This weekend was the first race of the season- a local sprint triathlon at the Southern Saratoga YMCA. I did this race last year as my first triathlon and loved it. The race is geared towards first timers and I love that there is no pressure and no expectations. I went into the race with very little training, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to do. My first goal was to shave time off last year’s 1:21, and my second goal was to win the age group again.
My mantra for this race was “Suck it up Buttercup”. I knew I would need something to motivate me when I wanted to start easing up.
The swim is 350y and is done in the YMCA pool and is a snake swim, meaning you swim to one end of the pool and then cross under the lane line and swim back down in the next lane.
The swim was uneventful, with the exception of two things
1. I was able to keep my HR low and controlled during the swim, something I struggle with.
2. I shaved :30 off last year’s time.
This race was the first time racing on my new QR tri bike. I upgraded at the end of October when I got a killer end of season deal. I was stoked to see how the bike would handle during a race and what this would do to my bike spilt.
The bike is a nice loop course heading through the town of Clifton Park. I knew the course well from riding it last year and again in the few training rides I did this year. I have had the least training on the bike and wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to do. Throughout the ride I focused on trying to keep my HR under control and solid pedal strokes. Knowing that I struggle with the run, I am guilty of pushing my legs on the bike and then burning out on the run. During the ride I kept focusing on a full pedal stroke and trying to not burn out the legs.
Because of the format of the swim, athletes are pretty spread out, so I hardly saw anyone on the bike. I was passed by a few guys who fell into the 8% body fat category and just zooming on the bike. I can be ok with that!
I spent the second half of the ride sining Niki Manaj’s son Startships out loud and yelling to myself “Suck it up Buttercup”. I was a little embarrassed when I would be passed by riders who were able to hear my ramblings out loud. Oh well, I can only hope that they were going so fast they couldn’t hear that much!
I managed to take about a minute off last year’s bike split.
By far my weakest of the three. The past few weeks I have been hitting faster strides while maintaining my HR at or below zone 3. My goal was to improve on last year’s overall pace of 9:53/mile. I thought I had it in me based on the runs I did this week and my warm up. However, my legs had a different idea.
Once I got off the bike my hamstrings and glutes were so tight I was never able to hit any strides. The run was simply an exercise in suffering and frustration. Needless to say, telling myself “Suck it up Buttercup” did nothing. My legs simply didn’t want to turn over.Probably the most frustrating part was I kept looking at my HR which hovered around 160. For me, that is extremely low. In perspective: during one race last year I averaged 10:21 pace with a HR of 185. During this race, I was averaging 10:11 with a HR if 165. Clearly I had the ability to push more, but my legs had a different idea.
Overall, I finished in a time of 1:19:49 – almost two minutes off last year’s time. The 25-29 Age Group field was competitive and I missed placing in the Top 3. My next triathlon is in June where I will be competing in the Athena group, and I am excited to see how competitive I can be in that race.
Happy Monday to all and if you raced, I hope you had a great day!