Tuesday, April 27, 2010

St. Anthony's

So many things running through my mind as time got closer to race day at St. Anthony's. There were many unknowns and high expectations projected onto me and created by me, that brought about nerves. This was the first time I raced and finished St. Anthony's. Last year (My inaugural year) I started but never crossed that finish line due to a lack of attention and focus for a brief moment, causing me to crash on the bike. That experience alone added a tremendous amount of pressure; I wanted to redeem myself by coming out on top this year, proving that with a little motivation, lots of hard work, passion, and perseverance ones dreams can be accomplished.

Right now, I am living my dream. When I got into Triathlon in 2009 and discovered a raw talent and passion for the sport, I set my goals high. I am still working towards my dream and can see the gap between my dream and reality decreasing with each race...especially with a prestigious race like St. Anthony's; it draws the best of the best from all over!

Deep down in my gut, I knew it was going to take all I had to be the Elite Amateur Champion at St. Anthony's. I kept thinking and visualizing the perfect race, in hopes that it would translate over into race day; well, it didn't but is there ever the perfect race...

The alarm sounded at 4:30am, to my surprise I had a pretty good night sleep...I did more than just lay there with my eyes closed. I got up ate my typical gluten-free breakfast, had a 1/2 cup of coffee, took my FE mulitV and Optygen and out the door I went. On my way to transition, I realized I forgot one minor detail to my race prep., so I stopped at a gas station in hopes to fine super glue. I needed to glue the inserts of my Nike Lunar Racers (thanks Footworks, Miami) down so they don't get bunched up while I'm frantically trying to put them on in T2. After my pit stop, my transition set up and warm up went very smoothly. I sipped on a 24oz water bottle of FE pre-race, rightstuff (sodium), and EFS drink as I was going through my transition set up and warm-up drills; then I got in the water with my Tyr Hurricane wetsuit to finish my warm-up routine.

Waiting for the fog horn to sound, is always the most nerve racking part of the day for me. Before I knew it, the horn sounded and we were dashing into the water. Beach starts are my favorite, I was first in the water and was able to hold that lead up to the second buoy, then the impact of the waves set in and I was slowly getting swallowed up. As soon as I saw my competitors pass I got on their feet and stayed there as long as I could. The swim was rough, but I knew if I could keep them in my sight I could have a chance to chase them down on the bike and/or run; so thats what I did. I was happy when I got to the stairs and the volunteers were there to help me climb out of the water. I was feeling slightly dizzy from all the waves when I started climbing the steps to exit the water. Still a little clouded from the swim, I entered T1 and ended up on the wrong side of my Kestrel Airfoil; there was no room to squeeze between bikes so I had no choice but to reach over my bike to get my LG Helmet, Smith Optic glasses, and Garmin. My first transition wasn't textbook by any means! Once on my Kestrel I new I needed to power through the first part of the bike course to catch some girls. The wind was strong, which made the first half of the bike tough. About 10min into the ride I started drinking a mixture of EFS drink, FE Pre-race, and the rightstuff (sodium) and consumed about 24oz throughout the ride. With the warmer temperatures and humidity I knew I needed to consume a high amount of sodium, electrolytes, and water; however, 24oz wasn't enough. Especially since I knew my body wasn't feeling 100% at the start line. T2 went much more smoothly than T1, aside from the mild cramp in my left hamstring as I was racking my bike. I decided to run though it in hopes it would work itself out; it did very early on in the run and never came back. The run was tough, my body was already feeling depleted but I knew I had to keep pushing. I was aware of at least one girl in front of me coming out of T2 so I had to give all I had to chase her down. I kept her in my sights throughout the run. Mentally she was my focus that kept me going. At about mile 2.5 I was really beginning to feel my body, I knew I was needing something but wasn't sure what the symptoms were resulting from. So I consumed about 1/2 of a banana and rightstuff (sodium) I had mixed in a flask. Within 2-3min I was feeling much better. I obviously was low on sodium and potentially calories. The Potassium in the banana probably helped prevent cramping as well. Again at mile 4.5-5 I was having the same symptoms so I finished the banana, righstuff (sodium) mixture and sure enough I bounced back a little bit more. It was now coming down to the last mile and I could still see a girl in front of me. I picked up my pace a bit more and did everything I could to decrease the gap. With the last 200m of the run, the beginning of the shoot to the finish line, I knew I had to lay it all out there in order to pass the girl that has been my rabbit the entire run. I sprinted as hard as I could, it felt like I was moving in slow motion, with about 100m to the finish line I managed to pass her and maintain my lead to the finish line. What a challenging run (I was feeling fatigued as soon as I got off the bike); there were several times when I wanted to slow down and if it weren't for me knowing that there were other competitors just in front of me, I might have.

After reflecting back on my race and race preparation, I probably could have used a little more of a taper coming off of a long and hard block like I did. I definitely could have consumed more fluids before and during the race. Overall, the race was a good one. Yes, I didn't feel completely fresh for this race but it goes to show that I don't always have to feel great to have great results!!!