Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Race Report! Las Vegas Triathlon Club Sprint (season opener)

Ha! Take that Season Opener!

This was an awesome race for me. It served as a motivational kicker for the next phase of training. It had a little bit of hero worship, a lot of support, fun, camaraderie, and me learning to push myself harder for better results. What more could I have asked for? Nothing. Loved this race.

Very grateful for this race and to be a part of the Las Vegas Triathlon Club!

I was nervous going into this. Having slacked off on some of the race week workouts, and having struggled with my eating for a couple of weeks prior, I had to take several deep breaths and trust that I'm in good shape and that I always come through for myself.

Talked out my race plan with Coach early in the week and knew it was doable and that I believed in it.

To get in the spirit I had Brinley pose with my bike the day before the race. That was fun since most of the time she loves doing what I ask of her.

My cute Girl!

The race started at 10am. Can you say IDEAL time for a sprint. Seriously! I may be an athlete but I hate getting up super early. Glad the tri club scheduled it that way while it's still nice and cool out!

Got down there, got registered and got my spot in transition. Easy Breezy!


Did my 10 minute run warm up per the race plan. Melted 90% of the pre-race nerves away. Warm ups: Do them!

Squeezed into my wetsuit and went down to the water for my swim warm up.

OH MY @*&# GOD THAT'S COLD.

Yeah.

Walked in waist deep then took the plunge.

Oh dear *@&#& my face is going to freeze off. I'll be faceless. Can I function without a face?

Hands and face are always last to acclimate.

Swam around for a few minutes, my face wouldn't warm up so I cut the warm up short and stood in the water waist deep until they called us to shore. Wondering how I would do in my first wetsuit swim since I don't remember when.

Swim (450 meters)

I lined up on the left side mid pack. Seconds after the gun went off and we started my face and hands magically warmed up. YES! The power of the warm up! Don't ever skip it! For the rest of the swim the water felt wonderfully cool and refreshing.

Aside from feeling like I need to re-learn to swim in my wetsuit the swim was uneventful. Experienced a mild moment of panic before hitting the first buoy but it passed quickly. The water was choppy, and a lot of people were breast stroking, which meant I had to get around them and avoid being kicked. The last leg was the best because the chop helped me glide along to a strong finish.

I got out of the water somewhere in the mid (maybe front of the back I don't know exactly) pack, quite pleased with myself.

Once I peeled the top of my wetsuit down I ran up to transition, eager to get on the bike.

T1

Slow and awkward. My hands were cold and my gloves took forever to put on. Diligent practice will bring this time down.

Bike (12.3 miles)

My plan called for me to take the first couple of minutes easy and then push it by feel. So I did that. The course was a little over twelve miles so I knew approximately where the turnaround was going to be. It came up quickly -- on the way back we were pounded by a mean headwind up some hills. My legs started to protest but I kept pushing. This is 12 miles not 56! Let's GO!!!!!!!

My body was more than ready for this!

On the way back after the turnaround a guy passed me, said "Hi Stefanie," and braked to ride even with me. I was delighted, even though I wasn't sure exactly who it was. We talked for a moment, he said I looked great, I said he looked great, we said the weather was pretty good even with the wind and then he rode on . . . . COOL right! Who does that?? People in this sport that's who!!

For a few brief moments up the final hill I started whining, complaining, and swearing about where the F&^K was the final turnaround!

Per my race plan, I allowed this rant to rattle around in my head briefly then rattle on out. My legs were hurting, which was GOOD! Overall I was doing a good job of staying in the moment and not letting thoughts linger for long. Garrett Kramer wrote the most awesome book ever on this very thing called Stillpower -- I read it after Coach blogged about it and can't recommend it highly enough! I'll be re-reading parts of it throughout the season.

Reached the second turnaround and took advantage of the screaming downhill into transition.

T2

Pretty good! Nothing earth shattering happened here.

Run (5k)

Felt awesome starting the run. Plan was to start out easy and then for the second half push like it was a run test. Gulp. I was afraid to do that. Afraid to hurt too badly. My legs already hurt from the ride . . . .

The run course started out flat, then onto a hill, then flat, then downhill. Two laps. I hit the hill and started to feel like crap. The wind was pounding me from the side, offering a lot of resistance. It's here that in the past I would have stopped to walk and the run would have devolved into a mini 5k death march. Not anymore.

All the hill training Liz makes me do is paying off. I just ran through the crappy feeling until I started feeling strong again. Sticking with the plan.

Then Pierre passed me and said "Stefanie, looking good!!" I recognized what he was wearing and realized it was he who had talked to me on the bike. Seeing Pierre twice was a highlight of the race. Seeing Pierre is always a highlight of any race.

Some of you may remember (way) back when I did the Utah Half Iron in 2009. Pierre had come in first or second in that race and was done just as I was starting the run. That bike ride had been tough and my mind was in a very DARK angry place starting the run. I was in transition seriously considering quitting.

Some kind words from Pierre in those moments helped turn that around. He recognized me from Silverman, immediately knew I was in trouble and stopped to let me know I'd be okay out there. I'll never forget that as long as I live so when I see Pierre out racing . . . . well . . . . I just love seeing him. He's so kind and generous and inspiring. He does stuff like slow down on the bike course to say hi. He makes being awesome (and an awesomely fast elite athlete) seem effortless. Mild case of hero worship never hurt anyone right?!

On the second lap up the hill I turned up the heat. Kicked it up a notch. Since I normally don't do this (because I'm too afraid to really hurt) it's new territory for me. It felt good and bad. Mentally it felt fantastic!

By the time I crested the hill I was going nearly all out. Back on the downhill again I turned it up even more, focusing on allowing myself to run faster, especially with the help of gravity! Fast turnover! Pretend this is a run test!! Go, go go!!! Allow this to happen!! Push it! Goooo!!!

At maybe a quarter mile out I had a guy in my sights. Update: The results are in and it was D'Andre Childs! He wasn't running all out (not nearly) so I knew I could probably catch him. Sure enough I caught him and I think he realized I was trying to finish strong because he sped up and said "come on! Stay with me! Do it!" I sped up and he paced me to a rocking finish!!!!! Thanks D'Andre!

I cannot over state how much I love this sport and the Las Vegas Triathlon Club! There's always someone around to say a kind word and give support. I gave D'Andre a hug and thanked him . . . WHOOP!!

Truth be told I needed this race! Training for months on end was starting to feel stale. Really glad that our season here in the desert southwest is underway. Feels like my batteries are recharged.

AND I feel like I can throw down a PR time at Rage on 4/21. RAGE! Let's go!!! 


7 comments:

Lisa said...

great job! :-)

paulag said...

So awesome! Love you sharing this...and it's just the start. LOVE when something takes the stale out of the discipline that goes into anything worth doing.

(and you already know how much I think Stillpower is gospel)

Hugs!

Molly said...

Great job! Glad you really put it all out there! And a good lesson in mental toughness :)

Debra said...

Congratulations, Stef! It's an honor and an inspiration to "witness" your race through your blog. Can't to be there live with you at Worlds!!!!

Love,
Debra

Wes said...

Hey you! What happened to my Stef and what did you do to her? Congratulations! This is huge! You are off to a banging start!

Kathy said...

Great job!!! What a fantastic boost!

Tea said...

This was such an excellent race report, made better by the fact that I will be doing my first sprint in 3 years (in June). AND my first tri in 2 years. To say, I'll be a nervous wreck, is an understatement.

THANK YOU for this. Congratulations on an excellent race.