3/25/12

Great Clermont Olympic Triathlon race report

First off, a big CONGRATS to the Category 1,2 Gearlink Team for exceptional teamwork at the Winter Garden Crit on Saturday evening. Karel's teammate Eric managed to get into the break and the team worked really well together in the last 2 loops, driving the speed and giving Karel a great lead out for a field sprint first place and 10th overall. I am SO excited for next weekend to head down to Tampa for the USA Crit Tampa Twilight! If you live in or near the area, I highly suggest coming to watch the Pro/Cat 1 race!





Campy and I enjoyed ourself by resting our legs and enjoying a yummy TriMarni creation....

In the delray crit two weeks ago, Karel mentioned that he wanted something "light" but filling before his crits. Nothing too heavy that would make him feel stuffed (he eats his last meal 3 hours before a crit race) but he wanted something easy to digest. I made for both of us a yummy pre-race meal with all the right flavors to enjoy it until the last bite.
Pre-race meal:
Bulgur combined with cooked (frozen) veggie medley with fresh chopped celery, sweet peppers and onions, mixed in olive oil on stove. Added scrambled eggs, marinara and farmers cheese.


(Be sure to refrigerate/keep cool when traveling due to eggs, or your choice of protein. Always keep in mind, food safety!)


After Karel's race, I said good bye to my favorite two guys and headed to Clermont (20 miles down the road) to stay the night before my triathlon.
Karel and Campy joined our friend Rad for pizza in the cute downtown of Winter Garden and headed home soon after.

Throughout the race I wore my Celliant socks, which have been a new addition to my recovery/daily routine. I recommend checking them out, I can't say that I feel they will work for everyone but I am always seeking a comfortable sock and I really enjoy the feel of these socks. Karel and I both have a pair.

I was quick to bed at 9:30pm...looking forward to good sleep before a 4:45am wake-up call.

Pre-race
It's been a LONG time since I have done an Olympic distance triathlon. With nerves, setting up in transition, getting on (and off) a wetsuit after a 20 minute swim and a high intensity racing effort on my mind, I was very careful with my nutrition on the days leading up to the race.
Knowing it would be fairly warm and that my muscles would need to be in top shape for contracting and relaxing, I took 1 FIZZ (Hammer) on the 2 days leading up to the race (mixed in 24 ounces of water), after my warm-up on Sat (Fri was a day off so I sipped in a bottle throughout the morning). Considering that my high heart rate would possibly compromise my nutrition on race day, I kept in mind that stable blood sugar levels on the days leading up to the race would give me the best competitive edge, over any supplement or race day fueling strategy.
The only supplement in my current diet since Kona 2011 is whey protein, which is a must-have in my training/recovery routine. In training for an Ironman, I realize that is far from "normal exercise" and that I must respect my body by focusing on what it isn't getting or what it may be needing. Tissue rejuvinator, a multivitamin, endurance aminos and anti fatigue (from hammer) are part of my "Ironman" supplement regime. But that's it...it's not too crazy because I really like to focus on a more natural way of training, recovering and fueling my body. It doesn't work for everyone, but I find it works for me.
I focused on my foods on the days leading up to a race, not getting overconsumed with "carbs" or "sodium" but rather just eating normally but listening to my body. When my body was hungry, I fed it. When it told me I was satisfied, I stopped eating. Lots of fruits and veggies for electrolytes, vitamins and minerals and an extra emphasis on wholegrains - like bulgur, brown rice and whole grain bread, alongside fat and protein. I find no difficulty "craving" a balanced diet but with a race in sight, it's easy to lose sight of "normal" behaviors so I kept with my normal diet but was sure to assess my body and appetite during each eating opportunity.
Feeling great (albeit a bit nerves for what was to come with a 4-year hiatus from "short course" triathlon racing), I had 1 slice whole grain cinnamon toast bread with Smuckers Natural Peanut butter and banana slices. Knowing that my hotel room did not have a coffee maker or microwave, I planned ahead and didn't freak out that I wouldn't have my typical morning cup of Joe. No worries, a good warm-up would give me the "boost" to get my system going.
I also had around 12ish ounces of water with breakfast, knowing that the more fluid in my stomach, the easier it would be to empty the sport drink from my stomach, into my small intestines for optimal absorption....tip for you athletes who feel bloated before training/racing. 8-16 ounces of fluid in the 2 hours before training/racing, recommended a cup or two of coffee and water.

