Monday, July 18, 2011

Mass State Tri Race Report

James and I drove up Saturday afternoon, I picked up my packet and we scouted the course. Looked the same as last year ;-) except that my perspective is a little different. The water was 76F so wetsuits were legal and after wading into the water I decided that I would wear my wetsuit and deal with the increased T1 time.

We went for an early dinner at the Gardner Ale House. Same as last year. Had an amazing appetizer of greek salad, hummus, babaganoush, and pita. I then put away the better part of a cheese pizza and brought the rest back to the motel. Motel was pretty nice, had A/C, microwave and a fridge. I prepped my nutrition and we settled in for the evening.

I didn't sleep very well, seemed to be waking up every hour on the hour. Not nervous, just not finding my sleep groove. I got up just before 5am and had my tradition 2 bertucci's rolls, banana and diet soda. I did some mobility exercises and ran through the morning in my head. We packed up and were out the door by just before 6am. We made the 25 minute drive back to the race venue and I got my transition set up. I then posed for some ridiculous photos:
Muscle shot (kind of) = Getting MANIC!

Last season as a F25-29

New ridiculous pose!
 After the national anthem we all headed over to wait in our waves. The morning was quickly warming up and I was afraid I'd overheat in my wetsuit.
Fake smile much?

Eventually it was time to get in the water and get this party started!

Per my plan I lined up toward the front at the right. I had been talking with some ladies in my wave and it seemed like it was gonna be a speedy bunch. I was hoping for some good feet to latch onto. The cannon boomed and we were off. The speedsters were super fast. The person I was hoping to follow was too fast for me so I let her go and found someone with a nice quick turnover and swim next to her. We swam together for almost the whole course. I'm not sure if she was glad or not to have the company. When we started catching the wave ahead of us she took the most aggressive line, even if it was through me, every time. It was fine with me, I was glad to have someone to swim with. Without a watch I didn't know how I was doing time wise but felt like I was certainly swimming harder than in past races but was nowhere near a red zone. I swam all the way till my fingers hit the sandy bottom and popped up. Ran into transition while pulling my suit down to my waist. Still no idea of my swim time. In T1 I saw James and as I was ready to grab my bike asked him my time. He said he thought I was in the 27's. That seemed impossible. But lo and behold he was right! A good fast (much faster than intended) swim. I tried not to lolly-gag in transition but still had a slow (relative to my competitors) t1 time. I took endurolytes and drank some water before heading out.

Swim: 24:10 (58/382)

T1: 2:25

Got out on the bike and spun for the first mile or two. I knew I'd hit the big hill at mile 5 so wanted to bank time but also didn't want to jack my heartrate too much. The bike was relatively uneventful. A fair number of guys passed me, but far fewer than in past races. A few women passed but nothing like in past races. I sort of wondered where everyone was. First and second lap were evenly paced. Both a little slower by my garmin than I was hoping but there were a fair number of small(ish) hills on the backside side of the loop where the roads were very pitted that slowed things down (other than the big hill). Was pleased with my effort and pacing throughout. Both laps felt good. My new Adamo Road saddle was super comfy!

Bike: 1:20:13 (174/377)

 Back in transition I took more endurolytes, slid my feet into my kinvaras, messed with my bondi band and got going. Still a slowish transition...not sure why.
T2: 1:51
Not a flying dismount

I look puzzled

Out on the run I could feel the day getting warm but there was a nice tree cover on the run course. James yelled to me "just like our tempo runs" as I headed out. As I got going there was a guy just ahead of me who seemed to be running a good pace (as opposed to a freakish pace like some of the other guys). I didn't think too much about staying with him initially but quickly realized we were well matched. I stuck behind him and just listened to my breathing and turnover. I didn't look at my garmin until it beeped 1 mile and saw a 7:57. Oh my! That's fast! Quick body scan, feeling good. Kept with the same rhythm and just settled in. Lost the guy at the 1.5mi water station and kept trucking. Mile 2 beeped 7:59. Made a mental note of it of the variety "good, I banked a minute for when things get hairy later."

