Monday, May 10, 2010

Race Report

Yesterday I raced in the Lethbridge Olympic tri and ended up 2nd female overall. While I am happy with that, I am not content....

You see, where I place in terms of other people is not as important to me as where I place in terms of competing against myself. My focus is always on kicking my own butt and improving.

Thus, even though I had the fastest bike split by about 2 minutes, and improved on my run by another minute, my slower swim left me extremely disappointed. I was 2 minutes slower than last year!

You have no idea the depths to which I sunk last night. My chest felt so heavy, I was so disappointed in myself. Why haven't I improved? I am training full-time, I have no excuse for this slower time. I didn't focus on the bike or the run times, I was totally immersed in my swim time.

Now, I did have the sense to realize that these negative emotions and fears (namely: No matter how much I train I will not get better because I suck so bad, etc.) were stemming from race fatigue. I knew if I could not get too lost in the emotions that I could ride it out.

This morning, I got up early to go to the pool for a recovery swim. The heaviness had lifted and I felt back to my usual self. I decided to see what drills I could do this morning to determine what I might have done wrong swimming yesterday.

When I do drills, I like to do the same one over and over and over again until I start to *get it*. I'll do the drill for 50m then swim 50m -- I'll do this until time is up and lose total count of meters swam.

After the first catch-up drill, I timed myself for an easy 50 m swim. I noted the time, then did another catch up drill. This time I really focused on flicking my catch powerfully back like Peanut kicking up kitty litter. Then, I timed myself for an easy 50m again. This time it was 2 seconds faster. Did it again, then it was 3 seconds faster.

I feel a little bit closer to understanding what the water is supposed to feel like -- I know I can do this.

Here is the SWEET transition backpack every competitor received instead of a race shirt! It is a proper triathlon transition bag -- and I JUST ordered one for over $100 -- this one came with the race -- so AWESOME!!!

Couple of side notes:

  • A cop directing traffic waved a car through right in front of me -- I screamed and slammed on my brakes. Oh man. Cop yelled out "Sorry!"
  • Traffic control was a gong show -- there was a gap between racers, I was out there alone. Two cars again were waved in front of me, I had to pull over into the left lane of traffic (4 lanes on divided highway, so I wasn't biking into oncoming traffic) and was riding beside them until the one car slowed down so I could get back onto the right shoulder again. Very scary.
  • I was THAT athlete who tried to get on the bike with the shoes clipped in already...let's just say I won't be doing that again. Hahahahahahaha!! And yes, I looked like a total idiot.
  • Wind was nuts even by my standards. Bike times were slower across the board. Came this close to asking a volunteer to take off my helmet, my hands were frozen.
  • Iced latte, cups of fruit, a yogurt, maple salmon (lasted Mike's picking -- LOL!) and some hardware made a great day. :)
Next stop Victoria and the Shawnigan half where I am going to SERIOUSLY kick my own butt and HARD too. :)


Big Daddy Diesel said...

You never know, you might have swimming into the current this year, compare to with it last year.

Congrats on the poduim finish.

Now, thats is some race swag I like, tshirts are ok, but finally someone got something they can use.

I havent tried the flying mount yet with the shoes clipped in. I am scared I wont be able to get my feet in the shoes.

Keith said...

Dont' beat yourself up on the swim. It's so easy to be just a bit off in the pool without actually doing anything wrong. It's easy to focus on what didn't go as well as you would have liked, but don't forget to bask in the glow of what DID go right. You had a heck of a good day in difficult conditions.

Jenna said...

You never know what variables come up on race day - also, I always think of swim improvement in terms of how did you feel when the swim was done and you were on your bike - obviously you felt great and kicked ass on the bike and run - and on the bike - seriosuly with the traffic control and your bike shoe flop (lol - i will NEVER try that). Every training day and every race failure or success is an opportunity to learn something that will make you stronger, more strategic in your racing, and if you can walk away learning one thing that you can apply next time - it was a success. And way to rock it. I see a boot mark on your ass from where you kicked yourself!!

Kelly B. said... entered a TRIATHLON...correct? Not just a swim race? I agree with Jenna...obviously you had the energy/mojo to bike and run faster this year so I would say the swim was a SUCCESS. And besides, THIS was not your A was a little learning race that you can now build on for the rest of the summer. Julie...YOU SO CAN DO THIS!!!

runningman said...

Jenna's right, "improving" the swim isn't just about the swim split. You can gain heaps of time on the bike just because you're riding and then running fresher. Plus that's a pool swim, did you get stuck behind people or somthing? Pool swimming is soooo different than OW, hard to really gauge the improvement from a pool split with 6-8 people in your lane. That being said congratz on the race overall, outstanding bike/run!!! You'll get the swim figured out.

Amber Dawn said...

Jules I know how you feel. All that work you have done in the pool (and we don't even know the half of it!) SHOULD have yielded a faster split. For whatever freak reason it didn't, be proud it didn't give you a reason to 'give up' on the bike and run (fastest bike split!!! yowza!).
This WILL make you better in the next one. Your hard work was not for naught. :)
I would seriously wonder if you actually swam an extra lap or something. It is a 50m pool right?

Runner Leana said...

Julie, congratulations on your race. I'm sorry you weren't happy with it though! Swimming is just one of those things. I'm with Amber, is there any chance you accidentally swam an extra lap?
Anyhow, congratulations on a great ride and run. Kick some butt in BC this weekend!

And that is a great tri bag. I have one just like it! I'd take that over an ill fitting shirt any day!

Shannon Wicks said...

Crap, I wish I took that spot for SPG - if only for that bag!

With repsect to your swim, there could be any number of variables involved periodization perhaps? Or because you are training full on ironman distance now - you are a better/faster swimmer at the longer distances?

At the end of the day, like you said, you have a put a ton of quality work into your swim so it didn't disappear. It is there and waiting to be unleashed in CDA and Canada!

Cath said...

There you go - everyone's in agreement - the hard work doesn't just disappear -it just didn't show as you expected it to in the swim leg, which is only one leg and the shortest leg at that - look at how much more efficient you were for the next 2 - all connected, of course! And anyway, a season wasn't raced in day....

So, as Amber says - NEXT.....don't dwell, just learn and move on :)


Susi said...

i think everyone has said everything, so i'll just say that even though you think you sucked in the swim - you still rock my world. i think you are amazing!!!

when are victoria and shawnigan?? maybe i can get my julie fix?!

love ya!

oh, and i'm very happy you didn't have an accident with a car. yikes.

Cath said...

Can I just say, I wish I'd said it the way Susi said it - PERFECT!!! Way to go, Susi :)

Amy said...

Maybe the water was more choppy than last year? I understand your frustration(s) but think you did incredible. Congratulations. That backpack is awesome!
Oh, and I hate when cops let cars go in front of people in races. WTF? You could have crashed (glad you're ok).

Hang in's still super early in the season, everything will come together soon.

Heather said...

Congrats on your awesome race. I totally know how you feel about the swimming. It happened to me at Lonestar! After all that great swim training in Australia, grrr... Oh well, re-group and get pumped up for the next one,right? I know you'll kick ass!

Missy said...

Right on...I totally get that part. It's me against me and I don't care where that places me.

Kick ass bag, I want to do that race;)