70.3 Santa Rosa race recap.
I believe Santa Rosa was one of my better performances--despite the swim. Here is the breakdown.
I swam 27:48. Quite a slow swim for me. I started off well but was unable to make the selection in the first or second groups. I think this had more to do with who showed up. The first group swam 23:30 and the second group swam 25:40 or so. Both of which would have been a PR swim for me.
I had a strong start and was with them at first but couldn’t quite hang on at 350 meters or so. This was rather frustrating as I saw them slowly move away. I unfortunately then had to swim the rest on my own. This is what made it a bit slower than my traditional 26 something swim. Despite, it being slow, I believe I paced it right and didn’t over exert myself. I didn’t dwell on the slow swim for the race though and moved right onto the bike.
In relation to my swim training, I believe I have been doing everything right. My Coach, Eric Kenney, has helped me shift focus from trying to get really fit in the pool to focusing on getting better technique. As many of you know, I used to expend a huge amount of energy swimming. I have been becoming more efficient and I am proud of this. The swim is a progression and I know that to get better I must start with establishing good technique. I am willing to put this work in and then build the fitness from there, Recently, I have only been swimming with good form. Once it falls off, I slow down, do some drills, go at it again, or call it a day if I can’t “find” the form again. I also would like to mention, that Amy Webb has been helping me with my stroke. She and Eric have been “’working together” to help me. This combined with the help and support of Eney Jones will lead to me eventually being a front pack swimmer. It will take time, but it will happen
Since I came out of the swim alone. I decided to surge to catch a group. This worked well has there was a large descent—of which I believe I did faster than a group—and then some rolling hills. After this descent, I put in a surge at over 400 watts for about 8 minutes. This was hard but lead to me getting on the back of a group.
From here, I sat at the back and recovered from the effort. The effort had caused my back and hips to become seized up and I had to find a way to loosen them. I had a hard time doing this and was in discomfort but also knew I was riding at a manageable and sustainable level.
The pain slowly subsided. The pace was solid and we were a group of 4. As time progressed, two of the guys feel off and I was following one other guy. At mile 45, he started slowing down. I thus took the lead and to my amazement, he didn’t stay on my wheel. I rode the rest alone.
I believed I had an excellent ride in terms of execution. Riding in a group saves significant energy and although it was costly for me, I believe it set me up better in the end. I had prepared in training to make a surge like this and thus had the mental and physical strength to do it. As a pro, the ride can be more like a cycling race, with surges and times when you are riding easier than expected. The body had to be prepared for this. The other option would have been to hold my power steady throughout. I think I would have ridden slightly slower and as a whole, the ride actually would have been harder in terms of average power. The bike is a weapon for me. Once, my swim comes along, I will be able to use it to its full extent. I am only getting stronger on the bike. I have noticed my endurance and top end speed improving dramatically. I am excited for where it will go.
I came into the run alone, unsure of what place I was in. regardless, I knew I had paced the bike in a smart way and was determined to have a good run. I started off relaxed and realized my legs were good to go. I started off at what felt like a relaxed pace (I wore a simple Timex stopwatch at opposed to a GPS device, I wanted to keep it simple). I took a quick pee at mile 1 or so and then continued. There was no one around me and it was calm and serene. The run was on dirt at times following a shady trail. I was in a Zen mode, felt calm, and was just me.
I had a steady and consistent run. I was focused on running with good form and making it quick not hard. I passed two other pros during the run and had little idea what place I was in for the run. I didn’t know I was 10th till I crossed the finish line. Honestly, it didn’t matter to me this time. I was running for myself and I was determined to have my best run yet. I did, with close to a minute PR. It felt so good to finish strong! I have always fallen apart at the end of the race but this time, my fastest running came in the last two miles.
The run has been becoming a point of pride for me. People have been thinking of me as a strong cyclist and not a strong runner. I want to prove those people wrong. But I also want to prove to myself that I can run. I have always believed that I can be a great runner. Things are slowly starting to come together. My training is consistent and has all the elements such as easy days, a speed day, and generally two long runs a week. My running has been held back in the past by a lack of consistency.I have finally found that consistency thanks to Eric Kenney. I also have been paying a great deal of attention to technique. Thanks, to Lawrence Van Lingen (Look him up if you don’t know who he is) I have been starting to get the feel for what running should be. Running is meant to be natural and I had been fighting it for too long. I am only just starting to connect the dots of what the running biomechanics should look like. I have been loving my running recently. It has been my space to figure things out.
In four weeks, I will race Ironman Boulder. I am stoked to do this race again. It was my first Ironman and I remember watching the pros race and wishing I could be them. Now I am. Goes to show how far one can come in less than four years. It’s also my home race and a transformative process. That first Boulder Ironman in 2014, changed the course of my life. It’s what got me to commit to triathlon. Going into that race was a time of change.
I am in a similar time of change, negotiating what my life will look like after college, how I am going to make triathlon financially possible, and the people I want to spend time with. My training is moving back to something that centers me--I am not as fixated on results. I care about the process. Every ride, run, and swim, are meant for me to learn a little more about myself. These activities have moved back to an expression of who I am. Triathlon has helped me embrace this change.
I plan on devoting myself to the sport. I want to improve every aspect of it and by doing so improve who I am. I am hungrier than ever. I want to see just what I can do. I want it now, but, it takes time. Triathlon has taught me--or is teaching me patience. I can’t make the first swim group today or tomorrow. But with solid and consistent effort I can. This patience and the climbing the ladder--The Progression--is something I am learning. Everything good in life takes time to get there. Enjoy the process of it.