Race Report – Caesar’s Creek Triathlon

My second race of the season was on July 12. I have a feeling I shouldn’t be as disappointed as I am with it, but for some reason it lacked the pre-race excitement and post-race jubilation of the Mojo Running triathlon. Even my pre-race openers on the Saturday before lacked the “pop” of the previous race. I remember worrying about how “heavy” my legs felt and then brushing it off as pre-race jitters/self-doubt.

This race started us out three at a time, so no big group start to the swim, which was fine with me (honestly, though, I was usually pretty good at getting to the front and pulling away from the pack so I didn’t have to deal with all of the start-of-race chaos of kicking and pulling and whatever else people do). I chatted with a few very pleasant women before the beginning, and I appreciated how friendly triathletes are compared to the athletes at certain other sporting events.

Post-race selfies are a lot harder to take when you're all by yourself!
Post-race selfies are a lot harder to take when you’re all by yourself!

My swim time was a commendable 12:51 (as opposed to the 9:41 of my last race, which further cemented in my mind that the first course was a bit short). Again, I tried not to go out too strong because “no one wins the race during the swim, but you can lose the race during the swim”. I didn’t want to spike my heart rate and try to “recover” during the bike or completely blow up during the run. Regardless, it was still the 3rd fastest split of the 91 women in the race.

My first transition, like my last race, was too slow. 2:19. I tried to speed it up from my previous race, but obviously that wasn’t exactly successful.

The bike leg wasn’t nearly as fun as my first race of the season. My time wasn’t that far off, but it felt like I was working harder and it was just less enjoyable – I didn’t spend the whole time with a grin plastered to my face, even though I did try to consciously remind myself to enjoy it. It was fun watching dudes fly by me on their expensive tri bikes only to chug past them on the uphills on my aluminum road bike. Compared to the rest of the field, though, I was disappointed. 15th of 91 women with a final time of 40:49 (18.2 mph).

The run wasn’t comfortable but it was less uncomfortable than my previous run. There was a lot of gravel and dirt running, which I wasn’t expecting. Given my proclivity to toppling over, I wasn’t thrilled about it but it was all okay. I actually did better compared to the rest of the field in the run vs. the bike leg (26:26, 9th of 91 women).

Post-race swag
Post-race swag

Overall, I can’t complain too much about it. It wasn’t quite as fun as the first, but I wasn’t feeling as good going into race day as I was with the last race. My total time was 1:23:47, which was only slightly off of my previous time once you take the time difference for the swim leg into account, and I was 7th of 91 women and won the Female 25-29 category.

Triathlon Race Report – Mojo Running MetroParks Triathlon

So, for no good reason whatsoever, I’ve found my motivation waning over the past two weeks or so. My few weeks of hitting (or at least nearly hitting) my goal of 100+ miles a week have given way to gratuitous “taper weeks” followed by “recovery weeks” and so on. So, I figured it’s time to re-hash what I’ve done in the past month or so and try to get excited about the cyclocross season I’ve been dreaming about since last year.

I did my first triathlon since 2013 on June 21. It was fantastic!

Mojo Metro Parks triathlon blog
Pre-race prep!

We had a staggered start, with athletes starting about 5 seconds apart. I was #108 so I started near the back of the pack.

I started out going easy on the swim. On the first triathlon I ever did, I went out way too hard on the swim and pretty much blew myself up for the entire bike leg. Since the bike leg was my focus this time, I wanted to make sure my heart rate didn’t skyrocket right out of the gate. Unfortunately, I believe they incorrectly measured the distance of the swim course so my finish time was spectacular but also unrealistic (9:41 with only a handful of training swims under my belt).

The bike race was so fun. I think I was grinning the entire time. In my previous races,  I got my ass handed to me in the bike but this time it was my turn to blow past people. I thought the course was pretty flat but several people after the race mentioned how “hilly” it was for a triathlon course. With only 300-something feet of elevation over the 12.1 mile course, it was flatter than most of my training rides of similar length, even when I don’t do any larger hills. Either way, I was thrilled with my time and average mph (39:25, 19.1 mph).

The run was a little rough. My first split was way faster than it should have been (8:08) and some gastrointestinal issues had me worried for the remaining two miles (8:30 and 8:27, respectively, with the last .2 at an 8:03 pace). Overall though, with a 26:16 run split and a 1:19.06 finish time, I can’t complain.

mojo metro parks triathlon results
“Mom, take a picture of me.”

I was the fourth woman overall (in a field of around 50) and won my age group. I was actually only 2 minutes off the first place woman, which was amazing. If I only had faster transitions!

