Well, the results are in, and they don't lie. They definitely show positives and negatives. They also show where I need the most work. So that is what I will be working on before my next race. Its a good thing really, because then you know where you are.
I know everyone goes into a race with expectations, and if those expectations are met, yahoo. If not, then you are down on yourself. But in this case, I am not down on myself, just being realistic.
One thing that is evident from the results is: this is a fast crowd. Very few people doing this race are slow in all three events, so that sets me apart from them right there. No excuses, just reality. But what can I do to change that? That is what I am looking at today, the day after the race.
Okay, I had a decent enough swim, not my fastest but not bad. The positive: I didn't panic. I swam steady. I kept my form. I wasn't tired. I kept on course pretty much. The negative: I still get put off by people swimming over me. It throws me off. While I didn't get upset this time, I still had to stop and regroup. I let them have my space. Not sure this will change until I do a lot more tris. Its a confidence thing I suspect.
T1 was about 3 minutes faster than ever and this is definitely attributed to the new wetsuit, so that is a positive. The only negative would be I need to put some sense of urgency into my transitions. I tend to take my time. I was organized, and not flustered, just not fast. I guess when you are only competing against yourself, the pressure is off.
I did better on the bke than I expected, but only by a few minutes, so that would be a positive. The problem for me was the hills. I have not been training on hills. Rollers but nothing like these. I really forgot how hilly it was. I underestimated. So that would be a negative. And these were not monsters, just long and drawn out. So I learned I need more hill training, since most of our races around here are on hills. The area is full of hills. Not mountains, just long hills. Another positive was that I kept steady on the hills, only needing to shift to the middle chain ring twice just to keep speed. I don't stand on hills rarely, and I did see people do that. Even on the steepest hills, I managed to keep going, just slow. So how do I get faster? More longer, hillier bike rides I suspect and shorter faster ones in between. I am working on it. I have never been fast on the bike, but I was faster the last time I did the race, so I suspect it is just lack of training (and age? would have have anything to do with it??). Just how do those women do 20+ mph out there? Its amazing to me.
While someone looking at my "run" time would definitely label this as a negative, I am being realistic but not brutal on myself. Yes, I need more run training, especially bike to run. I did none so far. That would be a negative. And for me to assume I could pull this off without that type of training, that would also be a negative. It always seems like when you do a race before and you got through it okay, that you assume you can pull it off again. That doesn't take into account all the variables you find in races like these. Another negative for me would be lack of heat training. Granted, we haven't had 90+ degree heat only a few times this year (which is a lot so far), and why race day the weather gods decided to turn up the heat wasn't fair, but had I been better prepared, I doubt I would have been affected so severely. Some of it was mental, that is obvious, so letting my mind take over my body was also a negative. I need to get tougher mentally so I can push through these things and not give in. I have that edge in other things, so I know it is something I can do. More lunchtime runs is probably part of the answer, and longer runs too. My foot numbness if also a big negative. I am truly at a loss on how to overcome this. It seems to recur the more I bike. I have been working on training myself to keep my feet relaxed on the bike, which is a big reason why I get my foot numbness--don't curl the toes. I really think I did that and was conscious about it the whole race, yet once I put my running shoes on it was there. In fact, my shoes felt so tight I thought I had tightened the lace locks too much, but when I checked, they were comfortably loose. My ChiRunning training is helping me overcome this, but it is still something I need more work on apparently. So another negative. It looks like the whole run added up to all negatives, but I have to put something positive into it. I did not quit. I did not cave in. I kept going and kept a positive outlook. Its not easy knowing you will be last. Its not easy knowing everyone else will have gone home before you get there. And its not easy knowing you are holding up the volunteers. But it would have been harder to face later and I would have been looking for excuses had I quit. I knew I could do this. I just had to find a different way to get done than the rest.
So again, the positive in the whole experience was I learned where my deficits were. It gives me a base to work with. Now it is up to me to keep working at it if I want to be more successful next race, and of course I do!