Race #2… Positives and NegativesJ
Well, this race was interesting. There were several positives to take out of it, but definitely a lot of frustration as well.
It was my first Junior Elite Draft Legal race of the summer. Held in Vancouver, the North-Shore triathlon was the first race in the BC Junior and Youth Elite Provincial series. Unfortunately, my category was extremely small, so immediately it didn’t look like there would be a lot of drafting happening on the bike. The distance was a Super Sprint triathlon, or just under a 400m swim, 10km bike, and 3km run. I prefer the longer distances, but was looking forward to having some fun and literally going all out for 35 or 40 minutes in a short tri.
The swim went well… It was probably one of my best triathlon swims to date. It was a super odd swim, as the pool was 37m long, rather than 25 or 50, so I couldn’t think about stroke count at all. I started off swimming hard, but not sprinting. I tried to be quick on the turns, but not waist breath trying to have long walls, but rather kept my breathing quite consistent and relaxed in the swim. I pushed it quite hard, but not quite to the point where I was tired from it. Because the distance was odd, I don’t know kinda the speed I swam at, but compared to the others I was racing (and Lincoln’s time) it was a solid swim.:) I came out of the water in 2nd, about 20 seconds behind 1st place.
T1 was terrible… I had decided to put my shoes on while on the bike still, even though there was a big hill coming out of transition. I had planned to do it that way because I usually jump onto my bike and slide my feet right into my shoes, which are held in place, open, by elastic bands. Unfortunately, when I tried to mount my bike, something had happened to the elastics I had set up, and my shoes were inconveniently upside-down. This caused me to have to take some time, and get at least one foot in while practically stopped right at the bottom of the hill. 2 more girls in my group went past me in the process, so I was in 4th by the time I headed out on my ride. I left on the bike probably 35 seconds down from the leader.
My bike, however, was great! I felt understandably tired in my legs from the swim, but was able to push some really solid power despite it. I passed the two girls right away, making a pull out to the side so they wouldn’t be able to latch on and draft off of me, and then focused on catching the girl out in front. It was a super short 10km bike (two 5km out-and-backs), so I knew I didn’t have much time. At the first turnaround I could tell I had made huge progress on the top girl, and by the time I was done the first 5km I had caught her. I made an attempt or two to get away, but then we worked together for the rest of the second loop and put more time into the girls behind us. I really focused on staying aero and powering lots of watts in a medium cadence for the first lap, and then focused on reserving my energy and trying to take deep breaths whenever I was drafting in lap 2. We came off the bike together and headed for T2.
T2 wasn’t my best either, as I was just a bit clumsy, and I’m not sure what I was doing that took me so long. I lost an easy 10 seconds in T2, opposite to my fast transitions in the first race of the year.
The run… Immediately I knew something wasn’t quite right… I was excited for the fast 3km run, and that I could see the leader of the race right in front of me, but I was already gasping for air. One of my strengths has always been my ability to keep a calm breathing rate and frequency while running (or biking), and usually run 3:3s for at least the first half of most of my races, but I started at 2:2s and felt really restricted. Not long in, I felt like I was breathing through a bed sheet, gasping a bit. I slowed right down, and it was a real fight to just keep running forward. I don’t think I have ever really wanted to walk before in a triathlon, but I was close. My lower stomach/abs started to cramp up, and that didn’t help. I was really frustrated, especially when a girl went breezing past me. I was frustrated because my legs felt great, and I wanted to go for it, but I couldn’t breath well. The last little bit to the finish line was mostly downhill, which is usually nice, but suddenly my whole lower stomach cramped quite bad, and I was kind of leaning over a bit down the hill towards the finish, and breathing 1:1s (I don’t think I ever have before), if that.
Anyway, I finished, in third in the small junior elite category. Wasn’t what I was hoping for, and I was super frustrated with how the run went, especially since I was right there after the bike, but have to live and learn from it. I’ve had a really bad cough ever since my last race, and I guess it played a big part. I went to the doctors, and apparently it is just a viral infection, so I’ll have to just let it recover. But there are definitely some things I need to work on that are in my control, like:
So… After all that, I would say I’m 75% happy with how it went, 20% disappointed and frustrated, and the rest excited that I have some things to focus on to get better! Right now, it’s about always improving, and learning from each race, and then not making the same mistakes next time. It’s fun to analyze where I went wrong, and then direct that into improvement for next time… Can’t wait to race again after some more solid training weeks! Next race(s): Haymen’s Classic Cycling Provincials, followed by a double-header triathlon weekend in Vernon for me… Excited to try an actual road cycling race for the first time at Hayman’s, and then test my ability to recover between races in Vernon… Sounds super fun, and I can’t wait! :)
Better late than never I guess… So here goes! My race report for the Kelowna Cherry Blossom Triathlon:
The day on a whole went according to plan in a lot of ways, although, just like any race there are things to improve and do better on next time.
