Sunday, April 22, 2012

RAGE Race Report (PRs!)

RAGE Bike Course Picture from

I have to say! It was tough! Which is normal, because, it's RAGE! Hot and hilly.

Brief Recap

1500 meter swim
25 mile bike
6.2 mile run

I got a PR in the swim which I was totally NOT expecting and squeaked by with a PR on the bike. The run . . . ah the run . . . unfortunately did not go exactly as planned. And my transitions were slow.

Overall Time: 4:05:01 -- (or 4:58 off of a PR, 5:02 off my goal). I was looking to break 4 hours and was reasonably close. My initial disappointment was dissipated by the overall awesomeness of the day.

They changed the course this year.

On the bike I would say it made it a smidge harder. The run, probably about the same. [I'd be curious to hear opinions from other tri club peeps on this]. The run could have been a bit harder too. For the sake of this report we'll just say that it was. :-)~~


Detailed Recap:

My swim wave didn't start until 8am but I got there at 6. I like to get a good spot, take my time setting up and not feel rushed. Transition was about a mile long and they had athletes grouped together by length of race. I saw Heather, Brooke, and several other LV tri club members in transition before our start.

Tony was there doing the sprint relay with his son Todd. Todd remarked that he heard that my training was going really well. I replied that yes it helps to have Tony supporting me. Todd said "yeah Dad is a good motivator." It's strange to hear someone call Tony "Dad." LOL!

Our cycling buddy Sean was also there as part of a sprint relay. Really fun to see him!

Got in the water about 7:40, warmed up and before I knew it there was a handful of ladies waiting to start!


More perfect conditions could not be found anywhere, plus my new wetsuit ROCKS! The course was a simple rectangle.

Our group was not large (it never is) -- so body contact was at a minimum. One woman started to swim over me but I think she realized she made a mistake because halfway through the attempt she let up and backed off. I didn't have to throw an elbow or anything I just held my line.

About 1/3 of the way through the course I noticed some caps from the wave before mine. About halfway through I noticed caps from two waves ahead. This never happens to me. Although now, I suppose it does!!! NEVER say "never."

My plan for the swim was to start pretty easy, build to moderate and kick it in at the end. Success!! I kept a straight line and felt invigorated by the water.

Swim time: 35:47!!! Woo Hoo
Previous fastest Olympic distance swim time: 37:47 (at BAM 2009)

This PR caught me totally by surprise. Did NOT see it coming. I used to get annoyed when people would say stuff like that on their blog and I'd be thinking "yeah right. sandbagger." Ha ha! Sorry for thinking that!

T1: 4:46

When Coach saw my transition times she said: "Let's quicken up those transition times for Boise!"

Hmmm . . .  ya think there could have been five minutes in there somewhere? I initially blamed my run for not quite hitting my PR. But now I realize it was a combination of slow transition times, a bit of holding back on the bike, and the run.


Plan on the bike was to go out easy and build. Stick to my nutrition plan. Nutrition was basically a scaled down version of my 70.3 bike fueling plan: Bottle of Perpeteum (should be called Elixer of the Gods), a few Gu Chomps, Thermolytes, and lots of water. Even though 25 miles is a short(er) ride for me these days, having a fuel plan helps pass the time. Plus it was going to be HOT so I needed to be vigilant.

The bike course felt HARDER than usual! They made us go down that big hill into Northshore, then up the large hill after it before the turnaround (this was "new" for Rage and in my opinion made the course slightly harder). I was suffering and I know I lost a a bit of time in places. I know this because I held back during some of the easier parts when I could have pushed harder without a bunch of extra suffering. I caught myself doing it a couple of times. Disappointing.

Still it was enough for a RAGE bike PR.

Bike time: 1:57:06
Previous RAGE bike time: 1:57:29

Nice. I'll take it.

T2: 4:24

Yeah . . . . . see above. :-)

The Run:

My run time sucked. No way around it. Still, in mulling it over, I believe I could have PR'd if my transitions were shorter and I'd pushed harder on the bike. After all I was less than five minutes shy.

There was quite a long run from my bike space down to the timing mat and it was all downhill. Kind of a warm up if you will. Tony was down by the timing mat and he ran the first few paces with me saying "looking good Stef!" Tony always tells me I look good. Hear that often enough and you start to believe it. LOL!

I was overcome with gratitude that a) Tony is in my life and b) I was off the bike. But I was feeling kind of like crap too. It was starting to get HOT.

The first part of the run was on a dirt road filled with rocks. There were so many rocks it was hard to get a good line -- then it became an uphill. Where I started to walk. From there I strategically alternated run/walking. Disappointed (because walking did not figure into my plan) but also knew that if I really wanted to I could keep the run together, mentally and physically.

Just because things don't always turn out like you want doesn't mean there's nothing there to salvage. That attitude kept my run from turning into a death march. I did keep it together the entire time. How do I know? I methodically worked each mile, was flexible, and when all was said and done it didn't feel like I was out there as long as I was. Somehow the miles seemed to tick on by, just like they do in training. WOOT!

The first three miles were basically uphill. So the second half was a huge negative split!

A highlight of the run was when a guy passed me (he was doing the half iron) and said "Yay, LiveAthlete!" We had rented the same GPS! Three athletes rented them for this race, two guys and me. How funny that we saw each other on the course. I laughed out loud when I thought about his little arrow passing mine on the GPS map! Sometimes it's the little things.

As I approached the finish on the long rocky dirt road I saw Tony running out to meet me. By this time I was so hot and frustrated and feeling a bit defeated I just wanted to be DONE. Tony asked me if I needed Gatorade -- I said no I just want to be done! He didn't tell me I was looking good this time. Or maybe he did I don't exactly remember. He said something encouraging though -- he always does. He may remember what he said -- LOL.

Run time: 1:23

CRINGE -- I've run so much faster than that in training. I will say though that someone commented on another Tri Club member's status who felt similarly about her run. This person said (to her):

You rocked it girl...for the first day of the year to have 
heat like this, you are stronger than you think! Great job!

I don't know the person who said this but it helped me to (again) put things in perspective. I took solace from it -- especially since it was over 90 degrees when I finished. I haven't run in heat like that in at least a couple of years. 

The Aftermath

Tony took me to the massage tent, sat me down, and got me a plate of food. He waited on me hand and foot. The other athletes in the tent I think were jealous! So after eating I got my very first post race massage! It. Was. Awesome!!

To sum up: RAGE was a success! There is always something to be learned from any big race, and I learned more about my ability and need to push and to tighten some things up going into Boise. My love for RAGE knows no bounds -- it's very tough, it draws a big crowd and it's impeccably run.


Have a great Sunday -- if you're racing today Good Luck kick some butt out there!!


Mary M said...

Wow. Let's see: 1) without trying you got a swim PR, 2) 2 extra hills and you managed a bike PR, and 3) in 90 degree temps you kept fighting on the run to keep a 5 minute PR? I hope I do as well on my tri in June!!!! Awesome job out there!

Molly said...

The first tri of the year is always a learning experience! Sounds like you did great and kept a level head! Boise has huge PR written all over it.

Debra said...

Congratulations, Stef! You rocked it - yes, YOU! I'm happy for you and inspired by you, as always!


Wes said...

awesome job, Stef! In pretty much all races we know that low point is coming. We gotta learn to be more effective at squashing it. Keep up the good work!

Kathy said...

Hoo-ee - sounds nasty hot!!! Well done - PR with a 90 degree finish - that is amazing! You just reminded me why I love living in Colorado, even in the winter time!

Danielle said...

Yay, Hotness!!!

TriGirl said...

Sounds like it was pretty amazing! My transitions take for. ever.