Friday, March 21, 2014

Jackrabbit Indoor Tri Championship 2014

I should start this blog post by talking about Sunday's race, but you'd miss some important back story so just going to sum it up by saying that I missed my Saturday morning group run (and the rest of the day) because of a stomach bug. As the day went on without food or drink in my system, (despite my best efforts) the odds of my getting to the race on Sunday seemed slimmer and slimmer. It was disheartening and I was feeling pretty bummed about how things were shaping up, but I was in no position to do anything about it. I'd qualified for the Jackrabbit Indoor Tri Championship race by winning the Feb 2nd race at Asphalt Green and I'd been training for the finals for the last 5 weeks or so with my eye on 1st place. You can see why I was bummed about spending the day before the race with my head in the toilet.
Sunday started out with some more energy, I had been able to eat some toast and crackers Saturday night and had been rehydrating since about 4pm. My appetite wasn't great though and I knew I didn't have any fuel to run on. As the day went on, I went back and forth trying to decide if it was safe to do the tri. Once I figured that it was definitely safe (ie I wasn't going to pass out) because I felt strong enough to do laundry and go up/down our million stairs, I had to figure out if it was worth it to go. My original thought was "I'm not going if I can't do well", which probably sounds pompous, but I knew I had a shot at placing. I had no interest in going over to the east side just to "have fun". Fuck that. There was money on the line. Later in the afternoon it hit me "I will regret it if I don't go! I'll never know..." At that point my dear friend Sally offered me a ride down (20 min car ride vs 1+ hr train/bus rides) and I said okay and got my shit together.
After my warm up swim, feeling looser but nervous. 
-Photo by Doug Oldies of Jackrabbit

I got there feeling pretty confident about at least being able to be competitive, something that seemed out of the realm of possibilities 24 hrs before. I warmed up in the pool for about 10 mins nice and easy, I hadn't even swum on Friday because of work, so I needed to loosen up. I felt like it was going to take a lot of effort to swim my usual 26 lengths, and I was right. My goal had been 27+ lengths, but I just missed the 26 mark by a few yards (the race is a 10 min timed swim). I knew 25 wasn't going to win me the race, a small handful of women got over 24 in the end. Going into the bike my back had finally loosened up and I felt better than I had all weekend. I heard the officials discussing the previous bike scores with my fellow heat mates, saying that a woman had possibly ridden 25 miles (on a spin bike in the timed 30 min ride) for the farthest women's ride so far, and I instantly had a goal. You might say I'm competitive... I rode 25.01mi. Keep in mind, that's completely relative to the size of the wheel on the bike and zero resistance.
Getting my swim on.
I was starting to feel the lack of fuel from Saturday catch up with me and I knew I wasn't sweating as much as usual, but I felt fine otherwise. I continued to hydrate and started the run. My legs immediately started whining. Whew. I was tired and the headgames began. I'd loaded my "triathlon playlist" onto my ipod shuffle just before leaving home, but I neglected to make sure it was at the start of the list, so I started the bike in a weird place, which is no problem, but it became an issue when I started the run. I had songs on there specifically for the run, but couldn't find them. I was annoyed, but it kept my mind occupied for a bit and didn't affect my speed since I was on a treadmill. I knew I wasn't going to be able to run the 3.0 miles I ran in February because I didn't have the fuel, I could feel it right away, but I was focused on finishing as far as I could. I ended up running only 2.88 miles thanks to my conservative starting pace around 7:00/mi. I was able push the pace down around 6:45, where I'd like to have run the entire thing, but just for a few minutes at a time. At the end of 20 minutes I felt like I'd given it my all, I was 100% spent, though not entirely satisfied with my distances because they were under my goals, but I knew I gave it everything I had on that day.
In the end, I took 2nd place again this year. It was disappointing because I had my sights on 1st after also taking 2nd in 2013, but I was certainly happy to have gone and competed at all! This song came on during my run and it was kind of my song of the day:

When I finally got the results on Monday night, I was excited to have won 2nd and was going over the results to see who beat me, stalking her on Athlinks, demanding a rematch, etc. We had a good laugh about it, but then my husband asked me an important question - "could you have beat her distances/scores if you were healthy?" and the honest answer is I don't know. Her swim was 29 lengths, my goal had been 27-28, I never thought I'd hit 29. Her bike was about 2 miles more than mine, something I *may* have been able to accomplish healthy, and I had the highest score for the run already. It would have come down to the bike... I guess we'll never know! I like to think I could have taken the bike, but I'm not positive. All I do know for sure is that I'm READY for outdoor triathlon (training) season!
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go take care of my husband who now has the same stomach bug that I had on Saturday! Yuck.
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