Despite a lack of tweets about training all off season, I have been hard at work. Mostly with instagramming pictures of my dog, but I also mixed in some training.
The theme of this spring has been fun times on bikes. Kyle and I joined the La Prima Espresso cycling team which has led to some awesome long ride adventures, bike races with real cyclists, lots of espresso, and I get to be teammates with some of the most badass women and men on bikes this town has to offer.
This spring was off to an excellent start, 3 for 3 in a few ABRA series bike races! Bike racing and really learning how to push myself hard on the bike has been a total game changer for my bike fitness and success as a triathlete. Giving yourself a massive lead off the bike is also an excellent strategy for winning races, so I would recommend more bike racing to everyone that wants to be a better triathlete.
For as much fun as I’d been having on bikes, I had been having exactly no fun with running. Running over the winter actually went spectacularly, at first. Then in February, all the spectacular running caught up with me and I ended up with a hamstring strain that left me doing a whole lot of not spectacular running. A few weeks before the first tri of the season at St. Anthony’s I was starting to be able to run at least 6 miles at a time, but boy did I feel out of run shape. I already had paid for the race, and was mostly looking forward to visiting friends in St. Pete, so the plan to travel to Florida to race was still on.
My main goal was to make it through the race and not injure myself even more, but I can’t help getting caught up in the competition. There was a chance I might just implode on the run, *but* there was also a chance I wouldn’t. And if I wouldn’t, then I wanted to win. Second places are starting to become a sore subject.
Any day the swim isn’t canceled is a good day, even though I would gladly welcome a rough non wetsuit swim to slow down the weaker swimmers. No such luck at St. Anthony’s, so I just enjoyed cruising through the swim on the feet of some dudes that started in the open wave with me. The bike is where I expected fireworks, but all I got was a dinky sparkler. While I still had one of the top bike splits, I expected better. I don’t usually have races where I inexplicably “just felt flat”, but that’s what this was like. I still was first off the bike, but figured I didn’t have as big of a buffer for the run as I was hoping for. I tried to execute plan A, which was to not allow myself to run any faster than 7:15/mile which I figured was the breaking point for my hamstring. Since I have very little self control, my first 3 run splits were 6:58, 6:56, 6:59. “But it just felt too easy!” Isn’t that what you always say before you crash and burn? The run was an out and back, so I could get a glimpse of how far 2nd place was behind me at the half way point. Less than a minute. Damn. That was probably the worst time gap. If she were too close I could just let myself accept that I’d be overtaken, or if she were minutes back I could still keep first even as I start to die. I knew I shouldn’t have had the run fitness to keep running sub 7:00 pace, so 1st/2nd could go either way at that point. I needed to muster whatever I could to not let her catch me. I’ll let my face tell you how the rest of the run went.
Progression of the run:
As I came down the finisher chute, I heard the announcer say: “And as we expected our first place female amateur finisher is Sally Jane from Oklachusetts!” (note: I don’t actually remember who they said, but it wasn’t me.) “Uh, wait, hold on, no it isn’t. It’s Kelly? From Pennsylvania?” And there you have my moment of glory of my first overall win at a major race, qualifying me for my pro license if I choose to take it.
Up next is a whole lot more bike races, some local tris, and trying not to break myself between now and USAT Olympic Nationals in Omaha in August.
Happy summer friends!