Miles 3 and 4 are sort of rolling hills and where I expected to lose time. I don't know what happened but I guess I got into a zone here. I saw the lead females coming back and started counting women. I cheered them on for a bit then decided to conserve energy (air). I got passed and passed women equally. Few men passed (likely they had all gotten ahead of me on the bike), but I passed my fair share. When I hit the turnaround there were 21 women ahead of me. As I started counting women behind me (them still on the out, with me on the back), there were a lot of them within half a mile of me (like 15). I worried a little about how many people would pass in the last 2 miles. I hit the hill that wrecked me last year and just told myself not to worry about pace and just do whatever I needed to without redlining. The wasn't so bad. ! ? ! ? As I came to the top there was a woman who had been 50m ahead of me for almost 2 miles who came within my grips. Here heart rate monitor started beeping at her menacingly and she slowed right as we crested. I didn't want to pass (and have her chasing me) but she slowed and I went by. Then a woman in my age group came flying from behind. I could hear her wicked cadence. She passed me easily. Through this whole time I hadn't looked at my garmin. Unheard of.

At mile 5 I was amazed to find myself still feeling good and checked my lap pace 7:58, with average pace also 7:58. I was very surprised, but in a mellow sort of way. I resolved at this point to hold the sub-8 (IMPOSSIBLE!) pace til the end. I didn't want to kick just yet. At mile 5.5 I came up on 3 men and ran with them for a bit. With half a mile left I expected them to pick it up but they didn't. A voice in my head said "Go!" and I did. Not a sprint, just and upsurge. One of the guys yelled "Go get'm!" - it was just what I needed to hear.

It doesn't look like I'm kicking but I've opened a gap on those guys behind me regardless
At mile 6 it was time to really push. And I did. As I came through the chute and stopped my watch it read 49:50. UNTHINKABLE!
So fast I'm blurry ;-)

Run: 49:50 (108/376)

I did my traditional knee grabbing and wind sucking and found James. I felt good! Then I made the mistake of eating a bite of watermelon and my system got very angry. Ten minutes later I went to the bathroom/shed to change and lost a bit of my nutrition. It was nothing that some ice cream wouldn't fix half an hour later.

Turns out that James, in the excitement of the start and the frenzy of photo taking forgot to start his watch, so I didin't know my overall time. Although I knew it was good. Very good for me. We waited for results to get posted.

A real smile, for an awesome PR!
Overall: 2:38:27 (8/28AG, 22/157 Female, 117/376 Overall)

A nearly 25 minute PR!!!!!

Things that went well:
1. Swimming harder. From what I can tell, no negative effects from adding a little bit of pace. May consider this for FirmMan.
2. Even pacing on the bike.
3. No ego on the bike.
4. Nutrition was spot on.
5. Endurolytes! I often don't do the whole electrolytes thing as evenly on long efforts as I should. Some part of me thinks that my great run may have been due to this magical little pills!
6. The RUN!!! I've never been in a groove on a run like this before. Not looking at my garmin and just going was great. Distracting myself by counting woman also seemed to work quite well (perhaps because there were - for once - far more behind me than ahead of me). Had I seen either my mile 3 or 4 splits I think it would have messed with my groove (mile 3 was "too fast" and mile 4 was "too slow") and I would have told myself that I was about to fall apart.
7. Even effort throughout. I am amazed at the difference a year makes. Last year this was my first race. At the time it was a huge accomplishment to finish. I tapered before the race and needed time after to recover. This year my fitness is clearly at another level. My energy was so even. I didn't fatigue. I had a kick at the end. Its not just that I went faster, its that I am able to go at a harder effort for longer. Its very cool to see and feel that.

As seems to be my tradition - today - the day after the race I am beating up on myself for not being better, faster, leaner. While my race kit was comfortable, as the photos attest, it was not attractive. Body composition needs work. Major work. Racing Weight and Thrive are on my immediate to-read list. Also, a weird turn of events. The woman I passed at mile 4 - she is 30. I stared at her calf for a long time. She won the 30-34 AG. I came in 8th in my AG. Do I want to be 30? Not really, but I'm crossing over in 6 months anyway...if only, if only, if only.


  1. Awesome work! 25 minute PR!!?! That is some crazy improvement.

    Good luck aging up.

  2. congrats on a 25min PR!! was sorry to miss the race this year :)

  3. Breakthrough race!!!! All of this training over the past few years has finally added up to this moment and POW! You get these speedy results. Congrats!