Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Final Race of the Season

The FUNtastic2 Nantasket Sprint Triathlon. September 26, 2010. 1/4 mile ocean swim, 10 mile bike, 3.2 mile beach run in the scenic Hull, MA. Why has it taken me so long to write about this race? Because I hopped a plane to the S. American jungle 5 days later and I have only been back in the USA for a few weeks, readjusting to corporate life and getting back into the swing of reality.

After the epic PA Olympic distance race in August, this race should have been pretty easy. And it nearly was. It had its moments -- both high and low, but for the most part it was a great season ender. I did this race last year and really enjoyed the festive atmosphere and knew that I had to do it again this year. This one will be a keeper on my list, life permitting of course.

Last year the swim was shortened due to high surf (and I mean scary high). This year, the tide was out so far that we had to run the first 1/4 of the swim and the last 1/4 of the swim. Not much actually swimming took place in the swim. Last year I placed 2nd in my age division in the swim, this year I placed 6th. I guess that means I need to work on my shallow water running. When we actually were able to swim, the water was so cold that it took my breath away. I swam as fast as I could whilst numb, hoping to end the pain and overcome the feeling of needing to vomit. It was at that point in the race that I decided quite firmly that I would not do the 5k swim on Veterans Day, where the water would be at least 5-10 degrees colder. The difficult part for me for this race is that I am a swimmer. It is my strongest leg of the race. It it where I get any advantage that I can hope for. On this day my hopes were washed away by the tides.

The bike was a great experience. It was pretty much all flat, which was such a blessing after all the hill training I did for the PA race. I had hoped to improve my time over last year by posting an average 14.8 mph ride. Last year I came in last in my division in the bike but I knew that I had been training hard since. I came out of the water strong, peeled off my wetsuit and suited up for the bike. Once I passed into the riding zone and hopped on I started passing people right away - shocker! I gave everything that I had left in me on the bike, with no concern for "saving it" for the run. I ended up posting an average 16.6 mph (!) and coming in 14/23 in my division. I was so pleased and so shocked that I not only accomplished my goal but far exceeded it. I had underestimated the progress I had made in my training and the way the adrenaline and determination would hit me during the race.

I hopped off the bike and onto to the beach for the 3.2 mile run. Last year I came in last in my division, with no shame - I finished and I was happy! This year the beach conditions were so much better, I was in much better shape (but still not a runner), and the adrenaline high from my bike ride was keeping me moving fast. This lasted for about 3 full minutes when I hit the wall. My first mile was a disaster - 15 minutes, at least. My second mile was much better, I actually felt a rush of energy and did it in under 10 which for me is quite amazing, and then the last mile was my usual 12 minute pace. I felt great when the race was over, sure that I had blown away my run time from last year. Final result for the run? I came in last in my division and last in the ENTIRE field of racers, and only finished 2 seconds faster than last year. Sheesh. Oh well, I finished and overall I was 18/23 in my division at 1:26:55, a vast improvement over last year.

Guess what I have been focusing on ever since I returned from the jungle? Yup - running. I figure if I focus on my running for next season like I did my biking for this season I might not come in LAST PLACE again when I do this race next year.

Next time I write I'll catch you up on my jungle adventure. Wow was it ever amazing!

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