I made my drink for the race, which was 2 scoops (200 calories) Strawberry Heed as I knew that would be the best source of fuel to minimize any GI upset in a quick race as well as ensure that there would be no swings in blood sugar. I also mixed my gel flask which is becoming a must-have for my athletes during any run off the bike. I mixed 2 huckleberry gels (Hammer) with 3/4 full of water in my gel flask. Shook it up and it was ready to go.

I arrived to the race site at 5:30am to pick up my packet and to set up transition area. I am the type that will arrive to the airport well-ahead of departing time...triathlons are no different. I'd rather set up my stuff and relax rather than feeling rushed. Knowing that anxiety and stress reduces gastric emptying and can create side effects such as bloated stomach and/or diarrhea, I set up my transition area, relaxed in the car for around 30 minutes (called Karel for a quick pep-talk), warmed up with a jog and then relaxed some more in the car until 7:15am.

I made sure to bring two pairs of running shoes (Same pair, just an older pair...Brooks Launch) so I could warm up before the race.
My transition area included:
Swim (which I had on me) - cap, goggles, body glide, wetsuit
Bike - aero helmet, power tap (on bike), water bottle (on bike), Oakley commit sunglasses, socks, LG tri shoes, towel to wipe feet, garmin (not waterproof, I put it on for the bike and start when I am finishing the bike)
Run - 110% visor, race belt (pink Zoot, clipped in for easy sliding on), gel flask

The race was wetsuit legal (74 degree water per race director) and despite not wanting to wear my wetsuit as I am not a wetsuit swimmer, I decided I would put myself at a disadvantage if I didn't. I put on my Xterra full sleeve wetsuit and headed to the water for a quick dip in the lake.

RACE
The race was collegiate regional championships so the men and women college kiddos started in the first two waves. All the women started just a bit later, together at 7:47am..3,2,1...

A few quick high-knee runs into the water, a few dolphin dives and the lactic acid hit my body in full force.

Oh my, what did I get myself into!

Nearing the first corner of the triangle course, I finally felt like I was getting into a rhythm. I made sure I kept my mouth SHUT during the swim as I made the mistake to swallow the Pacific ocean during the World Championships in October. I'll tell ya, there's always something to think about with swimming!

I was trying to stay with a pack of purple caps, trying to draft to the best of my ability. We were nearing the last buoy and I was careful to spot on the way back to shore, trying to give a straight shot to the swim exit.

I let the wet suit stripper pull off my wetsuit. I safety-pinned my chip so it wouldn't come off and also had on my CEP calf sleeves under my wetsuit. I wore my Hammer sport bra and 110% tri shorts and felt comfortable knowing that the day was going to get a bit warmer.

I made my way to transition area after the 1.5K swim...quickly running to make sure I didn't slow down. In an oympic distance tri, transitions are quick. In an Ironman, it's more about being smart than being fast. Today I tried to be quick and smart.

I never put my shoes on my bike, I feel it saves me no time as I can quickly put on my cycling shoes in transition area and quickly mount my bike.

The bike course started with a few climbs in the neighborhood and then became flat as we rode around Lake Minneola. What a beautiful ride as we turned away from the lake and welcomed the rolling hills of Clermont.

There was a lot of changing of the gears, from bing to small ring. Trying to keep a steady cadence, I loved every minute of climbing despite the wind starting to pick up. I guess when you are climbing, you don't really feel the wind until it is at your face or pushing you to the side.

I felt strong on the bike and kept a careful eye on my power. I knew Karel wanted me to push hard during the entire race, I watched my speed as I tried to hold around 150-160 watts when I felt like my speed was dropping but I was still pushing. This allowed me to not burn myself out but rather, be steady with the challenging course.

