I think most of us know the feeling of race nerves. The butterflies, the feeling of not knowing what you were thinking signing up for this race, the wondering if that really will be your last trip to the port-a-potty this morning. I did my first tri in June of 2010, and I will never, ever forget the race nerves I had that morning. It was something I had not felt since I was 18 years old, I got off of the bus at boot camp and the drill instructors started yelling at us. I didn’t know what the race was going to be like and I knew that I had not properly prepared. Those just added to the typical race day nerves. I finished the race in 2:20:55. But this year was different.
This past June I did the same race, although there were some major changes this time. This was going to be my 4th sprint triathlon so I felt like I knew what I was doing. More importantly, I had been working out with FeXY Coaching, I knew I was ready and was excited to prove it.
I woke up before my alarm (at 4:00am), took a shower, got my race bag, which had been packed and double checked the day before, and waited for my friend to pick me up. We got to the race at 5:30, set up my transition area, got marked, picked up my timing chip, rechecked my transition area and walked to the swim start. I was in the first wave and we started at 7:00. There were almost 100 guys in my wave and this was a race where I was able to stay towards the front of the main group for the whole swim. It was a pretty physical swim, I was hit it the face twice (my goggles were nearly knocked off), someone swam into me from the side and used my back to push off with. It was a quite the experience!
I got out of the water and felt really good. I hit T1 and got on all my gear. It took longer than I had wanted (2:50), but I got of the bike feeling fresh and confident in my ability to get this ride done quickly. I had a great ride (got up to 43mph on a hill!!) and got out of T2 in :50. I was really happy about that time and knew my plan for the run. I also saw Ann and my boys for the first time at T2. I heard them cheering for me and I yelled back to them as I ran past.
I am not a fast runner, but I knew if I wanted to hit my goal I had to work hard here. I was hitting my pace but I knew that for the last mile I would have to push. My Garmin was scrolling through screens so I was having trouble finding my pace as quick as I wanted to, so I ran by my HR. At my normal race pace my HR is around 160-165, so I decided to try to stay between 180-185.
In 2010 I finished this race in 2:20:55 and had a goal to finish this year in 1:45. As I came towards the finish line I could hear the announcer, the music and the crowd. I came out of the trail into the finish line shoot and saw Ann and the kids. I pushed as hard as I could for the last 100 meters. I could see the clock ticking away and crossed the finish line at 1:45:00! One more second and I would not have met my goal, but I did it! I finished the race 35:50 faster than I had a year earlier! I got a big hug from Ann and both boys at the finish line. It felt great, I was so happy with my performance. My training had prepared me! What a difference a year makes. I can’t wait until next year!!
Don't forget! I am picking a powerbar winner tomorrow!