Race Report: 2575 Triathlon, Fort Lauderdale, March 17th, 2013

18 Mar

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As the above picture illustrates beautifully, the race yesterday was an awesome way to open the season. This is my third 2575 event and my third time on the podium. What made yesterday even sweeter, however, was the move from 3rd place to second and the fact that I finished 14 minutes ahead of last year. Fourteen minutes??!? Granted, the course was different: the first two 2575 races were held in my backyard on Key Biscayne. This year, because of the construction mess on the causeway, all of our KB races have had to change venue to one degree or another. So 2575 moved north to Fort Lauderdale to a very flat, very fast and relatively scenic course right along the beach.

The race was also bigger this year. The last two times, I don’t think there were any more than a few hundred athletes but this year the race sold out it’s max capacity of 500. I don’t actually think there were 500 people on the course. Looking through the results (which is what I’ve been doing for the last two hours) it seems like the field was closer to 350-400 people. But I can’t tell exactly.

In terms of conditions, it was a pretty perfect day. Cool in the morning, a little bit overcast with wind out of the Northwest. The swim was northbound with the current and it was wet suit legal so it was bound to be fast. But historically speaking, none of those bonus conditions that tend to make everybody else super happy have ever had any effect on me (with the exception of Augusta) during the swim. I’ve always just sorta suffered no matter what. Yesterday things changed.

I had the race swim I’ve been waiting to have for the last year and a half. I came in 2+ minutes under my estimate, which one could attribute to the current. But the good thing about race conditions is that they’re the same for everyone on the course. So if the swim is fast, it’s fast for the fastest swimmers and the slowest. If the current is against you, it’s also against the former all-state freestyle champ swimming 2 minutes ahead of you. Yesterday, I was less than a minute behind one of the strongest swimmers on my team and neck-and-neck with another teammate who is male and 22 years old and absurdly fit. So good conditions, bad conditions, my swimming has improved.

Our wave was the largest. They put all age group women in with all the men 25 and under and all the men 50 and over. So it was a friggin’ washing machine in there. And not just at the start. It was legs and arms and elbows and people gasping for breath and frog kicking and backstroking into you for the whole swim. And yet somehow, I was able to come out of the water  in the top 3rd of my AG as opposed to the bottom third like normal. When I came into transition, my bike wasn’t the only one left. Regardless of the way the waves are staggered, that is still a huge psychological bonus.

For the first time ever, I swam the whole distance freestyle without having to breast stroke or roll over on my back for recovery. I was able to swim through the fatigue in my shoulders and I had complete control over my breathing. The hardest part was heading back to shore after the last buoy because at that point the current was working against me as I tried to aim straight for the swim-out chute. I made it though and was psyched when I looked at my watch. Not only psyched, actually, a little shocked.

Of course, I got out of the water and immediately had to run across 100 meters of loose beach sand while trying to strip out of my soggy wetsuit and catch my breath. Fun fun fun. But I felt pretty fantastic all things considered and ready to see what I could do on the bike. This was my first race on Starbuck and my first race since I started doing the high intensity training.

I’m not going to go into great detail about the bike mostly because I was disappointed with my performance. But only after the fact. Because that’s my MO. I’d been aggressive with my estimate the night before because, well, because I feel like it’s time to start setting more challenging goals for myself. Goals that are not totally delusional but also not totally wimpy. I figured the course was so flat, I could probably get a 20mph avg. I didn’t really account for the twisty-ness of the course. It was two loops, so already we’re dealing with multiple u-turns and then a couple of right and left turns that slowed things down considerably and then there was the headwind on the way back. So I don’t think I pushed enough in the first three miles, although I was going 23-24mph with the wind. Even that didn’t cover  the inevitable slow-down during miles 5-6 and 11-12.

I was gauging my energy output based on how my legs felt (HR monitor on the fritz) so when they started to burn, I pulled back, especially going into the wind, for fear of blowing my load before the run. In the last mile, I did something that was maybe stupid and I decided to spin into a lower gear to move some lactic acid and get my legs going faster in prep for the run. I say it was dumb because I don’t think it made a lick of difference on the run and it cost me time on the bike. Maybe not much time but time is time. Ultimately, my bike was 4 minutes off what I’d been hoping to do and not that much better than my sprints from last year.

Remember when I said I wasn’t going to go into this in great detail? Well, because I’m crazy and have too much time on my hands, I averaged out the top bike times from each female category. The first place female elite amateur had the best bike split at 34:35; the first place female 18-24 age grouper had the slowest with 49:32. So what did this obsessive number crunching get me? The realization that I am the average. But at least, I’m the average of the best. Enough.

The run. The run felt hard. I went aggressive with my run estimate as well and was hoping to actually beat my most recent 5K road race time. I don’t know why I thought that was going to be possible but it wasn’t. At least not yesterday. I was off by a minute from my PR and 1:43 off my estimate. But whatever, I finished first in my AG on the run so that’s cool. Still, it was a LONG mile and a half to the turnaround. I’d gone through about 20 oz of Perform on the bike so I felt adequately hydrated but I ended up taking half a caffeinated chocolate Power Gel around mile 1 and the other half around mile 2 to avoid any potential bonk.

