Collegiate Nationals 2010
|My passion for triathlons was not strong enough for my motivation to not take a hit upon waking up at 5:45 AM to horrendous weather conditions (does this sentence make sense?!). The rain, the wind, the cold, brrr, what the what. Any split/time goals had to be thrown out the window. Sorry to be corny, but at this point, it really felt like finishing the race was going to be an accomplishment in itself.
We left the hotel by 6:35 (5 minutes later than planned, that's pretty good if you ask me), followed the line of cars, trucks, RVs, all headed to Buffalo Springs near Lubbock, TX, and by 7:45, my transition area was ready. At 8:15, we set up our base camp behind the bathrooms--how lovely. There's no better way to stay warm than putting on a greased-up wetsuit (shout out to Chris' PAM that we all wonderfully sprayed all over our limbs--yummy).
So the big news of the day was that the swim was cut in half because of the 'cold.' First of all, cut in half meant cut by two-thirds. It was a 500m swim, not 750m. Let's be honest, that's pretty unfair to all those people looking forward to unleash their swim prowess (Ari and Chris included) upon other non-swimmers. Second, the water was completely fine. After having swum at Walden Pond three times in the past two weeks, Buffalo Springs was actually pleasant, albeit suspiciously murky. But while Walden Pond had prepared me well for open water swimming, I was still relatively bothered by the mass-start. I'm not a very confident swimmer so the kicking, elbowing, and choppy waters were unnerving. I swam relatively straight, barely stopped freesylin', turned tight around the buoys, and made it to shore perfectly fine and not too dizzy. The only legitimate worry was that my time-chip strap nearly came off at the end of the swim. Oops.
Much better than last year: no cramps and more experience taking off the wetsuit. I put on an underarmour to make sure that I would not become completely numb during the bike. The time to fiddle around with the underarmour, a good 30-45 seconds, was maybe not worth the time gain from not being cold, but I would do it again.
Nothing too particular about the bike ride. The wind was extremely strong and unidirectional. Since the course was out and back, everyone experienced the joys of tailwind, the pain of headwind, and the scares of sidewind. I passed quite a few people and was passed by 6 males. In each case, that meant hearing the rolling sound of a disk wheel and seconds later, getting a glimpse of someone rolling by. I passed one of those decked-out dudes from Purdue ten miles after he passed me. It felt great. So much for the aero helmet, skin suit, and multi-grand bike. Jk, I could see myself be one those people in a few years ;) . In fact, this was my first ride with the profile design aero bottle, and it turned out to be amazing. I do believe that the time 'lost' in getting out of my aero position to grab a bottle in my cage would be non-negligible. I'm glad that the officials didn't have to enforce rules regarding gigantic puddles that would have forced us to clip out and walk through the puddle. Funny thing is, that rule would have been enforced throughout the race even if the puddles had dried up--to maintain fairness.
I worked hard on spending time on the bike during the past three months and it definitely paid off. I didn't have a particularly fast bike time by any means, but I passed an abnormally large number of males from the first wave (I was in the second wave that left 10 min later than the first wave). Training for the bike portion is 'easy' -- just crank out hours of bike with intervals, but seems to be overlooked by most triathletes. I would argue that talent plays very little role in cycling for everyone present at Nationals, besides perhaps the top 20. Cycling races are a different story. But for triathlons, you really just have to spend quality time on the bike. Shameless plug here for MIT Cycling. They are an incredibly well run club with awesome athletes who compete to win Nationals every year. Us triathlon noobs have relied several times on their equipment, and I have personally experienced the joys of race weekend. Thank you MIT Cycling.
Very quick. Next time I might use a highly visible marker (i.e. bright red towel) to make sure that I don't spend precious T2 seconds looking for my bike rack. Ok, ok, it actually doesn't really matter. But seconds do add up.
I came out strong and did not feel significant jello leg syndrome. The run in itself was not miserable at all, the problem is that I never felt that second wind that usually kicks in within a mile or two. I never really settled down in a comfortable cardiovascular rhythm where I felt that I could accelerate. I basically chugged along, wheezing and panting. Although I was definitely up for some body-killing triathloning and a good balls-out, gut run, I ran like a baby and was considerably 'affected' each time I would go around a corner and face the wind. But I think that I gave my best, although I was pretty disappointed to run nearly 2 min slower than at Nationals last year. Oh well.
Carper came in right after me and from there on I put a semi-dozen layers of clothes (layers>cotton as they say) and hang around to the finish area.
We regrouped as a team and left around 3. The awards ceremony reminded me that MIT is NOT a normal school. State school students have a passion for their school that almost seems foreign to me. Here we were, MIT students, without any MIT Triathlon gear, sitting there in silence watching CSU students in their minimal Tarzan outfits dancing and chanting. What a world of difference. I personally love racing with (racing against doesn't seem like a correct description) schools from all over the nation, so their chants and school spirit added a cool dimension to the weekend.
Overall, the team did well and better than I expected. The women finished THIRTEENTH as a team!!!!! That's is truly amazing, given the amount of resources other clubs enjoy, given that we compete against ALL the schools in the nation (no division repartition), given that the weather in the Northeast is so much more triathlon-averse that most other places in the country, and given the limited triathlon experience on our team. Zuzka, Kristin, Shaena, Ari, you are all awesome. Unfortunately, two of the five MIT men competitors experienced severe bad luck, as Carper and Scott were immobilized for dozens of minutes because of flats. We still managed to finish 50th out of 70 scoring teams, which is better than last year's second to last out of the scoring teams (which is also better than not scoring at all, mind you). Shout out to Carper and Scott for handling those bike issues with a positive attitude. It's tough to spend minutes on the side of the road, in the cold wind, as dozens, possibly hundreds of competitors whizz by. Special mention to Carper who, after missing last year's Nationals because of a shoulder injury, would have most likely gone under 2:10 had he not flatted. We estimated that his unofficial bike time should have been closer to 1:13-1:14. Scott, you have at least three years to avenge the flat!
As for me individually, given the conditions, I did not really take into account the time splits but rather overall ranking improvement from last year's Nationals. Last year I had finished 238/366 in my division (men undergrad) while this year I finished 107/380. But again, let's remember that the shorter swim skewed those results. There is no doubt that I would have finished later if the swim had been its regular distance.
Also props to Shaena for an overall great performance (and I'm not saying because I lack of truly good things to say!), Kristin for her 14th best run of the female field (with a 44:05 10K run, wowza), Zuzka for managing to control her TT bike with disk wheels (I still don't understand how she managed to do so) and of course leading the MIT females, Brad for another strong performance, and Senovio and Scott for completing their first triathlon in such horrific conditions against (or with?) the best field any collegiate triathlon can offer.
