Pink Goals

So I have waited a very long time to write this.  No real particular reason other than I took a while to shake off some disappointment and learn some very valuable lessons from my performance.  Let me start out this post by saying that race day was supposed to be overcast and slightly rainy, according to the forecast. Actual weather was about 80* and sunny.  It.was.hot.  But, then again, I shouldn’t be shocked because Pink Power Triathlon is ALWAYS hot. It’s the middle of August- I should expect nothing less.

I also want to start out by saying that this was a GREAT race for me. I know my lead-in paragraph makes it seem otherwise, but going in with very big goals can set you up for some disappointment- even if the finish should make you proud.

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photo credit: Kit Forrester

So, let’s start with the swim.  This year was meant to be my fastest swim year ever.  I had consistently paced the same over and over in practice- without much effort.  HOWEVER, the funny piece to a pool swim will always be seeding.  This year, the seeding was changed.  Instead of putting the time you thought it would take you to swim the entire 400m straight, you were to put what you swim 100m at.  I don’t know about you, but my time for a 100m race and a 400m race are very different.  And that exact principle was why the seeding became a colossal mess. I caught up to the swimmer in front of me fairly quickly, only to not be able to pass her right away and have the person behind me catch up to me.  I let her pass me, and then we passed the girl that was in front of me and we all caught up to another person ahead of her.  And then another one and then there was wall waiting and “no you go”s and by the end it was still a faster swim time for me than last year, but not nearly what my practice and seeding should have put me. I’m not sure what the solution is for this, but I think going back to a 400m time seeding would help a ton. I tried to not let the disappointment of the mess of the swim get to me as I ran to transition. Swim time- 8min, 34 secs.

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Transition was pretty smooth into the bike.  Normally on the bike I feel like I get passed pretty frequently- not this year! I held my own and even did a little bit of passing.  I have ridden the route countless times, but the hills never cease to chew me up and spit me out. I had lots of people yelling to me on the bike and I felt so focused that I couldn’t take in who they all were, but I was so glad to hear my name. I did, however, see my training buddies Cate and Mike at one point on the bike because she pretty much jumped out in front of me! It renewed my spirit, and I pushed harder in the last little bit.  I managed to shave 1.5 minutes off my time last year for a time of 41’33- or 15.8 mph.  Here’s my beef with that, though.  Like I said, I have ridden the route a gazillion times- also have done this race 5 years in a row now, and my garmin has literally ALWAYS called it 11.8 miles, but the race has it measured at 11.4.  Obviously, I have to believe the race, but if my Garmin is the one that is right, it’s 17.1mph- which is more in line with the rest of my races.

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The run was hot. Like, very hot.  I had trained many many times in high humidity and heat- even running a 5k a few weeks before that nearly hit my PR in super humidity, but still had trouble catching my breath during this 5k.  Even still, I pushed and pushed, trying to even get another sub 30min 5k like I had at Rev3 Williamsburg. I booked it up the big hill and was excited to see Cate and Mike again yelling from the top.  It was enough to get me up the hill running as quickly as I could! The sun was beating down and with a quarter mile to go, I did have to walk for a second to take some deep breaths.  Missed my sub-30 by a hair- 30’55.  BUT, that was still over a minute off of my time from last year.

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photo credit: Herv Sherd

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Finishing the race was incredible.  I got my medal and water and turned around and there were my husband and kids, so excited to tell me how well I did.  And then, my coworkers were right there- they had showed up as a surprise with a sign they had made! And my training buddies were all there.  It was incredible the amount of support and excitement that met me at that finish line.

My time last year was 1’27’19.  This year- 1’24’10.  I had shaved 3 entire minutes off- IN SPITE of the heat/humidity.  It wasn’t the 10 that I had hoped and worked for, but that doesn’t make that kind of PR any less incredible.  I was 50th out of 300 women! If I can’t be happy about that kind of hefty improvement in the short distance, then I have learned nothing. I worked hard and it showed…and really isn’t that everything?

After a year of nothing but sprint triathlons, I can say that I’m ready to face the longer distances again.  I still have the Richmond 8k on the books this year- and am still hoping to come as close to 40 minutes as I potentially can.  But, for 2019, I will be doing mostly half marathons and half Ironmans (Virginia and Maine!).

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