Sunday, April 20, 2008

Collegiate Nationals Race Report

Jeannine and I are at the airport right now waiting to board the flight (Mina flew home yesterday evening) so I have a little time to write about the race.
It was a great race as I did what coach and I planned and learned a lot. I'm glad I've been racing so much before Vancouver so as not to make past mistakes at an A race.
There were quite a few solid girls competing. The top 5 were who I had predicted as contenders. It was a HUGE bummer for me not to be in the first wave- looking at the results only me and another girl were not in the first wave (the other girl was actually in the second women's wave, me the fourth) out of the top 25.
I feel like I've finall discovered the essence of my open water swimming problem. There were 3-4 good swimmers in my wave and, as usual, I hung on for about 100-200m but then I lose them and here's my take on why: anyobody can technically sprint ay 25m with any other swimmer no matter their level, but after that obviously the poor swimmer's sprinting fades, and the good swimmers continue on. That's my problem. I can hang on for the initial sprint but as soon as I breathe and start to settle in my swim happens haha and they take off. So the plan is to work with coach on technique for a couple of months and on holding my sprint for longer until THEY settle in, not me. Also, I find that I am very inexperienced at sighting/drafting in murky lake water vs. clear swims like in Kona. So the swim was a total failure for me as I swam about 90% of it alone, no draft. There was NO option to wait for the second pack as they were very very slow swimmers and that would have made my already terrible swim time even worse (I did a 26min 1500!!!!!!!!!). Yea that was more than crappy.
The bike however was great, it was a draft fest, and other than probably the top girls, whom I never saw as they went off 25min ahead of my wave, and about 50% of the guys, all the other people were the typical racers that go as hard as they can and even harder when you pass them etc so they are excellent to use for drafting as they will pull you without any idea of what they're doing :)
I had guys pulling me the whole bike leg(again, 3 bike lengths, but still a great draft, and more so mentally as you follow the guy's rythm, deviate the bumps he does, drink when he does, etc no thinking needed). In watts I did go above race pace, but my HR was in training pace the whole time and the effort was ridiculously easy.
Onto the legs felt great. It was a bit of a beating that my transistion area, along with all the others in the last few waves/bib#s was higher up a little incline in grass. But the bike got racked and off to the run I felt great. I ran as hard as I could the whole thing and given no taper and the 4-5 pretty steep hills on the run course I was pleased with my split. The first mile which was FLAT I hit in 6:18 so in my mind I had sub40 until I realized the hills that we didn't discover when previewing the course the day before ;)
So, all in all a great race as the bike was perfectly executed- as easy as I can as fast as I can, and the run I pushed hard the whole way and hung equally strong to the finish.
Came in 21st female. lost 5min to the average top 10 swim times, had a decent run compared to the other girls. A few ran sub40 which is incredible on this course. But as coach reminded me, we have yet to do more speed as I'm just starting the season and these are all training races until Vancouver. My bike was right there in top 10 times. So if I could have the swim I know I'm capable of that would have been top 10 and with the increased speed on the run we're heading towards, I'm right there :)
Now it's back to work and that will become even easier in 3 weeks when it's officially summer!!!!
I was very happy to see such great competition at the collegiate level it says a lot about the growth of our sport.