70.3 Training Week 14 & The Great Western Reserve Triathlon 2016

Week 14 was race week! I managed to get in 75 miles and I’m happy with the number, my effort and how the race went.

week-14-trainingIt was my first triathlon of the season and I was nervously excited. I was actually relieved that I felt more excited than nervous, but the nerves were definitely still there too! I loved that they changed the race to Saturday this year. I am a huge fan of Saturday races vs. Sunday races because I feel like I have more time for the weekend and other activities and also I like relaxing on Sunday mornings (who doesn’t?!).

The closer it got to Saturday the more excited I got. Of course I was still nervous for the swim – particularly swimming and remaining calm in my tight wet suit, but I couldn’t wait to see where I was in terms of training and preparation. This race was my second Olympic distance and my sixth overall triathlon.

I felt like I had an easy time putting together my race bag the night before. Everything fit into an Under Armor book bag (except I carried my wet suit). This is a huge improvement considering I used to bring a giant plastic grocery bag and a book bag with me to races. (I’m not sure what I even brought with me to fill all that in past years!!)

post-race-setupEverything (thankfully) went pretty smooth on race day. I did get the wrong bib and ankle timer at first and luckily I happened to look down and see that my name wasn’t “Travis Holloway”. I was able to run up and exchange it for “Cassandra Holloway” fairly quickly before heading down to the beach for the swim.

Normally I go to triathlons alone. Sometimes I drag my husband with me if I’m feeling super self conscience, but I don’t have any “good friends” who are also triathletes. Of course I know some people and I say hi, but it’s not like I’m hanging out with my best friends during these events. I normally tinker around by myself on race morning and am very timid. On Saturday though I somehow, somewhere flipped a switched. I was there to race and to get the job done. I felt confident and for the first time in my three years of triathlon I felt like I actually knew what I was doing and like I wasn’t a fish out of water. I knew how everything worked and like I said before I was more excited than nervous. I saw people I knew and I happily chatted. Because of all this I started the race feeling strong, confident and relaxed. I set everything up perfectly and took the time to mentally go through the race. I even warmed up in the water! Normally I am WAY to nervous and I just stand there like a bump on a log about to pee myself. This time I was practically doing handstands in the water and chatting with people around me before we had to go line up on the beach for the start. The water felt refreshing and the sun was shining. I felt good!

racked-and-readyThe great thing about being part of Cleveland Triathlon Club and buying a team race kit is that you basically have “built in” friends while doing local races. I saw probably 10 other people racing in the exact same kit as me and we cheered and shouted encouragement when we saw each other out on the course. This makes a BIG difference and I was practically patting myself on the back for stepping out of my comfort zone and joining CTC and getting involved. It’s not easy to start something new by yourself, but I’ve always said that I’m not the type of person to NOT do something because I’m afraid of going or doing it alone.

In general the race was excellent. I stayed calm (for the most part) during the swim and I drafted successfully for half the swim next to another swimmer. There was a point when my fingers and toes grazed seaweed and I instantly felt my panic mode increase. I had to literately shout to myself “IT’S ALRIGHT!!” like a lunatic, but it got my thoughts in order and I pressed on. I am pretty much the queen of talking to myself during races though. I didn’t even care how crazy I sounded during some moments. I was dreading a hill on the bike course (since it was a 2-lap course) and I told myself that it would be over in 10 seconds and to just count out loud during it. I was practically screaming and counting, but it got me through it! Then on the run course (which was the hardest part of the whole race) I was really struggling the first few miles. It was very hot and the sun was beating down, but talking to myself (more like whispering encouragements to myself when I’d pass people) helped me press on. It was actually hilarious and I was laughing out loud at myself afterwards. Hey – whatever gets me to the finish line!!

"Fearless" is my power word. It's always my motto when things get tough or when I get nervous or if I'm questioning myself

“Fearless” is my power word. It’s always my motto when things get tough or when I get nervous or if I’m questioning myself. I write this on my hand during every triathlon as a reminder.

The race was awesome and I’m very happy with how it turned out. I think I need to focus on faster transitions times, being more aggressive in the water (maybe starting up more towards the front) and feeling strong on the run. I know the beginning of the triathlon run is always the hardest, so I need to either get better/stronger at running off the bike and/or get better/stronger mentally to get over the hard part. Once I found my groove on the run I was doing decent, but I had a couple dark moments in the beginning where I didn’t think I could continue another step.

After this weekend’s race, I think I’ll be around 7 hours for Ironman 70.3 Ohio. I did some research on average times and I think I’ll be around: 1 hour for the swim, 3 to 3.5 hours for the bike and just under 3 hours for the half marathon. Honestly my main goal for 70.3 is to just finish. I can think about PR’s after I know I can survive! 🙂

average-half-iron-timesSunday was a good day because I knew I had worked hard all week and I was still riding the high of the race on Saturday. We went to a cookout Saturday night and it felt good to relax and drink beer with friends. On Sunday I was up early to clean the house and then the hubby and I left to go have lunch on the beach and then went zip-lining. It was an awesome day and I highly recommend Go Ape Zip-lining in Strongsville. It’s not just straight zip lines the whole time either – it has tons of amazing and hilarious obstacles. I wish it was closer to our house because I feel like we’d be there all the time! It’s a little pricey, but if you’re looking for a great outdoor adventure for an afternoon this is the right place.

Happy week 15! Let’s go get ’em!

park-beach

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