Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rattlesnake Olympic Aug 2010

So it has been a while since I have raced; over a month. Not like me, I typically race 1-2 times a month. This gap was created by my move to Boulder, Co. I originally planned to be out there for 2 months, training in altitude and taking advantage of the climbing. Well, I fell in love with Boulder and made it a permanent move. What a scary but exciting change.

So the month of July I spent getting myself acclimated to the altitude and my new surroundings. But I was beginning to get a little antsy; I needed to have a race to look forward to. What is training if you don't have an event to train for?! So I registered for the rattlesnake olympic distance race in Aurora, Co. I was under the impression that this was going to be a nice flat race. I was all excited and ready to see how it feels to race in Altitude; not to mention to see where I was at with all my training. Well, to my surprise the course was everything but flat. The bike course was the hilliest course I have raced; the run was not only hilly it was also whindy. I had to switch gears immediately and get my head on straight. Once again my coach came to the rescue and had nothing but encouraging words to say. She was right, I have been training hard and doing lots of climbing, I am ready...

Race morning rolls around. I'm up at 4:30am to make sure I have breakfast 3hrs before the race. Back to bed I know that extra 30min of sleep is key. Race morning was beautiful! watching the sunrise on my way to transition was a bonus. However, the winds were a little concerning.

Transition set up went very smoothly. I was in and out of there in 30min, all the while making sure I stayed hydrated with my EFS drink, pre-race, and right stuff water bottle. I went for a short warm-up jog and then down to the beach for a brief swim. Before I knew it we were getting lined up for a time trial start. That starting method is always interesting to me. Why not always do waves starts, I thought to myself. I soon realized the purpose of the time trial start when it came time for me to swim the second loop of the swim course. This swim course required the athletes to get out of the water, take about 20 steps on the beach around a bouy and the back into the water. It could have been a disaster if too many people attempted to get in and out of the water all at the same time.

I felt good during the swim. However, I couldn't figure out why I felt so out of breath the majority of the swim. It was almost as if I was pushing hard no matter how much I let up to get into a rhythm. Then is dawned on me that it must be the altitude. Well, I might have felt out of sync but my overall swim was better than expected; I was first out of the water!

T1 went smoothly, for some reason everything just slide on like butter. Off on my Kestrel Airfoil I go. Within the first 10min of the ride I begin drinking my EFS drink, pre-race, and right stuff mixture. I needed to make sure I didn't get behind on hydration, especially since this course was so hilly and the wind was not letting up. As a matter of fact, the wind was a tail cross on the way out and a head cross on the way back. There were a few instances where a gust of wind about blew me off the shoulder. The wind wasn't the only challenge during the ride. I remember thinking, when are the hills going to stop?! I was excited to see the turn that lead me to transition.

T2 was hassle free. Once again, everything slide on like butter. It was nice to only attempt once when putting on my shoes and buckling my race belt. After grabbing my EFS flask and tyr visor, I was off to the run course. Something about that run course was tough; maybe it had something to do with the wind, trail turns, and hills. It seemed like I was coming up on the turn-around point several time; nope, just another turn and hill. Finally, reached mile 3 and the turn-around; I took a sip or two of my EFS shot and thought, half way done with the run. At that point I new what to expect and was able to get my head on straight. The thing was, I was all alone. It is nice to be out in front but it sure makes it tough to race hard. I battled with wanting to slow down several times. If it weren't for my Garmin I would have fallen off pace several times. Well, to be brutally honest, I was off pace for a large part of the race. I chalked it up to all the external factors (altitude, wind, hills, etc.). Come on now, everyone knows it is easier to blame it on things that are out of your own control, right?!

Overall this race went well. I learned that I can race at altitude and in the hills; the confidence is there again. Now it is time to race a Half Ironman in those conditions. Thanks for all the support from my sponsors: Hed, Tyr, Kestrel, Right Stuff, Profile Design, CycleOps, and First Endurance. You all make training and racing fun!

Rev 3 knoxville

Rev3 Knoxville was a successful race in so many ways. Not only did the event go over very well, everyone was welcoming and supportive. My support started off with a dear friend of mine, Don Bosch. Him and his wife took me in as one of their own. I flew in a couple days early to spend some quality time. Don made sure everything was just perfect for my stay; from my arrival to departure there wasn't one minor detail that was overlooked. What more could a girl ask for, great friends, beautiful home, and all the support one could ever need. Thanks to the Bosch's my race and weekend in Knoxville was a blast.

Race morning was a bit chilly but the forecast called for sunny and warm. They were right, for once. I remember getting set up on transition thinking today is going to be a great day. Still a bit nervous about the climbs that are to come but very excited about racing. There is something to be said about new adventures; this was one for me. This was the first race I have had that included good climbs; at least any of real length...

It's now getting close to start time for the Elite Amateur's. The Pro's are in the water, anxiously awaiting the sound of the fog horn; and they are off. At that point my heart began to really pound. It is time for our race to begin, just 5 more min. Those 5 min felt like they took FOREVER! It was just enough time to allow my mind to run wild about the race; going through how each step of the race would ideally unfold.

And were off! the first few minutes was a battle. I thought woman were rough in the water; the men were relentless. All I could think about was find some of those guys feet and hang on; sure enough I did, at least until we got to the turn-around bouy. I then found myself falling off the pace slightly; but was able to keep them in sight. We climbed out of the water onto a dock, ran up a ramp, crossed the road and into transition. I was thinking, ok this is the beginning of a tough but fun course. T1 went smoothly, now on the bike...

I found myself riding alone throughout most of the race. This made it tough to really push myself. However, I had a plan and stuck to it. I need to conserve a little during the climbs and attack the downhills. This was going to allow for fresher legs off the bike. My last two races at MIT and St. A's I road hard and struggled the last 3 miles on the run. I was determined to not let that happen this time. Hope to have a PR on the run. Well, it wasn't until that last bit of the bike where I did not keep to my plan. There was another female that passed me with just a few miles to go. At the time I wasn't aware that it was a pro, so I pushed to stay right with her and keep her in my sight. The two of us came out of T2 one right after the other.

I thought to myself, I now have a rabbit. The plan was to hold back just slightly in the beginning, get my legs underneath me and then go. At about mile 3 I found myself alone, again. I mentally had to kick myself in gear and hope to find someone to chase down. Sure enough, another rabbit appeared about mile 4. This time it wasn't until about mile 5 when I passed her.
The overall plan worked, I had a PR on the run and felt strong throughout the entire race. The Temps were great for racing and my nutrition couldn't have gone any better. I used a mixture of EFS drink and pre-race in my water bottle during the bike. I also took a few sips of a mashed up banana and EFS drink mixture on the run. The perfect electrolyte and calorie combination thus far.

Upon crossing the finish line, I couldn't help but think how well this race unfolded. Transitions, nutrition, equipment, and the race venue was perfect. What a great race! My race wouldn't have gone so smoothly if it weren't for the great products of kestrel, profile design, right stuff (sodium), cyclops, tyr, and first endurance (nutrition).