Tugaloo Oly Race Report - Sept 15, 2003

Again, my usual disclaimer this is long, but I am posting this as a way to repay the community and say thanks to all those folks who posted their reports that I learned so much from. So here is hoping somebody out there gets something out of this one!

Short version:

This was my second oly of the year and also the 2nd of my life. The results were: Swim (1.5k) - 31:06 - 6/10 in AG; Bike (42k) 1:18:47 - 1/10 in AG; Run (10k) 56:29 - 7/10 AG; overall 2:49:48 4/10 AG

Lessons Learned:

1) It is important to do bricks with run following high intensity effort on the bike; all of my bricks were an easy run after easy to moderate bike.

2) Driving the course the day before is VERY helpful (biking and running prior to the event would have been even better)

3) Training from Jan - September takes a lot out of me mentally. Some people may be able to stay focused for that long, but I didn't do it this year.

Long Version: (in fact, many IM reports were shorter!!!)

After our first tri ever in Sept 2002, my friend and I decided we could do an olympic this year, so we put this race on our schedule in January. This was originally the 2nd A race of the year, my other A race was a sprint in MARCH. Lesson leaned #3 here, because March to September is too long between "A" races even if they are two different distances. This was my first actual "season" so I think I wasn't aware of how difficult it is to peak twice in one year when you don't have much experience. Basically what happened here was that in July I had my first oly ever, I trained for this as if it was a B race, with Tugaloo being my A, unfortunately, once I completed the July race I didn't have the drive to workout as intensly anymore.

Okay, so race day: The swim, it was done as a Time Trial start which mean two people go into the water in 5 second increments. My friend and I were able to start together, which was great because her husband took an incredible picture of us running into the water together with the sunrise in the background! Swim was okay, this is my least favorite event so I just try to get through it. Exited the water 4 seconds behind my friend, which was a lot of fun to be able to cheer each other on through T1

T1: Skipped socks for first time, no issues with that, but T1 was fastest of the year for me

Bike: Because I had been slacking off in my workouts, I knew I wouldn't be feeling good on the run even if I didn't go all out on the bike so I decided to really push my bike. I had a goal to avg 20 mph. I hooked up with a group of guys that kept passing my on the downhills, and I would pass them back on the uphill. I spent A LOT of thought on dropping back when they passed so that I wouldn't be drafting. I was worried about the officials, but more I wanted to prove to myself that I could do 20 mph all by myself. The course was a lot of rolling hills and similar to where my husband and I ride a lot on the weekends which helped mentally. I was also very excited that I was right on schedule according to the time on my bike computer every time I passed a mile marker. I also participated on my first water bottle pick up while on the bike! It was SO MUCH FUN!! Plus the cold water from my aero bottle tasted so much better than the lukewarm Gatorade that I had up until that point. With about 6 miles left to go I found myself wavering, so I started to psych myself up to finish strong. I had driven the course the day before so I knew what was in front of me and that the big hills were behind me so I said to myself, you either push this home now or you will regret it all winter! and a little bit of "you know you can do this!" etc. (so that was Lesson Learned #2, drive the course if you can) So I pushed it home, I took the last 1/2 mile a little easier to try to give my legs a break before the run. When I looked at my bike computer going into T2 it said 1:17something so I was really proud of myself for that ride. (As a side note, today when I looked at the results I was shocked to see this was the fourth best female bike split that day. While many many people smoked me on the run, it was exciting to see what it possible when I push myself on the bike, now I just need to be able to really push the run).

T2: Whilst putting my shoes on my entire left leg cramped, hamstrings, gluts, calf, etc. Guess I went a little too hard on the bike. I took a little more time here than normal to try to get that cramp out before I started the run.

Run: Okay, this is where it fell apart. The run was hard, but I think it was mostly a lack of fitness that made it so tough on me. I am already looking forward to doing this next year with better fitness because the run is so nice! It has a couple of tough hills, but it was well shaded and could have been fun. Unfortunately, on Saturday it felt like a death march. I had a goal to NOT WALK, anything but walking. I walked. Ugh. This is where Lesson Learned #1 came into play. It wasn't my heart/lungs that were troubled, it was my legs, I was having trouble just moving them. I think this problem was partly not training intense bricks and partly not getting enough nutrition on the bike. I have a pretty sensitive stomach on the run, so I try to get all of my nutrition in on the bike or before the race. I was not feeling well that morning, so I only had half of my usual pre race breakfast (pb and j on toast), usually I have two slices. Then on the bike, I had a new gel flask that I made getting the gel easier, unfortunately, 1 squeeze is not a full serving, so I only took in 1 total serving of gel on the bike, instead of the planned two. I think this lack of nutrition really hurt me, because I still wasn't thinking straight 5 hours after the race after I had downed bananas, oranges, chicken sandwich, etc. And I must have been dehydrated because when I weighed myself that evening (after eating after the race three times and drinking tons of water) I was 4 lbs lighter than the day before, I would imagine that I lost at least 6 or more lbs during the race.

This was my last race this year, so now I have some downtime planned and then I will plan to do a weight program over the winter, continue to work on my biking with some high cadence and isolated leg drills (I have a leg strength imbalance where my left leg is stronger than the right and I rely on it far to heavily so I am hoping these drills will force my right leg to become stronger), but for the most part try not to think "tri" for awhile. After looking at the results of the race today, I am ready to start working on my "limiters" today, but I think taking a break and doing work to build strength and endurance without being focused on swim, bike, run will do me some good for awhile.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading! Again, I hope it was helpful to someone out there! take care and train safely!



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