Monday, April 25, 2016

And so it begins...

It's always fun to start the new race season. This season is season #4 of triathlons for me. Unfortunately, I'm going into this season with some injuries and extra lbs so I'm not quite as optimistic about my performance as previous seasons. My first race ended in a DNF and my most recent race this weekend was the slowest time I've ever raced for this course. However, my injuries are mending and I can run again without pain and I haven't had a bike accident yet. So...that's positive.  Let's get into the mini-race reports.

Open Water Swim 3000 meter race - Lake Pleasant, AZ
On April 2, I started out the season with an open water swim race in Arizona.  I've done the AZ Open Water race series once before, swimming an astonishing 4000 meters a year after I learned how to swim. I love doing this race and it's part of the reason that Ben and I do a spring break trip to AZ every year. Normally, the first race of the series is at Tempe Town Lake, but there is something going on with the lake this year so they had to do the first race at Lake Pleasant, which is in the northwest corner of the metro area. It forced Ben and me to stay at a resort up that way which was AMAZING.  Absolutely loved this place, in the middle of the desert.

The race was to begin at 7:30a. We arrived onsite around 6:45 and it was sunny, windy and somewhat cool. Air temperatures were around 55 degrees and the water temperature was...wait for it...61 degrees. I stepped in the water and it felt like ice joke. During the "warm up," I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it to the start. It was so cold and I could barely breathe. Then I see these dudes get in the water, wearing Speedos. Yeah. At this point, I was figured there is not way those guys can swim in Speedos and I will wimp out. No way.
KWI at Lake Pleasant race start

Race started about 15 minutes late as the race directors were waiting for the winds to die down. The gun finally goes off and we're moving. I was so preoccupied with the cold that I forgot to start my watch so I didn't hit it until about 400 meters in. After the first 1000 meter loop, I felt much more confident and was actually thinking I could do this. However, at the turn around, I was starting to lose feeling in my face and fingers and that kind of freaked me out. So I decided to quit after 2000 meters which resulted in a DNF (finished it in about 51 minutes). Disappointing, but it's another thing I can say I can do without fear. Note to self: must invest in a neoprene cap and maybe some neoprene booties.

Next day I did a little 5k and 25 mile amazing bike ride but nothing spectacular to report. I won second in my age group but there were only two of us.

Omaha Duathlon
Last weekend, I participated in the Omaha Duathlon which is a great local race featuring a 2.5 mile run, followed by a 14.5 mile bike on a flat but windy course followed by another go on the 2.5 mile run course. This race has some bad weather karma and after some nasty early morning thunderstorms, the clouds party for some sun and LOTS of wind. And just to make things interesting, about two-thirds of the bike course was "milled" in preparation for new pavement which is a pretty awful surface for a bike course.

I arrived at the course around 7:15 to help my fellow Team Nebraska Triathlon board members set up our info tent. Picked up my packet and started to doubt whether or not I would get to the start. (Do we see a pattern forming here?) I had driven on the milled road as I was coming to the race and it was horrible.  How the hell could I take my beautiful, precious Michonne (my new road bike) on that surface? Several people didn't show up or decided not to race, but after some back and forth, I decided to do it.

Race started and my calf was OK.  Definitely slower than I have done in previous years, but better than I expected. The bike leg was insane. I was going about 22-24 mph on a milled road and there was this moment about 3 miles in where I thought at any moment, this could all go horribly wrong and I'm going to have an epic crash. Made it to the turnaround and I kind of ran out of steam at that point. Wind in my face at 20 mph on a milled road and I kind of gave up. I made it back to the transition and lolly-gagged around contemplating whether or not I wanted to continue. The daughter of one of my neighbors, was waiting for me (she's in 4th grade!) at the transition and ran the entire 2.5 miles with me to the end. I have to say, I probably would have quit if she wasn't there. Although it was my slowest finish ever at this race, I actually felt fine (hamstring and calf) so I thought that was an accomplishment. I need to just build back my running fitness. Michonne handled that ripped up road like a champ.
Michonne - isn't she pretty?

Final times:
run 1 - 00:26:42
T1 - 00:00:42
Bike - 1:02:11
T2 - 00:01:56
run 2 - 00:30:56
Total: 2:02:29

The best part of this race was all of the great TNT folks I saw at the race. Made some new connections and socialized a bit. It was a really fun morning. Next up: Kansas City Triathlon on May 15. Stay Tuned!
TNT members at the club tent

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