My goal for the swim was to hold technique, speed, and stroke count consistent for the entire swim, while being the fastest lady in the water. I also wanted to improve on my swim time of 11 minutes from last year.
While I did hold my technique quite consistent, my stroke count and speed slipped a little bit as the swim wore on. I started the swim second, and ended up being 4th out of the water, with one of those who passed me being a lady. I didn’t hit all my goals, but my end swim time definitely showed improvement from last year, as I swam about 10:15 to improve by 45 seconds from 2015.
I had a really good transition. I passed back the other lady in T1, and made up time on the other two in front of me as well. I ran out, hopped on my bike, and as I’d had some really good bike sessions lately, felt confident that I could have a really good ride.
My goal for the bike was to keep control of my breathing, but to push it, HARD. I wanted to try to improve on my previous time of 40:30 from last year. One other goal I had set for the bike was to try for the QOM on one of the laps, as I had just missed it the year before.
I immediately passed one of the guys who had been ahead of me, moving me into 2nd on the course. I realized that a bunch of the top men who started behind me would soon catch and pass me, but my goal was to stay ahead of all other ladies. Once I was done the first lap, I started chasing other people down who were just starting their first lap. It was fun to set those little goals. For the QOM, I had decided that I was going to pace it up the first climb, go hard on the second, and then steady on the third. I did manage to have the fastest lady’s time up on my second lap, so I won a coffee basket from Cherry Hill Coffee shop… (Even though I don’t drink coffee, my mom enjoyed itJ.) My final time on the ride was 39:26, so about a minute faster than last year. My splits were quite consistent, getting a little bit faster on the second than the first, and then holding it close on the last lap. I really enjoyed my first race on my speedy new Cannondale!:)
My bike to run transition was also super quick. I didn’t have any trouble, and headed out quite quickly on the run.
Last year I held back at the beginning, and then built slowly, based on breathing, to where I gave it everything I had the last 750-1000m. This year, the plan was to go out faster, but still controlled, for the first 3km. The turnaround was right at the 2km-to-go mark, so the goal was to accelerate out of the turn, and hammer the last 2km. I also wanted to chase down as many people as I could see on the run.
I felt good out of transition. I knew I had a little bit of a gap on the only other lady who I knew how much ahead I had to cross the finish line in. I needed a 30 second gap. I held consistent on the first 3km still, controlling my breathing, and trying to keep my cadence up with a good lean in my form. As soon as I hit the turnaround, two things happened. The first was that I accelerated as planned, and felt good, as it was downhill or flat for most of the rest of the race. The second was that I saw the other lady closer than the 30second gap I needed to win. That was all the motivation I needed.:) I sped up my cadence and opened up my stride a bit more. It was a painful last 2kms, but after coming 3rd a year ago, I really wanted to win it this year. I ran the last 2km much faster than the first 3, and felt really strong doing it. It was a good realization of what I was capable of. I ran a 22min flat, almost a minute faster than the year before. I was happy with the run, and actually a little surprised that the time wasn’t faster because of the way the last 2k felt. I didn’t catch anybody on the run, but only Ian (Crosthwaite) and two other men went by me during the run, so that wasn’t too bad. J
I ended up winning the race for the ladies, but just barely! (17sec) It was a lot of fun, and I’m actually really glad it was close because it made me push the last 2km even harder. All in all it was a solid overall race. I took off about 3min from my overall time on the same course last year, but was extremely happy because it was an even split of about a 1min improvement on each discipline! It was really great to get my legs under me, as I was quite nervous for the race, but now know I have a baseline to build off of in the summer. It was also super exciting to win it, as that was my first win since I was 12 in a Kids of Steel raceJ.
The three major things that stand out to me as the biggest areas I can improve on in my next races and throughout the summer are:
The biggest positive thing for me was to see the huge improvements in all aspects of my triathlon, which has to be attributed to my coaches, John, Luke, and Andrew. Thanks for all the work you’ve put into helping me improve this winter, so I can do this!
17 year-old Junior Elite Triathlete
Long Term Goals