My first Olympic distance triathlon race of the season was last weekend and, if you only looked at my numbers in the swim, bike and run, they could tell a pretty good story all on their own. But, obviously numbers alone do not determine a race and I have a ton of mixed feelings about how I did and what I want to do going forward.
Since I have dueling voices in my head regarding all of it, I decided to let you hear it directly from them. Sit back and take in the crazy…
As you may recall, my final words about this race were that I was going to “have fun” and see what happens since I felt mentally and physically underprepared for what I was about to take on. I have an excellent understanding of the mind body connection and I have zero doubt this mindset created the outcome of this race.
My insecure brain thoughts: You haven’t been in a good place with your training (skipping workouts, taking it easy due to being sick and stress levels though the roof) so just take the pressure off of yourself and have fun with this race.
My logical brain thoughts: You’re just giving yourself an excuse to fail. Why not go into the race gunning to place? You always do more than you think and you’re absolutely ready to take this on!
My insecure brain won the day.
I came out of the one mile swim 22nd out of 48.
I came out of the 25 mile bike 11th out of 48.
I finished the 6.2 mile run 8th out of 48.
Once again, I played catch up for the majority of the race since my swim is so slow. The good news is that I actually felt GOOD in the water and didn’t feel desperate to reach the last buoy like I usually do. The bad news is my swim time is much slower than where it needs to be (32:48) if I want to be in the top three.
My insecure brain thoughts: Most of these women have been swimming since they were in high school and you learned as a 34 year-old adult pregnant with twins! You need to practice so much more than you are and get into open water as much as possible!
My logical brain thoughts; You can improve your swim time if you really want to. You have the skill but need the guts to go for it in the race.
WHAT I DID RIGHT
This race is dubbed “the beast of the east” and this is why:
The bike course – 1693 feet of elevation:
The run course – hills and hills and hills (also note the uphill finish):
I absolutely nailed the bike portion and my numbers reflect my steady charge into transition. My coach was ridiculously happy with my performance on the bike and so was I. I could feel that I was in the zone and, yes I would have liked to have been faster but honestly, those hills were tough! My one true victory was never touching my brakes on one of the steepest downhill sections. For that, I was rewarded with a new top speed of 42.1 mph!
For the first time ever on a run I had to pee. See what happens when you “hydrate properly?” I was so annoyed and refused to stop and use the bathroom. Then, the weirdest thing happened – – I drank some Gatorade and the urge to pee stopped. It also could have been the heel of my right foot opening into a painful, bloody blister that distracted my bladder. Either way, I made it to the finish without having to stop.
WHAT I DID WRONG
Mistakes were definitely made, some of them not for the first time.
Swim – once again I didn’t get into the water prior to the swim start. It was cold and I just didn’t feel like it. Big mistake. By not acclimating to the water before you have to jump in and swim a mile, you lose precious time at the start acclimating, especially when the water is only about 62 degrees. My coach said this could have cost me as much as two minutes! Never again.
Bike – I didn’t eat enough and when I got on the run, I was in trouble. I’m not sure if it was the hills or the cooler temperature but I only ate one Honey Stinger Waffle on the bike (I only ever eat one!) but I needed two. Luckily I had a gel in my run bib belt so I was able to take it on the run but, it was a little late.
Run – I didn’t know the course. Hear me out before you loudly sigh and think “rookie mistake!” I mean, you’re right but hear me out. I have raced this course on numerous occasions and they usually use one course for the 5k and just double it for the 10k. I even asked my friend, who raced this exact course last year, about the double loop and she confirmed it. Wrong! She is dead to me. The run was much hiller than I expected, luckily my mental toughness on the run is finely tuned so I just dug in but it was brutal.
Weather – It was a lot colder than I expected on the bike (about 60 degrees) and my feet paid the price. I couldn’t feel them for the duration of the bike which made my transition times suffer. I was debating on putting on socks for the run (I never wear them on the bike) so I tried but I couldn’t feel my feet so I just clumsily shoved my sockless feet into my running shoes as quickly as possible.
If you have ever tried to run when you can’t feel your feet, you know how painful it is. If you haven’t, strap two bricks to your bare feet and run 6 miles.
I now have a stunning new blister on the back of my right foot.
Here are my times:
Swim: 32:48 | 2:06 pace
T1 | 2:35 (wetsuit!)
Bike: 1:28:07 | 17.5 pace
T2 | 58 seconds
Run: 48:09 | 7:47 pace
Overall: 2:53:42 and 8th out of 48 in the 40-44 age group.
The winner of my age group did the swim in 22:59, biked in 1:23:14 and ran 50:12 for an overall time of 2:40:48.
I was definitely disappointed with my placing but I really had no right to be. I executed the race I planned in my mind and didn’t go for it on the swim. After a long talk with my coach and asking for her full honesty, we decided that if I have a good plan to attack the swim in the nine weeks I have before nationals, there’s still a chance I can qualify for the world championship team. A small one but…
As I often do, I have been overthinking things to death. I’ve been asking the tough question of “what do I really want?”
I want to qualify for the triathlon world championship team but I want to travel, relax and spend time with my family this summer.
