lake meridian olympic triathlon
Despite being two weeks out from Ironman Coeur d'Alene, and with the disaster that was the Ellensburg Olympic triathlon ... I felt like I needed another Olympic distance race under my belt. With how I performed, and my results in Ellensburg, I was extremely worried about Ironman. My confidence after that race was so low. I needed to know if Ellensburg was a fluke. So on a whim, and not in the training plan, I signed up for Lake Meridian. Thankfully, I was able to put to rest Ellensburg, and prove to myself that I am ready for Ironman. Coming out of the Lake Meridian triathlon ... my confidence, and determination, couldn't be any higher, and I'm glad I decided to race! Getting this high two weeks before Ironman is exactly what I needed!
I had the most run in a race in a long time. I had a smile on my first the entire time, singing to myself, laughing, and just having fun. I need to do that more often!
Let's get into this awesome race!
Female overall: 33rd
Age group: 6th (one shy from a podium, bummer!)
The race was sold out, and awesome! A nice big women's field, I think about 80 athletes (plus or minus a few). So great to see a big turn out.
Once again, another great showing of where my strengths are 🙂! About middle of the field for the swim and run, and still getting to the top of the pack on the bike!
This was single handily the best swim race I've done to date. Showed incredible improvement in the water, and it showed in my swim pace and placing. My swim pace was 1:49/100yd, versus a 2:20/100yd in Ellensburg, another 2:20/100yd at my 2.4 mile swim race, a 2:12/100yd at my 1.5 mile swim race, and finally a 2:32/100yd at Lake Wilderness. That alone, is a tremendous achievement. Also, I've always been last or second to last out of the water, so to see that I got 38th out of 80 or so competitors, is SO awesome!
For some reason, at this race, something just clicked with my open water swim. Everything finally came together. I was able to keep my head in the water, and swimming exactly like I do in the pool. In every open water swim coming into the weekend, I always had to left my head out of the water the entire time. I'm not sure what changed for this triathlon, but I'll take it, and I know it's most of the reason for my great swim pace.
My spotting was a lot better ... well ... it would have been better if my goggles wouldn't fog up so bad I can't see the buoys 😡. Despite that little issue, and keeping my head in the water, I was able to swim a good straight line from buoy to buoy. Only times I stopped swimming was when I needed to wipe the fog in my goggles away so I could see. Other then that, it was head down, and just keep swimming!
Also learned an important lesson in open water swim races. Other swimmers don't give a shit about you. I was swam over a number of times from lagging male swimmers from the mens wave. It's very inconsiderate, rude, and incredibly unsafe! I mean you can tell if you are coming up on a person pretty fast, and it's very obvious, very quickly! To just continue to swim on top of someone, should deserve a DQ, but that's impossible. So a nice friendly jab to the mid section, is a nice wake up call for them. SO rude, and dangerous ... idiots.
No issues feeling dehydrated, or any signs of getting thirsty on the swim like I did in the 2.4 mile swim race. Didn't do anything different pre-race to help combat it. Only difference was race day temperatures were much cooler and cloudier then at the 2.4 mile swim race. I'm sure that probably played some role.
Other then that, it was a great swim, and happy to see all the extra swim work in training is starting to pay off.
Getting from the water to the transition area was a long stretch, taking up valuable time, but on the flip time it allowed my heart rate to recover easier, and it was much more relaxing. Good amount of time to get out of my wetsuit while getting from point A to point B.
No issues locating my bike. Purposefully put my bike on a rack next to a bunch of orange cones... Can't miss that, haha!
Still had a little issue getting my leg with the ankle timing chip out of the wetsuit. Not really sure what to do in that situation, but I eventually got the thing over the timing ankle thing, and off it went.
The new cycling shoes I got, the Specialized Trivent SC, help tremendous. Much easier, and more quick to put on, don't have to deal with spinning fasteners, and everything. Just slide my feet in, pull the velcro tightening thing, and done! The new shoes also allows me to go without socks on the bike, which helps speed things up.
My transition area was also much better organized, only having things I need out and visible. This helped reduce clutter, and made finding what I need, a lot, easier. Big plus there. Plus I learned a few tricks from other triathletes on wear to put things like your helmet, glasses, and gloves for easier/speedier access.
I was able to run out of transition with my bike this time. Before I generally walked out, because I was still recovery from the swim, and getting leg muscles reactivated. The long walk from the water to transition really helped get the legs to wake up, allowing me for a faster jog out of the exit.
