Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Recharge With Milk: Woodstock Sprint Triathlon

This past Sunday I competed in MultiSport Canada's Recharge With Milk Triathlon Series. I was entered in the sprint triathlon event held in Woodstock, ON.
Before I start on the race, I would like to mention to everyone the importance of "keeping calm". Did you know that you can stress yourself out so much that you can give yourself a "stress-induced allergic reaction"? I didn't..... but now I know better. Going into next race, I'm going to practice "keeping calm"...

Pre-Race: I was pretty nervous approaching this event. Not for the actual competition itself, but for what the event meant for me as an athlete and as an individual. Woodstock is the event which holds my first ever triathlon time. Last year, I rolled in at 1:32:40. I also rolled in with a broken body, a mangled sense of self and an ill-mind. I was in no shape to compete, but I did so anyways. This past year, I've worked harder than ever to pursue excellence as both an individual and as an athlete. I wanted "Woodstock 2.0" to post a time that reflected a message that I have constantly come back to time and time again:

Recovery Works.

Race Morning:
Leading up to the race, I ran through split times a million times over. I had reviewed past results, my TT times for the three disciplines, FTP scores, possible scenarios, and I made predictions for myself. Somehow, I found confidence in the numbers. Giving myself goals to achieve; efforts I could reach. I set nutrition goals, time goals, and personal goals (Ex. Drink sport drink on the bike leg, clipped in mount/dismount, give yourself 24hrs before you start to analyze splits/change your mind on your performance).

Needless to say:
Pressure imposed on Meghan by Meghan: 99.9%
Pressure imposed on Meghan by others: 0.1%

Swim: 00:11:39
Surprisingly, I had the most confidence in my swim. This confidence had no reflection on my speed or positive abilities. Rather this confidence was a reflection of my understanding that there was nothing more I could do to improve my swim time on that particular day. Currently I am in a "Tiger Woods phase", changing my stroke to later benefit me. Unfortunately, I am still waiting to reap the benefits. I had estimated my swim time to be 11:40:00. Sure enough, I came in right on pace.

T1: 00:00:51

Bike: 00:35:57
This leg of the race was where I knew I would make huge gains and/or hold my place. Although I held a strong pace, I pulled in the reigns between 5-8km and 15-18km. I knew I still had a run off the bike and I wanted to put out a solid run split. Unfortunately, my inexperience is where I lost time. Although my ability to maintain some speed at turnarounds and holding speed during turns has improved, I still see a large gap between where I am and where I need to be.
**I also see many more technical bike sessions in my future...

In hindsight, I am a bit disappointed in my bike split. I feel as though I could have pulled out a better time. However, given my inexperience at turnarounds, cornering, and my minor "hit-the-pole-with-the-side-of-my-bike-dropping-a-shoe-and-water bottle-while-my-bike-fell-to-the-ground" coming into T2... I think I can easily take-off 20 seconds next race.

T2: 00:00:42

Run: 00:20:30
I was really pleased with my run split. I don't take much confidence in my abilities, I know they will be what they will be. Consistent hard efforts will show improvements but at the end of the day, they are what they are. However if there is one skill I do take confidence in, I can run off a bike! "One foot in front of the other" is my mantra throughout each triathlon. Although the run does have technical components, the run is where I can put my body on "automatic", focus on form, and simply hold on.
With 1km to go, I began to tense up, cramping all through my neck and sides. I knew I had enough of a lead to hold my place and the fast and furious Angela Quick had a strong first place lead on me. I eased up my pace ever so slightly, enough to pull out a strong finishing time, but slow enough that EMTs wouldn't need to carry me across the finish line (okay so maybe EMTs wouldn't have been needed, but you get the idea...).

**I did have to go to the EMT tent though! (But it was super minor, hardly worth mentioning) Following the race, I was talking to my fellow ambassador team member Lauren Heinken. Mid-way through our post-race recap, I guess the adrenaline had worn off. My foot began to pulse and I looked down to see blood on my shoe. My poor little piggy had no skin after blistering... and then "de-blistering". 
Anyone have any tips to avoid this?
A sassy finish line photo! Working my "angles" for the PAPArazzi. 
Post-Race: 1:09:37:3
I crossed the line sub 1:10:00. This is two minutes below my projected time! Furthermore, a twenty-three minute improvement from my previous sprint triathlon time! To be honest, I knew I would crush my previous time. Simply reaching a healthier weight would have resulted in an improved time.  It has been a beyond frustrating year, filled with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I've had many successes and many failures. I banked the failures as experience, which has served me well. I said it in my previous blog post; I am thriving now and I know it!

Thank Yous:
**Get ready, there are a lot of people I need to thank. If anyone ever entertained the idea of a "solo-recovery", they can just read my thank you list and see that recovery "Hans Solo" style, just isn't feasible. You need support, you need checks and you need people to help you up when you fall.
I must give credit where credit is due. I could not have improved as drastically as I did without all of the help I have received this past year:
Thank you to my coach James Loaring, Mark Linseman and my fellow teamLPC athletes. Without them I can honestly say I would not have crossed that finish line with a smile on my face. I might not have even crossed it at all! Thank you to my dietician, who is my both my mentor and one of my best friends (she really deserves a raise for putting up with all of my shenanigans). Thank you to my PAPArazzi, my MamaBear, and my "BruthaFromTheSameMutha". Being an athlete involves being selfish, and ED-recovery is extremely hard on a family. My family has been beyond patient, understanding and just all around great support for me through this past year.

Shout out to my fellow teammates from the MultiSport Canada Ambassador team, as well as all of the athletes competing. There is a quote that says: You are only as good as your competition. If this is true, than I am feeling damn good! Great competing out there guys!
Thank you to the volunteers and those who came out to support us athletes! Without you guys, this event would not be what it is: truly a positive experience.
Last but not least, thank you to John Salt for overseeing this race, and to whom I owe my love of triathlon.

What a great start to what I know will be a season for the books.
Great work everybody! :)


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