Race Report – Barb’s Tri

(Ed Note: I wrote this ages ago and am putting it up incomplete)

This summer hasn’t been the best for my training. I got some sort of wonderful lung thing that started as a cough and then continued being a cough for a month. Not optimal for sports that depend on the body being able to get, you know, oxygen.

But, in spite of this, I signed up for Barb’s Tri. Why, Fyre? Why sign up for a race when you haven’t been able to train?

My club set this as a focus race this year. Barb’s Race was the only women’s only half distance triathlon in the US. It was run concurrently with the Vineman Full Distance triathlon and was a fundraiser to support people living with cancer. When WTC (you know them as Ironman) bought Vineman a couple of years ago, the bought the rights to the name “Barb’s Race” and promptly killed it stating that it didn’t fit into their model.

This was the first year of the new Barb’s Tri, started by that same Barb. So bronchitis or no bronchitis, I wanted to be there to support this race. The fundraising was modest – just $100. The distance was short – a sprint. I’d been training all spring so the distance was doable, I needed to stick with what my body was telling me on the day.

I sent out a fundraising blurb on Facebook but I was completely prepared to throw down the $100 on top of registration. Well, BAM! Donations! I was covered and right quickly with many messages of “Fuck Cancer!”

So now I really had to do it, didn’t I?

There is a wonderful freedom when you race without expectations. I didn’t worry about how fast I was going to go, all I concerned myself with was racing within my limits aka – not puking or feeling like I couldn’t breathe.

OTC had a fine turnout (the first three people in transition were from my club) so there were many people to complain to about racing with bronchitis or whatever the hell was wrong with me. As I warmed up in the water I was very focused on how I was feeling. I felt great. I was able to swim without any distress, which was my goal.

I was racing the sprint distance – 750 meter swim, 12.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. The swim started wonderfully. Warm water, mild current in the river, a small race with lots of camaraderie. Then my goggles started leaking. I stopped swimming three times in the first half to try and clear them but had no luck. I resigned myself to having one eye to sight with and stayed calm and even.

When I hit the beach I walked. Usually I push transitions but not this day. Swim to bike is when my heart rate spikes and I was trying to avoid having my lungs do too much. I sauntered up the beach and over the grass to transition and got on my bike without any urgency.

As I got going on the bike I took my time and got very, very warm. Then I felt a bit of aggression and I wanted to push. My body was more than willing to pick up the pace. I very happily spun through the country (it’s a lovely course) and passed a couple of people. It was just fantastic conditions and I was having a great time.

I took a slight wrong turn on the way back but didn’t go too far and corrected to get back to transition. Whoops! I’ve made a bonehead move in most of my races this year. I’ve been able to laugh them off, which is great. I’m able to not take myself too seriously or beat myself up, I just have a giggle at my silliness and let it go.

Back in transition, I wasn’t pulling any fancy maneuvers for dismounting. I rolled up and quickly changed my shoes, grabbed my hat and got out on the run, again, careful to keep it comfortable.

I chugged along. Not pushing hard but definitely keeping it moving. I’ve finally learned to run “comfortably hard.” No spikes, no troughs, just one level effort start to finish.  I did stop to drink at the aid station in the spirit of not going too hard.

I came into the finish behind three women. If I’d been in better shape and in the space to push I would have tried to out kick them but that wasn’t the order of the day. I jogged in to the finish

She’s not hungry

My daughter is five. She recently started kindergarten and we have settled into a morning routine. She usually has cereal for breakfast.

This morning she didn’t finish it. I saw that bowl with milk and little “o”s in it and I got mad. “I work for the money for that food!” “Why is she wasting food?” She doesn’t intend those things though.

Why was I mad? I was mad because I would never have done that. I filled the bowl and sprinkled sugar on it and drank down every last drop of milk. Why? Because I was hungry. She’s not finishing it because she isn’t hungry for it.

My kid has enough to eat. She eats when she is hungry and stops when she is full.  We make sure that she gets enough protein and eats vegetables and don’t make her clean her plate.

I get frustrated when she doesn’t eat a lot or rejects food without trying it. Her tastes and appetite change. But sometimes she’s not hungry and that’s a good thing.

 

More Data for Better Living – Swim Stroke Rate

So I know my stroke rate in the pool is slow – usually around 44 spm. I was racing on Sunday and my stroke rate was ~60 spm. I know that a faster stroke rate is better, and it’s definitely better for open water – I hadn’t been aiming for it, I just fell into it. I went back and looked at my previous four races this year. Same deal – my arms always move faster when I’m racing.

I’m much faster in the water when I race and I had been chalking that up solely to the wetsuit but now I’m thinking it’s a combo of wet suit and a higher cadence.

Race Report – Discovery Bay Tri

Well, I set some goals, let’s see how I did.

Discovery Bay Tri – Sprint Saturday, April 22, 2017.

700 Yard Swim – 16 (15.4) Mile Bike – 5k Run

There were family logistics to consider so I didn’t sleep at home, which meant that I didn’t sleep. Not too much of a bother and I was up bright and early. Or really, when my alarm went off I lay in bed and visualized by race for twenty minutes.