K enough for the long email.
See you all around (AT NEW ENGLAND SEASON OPENER WHOO!)--
Expo and Course Preview:
In the morning on Friday we went over to the expo at another nearby (much nicer) hotel to get our numbers/packets. There wasn’t much to see, but we got lots of neat USAT Championships swag: the required swim cap, a T shirt, baseball cap, and the best part, a transition bag with an insulated/water-resistant pocket and a mesh part.
In the afternoon we drove out to the course at Buffalo Springs Lake, about 13 miles away from the hotel. I had printed out some directions from Google maps before the trip, and naively chose the route with the most stretches on numbered highways. This turned out to be a mistake as, approaching the lake from the south, Ari, Shaena, and I discovered that the lake had turned a portion of the road into a rushing stream. This was definitely the "oh my goodness what have I gotten myself into" moment for me.
After going back around to approach the lake from the north side, we didn’t have a ton of time to check out the course, but we took our bikes and rode up and down the hill outside the transition area (thank goodness for granny gear). At this point, it became obvious that it was a) actually pretty cold (in the 50s) and b) really windy. Scary-to-ride-in-your-aerobars-because-you-will-be-blown-sideways windy. And Zuzka had a disk wheel- eek! I think she looked it up that night and it was 32 miles per hour winds during the day. By the time we left the course, I had basically written off all of my time goals and concluded that this was going to be the most miserable racing experience ever. But since we only had four women and four were needed to score as a team, I was going to finish the race come hypothermia or high water.
Miraculously, on the morning of the race, the rain had stopped. But it was still cold- 48 degrees when we left the hotel in darkness at 6:30 a.m. As soon as we got in to transition we heard several announcements- first, due to flooding, the run course had been changed to two 5k loops, and second, due to water temperatures of 54 F, the swim had been shortened and made wetsuit mandatory. Did you know that at 55 F, over half of people will get hypothermia after 30 minutes? I did not. I assume that number is without a wetsuit, though. Happily, the water actually felt warmer than 60 F Walden Pond did a week before. It might have been warmer than the air.
I was in wave 6 (they alternated male/female waves with each wave 5 minutes apart), and I can honestly say that I have never been in a race with such an aggressive start. I made the mistake of diving in too soon and getting trampled a little, when I think I would have been better off running out a little more. No way around it, though- I was in the middle of a giant oil slick of neoprene. Form was pretty much out the window, so I just tried to stay calm and figured that things would take care of themselves past the first buoy. That was mostly the case, as despite my bad start I was able to pass some gals once it opened up a little. It wasn’t a stellar swim for me (and honestly, longer would have probably helped me more), but it was fine, and over fast enough that I knew it wouldn’t make much of a difference. I saw 8:44 on my watch out of the water, so I’d ballpark the actual distance at 500 meters.
I had mentally rehearsed what I was supposed to do in T1 and stuck to the plan exactly, but I had a little trouble putting my arm warmers on so that cost me a few seconds. On the plus side, I stayed pretty comfortable temperature wise except for my feet, which I couldn’t really feel too well. On the hill out of transition I was glad to have put my bike in the easiest gear to start, as I saw one girl hop off her bike to mess with the shifting.
The bike went something like this: headwind, SIDEWIND!!!, tailwind, really awesome downhill + tailwind into a canyon, steady uphill, turn around, downhill into headwind, really long uphill into headwind, sidewind, tailwind. I think the winds were less than the day before, but still probably 20-25 mph. It was without a doubt the hardest bike portion I’ve done, and it wasn’t particularly a difficult course. Zuzka roared by me pretty early, but I stayed semi-close for the first half thanks to a lot of back and forth passing with a Michigan State gal. The highlight was on the first canyon uphill when a woman came up to me and said “Woo hoo- I did MIT undergrad,” and I was able to say “And I did undergrad at Stanford!” We had a moment. I was really disappointed when I saw my time on the way back, though- I was busting my butt but was still coming in about 10 minutes slower than I’d been hoping for.
Because most of the guys had come in to T2 already I had to shove a bike aside to fit mine on to the rack (numbered spots would have been good here). I put on my Carper-customized bungee corded racing flats and it was time to roll. My feet were still numb, so it was like running on two bricks- ouch. It was OK, though, because the frustration from the bike started to evaporate away as I started to pass literally dozens of people. Oh, it was fun. Unfortunately I didn’t see any mile 1 marker (triathlon pet peeve: run courses without mile markers) so I didn’t know if I was actually running well time-wise. In retrospect, this was probably a good thing as the run times ended up really slow overall. I started to get a cramp, probably because I didn’t drink enough on the bike (the sidewinds made me way nervous about losing my balance). On the second loop, I caught a guy from Texas Tech who was running pretty hard also and he said, and I quote, “You need me, and I need you.” Believe me, I wanted to make fun of him for what would have been other any other circumstances the lamest come-on ever, but that dude made me pull hard for a good mile and a half before he started to get ahead so I owe him a thank-you. I was pretty spent but managed to come out on top in a sprint finish at the line so I will never argue with that.
It was pretty neat- right after finishing we were able to go to a little tent and get a print out of our results. But the coolest part was that Shaena and I discovered that we had the same finishing time, down to the second. She edged me on swim and transitions, killed me on the bike, and I returned the favor on the run. So that was both a funny coincidence and just about the best outcome you can have with one of your training partners.
At first looking at my results I was a little bummed- my bike and run speeds were sooooo much slower than I was aiming for. But comparing with the same finishing percentiles in last year’s results, it was not as bad as I thought. I need to figure out how to fit in more time to cycle since I have a lot of work to do there, but well, nobody ever said it was going to be easy. Plus, the best female runner this year only managed a 41 and change, compared to a 37 or so last year! Finishing 14th on the run was a very cool surprise- I’m hoping that’s good for something in the mid-40s next time I hit the track J
As mentioned, we went to the awards ceremony, where we discovered that there is actually a team spirit competition, for which some of the teams dress up. Although I won’t be there next year, I vote that next year’s MIT team should wear graph-paper shirts, pocket protectors, and taped glasses, and memorize the e to the x cheer. I feel strongly about this.
