a.k.a - a lesson in pre-race stress management...
After what felt like THE longest winter ever, playing sherpa for my man at Ironman Los Cabos, and feeling dialed in with my training for the past several months…I was DYING to race! I race a little bit in the winter, mostly indoor cycling time trials, but Galena is pretty much the start of my race season. I race the duathlon there every year (try one - trust me on this…they rock), and Galena was perfect timing to get in some race prep for Duathlon Worlds. I should also mention I’m currently traveling to Spain for Worlds…just felt like you should know. ;)
Anyway, back to Galena…
Life really tried to mess with me the week leading in to Galena. These problems are not major life problems in any way, this I realize, but I wasn’t sure whether or not I would have a bike to ride, or if I would be borrowing Mattie P’s bike. Either way, I wasn’t going to be racing on a bike I had ridden but 30 minutes prior to race day. Hm, don’t love, but at least I had options. You might be wondering, where’s my bike? OH, right! In a box, traveling to Spain…duh.
I found out a week before Galena that my bike would have to be making it’s way over to Spain literally the day BEFORE Galena. Seriously. You might say, Jen, why would you plan 2 races that close to each other and assume you could use your bike for both? You see, I had a plan. After many, many months of drooling over the new Trek Project One Speed Concept 9 Series (I’ve literally had a picture of it on my phone since Kona), I ordered one.
Where my love affair with this bike all started.
Yep, major big girl bike…and it was supposed to be done mid April (see my plan would have worked). Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. It was actually delivered the Tuesday afternoon before Galena, in a box and ready to be built. Relieved and stressed at the same time.
Luckily, the guys at Element totally took care of me and had it built right away so I could get fit. Wednesday was Retul fit day with my man (I’m the luckiest) where we realized that I needed a smaller part for my bike so it would actually fit me. We ordered it for Thursday and crossed our fingers that it would be delivered on time. Believe it or not, the part arrived, and I went in to finish up my fit with Ed. Done, right? Nope. There was another series of issues with transferring my Quarq, finding a crank I could use, blah, blah. That was it, complete meltdown…poor Ed, he totally handled it and fixed the problem. I FINALLY picked up my bike at 7:30pm Thursday night. It wasn’t 100% done…I would be riding on a compact for the first time and had no power…but I didn’t care, I had my bike.
Just waiting for her Quarq Elsa :)
Geez, enough about all that…how did the race go?
Friday was an easy travel day up to Galena. I DID get to take out my new (almost complete) bike in the morning, she was worth ALL the trouble. #lovemybike After a rough night of sleep on Friday, I woke up ready to race. It was chilly, below 40 degrees at that time, didn’t even care, alls I wanted to do was race. After setting up in transition I headed up to the Duathlon start to warm up, have my traditional GU Chocolate Outrage 15 minutes prior to race start, and get to the front of the start line. I was talking with a young girl next to me before the gun went off, she told me she was 14 years old…I knew she was going to be my girl to chase. I also realized she was less than half my age, when did this happen?
Run #1 - It’s an out and back 2 mile run. For the most part you run down a ginormous hill for a mile, then run right back up it. I want to throw up on this run every year coming back up the hill, I also wonder why I sign up for the Duathlon at that same point every single year. I went out hard and tried to keep the girl in sight, and I was right, girl took OFF. I came into transition dying to get on my bike. I also knew I had taken a good amount of time off my first run from last year. Time this year 13:55, last year 15:31. #hellsyeah
T1 - Since it was so cold (and I’m a baby), I decided to put on gloves and a cycling jacket. I didn’t make the best decision on what order to do this, I took forever. However, I did make the right decision to have a quick GU Salted Caramel BEFORE I put on my gloves…genius. This year 2:01 this year, 1:47 last year. Eek.
Bike - I admit, I was worried about the bike course. While I love my new bike, I’m absolutely not comfortable on it yet, especially on a hilly course. About halfway through the bike I was feeling better and more confident with the ride, but then the wind changed. Instead of the headwind I was feeling, we were getting a lot of crosswinds. I should mention that when I bought my bike I decided to go all in and get a pair of Zipp 404/808s, this was also my first time riding the new wheels. The deeper wheel set was a much different feel with the crosswinds, and threw me off a bit. I kept it positive and tried to keep control of my bike. The bike course wasn’t the same as last year, but I was still wanted to beat my time. I didn’t quite make it, but all things considered I was happy. This year 1:04:12, last year 1:02:48.
T2 - Another slow one taking off so many clothes, but at least I made some time back. This year 2:08, last year 2:24. What was I doing last year??
Run #2 - The second run course wasn’t the same as last year either, but had a nice hill coming out of transition. Other than that, just a couple rollers…my favorite type of run :) I tore off out of transition (or at least that’s how I picture it) and just suffered hard during the run. I was able to negative split each mile, and wanted to vomit the entire time. Perfect. Again, I took a nice chunk of time off my run split from last year. This year 31:21, last year 34:59.
Overall - I took about 4 minutes off my time from last year and won my age group. Just thrilled with my results. What am I even more excited about? This race definitely pointed out some strengths and gains over last year, as well as key areas for improvement. I have a clear idea of what I need to work on from both a physical and mental standpoint. My bike and transitions will be a big focus moving forward, I need to dial those in if I want to achieve the big goals I’ve set for myself this year. My ability to manage stress, things out of my control, and just “roll with life” is another lesson learned. I’ve got control issues, REAL bad, time to start working on that. Stress leading in to a race, or just life in general, will serve me no good.
On a positive note - I’m SO proud of the improvement in my run AND how hard I pushed myself during both. I have learned to truly enjoy the art of suffering thanks to Coach Jen, it’s what I look forward to most when I race. Not the finish, not the times…it’s that feeling of just working hard, focusing solely on my race, and applying all of the hard work I put in every single day into the event.
This was also the first time Ed and I raced together…SUPER cute ;) He beasted out a 2nd place finish in his age group, so proud! Not a bad way for us to start :)
Next up is Duathlon Worlds…a race that is completely taking me out of my comfort zone. Scared, nervous, and crazy excited!
Until then, I rest...