New England Season Opener: Round Two

A year ago at this very race, I participated in my first ever triathlon. A year ago at this very race, I almost participated in my last ever triathlon. Due to poor weather conditions, I almost pulled myself out of the swim, only to find out, much to my shivery dismay, that the rescue boat had sunk. I had no choice, but to finish the swim. Being an above average cyclist and a pretty strong runner, it only made sense for me to finish the race. Going into the race, I felt like a child who knows no fear, but I came out extremely shaken and with a big chip of confidence missing.

My final times for last year were:
Swim: 25:33
T1: 3:51
Bike: 44:28
T2: 2:00
Run: 27:02
Total: 1:42:52
AG: 16/16,  OA: 199/208

We got up at 5:45AM in order to drive down to Hopkinton. We had most of our stuff packed up the night before, so it was just last minute preparations and breakfast eating that needed to get done. I had an English muffin with peanut butter. I get so nervous before races that I have a hard time eating anything at all, but I have learned how to rise above and force feed myself at least a little something. I know I'll be the better for it in the end. We got to the park at 7:20AM, picked up our packets and set up in transition. Last pee was at 8:10AM as I wanted to get a dip in the water before the race to help myself to get acclimated to the chilly temperature. Ben and I took about a five minute dip at 8:30 and then reported back to transition for the "mandatory" athlete meeting at 8:45AM. The duathlon started promptly at 9AM and we started shortly after. I was in the second wave, so I didn't have to wait very long (one of the pro's of being in the F20-24 group).

Swim (400yd):
This year's race went a lot better, although I'm not sure the water was that much warmer. It definitely wasn't any warmer than 60 degrees (if it was that). I have issues when it comes to water. I'm fine (other than going numb) with everything from my neck down being in the water, but as soon as my face goes in, I start gasping. It takes me forever to acclimate to it. It was part of the reason why I did so poorly in last year's race. I was glad I did the pre-race acclimatization, but it still took me almost 100 yards to get my breathing down. Fortunately, I made it almost all of the way to the end of the swim before the speedsters in wave 3 started passing me. Trust me, there is nothing like having another swimmer hot on your heels (then calves, then thighs, then lower back) to light a fire under your but and get to swimming. Actually, it was shallow enough to touch bottom by that point so I just touched down and walked the rest of the way out. P.S. For all those who care, the swim was a point to point with an in water start (which was a first for me). There is nothing like treading water for a couple minutes before swimming.
Time: 14:11 (11:22 faster than last year!)

I came more prepared for this year's swim by wearing neoprene booties in addition to my wetsuit. However, it made it more difficult to get the whole kit and kaboodle off, so my T1 was a tad slow.
Time: 3:10 (41 seconds faster than last year)

Bike (10mi):
The bike started and ended on low notes. As I was getting on my bike to start my ride, I push down on my pedal only to find zero resistance. I look down and see that my chain had come off (probably in transition on those stupid racks). Before today, I had never had to and never learned how to put a chain back on, but it was pretty easy to figure out and I got it back on in less than 30 seconds. There is was nothing particularly exciting about the course other than it was extremely hilly for a 10 mile race. I knew what to expect after participating in this race last year, but I still agree with those who mentioned afterwards that it would make a good training course, but it makes for a terrible race course, especially when its that short. It was also my first race using my aero bars. Definitely need to get them readjusted. I like how much more comfortable they are instead of putting the weight through my hands. Most importantly I feel and look fast using them.  I only used them sporadically throughout the course as there were a lot of frost heaves (crashing this early in the season would not be prudent) and I had to shift frequently for the hills. The end of the bike finished with a crash despite my attempts to avoid it. Fortunately, my bike crashes involve me traveling at 5mph or less, or in this case, not even on the bike. I was running the bike into transition, one hand on the handlebars and the other doing its usual running swing. Somehow, the bike started to tip away from me causing the wheels to hit me and knock my legs out from underneath me. You never realize how many sharp parts or awkward angles are on a bike until you are lying on top of it. I immediately hopped back up to reassure the "ooo"-ing and "ouch"-ing crowd and continued on to transition.
Time: 40:55 (3:33 faster than last year)

I check to make sure I have all body parts still attached and that they're not profusely bleeding. Yup, looked good. Grabbed my visor and pre-run Gu and I was off.
Time: 1:13 (47 seconds faster than last year)

Arm: Flesh Wound

Leg: Giant bruise (not that visible here, but hurts like something that rhymes with duck)
and flesh wound
Hand: Extremely bad bruise (so...much...pain! Glad I was done with the  bike)
and more Flesh Wound

Run (5K):
As if running right after biking wasn't bad enough, they put transition at the bottom of a ginormous hill. As I'm running up, I kept thinking "I knew this race would be rusty, but I didn't think I would be this bad. This is horrible. I'm not sure I can do this. I can' legs!" And then as they always say, what goes up must come down. I started feeling much better as I pretty much galloped down that ginormous hill. I made it to mile 1 in a speedy 8 minutes (well, speedy for me in a triathlon anyways). I didn't see the mile 2 marker, although apparently there was one, but I felt like I was keeping up the pace fairly well and fairly easily. My favorite distance races are those that despite the fact that you have had to traverse that much land to come to the end, you are still neck and neck with another competitor. I like when you really have to dig deep and find something, ANYTHING!, to get yourself to kick it into another gear. I have had a lot of practice sprinting at the end of a race in high school cross country. I had to put it to practice in today's race. With all of my running experience, I almost always win those sprints as I know just when to kick it (or maybe I'm just too damn competitive). This was one of the closest sprints, but I barely pulled it off.
Time: 25:23 (1:39 faster than last year)

Total Time: 1:24:50 (18:02 faster than last year!!!!)
Definitely pleased times a million with that time.

AG Place: 11/17
This was my fifth triathlon. In all four of my races last year, I beat a total of 1 person in my age group. Take that 2011 season! It seems my change in race goals from "just finish" to "beat somebody" actually worked.
OA Place: 261/366

Oh, and Happy Mother's Day, Mom!


Barb said...

Congrats on the great race! Hope the flesh wounds heal quickly. They look painful.

Rachelle said...

Thanks! They look even more painful today now that the blood has had time to pool in the bruises.

Colleen said...

Wow... you beat your time in every aspect of that race! HUGE congrats for that!

Hope the wounds heal quickly!

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