You know, two race reports and cyclocross blogging seems a little excessive for one post, so I’ll get the Caesar’s Creek Tri report up separately.

 

Sometimes I forget I have a cyclocross blog…

The past few weeks have been getting busier and busier. The winter blues are finally starting to let up and it’s getting sunny outside, which means I need to learn how to apply my trainer skills to the road! The cx bike is in the shop and next week it’ll be the GT’s turn.

My friend designed me a special training plan about three weeks ago, which I’ve been trying to follow to the best of my ability. It’s pretty cycling-specific, so sometimes I swap out tempo rides for runs, since I want to keep up my running fitness for my 10k and triathlons this summer.

Speaking of running fitness, on March 7th I did the Bockfest 5k. I ran the same race last year when my friend asked me to run with her. I was pretty out of shape and I remember working really hard but being pleased that I finished at under 10:00/mi pace.

My goal for this year was to go as close to 9:00/mi pace as possible. On a few of my training runs I had been going around 9:05 pace, but the presence of snow and my increased focus on biking meant I was only averaging one run per week (for a few weeks it was actually 0 runs per week, because if it’s icy and under 30 degrees, I’d honestly rather just ride the trainer). I thought 9:00 pace would be challenging but do-able.

I wore my Garmin but only glanced at it a few times to check the distance – I figured if I looked down and saw a slow pace I’d be upset and if I looked down and saw a fast pace I’d freak out and convince myself to slow down.

Well, acccyclocross blog resultsording to the official results I finished at an 8:18 pace!! Also, check out that division place… 5th of 95! Like, no way, ya know? I was/am absolutely thrilled. And also very surprised. I’ve been out on a few runs since then and haven’t felt great but have still hovered at around 9:00 pace (including the run where I forgot to bring a sports bra to work…). I’m getting a little excited for my 10k and my triathlons coming up this summer. I want to try some “brick” workouts within the next few weekends, but I’ll have to look into those a little more to decide how/what I want to do.

I’ll have to make another post soon detailing my training plan I’ve been doing for a few weeks, but the fifteen (20…25…) minutes I’ve allotted myself to write in this blog is up, and I have a metric ton of work that needs to be done ASAP.

Oh, I think one of my new goals is going to be to beat my fastest ever mile time of 7:35, which I ran in the 7th grade. I’ll have to do a little bit of speed work on the local high school track… I actually think it could be do-able!

 

Goals

One of the things I’ve been brainstorming about is my goals for the upcoming season, and I should probably get them written down so I can more easily remind myself of them and review them. Actually, that’s the whole purpose of this cyclocross blog. To keep track of my progress and educate myself on whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing.

February is just beginning, which means…

  • 1 month until Bockfest 5k – (goal: under 9:30/mile)
  • 3 months until FPM 10k – (goal: under 9:30/mile, under 9:00 mile would be awesome) (I’ve also toyed with the idea of training for a half-marathon on this weekend. I just can’t decide!)
  • 4 months until first triathlon (TDB)
  • 5.5 months until Cincinnati Tri (After further research it looks like this event may be no more, which I find VERY upsetting. I’ve been looking forward to doing that bike route again for quite a while.)
  • 7 months until cyclocross season begins!

General goals:

Cyclocross:

  • Podium in a women’s Cat4 race
  • Upgrade
  • Learn how to do one cool thing (barrier hop, ride sandpit, etc.)
  • Be able to ride the Kings CX camel humps

    This photo makes it look less intimidating than it seemed at the time, especially when it was slippery and wet.
    This photo makes it look less intimidating than it seemed at the time, especially when it was slippery and wet.

Running:

  • Run 10k <9:00/mile pace
  • Run 5k <8:45/mile pace (Accomplished 3/7/15 at Bockfest 5k! 8:18/pace)
  • Half-marathon?

Triathlon:

  • 20 mph bike time
  • Finish 5k run <9:00/mile
  • Olympic length?

For the past month or so, I’ve been focusing more on running than biking, largely because I can run outside vs. sitting in my basement watching Ironman coverage from the 1990s. But, since when it all comes down to it, cycling/cyclocross is my focus I should really be riding just as much (ideally more) than I’m running. My tentative goals for the next few weeks include –

40 minutes on the trainer, 3-4xweek

core work, 2xweek

running, 2-3xweek

I’ll re-evaluate in a few weeks to see how much I think I can reasonably up the amount of time I put in. I’ll also need to figure out when/how often to incorporate intervals, etc. Do you do that when you’re building a base? Building base on a trainer sucks – can I wait til its warm? When do other people build their bases? How does all of this work?

I need a heart rate monitor yesterday.