Monday, May 16, 2011

New Orleans 5i50 Race Report

In my quest for speed this year, I have entered multiple shorter-distance events. This also means throwing myself outside my comfort zone, which I figure has to be good for me.

Steven wasn't able to make this trip, but I recruited my mother-in-law and her sister. They not only kept me laughing all weekend, but were great company. A huge thanks to them for coming to my race and supporting me in my crazy sport.

Race day dawned clear and not super hot and humid as I had expected. It was however windy. VERY windy. And I look half asleep in this picture because I am. With the time change and early race start I woke up at 1:30am California time.

Race morning involved a delayed start (they couldn't get the buoys out into the water because it was so choppy), a changed swim course where we were going to do three loops, and then finally when the buoys still couldn't be placed in the water, the race was changed to a duathlon (2 mile run / 40k bike / 10k run). 

Although I'm not the world's best swimmer, I was actually a bit disappointed we didn't get to swim. Also, starting out a race with a 2-mile-sprint is an extremely harsh way to jolt your body into racing. However, I am grateful we still got to race, and I completely understand why the race was altered to a duathlon. 

Onto the run and a pack of five girls formed. I was in this pack for about half a mile and then I started to fall off the back. I came into T1 :30 down. This isn't a huge amount of time, but it seemed massive while racing. My two-mile run time was 12:41.

Onto the bike and within the first mile I dropped my only bottle of fluid/calories - DOH!!! I could see the girls ahead of me and knew if I stopped they would be gone. I decided to leave it. However, this section was an out/back and once I reached the turn-around, I realized maybe that was a dumb idea. There were no aid stations on the 40k bike. Not certain if leaving my only nutrition on the ground would result in a terrible 10k run, when coming back I stopped and grabbed it. I'm still not really sure if this was smart or not - Olympic races seem so fast and every second counts. Especially when chasing ITU-girls.

The bike was pretty much a straight on crazy strong head-wind, or a fun tail wind. Occasionally there were cross-winds, which are always fun while riding a disc. There were two large bridges we crossed, and the cross-winds on these blew me around a bit. After reaching the top of the second bridge I shifted into the hardest gear to fly down the other side. Except because I was on the bumpy bridge, and since I threw the gear fast - somehow my chain got caught across three of the cogs. Which meant it was locked in place. No pedaling forward or backward for me! At the time I had no idea what I'd done, only that I couldn't pedal. I coasted down the long bridge and stopped at the bottom where several nice police officers supervised while I got the chain un-stuck. Not a huge amount of time lost, but last I checked most athletes don't stop twice during an Olympic-distance 40k bike. Nothing to do but put my head down and try to ride harder. My goal had been to ride under 1:04, but closer to 1:02. My bike computer said 1:03, so I was excited when I entered T2. I later learned my split was really 1:05 - guess the computer didn't count all those stops...

Leaving T2...quickly.

The run was a mix of side stitches, and feeling like I was running at half-marathon pace. I knew I was in 5th place, and that the chances of changing that position were very slim. I tried to push myself on the run, but it really just was not there. I had plenty of energy, but I think my body just isn't quite yet used to racing at lactate threshold. Or running in extreme discomfort. Something I'll keep working on...

My 41 minute 10k was not what I was looking for. But finishing 5th and getting a paycheck at the end of the day in a sport I love was nice.

I came to race hard and learn how to push myself into the very-uncomfortable-zone. And I think I got exactly what I signed up for. I'm not overly-skilled or talented at this yet, but it's a work in progress, so I am excited to keep trying. I am also pretty proud of myself for jumping outside my comfort zone and putting my best foot forward on the given day. Because really, that is all you can ask for. Race hard, have fun, and learn from the mistakes.

I have a ton of great New Orleans pics that I'll post in the next couple of days.

A HUGE THANK YOU to my sponsors:
Zoot Sports for outfitting me with speedy & comfy shoes, a quick wetsuit, and fun tri gear. Profile Design for my aero bars, grips, hydration, and some super awesome wheels! Quintana Roo for a bike that I love to ride every day, but especially on race day. TriSports.com for not only carrying everything tri-related, but for treating me like family. ZipVit for fueling me along the way. SableWater Optics for allowing me to see while I swim. Extreme Endurance for keeping lactic acid at bay. Rudy Project for my rockin glasses and helmets. SCAPE labs for protecting my skin. MicroscopeWorld for working with my crazy training/racing schedule.  My crazy race schedule would not be possible without the support of these companies.

19 comments:

Kim said...

way to go charisa! well executed race! bummer that the swim was cancelled but you made the best of it. congrats!

Beth said...

Awesome job Charisa!! Bummer about the bike problems but still, you made the best of it. I suspect with each short race you do the "getting uncomfortable" part will get a little easier! :)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on the race, even with the little mishaps. Still impressive in my books.

Kim said...

Way to go! Very cool! I'm excited you got the chance to push, push, push it will help you get speedy!! No doubt about that!! Loved this race report!!

Steve said...

Geesh!! Everyone already said congrats. hmmmm, must think of something different.

There are two sides to you. Your race side, and your other side. Both seem really great, and I like both.

Do you know this about yourself? I think for a lot of people like you, it is hard to show the non-race side, but you give us bits.

Congrats. :)--for trying to show both sides. :) It isn't easy, but the first steps are the hardest, and then inertia takes over. :)

Kiet said...

That's a whole lotta trouble for an Olympic race, usually, I don't think Oly races as problem solving races but you just proved otherwise. Keep trying to find that speed and even if you don't think you've found it, I'm sure your HIMs and IMs will still get faster.

GoBigGreen said...

Good job Charisa, I think OLY's are so hard, but they are over so fast ( compared to Long Course!) so good for you for getting out of the comfort zone:)!

Libby said...

wow! way to finish well with two stops on the bike!! seriously good stuff. nice work!

Teresa said...

So impressive...way to go Charisa!

Terrish B said...

U R AWESOME!! So inspiring and you are so humble :) Love that about you C! Thanks for posting :)

Heidi Austin said...

2 stops.... i think that is freakin awesome considering! can't wait to see your nola pics !

Meg said...

That is a huge challenge, to run while your body is so uncomfortable! I can't wait to hear more about that and how you train for that and RACE like that! You're amazing, congrats!!

Lindsey Jerdonek said...

I admire your ability to challenge yourself by doing the short stuff... getting a solid result is pretty awesome, too!

Lisa G said...

Great race, Charisa! Despite the stops on the bike, you still pushed yourself well past the 'uncomfortably comfortable' zone and earned a paycheck! Congrats!

Jill Costantino said...

WOW - pretty fantastic esepcially with the stops! Congrats! Way to push yourself!

Angela and David said...

Awesome work! Congrats!

solarpowered said...

Ugh. I hate the tri-changed-to-a-du scenario. Had that happen once, and while I'm not the best swimmer, I wanted that challenge. It's tough to run/bike/run in a race -- but you worked hard and finished solid. Impressive, as always :) Congratulations!

IAN said...

and THAT is why YOU are pro!

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