Monday, April 14, 2014

OSU Beaver Freezer Sprint Triathlon - Race Recap




Where to begin...where to begin....

I guess we'll start that Friday evening before the race - calm night at home, spending my last few hours getting everything prepped, feeling confident and excited for my first tri of the season. P tells me that he needs to go out and pick up my last birthday present as I'll need it for the race tomorrow. Um, ok, dude...see you in a few! I continue to pack......where's my Glide?! Where the heck is my Glide?!! Not.a.clue. Guess I'll be racing without it - crap.

Take a break from packing and begin to stretch out when P comes home with my "birthday surprise"....is it some weird sticker for my bike? A new helmet that screams "Newbie!"? A new tri suit that I've never tried on?!!! All these scenarios running through my head and I'll admit, I was pretty nervous about what this item could possibly be. P is the very best sherpa around but when it comes to racing, I am kind of picky about what I wear/use etc. Will he get his feelings hurt if I don't use this "thing"?

To my pleasant surprise it wasn't a race item at all, rather my bestie who flew in to spend my birthday weekend with me!!!!! Could there be a better birthday present?! Needless to say, I finished packing up and we pretty much spent the rest of the night chatting about any and everything. It's almost tradition that the first night we spend together is spent talking till the wee hours of the morning - race or not, I wouldn't have it any other way. Should I have gone to bed at 10 as planned? Sure....but who really gets a good night's sleep the evening before race day anyway?

Race morning - as the course was being held on the OSU (Oregon State University) campus, we were looking at an hour and a half drive away. Not too bad - and given the fact that start times were based on your swim heats (10) I was scheduled to be in the pool at 10:30am and wasn't required to check into transition until 10am at the very latest. This gave us plenty of time to wake up and eat some breakfast (my usual coffee and peanut butter toast). P decided to stay home and let Lauren be my sherpa this time around. Couldn't have asked for anyone better - she is the original sherpa, having escorted me to my very first tri two years ago - she is a Pro. :)  The temps were on the chilly side but we had a beautiful drive through the Oregon valley, praying that the rain would stay away for at least the next three hours.

Make it to the race sight....cue, "What-can-go-wrong-goes-wrong".

Right off the bat I notice that I had forgotten all of my water bottles (snafu #1) - none in my bike cages nor any in my tri bag - good Lordy! Oh well, here's hoping they have something available for purchase at one of the vendor tents. Aaaaand that's a negative (really, OSU?). Knowing that this was just a sprint and not nearly long enough to be too concerned with hydration, Lauren went to a local vending machine and at least snatched up a bottled water which I promptly crumbled up a Nuun tab into.

Registration - Check!
Water - kinda, Check!
Body marking - Check!
Transition set up - Check!

Not sure I took one "serious" picture all day
With transition set up done, we had nothing left to do but go find the pool that I was scheduled in (2 being used - 1 for the women's heats and one for the men). BTW - the OSU campus is really pretty but the route from transition to my pool was totally creepy. Up narrow stairs, through old, dank, and dark locker rooms.....boy was I happy to find out that this was only their practice pool. The pool where they actually hold all their NCAA meets was breath taking. Got a chance to sneak a peek when I used the locker rooms to shower off later. Whew - you had me worried PAC-12!

Made it to the pool and met a fellow Swim Bike Mom, Meg, while waiting for our heat to start. Her first tri in over 4 years and holy moly was she impressive! 

So theory had it that I was in heat 9 - online schedule confirmed it as well as the listing they had posted up on the wall. I get into the water just in time for a decent 5 minute warm up and the timers tell me to get out, that I'm in heat 10! What the what?!! No dudes, heat 9. We walk over to take a look at the posted times and whaddaya know...they have me listed in two different heats, both 9 and 10! - oh brother (snafu #2). Because our start times are based on the heat you're assigned to, we had no idea what my results were going to reflect as no one could confirm what heat I was officially assigned to. 

I see how this day is going to go. 

Nevertheless I decided to swim in heat 10 (4th spot) and just get over it. First race of the year and I have already been thrown off track a little so let's just have fun. Fix settings on my new Garmin and get ready to blast out my 500 yard swim. 

*GO*

During warm ups - Check out the stroke!! I was pleased. :)
Knowing that I could pretty much sprint this 500 I didn't worry about pacing at all and in turn found myself knocking the feet of the gal in front of me within 100 yards. Rules in a pool swim is that you are supposed to stop at the wall and let the person in front pass....did she? No....200 more yards in and the girl STILL wouldn't let me pass. MOVE OVER!! By now my pace was definitely slower than the norm but I was still just trying to go with the flow. 250 yards in and she FINALLY stops at the wall. Hallelujah!! Not that she had much choice...I timed it so that I would be heading into my flip turn at the same time she was. Sorry, Charlie - that might make me a rude lane buddy but this is a friggin' race and I've been sitting behind you patiently waiting!

One gal lapped and I was immediately on top of the next one. Why the heck did they put me in the fourth spot anyway? These girls must have really over estimated their times. Thankfully girl #2 was kind enough to stop at the wall about 350 yards in to let me pass. Now I could really book it - about 400 yards too late but just trying to focus on sprinting to the end. 500 yards done and I lapped my Garmin at 7:20!! Wohoo! 

