A few days post-race and I’m sick. I felt really good — never sore — until Tuesday afternoon, when my body decided it was over this whole thing and really didn’t want to allow me to go for my interval ride. Eleven hours of sleep later and I feel worse. Damn you, cold/flu/allergies/post-race meltdown.
Goal #1: PR — sub – 6:00
Before the race, I felt pretty confident I could at least PR. Kinetic is much flatter than Half Full, my last race, and my average speeds for that event were definitely reasonable, if not a little bit slow for my current fitness level. After crushing National and Boston, I knew my base training would serve me well. With a 5:12:36, I PR’d by nearly 50 minutes. Check.
Goal #2: Podium
As I wrote in the original post, my age group is pretty small, giving me more opportunity to be in the top three. Well, not only did I win 20-24, I had the fastest swim and bike splits (interestingly, only the third fastest run). And I placed 19th overall for women. As my third AG win and fourth podium finish since I started this crazy sport, I’m pretty amped. Check.
Goal #3: Qualify for Halfmax
Well, to do this I needed a 5:40 finish time (done, easily) or a top-two age group finish (also, done). Whether or not I do this race is still up for debate. It’s just four weeks after IM, a period during which I imagine I’ll still be recovering and certainly not ready to build back up to race-ready shape. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be physically or mentally up for racing again on Oct. 8. I would really like to do the race this year while I’m still in 20-24 and am more likely to qualify for a Team USA spot, but my performance still earns me entry for 2012 and I *imagine* I will settle in with 70.3 as my primary focus next season. So, we’ll see, but at least I qualified. Check.
Goal #4: sub…5:30
Yes, if you guessed 5:30 as my goal time, you were right. Based on what I thought I could hold in terms of average speed for each leg and adding in some cushion for transitions, I thought this was a tough but reasonable thing to shoot for. I really wanted a sub-3:00 bike split (at 2:44, check) and was hoping for a 1:45-1:50 13.1 (check) and a 00:35 swim (check). I was a little bit disappointed with both of these legs and know I can do better, but my bike time more than made up for that. So, like Boston, this was my day and my race. I dominated Kinetic. Check.
Goal #5: Smile
I didn’t include this in my original goal post, but in reviewing old race photos I noticed that I have a huge smile on my face at all stages of the game. And I had so many people comment to me both during and after Kinetic that I was smiling like crazy and seemed so happy every time they saw me. Ron said I made it look easy while everyone else around me looked miserable. Rachel and Megan captured many goofy and happy faces on camera throughout the event. And fellow competitors Katie and Emily noted that I looked strong and comfortable out on the course. The fact that I managed to pull this off when I would have traded an arm or a leg to be at the finish line and off that damn run course is an accomplishment in and of itself. This triathlete’s excitement rolls on. Check.
So, I’m lucky enough to be able to say I hit all my goals, some in a major way. I also want to review some of the ups and downs of the race. There were definitely some of each.
It was an awesome day for:
The bike. With a 2:44 split and a nearly 21mph average speed for 56 miles, this was a killer segment of my race. I’ve always considered the ride to be my weakest discipline, but I actually love being on the bike and am seeing so much progress that it may be catching up to the swim and run.
Transitions. For having no practice at all, these went shockingly smoothly. The wetsuit came right off, I remembered everything I needed to take out on the bike and run, I moved quickly and always knew which was was up/forward in terms of getting in and out of both T1 and T2. With a little more practice, I could get these down to nothing.
Support. In addition to my awesome friends, who drove all the way down to Lake Anna at the crack of dawn to spectate in the misty rain, I knew a huge number of competitors and saw many of them at various points during the day — while trying to stay calm before the swim, at the top of the huge hill on the run, on the course out-and-backs and screaming like crazy at the finish. I’ve said this before, but I love tris for this reason.
My confidence. This almost goes without saying, but a 5:12 and an AG win are huge accomplishments for me and really take this whole thing to the next level. With some more thoughtful training, a better nutrition strategy and more miles in every discipline, I think I’ve got a good tri career ahead of me.
It was a not-so-great day for:
Sighting. As I said in my race report, my goggles fogged, the course wasn’t well-marked and the lake was really misty. I haven’t done any open water yet this season and this leg clearly needs some work. I’m a speedster in the pool when I can just follow that black line, but the lake is a whole different beast. Adding this to my list of things I need to practice before Musselman and certainly before IM.
Nutrition. Man. Did this ever suck. I nearly blew up on the run thanks to my super crappy nutrition. I had a plan that I’d practiced and everything, and it was actually a pretty thoughtful one. But, as AJ said in a post-race debrief, even with careful planning sometimes your body just doesn’t take things as planned. My general strategy was to hold off on doing anything until the bike, where I’d drink water every 15 minutes starting at :30 and eat every half hour starting at :45. My plan was to do half an Uncrustable, then the other half, then 3 Shot Bloks, then 3 more, then Gu for the remaining time for which I needed to eat. Well, that’s all well and good when on our more casual burrito rides or when we’re stopped for a break, but when you’re flying at 20-plus PB&J doesn’t go down quite so well. So I ate it in thirds and hated every minute of it, feeling like I was going to suffocate. That took me to 1:45. Around 2:00 I ran out of water in my aero bottle and couldn’t reach down to grab my second bottle without nearly falling off my bike. And bottle exchanges freak me out. So I only had 28oz of water for the entire leg. Fail. When I got to T2 I scarfed down a Gu and a few sips of water in hopes of making up some of that calorie/hydration deficit. I got water every 2 miles out on the run because I was thirsty and I thought it would make me feel better, but I just ended up feeling bloated and yucky for the whole thing. All I could think was that I would have given anything not to feel that way. I also didn’t pee before the start — and therefore not for the entire race — which totally didn’t help. In any case, I know my run would have been at least a few minutes faster without these problems because my legs felt AWESOME. I’ll be reevaluating this and testing out some new products.
Gear. I tried on my tri suit when our team kits first arrived earlier this spring, but somehow the shorts now are too big. So uncomfortable on the bike. I borrowed Hillary’s extra shorts/top, but it was super stressful getting all that together on race morning and I was literally running to the swim start while pulling all this on. I also chafed like crazy from my bathing suit while on the bike despite a crazy amount of Body Glide, but at our blogger dinner I learned I’ve been going about the underwear/swimsuit situation all wrong. Why didn’t anyone tell me this before? So, armed with my new knowledge I hope never to experience this damn chafing again.
So, Kinetic was a huge success, an awesome start to the race season and the perfect benchmark/learning experience for Musselman, IM and beyond. 5:12:36?!? I’m still beaming 🙂