I’ve been in Milwaukee since Thursday afternoon settling in before the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, which took place Saturday. I stayed through Sunday to watch some teammates do the sprint race too and arrived home last night. It’s been a memorable trip—and triathlon season.
General training notes: As to be expected during race week, I was a total head case. Because I embraced the taper and shut down workouts early, I had a ton of extra energy. In typical type-A form, I also over-analyzed everything. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were especially rough, but by Wednesday afternoon, I changed my mindset and started to relax.
Monday – a.m. bike
Yes, this sounds dramatic, but this was the worst way to start taper week. My cousin loaned me some race wheels (you’re the best, MB!), so I installed them myself (mistake number one) and took them out for a test ride. During the 30 miles in Central Park, my legs felt absolutely awful, and my effort level did not match my speed; it seemed like I should’ve been going a lot faster for my perceived exertion. Later that day, I took my Slice to Zen Bikes, and the guys joked I must’ve had a great workout because my front brake pads were touching the front wheel and essentially braking the entire ride. Even though I looked like a moron, I felt so much better knowing it was a bike issue and not a “me” issue.
Tuesday – a.m. bike
Race wheels take two: 20 miles. Holy cow. Race wheels are incredible. I felt so much smoother on hills and flats—and my speed was, well, very fast (for me).
Wednesday – a.m. swim and run
The lane in the pool was packed, and everyone was doing their own thing—and this organized chaos did not bode well for me, so I hopped out after 1,200 yards. Then I headed to the treadmill for three easy miles, and my coach went over my race plan and goals. That’s when it really hit me: Everything I’ve done this season comes down to this race, which was terrifying and exciting. But it also occurred to me that I felt ready.
Thursday – off
Travel day to Milwaukee. And I always take a rest day two days before a race. It works.
Friday – a.m. run
Doing a light run the day before a race leads to absolutely no gains, but it gives me peace of mind. I always have nightmares about forgetting how to swim, bike, and/or run, so I did an easy run-walk on the treadmill to silence those doubts.
Saturday – USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships
There will obviously be a race report, but here’s the CliffNotes version: decent swim, good bike, and good first three miles off the bike. I put myself in a position to contend for a top-25 spot, but couldn’t hold on once I got to the run. Official finishing time was 2:31, which placed me 36/91 in my age group (and 54/128 in my “new” 25-29 age group). I’m satisfied with my performance, and I know what needs to happen during the off-season. Hint: It involved running all the (smart, injury-free) miles.
Sunday – a.m. easy run
My Garmin didn’t sync, but this was an easy, three-mile-ish run through downtown Milwaukee. I even saw a handful of my teammates who were doing the sprint, so I got to wish them luck beforehand.
So what’s next? That’s a good question. Since I’m happy with Saturday, I probably will not race another triathlon this season, but I will continue to swim, bike, and run. I still need to sit down with my coach to recap the race, discuss my season as a whole, and map out some off-season goals, but I already have a few objectives. There will be a post for those, too. This week, I’ll focus on being a “real person.”