Saturday, May 12, 2007

Race Report: Clemson Sprint Triathlon

Short version: A learning experience.
official results
swim 750 meters: 22:51
t1: 2:58
bike 11 miles: 41:16
t2: 1:41
run 5K: 41:11
Overall time 1:49:55, 120th out of 138 women, 4th out of 4 among women 50-54.
Last year my time was 1:39:02, the year before it was 1:55:02.

This was the first race I did two years ago so it is an important race to me. But between travel and the end of the semester I wasn't very well prepared. I got a bike fit almost two weeks ago, with some major changes, and had only ridden my bike three times since. I think the main lesson of preparation though, is that running slowly, even though I am running more miles per month than a year ago, doesn't make me faster.

I've had other things on my mind and didn't focus on the race beforehand. I ate oatmeal around 6:15, but forgot I was going to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the race. Since my daughter was going with me and wanted not to get up too early, we got to the race start about 7 am for an 8 am start. The lines were not long so that was fine. When I laid out my things I realized I hadn't brought food, but I had in my bag a nut bar and a gel. I let myself get distracted talking to people I knew but I still got in a short swim warmup.

The race started late and they gave two elite groups more than the usual time between waves, so it must have been 8:30 when my wave got off. We did an in water start this year, which was hard on the people who didn't have wetsuits (water temperature was 73). Last year this race my swim felt miserable--I never found my groove. This year, having gone to open water swim practices twice and warmed up, I felt comfortable in my wetsuit and in the water right from the start. The only trouble was I didn't have my watch set up right and didn't get my swim-only time, and they made the run from the swim to transition even longer this year.

Since I hadn't had anything right before the race, I started to eat the nut bar as I was getting ready to leave transition. As I was running my bike out of transition I thought "Oh, no, there is a shell in it," and spit it out. Once I got on the bike I gradually realized there was something wrong with my tooth. At first I thought I had lost a filling, as it didn't seem that far back, but gradually I realized I had lost a crown that was just put in last year.

I thought I had a really good bike, though it was a few seconds slower than last year. I like my new aerobars.

I ate a gel in T2, which hurt my tooth, so if anything I was becoming more distracted by the tooth, not less. I tried to push the run, but I guess my heart wasn't fully in it--my average heart rate was 177 for the bike and 173 for the run, compared to 187 for my 5K running race at the end of March. They had changed the course in a way that eliminated the steepest hill but replaced a flat section with steady fairly serious rolling hills. The weather was cloudy and not too hot--it should have been good conditions. I did enjoy watching the other runners--I saw such a wide variety of people on the out and back course. But my run time was 10 minutes slower than last year. I didn't fully bonk but I think more food might have helped.

When I finished I called my dentist, and was told if I could find the crown I could get it glued back in today. But I searched and searched in the transition area where I am quite sure I spit it out, and couldn't find it. I'm very discouraged by that, as I am giving a talk and running a workshop and have other commitments the early part of next week, and going to get a new crown made is going to be very hard to fit in. If only I had...

I'm disappointed to be slower, and wondering if it is realistic to do a longer race in the early fall. But I think a lot of how discouraged I am feeling is about the tooth.

1 comment:

Isis said...

Wow, I am impressed you were able to finish at all despite the tooth thing. You are such a beast. Don't feel bad about the time: you are right to identify a number of reasons for it, any one of which might be enough. So good on you for making it through the race with tooth pain--and posting so quickly. Sean was very impressed, as he is ready for a nap after just doing the swim.