Things I learned this weekend:
· how to disassemble and reassemble my bike for shipping
· what a derailleur hanger is
· a lot of college/grad students have really ridiculously nice bikes (note to self: move into cardboard box, buy cervelo)
· swimming in a crowd is no place to be complacent
· Walden Pond or other open water practice makes races less painful
· Neoprene booties would still be a good investment
· I need to spend more time in the saddle in general, and especially biking with people that are a little better than me
· Need to keep hydrated even if I don't feel thirsty
· I can work with someone to keep pushing on the run
· A little hard work, and us nerds and nerdettes CAN swim/ride/run with the big schools. I'm a beaver believer!
First of all, the entire Nationals team- Shaena Berlin, Chris Carper, Scott Landers, Brad Larsen, Senovio Shish, Ariadne Smith, Matthieu Talpe, and Zuzka Trnovcova- for making a challenging trip and race a lot of fun and a great experience. Everyone trained their butt off for this and without a team effort for the grunt work of planning and helping with equipment this couldn’t have happened. Nationals is an AWESOME race like nothing else I have done in the local tri circuit, so I highly recommend making the trip next year if you are eligible.
Shaena- My favorite swim lane partner has been putting in mad hours on her bike and it showed-she is going to be a force to be reckoned with at Easterns for cycling next week too! I am proud to have finished in the same time as this gal.
Chris- Was on his way to a stellar time, if it weren’t for a flat tire that cost him at least 10 minutes (still pretty fast to change a flat if you ask me). If this were me I would have bitched about it all day, but he did not complain. I think that good karma will come back around come IM time.
Senovio and Scott- Not too many people make their first triathlon an Olympic distance, let alone a National Championship. These guys did that. Ballsy, but we’re stoked that they did. I can vouch for Senovio working hard on his swimming technique for the last few months. Scott will be bringing CO2 cartridges everywhere he goes, as he also flatted out and got it changed, but needed to wait on an aid wagon to get it re-inflated. I have no doubt in my mind that he is going to come to his next race- and hopefully nationals next year- with a vengeance.
Brad- Not only did he make all of our lives easier by driving us to the airport early in the morning and home again, he put in a solid race and could have put even more time on the field with a longer swim. And he puts us all to shame by training for it all with a baby at home.
Ari- Definitely got the short end of the stick on the swim front as well, but put up our women’s best swim split by far despite the lack of a black line on the bottom of the lake. Also new to triathlon, she has nowhere to go but up.
Matthieu- This dude gets my breakout performance award for a smoking 2:10:45. Word is that he has been obsessed with kicking butt in this race for months, and the hard work shows.
Zuzka- Not only does Zuzka put up with my stupid bicycle-related questions, seeing her kick butt is what motivates me to get to the weight room, go to spinning, and generally do the workouts that I would rather push off to go run. Inspiration is not too strong of a word.
We're also indebted to la presidente, Christina, for a lot of behind the scenes work (grant writing, dealing with USAT’s buggy internet registration system) to make this trip possible. Coach Bill Steele has been an invaluable resource for swim coaching. Many members of the triathlon team have been great workout partners, which of course will continue as we move on to our next goal races. J I’m also grateful to the Greater Boston Track Club for the fantastic run support. Finally, MIT Triathlon was graciously sponsored by the MIT Student Activities Office (SAO), the MIT Club Sports Council, a USA Triathlon Collegiate Club Grant, several MIT Graduate Athletics and Performance Grants, City Sports, Newton Running, Landry’s, Breakwater Sports Training, Jackson Gas, and Klieman & Lyons.
|Wow, Matthieu, Kristin, those are great race reports! After reading them I was feeling a bit hesitant to send my own "novella", but since I already wrote most of it on the way home, it would be a waste not to spam you all with my own version of the trip and race ;-)
I had a pretty hard time starting the race report since I must confess I haven't felt particularly excited about Nationals in the past 2 weeks and my fear of doing much worse than what (I thought) everyone expected from me was yet another source of stress for me.
However, I must say I'm REALLY HAPPY I went to Lubbock with my AWESOME 2010 Nationals Team! Disregarding the great race results of everyone who came, I really enjoyed spending 3 thrilling days with Shaena, Kristin, Ari, Chris, Matthieu, Scott, Senovio and Brad - thanks everyone for putting up with my initially negative attitude and not least importantly, my disc wheel ;-)
OK, on to my a bit too extensive race + trip report.
It all started with 5 tough MIT triathletes equipped with 5 bikes meeting at DuPont traffic circle at 5am on Thursday. In order to get to the renowned collegiate triathlon nationals venue as cheap as possible, our nine-member team had to split in 5 groups. I was in the early group but due to my slow decision process during ticket purchase, I waited 4 hours in Dallas to later join our late-morning group. Despite a 3-hour sleep before our early departure, I had been working on my always delayed schoolwork, when Shaena called me about 45min before our departure and said: "Zuzka, you've just been bumped." I've never heard the word "bumped" before, but it did not sound good, so I proceeded to the gate. There I learned Shaena, Matthieu, Chris and I were denied boarding due to the fact that the 45-passenger airplane was overbooked and our tickets were non-refundable and we didn't buy them as a group... Kristin was the only one from our 5-person American Airlines group who could get on board. After almost 45 minutes of nervous waiting and discussing who would possibly stay in Dallas overnight, Matthieu and Shaena got on board as well, while me and Chris unvoluntarily volunteered to wait another 3 hours for the next flight for the compensation of $250 in travel vouchers - pretty good deal... However, at 5:40pm the flight was again overbooked (no wonder - most of the 1200 Nationals competitors probably flew to Lubbock through Dallas... Fortunately, we did not have to earn another $250 flying money for the price of waiting for the flight early next morning. After arriving in rainy and foggy Lubbock International airport (equipped with 5 gates serving 3 airlines with 3 destinations), we headed over to an authentic Mexican restaurant and to replenish our exhausted bodies after up to 14 hours of traveling. The food was good and fairly cheap as was our "attack" on Walmart's bananas, cereal and bagels, together with a dozen of other collegiate triathlon teams.
We returned to the Super 8 hotel fairly late, so I decided to build my bike only next morning and at least tried to be helpful with finishing the bike building of the lucky 6 who arrived in Lubbock before me and Chris. Unfortunately, we found out that Kristin's derailleur hanger was stripped, so even though I successfully put it on, we decided to go check it out with the bike mechanics at the packet pickup. We got to bed around 11:30pm, rightfully exhausted despite not having worked out for a day (or more).
