We just spent two weeks in Florida, on our annual visit to family, combined with a bit of swim, bike and run. When we finished training we would talk – you know, triathlon talk – things like “how do you feel, how do your legs feel, how does being back on the road feel” – boring sports talk that seems so interesting to those involved. For some reason, one morning I just blurted out “You know how it is, suck it up buttercup.”
Suck It Up, Buttercup
This race, being the first of my 2012 triathlon season, was going to be just that – a suck it up test. Suck it up and see how things feel. Dust off the cobwebs and hope that the past months of effort on swimming and running would make up for a lackluster focus on the bike. Cross the fingers and see if the lack of bike focus would be compensated for by the increased twice a week strength work I have been doing. Suck it up and see.
I had one real goal in this race – to break 40 minutes in a 5km run in race conditions.
And I had lots of other little goals. Like swimming hard. Figuring out how to use my new toy (a Garmin 910 XT). Being comfortable on the bike on a rather technical course (lots of tight turns). To remain focused on the race at all times. To not finish last.
Buttercup photo from English Country Garden.
The Big Goal – a Sub 40 Minute Run
YES! Finally! I achieved a Sub-40 minute 5k in a sprint triathlon!
5 years after my first triathlon, 3 years of focused run rehab work, and finally – sub 13 minute miles in race conditions!
It is hard not to smile when you are on the way to meeting a long standing goal.
Photo taken by MauLoa Photography by Cynthia Lawrence
Now, the next goal – to improve this. I’ll be back focused on running form with Kinetic Revolution this week, back working on strength at SITC Bootcamp this week, and back on the treadmill working on speed and enduring speed this week.
Once you get a taste of success and meeting a long standing goal, you just don’t want that to slide away!
The Things That Need Some Work
Due to my incompetency with working a Garmin I raced blind, with no data. No heart rate, no time, I neglected to check that my magnets were aligned on my bike so no speed or cadence data. Blind racing, all by feel. Blind racing is a good test – I now know that I have it in me to race harder than I think I can. I need to trust that when I think I am going hard, I can probably go just a little harder, as I have a tendency to hold back just a little bit.
The need to blind race, though, taught me that I need to be better at checking all the small things. Like checking magnet alignment.
I also need to learn how to use my Garmin. It is new, a new toy, but I definitely need to practice using it. It is just not natural for me to push buttons mid-race when the only data I have ever seen has been time and heart rate on my Polar. Something to practice in the coming weeks.,
I had a horrible time in my run transition (T2). I was using new versions of my Push Aequi Ortho ankle orthotics – which are not the best for support but which are totally passable and the only thing I have found that can work in race conditions (Velcro based supports are a must in a triathlon transition, there is just no time for other forms). Anyway, as I have used these for years, even though these particular braces were new, I didn’t think “hey these are new” and worry about them. Big error. I need to put numbers on the straps so I can easily put them on strapping them in the right order – I had to undo one brace and re-velcro it as I did step 3 before step 2. And I also had to stop mid run and re-tie my shoe, as I had not laced it tight enough to hold foot plus brace in shoe. Whoops.
On the orthotics theme, I’m continuing to look into a more stable bracing solution. I have been using lace-up Swede-O Ankle Lok braces in run training, with no race pressure. I need to locate and try the Velcro version of the Ankle Lok. And one of the specialist orthotists recommended I also try out the Bioskin Tri Lok. In my quest to find a better solution I guess I will try that too.
Things That Went Well That I’ll Continue
I did a great job of staying race focused – perhaps for the first time in a race I did not let my mind wander on the cycle portion. Okay – it did wander a little bit when I rode past the Arepa food truck – but not for long. I was in the moment and concentrated hard on each part of the race. I’m pleased with that.
I trialled my 2XU tri kit, which worked super well. I am sending it off to the printers this week to be emblazoned with a few logos of some of my key supporters (Motion Junkies and Punk Rock Racing) as well as the CMTA, who I am racing in support of once again but wearing their logo for the first time this year.
For my next races I need to go back to taping my Endurolytes onto my race number. Florida was hot – Austin will be hot too – and I do better if I take Endurolytes after an hour of racing.
And I’d like to keep bringing my sister to triathlons – this was her first time at a triathlon, and the first time I had family there with me (besides DH who races too). It was great. And, since she’s a photographer we got some sweet photos too! We are putting a plan into action for Austin in May – the US Paratriathlon Nationals, my next race – and I hope she can join me. We will make it happen!