We kicked off our 2016 Tri Adventures with the Kinetic Sprint race in Lake Anna, VA. Irma and I had one of those stressful weeks where everything seemed to be piling up. Still, I was feeling really good after having a nice wetsuit swim the Friday prior. Given that I am still in the middle of a training build for this coming weekend’s 70.3 in Knoxville, I was highly tempted to go easy on Saturday’s bike workout and perhaps keep some freshness for the race but I always trust Coach Greg advice to keep my eyes on the “bigger prize” and resolved to put a little more juice to the bike workout on Saturday. As soon as I woke up on Sunday for the race I could feel that my legs were definitely heavy but I was really happy and relaxed to get the season started. Best of all, I was ready to have fun and put a good effort.
The weather was cold (50°F) and windy. With two full seasons under my belt, this was my first time experiencing winter in May while racing! By the time I walked to the swim start, the sun was out and I decided I wasn’t going to wear either arm warmers or toe covers and just risk it. As the swim was about to start the wind picked up even more and I figured it would be a good opportunity to make the most out of my swim and go harder than my original plan. I took out the swim with a very strong sprint and could see a group forming right behind me so I then made another push after the first buoy and finally made some separation. Coming out of the water I felt great and was pleasantly surprised at how low my heart was pounding compared to how it felt in most races last year and for the first time I felt I was actually sprinting towards T1. As I was removing my cap and goggles while entering T1 I dropped the goggles and I decided to go back and pick them up because 1) Didn’t want to leave my brand new goggles behind over a couple of seconds and 2) Didn’t want to risk a littering penalty. The lesson learned here was to keep goggles and cap on the head and wait to remove them until making it to the transition spot.
Coming out of T1 I started to feel my left hamstring twitching right away and I couldn’t tell if it was due to Saturday’s bike workout or the cold or both but regardless I decided to take it easier than planned. The unintended consequence there was that the second swimmer out of T1 immediately caught up and I could see he got some confidence after passing me before exiting the park. The bike was mostly uneventful except for the fact that this other athlete and I kept trading places and in a way it seemed that we were working off each other fairly well. In my mind I knew it was not going to be a good idea if I wanted to go for the win and in my heart I wanted to make a move with 10 mins left but I decided instead to keep it steady.
Maybe it was that easier bike effort or just the increased running fitness I’ve worked on this offseason but I was not expecting the kind of running legs I felt out of T2. I actually came out of T2 ahead of the other athlete and he immediately caught me within 30 seconds. Unlike other times when I hesitate to keep up with a passing runner, this time I went after him right away and the legs responded – that was a very joyous moment and it made me think about all of those hill repeats training days I’ve put in this fall. He then made another move by the end of the first mile and I decided to let him go and just stay at a more comfortable pace. Who knows if I would’ve been able to stay with the other athlete through the entire running leg but I did think about the 70.3 race coming up and feared digging myself a big hole over running two more miles to exhaustion. In the end, I do feel it was the right decision.
I am ecstatic with how this race panned out. It was an awesome start to the season and I felt surprised at how ready I felt to race despite the accumulated mental and physical fatigue. Our neighbor Aya also joined us in our adventure as she herself is coming back to doing triathlons after not having raced in a while. Irma and I keep uplifting the message of “girl power” to Isa and we liked that she was able to see Aya race and beat a bunch of the boys – #girlpower.
We are very much looking forward to the race this coming weekend. I think the trip will be a good way to relax and get away with our Knoxville family and decompress a little. I am learning to appreciate each day and remain positive which has been really great. I can recall last year feeling so frustrated after training hard and expecting big results and this year my outlook has changed dramatically. I am savoring each training session and having something to look up to every day but also understand that things/life will always happen and we just need to accommodate to the moment and make the best out of it.