USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

I'm back from Nationals in Omaha and it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience! I finished in 3:06 and did the best that I could that day. It's a great opportunity to meet other triathletes from all across the country and find out about other races, other places to swim and different challenges in their state for training. Some people have to deal with altitude, some deal with cold wet winters, some no open water to train in, some hot summers. Some athletes deal with physical health and life challenges. By and by everyone dealt with those challenges and it brought them here. I had to deal with a little sciatica injury, but recovered just in time and raised a few bucks for Back on My Feet, which is a plus! Thanks to everyone who supports our cause!

Overall, I feel motivated and energized to continue to do triathlons. I was feeling meh about training for a long course such as Ironman but the Nationals can keep you psyched to do the short course racing if you are looking to improve your speed. I actually have time goals I would like to achieve before I go 140.6 so this works. I went in with realistic expectations and was glad to be able to finish given my circumstances of getting injured earlier in the year. My base training had been interrupted and I had to take a month off and do nothing. Also, no prep races. Some people had done half ironmans right before. But I got a chance to go and do this and absorb alot of info, experience what it's like to be there, get graded on my test and get some homework for the next test! Here's the recap:

The race was delayed by 30 minutes because of traffic, so we had plenty of time for getting ready, having breakfast, using the bathroom, stretching, socializing, etc. This was great because I had a knot in my calf and I had time to work on it and roll it out with my water bottle. We got to watch the swim start at least a dozen times. I also peeked into the transition area to watch people do the run in and bike out. It was a HUGE transition area so that accounted for more time.

The Swim: 0:41:34
The water was warm and we had a chance to warm up on the other side of the dock. When the horn went off we booked it, except I feel like I was going out too fast to try to keep up with the rest of the pack and then got the oxygen deficit after 100 yards. This is a really uncomfortable feeling and makes you feel like quitting. I realized I just needed to slow down and find my 1 mile pace. Once I found my groove it was fine. I just kept thinking of enjoying the moment and looked forward to hopping on my bike. They actually gave us a nice long gap between this wave and the next so that I didn't get run over until the last half of the course. At the very end, right as I was about to set foot on the ramp, I got a calf cramp of course. There goes my run to my transition! >> Strava

T1: 0:03:14  
I had visualized where my bike was and even put a bright orange microtowel on my aerobars. Luckily my bike is bright yellow which makes it easy to spot. Because of my back, I sat down on the grass and put my bike shoes on. I was never a bike-on-the-pedals person before. I got to Nationals without having to do that so why would I start now? Just the thought of stepping on something barefoot and hurting my feet for the run makes me cringe. The helmet and straps were securely on even before touching my bike. The number one rule to remember!

The Bike: 1:25:18
This was a really fun course. I got to enjoy the speed upgrade of my bike. Unfortunately I dropped my chain twice on the hill, once on the out and once on the way back, and I got a huge cramp in my quad when I got off the bike. That got my attention! I was able to pass  a few people and most importantly no penalties! There was a huge presence of officials and police all over the course. It was well monitored. There was a railroad track bit that was covered in carpet, thankfully. Other than that mostly smooth sailing and no crashes or flats. On the way back I felt a little headwind and I missed the opportunity to advance on the descent because I was stuck behind someone slower than me and there was a long line of people passing and I couldn't get in. I should have attacked on the uphill and passed then. I was wondering if I had it in me on the way up, and asking myself if I should save my legs or whatnot. Next time, I don't think it would have impacted my run to push it and I could have shaved off a few minutes. And now it will bother me forever that I didn't leave it all on the course! >> Strava

T2: 0:03:12  
Racked bike and undid helmet then sat on the grass again for the shoe switch. No socks this time. I had my Brooks T7 racers. I grabbed my BoMF singlet with bib pinned on and a gel flask and hit the road.

The Run: 0:53:08
It was a hot day, and since my wave started later, it was approaching high noon on the run. Cue the spaghetti western music. This is where the race really heats up for me, and last chance to catch up! The great thing is they had several aid stations on the lapped course where I could grab some  ice water and pour it on my head. I didn't have a problem running off the bike at all. I tried to start slower than I felt like going and warm up for the first mile. I focused on my high cadence technique and my posture and breathing. After that, I settled into a 8:30ish pace and see if this is going to work for negative split. I let someone in my age group surge past me and sure enough passed them later after hanging on steady for the duration. After the halfway mark I kicked up a little notch, opening the stride a little more and using my arms, passing a few more, and then torched it on the last mile. I was able to blast through the finish chute with a strong pace. The finish chute is not a time to be hanging back! In the big picture of things I'm sure none of it mattered, but later down the line it could. >> Strava