Got to the race on time, got checked in and set up. Set up the technical error for later and chatted with fellow racers.  There were quite a few first timers and this was a good race for them! Very small (about 160 registered), flat course, easy water.  I handed our some spare equipment and advice, mostly to wait at the start of the swim and not go off too fast.

“Here comes the sun, little darling…”

As it always does on race day, the time flew by. There are always first timers showing up fifteen minutes before the start like it’s a 5k and they can stroll up. I never know whether to laugh or feel sorry for them. I didn’t feel too nervous until I had to put on my wetsuit and then I started getting butterflies.

The Olympic Race went off at 8 (a very civilized start time) and I got into the water ten minutes later to warm up. I really warmed up, not just paddling around to get used to the temperature, which was a perfect 66 degrees, but really revving up my heart rate a couple of times. Getting out of breath with a few accelerations and then hanging out waiting for the start.

Swim – Goal 17:30 – Race Time – 15:29 – Woo Hoo!!!

We were swimming north, which is great because we never had to sight into the sun. I was nice and warm. I had confidence from my training and I went for it. Not too hard but definitely pushing my pace. I was aggressive at the start and going around the buoy. My sighting was good and I finally figured out how to keep my goggle from fogging up! I could actually see for the whole race and it was awesome.

T1 – Goal 6:00 – Race Time – 4:16. This seems good but let me tell you what happened.

I have a bit of pride around my transitions. So much pride that I kept my bike shoes on my pedals, even though I haven’t practiced getting into them while moving since last May. Yeah. Good T1 time that led to a complete stop 400 yards into the bike to put my damn shoes on. And it was a tiny transition area so even if I had run in the shoes it wouldn’t have cost me much time at all. I lost the forest for the trees right there but I was able to laugh at myself and learn from it.

Bike – Goal – 1:00:00 – 16 MPH   – Race Time 57:06 – 17 MPH

Despite my technical snafu, my bike time was good.  It felt amazing. I was able to laugh off my jackassery and get stuck in. The course was very well marked and volunteers were doing a great job. My handling was not confident as this was my first outdoor ride on my road bike this year. So there are a couple of minutes I could have shaved off with better technical execution.

My effort was steady and strong, with a good cadence. I never got tired. I spent a solid amount of time in the drops – which is something I’m working on improving. There was a woman in my age group who was right in front of me for half the bike. I passed her just after the halfway point but she passed me right back (and then slowed down to the same speed so she just wanted to be in front). We turned east with about four miles to go and I noticed two things. 1) We had a headwind and 2) she hadn’t been in her drops the whole race. I got in my drops, passed her and dropped her. I was going too hard at that point but damn if it didn’t feel good. She was a few seconds behind me coming in to T2 (Spoiler, she didn’t pass me on the run).

T2 – Goal – 2:00 – Race Time – 1:05

Still got it!

Run – Goal – 32:30 – 10:30/mile – Race Time – 33:40 – 10:52

Well – I’m ok with it.  I raced hard. The run was pancake flat with no cover. It was a slog. About a half mile out from transition a newbie triathlete I had been chatting with passed me. I saw that she was in my age group. Ugh. I stuck to my pace. She was about 100 yards in front of me at the turnaround. I thought I could get her.

Last year my age group was six people and I really wanted a podium. I kicked it up just a tiny notch. She wasn’t coming back though. We were both passing people at the same rate. I was hurting. Then I saw her walk to take a drink from her bottle. She started to look tired.

There are two ways you can go at the end of a race. There is the “horses coming back to the barn” surge of speed and there is the “Whew, that’s over with” relaxation and slowing. There was a slight downhill and she didn’t speed up on it. I started pushing harder. Then a tiny up hill to a hairpin turn and the finish chute. I pushed up the hill and turned she was ten yards in front of me.

Well if there’s one thing I can do, it’s sprint forty yards for sixth place! I passed her right before the line and had to bend over to not fall down. I very properly negative split my run and ran so hard at the end I nearly threw up – so a standard day at the office for me.

Total Time – Goal – 1:57:30 – Race Time – 1:51:35

Overall 31/64  Division 9/25  Age Group – 6/11

It’s funny, last time this race was run, that time would have gotten me second in my age group – so I hit the time I wanted.

Super fun day. I would absolutely recommend this race, well organized, well run, would race again.

Onward!

-FH

First Race of the Season!

Woo Hoo!

Discovery Bay Tri – Sprint Saturday, April 22, 2017.

700 Yard Swim – 16 (15.4) Mile Bike – 5k Run

Continuing my two year tradition – this will probably be my first open water swim of the year.  Not exactly setting myself up for success. I may try to get a quick one in this weekend along with some transition practice.

Last year I managed to mount my bike with the shoes on the pedals and get into them while riding (and not knock either myself or anyone else down). I did not manage to get my feet out while riding. I had practiced the maneuver with dry feet. When I tried to take my feet out at the end of the bike leg, the moisture from the swim had stuck the shoes to my feet and I couldn’t get them off. This year I will practice with wet feet and lube my bike shoes so they slip off more easily.

