Friday, October 8, 2010

Lobsterman Olympic Race Report

     Training-wise the toughest thing following Timberman has been to get myself revved up for Lobsterman. Training this whole season has mostly been geared towards performing well at Timberman. The race season definitely felt like it was getting long having competed in the Season Opener in early May as my first race of 2010. I was starting to look forward to actually have a life outside of triathlon...who'd have thought!!
      The few weeks following Timberman, calling my bike rides bad would be an understatement. It felt like I had a charlie horse in my left quad every time I went over 10 to 15 miles especially in aero. I was seriously worried about how the Lobsterman bike ride would go. I also found it hard to get the motivation to go swimming (especially open water) with the weather getting cooler and the discovery of little jellyfish in Walden Pond. It turns out that was probably the reason I felt pretty itchy after a swim there shortly before the discovery. While I've been stung by a jellyfish in the ocean in Mexico, I have to admit I never thought I'd have to worry about jellyfish in a pond!
      Keith & I made the trip up the night before the race. The morning of the race, we arrived at the park pretty early (probably a little too early). The sun was rising over the ocean and I understood why this race has been called one of the most's gorgeous there! 
Beautiful Freeport, ME locale
     The week or so leading up to Lobsterman, it felt like I had tweaked my hip a bit. Between this and my quad feeling off, I had no idea how this race was going to go.  Just for kicks, let's add some cold water to the mix for the swim. I was definitely worried about the famed freezing cold swim of Lobsterman. In case you're wondering, they actually require you to wear a wetsuit (and for good reason). The water temp was 61 degrees F and this was my first ocean swim of the year. Before the start of the race, Carrie, Keith and I went for a warm up swim although I think this would more accurately be called a chill down swim. My body and feet didn't get too cold thanks to my wetsuit and booties but my hands and face froze the second I put them in the water. I was not looking forward to a freezing cold .93 mile swim.  
     I waited for the other swim waves to go with Carrie and Ashley and then hopped in the water when it was our turn to swim. One funny thing about doing a race in Maine - the announcer was actually wearing a lobster costume! Surprisingly when I got back in the water for the swim start, the water did not seem quiet as freezing as before.
      The swim went by slowly and I really just wanted to get to my bike. Luckily this part of the Maine ocean is really sheltered and was as calm as the beaches on the Northshore. Sighting was a bit difficult during the swim with the sun in our eyes for part of it so I just followed everyone else. I remember one of my least favorite thing about ocean swims: getting a mouthful of salt water - yum! Towards the end of the swim, I tried to pick up the pace and kick a lot to get the legs warmed up for the bike. I definitely felt like the cold water was zapping my energy at this point and I started to get pretty tired. Finally the swim ended and I was off to transition and my bike.
      At the start of the race, I was worried the air temp would be a little too cool and I was remembering Season Opener this year where I was frozen until around mile 2 of the run. The weather ended up being great! I hopped on my bike and off I went for the 24.7 miles. I made good time on the bike and I was pushing to have a faster pace than Timberman. For some reason, this race seemed like there were a lot of people who liked to hog the road on the bike. I definitely got sick of yelling on your left in an attempt for people to get the hint to stay on the right unless they're passing. I ended averaging 20.3 mph (4th in my AG) which was faster than Timberman and my quad did not end up acting up.
      Next up was the run. I was feeling pretty good at this point and wanted to try to beat the pace I held in my other Olympics. The run was hilly and I was definitely feeling this in both my knees by the end. I just kept concentrating on having the right form the whole run. A guy going a little faster than me passed me around mile 2 or 3. I decided to try to use him as my pacer and this ended up working to my advantage. To unknown pacer – thanks for keeping me at an 8 min mile! 

      My goal for this race was to beat my other two Olympic tri times of 2 hours and 44 minutes. That's right, in both of the other Olympics I did this year (before Timberman), my times were within seconds of each other. I'm thrilled to say I finished with a PR and while I was a little disappointed I didn't place in my age group (6th out of 35), I know I can't control who shows up for the race. Not only did I set a PR, but Keith did as well! Woohoo time to celebrate!

Crossing the finish
Post Race
      Keith and I decided to skip out on the Lobsterbake (overpaying for cold hamburgers and hot dogs at the Timberbake was still fresh in our minds), we drove down to Portland to eat some baked haddock. You might wonder what a reward might be like for both of us getting a PR at a Maine race. Lobster!! While in Portland, we realized the lobsters are relatively cheap so we decided to get a couple and have our own Lobsterbake later that night!

Swim: 31:33
T1: 1:58
Bike: 1:13:24 (20.3 mph)
T2: 1:00
Run: 49:40
Overall time: 2:37:32 (6th out of 35 in AG; 26th out of 207 females)

"Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly." ~Robert H. Schuller

The Lobster!

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