Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lake Stevens 70.3 Race Report

In short:  I got the race I trained and prepared for.

The long version:  it begins with context.  I registered for a race called Leadman last December.  The race has a long swim (5K, 3.1 miles), a long bike (223K, 139 miles), and a short run (22K, 14 miles), and it’s on September 20th in Bend, OR.  While I’ve getting a good amount of strong cycling in this summer, I haven’t been able to get really focused on the other disciplines of triathlon:  swimming, running, diet, and transition.  So, a few weeks ago I decided to sign up for IM Lake Stevens 70.3 to get some race experience under my belt and transition from cyclist to triathlete.  

The race was a great reminder of things not to do and a wake-up for things I need to do in the next few weeks to prep for Leadman.  Some learnings / reminders:

  • Practice with your gear before the race:  I had ridden my tri bike exactly one time this summer, for a 7 mile round trip commute last week.   I set up my hydration system the day before the race and put the bento box on the bike in transition.  I found I couldn’t get suction on the straw of the hydration system and it wasn’t until after I futzed with it for many miles on the bike that I finally accidentally ripped off the rubber bite valve and it started working (I’d been mentally trying to figure out how I’d drink if it never started working).  The bento kept bouncing around until I finally decided to stop on the side of the road to secure it (watching many people I’d just passed ride by).
  • Practice transitions:  any experienced triathletes would have been appalled watching me in transition.  Just stupid things, like forgetting my number when I headed out on the run and taking too much time trying to put my hat on.  This was really just a matter of not spending some time mentally rehearsing the day before.
  • Practice taking on water on the bike:  I almost crashed a few times in years past trying to grab fluids on the bike, so Sunday I stopped completely to get water.  Wouldn’t have slowed me down too much, but I’d forgotten how to fill my quick-fill bottle and spent too much time filling up.
  • Practice peeing on the bike:  nope; not planning on being “pro” on this one any time soon.
  • Be realistic about your goals:  I claimed not to have any time goals for the race, and found myself disappointed by my swim and pushing to meet an arbitrary time on the bike.
  • Recognize what support system you have and what you need.  Late spring / early summer, I lost two big training supports.  The pool where I’d been swimming closed, and with it went my training partners and masters workout.  I have had a hard time getting motivated to get in the water  since then and haven’t been able to push myself on pace or distance the same way.  I have a friend I was running with every week who had to stop running due to injury in May.  Without that motivation to get up early and run, I’ve been pushing things later and compromising distance and core work that I used to do regularly.

All this said, my race turned out pretty well.  My swim was slow, but I finished the bike in under 3 hours and the run under 2 with a total time only 5 minutes off of my best time on the same course 2 years ago.  I really enjoyed spending time with Elly over the weekend and it was great having Allison, Chuck, Dawn, and Jeff there to support us.  I also saw many other tri-friends on the course and the sidelines, which made for a very fun day.