08 18 2014.

race report: tri for preservation 2014

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I was so nervous for this race – perhaps more nervous for this than for my first tri. It was a combination of a few things: I hadn’t familiarized myself with the bike or run course beyond glancing at the course maps, there would be men competing in this tri and I hadn’t really trained all that hard for this. I had shifted my focus to hiking and running more than anything these past few weeks so I felt undertrained in the swimming department.

So when I got up at 4:30 Sunday morning, I couldn’t eat. I just wasn’t hungry. Knowing the importance of fueling before the race, however, I managed to eat a half of an english muffin with peanut butter and some banana slices. I packed the other half in case I got hungry before the race. I did drink plenty of water though – close to 40 ounces.

Going into this race I had a few goals and backup goals. First, I wanted to sprint across the finish line; finish strong. I noticed that at all of my other races, I had nothing left to give at the end, while others around me were able to pick up the pace for the final 100 meters or so. While I trained, I practiced sprinting at the end of every run, no matter how long the run was. Second, I wanted to feel good and enjoy the run. Running is my thing. I felt really disappointed during the Tri for a Cure when my run was hindered by my cramps. This time, I was going to have a strong 5k. Third, if I had to pee, I was going to pee. Fourth, I wanted to beat my Tri for a Cure time. This goal was the least important to me. Of course all athletes would like to see a PR after every event, but I knew that enjoying the race and PRing it could perhaps be opposing goals.

I arrived at the park without any issues and got my bike set up in transition. I plan out the transition space in my head beforehand so when I get there, it’s just a matter of emptying my bag next to my bike. I got my timing chip and corrected the timers – I had originally been placed in the 45-49 age group.

Looking around, I noticed how many experienced athletes there were. They just had that look about them – like they knew exactly what they were doing, like they had done many, many triathlons. They also had spectacular bikes. Let me just say that, for my second tri, this was extremely intimidating.

Everyone assembled on the beach and I met a girl in my age group named Brittny. This was her first tri! She looked more nervous than anyone else, though she had a huge support group. I gave her a few pointers, things that I took away from my first tri, and tried to ease her nerves a bit.

Finally, it was time for the 20-24 age group to start. Instead of wading knee-deep in the water, the race start was right on the edge of the beach. So when we were told to “GO GO GO,” we had to run into the water. I actually really liked that method of starting – running into the water was a great, quick way to release some stress.

I struggled on the swim. Well, I felt like I was struggling. I paused twice for 1-2 seconds to tread water and get my bearings. There were a lot of waves and I swallowed quite a bit of water. Not enough each time to catch me off guard or cause me to panic. Just enough to…well…keep me hydrated, I suppose. The good news is that I went pee in the water and that significantly enhanced the remainder of the race. (Goal #3, complete!) I bolted out of the water feeling dizzy and disoriented but the quick run to the transition area helped to ease that.

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Then I was off on my bike. First, I got to test my Garmin Edge 200 out for the first time during a race! It worked really well, but at times felt discouraging. As much as I enjoy biking, the first 5 miles or so just feel so strenuous, and feeling winded and exhausted before I even completed 3 miles was so rough on my motivation. It was a hilly course. I was passed by a dozen riders: mostly men on their crazy tricked out bikes. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself. Whether I was being passed or not, I knew I wasn’t doing the best that I could do. It wasn’t until mile 8 or so that I really picked up the pace and I started passing others. My legs were finally warmed up. I saw my speed hit 24mph which I was incredibly proud of!

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I zoomed into transition, flipped my race belt around and took off on the run. I felt good. I had a smile on my face. The first half mile or so of the course went along the beach. Some areas were tough, as we had to run through deep sand, but I just kept going. My legs actually felt fine – I think downshifting for the last 2 miles on the bike was a good idea. It gave my legs a break and helped me recover for the run. Around 1.5 miles, I felt a slight discomfort in my abs – a little bit of a cramp, but I pushed through.

After mile 1, an older gentleman passed me with loud feet. I could hear him approaching for a while. When he finally did pass me, he slowed down for a moment to talk to another gentleman ahead of me. I heard him say, “we’re 54-year olds!” I loved that – they were both so proud of themselves and their accomplishments at that age. A few moments later, I passed them and said, “Good job 54-year olds!” They got a kick out of that.

Around mile 2, two children stood on the corner of an intersection. The little boy, who I encountered first, held out his hand for a high-five and said “good job!” His younger sister, seeing me high-five her brother, ran to the curb to high-five me as well. It was such a small gesture, but it really fired me up. I was so happy after that. My ankles were burning and my cramp was worsening, but I knew I only had a mile to go and I wanted to finish strong.

I kept myself motivated by picturing the finish line. I was so excited to cross it, to complete my second tri! It wasn’t long before I was turning the last corner. The finish line was in sight. When I was 50 meters away, I kicked it into high gear – and found that I had it in me. In my head, I imagined that I looked like a cheetah – running swiftly and gracefully to the finish. I even heard the announcer say, “coming in hot is Kelsey Raymond of Portland!” Darren showed me a picture that he took of me during this stretch and I didn’t quite look like a thing of beauty – although, it looks like alright running form.

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But I finished, and I finished strong after an enjoyable run. (Goals #1 and #2 complete!) I gave it all I could give.

I went to the timing booth afterwards and checked out how I did. I PR’d my race by 1 minute! (Goal #4 complete!) I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t expecting to even come close to my Tri for a Cure time. (Although it helped that my transition times were quite low…)

Time Breakdown
Swim | 11:07
T1 | 2:00
Bike | 54:17
T2 | 0:28.4
Run | 24:31
OVERALL | 1:32:21.8


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