Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bitter or Better

March 4-10
Swim: some
Bike: a bit
Run: yep
Total: too lazy to actually go back and look

It was a normal week…until Wednesday. On Wednesday, Dad and I took off down the road for Florida.  I was just in Daytona Beach in December, and I was not looking forward to the same ride—I knew it was a few hours longer than I wanted to be in a vehicle. Long story short, we stopped in Nashville on the way down so I could try one of the Fat Mo’s burgers…it was great. Anyway, we made it most of the way on Wednesday.

After a short drive on Thursday, we finally made it to Clermont. I went to the National Training Center to do a workout on the track, and dad was busy making friends with the coaches of the local 5k training group. After my run, I ended up talking to them for a little bit too, and found out one of them would be working the transition area on Saturday. (more on that later)

 Looks like a nice place to relax!

Friday is where things go interesting. We went to the course in the afternoon to check things out—apparently everybody else had the same idea. I was quickly regretting not bringing a wetsuit. The water was a lovely 62 degrees at 1 in the afternoon, and I knew it was not going to be getting any warmer. Wonderful. I got in the water and do some swimming, and the water really didn’t feel that cold, and I felt like I had a decent feel for the water. Going into the race I wasn’t worried about the swim, and that just confirmed that I would be fine. After the swim, I went out for a couple loops on the bike course, just to make sure everything was working…it was! I was ready to go.

 It didn't seem so cold on Friday...

Friday night we had packet pick up, and a pre race meeting. I don’t think I was even slightly nervous for the race until they started discussing being lapped out. Going into the race I knew there was a chance that I could be lapped out, but I was confident enough in my swim ability that it wouldn’t happen. I know that I am not the strongest swimmer, but I had spent the last 4 months working on it, and I had seen big improvements in the pool. After the meeting was over, dad and I went for a quick dinner, then back to the hotel to relax.

Okay, race morning…it was cold in Florida! I think it was mid 40s when we got to the park around 6:15am. The first few minutes were spent parking, and unloading the truck. Then I did my 2 mile warm up jog just to get the legs moving. After that I spent about 20 minutes on the trainer at a pretty easy pace with a few pickups in there just to get the legs moving. After the ride, I got in line to get my chip. Everything was feeling good, and the check in process was simple. I set up transition, and had a few minutes to get down to the lake. I did a 10 minute swim warm up before they called us back to the beach to get our starting position. The 5-10 minutes we were standing out of the water seemed like 5 hours (remember I did not have a wetsuit on, and it was probably 48 degrees). We walked out into the calf deep water to take out starting position, and shortly late the gun went off.

This is the good part. Okay, so maybe it isn’t the good part. Water temp was 58-62 degrees depending on who you ask, but all I know is I was cold! I felt like I was swimming well, but apparently I was not. I exited the water in 15:13…I know I can swim better than that. But it is what it is. When I saw 15:00 on the clock I knew my day was done—I needed to be sub 13:30 to even have a chance at finishing…which I thought was a realistic goal going into the race. Oh well, I continued the run up to T1 and got on my bike.

 All by myself :(

At this point I knew there were a few guys maybe 25 seconds up, and a couple behind me. If I had any chance of surviving the bike I needed to catch that pack, but I knew it would not be easy. I could see that I only had maybe a minute on the lead pack when I was ½ way through my first lap…not good!  I was gaining on the pack ahead of me, but the lead pack was gaining on us! At the turnaround for lap 2 I could see that I had maybe 15 seconds on the lead group. Could I hold off the lead pack for another 2 laps? Most likely not. But I sure as hell was going to try. I ended up making a decent dent into the gap of the pack ahead of me, but got lapped out at lap 2. Was I upset? No. I was more embarrassed than anything, because I know I can do better! I just really shot myself in the foot with an awful swim—always bring the wetsuit! But the good news is my new friend, Jeremy from the NTC, was at the Transition area! So, at least I had somebody to talk to! Dad was busy volunteering out on the course!

For the next few hours I sat with Jeremy, and watched the pro races from the transition area. I got to pick the brain of somebody that works at the NTC. I got to soak up some good information. I got to see all the action up close. Draft legal racing really is pretty awesome to watch! It was pretty dang awesome to see all of the ITU pros flying by! After the race I even got to take a picture with Richard Murray!

So…Here are a few things I have come up with since race day.

1.  ALWAYS bring the wetsuit!

2.  Bitter or Better (I actually was wearing that shirt for a while after the race!)
            *It is not the end of the world.
            *Swim still needs A LOT of work—we’ll get there.
            *Just motivation to keep working on the weakness.

3. Draft legal racing is a new challenge. All racing is a challenge, but this really excites me.
            *I think it could be fun if I get that swim time down.

4. Clermont was still a good experience.
            *Let me know that my swim is still weaker than I though.
            *Good advice/tips talking with Jeremy.
            *Up close experience watching from transition area. 
            *Call me crazy, but I actually want to go back 

 (Top 3 Men) 

Now it is time to get ready for the track season! What is your next race?

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