We slept until 8am next day, which was good, but I still felt tired after my more than average sleep deficit in the first half of this week. I built my bike(the disc wheel arrived in the hotel on time and in one piece for only $17 - yay :-), but as I feared, none of us could not tighten the disc completely, so we decided to have the mechanics at the packet pickup do it for me. After successfully picking up our packets and a very cool schwag bag with pretty cool contents, receiving a quick $10 bike tune-up for my bike (consisting of tightening the skewer and adjusting shifting - I know, I should know how to do this stuff myself...) and learning that Kristin really needed a new rear derailleur hanger (which she couldn't get in the end, but still risked her life and completed the race next day ;-), we ventured onto the course for a pre-ride. The ride to the course was an adventure by itself as we drove our sturdy "rectangular" car through up to 2-feet deep and several hundreds yards long "puddles" while enjoying the view of flooded fields, houses and cars at the side of what probably was a road. Unfortunately, we discovered that there were several "minor" (~foot deep, ~100yd long) puddles on the next day bike course too. We started joking about how interesting it would be to ride through these with the disc and if there is a chance that the disc may fill in with water :-) We parked our car at Buffalo Springs lake and started our pre-ride. The 35mph side wind with gusts up to 50mph didn't make the ride comfortable for anyone and the occasional abrupt change of wind direction made the ride with the disc particularly sketchy... Scott and I still managed to get about half an hour of riding in - more than anyone else on the team. I started thinking I may not use all my extravagant aero equipment in this race in the end - well at least I made a good show with my slightly upgraded Felt S32 TT bike (now with Hed 3 Trispoke and Corima disc wheel). We hurried back from the course for me to catch the captains, rules and conference meetings. The meetings were pretty entertaining. First I learned that half of the run course was flooded, so we'll be running only the first half twice. Second, if the puddles on the bike course didn't dry out by next day, there would be a mandatory dismount before each of the up to 3 puddles in each direction, which considering that parts of the road was covered in soil and manure, would have made this race almost a cross-triathlon. Too bad that I haven't practiced dismounts and mounts on my TT bike... The only thing that seemed reasonable about the race was the allegedly 60F water temperature and the weather forecast predicting the winds to die down to 17mph by morning. Well, another great race for some of the first-timers (yay, Ari, Scott and Senovio!). After attending the free pasta party at Texas Tech, we got ready for the next day and turned in at 9:30pm sharp.
Getting up at 5:30am the next day didn't feel painful at all (yay, full 8+ hours of sleep in 2 days in a row :-), and we left the hotel promptly only 5 minutes later than the scheduled departure. We got to the course a little after 7am, the time when transition opened. Even though I was a bit opposed to getting to the course 2+ hours before my race start (9:25am), I wished we have gotten there even earlier since I wanted to get some disc wheel riding in to decide if I'm going to use it or not. Everyone else headed to set up their transition, which involved crossing some flooded areas with a choice of stepping into deep water or deep mud or both... On the bright side, the wind seemed to have died down a little bit (or was it just me getting used to leaning on my side all the time?), but I don't believe it was below 20mph average, with some areas worse than the others and unfortunately blowing perpendicular to the race course most of the time. I gave up on the idea of doing well in this race about a week ago and even though I was getting pumped again for it thanks to my great (and strong!) teammates, I decided that I had nothing to lose, so I may as well use the disc (and the tri-spoke) - just for practice. I became a little bit hesitant about this decision after I learned that they cut the swim in half because the water temperature was 54F. I was not sure if I was supposed to be happy about the short swim or unhappy about the freezing water. I decided I'd be happy since 750m in 54F is much better than 1500m in 54F :-) However, I was hesitant to go try the water until less than 10 minutes before my start. When I finally got in about 8 minutes before the start, I happily discovered that the water actually felt warmer than Walden! Though, now that I think of it, my happy feeling may have been due to the comparably low 48F air temperature as well as Bill's swim socks (thank you, Bill!) and my 10 minute half-wetsuit (legs in neoprene, long sleeve jersey and cycling thermo on top) warm-up run.
I started in the 6th wave together with Kristin. Shaena was in the fourth wave, Ari in the second one. On the men side, Chris got a head start in the first wave, followed by Matthieu in the second wave and Brad, Scott and Senovio in 5th, 7th and 9th waves respectively. I had a pretty good start - it felt faster (but also more chaotic) than what I usually do/experience and I enjoyed the feeling of not being scared of the open water as I used to be my first two years of racing. However, after the first minute I got into my real "race" pace and started losing the front half of my pack. At the same time, I started to think: "OMG, I'm already feeling so tired... How am I going to finish this? How is the bike in the wind going to be?", but I successfully suppressed this negative attitude by focusing on stream-lined position and body rotation. I was out of the water surprisingly quickly (10:32, which was still 248th place out of 327 women - not too much of an improvement here - last year there were 23 more women behind me...), which was good. I got out of my wetsuit fairly smoothly (thanks for the cooking spray, Chris! ;-), but then decided to put on my yellow O2 jacket as well as a pair of liner gloves for the bike, so my T1 ended up being pretty slow... (3:59)
As I hopped on my bike, I heard someone saying something like "she's going to catch them all on that TT bike", which made me smile :-) but not for too long since the mud in my cleats made me spend about 10s on clipping in. I climbed out from the transition OK, passing a few people on the first hill, but going *very* conservatively on the following downhill, which has a lot of very sketchy side wind. On the next hill I saw an ambulance and a few people fixing their bikes on the side of the road or pushing their bike uphill. Wow, this is going to be tough... Once on top of the second hill, I tried to stay in my aerobars as much as possible even though I often had to help myself with one hand on the handle bars to balance off the strong side wind. Unfortunately, most of the course had side wind, which may have not been ideal for my equipment, but the ~1/3rd of the course that had tail or head wind was really worth using my new wheels, I think! It felt almost like I was a sharp object cutting through the wind effortlessly (except that I put in quite a bit of effort into it ;-) Maybe 1/4th into the course, I saw the first man coming in the opposite direction. They looked very fast despite the strong head or side wind. Most of them had discs, tri-spokes or a very deep-rim Zipp or Easton wheels - those with discs were clearly leaning into the wind almost as much as I was. Shortly after the top 20 men came the first women - they looked very intense too. I recognized Ashley Morgan from Army, who got 2nd at Nationals last year and the won her age group at 70.3 Worlds in November -she looked like she was going 100% (that is, suffering more than anyone else).I said hi to Kristin maybe 1/4th into the course and then saw Shaena and Ari coming in the opposite direction at the bottom of the canyon close to the turnaround. Wow, they are still so much ahead of me and they looked very good climbing in the head wind too - I was really impressed! Going into the canyon with the tail wind was a lot of fun, though I did not have enough courage to get into my aerobars with the disc wheel on in case there was a sudden gust of side wind. At least I was not alone in this strange non-aero downhill strategy... Going back out of the canyon in the headwind was pretty tough. So tough that I decided to use my lightest gear - for the first time in the race. As I about to shift, I thought: "I wonder if my shifting is adjusted properly." And at the same moment I heard the chain falling into my disc wheel, and the sudden loss of torque in my pedals put me out of balance and I experienced my first triathlon "crash" - while going uphill at about 8 mph... It was not a serious crash (just 3 small bruises and a bumped hip and elbow - nothing compared to my first almost real crash in cyclocross last year), but it cost me at least 20s to get up and put my chain back on. Plus, I got scared I damaged my wheel. Fortunately, this was not the case as I was luck to protect my bike by falling underneath it :-) The rest of the bike leg was pretty uneventful except for a strong side wind towards the end of the course and a particularly strong gust of wind that made me take one corner really sketchily... Not very typical for me, but the last 10 minutes of the bike leg I was really looking forward to getting off my bike and standing stable on my feet again.
