Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Race!

I realize it's now Wednesday and I have yet to write something about the race. I didn't plan for my last blog, about the joys of Japanese toilet seats, to sit at the top of the page for so long! 

Don't worry, more exciting things have happened to me over the last few days than enjoying these heated wonders! I have been busy, busy since the race, with pack-up and travel and am now laying low in my hotel room as I battle a bit of a nasty cold. Likely I picked it up while traveling to Japan, or the during days before the race. I feel as though today I am experiencing the worst of it (at least I hope!) and should be back to good in plenty of time for Saturday's race. I actually had a great run this morning, running with my friendly Victoria rival, Chiropractor Hasegawa. I was surprised with the spring in my step, but then again, I am probably still on the high from our 5k battle earlier this year :)

Below is my race report from last weekend. More from Korea soon!

Ishigaki World Cup, 5th Place

The weather on race day was rather chilly for Ishigaki, around 18 degrees with a pretty strong wind. I woke up more nervous than normal for this race, but as the first real race since Beijing, I wasn't too surprised by this. I had been waking up about 6am most of the week and race day was no exception. Usually I love having this extra time before the start to go for a jog, eat a good breakfast and relax in the hotel room, but our race didn't start until 1:15pm so this made for a long, and rather boring morning. When I got to transition, I was relaxed and excited to go. I had a great swim warm-up, feeling sharp but smooth. My swimming had been going incredibly well leading up to this race so I was really looking forward to getting in the mix. Between the swim warm-up and the race start, I got quite chilled and actually found myself shivering. I guess I hadn't brought enough warm clothes, but I'm often chilled a bit before races, so nothing to panic about. But, once the race started, I struggled to get it going. I felt nothing like I did in warm-up or during training. I tried to stay calm and focus on turnover, but I felt very tense. I could see the field up ahead pulling away and I couldn't seem to close the gap. I finished the swim about 30 seconds down from the lead group of 12 or so women. Once on the bike, I put my head down and made the decision that I had to do whatever it took to get into that group. I knew the race was in that lead pack and I didn't do all this training NOT to be a part of the race. Thankfully my teammate, Kerry was just behind me out of the water, and we knew what we had to do, just like in training. The two of us worked together, riding our butts off. The gap stayed at 30 seconds for a couple of laps, then went to 35. We stayed on it and had narrowed it to 25 seconds by the 4th lap. Those 10 seconds we gained gave us some serious motivation to find another gear. We gave it everything going up and over that bridge, catching on to the group around 30km. Phew! Lesson learned: swim faster! I did my best to recover and spin the legs for the final few kilometres before the run and was ready for a good one. From the start though, the spark wasn't there. I felt strong but not fast. For the most part I found myself running on my own so used my mental cues to keep pushing hard on the uphills, downhills, corners, etc. I finished in 5th place with a 35:55 run split. I had initial feelings of disappointment with this result as I knew I was capable of more on the swim and the run, but after speaking to Adam and coach Phil, I realized there were a lot of positives than I am not giving myself credit for (ie. bridging the gap on the bike & still running strong off that effort). I was glad I had this opportunity to blow out the cobwebs at a lower-key race as I am now feeling confident and really excited for the first of the World Cup Championship Series this Saturday in Tongyeong. 

Here are some photos from a school visit Kyle and I did before leaving Ishigaki on Monday morning. What a wonderful, memorable morning! 

Singing, drumming and dragon dancing.

Notice the feet poking out of the costume!

Playing the "human knot." These kids were GOOD at this game! 

The Q & A period included some pretty funny questions, such as, "how many pushups can you do?" It turns out this boy just wanted to show us how many HE could do! His goal was 20 but things started to get a little shaky around number 15. Everyone was cheering, counting him down, but he collapsed at 19.... so close! 

5th Graders.

6th Graders


queenstri said...

Congratulations Lauren!!

Gregwh said...

Great effort on the bike to close that gap, it gave you a fighting chance!

Wendy said...

Great blog entry and a great start to your season.