Though I didn't get sub 3 hours I learned quite a bit, and enjoyed the race and post race recovery. No overall PRs, but it was a definite PR on the bike! I really enjoyed the ride and look forward to more fast rides. Though I had visualized the race, I didn't really visualize the end of the race. I was just glad to be done! I should have went to bag check first before trying to clean up my transition area. I tried to scoop everything up in my towel and carry it that way. It was nice to not have a lot of clutter in the transition area to stumble over. I loved all the honesty and comments by the other athletes. Sometimes they say things you are also thinking and feeling and are very supportive. I felt a lot of unity and camaraderie here. A great reprieve from all the other BS happening in the world. It's nice to be able to take a step back and be relieved and grateful. I had been thinking and planning for it for such a long time. I couldn't believe some people were doing the double. I was pretty exhausted the next day and barely managed a short run. I wanted to go out and see a little bit of Omaha before heading back home. They had shuttle service to and from hotel which I took advantage of.

For fueling, I trained low carb and raced high carb. This works for me on short fast courses, and I managed to control my weight before my race and lost 10 lbs, even through injury and non-activity. HFLC is anti-inflammatory and one of the main reasons why I do it, to ease the aches and pains. For a longer course, I might stay low carb after the refeed. I had some homemade energy bars for breakfast, some endurolytes and a gel right before the swim, Hammer Perpetuem mixed with SOS on the bike, and 3 gels in a flask mixed with water on the run. I think this is why I didn't fade at the end. I didn't totally "carb-load" but just ate normally. Start the carbs 2 days out from race day and hydrating.  The day before, a breakfast burrito, a sandwich for lunch, and some rice with dinner. Lots of sweet potato and plantain chips. I love my starchy carbs! What most people think of eating normally is actually carb-loading, LOL. I eat way more vegetables on HFLC than I do if eating vegetarian. After the race I did Recoverite and the post race food which was a tuna sandwich. My appetite was a bit off after that but I managed to find some simple pre-cooked food at the local organic grocery store and deli. I'm starting to feel a little puffy so going back to low-carbing it. These are all personal logistical details that I can refer to on the next race. It's good to keep a log.

Thanks so much again to Rick Byrd for my new custom bike and for Kyle of Trek Marin / Every Man Jack for getting the bike up there. I highly recommend their services!
Finisher Medal
Checking out the swim course

Bike check-in

Transition area

Race Packet

Collecting memorabilia at the USAT shop

Getting the fuel together

Transition ready!

The calm before the storm

Waiting for race to start

Watching the USAT program on the big screen


Race Week is here!

 Race week is here! I kept it easy with a swim,  a bike, a run, a walk with BoMF. I had a great night of sleep feel rested. My bike is on its way to Omaha, thanks to Kyle from Trek Bikes in Marin. I'm taking a super early flight tomorrow and I'm pretty much packed. Started carbing up and hydrating. On my run I remembered all the training and working through injury and lack of motivation that I dealt with. The group training and doing it for a cause did it for me. I'm reminded that it is a privilege to be able to do this, but it takes consistency and putting in the time and effort towards fitness. I'm a recreational triathlete so have to remember to push myself a little more when the time comes (but not get injured). I'm so thankful for the love and support!

It's not too late to donate to Back on My Feet SF!


Week 2 - In the bag

Countdown to USATAGNC! Last week's training: 2 Swims, 2 Bikes and 2 Runs = 8 hours (plus 50 miles bike commute). I had another big 2 hour SUP this weekend from Golden Gate Bridge to the San Francisco Bay Bridge supporting a Water World Swim event. Great to see people acheiving their long swim goals! My knee is a little sore from walking a lot with my SUP so I am taking it easy for the rest of the weekend taking a physical and mental break and just getting everything packed and ready for my race. Last minute check to see if I can slip on my new bike shoes easily without socks. I am down to my goal weight, which is a little lighter than my last tri. It's all in the bag. The only thing left to do is arrive "fit and fresh".

WWS Bridge to Bridge - SUPport

Biking in GGP - testing out the gear
With my running mentor George at BoMF social

My running mentor George Rehmet of RRCA joined us for our BoMF monthly evening run and social where we celebrated member mileage milestones! I am completely self-funded for my race. Help me raise funds for Back on My Feet! I will blog more often during race week. Check out the live-stream on race day here!

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