I know that I am beating a dead horse but I do think about these things. They allow me to race better next time. My lessons learned from 70.3 New Orleans 2010 are as follows:
1. PRE-RACE: Plenty of time this year. There was no long walk to the swim start line. My start time was also nearly an hour later than last year. Pre-race set up is an experience that you learn. I am much better after having a lot of races under my belt. I was even able to assist a few people in transition prior to the race. I have made lists of what I need in transition (I will follow up with this in another post) and this takes much of the anxiety out of the situation.All races are different from year to year. In this race the swim was rough, the bike was faster and the run was about the same. Well, the run was hotter but only because I started it an hour later than last year. And the tranistions were much shorter.
2. SWIM: I watched the conditions worsen for more than an hour. Last year I do not think I would have had success. This was the first open water swim that I have done this year. Once again I had to draw upon experience. I have had bad swims. I have had good swims. I have learned that I need to swim my own race. I have built up a comfort level (confidence level) with swimming. I might not be the fastest swimmer out there but I will complete the swim and be able to contend with any situation that might arise.
3. BIKE: I was able to stay within my heart rate zones. I was comfortable. I was tempted to push the pace (and I did when the wind was at my back). But overall, once again, I raced my own race. I still need to determine where that fine line is on the bike. Did gaining a few extra minutes on the bike cost me 10 minutes on the run?
4. RUN: I am a better runner than last year. I took a minute per mile off of last year’s pace. However, I wanted 2 minutes per mile. Maybe I was naive in my run goals. The heat was a factor. Maybe I should have run more at the hottest times of the day to build some heat acclimation. The heat from this race will feel like a winter’s morning in two months.
5. ENJOY THE RACE: Once out of the water I had a good day. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to reach my goal. I was able to keep positive even though I knew that I was not going to have a 4:59. At the end of the race I did say (and it is on video) that "I never want to do another long distance race again". I think I say that at the end of every race! I still want to break 5 hours and I am looking around for another race.
By the numbers:
Improvement 2009 – 2010
I 'lost' 3 minutes in the swim (from my projected time). I 'lost' 90 seconds from a bathroom break. I wonder if I could have pulled that extra gear knowing that I only needed 4 minutes (instead of 8 minutes) to reach my goal? I knew that I was not able to run 30+ seconds per mile faster but could I have willed myself to run 17 seconds per mile faster? I just don't know.
Recovery: Last year there was a tri team that had a kiddie swimming pool filled with ice water that their athletes were using to cool down. I wanted that last year but it was only for their athletes – I asked. This year, they had this set up in the medical area. Once I discovered this I made a bee line for the water. I definitely did not need an IV or anything by I wanted to cool down and start my recovery. The medical staff was awesome and I submerged myself for about 5 minutes. It was painful on my feet but so refreshing everywhere else. I highly recommend the ice baths!!!
Checking Race Results