Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You win some, you lose some....

you stink some :)

So here it is, my Salem report.  I decided last minute (of course, story of my life) to do Salem.  I've done it 3 times before and while I'm not in as good of shape as I was the last 2 times I figured I was pretty good and it would be a good chance to see where I stack up right now.  And it usually draws good competition and lots of friends and I hadn't done it in two years.  So of course Jer had an event to be to but he took the older kids and they camped out the night before, that's fun, I'm glad we can do things like that with them.  My mother in law is great about watching the kids Saturday mornings when we both have conflicting events between work and racing but I don't want to wear out my welcome.  I dropped my sweet baby Ella off with my Aunt and cousins about 15 minutes away from the race and headed down to set up.  Was nice to chat with Jeanette (thanks for saving me a spot!) and lots of other friends down there.

Swim - I feel like so many of my at least open water swims in races just feel so uncoordinated and anaerobic.  Not always anaerobic I guess, but generally uncoordinated.  Not like I can't swim in open water, I guess it just feels like my stroke is chaotic in open water.  Maybe it's just I want to settle in and swim long and strong.  I guess trying to push the pace just feels choppy to me.  But anyway, water temp was great and water wasn't slimy, that's always a plus!  Swam near Jeanette the whole time and came out of the water with her.  Pretty happy with my time, the same or better than my best years.

T1 - haha, a little rusty I guess.  I don't know where my mind was, I take pride in good fast efficient transitions, but this one was a little off.  Ran to the bike, got the wetsuit off, grabbed my bike......with my helmet still on the handle bars.  Whoops.  So balancing my bike on my leg I grabbed my helmet, proceeded to drop my sunglasses and have a lens pop out, almost drop my bike while buckling helmet and THEN off I went  :)  I was worried a bit about biking without sunglasses since I wear contacts that dry out, but it was fine.
Bike - bike was good.  It wasn't too painful, but I didn't feel like I was taking it super easy or anything.  Still feel a lack of power from usual, but not as bad as Spring Sprint.  Comfortable in aero.  Really appreciated all the imperfections in the road being spray painted white, so nice not to have to worry about that.  Thankful for the cheers I hear too.  Second loop was a little hairy with bikers all over the road.  Did my share of yelling 'ride on the right, pass on the left!' Pretty pleased with my bike, but could have been more aggressive with more fitness

T2 - fine, no big deal
Run - you may be asking yourself why I titled my post as I did.  Here's where the stink part comes in.  I just didn't have any gas in the tank, and legs to run on.  Uhg!  I LOVE the run portion of triathlon.  I generally still feel strong despite learning to push the bike harder, and even if I'm tired I find a way to push the run.  I almost always have one of the best run splits, I just love to feel strong here.  But not today.  I took off running fast out of T2 because I knew the 4th place elite wave girl had to be close behind me and she is a really good runner.  Ran hard for about 1/2 a mile and just kind of died.  Kept running, but not at a very good pace, basically just doing whatever I could.  I was pushing to keep a reasonable pace, not pushing to race.  I kind of knew it was a matter of time before she showed up but by mile 2.5 she still hadn't and I thought maybe there was a chance I could hold on.  Wasn't feeling super competitive mentally, but was still trying my best.  Then she passed me and I kind of gave up  :(  We exchanged 'good job's and off she went.  I didn't stop or anything, but I just kind of eased up a little and just ran to finish.  Didn't even try to chase her, just ran to finish.

So in the end I was actually 5th since an age grouper took 3rd overall.  Everyones run was slower on the slightly different but more uphill course, but I'm guessing mine was a good 2-2.5 minutes slower than what I would have expected.  Swim was right where I'm happy with for now, bike was still slower than I'd like but not horrible, but the run, I never run that slow.  First time for everything eh?
I overestimated myself.  I didn't even consider that my legs would still be tired from Timp Trail the week before.  Lame, I know.  You'd think I know better by now.  I think a combination of I'm just not in amazing shape yet and dead legs from a hard climbing and descending trail half marathon just did me in.  I was pretty discouraged with the race after, couldn't really find any good in it other than I got some speedwork for the week I guess.  Sat next to amazing athlete and former boss David Warden waiting for awards and he said something that stuck with me.  He said he has an athlete who had a bad race at IMSG and he's on the verge of quitting the sport.  David told him
You're not only as good or as bad as your last race.
Your last race doesn't define you as an athlete.  Just because I had a bad race at Salem doesn't mean I'm a slow, will never be fast again athlete.  I need to remember that and not let myself get discouraged.

I need to also remember to always be grateful for a healthy able body.  I have friends that are struck with injury or illness and can't race at all.  I've been there done that and I'm not there now, I need to be grateful I can get out there and do this at all, even if it's not as fast as I want.

The last thought I had that day was that maybe I need to stop having placement goals, at least at some races.  I really wanted to podium at this race, I would have been thrilled with 3rd place.  I know, I know, 5th isn't that far off, but podium is something special for me and special to me about this race (my last 2 races have been on the podium).  Not making it up there really discouraged me, just made me want to pack up and head out, no point in sticking around.  I did stick around to watch awards and clap and cheer for others.  So maybe instead of place goals at some races it's better that I set time goals for myself.  That can be hard because no course is equal to another and although I've done most the courses in the state and compare to past times there, I haven't done them all.  Anyway, I'm rambling now.  I just hate it when I get so mad at myself and discouraged and negative.  These things are supposed to be fun.  I'm taking time away from my family to do it.  I'm not getting paid to do it.  No one makes me do it.  I should have fun.  I certainly enjoy being competitive and that's an important part of the sport to me, but I need to learn to be ok with a bad race now and again.

I'm not as bad as my last race, I'm a good athlete.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Not only can the courses change from race to race and from year to year, you change to. (I had to look at Daybreak, and know I wasn't slower, the course conditions were different this year.)
You've said it before, that you always come back stronger after your babies, and you will. Expectations are at the root of most disappointment. Not that you shouldn't have high expectations, you are an amazing athlete regardless, and you push yourself more than most of us would ever consider doing.
But like you said, this needs to be fun for you, and you are taking time away from your family for it, and you need to train and race for the endorphins and to be a better mom/wife for your family when you come back to them, so don't let that disappointment over unmet expectations rip away the very thing that triathlon is supposed to give you.
You can't control the other athletes around you, who comes to compete that day, you can't control weather, or when you have your baby. You can only race against yourself. And to do back to back events, as a new mom again, well that's worth smiling over.