Saturday, August 17, 2013

USAT Age Group Nationals

Apparently I've told myself I can't post more about life in Boulder until I get last weekend's race report done, so let's get on with that.

Last triathlon of the season, age group Nationals - theoretically a very exciting time, except I'd had plenty of excitement for 2 weeks already with the move and the road trip and my first week of work in the lab.  So while I was looking forward to racing a big event, I was not really uber-stoked to leave town already and be in a hotel again.

That said…it was a quick trip to Milwaukee and the awesome Robyn picked me up and whisked me off to our hotel room where we chilled out with a great view of downtown.  Later in the afternoon we went over so I could do packet pickup and she could drop her bike for Saturday's race.  It was reminiscent of Ironman with the mass of people and general chaos but slightly less stressful and egotistical.

Saturday dawned bright and early for the Olympic race.  It was a blast to cheer for Robyn and our coach and Amanda!  I tried to stay off my feet and eat a lot.  Super proud of how well everyone raced.

Come Sunday it was time for the sprint championships…

Melissa and I with Julia and her friend Sarah before the start.

The waves were staged to go off one after another and we were allowed into the water just as the previous wave was going off.  All year, I've had a good long 15+ minute warmup to get ready for sprint effort and on Sunday, I just didn't get anything close.  The gun for the 35-39 women went off, I hammered the start and then…just couldn't breathe.  When my coach had said she was curious to see how the altitude at Boulder might be affecting me, I'm pretty sure this wasn't what she meant.  I tried to just swim a little slower but still my lungs just felt tight and I started to panic a little.  I ended up popping up to breaststroke for a minute before I could get down to the business of swimming but by then my draft - and my entire wave - was gone.  When the next wave's fast swimmers caught me, I was probably finally warmed up enough to go hard and I did.  But it was too little too late.

Oh well, nothing to do but put the swim behind me and jump on the bike.  I'd heard about the course from the day before and I knew to just put my head down and ride hard without worrying about power output.  I actually really loved this bike course, worked my ass off and rode a 19+ mph average.

I was a little sad to say goodbye to the bike as I was enjoying it.  But then it was time to run.  I started off at a steady fast pace and thought I'd just wait and see if I could sustain it.  As it turned out, I ran very even splits, till the pace increased at the end, for my best run leg of the year and a 5k only about a minute off my open 5k PR.

I think this photo was taken right after I'd shoved a handful of ice down my top and shorts

Thanks to Maggs for this shot of me headed to the finish

And then I crossed the finish line, Chrissie Wellington put a finishers medal on me and I promptly burst into tears.  The stress of the past couple weeks had caught up with me and I was just…done.  I found Melissa, we caught up on our races (she kicked ASS in our AG), and we shivered in the cold rain that rolled in while we waited waited waited for transition to open and get our stuff out.

For my first time at Nationals, it was quite an experience.  If I were to go again, I'd certainly hope for a little less life stress leading up to the event itself.  But I'm happy with 2/3 of my race and relieved that tri season is done nice and early for me this year.  The trip back to Boulder was unfortunately far too long, thanks to some ridiculous SuperShuttle antics, but it was good to be home.  I'm excited about my training schedule ahead and the shift in gears to run-focused training for the fall!

And NOW I can get back to the fun and excitement of life in Boulder.


Tea said...

I learned 2 important things reading this
1.) You are crazy awesome.

2.) See #1.

Maggs said...

great report~ bummer about the swim. I've found that w/o a warmup I always freak out/panic. Hope things settle down for you now that you are moved/settled.

The Original MAJ said...

Love the race report!!!! I know this has been a crazy few months for you and you have kicked a lot of butt!!!