WHAT I LEARNED FROM REV3 SPRINT TRI
If you're training for longer distance races like an Olympic or Half IronMan race, it is wise to add a few shorter distance races to your plan for a few reasons:
1. add mileage to your training
2. go through real scenarios/problems that may occur on (the big) race day
3. great experience if you haven't participated in a race before, makes the big race less daunting
4. this is the time to make mistakes
Part of my training plan included a sprint triathlon, the REV3 Westfields Tri . This distance was one that I completed before, a 250yd pool swim, 12 mile bike ride and 5K run. Race day seemed to go well.....or so I thought. I was excited to get out there and get another race under my belt. I felt great about the bike and run because they are my stronger disciplines and I didn't stress the swim because it was indoors--much less anxiety when you swim inside! I wanted to nail down the transitions and learn how to be efficient during that time. I planned to wear my wetsuit in the pool that day--not because I needed it but because that is what I plan to do during the NYC Tri. This was supposed to be a training race and I wanted to do everything I would do during the NYC tri. Side note: at this time I had zero plans to wear clip in shoes for the bike however that has changed--another blog post to talk about this. After reading the athlete guide a few days before the race I found out that wetsuits weren't allowed in the pool--so there went that.
Race day was a wet one. It poured that morning so the course was very wet. Check in was easy. I got through the swim fine. The bike seemed to fly and I was FAST during the run--I maintained my 8 min pace which is my 5K pace (but without having done a swim or bike). I crossed the finish line strong and with a smile on my face. With the exception of my first bike fall I thought "hey, that was easy". Once the official results posted a few hours later, I saw something new--a DQ next to my name. Hmmm, that was new..... In looking at my timed finish of 1:02+ which was a HUGE improvement from my first sprint tri--a whole 40 min to be exact--that's when I realized DQ probably meant something different. Turns out DQ is an acronym for disqualified. Turns out that bike ride that seemed to "fly" was only 6 of 12 miles completed--I didn't make the second loop. Skipping those 6 miles allowed me to keep my run at an 8 min pace. I got down on myself for a little while once I realized what I did but then I reminded myself that this is why you add a few practice races to your training--it's OK to make those mistakes and it certainly doesn't make you any less of an athlete.
All in all it was a great race and I'm glad I made some mistakes. These takeaways will be ones that I avoid in future races.
What I Learned from REV3 Westfields Sprint Tri:
1. Know your swim pace. If you leave this blank or put yourself in the slower group, (and you know you aren't the world's slowest swimmer) you will be one of the last groups in the water. This means you'll probably spend much of your time on the race course alone as the faster athletes will be done before you.
Don't be like me: I spent over an hour waiting to start the swim. I basically biked alone on the course.
2. Read the athlete guide before the race. Familiarize yourself with the race course. Is the bike or the run 2 loops--meaning you will go around it a second time to finish that distance.
Don't be like me: Had I realized that the bike was 2 loops I would have paid better attention on the course and wouldn't have been disqualified.
3. Learn how to use your multisport watch before race day. You don't want to take time away from the race by trying to figure out where the bike or the run button is or how to set your swim to the proper meters.
Don't be like me: Without realizing, I accidentally paused my watch mid-bike which didn't help in tracking miles on the bike. Had I learned how to lock my watch, this may have helped me realize that I had more miles to ride.
4. Slow down during wet conditions. Whether it's raining or really wet from water stations, slow down. I didn't break in time and nearly crashed into the biker in front of me. Luckily I fell onto the grass instead.
Don't be like me: Break much sooner than you normally do so you don't fall off your bike during transition 2. It took me a little bit to put myself together and head over intoT2 to get ready to run.
5. Use a clear plastic bag or bucket during transition. This will make your life so much easier to find the things you need during T1 and T2.
Don't be like me: I took a nice gym bag that was designed for aesthetics and not function. It was drenched from the continuous rain that fell that morning.
6. Bring an extra pair of socks. I personally didn't enjoy running in drenched socks.
Don't be like me: Be uncomfortable running in wet socks for 3 miles. Really my socks would have been soaked at the end of the run anyway but I would have gladly taken the extra minute to switch into a dry pair at T2.
There is no better way than to learn from experience. With that said, here is to being better than before and taking these lessons into my first Olympic distance triathlon in New York in 2 weeks!