This summer I competed in the UNC Wellness Center Supersprint triathlon. It is a great pool swim triathlon put on by SetUp Events each year in Chapel Hill, NC. I highly recommend it for a midseason tune up race to be able to practice transitions and all 3 disciplines in a supported environment or as a first time triathlon experience. For me, it is also in a very convenient location, just 2 miles away from home, which meant I could easily ride my bike to and from the race.
I was pleased with my performance. I went out strong on the swim, I rode well and my run was solid. Then, the official results were posted and I found out that I had come in second place by ONE SECOND! (Have you ever heard the expression, “Comparison is the thief of joy?”) With the race being a pool swim, the person who beat me started about 20 minutes after me so I had no idea that she was that close to me time-wise. If it had been an open water swim and I had started at the same time as my competitor and I had actually seen her on the run, I like to think I would have come in first place. But, that is not how a pool swim triathlon works so the “If only’s” don’t really apply!
After seeing the results, I immediately started analyzing my race trying to figure out where I could have gained one second. Once I started the process, it was amazing how many little things I found I could have done differently. I could not have taken the second in the water to fix the strap on my watch. I could have practiced my flip turns under the lane lines a bit more. I could have racked my bike differently. I could have pushed a little harder on any one of the uphills on the bike. I could have put a little more effort into the second half of the 5k. I should have known the end of the run course so I wouldn’t almost miss the last turn onto the bike path…on and on. It was not much fun to realize how many ways I could have raced better or smarter. But, it was a good mental exercise and I will be more aware of these things during my next race.
The challenge now, is to move on from this experience and not allow my brain to continually replay all the mistakes I made in the race. My tendency is to to bash myself with negative self-talk and allow my mistakes to come back and haunt me in other workouts and races. What I am learning is that mistakes are okay, and can even be a positive thing, as long as you learn from them and move on and don’t let them define who you are.
So, does every second count? Absolutely. But, for me, what counts the most is how I choose to view my experiences. Am I letting my mistakes define me as a racer/person? OR am I learning from them? Knowing that I am a better racer/person for having had the experience.
Nice sprint course! While it wasn’t wetsuit legal, the race (swim) was held in the channel near Wrightsville Beach so it had the extra buoyancy benefit of saltwater and an incoming tide. You’ll definitely set a PR for a 1500 Meter distance swim!!
The main reason I decided to do this event was because the swim and transition areas are also included in the Beach2Battleship Full Iron distance event that I’m doing next month. Anytime you can train on a course ahead of time, I think it’s a great idea. This gave me experience on the swim and I learned where NOT to swim (over by the docks!). So I’ll benefit in my B2B swim because I have a little more experience from Wilmington YMCA Sprint.
What did I learn? Take advantage of training on a course ahead of the actual race day. It will help ensure you make the right turns, learn tricky spots on the bike and give you an additional comfort level when race day arrives. You’ll view the course on race day as an “old friend” you’ve come to visit instead of “someone you just met”. This really helps on race day as you don’t have to worry about things like where to turn, etc. And you’ll have extra confidence to boot! Try it out and see!!
I decided to race White Late sprint this year because it’s easy and flat. Plus my friend, Ronnie Horne, likes to drive and he has a big monster truck that is like ‘choice.’ Air conditioning seats and all the bells and whistles. I love when he drives, I ride in comfort.
Not a lot of people showed up for this race. The only person I recognized in the open field was team mate, Robert. So basically, I was racing for second, gone are the days when I used to beat him. My swim was nothing to write home about. I don’t even remember it. The only thing I remember was running into TA and I couldn’t even see Robert. He had already left TA. WTF??
My bike leg was miserable. Once I got out on the road, I assessed the damage. I thought I’d see Robert. Nope. WTF?? At this point, I figured I will have to ride scared and listen for wheels coming up on me because I suck and am having a miserable race. No legs, not having fun. But wait, the road is paved, YAY!!! Finally!!! No more bumps and no more aerobars shifting downwards and no more crotch pain from the cracks that used to be in the road. Shocking, no one caught me on the bike. The basket that I weaved on the bike is for sale, acquire within if you what to buy it.
I started the run feeling like crap but tried to push. People cheered for me leaving TA and I tried to act like I was having fun, but I wasn’t. I thought I could possibly catch up to Robert. No one yelled out how far he was in front of me. Then I approached the gas station which was no where near the turn around and saw Robert and I thought, “Damn, he is so fast and I suck, oh well, just try and hold off and fast age groupers.” I never looked behind me so I didn’t know where I stood with the rest of the field. I made the turn around and saw no one near me. With my years of racing behind me, I know not to let up. I continued to push hard for the second half of the run to avoid getting “age grouped.” I barely broke 19 mins. I managed to squeeze into 2nd overall. Done. Another year, another White Lake.
My favorite part is to get into the lake after the race. The best recovery.
Thanks for reading ~Dan Y