March 13, 2016 - First race of the 2016 season!
I had only started coaching with AJ in December and this was the first race since then, so I was eager to see how much coaching really helps. Boy was I in for a surprise! This race was a warmup race, so to say, for Ironman Florida 70.3 only a month away. Tri camp was last weekend with a lot of training packed into a few days, I knew I would be running on partially tired legs. I was only using this race to shake out the jitters before next month.
This was an ocean swim that was a little shorter (1000m) than the normal 1500m for a true International distance tri. While there was a decent current, swimming in ocean waves was not something I had done in quite a few years. I was nervous about this race partially because I felt I had to perform. I know this isn't the case and everyone can have a bad day, but I felt this subconscious obligation to really do well. Before the swim began my HR was already in the low 100's. Getting into the water I took it easy as I have gone out too fast and found myself gasping for air by 100m. Getting past the initial waves was a little bit of a challenge and I utilized the dives we practiced the weekend earlier. I settled into what I thought was a comfortable pace for me and latched onto someone to draft. We had practiced this the weekend before and it really does help! I wasn't sure what to expect with my swim times. Since working with AJ, I have taken off over 30 seconds per 100. Swimming really is a technique based sport and AJ has been forcing me to confront my weakness, swimming. I was aiming for 20min for the 1000m swim and came in at 19:17. The current was fairly strong so I know that helped but I also know I was a LOT faster than I would have been a few months ago, thanks AJ!
The run to T1 was fairly short and before I knew it I was out on the bike course, which was also shorter, being 34k instead of 40k. My HR monitor was not working properly in the beginning which was frustrating. For the first 6 miles it kept saying my HR was 60-80 bpm. I knew this was quite inaccurate and not sure if there was an issue with the salt water but it slowly started rising, beat by beat and by mile 7 I had a better idea of what effort I was putting out. I had my power meter to go off of as well but felt better knowing my HR as I did not want to go out too fast and pay for it later. It was a 2 loop course so I knew what to expect the second time around and was able to push a little harder on the areas I knew were more open and straight. The bike was very crowded and there was also a sprint distance in this race. I was aiming for an average of 20mph as I didn't know how much I would have left in my legs for a solid run. I ended up averaging 21mph and was quite happy with that. Coming into T2 I was feeling good energy wise. Thanks Infinit Nutrition!
Once I get to the run in any race I feel most comfortable. It is my strongest of the 3 sports and I soon settled into a pace I thought I could keep. The first 2 miles I was right at 7:18 per mile. I was going off my HR and perceived effort at this point but had a rough goal of 7:10 splits overall. I knew I could start picking up the pace at this point. The run was a 2 loop course as well so I knew where the aid stations would be. The run course was just as crowded as the bike course with many sprint distance athletes ahead of me. I was passing a fair amount of people but it was hard to weave through everyone. The last mile I knew I had it in me for a strong finish. The final cheers of people along the beach brought me home and I was able to gut out a 6:48 last mile. I was hoping for 45min and came in at 43:06.
Overall I think I raced a great race. I went a little too conservative in the beginning of the run. I underestimated myself and what I could really do. These were the fastest splits for an Olympic I have ever had so I was very happy with my performance. I have made a lot of changes since working with AJ over the past few months and I'm very excited to see what I can do this season with his help. Just upset at myelf I didn't start coaching with him sooner!
Swim: 1000m in 19:17 (1:44/100yd)
Bike: 34k in 1:00:34 (21mph)
Run: 10k in 43:05 (6:57min/mile)
Total: 2:06:46, 5th 25-29