With my second triathlon season under my belt, I have to say I am pretty pleased. It all started in April with the Rumpass in Bumpass RV-ing experience. Every 4 weeks after that there was another race!
This made for a really busy season! All races were Olympic distance with the exception of one sprit over in Seattle, and I tended to qualify them ALL as “A” races. Even though my Coach said that we could not treat all of the races as “A” races, I certainly did!
I definitely had my struggles through out the season, but I also had some great breaking points. Unfortunately the fact that I still manage to get out of the water 6-7 minutes behind the leaders is mind-boggling! I’m so much faster in the pool… where do I go on these swim courses?? I will be working on the swim thing through out the off-season, hopefully next year I can have a fair start with the other athletes! ITU is definitely not in my future!
Now, you might be asking why I waited for 3 weeks to write up my End of Season Report, after all my last race was October 2nd?! And I’m glad you asked because there is a bit of a story. After focusing and really pushing all season, I had my heart on the line for the race in my hometown. It pains me to tell you this, but I was really disappointed in myself for my performance in this race. Now, granted I placed well, but I didn’t have the race that I thought I could, and there were some low moments on the run. Honestly, after that race, I didn’t really want to race the last three races on the schedule.
But then Vegas happened! Yes, Las Vegas was an impacting experience for me. And for those wondering, NO there were no slot machines, alcohol, or strippers involved… in the “impaction” anyways.
I arrived at Sin City to lend a hand to The Boss at InterBike. Here I met a lot of really cool people who were advocates for the sport no matter what your level of racing. Here’s one of my favorites- Bob Roll! This guy has entertained me through many trainer rides!
During the InterBike festivities I found a “news rack” that provided free magazines to registrants at the convention. More importantly I found the Inside Triathlon magazine issue that focused on the mentality of this sport. One article left me spinning, “Are you a Quitter?” The article was pretty harsh towards well known and highly regarded female triathlete Paula Newby-Fraser, who had previously won 7 Ironman World Championships. It was 1995, when Paula demonstrated “one of the most spectacular bonks in triathlon history”. A mere 200 yards from the finish with 11 minutes in the lead… she bonked. “weaved like a drunk person” and sat down on the road for over 20 minutes before she could pull herself together and walk across the finish line, 4th place.
As I read on, the article asked exercise physiologist, Samuele Marcora, for his opinion on this event. He responded with “She just plain quit”. Say WHAT? I don’t think so my friend, 7 time Ironman World Champ a quitter? Say it aint so! He continued to say, that her muscles were perfectly capable of getting her across that finish line, and the feeling of being physically incapable was an illusion, “she just couldn’t take the suffering any longer…she voluntarily stopped and sat down.” (Me wonders if this cat has ever finished an ironman race himself?).
Anyways, I’m not totally convinced that this “Exercise Physiologist” has his head on straight, but it was definitely a kick in the pants for me. I’m not competing in Ironman distances, I’m just running a freaking 10k (granted after a bit of swimming and biking)! What is my problem? So I took this article to heart, and raced that weekend with the mantra “Do not quit” and “Really, you can run faster that this”.
Keeping in mind that my race day heart rate plan (for the run) usually consists of the fist 3 miles 187-190, then the second half 190-194…
…I would like to present to you my Heart Rate data for the Las Vegas Triathlon. While I know some of you will reply with “there is something wrong with your HR strap”, I promise you there is not. If you’ve ever run with me before you know that I am an outlier in the Heart Rate world, and my Coach who has been fighting an internal struggle for 2 years with my Heart Rate Zones vs. Perceived Level of Effort can also vouch. In the meantime, these were well beyond my “194 max”!
This shows a total of 33 minutes above 200 beats per minute! Yikes! I called my Coach after the race and told him that I have never been so proud of myself for anything before… I worked so hard in this race, and mentally did not stop. This race course was by far the most challenging course of the season, in some of the hottest temps…
Now you’re still tapping your finger saying, “you still haven’t told us why this post has taken 3+ weeks to conjure up!!” Well, the thing was, is after the race we were told the awards would not be for another hour. So The Boss and I headed back to the hotel to checkout, grab our bags, and be ready to head straight to the airport. We arrived back at the race venue a mere 40 minutes later and ALL of the awards had finished.. relays, sprint, and Olympic! WHAT? You and I both know that awards take at least a half and hour (at least!!!)… so that meant that they held the awards just 10 minutes after we asked and heard the announcement. The lady REFUSED to dig my award out of the box and assured me that they would mail it! Really? Would it not have been more cost efficient to just turn, bend over, and pick it up? Refused…
So finally it arrived! (and thus why the post has just hit the news stand!)
I thought it was strange that I received 1st place age group, since I was 3rd place over all, but I was later informed that they didn’t “do” overall standings. At this point… whatever!
Finally the last race of the season was Giant Acorn. This was in fact my 3rd weekend in a row racing, and I was beat up! But I continued with my “don’t quit, you can runner faster than this” mantra for this race, and I was quite relieved to have not actually lost time in comparison to my Rumpass race earlier the year (exact same course). Coach said I would easily have peeled off 9-10 minutes from my Acorn finishing time had I tapered properly for this race and not raced the two consecutive weekends before. This “predicted” time would have actually put me in contention for (likely for) the top of the women’s podium, so I can’t complain about that. Second place Age Group will have to do!