Sleep deprived, overwhelmed, mentally exhausted are all things that many of us can relate to in our daily lives. Leading up to Rock Hall Olympic distance, this is exactly how I felt. I went into taper week not even wanting to race, I got home on Friday night before the race seriously thinking about not even getting up to run. One of the biggest parts of being successful has been to be mentally focused, being able to break away and block out all of the noise around me. The culmination of 5-6 weeks of the ‘go go go’ attitude had me truly worn out. I calmed down and started to get my things together and organized nonetheless for the early morning departure to Rock Hall.
I slept very little but slept deeply the night before. For a change, it wasn't Tori driving us as I slept in the front seat, I felt wide-awake and ready to just get the race over with. I knew that with Rock Hall Olympic being the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship there would be a lot of good competition, which is something I was looking forward to. Odds were I would have a very tough battle to defend my 2016 title; not being in the right mindset surely would not help.
We got to Rock Hall a little before 615am, with a race start at 8am. I went to packet pick up at to set up my bike up in transition. I was setup right next to Deborah and we met up after she did her short warm up. I went on to go warm-up for 25 minutes finishing off with some strides. I was in the first wave and got to the start pretty warm already and put on my Xterra speed suit. The water was at 73, that's way too hot for me to wear a full wetsuit. As it looked around, I sighted the buoys that I would need to to go around and we were off.
I feel pretty good I did not start too fast, and my arms felt strong. Deborah who is in a later wave told me that she saw me swerve off course as I was pacing and one of the lead groups. I could've sworn I was going to shortest distance between the buoys but looking back in my Garmin file, I could see that I did in fact go off course on 2 occasions and swam an extra 200m. I missed the last buoy and was turned around by a kayaker. I finally made out on to the pier with this minor hick up in 22:50 not knowing I had made the mistake. It was still 3 minutes faster than last year, but in seventh place as I headed on the bike.
I had a quick transition, grabbed my bike and set off. I didn't feel like I was working hard and felt great as I started passing a few people for 5 miles and passed another group of three and found myself probably being in third or fourth place. I did make a critical mistake by starting too fast at 103% of threshold power for the first 5 min as Ben later pointed out to me. I went on and tried to keep as steady as possible around 275watts. Around mile 18, the anxious start caught up to me, I started feeling sluggish; my left hip and hamstring feel tight. I came into transition with the bike split around an hour and change and felt pretty depleted.
My transitions were on point, under 60 seconds each and I got onto the run. Another thing I had overlooked was the run course map. I've done Rock Hall and Waterman's a few times now in the past 4 years and thought I knew the course, yet this year the run course was running the opposite direction. Right out of transition, I went running past the intersection of the first left turn, almost as in a trance not seeing the signs signaling me to turn. Luckily, the triathlete, who was a quarter mile behind me and was surely going to pass me in the next mile, yelled out and told me to turn around. I was sitting in 4th place after missing the first turn, and we kept going and I decided I would just fallow him. It turns out we made another wrong turn in the neighborhood which was not well marked, which ended up being the same distance on the first loop. Lesson learned: always look at the map! My sluggish feelings from the bike persisted until mile 2.5 at which point I was able to speed up my pace up from the 6:14, 6:10 to a final mile at 5:55. I ended up crossing the line finishing my run in 39min, 1 min slower than last year’s run, but with an Overall 90second PR, 2:04:27. There’s nothing like a regional championship to make you realized how much work still needs to be done!
Realizing I had made so many mistakes as a veteran triathlete angered me; with the later waves still on the course, I finished 10th place overall and 1st in my 25-29 age group. The fatigue, mentally and physically, was still present as I walked around. I really wasn't upset that I had not won, I was upset that I had let myself lose focus, be distracted, wing-it when I had wanted this race to be my goal early season event.
My teammate Deborah had a great day as well, deviating from her Ironman and Marathon training and coming to race a shorter event, and had a 10k PR. Many other friends had great day and it was good to catch up with Andy, Graham, and the Welch Brothers. It has taken me way too long to finally get a moment to write this race recap as the last few weeks have just been crazy with work, events, and just being a responsible or not adult. I still feel like there is something wrong with me, but I assume that being constantly overbooked will catch up to you. Hopefully, I can kick the constant fatigue and get some good sleep as I head for vacation before Escape Philly Olympic. Huge thanks to Tori keeping a smile on my face, and Ben and Team Invicta for the support. Looking forward to some group sessions in July to hopefully get back on track and focused.
2:04:27 (S:23:34 T1:1:02 B:1:00:07 T2: 0:45 R2: 39:01)