My training, racing, things that go through my head, memorable moments, and such.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Auckland World Championships

Unless you are an Olympian, or have been around for a long time, World Championships are a big deal. It is the biggest race of the season, the culmination of a year or more of work, and can often be the highlight of your triathlon career. This year, just like any other year in my elite triathlon career (whether I qualified or not), I was fixated on Worlds.

Cute picture of some of the team
Last year wasn't too difficult to qualify for U23 Worlds, as I was mostly worried about making the qualification criteria which was a top 5 at a continental cup or top 20 at a World Cup (this was changed to a top 10 this year). This year, however, I knew that the competition was going to be much harder as a large group of very fast girls had moved up from Junior elite. My plan was to go in, hit some early season races, qualify, take a break, and then train up for the second half of the season to peak for Worlds at the end of October. This plan completely back-fired when I became injured in March and missed the early season races.

Plan B: Race late season races and count on the injury as my break! Plan B worked in that I was able to qualify (In my first race go figure! Mostly because it was in Dallas and half the field passed out), but although I knew how hard it was going to be to train into October, I didn't consider the physical aspect to it (other than injury-wise). In my mind, it was all about who could make it mentally while not getting injured, and I had a lot of faith in my mental ability to stay motivated until the end of October.

After the Buffalo race (mid-September), I came home, took 4 days really easy, and on the Friday felt ready to go. I proceeded to have a semi-bad swim followed by a terrible run work out in the afternoon. I went home discouraged in my level of fitness. The next day I went out to do a brick/mini-tris workout, and found myself unable to push into any sort of level, and my body was a ball of pain. I went home, decided it was much more than just fitness, and took some iron supplements. After that point my workouts continued in this way. My mind was still there, I still wanted it just as much as I had at the beginning of the season, but my body wouldn't function.

Here is where I need to thank Dr. Keeler for squeezing me in on very short notice, getting a blood test done (which showed pretty low ferritin, hemoglobin and hematocrit) and giving me an iron-shot during his break. Thank you to Kim McQueen who gave me a supplement protocol over the phone, and thank you to Dr.Doctor who fixed my lungs. Slowly slowly with increased taper and as my crazy supplement regime started to kick in (it may have been placebo, but either way it worked), my workouts started to get a bit better. In the final week before leaving I was able to swim a short set at a pace similar to what I had been doing before. It wasn't a 2 hour race at World Championships, but I still had ten days or so before my race, so I HTFUed and began the process of convincing myself that I was fit and fast and ready to go.

The week in Auckland before my race felt pretty good. We weren't doing big workouts, but my lungs were definitely better, and I had zones, so that was good. I had ups and downs in terms of confidence. Two days out from the race Kyla made me a superalex video, which actually helped me more than I realized at the time. I remembered what it felt like to have confidence in my swim, my bike, and my run. I realized that racing a triathlon isn't so hard. It is what I do.

Race morning I woke up and I felt fine mentally. I was as nervous as always, but not panicking. Ellen pumped out her rap tunes at 6:30 am and we felt all badass. Warm-ups went smoothly, had some fun, got excited! This is what I do.

My swim was definitely the worst part of my race. I had a bad position (my fault) and wasn't really moving that quick. My T2 was also really bad (my fault). However, I had a great bike! Normally I feel terrible for a lap or two, but I was able to catch on to my pack pretty easily this time despite my terrible T2, and the rest of my bike felt very solid. On lap 5 (I think) I made a break to try to catch on to the chase pack. I led for about three-quarters of a lap, and when I finally caught on I was pretty happy with myself. The rest of the pack soon caught on as well, but who knows if we would ever have committed to catching them if I hadn't gone for it. My run felt pretty strong, but my legs were definitely the limiting factor.

Photo credit: Victor Lee
I ran into the finish line in 25th. Fifteen spots worse than last year, and with a run split verging on 3:00 minutes slower (granted it was a much slower course), and I was happy! I was really really happy with that race. Obviously I want more, but that is what next year is for. I think I learned a lot. This race had the potential to be a giant disaster and it wasn't. No making the same mistakes twice. Get on it.

Momma and Poppa, you get the biggest Thank You! I'm 22 turning 23 and have yet to get my undergrad (almost there!) but you still support me :). Next comes coaches and support staff. Thank you so much for everything you put into us. We try to make you proud. Thank you Tri-It for supporting Kyla and I in our attempts to go big in this crazy sport. Thank you Aqua sphere - the wetsuit and googles were seriously awesome in 14.5 degree ocean water. Aqua sphere makes the warmest wetsuits I have tried, which is a huge advantage when you dive in and your brain freezes. Thank you to the men at Trek Procity, especially Troy who put on some really killer Shwalbe tires for me, and which saved me from crashing out. Thank you Austin for putting up with everything triathlon. Thank you Canadian triathlon friends for making Worlds such an amazing experience. And thank you everyone else I have not mentioned directly but who have put something into me so that I can go out there and shorten my life a little, because it is what I do.

1 comment:

Thomas Warren said...

so that's like me, yeah? ;-P

'twas great to finally meet you Miss Alex. Bring on London!