Ironman Mont Tremblant is just FIVE weeks away now! I can’t believe it! Clearly I’m not the best with math. Last week I thought it was seven weeks away, when apparently it was six, oops! Even less time than I thought:) I am in the HOME STRETCH now. This week and the following week are my two biggest weeks a.k.a my peak weeks of training before the race. During these next several days I will complete my longest bike, run and swim since starting training… then it’s time to start tapering. Exactly one month from this Thursday, I will be in Tremblant racing my first Ironman!!
Last week’s training was a little bit of a step down week, and ended with a race on Sunday, the Mass State Olympic Triathlon! I signed up for Mass State over the winter, after hearing for years what a great race it is. Max Performance (the multisport race organizer, does not disappoint!). When planning for IMMT, I asked my coach if Mass State would fit well into my training schedule, and sure enough, it did! I’ll start with my race recap first… Holy smokes… I am still coming off of a ‘post race high’ from yesterday! I am psyched to announce that I PR’d at the Mass State Olympic Triathlon AND I won my Age Group! I also placed 9th Overall Female (top ten baby!) out of 212 females. I went into yesterday’s race wanting to win my Age Group and believing that I could. I am pleased to say that I did achieve my goal.. and more!
The Mass State Triathlon is known for having a competitive field year after year. This year’s Mass State Triathlon served as the 2014 USAT Northeast Regional Championship! From their website: The event is a regional favorite with a calm lake swim, smooth bike roads and a shady run, all set at beautiful Lake Dennison Recreation Area! This year’s event continues to celebrate the best athletes in the region, as USA Triathlon’s Northeast Regional Age Group Championship. This means that they take the top 33% to go to the National Championship versus the normal 10% from a race. A lot of people race Mass State to Qualify for the Age Group National Championship… so I knew it would going to be a hard fight out there on the course! (For the record, I’m not going to Nationals… it’s too close to IMMT and also a plane ride away..)
The day started out EARLY with a 4:00 AM wake up call. The race was a one hour drive and I wanted to be there when the gates opened at 6:00 AM (early bird gets the worm and a great parking spot!) The race took place at Lake Dennison Recreation Area, which is a beautiful wooded area with campgrounds nearby. When we got to the area where the race is, we got a primo parking spot, and I didn’t’ have to walk far art all to race pack pickup and transition. I love getting to races early and taking my time. I hate feeling rushed, it’s.the.worst. Once I picked up my race packet with numbers, swag, etc.. I made my way to transition and got set up on the rack. My transition rack that was very close to the ‘bike out’, so I was excited about that. My age group was also on the very end rack, which helps limit confusion after coming out of the water. Having a BRIGHT pink TT helmet also makes finding my bike easier!
While in transition setting up, I realized the girl next to me looked really familiar, and she thought the same about me! It turns out we were camp counselors together in 2003, so crazy! Once I got everything set up, it was still only 6:30, and the race did not start until 8:00. I went over to the car and hung out with Todd and Oliver for a bit, just to get away from all of the pre race chatter around me (I hate tons of chatter). When it got close to 7:15, I walked back over to transition and got my wetsuit ready. The race venue had actual bathrooms (with flush toliets! Oh the luxuries in life), plus porta potties of course. I noticed the line for the real bathrooms was really short, so I made my way over there (yes!). My pre-race stomach was actually OK yesterday morning thanks to cutting out fiber for 24 hours… makes a big difference folks! After my last pit stop, I made my way to the lake to warm up.
The water temperature was 77 degrees, would have liked it to be a little colder. it was also as smooth as glass! With the full sleeve wetsuit on, it felt pretty warm, but not too bad. Plus, I knew I wouldn’t be thinking too much about water temperature while I was racing. I warmed up for about 10 minutes, taking my time in the water, getting to how the water felt and looked.. how the course would go, where the turn buoys were, etc. I practiced going around one of the buoys a few times, and tried to relax my pre race nerves. At 7:45 they announced to have everyone out of the water for the pre race meeting. When I got to the beach, my foot hit something in the sand… it was a little plastic lion figurine… very random, but I took it as a sign. The guy next to me even said it was a good sign! Funny enough, the song I sing in my head when swimming is ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry. A definite sign I thought… today was going to be a good day!
The swim waves were definitely big groups, at least it felt that way to me. I was in the second group, women 39 and under, plus the Elite women. We followed Males Elite, 34 & under + Clydesdales. I think one of the Clydesdales kicked me in the face later on.. but I’ll get to that. It was an ‘in water’ start, where we stood about waist deep.. although for me, being short, I was at about chest deep water. I started in the middle to front of the pack, which is not what I wanted. I wanted to be closer to the front, so I could just sprint it out in the beginning, with the hopes of not getting trampled on. When the horn went off, I started to swim fast, but it was a cluster f*%k and I started to hyperventalite. This is something that used to happen all the time to me, but has gotten better. Well the nerves came back yesterday and given my position, I was choking on a ton of water and it seemed chaotic. I tried to relax by singing ‘Roar’ in my head, but I still couldn’t get a grip on my breathing. I just told myself to slow down and relax, I could catch up on time once I calm down. After a few minutes, when things spread out a bit, I found my groove and I was cruising. I didn’t run into many problems except for a few people doing breaststroke around the buoys (so annoying!) and at the last turn buoy, I got kicked in the face. I tasted blood and thought it was either my mouth or my nose, but I kept moving on. I honestly thought it was a good experience to have before going to my Ironman. I finished the swim STRONG and fast, cruising to the beach. The best feeling is when you see the beach and you know you’re close. This race had a huge swim finish arch and it made sighting the finish that much easier! I looked down at my watch as I got out of the water: 25 minutes (not what I wanted I thought). I wanted to break 23 minutes, I had done this before and knew it could be done. Oh well, I brushed it off and got on the bike, knowing I could make up time there and the run.
