Thursday, January 23, 2014

Challenge Wanaka, 8th amateur, 4th AG

Rather than a traditional race report, I'll detail out my fifth iron-distance with the good and the bad. Let's problem solve this shit!

The Bad:
- I finished more than 1/2 hour behind "schedule", with a finish time of 12:05. This happened for a number of reasons.
- The cold was debilitating. Air temp 4C, water temp 14C, with it not warming up much on the bike (to maybe 11C), meant almost certain death to someone like myself, weighing in at 47kg. I was frigid, absolutely frigid and couldn't think straight in the swim, slapping my arms around like a monkey trying to swim faster. Onto the bike, and I spent the first couple hours shivering.
- My saddle fell down. I'm not sure how much this played into my race, because I didn't notice it at the time other than: "Why is it so hard to keep myself up?" Turns out my saddle tilted downwards quite severely somewhere in there, I had to hold myself up, and the inside of my crotch got severely irritated to the point that I have a nice lump of a hematoma, with several burst blood vessels on my leg/crotch.
- After about the 7k marker on the run, I visited a portaloo, thinking that was my "one and only" for the day. Well, I proceeded to bless every portaloo on the course over the next 35k's. I spent 20-30+ minutes of my run pooping, yay! And becoming extremely fuzzy/dry-mouthed as a result, and I stumbled around a lot. But I ran, and didn't walk (other than at aid stations to drink with a steady hand). It sucks to have improved your running phenomenally to the point where you can run a ~3:40-3:45 marathon off the bike, and then run 1/2 hour slower.
- It seems SOMETHING fucked my GI system up on the run, and I haven't figured out what: all the extra energy expended keeping myself warm, too much water not enough electrolytes?, too much caffeine? Not sure here, as the latter two really had been well-practiced in training. 
- I need to improve my cycling like woah. Still my biggest weakness like WOAH.

The Good:
- I swam a 1:04 near-frozen and was 3rd chick out of the water. That's not bad. Given, realistically, a 1:00 would have occurred in good (warm) conditions.
- It took a good ~1.5 hours for girls to start passing me! I call that a success!
- My nutrition on the bike was surprisingly good, never once felt nauseous, and stayed on top of food intake throughout. Peed 4+ times on the bike
- My finish time of 12:05 on a day of TOTAL FALLING APART, SUFFERING THROUGHOUT, on one of the hardest iron-distance courses out there was still good enough for 8th amateur, 4th AG (not that there were many of us), and way better than what I could have managed even a year ago.

Pre-race get up: ugg boots, winter socks, wetsuit, long-sleeve + winter jacket.
Swim start. Calm but cold as fuck.
3rd female out of the water!
Starting bike, yep put on dry jersey, vest, socks and armwarmers. Should have gone for jacket!
Finish chute running

A good race is coming my way, I need to work on bike strength as well as continue to problem-solve and get help with my race nutrition. Some people have iron stomachs, and others don't, and that's just one extra thing that I have to figure out as my tummy's sensitivity should NOT be the main predictor of my finish time.

Thanks to my coach Nicky, it looks like after some recovery, I'll be in cycling camp for the rest of my life??? And I'll attempt my first off-road tri: XTERRA Motatapu March 8th.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lake Hayes Olympic tri, 6th F... and Challenge Wanaka this weekend!

Not staying on top of my race reports, am I? Well I raced Lake Hayes Olympic triathlon. I race this one every year, twice a year if I can manage it (they hold the same race every X-mas and Easter), since I first arrived in New Zealand. I LOVE THIS COURSE, it is honest and hard and crazy talented athletes always show up. For a local race, the competition is phenomenal. You don't often see pros turn up to local races, and here we had 3. So... I definitely wasn't top 3!

I rode to the race the morning of (50-something k's Wanaka to Queenstown going over the Crown Range)
Top of Crown Range on a nicer day. Queenstown is down there somewhere.
And I raced, hard as usual, same story as usual: come out of the water near the front, get passed on the bike (less this time, though!), and nail as many of them back on the run. In the end, 6th girl in, 3rd amateur chick (given top 3 were pros). Faster today by a couple minutes when everyone else was slower than previous attempts at Lake Hayes -- windier conditions than usual. So, improvement is there... and I hope that's a good indication of fitness for this weekend's Challenge Wanaka iron-distance.

This'll be my fifth iron-distance race; I'm psyching myself up to deal with the suffering with grace. In fact, I feel really bloody fit on the swim and run, and... I have definitely improved on the bike, yes, but just NOT ENOUGH and definitely not proportional to my swim and run abilities. So, that's a bit of a 2014 mission and beyond: improve my bike split.

Otherwise, I feel good, I'm looking forward to this race, it even looks like conditions might ACTUALLY be nice for once. When I did this race in 2011, my first iron-distance race, the winds were so severe that the female pros were going under 20kph the last 70k's into the wind from Cromwell to Wanaka, leaving them with 6+ hr bike splits. So, really, any iron-distance with better conditions than that is a blessing. Tomorrow's looks like a calm swim and relatively calm bike with winds and heat picking up on the run: yes, yes, excellent, excellent, let the heavier runners struggle in the heat. I never give myself time goals, I just aim to put together a good race, handle my nutrition well, and mete out my energy perfectly. Onwards! Excited!