(I don’t do the “flying mount” (shown at :55) or dismount. I run my bike to the mount line and then mount regularly, using my clipped on shoes as pedals until I get some speed, then put my feet in. On the way back my goal is to get my feet out, stop the bike and then dismount regularly. The time savings I get is from not having to run in my bike shoes.)

This is a very small race. Last year in the ten year age group there were six women. I think I have a chance at coming top ten! Actually, I think I have a chance at the podium – so that’s exciting/motivating/scary.

The swim is in a freshwater marina, so no current and a very “honest” swim time. T1 is ~400 yards. The bike and run are dead flat and T2 is short. I’m thinking it will be fast but not super fast. The training plan I’ve been following hasn’t had much in the way of outdoor riding which gives me very little context for what my effort level is going to look like in terms of speed.

I’m going with a conservative prediction on this one.

Swim – 17:30 – 2:30/100y  Swim training has been going quite well. I’ve been able to hold 2:36/100 for 1000 yards and that was moseying along. I’m not giving myself any wetsuit credit or drafting credit. I will be wearing a wetsuit, so this could be much, much faster.

T1 – 6:00 – Big cushion here. I have done a slightly shorter transition in under four minutes but I don’t know the terrain.

Bike – 1:00:00 – 16 MPH  As I said, no idea what my outdoor speed is right now. My last flat bike race was a touch over 17 and that was almost a year ago.

T2 – 2:00 – I haven’t transitioned in 10 months. This could be crap or it could be under a minute.

Run – 32:30 – 10:30/mile – Running has been going ok but I’m not feeling super fast right now. Holding 10:30 will probably actually be really hard and this could be closer to 35.

I’m aiming for fun, fast fun, but mainly fun.

Onward!

 

 

Goal Setting 2017

I’ve been at loose ends for a while now, really since last May. Sort of floating along.  I’ve been consistent with strength training for almost 8 months, which is great! I don’t have any goals for 2017. I was planning to set my year around Wildflower, but Wildflower isn’t going to happen so I have been needing to give my self something to build my fitness year around.

One thing I haven’t focused really ever is getting faster as a runner. I used to believe I was “slow.” Now I know that I’m as fast as I work to be and I could get faster if I put in work.

I still have not broken 30 minutes for a 5k, so that is going down this year.  I can do push ups (go me!) so I want to increase those and work on pull ups. The overarching goal is consistency. To stick with it and not sorry too much about outcomes.

The plan is as follows:

  • One Long Run, One Tempo Run, One Interval Day, two full-body weight days and one yoga day. I should be able to separate all runs and strength sessions by minimum 8 hours and generally 24 hours.
  • I may add in easy runs or some cycling and swimming at a recovery level but only if I do not have excessive fatigue. When in doubt, leave it out.
  • Tracking mood and energy levels with nutrition. I am not trying to lose weight, I’m weight stable and have been for four years and my focus for the last year has been getting adequate protein – 100g per day.
  • I need to keep a good handle on sleep hygiene. No caffeine after lunch, get to bed at a consistent time, solid bed time routine.
  • Schedule baseline testing and retests. For me this will include racing with a focus on 5ks. I did a 5k on New Year’s Day and I’m planning to do the same race next year to see my progress.
  • Profit.

-fh

Finally, progress!

Not me y’all, Lake San Antonio!!

Wildflower was cancelled and took the rest of the TriCal season with it, which totally sucks as they have been a bulwark of the independent triathlon scene for a long time. They said that they would return to Wildflower when Lake San Antonio was once again above 20% capacity and they could hold the swim at the Lynch boat ramp.

I’ve been tracking the reservoir levels and they have been dropping, slowly, all year.  Even when the rain started, even when rain fell on the lake, still the level went down. What was going on? Was the ground that dry in the lakebed and watershed that it was all just getting absorbed? Considering how dry it has been for the past five or six years, yeah.

California is in the midst of a massive rain storm and I checked in and yes!!! Lake San Antonio got an inch of rain in one day last week (for non-Californians – that’s a lot) as well as continuing direct rainfall and rain on the watershed. It has gone from 6% full last week to 11% full as of yesterday. That includes an increase in overall depth of more than 12 feet in three days this week and an increase of 1.3 miles in length. If you have been to Lake San Antonio that will mean a lot to you, as the actual lake has been really, really far from the Transition/Finish Line/Festival Area for years.

Now we all now that this was just an elaborate ploy to keep Jesse Thomas from 7-peating but as soon as Wildflower is back, I will be there and I hope you will too.

-FH

This really doesn’t feel very important

Like many people, I’m despondent right now. Triathlon doesn’t seem to be worth anything. Why train at all? Why even try to do anything?

I know that there is tons of advice about picking yourself up and carrying on.

I’m not feeling it. I worked out this morning. I don’t know what the point of it was but I went anyway, so there is that.

I don’t have to do a triathlon or a trail race or a 5k. I can do other things and that’s ok. It doesn’t dishonor or devalue what I’ve done to not keep doing it.