Friday, August 17, 2012

General Smallwood Race Report

This race report is long overdue.  I've been neglecting it...because this was not a good race.  I wasn't proud of it and I didn't even want to think about it for awhile.  As I started to think more about the race, my training, my goals for this year, and the overall result I realized it wasn't as bad as I was making it out to be.  A wise Buddha once said that “the arrow that hits the bull’s-eye is the result of 100 misses”. So next time you have a bad race, wallow, cry, stomp, learn and bank the lessons and then try to move on. Yes, the race result is important. You have invested a huge amount of time and energy in achieving your goal – as have those around you – but ultimately it is about the journey to that start line, enjoying each and every moment and never letting that race day performance – good or bad – totally define you.

Since it's been over a month since actual race, I'm going to keep this report short and simple.  The worst, the best, and lessons learned.

The Worst
A tie between a couple things here.  The swim that was 400m too long, making it a 1900m Oly Swim (wtf?) or the fact I couldn't get my legs to turn over on the run.  Did I taper for this race?  No, not really.  This was just a race thrown into the mix of Ironman training because it was the Regional Club Championship.  The long swim effectively helped the strong swimmers and hindered those of us not so strong in the water.  My legs just wouldn't go on the run.  Sure there are a lot of excuses I could come up with, but the bottom line is I ran the worst 10k I've ever run in a tri.  

The Best
It was USAT Mid-Atlantic Regional Club Championships - DC Tri was out in full force.  Friends and family were all there to race and cheer and have a good time, winning, of course :)  The bike also went well.  The course was mostly rolling and I was feeling good.  I took 2 full bottle of fluids on the bike and the well ran dry before the end of the ride.  It was hot out.  Despite the swim being long I felt strong in the water and my sighting was on target.

Lessons Learned
This race was on one of the hottest days of the summer.  I should have been smarter with my pre-race and race nutrition plans.  I didn't stay hydrated and I paid for it.  I was sick after crossing the finish line, not sweating, and not keeping fluids down.  I had to sit in the ice bath for a bit, take salt pills, and chill out, literally.  I should have prevented this by preloading with salt pills and drinking more fluids before the start of the swim.  The water was warm for the swim, which only help the dehydration factor more.

Brother and I after crossing the finish line
Nail the bike nutrition, so you can have a good run.  Once you start running, it's too late to make up for missed fluids or calories during the bike.  Just because I played soccer in Georgia doesn't mean I am above the heat, I should have prepared more during the bike with fluids to set myself up for a good run.

The race I was hoping for was not the race I'd been training for.  Since May I've been training for IM Louisville.  I've done some speed and interval work on all 3 sports but the focus of the training has been long distance.   Running long runs at IM pace, riding long rides followed by bricks at IM pace.  Compared to last years training when I was focusing specifically on Oly and Half training I should have known I wouldn't be PR-ing at this race.  Yet I still believed it would be possible.  I'm trained and I'm fit but not the same way I was last year, I'm ready for Louisville next weekend.  After Louisville I'll start training the short fast stuff again for a change of pace.  And to see what I can do before the season is over in an Oly :)

I'm a little competitive and I like to win - Ok, I might be a lot competitive.  I already knew this but this race just highlighted it and made me look at how I deal with failure.  I was letting this performance begin to define me and my future performances, not good.  Keep calm, keep focused, and carry on because the race that matters this year is in Louisville Kentucky on August 26 :)

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