As I got back to the transition, I took off my O2 jacket (mostly because I wanted to have my MIT jersey for the finish - the run actually ended up being pretty cold due to the strong head wind in one running direction) and headed off to the run. Before the race, I told myself that I'm really going to kill it on the run, but as I started running, 10K seemed like quite a distance + the front halves of my feet were solid, so I ran pretty conservatively and mostly focused on maintaining good posture (http://www.gojessi.com/2009/12/performance-pov-coincidence-i-think-not.html) and passing people :-) I liked the 2 loops of run since I saw all of my teammates at least once, plus several friends from other schools and the collegiate committee. On the first lap, I gave myself a goal to catch Shaena, but I didn't seem to be making too much progress towards her, so half-way into the run I was pretty sure that she will achieve at least one of her goals for the race - not be caught by me :-). Actually, she kept 7min 31s of her 10min lead-out. Kristin looked very strong on the run and she was no-doubt catching up with me. I got really worried she might pass me if I keep going at my semi-comfortable race pace. To my relief, she didn't catch me :-) Still, I was REALLY impressed with her run (14th overall!!!) as well as Shaena's run (and bike!) and I was really impressed with both of their times only marginally slower than mine despite my crazy aero equipment. Ari did EXTREMELY well for her first triathlon despite being obviously disadvantaged by the short swim. Shaena, Chris - thanks for cheering me during at the finish line!
Since the weather was still really cold, I changed into dry clothes within 10 min of finishing. (I also drank a full water bottle of Gatorade within the first 5 minutes since, similarly to Kristin, I felt way too nervous/unwilling to take extra time to drink properly on the bike and as usual I did not take anything during the run). After changing into a completely dry set of clothes, with 2 pairs of long pants and 4 layers on my upper body, I felt pretty comfortable. But poor Shaena, who was too nice to go get warm before my and Kristin's finish, was shivering even after she put on all her extra clothes. I gave her my thermo and a few warm hugs but despite that she was literally turning blue, so we took her to the medical tent where she briefly warmed up in front of the heater but since quite a few other people were getting hypothermic, she couldn't enjoy the warmth for too long, so we headed back to the car to keep off the wind for another hour before the transition opened again.
Anyway, I know this is getting extremely long, so I'll try to finish it off quickly.
We finished our race day with packing bikes, shipping my disc wheel, attending an unusually team-spirited and long awards ceremony (where I was recognized for the past 2 years of being on collegiate committee - thanks to everyone for giving me a cheer :-) and then we headed off to IHOP for post-race glycogen store replenishment.
In conclusion, I'd like to thank everyone who came to Nationals - I'm so proud of you all! You are all my motivation to not only improve my triathlon performance but also get more organized and disciplined in other aspects of my life.
Also, thanks to Zach, Bill, Yuri, Nic Tham, Christina and everyone attending Monday swim workouts for bearing with my not-very-positive attitude to training and Nationals in the past month. I think the biggest lesson I learned through this race was that I really need to take some time off triathlon a couple weeks each year in order to not burn myself out. (On that note, I'm going to limit my running and swimming until after Cycling Nationals.)
Oh, and since I like to analyze everyone's results, they are attached here in a spreadsheet - with my subjectively selected highlights ;-)
I just read the reports written by Matt, Zuzka, and Kristin (all phenomenal) which have inspired me to put my own thoughts down in writing.
Most individuals either come to Buffalo Springs to compete or to watch the competitors and over the past two years, I've had the opportunity to do both! In 2009, just one month before collegiate nationals, I was involved in a biking accident and tore some ligaments in my AC joint in my right shoulder. The injury prevented me from competing, but not from snapping 400+ pictures with a DSLR camera. Being photo boy was fun, but I really wanted to race. This year I got my wish.
To date, I've completed 2 half iron, 3 olympic, and 3 sprint triathlons and collegiate nationals wasn't really like any of them. I noticed the first major difference when the starting horn blew and the first wave sprinted for the water. These people were really aggressive! At one point I got elbowed in the nose and thought briefly to myself, "If that had been much harder, my nose could be broken!"
The only part of the bike that I'll ever really remember is my flat tire. Out of all the cycling races and triathlons that I've done, I've never had to change a flat in a race. It happened about 4 miles into the 25 mile bike. I noticed it when I could feel the bumpiness of the asphalt through my back wheel - a sign that the only thing between the rim and the road was a thin deflated strip of rubber. I hopped off and started changing it. I probably spent more time than necessary checking the tire for foreign objects, but my only thought was, "You've got one shot to change this thing. If you mess up - you can't finish," so I tried to do a thorough job. When I finally got the tube in the tire and both beads seated in the rim, I double checked to make sure that the tube wouldn't be pinched between the tire and the rim when I inflated it. It looked ok, so I pulled out the CO2 and crossed my fingers. It was a success! But it took me 12 minutes - much longer than a tire change should take. I'll have to practice...
I think I might be most proud of my run. I am a weak runner and I'm pretty sure my 7:15 pace is a record for me for an olympic distance race. I attribute some of my success to taking caffeine pills both before and during the race. At no point during the run did I feel like I was searching for extra energy. My limiting factor was my legs - my hamstrings, quads, and calves were on the verge of cramping the entire time. I remember being very thirsty during the run, and wishing that there were more water stations. I thought back to the bike leg of the race where I finished my aero bottle about halfway through and wondered how I could be so dehydrated after drinking a whole 30 ounce bottle. Then it occurred to me that some or most of my hydration could have leaked out while I was changing my flat and my bike was lying on the ground. I'll never know...