I want to train as hard as I possibly can but I want to have wine and desserts with my girlfriends on the weekends.
I want to carve out several hours a week to drive to a lake and swim train with a team but I don’t want to stop my regular freelancing jobs or this blog.
Unfortunately I cannot have it all and life is all about making choices. I found myself wondering if the first place finisher in my age group has young kids, a job and takes multiple vacations throughout the year with her family? Does she train harder than I do? Does she drink as much wine and eat as many french fries on the weekend as I do?
The answers don’t matter. All that really matters, when it comes down to it, was having the moment of running through the finisher’s chute with my boys and then riding the tea cups with them afterward while my husband had a light snack.
For once, I will try not to overcomplicate things and just be happy.
[Tweet “Rev3 #triathlon #race recap Coming From Behind…with mixed emotions #train4life”]
Do you have dueling brains when it comes to racing or anything else?
Any swim tips you have are appreciated…
Way to dig deep, Allie! REV3 races are my favorite-they treat their athletes right 🙂 I learned to put socks on in T2 last year after going sockless and ending up with huge blisters on the balls of my feet-and felt every bit of it during the last 2 miles of the 10K. OUCH! And thanks for the reminder to study the course-I’m really bad at doing that too, especially if I’ve run it in the past…
They really are great races – this was my first one and I would do another in a heartbeat!
Glad I could help with knowing your course. I don’t think I need to do it all the time but obviously that is WRONG and socks in T1 from now on for sure 🙂 My coach said the same.
When you are a super type A, perfectionist, it’s never good enough kind of gal (not that I know anything about that), it’s hard to accept nothing but your best. I can tell you congrats and how awesome you did, that you are my hero because swimming scares me, but I know that you aren’t happy with your results and inside you’re kind of mad about it. You know the drill: put it behind you, learn from it, and bring those lessons to your next race. I know you’re going to dig deep because that world championship team is so within reach. It’s like you can taste it!
I’d tell you to lick your wounds but I don’t know if you are able to get your blistered foot to your mouth (i know I couldn’t)!
How is it you know exactly what to say? I seriously could just hug you right now. Thank you for this. It’s perfectly worded for my Type A crazy and, unfortunately, I know you speak from experience.
My inflexible body certainly would not allow for getting my foot into my mouth so maybe I’ll just lick my knee 🙂
you gotta learn to pee on the bike.
LOL!!! I didn’t need to go on the bike!!…but thanks for the tip 🙂
Wow. I’m still floored by the first place females swim time. Holy shit that’s speedy. I have no advice for you other than believe in yourself. I believe in you. After all, #youraisemeup!
That’s damn good advice. Thank you 🙂
Hell yeah! I over-analyze everything to death. It’s like that scene in Tommy Boy where Chris Farley and David Spade are in the diner, and Farley takes a dinner bun and starts poking it and cuddling it and then before too long the bun ends up exploding into crumbs everywhere. That’s what I do to most good things in my life. I squeeze the living life out of them.
Which, ironically, makes us really good athletes.
Go. Start working on your swim, and then get that national championship thing. <3
This is why we can’t have nice things!! Truth! Thank you for understanding and supporting. xoxo
Way to go, Allie! You are so strong on the run portion – your run time smoked the AG winner! I know nothing about swimming and flounder around like a puggle, but like Angela said I have no doubt that you could crush it if you believed you could. It’s SO hard to silence that insecure brain and just let go in a race. Like, probably harder than all of those gut-busting workouts of training combined. Go get that world championship qualifying time because you CAN!
Thank you so, so much Laura! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your words and, most of all, your understanding when it comes to racing and the mind of an athlete. Truly – thank you!!
Well, let me start by giving you some swimming tips….. haha, just kidding… although call over hot surfer and lifeguard to rescue you when you start to feel yourself tiring out is actually not a bad one…..
I know that I am on a totally different minuscule level of what you are on, but I soooo relate to this post…. Because I want to do all the things like have the wine and fries every night and take my kids out and vacation and write and be more present at my day job etc, etc, … and then I still want to train for the Chicago Marathon and become a faster runner and get a PR and do this tri…. and becoming faster and getting a marathon PR does not go along with all the wine with your friends before your long runs…. it is stay at home and hydrate on Friday night… sigh…. and of all the things I want to do, blogging is having to take a little backseat while I write a little more elsewhere….
Anyway, you are very very badass, and yes that last picture of you running with your boys is what it is all about!!!
Thank you thank you and THANK YOU for just absolutely getting it!!! I know you so understand and you so do all.the.things and then want to do more. Although I am no doctor (I bow down to you), having this FULL life is a blessing and a curse. But yes, running to the finish with my boys is something I will always remember, not that my swim was sloth-like 🙂
And PLEASE be careful out there you crazy woman!!!
Reading this was like reading my brain after several of my races last year. Being a mom makes training a whole different bag of chips…I’ve often questioned my sanity. Logically I could never run in the Olympics. But, if I sacrificed everything (pizza, family time, sleep, ice-cream…) could I ever run a Olympic B standard time? That would literally eat up all the hours in my day. And that’s just not worth it at this point. So I race and occasionally win an age-division award. That’s cool. And eating an entire pizza is cool too. 😉 Love your boys. Love your life. Train with what you have and don’t ever discount how awesome you are. I learned running as mom later in life as well… still can’t swim though. ha!
