Hello there! Summer has been busy and I know I owe you a race report from Leon’s Triathlon! I just got back from Door County where I competed in the Door County Half Iron Triathlon this weekend, so I want to get that out while it’s still fresh on my mind.
Door County, Wisconsin is a 4 hour drive from Chicago, up north of Green Bay. It’s a beautiful vacation area with lots of woods and beaches. I stayed in a vacation home with Chicago Tri Club peeps (we organize group housing – a great way to save on costs and have a fun weekend!) . While I had a great fun over the weekend, I’m going to keep this post focused on the race itself!
- The water was very choppy and high winds when I got to the race site in the morning. I was cold; wish I’d remembered to bring a wind breaker or sweatshirt. Our house was nested in the woods, so it wasn’t windy when I’d gone outside to pack up the car that morning.
- I was a bit about the higher winds, not so much for the swim as I was nervous for the bike.
- I felt good and comfortable with the idea of racing in the full sleeve wetsuit. There was no question on which wetsuit to wear (which has been an issue for me in the past).
- The swim got shorted to a 1/4 mile swim due to the very choppy waters. 68 degree water temps, so pretty comfortable there. Race Director said that if they had kept it at the full 1.2 mile swim, over half the field would not have been able to make the swim time cutoff.
- I focused on aiming to the right (waves were pushing us to the left) for the turn. I could have been even more aggressive on that.
- I did not interrupt freestyle stroke for sighting (always had buoys in view when I did sight), and didn’t feel flustered from the high waves.
- I could have/should have swum harder for a sprint distance swim.
- Looking at my Garmin data, I swam a good pace — but could have turned earlier/sighted a bit better. Looks like I swam a little long.
- I was a bit disoriented when I got out of the water — not sure if I should have stood up earlier.
- Yay for wetsuit strippers! The guy who got me (while I was disoriented) did my full wetsuit removal from zipper to feet. Thank you DC Volunteers!!
- Mentally slow but was quick. Apparently though, I’m pretty good at transitions in comparison to my athletic performances in my age group. 2nd in AG for T1.
- My first 20 minutes I wanted to get settled in, and I did a decent job at that. We had a tailwindo for this part.
- I need to work on managing power when in headwinds and cross-wind. I felt like I had to push more power in order to maintain control.
- I also need to work on better holding aero position in a cross-wind — I got out of aero (at least I kept low) frequently to maintain control of bike. I need to figure out more about how I should handle my race wheels in high winds.
- I did pretty well on turns in terms of not braking or losing momentum.
- I did not eat enough on the bike in hindsight. I felt like I was sticking with the plan. In hindsight my plan was also not very well elaborated or practiced. Had 1 bar, 1.5 bags of Honey Stinger Chews, and I drank 2.75 bottles of sports drink & most of 1 bottle of water. Was well hydrated. 2 Base Salt licks every 30 minutes.
- During the last few miles I wondered if I’d overcooked the bike. I had a hard time maintaining goal watts of 146 in headwind.
- Garmin Data:
- Watts are all over the place. I tried to be conservative on my effort when I was going very fast, but then had to push harder on the headwinds/cross-winds.
- Heart Rate looks OK — I could have potentially tried to settle down even more in the beginning. I never really got too low in HR before a wind came (and got me nervous // raised HR)
- VI 1.10 — indicates I need to be more consistent in my pedaling. I knew this would be an issue with the winds.
- Averaged 84 rpm. Not bad, but could be better.
- I wanted to sit down but didn’t. There was a guy who was sitting and made me want to as well!
- Switched into socks and my On Running racing flats. I’d added speed laces added the night before to these shoes, so quick transition. Overall they are very comfy although I’m still getting used to running longer distances (above a 10K) in racing flats!
- I had a baggie of race stuff, including handheld water bottle. Grabbed this and went!
- In hindsight – did I really need the handheld water bottle? Would I have been better off with both hands free on the run?
- My goal was 9:50 paces, based on my springtime half marathon PR.
- First few miles were targeting the 9:50 pace and settling in. I was a bit slower, but that was to be expected. I felt OK.
- At mile 3 I had a Hammer Gel because it sounded good while I went to port-a-potty. I also put a large cup of ice in my sports bra at mile 3.
- I had a hard time getting my pace groove after that. A very hard time.
- I reset my goal pace to 10 min, then 10:10 pace. Noticed a hip tightness/knot that I don’t normally get during runs. Not sure how to best stretch it out w/o lacrosse ball.
- At mile 6 there was a huge hill. I hadn’t realized that and that was HARD! Walked it.
- Got back into running after that. Re-framed goal to trying to PR my run (i.e. 10:41 pace)
- Maybe around mile 7 or 8 I realized my heart rate was very low despite actually running. I thought I saw 151 bpm, which is in my warmup zone. I was wondering if the ice in sports bra (still there – not melting quickly enough and that part of my chest felt very cold) was to blame, and also remembered that low HR is also indicative of low calories. I stopped to walk and eat many of my chews to get more calories in. I had been drinking from my sports drink roughly every mile but had not been as good on getting the chews in consistently.
- I was still feeling bad as I hit the bluff during mile 9. Mentally I got to a very bad spot there, very disappointed that I was falling apart. I started to get into a sobbing/panicky breathing mode, and worked to manage that.
- I had a bathroom stop again around mile 11 (absolutely needed).
- It was windy up on the bluff and still very hard for me to manage running. I focused very much on my mental cues to keep good running form.
- Wished I was done. When is this ending? (In hindsight, wish I’d driven the run course too!)
- Garmin Data:
- Had to reset my device earlier last week… forgot to set up the screens again the way I like them. Couldn’t see HR data easily during the race.
- Looking back, my HR was not too off overall. Not sure what I thought I saw back around mile 8.
- Definitely looks like the bluff beat me. If I’d been a bit stronger (mentally) there, I probably could have still been closer to a run PR (4 minutes off). I kind of mentally quit after that and had a very hard time keeping the will to run. I felt pretty disappointed that I did not conquer the bluff.
- They had ice baths! Loved this! I got in ice bath very shortly after the race. My upper back, lower back, and hip were all tight and unhappy. I also was still in a “mixed feelings” mode of being glad I was done, but trying to be happy about my race.
- Door County Triathlon also had great post race food! Pulled Pork sandwiches, roasted corn, root beer and real beer! Delicious!
What I did well:
- I pushed it on the bike — ended up with a normalized power of 84% of my FTP, higher than goal of 80%. Past races I’ve been more in the 75-77%. (But did I over cook it on the bike?)
- I swam well, and got full sleeve wetsuit on successfully with help from others, and off quickly.
What I need to work on:
- Managing bike in wind — is it OK to be pushing higher watts, or should I have been able to manage my goal watts w/ head & cross winds? Also managing aero position in head & cross winds.
- Bike nutrition. I fueled fine for a short run off the bike, but not a half marathon. Need to go back to a higher calorie bike nutrition plan and get detailed on the timing.
- Run nutrition. Have a chews v/s Gu plan. I could have been better about eating here – I did not eat chews as consistently as I did in training. (Had put them in my back pocket, harder to get to every mile or every other mile v/s handheld).
- Mental Game when it gets hard.
- On the bike, I kept telling myself “you’re not riding with fear, but with caution”. I would like to build confidence & skill riding in the wind without overcooking myself.
- I feel disappointed that I was having such a hard mental time on the run… and wish I didn’t always get sad after a less than happy run experience.
Next Up: Steelhead 70.3 in August!
Who else is racing that? What other races are on your calendar this summer and fall?