Monday, October 15, 2012

Triathlon season in review

My last triathlon of the season was yesterday, Sunday, in Anderson, SC and was a very well organized and well run Rev3 event with a lot of participants. They really do treat all their racers, Olympic and half distance, like they are pros - from fantastic volunteers and a well marked course to the smallest of details like a name plate where you rack your bike. There were also pros at this race, the first race I've done with pros since the DC Triathlon last year, which added a cool element to the race, not to mention some briefest of moments where I "raced" alongside them, translation, they blew past me!

On Saturday I live-streamed Ironman Kona and became, as they say on twitter, #konainspired. Honestly it was awesome to watch the pros, especially the women, and if I had been able to stay up later I would have watched all the "mere mortals" (read incredible amateur athletes) crossing the finish line. I read Chrissie Wellington's book A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey last month and became thoroughly excited about the idea of one day racing in Kona. I have known for a while that I wanted to eventually do an Ironman distance race, in fact it is on my goals to do one before I'm 30, but I had never felt the extreme desire to make it to Kona until Chrissie's book. Her entire journey makes for an incredible and engrossing read (which I might get into in a later post,) but her writing about this particular World Champion creating race is illuminating. Watching it then unfold on screen, even through the overly advertised livestream on the Ironman website, left me with a drive to one day run that particular race on that beautiful island.

But back to Sunday's race, I felt fully inspired to tackle this mere Olympic distance race, (and remember that this is only  my second ever time with this distance!) My foot was still bothering me post half marathon training and racing but since this was actually a slightly shorter distance on the run than the previous Olympic+ distance race, that I could get a better time. I did get a better time, but I may have sacrificed my foot for a few weeks... The swim portion of the race was not my best because I wasn't used to swimming in my wetsuit, even though I practiced in the lake the day before. It was a chilly 65 degrees in the water, although the outside air was colder to start, so I don't regret wearing the suit, I just wish I had more practice in it - my breathing felt restricted so for the first 300-400 yards before I stopped to tread water and loosen the zipper in back a little bit, I was not swimming smoothly. The bike went well, a nice rolling hill course, the bike mechanics had helped me make an adjustment the day before so I felt really comfortable in my aero bars. The run was hillier than I expected, I kept an even pace, not pushing my foot, but the ups and downs but a lot of pressure on it. I got passed the girl in my age group that came in third (I got fourth) and was really tempted to up my speed and chase her down, but I held myself back. I did sprint to the finish and somersaulted across the finish line (can't wait to see the finish line pics!)

I went to the A.R.T. (active release therapy) tent after gathering most of my gear and throwing it haphazardly into my car (I still need to wash off my wetsuit...) and the wait was only 10 minutes so I signed up and waited. Really I knew I had a 2 hour drive ahead of me and was hoping to get some of the stiffness out of my neck and shoulders (remember I adjusted my bike so my back wasn't totally used to it) before sitting in a car for a while. The lady who worked on my neck/shoulders did a wonderful job so I went ahead and asked her to take a look at my foot. Well it hurt quite a bit and I couldn't point my foot without pain, basically I had lost flexibility and range of motion in my foot and she thinks its due in part to swelling post race, and scar tissue build up. She kneaded some of the scar tissue out, to where I have been icing my foot on and off today under my desk at work, but I am probably going to see a sports specific doctor about it this week, especially if the range of motion of my foot stays this poor. Luckily I am not signed up for any more races so I can take a long break from running if I need to in order for this to heal. I need it to heal so that I can eventually start my training for Ironman 70.3 Raleigh next summer and possibly the half distance of Rev3Tri Knoxville, because right now I am definitely Ironman inspired!

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