Racing season officially kicked off for me 6/3/12 with the Green Bay Olympic Triathlon. As far as tri's go, this is not a huge event and is a nice way to move into the season. A few of the distances seem a little goofy in that the swim is advertised as 800 yds. (which I even doubt the length of that!), the bike is 28 miles, and the run is the typical 6.2 miles. But, it is typically well organized, and aside from the unpredictability of the temperature, is a nice family event.
The struggle for me tends to be the distance. Not that it's too long. It's too short. I would imagine this is all in my head (as most of my issues are!). With long course racing, which I prefer, I just sit in there and burn like a slow, low flame. Not too hot. Not too intense. Just steady. And maybe because I have typically experienced good success with long distance racing, I automatically associate that with my strength.
But, here's the thing....short course racing HURTS!!!! It really hurts. If it doesn't hurt, then I'm not doing it right. At times while I'm out there, I wonder, why am I making myself hurt so much? Is this really worth it? Which then leads me down the mental path of questioning if I'm getting old, losing speed, losing muscle mass, getting depressed, losing my drive....The list is endless.
Maybe I like long course more because it seems as if there is less pressure. All is not lost if I'm not out of the water with the lead pack. If my transitions are not perfectly executed, I still can make up the lost time. I can fix little nutritional glitches without too much turmoil if I stay plugged in mentally.
It's not even that I don't perform fairly well at short course events. I finish typically in the same percentile in a short course race as I do in a long course race. So, what's the deal in my head? I don't have it figured out. I do know this. Ask me to choose between an Ironman distance race and an Olympic distance race for my A race of the season, and I'll choose the Ironman anytime!
That was quite a bit of rambling. As for the race itself, the sky was clear with temps in the 70's and moderate winds. The moderate wind part was a blessing. I swear, spring seems to be windier and windier every year. Once again, made up in my head? Not sure, but I was happy it was only 9-10 mph winds.
The swim is an absolute nightmare. Nothing that happens out there even resembles swimming. The course is so congested and shallow. Most people dolphin dive 1/4-1/3 of it. Really I just try to stay clear of everyone and, when I can, settle down and get into some sense of a swim stroke. The distance is totally inaccurate at 800 yds because there is NO WAY I can swim 800 yds. in 10:30 which is what the results show.
The bike was fabulous! Literally, MY BIKE is fabulous! I am on a Quintana Roo CD0.1 this year and I absolutely love it. I feel very comfortable when aero and the ride is super smooth. I honestly don't think I've felt this comfortable in my set up with any other bike every in the past. The course was fairly flat to rolling. The biggest issue I had was the sticker covering my disc wheel coming loose and slapping against the frame with EVERY ROTATION! Irritating. After about 5 miles of this and not knowing what it was for sure, I figured it had to be the sticker because the bike was moving along just fine. I really enjoyed the bike part of the day and soaked up the feeling of how lucky I was to be racing.
The run was a downer for me. I really feel like I've been running well lately. But not this race day. I couldn't get anything going. Just NO fire in the legs. I did the nutrition without a glitch. Actually, I was better on the nutritional front then I ever have been. Maybe it was the heat. Honestly, 70's doesn't sound hot and it really isn't. But, I really haven't done anything yet this year at race pace in that temp range. Maybe I wasn't mentally plugged in. But, I don't think it was that. I just felt flat. In other words, not my best race performance and I'm not completely sure why.
What's done is done. I have learned over the years that I give myself the rest of race day to feel sorry for myself. Then it's OVER! Done. Move on to the next hurdle. Truly, as the years have gone by I have gotten quite good at this. Well, really, why not? Racing is supposed to be fun and thankfully, I still see it as fun. I can see a change in me (good or bad? I'm not sure) that is more about appreciating the experience and the ability to race rather than the final outcome or number on the clock. But, I WILL say, it's still a SMALL change!