Monday, June 28, 2010

Markey Tri Race Report

The Markey Tri was a blast! The race was well organized, the facilities were top notch, and it was a beautiful day to be out swimming, biking and running. Here is my race report!

Overall time: 1:26:50
  • 300m swim- 10:03 (pool time was 9:30, 33 additional seconds were the run to transition)
  • T1- 1:22
  • 14 mi. bike- 46:44
  • T2- 1:08
  • 5k run- 27:30
On Saturday morning I headed to the race site (Spindletop Hall in Lexington) to pick-up my packet and attend a pre-race at 11:30am. After picking up my packet (which included a t-shirt, hat and water bottle - nice!) I checked out the pool and transition area. The pool was a 25 meter, 4 ft. lap pool. I asked the race director how the swim would be done, and she said it would be a serpentine swim (European style, left to right) that would involve going up and down one lane, then going under the rope into the next lane until you got to the end of the 8th lane. I was kind of nervous about the swim - I knew it was going to be pretty crowded in those lanes!

After getting some more details at the meeting, I headed home to rest for the afternoon. I stopped at Moe's for lunch and got a vegetarian burrito with rice, black beans, cheese, pico de gallo and guacamole to fill up the ol' glycogen stores.

Later that afternoon Chad and I went over to our friends Rob & Kate's house to watch the NBC broadcast of the Ironman 70.3 World Championships that they had DVR'd for me. After that we headed home and had pizza for dinner - I had a few slices of thin crust with black olives and a big spinach salad. I got all of my gear laid out, checked, re-checked and then packed, put the Yakima rack on the car, took a shower and then fell deeply asleep at 8:30!

I woke up naturally at 3:59am - my alarm was set for 4:00am. I hopped out of bed and got the coffee going. While I was fixing the coffee, I had an internal debate. What should I eat for breakfast - oatmeal with peanut butter and banana, or Cheerios with peanut butter and banana? I always eat the oatmeal combo before races, but the Cheerios combo when training - so I knew either one would be an ok choice. It was so hot and humid out already (80 degrees at 4:00am!) and I just couldn't stomach the thought of eating hot oatmeal. So, Cheerios it was!

After breakfast, I got dressed, triple checked that I had all of my stuff, checked the tire pressure on the bike, got my bike on the car rack, took Emma out, topped of water bottles, went to the bathroom about 5 times - all of the normal pre-race things. I left the house at 5:15 and got to the race site at 5:45.

After getting body marked and getting my chip, I found my spot in transition. The bike racks were set up by race number which was really nice. The transition area had a "bike out" area and a "run out" area - my rack was the first rack on the run out side, so that was good. The only problem is that it was the very last rack (i.e. farthest away) from the bike out side! But it was great and I had plenty of space. After setting up my cycling shoes, helmet and sunglasses, running shoes and race belt, I went up to the pool at 6:30 (the transition area was in a parking lot just down from the pool) and did a few warm-up laps. It was pretty weird swimming in a pool that was only 4ft the entire way across, but I liked it!

At 7:00am, we all gathered at the pool for the start. The triathletes were corralled into an adjacent pool area while 10 swimmers at a time got ready to start. The timing mats were just inside the gate, so a volunteer held you back until it was your time go, then you crossed the mat, lowered yourself into the pool (no running, diving or jumping allowed) and off you went. Swimmers were released every 20 seconds. It was pretty much self-seeded, so I was a little nervous that people would be swimming over me or I would be swimming over them, but it actually wasn't bad at all. The person in front of me took off like a bat out of hell, so I didn't have to worry about being on her feet the whole time. I ended up passing like 4-5 people in the pool - one guy just stopped in the middle of the lane and stood up and let my pass, and the others let me pass them at the wall. I didn't get passed, although someone was definitely on my heels at the end. The up and down and down and around was a little disorienting, but I got used to it by the 3rd lane. I had a minor freak out in the middle of lane 2 - I think I went out a little too hard and I wasn't in a groove yet, but I knew I couldn't stop, so when all of that combined together it was just a little too much. I told myself "Meredith, get it together!!" so I got my wits about me and just kept on swimming.