All and all, I had a great time. I am not at all disappointed with my performance, in fact, I performed better than expected. However, my results were distorted by the flat tire change and the truncated swim. But those factors were out of my control, and so I don't feel bad about it. Actually, after being chief MIT photographer for a year, I was just so glad to finish.
As one of the more senior members of the team, I felt as though I had an obligation to do my best to make sure the logistics ran smoothly. Believe it or not, I barely had to do a thing! Everyone helped out - from renting our beautiful matching Ford Flexes to reserving the hotel, to making logistics packets, to helping with transportation to and from Logan, to keeping track of bike racks, to helping pack and unpack bicycles. It was a breeze.
I'd also like to give a shout-out to Scott Landers. When Scott emailed tri-exec two months ago and said that he wanted to do a triathlon, he could barely swim 200 yards, and didn't own a bicycle. A week or two before nationals, he did an iron length swim - for fun, and went from bicycle illiterate to sporting his very own new Specialized bike. Scott probably had the roughest race out of all of us - faced with a flat that he didn't have the tools to change himself, he didn't give up hope and never lost sight of the most important thing - finishing with a smile. And he never complained once.
So, by this point, you have a solid understanding of the conditions in which we raced and of the race itself, so I won't repeat what's already been said. However, this is a shout out to everyone on the triathlon mailing list who is unsure of their capabilities and doesn't know where to start, but wants to get more involved with triathlon. Therefore my race report will be a recap of my short time involved with the MIT-tri club leading up to Nationals.
*Note: Before this semester, I had never cycled (only had my commuter bike), could only swim 3 laps in the pool, and had't ran consistently in a very long time.
February 6 - I email the amazing Christina Birch about triathlon and receive a response within a couple hours! (This was at a time where she had recently been spleen-ed by her bike.)
February 12 - Chris Carper responds to my shout-out about equipment and says I can borrow his bike ONLY if I go to triathlon nationals...that's where all this began.
February 16 - I go to my first spin session at the Alumni Center, and my legs burn for the first time in a long time.
February 19 - I start swim lessons with Chris at the Z-center, and realize that 1500m is TEN TIMES the amount that I can currently swim. We realize that there's a long road ahead of us and decide to have lessons three times per week.
February 22 - I go to my first beginner lesson with Coach Bill! I'm slightly intimidated by him, but he turned out to be aight...;)....(seriously, coach bill is outstanding!)
February 23 - I buy my airplane ticket to Nationals. WTF have I just gotten myself into?!?!?
March 4 - I sign up for the NE Opener....it's going to be my first sprint distance!
March 4 - I go on a track workout with K-Slice. I haven't ran that fast in forever! However, I managed to keep up with her and even push her a little bit on the last 800m (my specialty from high school).
March 7 - I go on my first bike ride! I had a horrible time getting my bike shoes to work, it took me FOREVER to get the stupid things to clip in (i thought I would never get it down). We went out to Concord and it was sweet, I had never gone that fast on a bike before.
Spring Break - I'm able to borrow a bike from a family friend back at home. I go on a cycling ride with some older cats, ~40s, and they're mad impressed that I'm only 18 and can cycle faster than them on only my 3rd ride ever!!! I also get a membership to the fitness center and swim 750yd continuously (a new record)!
March 31 - I pick up my new bike from Landry's!!! I finally own a bike...=D
April 4 - Nationals is coming up soon and I still haven't swam the full distance! So, I jump in with the goal of swimming 1700yd. I pass 800 (~previous record), and get to 1000 (yes! the big 4-digits!), I keep pushing through and start to zone out, 1500 passes by and then 1700! I've done it...but why stop now, i still feel good. So I get to 2000, yes! But when will be the next time I can go this far...so I set a new goal in going for 500 more yards until I cant anymore...2500, 3000! How the hell am I doing this?!? *Funny side note: A dude jumped in my land next to me and scared the hell out of me (I actually jumped and cramped my leg a bit). I was sooo zoned out. After that I had been in the lane so long, they kicked me out for IM Water Polo, so at ~3200 I switch lanes...i probably looked like the walking dead because my legs were shaky and I looked crazy* By the time I get in the lane again, I realize that if I'm this close, I might as well push for the full iron distance. End of story: I swam 88 laps continuously only SIX WEEKS after my first swim lesson.
April 11 - First swimming at Walden!!! It was crazy cold, but I broke my wetsuit in and made it.
April 14 - I go OCD making sure I have all my tri-gear packed up for my flight.
T minus two days - Ari and I bond in the airports
Pre-race day - The team bonds and gets psyched for race day! Zuzka asks what BAMF stands for...=D
Race day!!! - So here I am ~exactly 2 months after my first triathlon workout about to do the insane.
Swim - The choppy waters about killed me, but I wasn't the last one out of the water in my wave...;)
T1 - Took so long to put under armor on (who made it so damn stretchy?!?)
Bike - Ahh, finally I get to ride, I drop down and start hammering out...so I thought. Wherever Chris got is flat, I must have as well because about 5mi out I felt the road get really rough. I passed a guy who confirmed that the tire was flat, so I hop off and try to air it up, but apparently CO2 isn't my friend. At this point I'm officially scared. There is no way in hell that I went through all this to not finish this race because of a flat. So, there is a little air left in my tire (not completely flat, just super low) and I decide to keep biking until I come across a race official who has a pump, right? WRONG! I pass three motorcycles over the next 6mi and NONE of them are able to help me, they just give me dumb looks, *sigh.* So, I get to the turn around after all but rimming the back tire the whole way there. I stop and ask the guy there to radio for a tire guy. Of course at this point, there are people dropping like flies due to hypothermia and he can't break radio contact for little 'ol me. After 5min he finally gets in and asks for help. I keep waiting, and waiting, and what seemed like 5min more (I may have just felt like it was longer because I was so anxious to get back on the bike) he said that the tire guy was on his way. How long? The guy didn't know, nor did he have ANY sense of urgency about him. *sigh again* I wait around hoping he'll show up soon...wrong again. At this point a blind cyclist passes me...great. Fuck it...I tell him to radio the tire guy to look for the guy running with his bike. I slip off my bike shoes and clip them in to my bike. The me, my thin socks, the roughest chip-top road ever, and everything that mother nature and lubbock can throw at me start running like a mad man down the road with my bike. I probably go a little over a mile before I see another guy changing his tire, so I stop to help him. (Yes, Zuzka I know that's illegal, but at this point, I don't think it mattered.) It was then that I realized that my problems were nothing. This guy was from Alabama and probably hadn't had cold weather like this in quite some time. I'm 97% sure he had hypothermia. He was shaking like crazy and could barely talk coherently. I help him get his back tire changed and at this point the tire guy shows up to help him finish while I start changing my own back tire, which was the easy part. Then the guy pumped the tire up for me and I was off on my way. (He probably thought I was crazy because as soon as I jumped on I screamed a rebel yell and was off.) My goal was just to suck up as many people as I could, but you have to realize that at THE back of the pack, people are really spread out. Needless to say, I probably burned out my legs passing people with mountain bikes, flat shoes with toe clips and all other kinds of not-pro. C'est la vie.
