Wednesday, April 2, 2014

From Last to First...Big Easy Sprint Race Report

I toyed with doing the olympic distance but with the GCI relay coming up and NOLA 70.3 right after that I decided a sprint would be fun.  It is after all my favorite distance.  I decided to drive over the morning of the race which meant I left my house at 3:30 AM.  At 5:00 AM I decided driving two and a half hours for a race just over and hour long is too far to drive even when there is no traffic and you can set cruise control to probably a little too much over the speed limit.

The day before I had gone through my packing list 3-4 times.  I had everything I needed for the race, except for cold weather gear.  I finally realized I could put on my wetsuit and stay warm.  It helped but the sleeves are a little thin and the wind broke right through them.  I double swim capped it and was ready to go.  It was a time trial start and women 40+ were last.  I decided it didn't matter if I was first in my wave or last, I had to swim through people.  So, just like I like to do, I was the rotten egg....last one in. I didn't get to cannonball it like I did at IMLOU, just cross the mat and down the stairs.  I think I added 20 seconds on to my time waiting for the people in front of me to go down the stairs after they crossed the mat.  Lesson learned and in the end it didn't matter.

IM Lou.  I was no where close to landing on that dude.
I was worried about swimming in cold water, swimming in open water, and wearing a wetsuit.  I decided to take it very easy at first.  I just cruised.  I didn't have a panic attack (I don't think I blogged about my overwhelming panic attack at Lavaman 2013...lets just say it wasn't pretty and left me very frustrated because I'm a good swimmer and usually very comfortable in the water and will be worried about panic attacks during the swim for some time now).  My breathing wasn't affected by the cold and I didn't feel constricted in my chest from the wetsuit.  I thought I sucked at open water swimming when I did it a couple times a week.  I suck even more when I haven't really done it in about a year.   I've heard of people losing rings when swimming and I never understood how that was possible.  But now I know.  I spent the second half of the swim swimming with my right hand in a fist not wanting my ring to fall off.  I swam all over the course and passed a lot of people.  I got hung up in the congestion getting out of the water.  My swim was miserably slow.

The bike is looking very clean. And warm with gloves on.
My T1 was also miserably slow (almost 4 minutes I think).  I fell over getting my wetsuit off.  I had to sit down to put socks on (something I wouldn't normally do but because of the cold I did..and I'm glad).  I had to take one sock off and put it back on because it was on very crooked.  I stumbled with my helmet and shoes because of hands that were cold.  I decided to leave one of my swim caps on for the bike and that was the best decision of the race.

On the bike I was a bit slow to get going.  I had gloves to put on, also a great decision, but I probably should have put them on in transition.  Before the swim I stuffed a plastic grocery bag down my top and that helped a lot too.  Except I forgot to zip up my top so the bag was flapping in the wind and my cleavage was catching a lot of air.  Not to mention the swim cap let my helmet slide around a lot and my race braids were flapping in the wind too.  I was anything but aero.  But my bike was fast.  The actual bike, not my bike split.  It was fun passing people like they were standing still.  I realize the sprint was a small race and mostly a beginner crowd, but I was going to push it as much as I could and that means flying by people on road bikes.  And that's fun.

I've been having some back pain lately and it had been getting worse.  I kept telling myself 12 miles on the bike would be fine.  That lasted 4 miles.  I was in pain.  My left side was seizing and spasming with every pedal stroke.  I ended up hitting about 30 watts lower than I should have ridden.  The good thing is that I realized how jacked up my back was and decided I needed to fix the problem.  More on that later.

T2 wasn't much better.  I had to sit down to put my shoes on because of my back.  I had to walk slowly out of transition because of my back.  I had to start the run very easy because of my back.  At least my achilles wasn't bothering me (that problem has finally been fixed..more on that later).

The run was an out and back shaped like a candy cane.  On the way out I didn't see any other women (the olympic distance racers wouldn't be on the course yet, so the only women I'd see were pros and sprint racers).  On the way back I passed two women heading out, I was at least a half mile in front of them.  I picked it up some at that point, but then settled back into a pretty easy for a 5K pace.  I finished and was told I was the first female age grouper across the line.  That means I went from last person in, to first person done and that meant a win.  This was my goal for the race.

I didn't mean to leave the gloves on but I think it makes me look cool.
But then I looked at the results and it showed someone beat me (#1174...which was racked right next to me...and her name was Adam?).  And just like I did at the Cougars Running Wild race, I had to investigate to make sure I got what was rightfully mine.  And I felt just as silly as I did at the Cougars Gone Wild race because it was such a small and low key race that nobody really cared about except probably me.  I eventually went to get my bike out of transition and I met Adam.

He said "I wondered why I got a purple swim cap"
At the awards I let the announcer know that Adam was in fact a male and they gave me the win.  There were no overall awards for the sprint race, but I still know I won overall ;-).  It wasn't a great race for me, but it's a start and a learning experience after not really racing for almost two years.  I qualified for USAT AG Nationals, which was another goal of mine. I have three more sprint races in the next five weeks (one is called Mullet Man Triathlon...I love the race names down here!) and then an olympic distance mid may followed by a super sprint Memorial Day weekend.  This year I really am going to race myself back into shape.


  1. I hope the QL is coming around. ITs so hard to ride in the cold, i hear ya:) and then your feet are numb for the run. SO much easier when its sunny and 70 or 80 or 90 :)
    Good job i hope you are doing great now!

  2. Great Job Maggs! It'll warm up sooner or later! :-)