Last fall I decided that part of turning forty and being single would be getting custom triathlon coaching! I’ve been doing that for a while, which is it’s own thing, and this was my first race with actual “Coach’s Orders!”
I’ve done the Discovery Bay Sprint tri as my first race of the season the last three years. It’s a grassroots race, field is capped at 300 for both Sprint and Olympic Distances, and I get there early enough to park about 30 yards from transition.
I was oddly nervous this year. I actually got into open water before the start of my racing season, which was the day before. I had a sort of rough go of it, nutrition was off, and that was in my head so I had extra swim anxiety on top my pre-existing swim anxiety.
I just wasn’t as dialed in as I have been for some other races. I forgot my race belt (managed to borrow the exact same race belt that I have from a teammate, go OTC!) I was feeling just a bit lost all morning. I was ten minutes behind schedule when I got into line for the porta potty the last time. Now this isn’t late, it’s just that I was behind perfect and I knew it. The nerves were horrendous. I was practically crying. But there was about 5% of me looking at this saying “Wow, these are some really bad race day nerves!” and not participating in the breakdown.
I nattered at a random person as I walked down to the water and that helped. I saw another ETPA athlete and got some water off of them for the dry mouth that had developed. I was able to zip up my wetsuit with no help!!
SWIM 700 Yards 15:44 2:15/100 Overall Place 70/114
I jumped in with about three minutes before the first wave and six minutes before my race start. It was cold this year! about 58 was what I heard and I felt that all the way in my chest. Brain freeze and yay! more panic. I just held on to the dock and waited for the men’s wave to go.
They went and I took some strokes to get the sighting line right, check my goggle fit, make sure my goggles weren’t fogging up too much. Then it was go time. For all the nerves, I was fine when the horn sounded and we were off.
The word from Raeleigh was to find my edge. Well, I didn’t. I’ve had a mantra for swimming for a while and I lost it. I swam strongly but not as fast as I could have. I tried to kick up my pace once or twice but my chest started to get tight and I just backed right off. My head game was not all the way there and I knew it.
I stayed patient, I kept my strokes long and I kept swimming all the way to the end. No in swim panic, just steady effort.
And when I came out I saw that I hadn’t actually started my watch, so no data beside time. I staggered when I came out which probably cost me a couple of seconds to the timing mat, but that’s all part of the game and it counts.
(Last year was 17:10 – two years ago was 15:39, feeling pretty good about that!)
T2 – 4:39
I was shaky as hell. Heart racing, dizzy. Trying to jog all the way but also trying to got some semblance of control. Top half of the wetsuit off, cap and goggle off on the run up. Had to sit down to get my wetsuit off, feeling slow as anything and like always – top half for speed. 2018 T1 – 5:38.
Bike – 16 miles 58:08 86/114
On the bike I had a power target to meet, not too slow, not too fast. I had to do some watch wrangling to get my power displayed. No riding to feel today! I forgot to lube my bike shoes, so I got to practice really shoving my feet in. I did a big practice session a couple of weeks before for getting into/out of my shoes on the bike, I just forgot I’d be wet this time. Took some breaths and did the thing.
I sat down and tried to match my effort to my target power. It was tough because there were gusting winds, slight rises and depressions and changing road surface. My right hip started to complain about half way through and I was on the look out for having to call it a day. No idea what it was but it didn’t carry on to the run, so I’ll call it stiffness and carry on. After the race my average ride power was exactly in the zone I was aiming for and I rode in under an hour so I am well happy with it.
Last year was a 59:41, so again, improving!
T2 – 1:02
My pride and joy! Which I just whiffed. I couldn’t find my spot! I was just blanking and my towel had gotten thrown over my shoes and I was just dazed and confused for a couple of seconds.
I managed to get it parked and then it was just odd. My brain could not quite wrap around what I was doing. Still grabbed my stuff and got going, just not as fast as usual.
Run 5k (it was long, if Garmin is to be believed) 38:54 12:33 pace 95/114
The run was pretty nice! We had lovely weather all day, low 60s, clear, and dry. Some wind but nothing heinous. I got myself all together, heart rate monitor slipped but I got that sorted set off at my target heart rate.
It’s an out and back so I spent my time cheering on everyone who was coming towards me and everyone who was passing me. It was very, very relaxing to not have to decide whether I was going to chase any of the people who passed me. I had a target and I was going to hit it and that was my whole job.
,Some shin splints for the first mile or so but no serious issues, no blisters either. I gave a tiny kick at the end and that was that. Saw teammates, had a beer and then went for my cool down. Yep, I finished my race and then went running again.
All in all I had fun, I had a very controlled race, I was happy with having a race plan to race to and then racing to the plan. Discovery Bay gets a little better every year, they are very good about incorporating racer feedback. This year they moved a water stop so we hit it twice during the 5k instead of just once at the turnaround.
All things being equal, I’ll probably be out there next year!