T2 - Fastest ever, my dismount was great! Throwing one leg over and rolling...never losing momentum.
Run - Again, at this point it was kind of hard for me to push myself because I probably went to hard (without realizing it) on the last half of the bike and because my pride was hurting after the flat. However, I made it through with my beat up shoes (one last race in them).
*Note: I wonder which of these three was most interesting....=O
Post-Race - International House of Pancakes!!! Zuzka asks why it's international, Kristin discusses sociology, Chris and Matt have an epic pancake showdown, and Senovio looks at me strange when I eat my food and still clean up other's leftovers too...I was super hungry.
Day After - I wake up and hurt EVERYWHERE!!! Ari and I make $300 each by switching flights. I get home and crash...it's done.
So, how's that for a race report?!?
Tri-Nationals was by far the hardest thing I have physically ever done, but I can't express how glad I am that I did it. I am now in the best shape of my life, have met some of the most amazing people I know, and couldn't imagine the rest of my life without triathlon. Special thanks to Carper for the swim lessons, K-Slice for the running workouts, La Presidente for the advice, Senovio for the rides to Walden, Coach Bill for being the embodiment of awesomeness, and the rest of the BAMFS for their constant support.
Bring it on NE Opener!!!!!
Well, I lazily decided to try to finish my 8.02 pset before writing a race report, but by now, I think just about everything has been covered very well by the other nationals bamfs. So, I will just add a brief report of my point of view, preceded by everything leading up to the actual race.
Before the race:
I came to MIT last fall after 4 solid years of high school endurance sports (running, cross-country skiing). Mind you, I was not at all fast, but I trained like a beast. Or so I thought. Then, I realized that what I had considered “training” for the small triathlons I did a few summers in a row did not actually correlate to real triathlon training; I pretty much was a runner, and would jump in the pool once (literally) to make sure I could swim the tri distance without drowning, and I bike commuted to work and school so figured I would do fine on the bike portion. And so far, it had worked – I was always a Junior in the age group categories, and the races were always small, so I pretty much always won! That was what made me originally like triathlon, because I could train a lot and race decently and actually get prizes (yes, greed was the motivator). Then came MIT.
I thought that the triathlon club had disintegrated here, since the website was never updated and I hadn’t seen anyone at the CPW athletics fair…so, I bought my first road bike last summer and decided I would do cycling at MIT instead. Once I got here, I was pleasantly surprised to find that indeed there was a triathlon team, AND that the fall tri season made it quite possible to do both triathlon and cycling without any conflicts. So, as soon as my bike arrived from FedEx (and the bike store put it back together for me…now I know how), I joined the tri club in the Lobsterman and Mightyman NECTC races. They were great fun, although by the end of Mightyman I had a stress fracture in my foot.
Unable to run for 9 weeks (which sounded like a death sentence to me), I started attending swim practices and cycling club rides. I swam in elementary school, but not since then, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that swimming actually came far more naturally to me than other sports that I struggled at such as running. Cycling well really just requires lots and lots of hours on the bike. So, that’s how I spent my fall, riding my bike, meeting people, and swimming increasingly well.
In the winter, I could run again, but I was back home in Wyoming, so I mostly just skate-skied instead and attempted to ride my trainer indoors (boring). Once back here, I tried to step up my workouts to include an average of 4 weekly bike rides, 3 runs, and 3 swims; I had never trained so much in my life! It was great fun though, except that since I was racing on weekends for cycling, I never had the energy to run hard/do intervals. That showed in Nationals, but honestly even when I used to run 40 miles per week, I still wasn’t nearly as fast as most of the people there.
OK, this is actually becoming a rather long brief summary, so I will move on to the race.
We arrived in Lubbock eventually, put together our bikes, ate, slept, etc. The other race reports go into very good detail about all of this. Kristen did a great job driving through the “roads” that were really more like rivers due to all the rain and flooding. The swim did not feel as cold as the officials made it seem, but unfortunately my fingers were cold enough that I couldn’t hold them together; I basically clawed through the water the entire race, which felt terribly slow, but it didn’t really matter since the swim was so short anyway. The bike course was windy, and I felt a strong urge from the cyclist side of me to draft off of the big, strong men who passed by so easily; I did not, and just kept pedaling along. At one point, we went downhill with a tailwind, and my spedometer said I got up to 43 miles per hour, which was by far the fastest I’ve ever biked before! Anyway, I saw a few of our teammates on the bike but was too distracted/concentrating to say hi to most of them. Then came the run. Bleh. For a former runner, I really hate running fast. I’m really glad that I finished, and that my feet thawed to the point where I could feel them after a few miles, and that the other MIT people looked like they were going so much faster than me on this part.
Kristen demolished me in the run (well, she pretty much demolished everyone), so we actually ended up with the exact same finishing time of 2:30:33. That was pretty awesome, since we always thought that we would probably end up close, but not THAT close. Matthieu did amazingly, and Chris would have if he hadn’t had a flat tire. Though Brad was in Texas for less days than us, he raced well and helped us out SO much by driving us to and from the airport. Senovio and Scott both raced very well, despite this not being the ideal first race conditions. Zuzka was very fast, of course. Kristen and I were both quite happy, I think, since we were in the top quarter of the women! And Ari did quite well too, though it didn’t help that they cut down her best section (the swim) by so much.
Overall, nationals was a great experience despite the weather. The triathlon club in general is a wonderful place to find training partners and work towards common goals, and along with cycling is my favorite part of MIT so far. We have an amazing swim coach (Bill Steele), great sponsors, and dedicated members and officers. Hope to see everyone at the New England Season Opener and at NECTC races next year!
Friday: Race Preview
This may have been the most exciting part of the trip: driving through multiple water-covered road ways which we weren’t entirely sure were safe (however, after seeing a tiny Toyota Yaris make it through successfully, we gave it a shot). Since we took a different route than Kristin, we previewed the bike course and all I could think as we entered the canyon was “WOW”. The hills were more than a half mile each and way bigger than anything in Cambridge. Given the rain and extreme wind, we kept the course preview brief and collectively worried whether or not Zuzka could withstand the 20-30 mph wind with her disc wheel.
Early to bed, early to rise – unfortunately, I did not sleep well (perhaps due to anxiety, perhaps because I wasn’t used to sharing a bed!), but still felt rested thanks to a healthy 11 hours of sleep the night before. We hopped into our Ford Flex minivans (suv’s? the guy at the rental counter described them as “a minivan and an SUV had a baby” which was pretty accurate) and zipped over to Buffalo Springs. There was still a decent amount of water on the road, but it wasn’t raining and the puddles were significantly smaller than what we saw the day before.
I was initially unenthused about getting to the transition so early, but was glad for the extra time before the race started. We had plenty of time to walk through the transitions to familiarize ourselves with the different entrances and exits, and to relax, snack, and stay hydrated.
SWIM: Cold water conditioning goes a long way!
As the last racer to start from MIT, I had the opportunity to experience multiple starts and take some photographs of the team as they lined up with the hundreds of other competitors. This had the effect of alleviating my nerves, until I realized that after taking my last pictures I had only 10 minutes to put away the camera, get my gear and warm up – yikes!
As I approached the shore I noticed that some of the swimmers in earlier waves were taking advantage of the kayaks and stopping before the first buoy, presumably because of the cold. I took my first steps in the water with 5 minutes to go until my wave, and I was relieved that it didn’t feel as cold as Walden Pond had felt – but it also may have been that my hands and feet were already chilled from waiting around. I followed Coach Bill’s advice to jog around and use the shoulder activating techniques, which not only warmed me up but helped keep me relaxed. I decided to start at the far outside edge of the pack to avoid the chaos of the crowd. The first part of the swim felt very natural in terms of my technique, breathing, and sighting, but with the added complexity that my arms were now occasionally bumping other people and the wind and waves nearly obscured the buoys. The bumping moved to a crescendo especially around the first buoy, and when I cleared it, it took two sights before I could discern the second buoy – my goggles were starting to fog up. At the second buoy, I tried a backstroke turn which went smoothly but I under-turned and continued swimming on a course away from shore. After my right goggle filled with water and I stopped to fix it, I noticed that everyone else was going to shore, and I was off course by 10-15 yards. I had overshot because I thought the course would be 750 meters and the swim was actually much shorter than that.
Once at the shore, there were people on hand to help unzip wetsuits, which was a big relief given that it had been the hardest part of my T1 practice!
· Know the course ahead of time, and if it gets changed last minute, demand to see a map. I should have known how many buoys I’d have to pass before coming back in to shore).
· Practice swimming in comparable temperatures – it helps!
· Invest in fog-free goggles
Due to the cold weather, I decided not to wear my MIT race jersey during the swim, and put on a dry long sleeve shirt and bike gloves for the cycling. The additional time was well worth it and I was very comfortable with the temperature throughout the bike race (although I was disappointed with the padding in the tri shorts).
BIKE: I had my first fall, and it could have been avoided
At the top of the first climb out of transition, I took a gulp of Gatorade but missed the cage when putting the bottle back in the bike. I knew there were penalties for littering and figured that I needed the bottle for the rest of the race, so I decided to go back and pick it up. The mistake I made was trying to make a u-turn instead of simply pulling off to the side of the road to stop. I paid the price: when initiating the u-turn to the left, my front tire clipped someone who was passing me and I took a hard fall. Luckily the other person stayed on his bike, and my hip and shoulder (rather than elbow/hands) took the brunt of the impact. Shocked, I picked up my bike, got the bottle, and then hopped on my bike only to realize that my chain had popped during the fall. I figured I probably lost a few minutes in this embarrassing sequence of events, but kept on.
The rest of the bike race went well - I felt that I passed more people than had passed me – but there were three things that I wished for: 1) a set of aero bars to help deal with the horrible headwinds 2) the ability to go back in time and practice more hills! It wasn’t so bad that I had to get off of my bike and walk, as some competitors did, but I was struggling even in the lowest gear. Everyone else around me was, too, but it would have been a great opportunity to pass a lot of people in the pack! 3) that you could help a teammate without disqualifying them. I saw Scott riding slowly on the side of the road with a partially inflated tire and wanted to toss my mini-pump out so badly, but I knew it would disqualify him. I just had to ride on and hope that I made the right choice, and that there was some way he could finish the race (there was).
From previous recreational rides, I knew I wouldn’t eat the gels unless I forced myself. So before the race I decided which landmarks on the course would trigger me to eat the gels, one early and one later. This strategy worked well for me and I’d recommend it to anyone.
· Practice picking up and placing water bottle back in the cage
· NEVER make a u-turn!!!
· Have a strategy for eating gels
· Practice hills
· Invest in aero bars!
RUN: I started slowly and finished strong
Right out of the transition I was passed by a few people who were basically sprinting, and a half mile later I saw the same people standing on the side of the course massaging their quads. My legs didn’t feel fresh by any measure, nor did they feel like Jello – just tired. I gladly took some fluids at the Gatorade stations, and after splashing all over myself (drinking from a cup is nearly impossible while you’re running), I learned that you can fold the top of the cup in half and sip out of one side. I managed to keep a steady pace that felt sustainable and was glad to finally see some MIT folks ahead of me (somehow I didn’t see ANY of them on the bike course). The run felt like it was taking forever, and during the last two miles my quads felt like they were on the verge of majorly cramping at every step, but I pressed on. I was surprised to find that I placed better in the running segment than in biking or swimming, given that I had probably trained the least for that part of the race.
· Don’t forget to train for the run!
This was a TON of fun and I hope that we can get an even bigger team out there next year. If we get thirty people we could totally steal the team spirit award from Colorado!!
Coach Bill – for me, the race was a success even before I arrived in Lubbock. When I signed up, my biggest doubt was the swim, and I was able to complete an Olympic distance at Walden before the race only because of his great coaching.
Kristin – logistics hero! Thanks for generally keeping us all on schedule and prepared for the race.
Scott and Ari– newbie solidarity!
Chris, Shaena, Zuzka, Matthieu, Brad – thank you all for your encouragement and support!
Finally, thanks to all of our generous sponsors!