An Early Season Race Reminded Me To…
I recently did the Clash Endurance 70.3 Tri at the Miami-Homestead Speedway in Florida. Very cool venue. I’d never been in a huge NASCAR type of setting, and it was very impressive. It made Memorial Stadium seem small.
March is really early for a longer type race for us living in the Plains and especially if you’re not a great winter training person. Here are a few things that went through my mind before, during and after. Keep these in mind as you’re heading into this season. “Remember” is the keyword for this post.
This race reminded me to:
- Arrive Early
I didn’t need to be reminded of this since I woke up in my hotel room at 3:30 a.m. and that, after moving the clocks ahead one hour when I went to bed for daylight savings. So 2:30 a.m. on my body. I was one of the first into transition. Loved it – my choice of any spot.
- Study The Transition Area
It reminded me to know the flow. Memorize where my bike is. Get a spot on the end of the rack vs. the middle if possible.
It reminded me to bring two. The water was 77 degrees so the race was wetsuit legal and water fairly warm. A cold front moved through the evening before, however and we woke up to 52 degree temperature with a strong north wind. The day before the heat index was in the lower 90s. The water temp said that a sleeveless would be fine. (A full suit might be a bit faster, but I love the freedom of the sleeveless.) The 45 minutes before the race reminded me that I should have brought the long sleeved just to stay warm before the race started. I stood there freezing, waiting to get in the water.
If you don’t have one or only have one, then you’re set. No “which one?” issue. If you have both, toss both in your car and make the decision when you get to the race. I wish that I had. It was COLD!
This early season race reminded me to take it out easy and stay in control. It was a rolling start with two athletes going in the water every three to five seconds so it wasn’t super crowded. Still, don’t get caught up the swim-start-craziness.
It reminded me to think through my order of doing the first transition. I thought through this the last 100 of the swim part. Wetsuit pulled down. Run fast. Goggles and cap tossed on ground. Wetsuit off. Helmet on. GO! Run out!
I was reminded to settle in. It always feels a bit frantic at the start of the ride. We had to leave the Speedway, do a couple of short out-and-back sections, then head out on the long stretch to Key Largo North, over a bridge to the turn around. The winds were really bad so I told myself to settle in and not to push into the wind too hard. Remember, 13.1 miles are yet to come. (In this case it was actually 13.4.) I was also reminded to stay very hydrated. This race is in FL and even though it was a cold morning, it warmed up on the run and I wanted to be ready. Based on how many times “nature called” on the bike, I was well hydrated.
I was reminded to go fast, but to stay in control. RUN with the bike to my rack. Rack bike. Helmet off. Socks on. Running shoes on. Grab race fuel belt/hat and GO!
This race gave a Wahoo $330 new tri watch to the fastest combined transitions for every 10 year age group. I was determined to go home with that watch. I’m a short-course specialist. I got this! My combined time was 3:34. The guy who went home with the watch on his wrist? Yeah, he went 3:30. Four stinking seconds. Two seconds per transition! Seriously? Uggghhh.
I was reminded how easy those first few miles feel. I had to seriously pull the reins in miles one to four. I felt amazing. It felt easy. I must have paced the bike perfectly. But then, I was reminded how miserable those last few miles can feel. I was first out of the water in my age group. First place after the bike. First for the first five miles into the run, then, got passed by the dude who won. I was reminded that 13 miles is a long way and to have patience.
I was also reminded to take my Electrolytes at regular intervals to hold off any cramping. Nailed that but felt like death the last three miles. My winter training was OK for winter and the upcoming “real” season that starts in May but man, those were painful. Overall body fatigue. But, press on, be smart and take what the day gives you. That finish line never looked so good even though I didn’t! 5:32 for a March 70.3? I’ll take it.
I was reminded to keep moving and get in some good recovery nutrition and to put on my Firefly Recovery Devices. I was glad I remembered to take comfortable clothes in which to change. The awards ceremony started with the youngest age groups and since I was in the 135-139 age group, I knew I had quite a wait. 😊
It was good to stand on the second place podium spot, though, if you know me at all, you know that’s not where I wanted to be. But, all-in-all, I was reminded to be very grateful for a good, mostly solid race, based solely on winter training. As you get closer and closer to race season, remember…remember stuff. Make lists that help you remember.
Remember to actually sign up for those races. A few years back on a Saturday evening, I packed my bike and gear in the car and was excited to race the Papillion Tri the next morning. I went to my laptop to print out my registration confirmation to take with me just in case, (always do this). I couldn’t find it. Looked in every file I could dream of and, no registration confirmation. Wait what? I DID register right?
I tried to make a couple of phone calls to the race folks but the Papillion Department of Recreation was closed. I finally found a number, the number of the timing company and actually reached someone. He gave me the race director’s number.
I called, and the director said he was sorry, but it was too late to register. I told him that I’d pay extra. (Can you guess the desperation?) I’d pay an additional late fee. He said, “No”. I told him I’d raced his race many times and wanted to in the future. He said, “No”. I told him I’d actually won the race a few years back – first Overall. Come on, please, let a former race champ in. No. Race max was 300. There were around 200 registered. No. Good grief. He wouldn’t budge. I still don’t understand that but, ultimately, it was on me to remember to REGISTER for Pete’s sake.
So, my last tip? Register! You can go to the Race Omaha website and register right now for the races they are holding this year so you don’t forget later.
Yes, there’s a lot to remember, but start now. Plan now. Make lists now. And, register now.