Heading into Bridgeland, I didn't consider tapering much as I am attempting to keep my endurance building looking forward to Cactus Rose in October. My average training mileage for the 5 weeks leading up to Bridgeland was about 75 miles per week, and 9-10 hours per week. I have been feeling good at this level which was another "goal" I had for a reason that I will speak to later in this post.
Bridgeland was by far, one of the best run events I have ever participated in. Organized, clean, pleasant in every way. Whatever these race directors are doing, I pray they keep doing it. I can't believe this race is only 4 years old. It had the taste and flair of a highly seasoned race. In a pool of 1650 participants, I never felt crowded, overwhelmed, lost, etc. I found several people I knew and met many I had only known by name until race day.
Packet pick up was a breeze, save for the horrible traffic to get to the site. 249-290 was under construction and this made for a slow drive time.
One aspect of triathlon I do not enjoy is the stress of getting to the packet pick up on time. I imagine this is true for most people. Trying to carve the time out of the day to get to some of these locations the day before the race is difficult at best. But it is what it is and aside from this issue, everything else seems to move along quickly on race day morning, which I am sure is the whole reason behind packet pick up.
Race morning is always an early rise time. This day, I was up by 3:45 and Mark and I headed out the door pretty soon after that. The drive to Cypress was much quicker than the day before alleviating the pre-race "am I going to be late?!" anxiety I typically feel.
Body marking went well and I headed into transition to set everything up. I was close to both the bike out and the run out which was great! I walked around to get a feel of what it would be like coming out of the water and to get a general acclimation to the layout of the transition area.
As Mark and I headed to the swim area, I started feeling quite a lot of anxiety regarding the swim. I have no idea why the nerves jumped up, but a little pep talk from Richard, and I felt a bit better. I walked towards the swim start and just tried to keep myself calm. 550 meters is nothing compared to what I normally swim, but for some reason, I was really spiraling into a puddle of self-doubt. Perhaps it was related to my experience at the Y Freedom Tri, or perhaps it just was what it was. I decided to throw out any expectation to time for the swim and focus on feeling comfortable while having a good experience in the water.
I was in one of the very last waves, making my wait time about an hour to get into the water. When it was finally my turn, I got in the water, waited for the go, and started swimming. Instantly, the anxiety left, I felt calm, and I focused on slow, steady form. Kind of a funny thing to focus on when one can't see through the water. I hope to one day swim in clear open water. That would be amazing!
I finished the swim in 13:16 and was pleased at how well I felt during the swim. I only used the breast stroke briefly while trying to site around the last buoy.
T1 was a bit slower as I wanted to be sure to hydrate well and eat a bit. 3:19 was most definitely a bit too long and I will work on that for next time.
This race was the first race for the new bike and she did fantastic! I felt very comfortable the entire ride and again, settled on the idea of not pushing myself too much, saving a bit more for a very hot run. The first 4 miles on the bike felt great. For some reason, miles 4-8 or so felt like much more work and my quads weren't real excited to push through. I chalk this up to my inexperience on the bike and hope that more training on the bike will result in a better average mph. The last 5 miles went well when the quads turned back on. Total bike time was 44:17 (avg 17.6 mph). T2 time was 2:36. Again, another area to cut some time.
|Philomena and I after her first race.|
Heading out on the run, I again made the decision to hold back and not go all out. I really wanted to savor this experience on this day. It was very hot, and I didn't know how my body would respond to the heat and full sun. I felt great the entire run, feeling stronger with each stride. I tried to encourage the other runners along the way and made sure to hit every sprinkler that was set up to keep us cool. I crossed the finish line with a run time of 25:59 (8:23/mile). Total race time 1:29:29. 17th in AG.
I would highly recommend this race to anyone interested in a good sprint tri. I enjoyed my time very much and will probably register for next year as soon as it opens.
Coming off the race, I have not let up on the training at all. I am increasing the amount of cycling and running that I am doing. Follow me on Dailymile (right side bar) if you are so inclined. I am registered for one more tri this month, Clear Lake. I will be taking on much more of a challenge as I am registered for the Olympic distance. Then full on Cactus Rose training will be here.
My reasoning for the heavy training over the last 6 weeks has been simply to prove to myself that I can handle the training load that will come from Ironman training beginning in January. (yes, I registered). I am at about 3/4s of the time that I will be putting in weekly and feel tired, but good and stronger than 3 months ago.
At times, I feel like I am cheating on my trails by enjoying the tri training so much. This evaporates rather quickly after noting the increased endurance and overall strength that I feel I have gained.
Once I cross the finish line at CR, I will take some time to ease up and recover and then head into full time IMTX training. I can't believe I am at this point in my "career" but I am embracing it all realizing that each moment is truly a gift!