Sprint distance triathlons may be the hardest distance in triathlon. I find them more painful than an Ironman. From the first swim stroke to the final steps... you are suffering. Legs are full of lactate, mind is full of self doubt, but you have to stay calm when the storm is at its fullest.
I was excited for Pardeeville. I've never raced it and have heard good things. The biggest reason i was looking forward to it was because i gave myself some rest in the final 2 days, yay rest!
On Wednesday i did my last run session which was my common Tuesday cutdown run, 2 miles easy, 2 miles moderate, 2 miles max effort. Life got in the way Tuesday which forced me to do this on Wednesday. On Thursday i did the aquathon where i went full gas in the swim and jogged the run portion. Its hard to be in a competition and not give 100%, but i didnt want a Verona Triterium experience. Rest, be smart.
I tried something different on race morning for nutrition. Typically i get a very tight stomach and have a hard time digesting solid foods, so the bread/bagel, PB and Jelly doesnt work for me. This time i went and purchased a large bottle of Naked Juice Green Machine which worked out GREAT! Green Machine has basically zero fiber with some protein so it goes down easy and it didnt seem to upset my stomach. This is a good solution for you nervous racers, however, make sure you check the labels as some Naked Juices contains a lot of fiber and that will make your chances of stomach issues increase!
My biggest talent in swimming is my ability to veer left when in open water, i have mastered this! Joking...
The swim start in Pardeeville favors people who start on the left as you can run further. As this seems like the most logical thing to do, i stayed on the right knowing i would veer left. If i started left, i would veer left and be on the inside of the buoy forcing me to redirect and swim extra only to be trapped on the inside of the buoy and get clobbered! The 1st turn buoy was only 50-75 yards from the start so if you dont start fast, you will get clobbered... i dont start fast, its not in my genes. I did have a very good swim, 29 seconds from the first person which is a success but i know its not to where i can swim off my pool fitness. Progress.
The bike was fast and furious. I set off at a pretty fast pace and was seeing good numbers. I was definitely red lining and often times wanted to sit up to rest but remained diligent to stay in the aero bars. In the past, i would catch myself breaking the aero position. I had some issues bringing my heart rate down so around mile 3, i shifted a couple gears harder to lower my cadence and that seemed to help keep the watts up and eventually brought the HR down. Ok, lets go! The rest of the ride was pretty full on. When youre pushing that hard, it often brings out the negative chatter in your head, "How can i run off this type of effort?" "You should slow down". For much of the ride, we had 3 total riders all within a close proximity so that always helps keep your attention on not losing too much ground. It actually takes your mind off the watts and more on racing.
On a numbers stand point, i was happy with my NP but felt like i had another 5-10 watts in me. The effort of this was much more manageable than a couple weeks ago in Verona. Also, to produce 275 on a pancake course was very good.
Transition 2 I made some mistakes that may have cost me 3rd overall. Out of the 4 of us coming into T2, i was last. I also had a slower T2 as i had issues getting my shoe around my heel. Once we started running i got gapped. I was running hard but everyone kept putting more and more time into me, was i even running? I kept seeing 5:45s on my watch and didn't believe they would hold the paces they were running so I stuck to my effort. My patience worked out and by 1000m into the run I passed 4th with 2nd and 3rd very close. Once we hit the turn around i was within 30 meters of 3rd and thats as close as i got. i was trying very hard but just wasn't enough. I was proud of my 4th place.
As i mentioned earlier, sprint triathlons are very hard. I'm not a very fast athlete and don't really excel at them. I do them because they challenge me mentally and physically. They teach me to accept pain, deal with pain, and push through pain. So many times i wanted to give up and "jog it in" but never did. What i also liked about Saturday was how it felt like a real race. I can't afford to make mistakes like i did in transition. By the finish, 3rd place was 12 seconds ahead, 2nd place was 26 seconds, and 5th place was only 16 seconds behind me. From 2nd to 5th the spread was 42 seconds... the is no room for mistakes and letting off the gas pedal.
Door County Half is next on the schedule this weekend and i cannot wait!