Well, seeing as I have my next race this weekend, I should probably post the recap of my last race, right?! I did the Lake Zurich Sprint Triathlon back in July, and overall it was a good close to my short sprint triathlon season this year. I went into this race with a bit of a laissez faire attitude toward caring how well I did. I had two specific goals I hoped to accomplish, and was hoping that potentially I’d be able to get an age group podium if it turned out that not many ladies signed up for the sprint. My goals for this race were to:
- Swim fast. (no specifics- just feel good and fast)
- Ride at an NP of 155 watts. I rode Leon’s at 151 NP (143 avg), and thought I should be able to increase. I tried for this at Pleasant Prairie but didn’t ride as well given that I’d pumped my tires to 120 psi and felt every little crack, and that I hadn’t drinken enough of my sports drink bottle.
- Run a sub-9 pace for the 5k run.
The day before I did my workout and felt good, if not a little sore still from the Thursday strength workout. I did recovery boots, and then went home to chill. Late lunch/snack with a friend, and was a little worried when dinner time rolled around and I was not hungry at all. I still ate a smaller dinner, as I was worried about having too empty of a tank come Sunday morning.
I woke up Sunday morning and STILL was not hungry. I ate a much smaller breakfast, just one hard-boiled egg instead of my planned two, plus a Honey Stinger waffle.
I headed out to the race with my race-day Sherpa, friend Lore. (Thanks Lore for coming out to cheer!) I got my transition area set up and ready to go, and then headed out for a nice little warm-up jog.
I came back from my warmup jog and headed back to transition to check on something, and was surprised to find that my stuff was all messed up! Turns out that the bike racks in transition were not stable! I cleaned my space up, but left transition to head to the swim start with a race volunteer holding the transition rack up himself. *worries*
The Swim (10:14, 10th in F30-34 Age Group)
The water temp was 77.8 degrees, just a tenth of a degree lower than the wetsuit legal cutoff. So it was warm. I made the choice not to wear my wetsuit, especially since this sprint swim was only ¼ mile long. I did a bit of a swim warmup, and then realized that they were just about to start the race! I was in wave 3, so headed over and found my ladies. I felt a bit rushed, and just found a spot in the group.
Once the swim started, I high-kneed it into the water, and then did a few dolphin dives. I realized I might be a little bit conservatively placed within the swim wave, as I was having to swim past a lot of ladies. But I got into my groove, which was unfortunately broken up by swimming past slower swimmers from the two earlier waves. I hated that I couldn’t tell if the swimmers I was coming up to were “very slow” or if they were in my wave and just “a little slower” than me, since all of us sprint racers were wearing red caps. Typically in a triathlon with multiple waves, each wave of swimmers will wear a different colored cap, so it’s pretty easy to tell who is from your wave and who’s from a wave ahead of/behind you. You couldn’t figure that out here.
I felt like I swam a pretty direct route for this very short swim, got out of the water and ran up to transition. I had a pretty quick transition, and then headed out on the bike!
Transition 1 (1:18, 4th in F30-34 Age Group)
The Bike (41:15, 3rd in F30-34 Age Group)
On the bike, I got settled in and then worked to get to my goal watts of 155. Once settled in, I actually found that I was pushing more and at an easier effort than I would have expected. I kept pretty aero the whole time, and pushed myself to keep drinking my Osmo sports drink. The course had a few rolling hills, and two or three significant turns. I felt pretty good the entire time, and pushed it, expecting that I’d need to dial back and stick at my 155 watts a little later on. I also was super impressed that my speeds were above 20 mph on the course, when I’ve typically been riding at 18-18.5 mph at my sprints earlier this year. So while I’m crushing this leg and feeling hardcore, I was wondering how much I’d have left in my legs for the run. I ended up with a normalized power of 173 watts, and an average power of 159 watts. Since my variability between NP & AP was 1.08, I have some opportunities to pedal a bit more consistently, but overall this is right on line with where I typically have ended up, so I’m pretty happy with this!
Transition 2 (1:05, 3rd in F30-34 Age Group)
Out of transition quickly, and onto the run!
The Run (26:47, 14th in F30-34 Age Group)
I wasn’t feeling amazing when getting out on the run, although looking back my speed was a lot faster than my overall pace when I first started out. I still felt overly full from the late lunch/dinner choices the day before, and didn’t feel like I wanted or needed to try and add anything more to my stomach at this point. I just focused on trying to make my goal of sub-9 minute miles each mile, and pretty much did so! I had had a watch snafu on the bike, so I had to manually start my watch again to track my run, so I missed seeing that my overall average for the 5K turned out to be an 8:37 pace. I think the course is a bit short of 5K (course maps indicate 2.965 miles), however if that was an accurate 5K, then that would have been a PR for me! But physically I felt like I was pushing myself as hard as I could, but just didn’t feel super-fast. I felt like I was struggling at the end of each mile to inch the pace under 9 minutes, and then would settle back around 9 minute mile pace for most of the mile. It was nice to always see the lake, so you could push yourself closer toward the finish.
Post-finish, I was out of breath for a bit! I was very hopeful that I might have gotten 3rd place in my age group, however once the results came out, it showed I was in 6th. There were definitely a few ladies who I had never even realized they were in my age group.
Looking back on my times and placements, I was just a little more than two minutes off of the 3rd place spot in my age group. Most of that was lost on the run, although I do have the opportunity to be faster on the swim. My time was a full minute slower than then next slowest person in the top 6 (only look up!), and two minutes slower than most of the ladies. Either way, I’m pretty impressed with my own performance, as well as the impressive spread of ladies who were out competing in the Sprint distance that day. I look forward to being a bit more engaged with training next year and actually pushing myself to improve my bike FTP! This year, it just ended up being “get your bike and swim workouts in” as the mode.
Overall, the Lake Zurich Triathlon was a well run race and I’d definitely consider doing it again!