Official Swim Time: 25:23 (1:37 100/yd pace)
When I got to transition, I noticed there were TONS of bikes. Seriously, to me it looked like I was the first one in my row out of the water, I was pumped!
T1 time: 1:08:02
I got on the bike quickly and set out for the 22 mile course. As soon as I got on my bike, I realized I left my Shot Blocks at transition, but didn’t worry too much. I had extra PowerBar Perform and could just drink extra of that for calories/carbs/sodium. I was supposed to take only two shot blocks in the beginning… I think it could have helped me, but I don’t know how much. I hammered on the bike course, from the start, and was averaging around 22-23 mph. My goal was to finish the 22 miles in under 1 hour, and I knew I had a good chance. The first couple of miles were fast and flat and then it started to get a little hilly. The hills weren’t too bad, but still made me fight! For the majority of the ride, we fought awful headwinds (was not expecting that!). I was grateful that I practiced in windy conditions the weekend prior, it helped me mentally during the race. I played ‘cat and mouse’ with a couple of men on the bike course… I would pass them.. they would pass me… and this repeated several miles. It frustrated me because I didn’t want to get a penalty for drafting. Men just hate getting passed by women, it’s amazing… maybe it was my pink helmet;). One glitch I had on the bike was, my SpeedFil hydration straw was giving me trouble, which was a slight distraction at times. I need a new mouthpiece (yet again) and it leaks heavily if I don’t close it all the way.
My legs felt great during the entire one loop bike course, and I finished as strong as I could.
Official Bike time: 1:02:54 (didn’t break 1 hour, but it’s still a PR for me)
Avg Bike Speed: 21 mph
T2: 48 seconds (holy smokes!) I zipped through T2, lightening fast and started to run!
I’m going to just be honest about the run, I #crushedit. This time I remembered to take my (brand new) inhaler- after what happened at Patriot, my shot blocks and some salt tabs. As soon as my feet hit the pavement, I knew it was going to be a great run… my legs felt like I didn’t even bike, they felt as light as air.
The run was an out-and-back course, we ran 3.1 miles and then turned around to make it a 10K (6.2 miles). I read on the website that the run course was ‘shaded’ which is was (thankfully). It was also mostly flat and had practically no traffic, just running through neighborhoods. I like the out-and-back courses because it allows you to get an idea of how you’re doing on the run. As I was running the first half, I could see people running on the other side of the street, headed for the finish. For the first two miles or so, I didn’t see any women, just men. This was reassuring to say the least. Finally, just before the half way point, I saw the lead women who weren’t too far ahead of me. I counted seven total women and knew that I was the eighth female on the run course. It gave me motivation to run faster and catch up to the other girls! I could not get over how good I felt, I honestly felt like I could keep my pace all day long. When I got to miles 4 and 5, I did end up passing a few girls and kept up my pace. At mile 5, I knew I had just 1.2 miles left and I started to gun it for the finish. I saw a few more girls ahead of me, and I made it my mission to pass them (and I did!).
My goal total race time was to break 2:10 (I raced a 2:13:12 last year at an Olympic tri). I knew it was going to be be close as I neared the finish chute. My last mile split was a 6:36 mile and I literally sprinted to the finish line!
Official Run time for 6.2 mile: 41:43 (6:44 min/mile pace)
When I crossed the finish line, I saw mostly men in the finish area and I knew I had done well! What a fantastic feeling. A few men approached me since I was wearing my QT2 jersey, saying they were coached by QT2 as well! Both guys I spoke to at the finish, it turns out are racing IMMT for their first Ironman!
When I was standing in the finish area, I looked over to the side and saw my mom, she surprised me! I didn’t know she was coming to the race, since she had been in New Hampshire for the weekend. Unfortunately, she didn’t see me finish, but she saw me afterwards and it made my day!
After seeing my mom and getting my recovery drink, I went over to see the race results board. I had high hopes that I placed in my Age Group, and secretly hoped I had won.
Official Time: 2:11:56, 1st Age Group, 9th female out of 212
At first I thought I was 2nd place AG, but it turns out Jana who was 1st place for 30-34 women, won 3rd overall, so I took 1st AG! When you win an overall award, you are not eligible for an Age Group Award. This being said, I placed first in my Age group!
We stuck around for about an hour or so before the awards ceremony and then my mom got to see me on the podium! Todd had to stay back with Oliver, since he was not allowed in the race area on the grass (strict rules at this venue since it’s a state park). The Awards ceremony was lots of fun and it was great to be on the PODIUM for the second time this season! I could get used to this:) What a great race to have before the big one!
And quickly recapping the week….
Total training hours last week: 9.5
Swim: 28 Min recovery
Bike: 1 hour recovery pace
Bike: 1 hour Recovery pace
Run: Zone 1 /Zone 1 HR 42 min
Swim: 30 min of intervals
Bike: 1:20 with sprint intervals
Run: 35 min @ recovery pace
Swim: 45 min at Master’s Practice
Bike: 1:00 hour recovery ride
Run: 15 min @ recovery pace
How was your week last week? Did you race last weekend?
How do relax on the swim course when it’s a big cluster?