I absolutely loved the feeling of pushing hard on the bike for this 40K ride. In 2006, Karel and I were dating and he watched me do this race as a 24 year old. At that time, I was scared of hills, climbing and descending and didn't feel as if I was "one" with my bike. Fast forward to 2012, racing as a 30 year old with my b-day this May, I feel confident, strong and "one" with my bike...all thanks to Karel not only pushing me but giving me all the tips I could ask for...even when I am not asking for them :)

I can't tell you how many times Karel has told me to "stay on my wheel!". OK babe, if I could, I WOULD!

Gotta love him.....he is an exceptional coach, rider and husband. I know he cares and likes to see me suffer :)

I was most nervous about this run. Always running off the bike in training, I just didn't know how it would feel to "race" a 10K off the bike. I kept my mind thinking positive thoughts, thinking about Karel telling me about how much he "hurts" in some of his BIG cycling races, thinking about my athletes who are so driven by their individual goals and of course, thinking about my body. Thankful for a body that doesn't get sick and doesn't feel like it is aging, I took this 10K as an opportunity to just give it my all..whatever that may be for the day.

After dismounting my bike, I ran to my bike rack and quickly transitioned for the 10K run.

I started my garmin and off I went. I ran mostly by feel and boy, did I feel good! I questionned how long that feeling would last so I just broke down the course to keep my mind focused and happy.

1 mile out to turn around.
1 mile back to transition.
Then 2 miles until the "last" turnaround.
Once I get to mile 5, I only have 1.2 miles to go.

Sometimes it is the little things that keep you going.

I sipped on my gel flask ever mile while drinking water. Absolutely no GI upset and my brain stayed focused with no drops in blood sugar. My body felt great and I couldn't help but feel some power with my run. Of course, "power" that is relative to my love for endurance racing but nonetheless, I focused on my own race and own effort and cheered for the other athletes along the way.

I spotted my friend Kim and Kevin Grogan near the 5 mile mark and enjoyed a little boost as Kevin had a hose with nice cold water and cheered me (and the other athletes) along.

I picked up the pace for the last mile and finished strong to the finish line.

2:24:56

A PR, 1st age group (30-34) and 8th overall female.

I could not have asked for a better race and exactly what I needed to get me excited for the upcoming season.

Considering that the past 3 years have included 3 Ironman's and a stressful dietetic educational program, it was nice to have the past behind me and feel some excitement for racing.

But, truth be told, my heart still remains in Ironman and Half Ironman racing. I love the journey, the process and the outcomes. It is so much more than just a distance...I absolutely LOVE the challenge and memories that come with distance racing.

Thanks for all the wonderful cheers from afar for this race. We should never take our body for granted. You don't have to do a world championship or place in your age group to feel successful....don't compare races or yourself to others. Enjoy YOUR journey and keep making memories.

"The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give." -Howard Cosell

Before every race and many training sessions, I try to find motivation or inspiration to keep me going when the going gets tough. It always gets tough, that's competition....and that's what we crave when we aren't training. Whether it is in racing or when you are alone, competition is something that should be welcomed and not feared. But it is only with the right attitude that you will you be able to excuse the excuses and move forward in order to make for a better tomorrow and a better you.

I found my motivation while reading the Feb 2012 issue of Competitor magazine. Pg 30, an article written by John Bingham (aka The Penguin) on the Lessons Only a Race can Teach You.
There's something about pinning on a race number that changes everything. It's not just that you've made a commitment to yourself; you've also decided to go public with the results. To succeed wildly or fail miserably in a crowd is both exhilarating and humbling.
A race doesn't allow you to hide from the challenges of the event or from your own limitations. You can lie all you want before the race but when the gun goes off, the truth comes out and you can't be anything other than what you are.
As you look ahead to your 2012 schedule, make sure to sign up for some races. I promise you that there are lessons that can only be learned between the start and finish lines.









(Results can be found here when they are posted: http://chiptimes.com/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx)