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Sylvan Beach Triathlon - Triathlon

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La Porte, Texas
United States
Total Time = 1h 25m 50s
Overall Rank = 83/287
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 5/23
Pre-race routine:

Kind of signed up for this race on a whim (had to renew my USAT card for a race later in the year and figured I needed to make the year-long membership worth it, so I should do a few shorter races, even though I don't really train specifically for them). I did this race last year and it was pretty fun, so figured I'd give it a shot again this year, even though I've been struggling to get back to where I was last year.

It rained (poured!) all morning Saturday....they had to change the kids' triathlon to just a run....and the weather forecast looked bad for Sunday, so I thought there was a good chance it would just end up being a 5k. I did a hard trainer ride and a couple mile tempo run off the bike since a) I didn't really care about racing this race, and b) I really figured we weren't actually going to get to race.

Picked up my packet in the afternoon, and then had dinner (ramen!) with a couple friends, and two beers (Karbach Hopadillo and Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin) before calling it an evening. I slept pretty well, but did wake up to some large storms rolling through a couple times throughout the night.

The weather cleared up enough (just some rain throughout the bike and run, but no lightning and not a major downpour or anything) that we were able to race, so I got transition set up. It was a muddy mess in way we were staying dry or clean. It wouldn't even have been worth covering up running shoes or anything!

Event warmup:

I got in about 10 minutes of swimming before race start. Last year, I struggled with sighting, so I wanted to make sure I could get that worked out. The way the course was set up, you were going at about a 45 degree angle into the chop on the way out....not sure why they set it up that way, but it's a fairly rough non-wetsuit ocean swim. But I got warmed up and settled in reasonably well.

  • 12m 29s
  • 500 meters
  • 02m 30s / 100 meters

The swim start was definitely crowded and a bit of a battle, but cleared up a bit as we were rounding the first buoy....of course, at that point, I was catching other waves, so I never really got clean water. With the chop and waves coming at a 45 degree angle, it was hard to settle into a rhythm, but got a bit better after we made the first turn, and much better on the way back in. Sighting was pretty decent this year, but the course was definitely long! All the times were very slow -- there were very few people who went under 2:00/100 and I know how good of swimmers some of them are!

What would you do differently?:

Try to find some feet?? I don't know, it was an alright swim for me, despite the time looking really slow.
Transition 1
  • 01m 18s

Sometimes I get very dumb in's like I forget what I'm supposed to be doing. It was a muddy mess in there, so I was preoccupied with that a bit and forgot to take my cap and goggles off. As I was putting my bike shoes on (which sucked since I was then going to have to run through a giant mud pit!), I realized that I still had my cap and goggles on my head. Pulled them off, put my sunglasses and helmet on, grabbed the bike, and headed to the mount line (though the mud pit!).

What would you do differently?:

This is one of those times where it would have been nice to be able to do a flying least then my shoes would not have been as muddy or wet!
  • 44m 35s
  • 15 miles
  • 20.19 mile/hr

Last year, I did this almost exactly three minutes faster on 30W higher. I've been struggling on the bike this year. Over the winter, I decided to do a run focus to improve my mediocre (at best) run, and didn't ride for most of September through January, figuring my biking would come back reasonably easily. Turns out that was not the case and I just can't seem to break through and get back to where I was. I suspect some of it is mental, but I'm sure there's a physical aspect too.

I had wanted to hold 160-170W on this ride, but ended up at 148/146 NP/AP. My max HR was the same as what my average HR was last year. I just don't seem to have the confidence that I can push it as much....or run well off pushing the bike.

What would you do differently?:

Not really sure what needs to happen, but something needs to change. I need to figure out how to get my bike (and confidence) back to where it used to be. I can't believe I've lost this much fitness and haven't been able to get it back since I started biking again in late January, but it's just not clicking for whatever reason. I'm disappointed, but will not give up.

Transition 2
  • 01m 4s

Last year, I pulled my feet out of my shoes way too early -- I made a mental note of this (while re-reading last year's RR) and did much better this year. The dismount portion of transition was fine, but then running through the (now even bigger) mud pit was just disgusting! Luckily (I guess....really didn't matter all that much, I suppose!), I had a clean/dry set of socks waiting for me at transition, so I pulled my muddy ones off and put the clean ones on.

Again with being dumb in I was switching to my running shoes, I realized I still had my helmet on. I laughed at myself as I realized how easy it would be to run out with my helmet still on! I didn't....I pulled it off, grabbed my race belt and hat, and exited transition. I got stuck behind some guy who was walking with his bike on his shoulder and could not get around him -- probably cost a good 10 seconds. I fumbled to get my race belt clipped, but that didn't slow me down.

What would you do differently?:

Be more pushy about getting around Mr. Lollygagger, be thinking about exactly what needs to happen and when (helmet off, etc) so I don't catch myself about to forget to take my helmet off again!

  • 26m 22s
  • 3 miles
  • 08m 47s  min/mile

Still can't seem to figure out how to get better at running, despite having done a run focus and consistent run training. I've put my running into maintenance mode since Galveston 70.3, so I really wasn't expecting much on this run, and it showed. Honestly, I was mentally prepared to be okay with anything faster than a 9:00/mile pace, so this wasn't terrible. That said, I desperately want to figure out how to break through this mediocrity and be a decent runner.

For the first two miles, I focused on keeping my HR in the low-150's and not letting my breathing get to a hyperventilation-type pattern. I was successful at both....for the third mile, I wanted to get my HR up into the mid-150's. In the last 1.5 minutes, my HR climbed up to 163 and my pace was around 7:30 -- this is the pace I'd like to be able to do throughout, but obviously is not sustainable at the moment.

In the middle of the run, I was thinking, "God, I think I'd rather do an Ironman than this! At least then I could settle into a pace where I can breathe!" And this is coming from someone who has sworn to never race an Ironman!

What would you do differently?:

Again, no idea! I've tried consistent, high volume running with and without speed work, and my running never gets better. I'm currently doing low volume with a little bit of tempo work and strides on some runs, and my running hasn't gotten much worse....seems that I'm destined to be a mediocre runner regardless of what I do, so maybe just doing low volume, low intensity will allow me to maintain my mediocrity ;)

Of course, I would like to improve, so I've gotta figure out what I need to do to make that happen!

Post race
Warm down:

Just after crossing the finish line, the three guys in front of me abruptly stopped and leaned over with their hands on their knees....I definitely ran into one of them because I wasn't expecting that. I was handed a bottle of water and then found some friends and chatted. Didn't really stretch much....thought about going for a warm-down run, but I got distracted and it just didn't happen.

I wanted some more water to drink, but they ran out. I went over to the food area and they had a pretty sad spread. I had an over-ripe banana, but wasn't interested in the greasy pizza. Meh, typical post-race food, I guess!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Confidence, plateaued progress, need to do something different. Have contacted someone to discuss coaching, as my self-coaching is no longer cutting it.

If I had raced the same time as last year, I would have been 2nd in my AG (like I was last year). Really disappointing to be over six minutes slower, but not at all surprising given how I've felt / performed. But I'm not giving up -- I still think there's room for improvement. I refuse to believe I've peaked already!

Event comments:

The race organizer worked hard to put on a good race, despite the crappy weather conditions. They communicated well, which is always appreciated.

Last updated: 2015-06-13 12:00 AM
00:12:29 | 500 meters | 02m 30s / 100meters
Age Group: 3/23
Overall: 0/287
Performance: Average
Suit: DeSoto ITU
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 80F / 27C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 01:18
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:44:35 | 15 miles | 20.19 mile/hr
Age Group: 5/23
Overall: 0/287
Performance: Below average
Wind: Some
Road: Rough Wet Cadence: 91
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:04
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Bad
00:26:22 | 03 miles | 08m 47s  min/mile
Age Group: 9/23
Overall: 0/287
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2015-06-14 2:43 PM

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Houston, Texas
Subject: Sylvan Beach Triathlon

2015-06-15 8:23 AM
in reply to: 0

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2000500100100100100 home in The ATL
Subject: RE: Sylvan Beach Triathlon

Hey Nicole - thanks for writing this up. I know from recent personal experience writing reports from races that don't quite go as expected is not quiiiiiiite as fun as writing about the ones that do. Ha. Seriously, wth your training and fitness you most likely would have clobbered this race if you had made it a priority beforehand - don't get caught putting more in the stock of the results after the fact than you did beforehand. This is of course some SERIOUS preaching to the choir here obviously - we all do it. You really do have a great season in front of you. So keep your eye on the real prize and all.

Edited by TankBoy 2015-06-15 8:31 AM
2015-06-15 12:42 PM
in reply to: TankBoy

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Bronze member
Subject: RE: Sylvan Beach Triathlon

Yeah, what Rusty said - ha! No, awesome effort for a race you didn't even really plan on doing.  

Short races can be great as a check in on what to do and how to refine training.  But you are awesome and don't forget it!

2015-06-15 12:53 PM
in reply to: juniperjen

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Subject: RE: Sylvan Beach Triathlon

Rusty said it all very well. Did you take any time off between now and Galveston? Sometimes, before we start building back up we just need some time to pause.

Also, I think we should blame Arend for your transition

2015-06-15 6:56 PM
in reply to: TankBoy

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Sylvan Beach Triathlon

Don't get me wrong -- I'm actually not disappointed with this race.  As I mentioned, it went pretty much as expected.  What I am disappointed with is this plateau / stagnant (backwards) progress / mental funk that I'm in right now.  It's difficult to watch friends of mine (who work equally hard) continue to get better, while I don't.  

This race might well have been a really good thing for me....might just have been the kick in the pants that I needed to make some changes.  Have some plans in the works, but nothing confirmed quite yet.  

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