Saturday, August 18, 2012

Race Report for USAT Nationals

Nicole Lund

USA Triathlon 2012 National Championship

Total Time: 2:40:45

Swim-34:00.1 TRAN1-2:48

Bike-1:12:32.9            TRAN2-1:41

Run-49:43.2    Penalty: None

Div Place-84

 I know that I'm missing a few race reports and general posts here but this one is ready to go so I'm posting it now :) ....I can catch up, I'm sure I can.

Once we got to Burlington and checked into the hotel I put my disassembled bike together.  It went together really fast, faster than I expected. There were no glitches or anything, it was easy and everything was safe and sound. Loaded it in  the car and headed to packet pick up and the pre-race meeting.  Loved the race swag...running hat, race belt, nice shirt...

 It was worth attending the pre-race meeting for the comedy factor alone. The head referee gave us some great advice on how to effectively chick someone without giving them a chance to re-pass you, earning either of you a drafting penalty. He made sure to inform us that we could mount at mile one if we chose, as long as we were past the mounting line.

After the pre-race meeting, I went out to the parking lot and test rode my bike. It worked like a dream. I thought I'd practice getting in and out of my shoes while there still clipped to the bike, but wasn't very successful so I decided to forget that idea.

We made a quick trip to the store and then headed to transition to drop off my bike. Dropping of my bike in transition went pretty smoothly, there weren't many people there at that point. I kinda hung out for a bit.  I was happy with my spot on the rack...only eight people in from the end of the aisle so my bike was easy to find. As long as I’m mentioning good luck I should say that my number was 797 which is both a palindrome and a prime number. ;)

With my bike safely in transition we decided to go buy some toe nail clippers and water and then head back to the hotel to put on the helmet stickers, and number tattoos and to layout my race kit.

My legs have been kind of sore lately and I was a little bit worried about it, but David was soooo wonderful and gave me an hour long massage to get all the kinks out of my hamstrings, glutes, IT bands, and planter fascia. I set my wake up call for 5:00 am and went to sleep.

Got up the next morning (at 2:00am Spokane time) and arrived at transition just before 6:00 am Vermont time.  I laid out all my stuff. Then checked it, and then checked it again, and again and then I walked away and came back and checked it some more.  I may have arrived a bit too early this time.  J I did get to chat with some of the other 38 year olds though, Most were from the North East.

It was finally late enough that I could put my wetsuit on...only 45 minutes to go. I walked over to watch the 1st wave go off so I'd know what to do. Then I walked back to find the rest of the people with my color of caps. I took a peanut butter gel, which is a new flavor for me and I wasn't sure about it but I did it anyway.  I know, I know nothing new on race day… J

I had already looked at the swim course because it was a really odd pattern. What I didn't notice when I was looking at the race course was how high the waves were.

As my group started moving through the boathouse toward the water, there was a pang of nervousness. It was very windy and I was a little bit cold but the thought that was running through my head was: "at least it's not Boise."  It was a deep water start, so we had to jump off the dock and had five minutes to warm up. I looked at the water and thought...I don't know about this, I thought it was going to be really cold. So I went off to the side and dipped my feet in to see what it was like and I was pleasantly surprised that it was pretty warm and it smelled good and I jumped in and I actually was looking forward to swimming in it.  I did a little bit of warm up swimming and tried to remember everything Coach Scott had tried to teach me.  It seemed like just seconds before it was time for us to move over to the start of the swim area. Before I knew it, we were headed to the first buoy. It didn't seem too bad at first, although some of those women were pretty vicious. Then I hit the big waves. I was starting to get sea sick but I just kept swimming...what else could I do?  I got kicked in the goggles just after the first turn and had to fix them. Once my goggles were fixed I just focused on the next buoy and swam towards it. It was kind of fun, a little like body surfing. After the 2nd turn, I started to have problems because I couldn't see where I was going with the sun in my eyes. I swam pretty far off course and this, combined with the really choppy water was making me quite discouraged. But I made it to the next turn and put the buoy on the correct side of my body and made it around. I had one more turn before it became easy again and I was inside the jetty with no currents pulling me off course. Then up the ramp, smile for David's picture and into T1.

I racked my bike, put on my shoes, grabbed my helmet, did up the chin strap and adjusted it and luckily noticed that my earring flipped out of my ear while I was doing that. Rather than put it back in, I stuck it in my extra pair of socks and headed out on the course. 

I passed a lot of people right at the beginning and realized at the top of the first hill that my heart rate might have been a little bit high because I felt like I was going to throw up. I made an effort to ease back a little bit and took in some nutrition via my water bottle and I felt a lot better. The course was rolling hills and I continued to pass quite a few people, I didn't see a lot of women in my age group though. 

I was passed twice by women who were age 50-54 and after dropping back 3 bike lengths I passed them again on the next hill. I saw those two women near T2, we came into transition about the same time.

T2 was smooth and easy, shoes and hat was all I needed so I was off running.  I wore my pure flows that are almost worn out and didn't feel any pain in my legs so I was really glad (thank you David). While I was out there I was thinking this was my big race of the season, so no easy running. I tried to stay near my threshold the whole time. This was pretty easy near the beginning since we started out with a hundred yard hill.  The rest of the course was fairly flat and on beautiful paved trails. The last mile was quite downhill and while I was sad to be passed by two girls in my age group I felt like I raced it out as hard as I could have.

I ran into the finish chute thinking "Oh no, it's almost over." At the same time, I was hurting and was glad I'd be able to stop soon. Once across, I collected my medal and water and went to find David.

The post race food was delicious (and better yet had gluten and dairy-free options). It was easy and quick to get my results. And while 84th in my age group would generally not be all that great, 84th out of the best in the country in my age group isn't too bad.  My bike split was 1:12:32 which is about 20.6 mph and my run pace was an 8:01 min mile avg.  I’m happy with those splits. 

I loved the experience of racing at nationals.  It was amazing to be out there with so many strong, fast people.  The race was well organized and went off smoothly from my vantage point as an athlete.  I’m not sure where nationals will be next year (they said at the USAT annual meeting that there are 7 cities in the running to host) but I would recommend it to anyone who qualifies and is not certain if they want to go.