Tri Number One… Down!

Well, Sunday marked my first tri of the year: Olympic distance at Rancho Seco Park in Herald, Calif. It definitely felt like the year’s first tri, but it also felt really good to jump back into it. I definitely racked up a list of several positives and negatives with this event, but on the whole it was really a pretty good race — especially considering I am only about a week off of my ten-day sickness bout.

I actually felt pretty darn good on the day overall. I definitely felt strong, but I can also tell I am lacking speed, and need to get back into the intensity stuff, which I couldn’t do this week because I just wanted to get my base back up. I am hoping this race will help jump-start me back into that — a kick-in-the-pants, if you will.

The swim felt LONG! I was literally looking at the bouys in front of me thinking, “Are you kidding me?” And what’s scary… that was only .9 miles! I have to do more than 2 in the Ironman in A MONTH AND A HALF… shizzz! This very much solified the fact that I NEED to start getting in the water. I only swam ONCE TIME before this race (pathetic, I know.. I blame the sickness!). And while I totally survived and actually swam about 10 seconds faster than last year (25:06), and just a couple minutes behind the leaders, I am also fully aware that if I got in the pool and started getting stronger, not only could I cut (valuable) minutes off this time, and go from “up there” to the front, but also that this .9 miles wouldn’t have felt so long and exhausting. And then, of course, I would feel more confident about 2.2, which I know I can do — but, again, I would prefer to not exhaust so much of my energy, and come out of the water with a fast time, or even a lead.

The bike was definitely the highlight of the day, as I felt strong and fast and improved GREATLY over my time from last year (about 7 minutes). I averaged right about 20 mph, and didn’t lose any major ground on this section as I have in the past. However, I didn’t gain any ground either, really, and I know I still need to — and can — get faster on the bike. My time for the leg was about 1:14, and really to be a major contender in this distance, that has to get under 1:10. Cut five minutes off and I am definitely in there for the win. I know I can do that. Again, just need some more intensity here to build up the power and speed. But, overall, encouraging, as I am no longer totally dragging a** and getting passed!

The run was ultimately discouraging. I actually felt pretty strong and definitely pushed it HARD. And I passed a couple dozen men in front of me, which added to my feeling that I had a pretty good pace going. But, I didn’t. It was over 90 degrees by that time, which is NEVER good for me, and certainly made things more difficult as I desperately grabbed every cup of water offered to me and threw it frantically over my head. And, of course, the run at the end of the hammer sesh on the bike is ALWAYS hard, and you never realy feel fast. But still, I felt like I was givin’ ‘er and doing pretty well. But, my time showed otherwise…about 50 minutes, compared to 47:42 last year!

I know it was hot today and I went faster and probably harder on the bike than last year, but still… I am used to being the fastest or close to it in the run, and Sunday I was maybe the fifth-fastest, and several women had times about what I did last year. So, I conclude that I did run slower, and this bothers me. I really just don’t feel like I am able to run fast yet, and it is frustrating. I am really going to focus on figuring out a plan to get my running speed back up — and, of course, being able to run twenty MORE miles atfer these 6.2 by July 31st — after the 112 mile bike ride!

The one thing I am really happy about with my run is that I pushed it HARD to close on the girl in front of me in about the last mile. Didn’t know if I’d be able to do it, but I dug really deep and ended up about 30 seconds in front of her. Overhwelmingly, the biggest memory that returned to me Sunday about triathlons is that they are HARD! And they really really HURT! But, of course, this is a good thing, because I know for sure that I made it hurt, which is really the ultimate goal (messed up, I know…).

So, I took 4th place overall (for the women), and PR’d by almost five minutes, and broke 2:30! Stoked on that! Looking at the splits, this was solely due to my bike improvements. Had I run even just as fast as last year, I could have knocked off almost three more minutes. Ultimately, I’d like to take off about four-five in the run (so that I am actually running faster than last year), shave about four minutes off my bike, and definitely try to take a couple minutes off my swmi. Then I’m looking at a sub-2:20, which I think is going to be a new goal by the end of the season.

The scary thing now is that, as hard as the race felt Sunday, I have to swim more than twice the length, bike almost five times the length, and run about four times the length by the end of July. It is REALLLYYY time to amp up the training. Which is why since I crossed the line Sunday, I have been training right through, with an OD bike Monday and distance run this morning. I am hoping to get in a spin after work tonight. The good news is, neither of these things hurt too bad after Sunday’s hard efforts. This must mean I am getting stronger!… or else, that effort needs to be even harder next time. I’ll take both.

Thanks for tuning in… pics to come!

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