Also worked in my fueling strategy while in transition after the swim, just practice what I'll be doing at Ironman. I know on long swims I'm generally thirsty and a little hungry. So this time, I had a separate bottle and food specific for just transition fueling, and that worked/helped tremendously! So glad I practiced that in a real race situation.
Nothing really to report here other then having another good outing on the bike. The course was great, and was really tailored to my strengths ... short, punchy climbs, good decent's, and high speed cornering. Everything I love in a bike route.
Followed my Ironman food and drink plan to the 'T', despite it only being 24-ish miles. Probably over ate, but it's good practice.
This time I didn't really hold back on the ride. I pushed hard from the beginning to the end, allowing myself bits of recovery in between. I didn't really go in with any plan, barely researched the route before hand. I went into it completely blind, and not knowing what to expect. That's good and a little bad. I wish I had some idea of the mile marker for the turn around, and stuff, but oh well.
On a side note, I love when race report waves their hands wanting you to slow down just because there's a corner approaching. I think it's funny. Like you standing pretty much at the turn telling people to slow down way too late to make any kind of difference. Thanks for being overly cautious, but I know what speeds I can take on corners, thanks.
Barely looked at numbers, and just went completely on feel. That seemed to work just fine. I've noticed once I get too involved in the numbers, things start to fall apart.
Happy with the effort, and the result!
With my new shoes, I've been practicing getting my shoes undone, and my feet out while moving in preparation to dismount. Got to the point in training where I was comfortable enough to try it in a race. So I was planning to do it at here. Ended up not being able to do it. By the time I could slow down enough to start the process, I was already at the dismount line. So, I couldn't do it, I just unclipped and ran back into the transition area. A bit bummed, because I won't have another race to practice this technique until Ironman. I really should have walked over and looked at the bike approach to the transition area and identify where the dismount line and how much space I have to get my feet out of my shoes. Good to know, and something I noted in my race plan for Ironman. So hopefully I'll have the necessary information to get that done, and make my run into transition easier and faster.
Other then that, the second transition was good and quick. Put my bike up, got my socks and shoes on. With a cleaner transition area, I knew exactly what I needed to take with me, so I didn't forget my race number and belt like in Ellensburg.
Well, it wasn't the best, or the worst run I've done. Right of transition my legs were feeling great, which was the opposite at Ellensburg. In that race, I thought I pushed too hard on the bike that resulted in my legs just not wanting to run. I did the same intensity, if not more on the bike in this race, and my legs were fine and ready to run. So that's a good sign.
Like the bike, I hardly did any research on the run course. I did look at the route and elevation map they provided, and from that picture it looked relatively flat. So, going into the race that was the picture printed in my head. It wasn't as flat as I thought, haha! Actually, hardly any flat parts in my opinion. Just roller, after roller, after roller. Coming back to the park was a little easier, with a few pretty steep hills that completely knocked me down.
I was able to keep my average mile pace under 10 minutes, not awesome or near my IM pace goal, but miles better then Ellensburg ... so I'll take it. Frankly, I thought my average pace was going to be over 10 minutes, so a pleasant surprise.
I knew I started off too fast, I could tell nearing the first mile marker, running the first mile in around 9 minutes ... way too fast coming directly off the bike. I should have backed off a lot, but my racing mind was in full gear. Settled into, and around my Ironman pace for miles 2 and 3, but for miles 4, 5, and 6, the constant rollers were finally catching up to me, and that was when my pace when into the 10 minute range. In the 6th mile, that was when the big steep hill came into the picture which complete destroyed my pace. I wasn't able to really run up that hill, and had to walk it ... not good, I should have forced myself to at least jog it. Chalk that up to mental fatigue. Once I got up that hill though, it was back into running mode, so it didn't completely drain what remaining energy I had left.
By that time, I was able to hear the race announcer, and music from the finish line area, and for the last .1 of the 7th mile, adrenaline kicked in and I was sprinting to the finish line. Gotta love the power of adrenaline!
I was happy with the run, and good knowledge to take out of it going into Ironman.
- Taking on food and drink during transition worked, and seemed to have helped.
- At this point, there's nothing more I can do about the fogging goggles. Periodically stopping to wipe the fog away seemed to work okay, without ruining my swim pace.
- New cycling shoes are helping, and no immediate issues with not wearing socks while riding.
- Since not wearing socks, on colder days, like todays race. Feet are cold. Takes a little bit for them to warm up on the run. More reason to take the first few miles easy.
- I need to start my run slower. Going hard out of the gate, isn't going to help me in the big picture.
- Not rushing in transition helped keep my muscles from spazzing out.
- I didn't let my head get all overwhelmed with needing to perform at my best. Went in going off what my body was telling me, and just have fun.