OMG just thank you SO SO very much for this – for understanding and for getting it!! It’s so helpful to just know there are athletes like you who are questioning all the things too. I must also remember this blog is named ‘Train for LIFE’ for a reason.
Sounds like a really successful race to me! I only did one triathlon and was definitely playing catch up after the swim. But I’m sure you’re a lot faster than I was!
If there’s a chance, why not go for it? Other things can wait. You’ve put this much work in… I say, keep going!
Thank you so much Laura! I know so many things went right and I’m actually kind of looking forward to seeing what I can do in the 9 weeks I have. It will be an experiment in mind and body!!
Huge congrats! what an extraordinary finish!!! I think you summed it all up, all that matters is that finish and sharing it with your loved ones. The fact that you are a badass and capable of superhuman times is a major bonus. I’m a very slow swimmer but OK with it. The best advice I got was to just relax. So I’m happy with a swim where I stay calm 🙂
We have seasons in life and that’s just pretty much my reasoning for everything. I had a season of super fit and fast (for me), I had a season of the ironman trudge, etc etc and now I’m in the season of being mom and juggler extraordinaire.
You are a huge inspiration to going above and beyond, even with all those little voices talking smack. I know you are you’re biggest critic but seriously A you are AWESOME! Giving you a big HOO-RAHHHH from Texas!
First races of the season are tough, because you are still thinking like you did during the final race of the previous season, and still comparing comparing comparing. These are just your jumping off points to start negotiations, as Cher Horowitz would say! And the most important thing? That moment with your sons. Like the moment that Alex ran to keep up with me when I finished the half marathon last year. Those moments are everything. I know you are feeling mixed about your performance, but you will fine tune, you will have another race. You only get so many moments like that finish line.
Exactly! I’m trying to stay focused on what is really important and what I will remember most when I’m no longer racing 🙂
WOW nice work! I love running races for fun. Takes the pressure off and in most cases, the results are better than expected! GREAT WORK!
Thank you so much! It did feel good to go into it without high expectations…
Omg what a recap!! This sounds so intense but honestly? I think your results are phenomenal ! I am so impressed with you Allie and everything you do. I am so happy that you took the time to point out the entire picture. You want to live your life too! Not to say that the winner doesn’t have a lot going on but YOU certainly do–and it’s actual things that you love!
Yes – exactly that and THANK YOU so much Nellie! Your words and your friendship mean a lot 🙂 xoxoxo
Congrats Allie! I know that you have mixed feelings about the race but just looking at your numbers and the incredible progression you made during the course of the race, moving from 22nd out of the swim to 8th, that’s freaking phenomenal. And the bike section! I can’t imagine racing at that speed. And that photo of you running with your boys through the chute is everything.
But I totally get it – the want to do all the things and I’m no where near the level at which you’re competing. After the weekend at Wilder, I’m trying really hard to pay attention to what it is that I really want, and not just what I *think* I want or *expect* myself to want. It’s hard because in reality I want to do all the things but I also know that it will make me crazy in the end. But, I also know that this experience will fuel you and man, I wouldn’t want to compete against you at nationals!
YES and YES and OMG YES!! It’s all of those things and I know you totally get it. Thanks so much Christine!
Thank you for not posting a pic of your blister! If I were a triathlete, I would overthink things exactly the way you do. But that tendency to overthink serves you well in your logic that follows: which choices do you want to make, because you can’t do it all? Now the key is making your decision and letting it go, which I know is not an easy thing to do.
Swimming tips? Don’t get in the pool for thirty minutes after you eat lunch. That’s all I got.
Exactly! And you are welcome for the non pic of the blister. It wasn’t particularly epic so…
And, you know that’s an old wives tale, right? Thanks for nothing 🙂
Man, I loved hearing these dueling thoughts, especially at the end. I can relate so much! I am thinking those same thoughts a lot right now. I want to get in shape, but I hate running long distances in the summer. I want to lose 10 pounds, but I want to eat exactly the same amount as I’m eating now. I want to relax and enjoy being home with AJ, but I want to travel. I feel you!
The struggle os real!! I guess we need to find a happy medium – whatever the hell that means? Or maybe just figure out what is REALLY important and stick to it? It’s all hard…
You always have such great race recaps. And you are so right about putting everything into perspective. We are always so hard on ourselves and we should be praising ourselves for everything that we do, and we do A LOT. There is no shame in wanting to enjoy more wine and desserts and time with the kiddos!! You are a kick ass triathlete despite not getting the times you had hoped for. And 40mph on the bike?! Holy hell that is fast, I would have been totally freaked out. And btw, you kicked ass on that run, you beat the winners run time! You are really an inspiration!!
Such a grueling effort. Wish I could come close to those numbers, that is outstanding.
Thanks for the encouragement. I’ll keep at it.
Great pics also, thanks.