Monday, July 16, 2007

Race Report: Triangle Triathlon

"I don't want to be anything other than what I've been tryin to be lately /All I have to do is think of me and I've peace of mind / I'm tired of looking 'round rooms wondering what I gotta do /Or who I'm supposed to be / I don't want to be anything other than me."
- Gavin DeGraw

First things first: We're back from a fabulous family vacation where soaked up some summer sun, played lots of games, kayaked through the intercoastal waterway, read several books, ate tons of seafood, and got in a little bit of training -- including Robyn's first ocean swim!

Now, on to the race report!

On Sunday, July 8, the song quoted above was playing through the loudspeakers soon after we crossed the finish line. It truly summed up the attitude with which we tried to approach this race.

We joined 1,100 fellow triathletes -- including our coach and several friends -in the Triangle Triathlon. The race took place just down the road from us in Lake Crabtree County Park. The weather was hot, hot, hot -- but beautiful.

The Swim
The flat 750 yard swim took place in Lake Crabtree -- where interestingly enough, swimming is normally not allowed due to contamination (hmmm....motivation to swim fast!!).

As usual, Ray positioned herself as the front of our wave and swam like the swim champ she is, quickly making it out of water just a few second slower than last year.

Robyn, on the other hand, positioned herself in the back of the wave and freaked out a bit during the first half of this her second open water swim. Goggles leaked, breathing was uncontrolled, and the first buoy couldn't come soon enough. Things calmed down significantly after she made the turn for home.

Rachel - 12:04
Robyn - 17:01

The Bike
After a short run out of the water (We've learned that skipping with knees high helps us move from water to land most quickly!), we were both off on our bikes. The 15 mile course was a clover leaf of constant ups and downs. We saw several folks pulled off the course with gear issues and were thankful to have made it through the ride unscathed.

Ray made her debut performance on her new tri bike. Although the ride is taking a little getting used to, she felt super fast and efficient. Unfortunately, she was dogged with a 2:00 drafting penalty somewhere on the course -- although she was deliberately working hard NOT to draft, especially during narrow sections of the course. After penalties in both of our last two races, we certainly hope we're done with that for the remainder of the season!

Robyn gave it her all on the bike, posting her fastest bike times of the season. Unfortunately, it may have been a bit too much, given how her legs felt during the run.

Rachel - 48:10
Robyn - 47:45

The Run
As the temperature started to rise, we were thankful that the majority of the double loop 5K run took place in the shade.

Rachel ran consistently and passed two guys in the finish line shoot! Check out the pictorial evidence here.

On the other hand, during the first five minutes of the run, Robyn had the conscious thought of wanting to sit down on the curb and cry - just a little bit! She didn't and her weary legs came around after a slow first loop, but the run was her slowest of the season and she let a fellow age grouper get away during the last couple hundred yards. Note the pained look here.

Rachel - 26:32
Robyn - 28:15

The Bottom Line

Rachel - 1:31:41 (22/42 AG) -- 45 seconds faster than last year
Robyn - 1:35:51 (27/42 AG)

At first, we were both a bit disappointed with our overall times. We've been training so hard and would be lying if we said that we wouldn't LOVE to see huge drops in our times - instead of incremental progress (Who wouldn't?!). But -- then we chatted with our coach who reminded us that (1) this race was not our goal....instead, we have our eyes set on a different prize; (2) because this race was not our goal, we weren't rested; and (3) incremental progress is the name of the game.

So, we thought of the finish line song, drove straight to the beach, and remembered that we're in this for the long haul!

Things we're keeping in mind when we race again in two weeks:

  • Exhale!
  • Tap into the fire -- cadence, cadence, cadence!
  • Find another gear on the run. We know it's there.
  • Keep those quick transitions.
  • Smile -- this is FUN!

Special thanks and blogging love goes out to Ray's husband Dave and his brother Chris for motivating cheering as usual (and some tri sherpa-ing back to the car after the race) and to our local "teammates" with whom we warmed-up, cooled-down, and enjoyed lots of pre-race company.