Out of the pool and run down to transition - the timing mat was about 10 yards outside of the building so my official swim time reflected 7:42 (blech). Barefoot down to transition (which seemed liked forever away) and on to my bike. No gels or water at this point but the weather was still pretty chilly so dehydration wasn't something to be concerned with.

Official Swim Time to Mat: 7:42
Actual 500 yard time: 7:20:15

Haha - too fast for Lauren to snap a shot! See that tub though? Smart idea for potential rainy races - need to remember that for Boise.


T1 Time: 3:18

Out of T1 and onto the road. B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L course through the countryside of Corvallis. A few fake flats to deal with but I was sprinting along, warming up my legs and ready to feel the burn. There were quite a few turns as well with which didn't allow for me to be in aero for too long but volunteers did a wonderful job of directing traffic and keeping the riders safe. Mile 8 rolls along, I get comfortably into aero and my mind starts to wander a bit.....cue loose gravel....cue Rebecca laid out on the road. (snafu #3). Seriously.....my first real bike accident and of course it happens during a race. I can't say exactly what the issue was other than my mind not being as focused as it could have been and not having spent enough practice time in aero. Boo....thankfully I fell pretty flat onto my right side. Banged up the outside of my hip and right forearm but no broken bones. "Are you ok?!" - "Do you need help?!" - thank you sweet fellow racers but no, this ding dong is fine. If I can walk I can finish. Picked myself up off the road, fixed my bent handle/aerobars, brakes and chain, then saddled up to finish the remaining 4 miles. 

I get to the last turn around at mile 9 and at this point I knew I had injured something pretty bad. My forearm was on fire and I couldn't put any pressure on it. Poop. Make it back to T2 in time to see Lauren cheering me on. "Holy crap I think I really hurt myself!", I say. "Still going to finish though!" Took a few swigs of my water, grabbed a warm long sleeve shirt and my running shoes (which was quite possibly the most painful thing I could have done at that moment.) and headed out for 3.1 miles of foot to pavement. Right arm at 90 degrees, where for some reason it hurt the least, and I was good to go.

Office Bike Time: 43:08
Take 4/5 minutes off for the crash and I would have probably been at 38/39 - av 18.9 mph? I'll take it!




T2 time: 3:57 (not bad for being in terrible pain!)

Off on the run - three loops around the OSU campus and I would be done! The legs in general felt fine coming off the bike. The outside of my hip where I had fallen was tender at this point and my arm was on fire but Beastmode kicked in as usual and the adrenaline completely blocked out the pain. My body wanted to stop and walk for a bit but my head screamed a few profanities in it's direction and made it run the 3 miles. It was a fun run, truly it was. So many smiles from people participating in their first triathlon - it gave me a great opportunity to throw out some words of encouragement which in turn gave me even more momentum. Loop 1 done, loop 2 done and loop 3, from what I had thought, done.

Official Run Time: 20:07
Ummmm........yeah. No way I ran a 5k in 20 minutes - that would put me at an average 6:29 mm?!! No way...something must have happened to my timing chip or I must have cheated the run course at some point. What about my Garmin? Perhaps that logged the right time?! Another no....I completely forgot to hit my laps after the swim so I only had an overall time recorded. (snafu #4 & #5)

Done and DONE! Whew - had my shoulder checked out while waiting around for fellow SBM, Meg to finish and was happy to know that my collar bone was good and shoulder intact. 

Official Total Time: 1:18:14 

Probably more like 1:28 if you add another 10 minutes to my run time. If that is the case this wasis still a PR for me by at least 2 minutes!!


(L to R) Me, Meg and Meg's speedy friend - I think she podiumed for her age group!


See...still goofing around at the finish.


Race done, a nasty hip bruise and arm sprain later, Lauren and I decided to hang out on campus for a bit, get cleaned up, wait around for the age group awards and grab some lunch. A giant plate of Panda Express never sounded better. But first we had to take a pic with the famous OSU Beaver. :)





Overall it was a very interesting experience. Other than my very first tri, this was the only other race that I had not been able to check out the course ahead of time. I definitely felt like this was to my disadvantage, but what can ya do?!

Lessons learned?

SWIM:

Nothing too much to improve on other than perhaps over estimating swim times in my next pool race so that I can potentially be put in the front and not have to worry about passing etc.

BIKE:

Need to keep my head in the game, always. Also need to make sure that I get off the trainer and out for many, many rides before Boise so that control while in aero is no longer an issue.

RUN:

Pay closer attention to the course! Especially if it's a multi-loop run. I am pretty sure I missed the last loop on this run but was too distracted by my bike crash and cheering along all the first timers.

Despite the many snafus, overall I really enjoyed the Beaver Freezer and plan on doing it again next year. Being able to get out so early in the season really helps to justify all the training one does while cooped up over the winter. The environment is a very relaxed one and having 10 different start times really makes for a jumble-free transition area. Great course for first timers as there is a lot of support.

So what about the arm? After going to urgent care the following day, I was diagnosed with a right elbow/wrist sprain. Thankfully NO broken bones or anything too serious. For now I am out of the water for a few weeks, with the arm in a sling, until everything heals. The good news is that after taking almost a full week off from training my pesky hip feels great! Lol.

 If it's not one thing it's another, right?!  :)


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