Monday, June 30, 2014

90 Days #imchoo ...

90 days.  It feels like plenty of time and not enough all at once.  90 days until I plunge into the Tennessee River to start a journey to my fourth iron distance finish line.  It all sounds so dramatic, doesn't it?  I feel more nervous this time around.  Not sure why.  Or maybe I do.  It probably has to do with Louisville not going the way I had hoped last year.  I sort of feel like I did when I was training for B2B the first time.  Not sure I can go the full distance (which seems crazy because I have done it three times before).  So many doubts in my head right now.

This past weekend, I raced in the Chattanooga Olympic Tri.  I did this race in 2011 leading into B2B.  It is a nice race but have not worked it into the schedule again until this year.  I mean, I am doing the IM in Chattanooga so it seemed like a good time to revisit this race course.  Just like I am nervous for the race in September, I was oddly nervous leading into the race yesterday.  I had no real time goals other than a hope and a prayer that I would be faster than my time in 2011.  (I would like to think I have improved somewhat in the last three years!).

By the time the race start rolled around, I was feeling better about things.  I saw more than a few people I knew.  I chatted with a new friend on the bus to the swim start, hung out with a group from Atlanta Tri Club while waiting for the start and chatted with another racer while we waited our turn in line to get in the water.

The race is a time trial start meaning you go off one at a time a few seconds apart.  You might bump into a person here or there but in general it is just like a big open water swim practice.  Only faster.  The swim course was point to point which makes it even easier.  Get in, swim a straight line and get out.  My goggles fogged up to the point where I could not see buoys about halfway through so I had to clear them super quick and get back after it.  I probably wouldn't have bothered to try to clear them except that I could not see anything and, well, sighting is kind of important.  :)  

Swim - 1500 meters  28:23  - This was actually 2 minutes slower than 2011.  Oh well.  Not too worried about it.

The stairs from the swim exit to transition.  Stairs seem to be a theme of this race as they are also on the run!

On to the bike...   The course is decently hilly and this was the part of the race where I was most anxious to see if my training has paid off.  I recently added a power meter which I think has helped me tremendously.  As compared to others, I am still not leading the pack BUT it has helped me recognize when I am not giving enough effort as opposed to going by feel.  It is definitely a game changer.  People passed me as per usual but it felt like not quite as many were flying by me this time around.  I ended up spending what felt like 10 miles going back and forth with this other girl.  I am sure it was getting on her nerves.  She would pass me on the climbs and I would pass her back on the flats and downhills.  I guess our strengths were perfectly opposite of one another...

Bike - 26 miles - 1:29 - TEN minutes faster than 2011! 

...  and we are running.  I felt good on the run.  I think this was where all the long distance training pays off - you get this warped sense of distances.  A 10k starts feeling like a short run.  In this case, I was thinking all I had to do was run 3 miles out, 3 miles back and I was done.  I walked a couple of short steep hills at the end (which I regret now), but other than that was happy with the run mostly from a nutrition perspective.  I felt like I must have done OK with nutrition on the bike based on how the run felt.  I think I might have started to get the nutrition dialed in which is a big relief!

Run - 6.2 miles - 56:13 - eight minutes faster than 2011!

Overall time 3:00:31  (you see why I am cursing the hill walks now - JUST missed a sub 3:00.  Darn!)   In 2011, I had a 3:17 so even though I lost 2 minutes on this swim this year, I still came out 17 minutes ahead.  I am making progress!

All in all a good way to head into the last 90 days before IM Choo.  Still nervous but am going to focus on the good things from the race this past weekend to get me through until my next race in August!