I did a workout called Murph one week before Litchfield (8/16/09). This was the second time the workout hit the calendar, but the first time I finished it. It is a brutal workout and I wonder if I recovered from it in a week.
Litchfield Hills Triathlon (8/23/09):
This race was on the calendar for a reason. It kicked my butt last year and I wanted to come back and have a much better result this year. As the blog title suggested, my feelings are mixed on the results. I am pleased to say that I took about 17 minutes off of last year's time. I am also 99% certain that the swim was longer this year than last year and that attributed to about 3 minutes more I am confident that I could have shaved off of last year's time. All in all, not too shabby - so what's my problem? What do I have to complain about?
I set a goal for myself to finish the race in 2:45. I finished in 2:53. I believe I could have reached my goal if everyting went well. I did not feel "full of energy" prior to the race. I kind of felt it on the Thursday before the race during my workout, but there were still two days before the race; therefore, I did not read into it. I warmed up on the bike and ran a little, did some stretches and headed for the water. I swam a couple of hundred yards more or less and felt loose enough, but still did not feel the energy coursing through me as I sometimes do before a race, especially when I have tapered. O.k., this has happened before, but as soon as the gun goes off, I'm fine. That did not happen. I swam o.k. - I could tell that my pace was decent. I was swimming fluently, I just did not feel real strong. After the swim I struggled with my wetsuit which is turning into a recurring theme which I know means I have to practice this aspect of racing and if I can't improve on getting it off, I need to consider getting a different wetsuit. Next was the .20 mile run to transition (uphill). I could not catch my breath going up this hill which annoyed the hell out of me. I walked a few steps to catch my breath and then continued on with a slow run. The rest of transition went well. I hopped on my bike and again did not feel powerful. I generally ease into my pace over the first mile - I had nothing. Finally, by mile three I seemed to at least get into a good rhythm. Most of hills in the first 23 miles of racing were fairly tame - the last couple of miles are brutal. I saw my average speed drop from an impressive 24 mph all the way down to 20. I would like to say that the ending hills on the bike attributed to a bad run, but that just isn't so. As steep as the hills were I rode them steady and kept the HR at a decent level. Plus there is enough flat stuff after the hill to spin the legs out.
The run actually started off fairly decent. That's probably because the only flat and downhill sections are near the beginning of the run. I still don't understand how there can be so much uphill in a 6.2 mile circular course. It seems to me that there should be equal amounts of downhill and uphill - it sure doesn't feel that way. My run was just over an hour dashing my hopes of meeting my goal.
I looked back at the race to determine where I went wrong and can't really put my finger on it. I was hydrated before and during the race. I have been sleeping well. My diet was good the week of the race. I took two gels on the bike (if any error was made in nutrition it that one or two gels on the run may have helped). The fact that I felt "flat" before the race even began suggests that the problem may be a recovery issue. I truly feel that I was still recovering from Murph, a workout I did a week prior.
Overall I'm pleased with the result. I am also pleased that I have something to analyze and try to improve upon.
I skipped my workout on Monday following the race, but did that workout (an easy ride) Tuesday morning and did Tuesday's workout (deadlifts) Tuesday evening to get back on track.
I was planning to go easy this week and race on Sunday to end the Triathlon season on a high note, however, I seem to be getting some of my energy back, therefore, I'm going to stick to the original plan (other than the fact that I did not max out the deadlifts). I swam an 800m time trial today- finished in 15:14. That's a benhmark number I will keep an eye on.