Race report which shows the importance of goal setting

What’s interesting about this race report was that the athlete not only beat their previous time on this course by 11 minutes but was also quicker that what they predicted in the lead up to the race, however, after the race and until the coach and the athlete had discussed it the athlete was disappointed.

That is why is massively important to make sure you compare your race result with your race goal and not get carried away with looking at how you did against the opposition. Goal setting is something we work hard on with our athletes to ensure everyone’s expectations are the same

After the race we may well then reflect back on how others in the age group did but only to look at where we need to work harder as a team (coach and athlete) to close the gap on other athletes if that race distance is key to them

The transition was closing at 7.45 and I my wave would be starting at 8.10.

So, my alarm rang at 5.30. I got up and had a good breakfast straight

away: coffee, toast with butter, red berry muesli with yogurt and a banana. Also had about 400ml of carb drink.

I was on time for the triathlon. The setup was simple:

* Put on trisuit, wetsuit, goggles and cap.

* In transition I had:

** towel on the floor

** bike with GPS + bottle with carb drink

** helmet

** glasses

** cycling shoes

** running shoes

** socks

The water was a freezing 13.5C. I knew that as soon as I flood my wetsuit I would not be able to breathe for awhile so I went in the water as soon as possible and had about 6/7 mins of warm up. Turns out I went too early. I flooded my wetsuit, went past not being able to breathe and did a bit of swimming. Then I started shaking. It was seriously cold.

Not necessarily inside the wetsuit but my face was freezing and my feet were well… not really sure they were there anymore.

As suggested I approached the front of the crowd and wait for the sound.

Bam!

As soon as the sound goes I put my head down into the dark water and all you can see is brown. You can’t see anything… not even your hands! I start swimming but I get hit on my arms and legs several times.

Nervousness takes a hold of me and I put my head up only to see foam everywhere and people slashing the water as if there was a shark attack.

Suddenly I go under but against my will… someone literally swims partially over me. I continue swimming and try to focus. At this point I drink more river water than I care to think about. It was hard in the beginning because I was out of breath due to the quick start but I start getting some rhythm and overtake a few people. I was suddenly happy and comfortable in the water. I just tried to focus and think I was in a very dark pool. I bumped a few people, some people bumped me but nothing serious. I got to the end pretty quickly. In exactly 14m27s.

I knew I had to take the top of the wetsuit before reaching my bike, or so the teaching goes. I exit the water a bit dizzy and run towards the bike. Remove my goggles and cap with my left hand, remove my left wetsuit arm with my right and the goggles and cap are trapped in the wetsuit. I remove my right arm and suddenly I am at transition with my wetsuit by my waist. Splendid. Just as planned.

In T2, I try for a few seconds to remove my wetsuit standing up. The legs are stuck, damn it! I hold on to the bike and keep trying. A bit later I give up, sit down and remove the wetsuit from my legs. Put on my socks which didn’t want to go in, so I dry them a bit with the towel and put the socks. Then I get the feet inside the cycling shoes, tighten the zip, put on my helmet and glasses, take the bike of the rack, turn on the GPS and there we go. At this point I am slightly annoyed for taking too long. People who came after me from the swim, got ready in no time and it was off way way faster. Running from my rack to the mount line 200m away with cycling shoes felt like hell. Very slow but I got there, try to clip… fail due to a slip and try again. This time I am off.

I focus on the bike. I try to pedal fast until I get to my Z4… I was actually easily in Z4 since I was probably high from the swim. The bike course profile was easy, I kept a steady rhythm but slowly and steadily I started to be overtaken. One, two three… Oh my! I was doing what I thought was a respectable speed. At 36/37Kph in the beginning was not bad. In flats I was at a steady 34kph. A couple of hills sent me down to 25kph. I had a sip of drink. As I relaxed into the bike phase my HR started to go down and it was hard to keep it up the speed. It was hard to spin fast enough for the HR to stay in Z4. Certainly felt like I should’ve done better and if in the beginning I was quite happy with my time in the end I was not. Before the last turn I had another sip of drink. The course was easy and I can’t explain why I didn’t manage to go faster. I did an average of 31.3kph. Average HR was 150bpm which is low Z4. The course was 23.8Km.

I see the dismount line. Dismount, and run back to the rack with those god-awful cycling shoes. Sit down, unfasten the shoes, take them off, put the running shoes, take helmet, pick up GPS watch and I am off once again. Running as usual in the beginning is hard but the legs flow nicely to a first Km in 4m32s. I did ok in the run. I started feeling an empty stomach in the middle of the run but kept going. By 2.5Kms I had a sip of water but it was actually not great as it kept slushing inside me. My legs was fatigued. I look at HR and it wasn’t high but I just couldn’t force the legs to go faster. I am overtaken by some and I overtake some others. I knew the pace was ok. I see the 200m sign and rejoice. The finish line is here. Hear them calling my name and knew the pain was over. Finished finally. I am hand over a glass of… alcohol free beer? Oh c’mon! Need water! 🙂

The running course was advertised as 5Km but it was probably around 4.8km.

So, overall I beat my PB by 11mins but I am not sure if I should rejoice.

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