I was very happy to reach the end of the 8th lane. I climbed out of the pool (a little awkwardly, I'm sure) and started the run down to transition. When I got out of the water my watch read 9:30, so I was pleased with that. I wanted to be closer to 8:00, but oh well. Next time! On the way down to transition I pulled off my goggles and swim cap. Once in T1 I wiped off my face and feet, put on my sunglasses and helmet, slipped on socks and my cycling shoes and then headed out. I was praying that I would not crash or fall or do something stupid at the mount line, but once I got there I hopped on the bike and off I went without any calamities.

The course was beautiful - it is out by the Kentucky Horse Park and tons of horse farms. It was a rolling hills type of course - I was steadily shifting between my 2nd and 3rd chain rings. I never had to get in my granny gear. I ended up with an 18.2 average mph, which is pretty good for me! I passed a good amount of folks (8-10?), but I also got passed by a few people. It seemed like there was a lot of drafting out on the course, so I really tried to avoid that - I did not want to get a time penalty or a DQ!

I drank about 3/4 of my Gatorade/water mix throughout the ride, and ate 1 chocolate Gu around mile 5. I taped the Gu to my top tube, so when I pulled it off the tube, the top pulled off and it was ready to go. I definitely felt the energy boost 4-5 minutes later. Before I knew it I was heading back into Spindletop Hall towards the dismount line. I hopped off the bike and headed back into T2 to get ready for the run.

I took off my helmet, sunglasses and cycling shoes and put on my hat, race belt and running shoes. I left T2 at 59:00, so I knew I had to run a 31 min 5k in order to meet my time goal. I knew I could do that, so my confidence got a little boost right at the start of the run. I felt good during the entire run - the only weird thing was that the course involved a gravel path at first, then .25 miles on grass, then out onto the road. It was hard to get into a good groove on the grass, but it was a good time to get my legs back under me. I felt great when I hit the road and tried to pick up the pace a little. There were two water stops (at mile 1 and mile 2) so I sipped a little water at both and poured the rest over my head. It was HOT out there!

I didn't get passed on the run, but passed 8 or so people. That is always a good feeling. The run was an out and back course, so once I got back to the grass and gravel I knew I was on the home stretch. I passed two ladies as we were heading into finishing chute - my adrenaline was pumping and the crowd was cheering, so I just gave it all that I had. I finished feeling tired, but like I still had some left in the tank. That's the tricky part I suppose. When do you turn on the gas? If you do it too soon, you can hit the wall and burn out early. If you stay nice and steady, you can finish strong, but then you finish feeling like you didn't put it all on the line. I feel like I could have had a faster overall run, but oh well - I know this for next time! Racing is a great training tool. I am going to try to race more 5ks and do more race simulation bricks, as I think this will help me gauge how hard I should push myself on the bike and in the early parts of the run.

I hoped to place in my age group (25-29), but alas I did not. I still felt like I had a good race and was pretty pleased with my effort for the most part. The results were posted today and I found out I was 4 minutes away from the person who got 3rd in my AG, but I did place 4th out 15. I was pretty happy to see that I was in the top 5! My main goal for the day was to finish under 1:30, so I was happy that I did that. Overall, it was a fantastic race and I would recommend it to anyone. I had a lot of fun out there, and I am really happy that I decided to dive into the world of triathlon last summer (no pun intended). I have two more races planned this year - the River Cities tri in Shreveport in August, and the Tri for Sight in Lexington in September.

Here are some of my goals for the next 10 weeks:
  • drop 10 pounds
  • eat more fruits and veggies, not so many sweets (my biggest downfall)
  • increase my swim volume-gain confidence in the water, increase lung capacity
  • set a 5k PR by September-goal: sub 24:00
  • Don't run "junk miles"-every run needs to have a purpose: tempo/speed-work/hills, etc.
  • Continue with at least 3 rides/week, 4 when possible to build leg strength and confidence
  • Implement heart rate training - a big key to improving training & racing
  • Turn myself into a lean, mean triathlon machine!

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