the course sharing in the pain. My run split was the 2nd fastest of the day, and more than 5 minutes faster than last year.

Overall I’m pretty happy with my race, especially the run. I’ve got some work to do on the bike to develop more muscular endurance and hopefully prevent the downward sloping HR line. And hopefully in the future I’ll try to stick to the swim course rather than taking a tour of the entire lake.
This may be the last race report I write for a while.  My future holds 11 nights of call within 20 days during July.  And that's just month 1 of 60.  Welcome to intern year in an orthopaedic surgery program!  Rather than race details I may be sharing stories of late night traumas, endless note-writing on the floor, granola bar dinners, responding to my first code, little sleep, and all of the other fun and games that comes with spending your life in a hospital (and NO, it's not anything like Grey's Anatomy!).  In reality, though, I'm very excited to be starting this next chapter of my life and looking forward to the experiences it will challenge me with.  And the fact that a pay check with my name on it is in the very near future makes me VERY HAPPY!

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