We had the same headwind on the run that we’d had on the bike so the way home was rough. But my legs felt good and my breathing was fine despite the fact that I was way high in the zones at this point. I really, really, really wanted to win my age group. I went into this race wanting to win my age group and at mile 2 of the run, that desire to win had not faded. Of course, as an age grouper, it’s not like you really know who your competition is. Maybe you know a name or you’ve seen someone at a race before but it’s not like you’re prepping with a specific competitor in mind. But in this sport, the person you really have to be ready to tackle is you. You have to be willing to destroy your own mind. That’s one of the things I love about triathlon because as any of my closest friends will tell you, I absolutely love to beat myself up.

That said, right before mile 2 on the run, this chick sidled up alongside of me and said, “You’re doing really great, great run, I’ve been following you for a while.” I thanked her as she passed me and she said, “Don’t worry, I’m not in your age group.” And I said, “Then go get it!” I was running around 7:20 pace at that point so she must have been hovering right around 7:00. I kept her in my sights until the very end. With a mile left to go, I saw her sidle up alongside another chick and then pass her. I quickened my pace at that point and starting closing in on the other chick. I checked out her leg, saw that she was in my age group and was like, “Fuck that noise.” Until that moment, I had no idea what other women were in front of me. All I thought was, if she’s the only one up there and I have the chance to take her, I’m taking her immediately. Especially, with less than a mile to go.

I didn’t really have to pick up the pace that much. Just a touch so get beyond her. Then there was the realization that she’d probably see the number on my leg and, if she was any kind of competitor, that might be the boost she’d need to kick into gear. So with that thought rolling around in my head, I knew there was no slowing down. In fact, I absolutely had to speed up enough to keep the gap wide or force her into a home stretch burn out. I took it down under 7:00 for the last several hundred meters. It hurt. It hurt a lot but the thought that this woman might catch up to me was enough to keep me going.

I got through the finish like 14 seconds ahead of her and then discovered that there was indeed one woman who had beaten me through the shoot by about 50 seconds. But because of that extra push at the end, I moved up in the rank from last year. Hard work and performance addiction pays off.

It was a really big day for the whole team. Six of us placed and got to take home fancy hardware.

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Below is a pic of me with my teammates JD (who took first in his notoriously tough AG and 27th overall) and Mike (third in HIS notoriously tough AG). I train and race with these guys all the time so it was nice to be on the podium with them, even if it was only for the photo op. If the day comes when I’m actually able to beat Mike in any of the three events, I’ll have to turn pro.

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Somehow I got camera shy during the awards ceremony:

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And then got my mojo back:

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The rest of the day looked a little like this:

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Not a bad way to spend a Sunday in March.

Addendum:

I just realized that if you’re a tri person reading this blog, a lot of what I’ve written will mean nothing without my splits. If you’re a non-tri person reading this blog, you’re like, “what the F is a split?” And even if you know what a split is, then mine will mean nothing to you without some frame of reference. So I’m going to post my splits (the times for each event) along with the splits of the woman who got first in my age group and the top female elite amateur. So you know what’s what.

Top Female Elite:
Age 28, Finish time: 1:10:04
Swim time: 12:10,
Transition 1: 1:41
Bike time: 34:35
Run time: 21:41

1st Place Female 35-39:
Age: 36, Finish time: 1:20:17
Swim time: 15:31
T1: 1:51
Bike time: 38:49
Run time: 24:07

My Splits:
Age: 34*, Finish time: 1:21:07
Swim Time: 15:43
T1: 1:35
Bike time: 40:07
Run time: 23:43

* USAT decides age based on how old you’ll be on December 31st of the current year so even though I don’t turn 35 until September, I had to race in the next age group. But it actually worked out in my favor this time since the field was much more competitive this time around. Had I raced in my old category, I would have placed 6th.

Addendum to the Addendum:

I was looking at my Garmin time yesterday and I realized that there was a  big discrepancy between what the machine had calculated as my run time and what the race results folks had calculated. This happens sometimes. You’re racing, your head is spinning, you hit the lap button a few seconds too early or too late, and your time is a wee bit off. But the race results had me running about 45 seconds slower than my Garmin, which calculated distance at EXACTLY 3.1 miles. I was scratching my head trying to figure this one out and then one of my teammates solved the mystery for me: the race did not include T2 in their calculations, only T1. So they added the T2 time to the run total and that’s where my 42ish seconds went. So my run time was actually 23 minutes pretty much on the nose. So I was only a minute off my prediction as opposed to almost 2 minutes. Now I’ll be able to sleep.

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7 Responses to “Race Report: 2575 Triathlon, Fort Lauderdale, March 17th, 2013”

  1. Susan Middlebrooks March 18, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    Great job Edith!!!!

    • mymultipersonality March 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

      thanks susan. once again, “It’s the last friggin mile came in very handy.”

  2. Mark March 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    I love reading your race reports… they hop crazily between “Look at what I accomplished!” and “This is nowhere near good enough; I should be able to do better than this rubbish.” In any case, congrats on another fantastic race!

    • mymultipersonality March 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

      well mark, i mean, welcome to the inside of my mind. it’s no wonder my posts read that way since they’re basically a stream of consciousness written version of my numerous overlapping internal monologues. “You’re doing great, you can do better. You did awesome, there’s always room for improvement.” Are their athletes who don’t think this way?

  3. kerryalina March 18, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    Sounds like a total rockstar race – congrats!!

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