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All posts for the month March, 2013

TRI-MANIA Team Challenge

 

Team Snapple returned in full force to defend its overall title in the TRI-MAINIA team challenge.  There was a huge turnout from members of the Snapple National Team, Snapple DC Tri Team, and Snapple Club Teams.  I’m going to write about my experiences with the teams I was a part of, but before I start, I want to congratulate all Snappletes on a job well done.

 

The Running Company Campus Dash 5k

 

The day started off with a challenging run across Georgetown Prep’s golf course.  Matias, Andy and several of the Rip It Events competitors took the race out hard from the start, and I settled in and gradually moved up towards the pointy end of the race.  After two laps around the track, the course hit the grass.  Did I mention I wore spikes?  For the first time since college!  Around a mile into the course there was a long, steep climb, and one of the Rip It runners blasted up it.  I took a more cautious approach uphill, but when I reached the top, I decided to hit the gas and make the race.  The gap opened up, I found a smooth rhythm, and I maintained it.  Upon finishing, I turned around to see Snapple teammates Matias and Andy rolling in like they owned the place in 2nd and 3rd.  Once Jenny sped through, we knew we had opened up a decent lead in the team event.  Great start to the day!

 

TRI-MANIA 5k Warm Up

Previewing the course

TRI-MANIA leading the way 5k

Team Snapple leading the way

TRI-MANIA 5k 1 mile

Go Time!

TRI-MANIA 5k

Can’t remember what I was more excited about at this point: winning the race, Snapple going 1-2-3, or knowing that I was going to make it 5k in spikes without my calves falling off.

 

The Bonzai Relay Team Swim Challenge

It was my first open swim race since summer swim team in high school, and I could feel that 14 year hiatus as I practiced some block starts.  As the “A” team absolutely smashed the 4x300yd relay, Mindy, Joe, Katie, and I had a hard fought battle to finish on the podium.  Mindy led off strong, I took the second leg with my main goals of:

1.  Not losing my goggles as I jumped off the blocks

2. Finishing within 5 seconds of my seed time of 3:25

I ended up swimming a 3:21, which I was happy with, and Joe and Katie closed really well and netted our team a 3rd place finish overall.

 

Feeling more and more like a fish.

Feeling more and more like a fish.

The Bonzai 10k Computrainer TT

I’ll have to say that I think there is truly a learning curve when it comes to racing on the computrainer.  On power tests, I’m confident that I can find a gear and cadence and just stick it on my fluid trainer.  When riding outside I can anticipate when gear changes are necessary, so I can keep a relatively similar tension on the pedals through the test.  This was different.  I could see a basic outline of the course, but the small undulations took me out of my “uncomfort” zone enough where I couldn’t quite get to a place where I could keep consistent power.

Having said that, I had an absolute blast.  I loved riding the Computrainer, and I know that it must be a powerful training tool.

Matias, Katie, Lucas and I teamed up for this event, and Lucas jumped out to an early lead in the first minute.  I’d say for the next 10 minutes I spent about 75% of my focus on my Garmin and 25% on the Computrainer screen tracking my overall progress.  I stayed about 5-10 seconds behind Lucas throughout, with Matias charging within earshot.  Lucas was riding super, and with a mile to go I put it all out there trying to make up the gap.  About a minute later I received a message “Bridge to Engine Room — We need more power!”.  Unfortunately I was all in, and that was that.  I stopped the clock at 15:01, sandwiched between Lucas who won the heat in 14:50, and Matias who kept the pressure on and ended at 15:15.  Katie sealed our overall title finishing in 16:55.

 

Doing work.

Doing work.

It turned out to be an extremely close battle between Snapple and Rip It, as we won the team title by a scant 25 seconds after almost two and a half hours of racing.  Never take anything for granted!

 

Results:  http://www.tri-mania.com/Assets/Sun+Multisports+Digital+Assets/Team+Challenge+DC+Overall+Results.pdf

 

Colonial Half Marathon

Today I was a slave to my schedule.  Today I ignored the signals my body was sending me and raced even though I had been sick with a cold all week long.  Today a valuable lesson was learned.

At some point it becomes more about the process and the determination to get to that finish line and less and less about the time it takes to do so.  A very memorable example of this point was during the 2007 Ironman World Championships.  Professional triathlete Rutger Beke just didn’t have it on the day and walked the entire marathon of the race, finishing amongst soccer moms and bucket listers, some 3 hours slower than his predicted finishing time.  I believe he was quoted as saying that he had too much respect for the age groupers to quit just because he wasn’t having a great day.

After my race this afternoon, I have a much better understanding of that different side of racing.  A race where you have to prove to yourself that you can make it to the finish and complete what you set out to do, no matter the obstacles that are put in your way.  A race where you pass volunteers and their “Great job!” and “You look awesome!” take on a completely different meaning (because you know they’re lying to you, even if they don’t know it).  A race where you know you won’t be rewarded with prize money, a personal record, or admiration from your fiercest competitors, but simply with the knowledge that you persisted under harsh conditions for over an hour and by the end you won’t have anything to show for it but your memories of how tough you were to gut it out.

So I guess I know how Rutger felt.  It definitely ran threw my mind several times to throw in the towel.  That would have been the easy way out.  Once you DNF, then it is too easy to DNF when the little things go wrong.  And let’s be honest, no race is ever perfect.  There is always something that happens unexpectedly, always a challenge that presents itself that you have to overcome.  The true mettle of a racer is dealing with those challenges, limiting the negative impact they have on the outcome of the race, and moving forward.

I did what I could do today.  I held a slower average pace today in the race than in every single one of my long runs leading up to the race.  I was running slower during the last half of this race than my slowest miles in the Ironman World Championships marathon (which was not a brisk 55 deg, but a scorching 90 after swimming and cycling).  So the time doesn’t mean a thing to me.  In fact, I probably won’t ever look at my official time.  Honestly it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I didn’t give up and I did the best I could given the circumstances.

I have been fortunate over the past 5 years to be incredibly consistent with my racing.  I have taken pride that I can be counted upon to put out a respectable finish.  Ironically, the first race I complete as a member of a team is anything but.

I have to remember that just because I failed once, doesn’t mean that I am a different person or racer.  Not reaching my pre-race goal doesn’t mean I’m not fit or mentally tough.

I’ll be back!