Last year, I went back to the Texas Ski Ranch (TSR) where the Rookie happens each year as well, and while I had a much better overall experience, I still ended up with a messed up result on the scoreboard because for some reason, they marked my age as 13 instead of 26 (no clue how this could have happened!), and my swim leg was a ridiculous 32 minutes for 300m! :)
I considered this course to be jinxed for me!
I went back this year with much trepidation. But I wanted to do it since it would be a perfect trial run for my Olympic in 2 weekends. Also, Vishy wanted to do a Tri, and this was a perfect Tri for a newcomer like him! Here's my race breakdown:
Swim - 300m
My goal for the swim was just to relax and swim freestyle throughout the 300m. I managed to swim freestyle for the most part, using breaststroke just for navigational purposes - so I'm pretty pleased with myself for that. It wasn't the most efficient of freestyles. And the water being extremely muggy and gross attributed a bit to that. It messed up my breathing and sighting a bit. Also, swimming freestyle in a pool is vastly different than swimming one in open water. There are no pool borders/lanes to guide you, and veering off the course is pretty easy in open water. Other than that though, I had a good swim and saw marked improvements in my pace, so was pretty happy.
2006: 12:01 min
2008: 9:32 min
2009: 8:43 min
Areas of improvement:
Practice more open water swimming!
My T1 this time was not as efficient as I wanted it to be. Vish and I reached the TSR pretty late that morning and pretty much had 5 minutes to set everything up in Transition and I didn't have much time to place everything I needed the way I wanted to. Defn some room for improvement here!
Bike - 11.1 miles
My 1st goal for the bike ride was to work on gear shifting, managing the gears properly so as to achieve the best possible gear combination for where I am in the course, either on a flat road, or hills with varying gradients. My 2nd goal was to hydrate properly, so that I am not dehydrated when I start the run! And my 3rd goal was to just not get stressed with the clips, and take my time getting on and off. I did pretty decently with respect to my 1st and 3rd goals...Because I was a little more familiar with the course as well, I was able to anticipate some of the hills and change gears in advance accordingly. I was also more focused when getting on and off my clips and managed to do both w/o any major mishaps. So that was good. My hydration plan on the bike centered around using the camelback I had purchased a week earlier. I was looking forward to trying it out during the Tri. But in my T1 excitement, I completely forgot about it! I remembered it half way through my ride when I saw someone else carrying it. Lucky for me, the weather was not too hot or humid, 2 things that really dehydrate me easily, and I was able to get through the bike ride without much hydration, and managed to improve my time as well!
2008: 57:55, 11.50mph
2009: 51:45, 13mph
Areas of improvement:
More hill workouts, practice hydrating on the bike!
My T2 was not too bad considering that I had to do a shoe swap (bike shoes -> running shoes), something I didn't have to do before, and I managed to do it w/o any major hurdles. I plan to try out the easy laces for my running shoes next time to see if that helps make the transition quicker!
Run - 2 miles
My goal for the run was pretty much to not walk! I did that for the most part despite my legs feeling like bricks right after the bike ride! I walked for about a 100m stretch to hydrate and take a salt tablet for a side stich, but felt much better after that and continued running. This is defn an area I need to work on and improve as I do longer distances though. Need more BRIC practices for sure!
2008: 25:59, 12:59/M
2009: 23:37, 11:49/M
Areas of improvement: More BRIC workouts needed during training!
Overall, I am happy with the way the Tri went. I broke the TSR jinx and it was a good warm-up Tri for the season, and helped me identify areas for improvement. I also had fun being with Vish during his first Tri! I still plan to do the Olympic in 2 weeks - I have no time goals, my goal there will be to simply finish, but I hope to incorporate a lot of the lessons learnt during the Rookie to ensure that I finish strong!