Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hy-Vee Triathlon Race Report

The Hy-Vee triathlon is definintely something to experience, however, the 3am wake up call Sunday morning is something I do not want to experience for a while. I had a lot of fun that day but not happy with the performance I gave. The race was not wetsuit legal and so I knew that I was going to have a slower swim than normal but didn't think I would have to overcome eight minutes on the leaders out of the water. I think I have figured out that I am definintely crossing over and not swimming straight so my plan of action is to CHANGE this pronto! I am constantly having to change my course of direction in the open water and this is costing me a lot of time. I also need to mentally get my head in the race, I am not sure if this comes with experience as I am a newbie to this sport or if it is just my impatient personality. I probably lost about 15-20 seconds on the run because I thought this one turnaround was where the cones were but someone shouted to me that I needed to turnaround and go to where the barrels were - arghhh... I ended up finishing 4th in the elite wave but 7th overall with the age groupers. Derek told me the other day that "Kort, you are the only one that puts the expectation on yourself - you need to go out there and do what you are capable of doing. Last year you were a rookie to the sport and there weren't any expectations -relax a little."
In all I had a great weekend with family and friends. There were some old college friends who were at the race watching and it was great hearing their voices cheering for me - thanks girls. Also, Owen got to see his favorite person race - his Grandpa. I tell ya - those two are something else. When Grandpa is in the room - no one else exists....however, Grandpa may have some competition from Tony the Tiger. All day long Owen kept talking about Tony the Tiger and how he wanted to see him again, I have never seen Owen run so fast in his life to catch that Tiger!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Copper Creek Race Report - Can I have a do-over???

Derek told me to wait a day or two before blogging, but I hope that by writing this I will feel better. Today was not my day to say the least. Last year I won a series of races called The Flatland Series, down in Iowa. We go to Des Moines a lot, since my in-laws live there and the Flatland team does a great job of organizing these events. I hadn't raced a sprint distance triathlon since my very first race, so I was looking forward to really pushing it for the short distance. I knew there was going to be some great competition at Copper. Two pros, TJ Tollakson and Michelle Witinok-Huber showed up for the big race. The morning of the race looked promising... no rain, however it was extremely foggy (last year they had to cancel the event due to thunderstorms). The race started about 30 minutes late, because of the fog, and when we started swimming it was still difficult to see. I felt good coming out of the water wanted to hit it hard on the bike. You couldn't see very far ahead, again due to the fog, so when I got to an intersection I was told by a police officer to turn left. After about half a mile, I just knew something didn't feel right. I was actually getting onto the highway. I turned around and completely stopped wondering if I should quit or keep going. I then saw a car pulling up to me and he said "sorry about that, you need to go back and turn left by the police officer". I took off in that direction trying to make up time. I saw another biker coming my way and told her to turn around because it was the wrong way. I knew that mistake cost me big time, because I went 0.7 miles over, when I looked at my computer after the race. I was able to pass one girl on the run, but was too far back to catch anyone else. I figured it cost me about 3 minutes. I know we there are lots of people that this has happened to in past races and I hope this will be the last time it happens to me. It just really stinks when you drive home for 3.5 hours thinking about it. Lesson learned - know the course inside and out and don't listen to anyone that tells you different!
On a good note - Derek won his age group. He is doing so great already this year and I am really happy for him!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Buffalo Triathlon Race Report

On Sunday, Derek and I arrived to a very cold day in Buffalo, MN. It was the first triathlon of the year for both of us and will most likely go down as one of the coldest! The weather didn't deter me because I love this race. Last year I won my age group and then decided to start racing in the elite waves. It is a challenging course with hills on the bike and run, and has lots of great volunteers and participants. I think between the Sprint and Olympic course there were about 1500 participants.

The weather in Minnesota is notorious for changing quickly. We have had great weather with highs in the upper 70's, but in the last 3 days it all went downhill. I think the high for Saturday was 55 degrees which made the morning of race day pretty chilly! As Derek and I were driving to the race the thermometer read 46 degrees. Unlike others, I like running in the heat and humidity – it seems that I do better in those conditions and knew it was going to be quite cold in the water and on the bike.

After the pre-race briefing all of the elite athletes started putting on their wetsuits and jumped in the lake for a “warm-up” and the lake was actually warmer than the air, so it felt really good to be in the water. I did not want to get out! I stayed in the back of the pack for the swim because I knew there were some really great swimmers (especially women, three of the seven elite women had the top ten swims on the day). I didn’t go all out in the beginning of the swim and stayed pretty aerobic and felt great coming out of the water. However, when I looked at my watch I was pretty dissapointed because I swam a minute slower than I had last year. I knew my sighting was really bad, because I was pretty far away from the buoys. I kept moving over to the right, but it felt like I was swimming in a straight line…WRONG! When I got up to my bike, I didn’t want to take the time to put on the underarmour shirt that I planned because I knew I was at least three or four minutes behind the other women.
The bike went great despite that I was FREEZING and the wind was blowing like crazy. I believe I was in fifth place coming into the bike and made my way up to second. I was so happy to get off the bike and start running to warm up, but it felt like I camped out in T2 for five minutes. My fingers were so frozen that I couldn’t get my helmet off and then my feet were so numb that it was hard to get them into my shoes. When I finally made it out of transition it felt like I had stumps on my toes and I don’t think my feet thawed out until the fourth mile of the run. I knew I was second coming out of transition and that Kate McCann is a great biker (and even better swimmer) and was probably about 2-3 minutes ahead of me and that Heidi Keller Miler was right behind me. As I made my way up the monster hill I could see Kate at the halfway point and kept telling myself to run faster. Close to the turnaround I saw Derek and he gave me inspiration to go-go-go. He told me “You can catch her Kort, do it.” I had read an article in a magazine a couple days before talking about going for the win and having confidence to go after it. I used that determination to push myself to the finish line, and get my second win as a newbie to this sport. Next weekend we are heading to Iowa and the weather looks to be much nicer – bring on the humidity!!

Below is a picture of Derek and I after he found out I had won.