Race Review: Great Western Reserve Triathlon

This weekend was my second time racing the Great Western Reserve Triathlon sprint distance and my third sprint triathlon to date. I felt confident going into this race because it was my second time racing it. (It was my first ever triathlon last summer). I had debated doing the Olympic distance, but felt under prepared in the swim, so I played it safe with competing in the sprint again.

west-branch1

GWRT-1As soon as I was out there on the course though I wished I had done the Olympic distance. The weather was beautiful and the sun was out. It was a perfect swim venue with calm water and no seed weed in sight!! The bike course was familiar and fast, with a view rolling hills and scenic views. The run course was down and back with a decent, steady hill, but in the shade of the woods.

I loved everything about this race, and even sitting here at work on Monday morning I’m still smiling just thinking about it. On the bike course I realized my cheeks hurt from smiling so much! I was having such a blast and it was another reason I ached to do the Olympic distance – I didn’t want it to end!

west-branch2This being my third triathlon ever – I knocked 19 minutes off my race time from last season, finishing in 1:27. Last year the half mile swim took me 17 minutes and this year I was out of the water in 13 minutes! I had also given myself a pep talk the night before that no matter what I was going to go all out on the bike and I think I did (for me at least). I averaged 18 miles per hour (3:30 min/mile) and I finished the swim and bike in 58 minutes.

west-branch4By the time I got to the run though, I started to slow down and scowled myself for not practicing more brick workouts. My legs were heavy and I felt like I was barely managing to jog for the first mile of the race. By mile 2 I started to adjust and managed to keep an 8:50 min/mile, finishing the 5K in a disappointing 26 minutes.

Overall I am ecstatic with my time PR, but of course there are a few things I could do better:

  1. I was focusing on going so fast on the bike that I couldn’t find time to slow down and take my GU – maybe that could have helped me muster up some speed in the run.
  2. Speaking of the run – practice MORE brick workouts!!
  3. I was paying way too much attention to trying to see if I could beat others in my age group (yes winning is fun, but triathlon is always you vs. you and I need to focus more on my own race).
  4. I could stand to be just a bit more aggressive in the swim. I always start in the way back and then have to fight to get past people later on.
  5. T1 was 2:03 and T2 was 1:29. I can probably be just a tiny bit faster with my transitions. Practice should help.

Things I did well:

  1. Overall the swim was near perfect (for me at least – especially after my panic/freak out during the Portage Lakes Tri last season). I had no real freak out yesterday and felt pretty confident. (There was a little moment around the second buoy that I got hit by someone else’s hand and I felt a brief moment of panic creeping in, but instead I flipped over on my back and backstroked for about a minute to catch my breath. Then I turned back over for front crawl and felt great.) I think for me, the trick for the swim is to consistently monitor myself. Anytime I have a moment I need to slow down, calm myself down and then continue.
  2. I felt pretty confident on the bike and I think it’s just from riding a lot more and being more comfortable. This is my first season racing with my new bike (which I bought from someone else so it’s not really new haha) but I think I handled the gears and turns well and felt powerful on the hills.
  3. I know there are probably tricks and tips that I’m not doing in the transitions, but I felt smooth in T1 and T2 with no real hiccups or obstacles. I probably just need to practice them more if anything.

west-branch5I already can’t wait to compete in this race next season and I have been looking up other triathlon races all morning. I had one other sprint tri on the race schedule for this summer, but now I just want to do an Olympic distance! Last weekend was the Twinsburg Duathlon, which turned out to be a perfect tune-up race for the triathlon. Next weekend I am riding 25 miles on the Sunday in June tour with my mom. (Practice for 50 miles for bike VeloSano on June 18 – which reminds me – if you haven’t donated to our VeloSano cancer cause please donate here).

westbranch3Today I’m going to go through my 2015 race schedule and reevaluate what I have going on. Our wedding in August is coming up quickly, but I think I can squeeze in a few more races, especially with how pleased I was with yesterday’s race results! Also I got to race in my new Cleveland Triathlon Club kit, which was awesome! Super functional and sharp looking 😉

Training this week looks like:
Monday – run 5 miles PM
Tuesday – Cleveland Tri Club track practice (5-7 miles)
Wednesday – Mentor Flag Day 5K
Thursday – AM bike and swim
Friday – run 4 miles AM
Saturday – rest (lots of wedding prep activities)
Sunday – 25 mile bike (Sunday in June)

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