Bouncing Back at the Naperville Triathlon
Last year, I ended my triathlon season with the Pleasant Prairie Olympic distance triathlon. In that race, my plan was to swim and bike fairly easy and concentrate on the run, using the pace at which I was going to run my upcoming marathon. That race didn’t exactly come off as planned and I ended up struggling on the run, walking a lot and generally ruining my psyche for marathon season.
This year, I decided to run Big Sur and Grandma’s Marathons about 6 weeks apart. Neither race went quite as planned and I came out of the early season with serious doubts about ever being able to run well again.
Next on my plan was the Naperville Sprint Triathlon presented by Experience Triathlon. I had no specific pacing plan for the race. I just wanted to have fun with the race and try to work the run pretty hard. Mission accomplished!!
I was a little nervous going to the start line. A combination of poor performances in previous races and very little experience at the sprint triathlon distance, brought my anxiety level up a little.
I started out the swim pretty well but about halfway down the first leg, I realized I had forgotten to start my Garmin. A perfect example of anxiety taking over! I told myself about five times not to be concerned, I would start it once out of the water and go from there. Plus, the race was already being timed, so I didn’t have to worry about it. But, around the second turn, everyone was slowing down, so I took that opportunity to reach over and start the timer. Whew! I was relieved.
Coming out of the water, I felt pretty good and, upon entering transition, I saw Pat, Chilly, Richard and Amy and that made me feel even better. Once ready to ride, I saw Coach Joe and Jim at the bike out. Their words of encouragement helped make the first miles go fast.
The bike course was fairly flat and fast, so I worked to keep the power under control while still trying to go FAST. I was able to average better than 20 mph for the bike leg so the fast part (for me) was accomplished.
I was a little concerned about “burning too many matches” and suffering on the run, but once I got over the typical funny feeling I get on the bike-to-run transition, I was able to hold a fairly decent pace and not hurt too bad. I ran my fastest 5K in the last two or three years (straight run race 5K or within a triathlon). I really feel like I bounced back nicely at Naperville after having several races that didn’t go my way. That’s exciting! I know I can still get faster, so my journey continues. 🙂
As usual, I couldn’t race without the help of numerous people. Coach Joe and Coach Suzy are such great, positive people. It’s always great knowing they are there to assist. My ET friends and the fabulous ET Cheer Crew make any ET day fantastic. And my wife, Pat, supports me in every way! Thanks to all!