Because I’m still in my first year of racing, every race seems to be full of a lot of “firsts,” and a whole lot of “well, that didn’t work!”. Yesterday was my first time racing the San Diego Intl Tri, and I finished up 4th in my age group of 15, and 18th of 152 females. It’s always a bummer to miss the podium, but I really can’t (or shouldn’t) complain because there were so many “firsts” in this race that went really well for me.
Swimming and running are the 2 of the components that I’m comfortable with – they still need work, but I like them, and I know myself pretty well during these events. The bike is a whole different beast. I’d never done any cycling, except riding my beach cruiser around the neighborhood, before starting triathlon training last year. I had the usual falling off from a stand-still while trying to learn how to clip my feet in and how of the pedals, but also had a total wipe out pretty early in my training days that landed me flat on my back and cracked my head pretty good. It was my first “bad” fall (though I was fine, and it really wasn’t that bad in the grand scheme of cycling wipe outs), and it really shook my confidence. I’m pretty timid on the downhills, I get nervous getting too close in the drafting zone on group rides, and I still just don’t quite feel like the bike and I are working as a team! However, this race was a good indicator for me that my confidence is improving.
I reached my top speed ever on a downhill yesterday -37.6 mph! Thank you, you can call me Lightning Warren now. I looked down at my bike computer and was quite proud of myself going down that hill, especially because for the first time I wasn’t scared! I’ve been working with my bike coach on attacking the hills, and then even more importantly, attacking the next uphill by using that downhill gain and then getting up out of my saddle to keep the momentum going. I usually would just kind of give up and let my legs get the best of me. NOT YESTERDAY! I got up out of that saddle every climb whether my legs were screaming or not. And it paid off:
I improved my overall average speed for the race – 18.8 mph! (Ok, you can laugh) But that’s an improvement for me and I’ll take what I can get. The goal for this year is to get up to averaging over 20mph. That means more of those dreaded VO2 trainer work outs and hill climbs. But, I don’t want to be 4th place, I want to podium…. So I’m going to climb those hills!
I didn’t fumble getting onto my bike! Every second counts so, I’m working on the mount where I leave my shoes clipped into the bike, run barefoot, and fasten the shoes once
I’m on the bike. Last race I fumbled so miserably – I rubberbanded the shoes in the backward position with the left foot back instead of forward so had to stop completely to get on (which defeats the whole purpose), then my pedals spun over and I missed the shoe so I rode over them, which made me stop again because I almost fell, then I didn’t get up enough speed because it was an uphill and I almost fell. Basically, I freaking sucked. But yesterday I NAILED IT! A girl at the mount line with me said “man, I’m really jealous that you can do that!” Baby steps.
I actually swam straight, instead of like a drunk driver in the water! This race was a 1k and my watch actually says that I swam 1,037 yds which is the closest I’ve ever been to the ACTUAL yardage. No drunk swimming today! I did a little warm up race on Thursday of a 1k swim/5k run and I got to the finish line and my husband said, “Dude we have to work on your sighting. Were your goggles foggy?!” Nope, no foggy goggles… maybe a foggy brain.
All in all, it was the first race that I felt strong in all 3 segments and crossed the finish line still feeling physically and mentally strong, and more importantly, happy and satisfied. I’m pretty tough on myself (probably my neurotic musical training background), but at the end of the day, I feel incredibly grateful and humbled to be able to participate in triathlons with my fellow humans.