Welcome back to my Finish Line Report series! With my last race of the 2017 season now under my belt, I have so much to reflect on from the past year. I’ve also started my winter training in full force. First, however, I’d like to recap how the Best of the Best went. Apologies in advance for waiting a month to finally upload my report. Onward!
- Race Name: Best of the Best
- Date: Sunday, November 5, 2017
- Distance: Sprint
- Bib #: 612
- Age Division: 25-29
- Most encouraging thoughts going into the race: “This is my last race of the season, and it’s in familiar territory. I know this course like the back of my hand.”
- Most discouraging thoughts going in: “I don’t have as many teammates racing alongside me this time around.”
- Overall level of rest: High. I had no issues getting a good night’s sleep in the nights leading up to Best of the Best
- Overall nutrition: In a very good place. I started using Tailwind exactly three weeks before this race, and I feel like it keeps me hydrated as well as Skratch Labs. I’m still not sure if Tailwind will be as satiating as Cytomax. However, I am back on Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Meal Replacement shakes, which I drink after almost every major workout. This stuff does wonders for my muscle recovery and build!
- Mental strength: Fairly high. The job hunt and application process got me down at times, as well as my uncertainty over whether or not I’d be able to volunteer at IM Arizona. However, on the day of the race, my mental game was pretty much firing on all cylinders
- Swim highlights: Speedy! No collisions and only a couple of choke points where too many swimmers were crowding together at the walls
- Bike highlights: I blasted through the first half of the bike, thanks to that tail wind. Coming back, I was able to crank out some decent rpms (around 70) and use strategic shifting in order to keep my speed relatively consistent while going headlong into the wind
- Run highlights: The entire run was really enjoyable, even with the usual strain and fire in my lungs. Nothing hurt or felt out of whack
- Race fuel: I went in with a bottle of water and a bottle of Tailwind. My post-race treat was a Lenny and Larry’s chocolate chip cookie (yum). I probably should’ve thrown in at least one Gu or gel during the race, but I was still able to perform at 95% of my max effort
- Mistakes and missed opportunities: My only regret was that I listed a slow split time for my swim, which put me more towards the middle of the pack. However, it didn’t negatively impact my performance in any noticeable way
- Biggest markers of success and perseverance: I’m most proud of my run average: 6:56 min/mi
- Next step for training: Now that I’ve wrapped up my 2017 racing season and enjoyed two weeks of easy workouts, I’m ready for winter training. I just signed up for the Austin Marathon, which is February 18, 2018. It’ll be my first full marathon ever! I’m already pumped, and I’m going to channel that into ramping up my run volume here in the next couple of weeks
It’s been a remarkable season. I got to race two Half-Ironmans in one year, something I had never done before. I also applied some form and posture techniques that I gleaned from the KMF Winter Camp back in February. Physically, I was largely injury free, with the exception of some IT band pain back in February and March. I only saw consistent gains through June and beyond. While my mental game was challenged by my job hunt and lingering grief, positive affirmation, self-talk, and mindfulness all helped me to sharpen my psyche. Plus, I never lost sight of why I love triathlon so much. These are the strategies that I’ll keep on using into 2018.
I’m thankful for my coach, Ben Drezek, for his workouts and training pointers. He gave me a pretty high degree of autonomy. I think he recognizes that there’s a lot of perseverance and smart training tactics behind this unassuming exterior of mine, haha. I’m also glad that I got to race along so many teammates, many of whom inspired me to take on IM Arizona next year. It’s gonna be a party in Tempe!