Seems like we were just at this race a few weeks ago.
Due to weird scheduling this year, Crystal River 1 and 2 ended up within 4 weeks of each other, and the 3rd in the series not until September, so comparing the results will a little off since they are not very evenly spaced. But we will any way, because this is a new season, and a reboot season, so even with me being very much slower than previous years, my goal was to see improvement from race to race, and it is easy to use Crystal River because it is the same course three times (much like the upcoming Central Florida series in Clermont).
I was not confident going in to this one that I would see great improvement. One, because the race were so close together, and two it was only 6 days from the Fletcher Flyer ride and my training between was largely bike centric. I only had one 400m swim this week in preparation, and no running to speak of in two weeks, so I was not sure what, if any, improvements I would see.
I woke up feeling very good though. Normally on race morning I am anxiety ridden and hesitant, but I felt rested, felt like I had slept well, and go to the race site in good spirits. My normal warm-up swim was very calm and relaxing, with the water a bit cooler than normal but very shallow. Let me explain the shallowness in this way … I am not going to put my feet down, but if I cal swim to the turn buoy and stand up … well … what this tells me is that I can really push on the swim because if I get over tired or panic sets in … I know I can stand up. If that makes any sense. It’s a mind thing.
I felt good the whole way. At the end I thought I had actually gone a lot faster than I ended up scoring, so not sure why my training pace (about 9-10 minutes for 400m) is not translating to the races. Part of the issue is the run to T1 is included in the split, and it is about 100 yards through soft sand, and I walk it because I don’t want to yank my Achilles. When I exited the water I looked at my watch and it read 11:42, but the split time was 13:14. Still was a good swim in my head.
CR1 Time: 14:28
CR2 Time: 13:14
I really thought this would be the area I would see the most improvement. In past races I have clocked in splits here in the 52:00 range and CR1 was over an hour. With all of the training for the ride I have had I was very optimistic for this leg. The thing is this, though. Training for a ride is not the same as training for a sprint, and it shows. I have gotten into this habit on the bike of “zoning out” and just riding. I know I can push harder than I do, and I will be working on this for the remainder of the season. For this race I was doing pretty well. Only got passed three times and I was picking off other riders pretty steadily. Jennifer caught me after mile 12 and I will be very honest … she saved this split for me. I had no idea how fast I was going at that point (I would guess in the 15 mph range), so when she came along side me and told me to “get moving” and then pulled in front of me held back a bit so I was not drafting (they gig you for that in this race) and started matching her pace. And we were flying. Well into the 18 mph zone, which was my norm for this race in the past, and also showed me that, yes, I could still do that pace if I push myself.
CR1 Time: 1:01:22
CR2 Time: 58:32
I never have a good feeling about the run, and actually plan on walking quite a bit in triathlon, especially right off the bike. My legs felt a little better after the bike leg though, and even though I was still walking I was matching Jennifer’s pace pretty well and was actually gaining on her at the start (she was about 2/10’s ahead. Her walking pace is too strong though so after about 1/2 mile she started putting distance between us. I had the same pain in my left knee as last race on the slope, so resigned myself to walking, albeit as fast as I could, until the turnaround and then push as best I could. I did not expect an improvement here, as I know I walked more than CR1, but still ended up faster (21 seconds, but still counts). Not sure how, but I will take it. It got hot fast, so I probably need to carry some kind of hydration from now on, especially in the upcoming CFTS races in Clermont. They are blistering hot there. I also chaffed under both armpits, which is something that has never happened before.
CR1 Time: 51:11
CR2 Time: 50:50
Overall I was happy with the race. Not about the timed results, but in how I felt before, during, and afterwards. Felt like myself again, where I was enjoying the experience, the person I was with, and the whole process of training and racing. I will tell you, folks, that I did not feel this way last season. It’s nice to see it coming back. There will be a shift in training now, to a lot of sprint intervals vs. long slow training, but I truly think that is more my forte (believe it or not).
CR1 Result: 2:14:10 13/15 Clydesdale 218/225 Overall
CR2 Result: 2:08:55 12/12 Clydesdale 175/180 Overall