Practice RACE #2 REPORT: You mean triathlon isn't easy?

I felt super duper strong during Saturday's training run, which had me pumped for Sunday. So I was thinking my sub-two-hour goal was totally possible. And tapering was THE BEST IDEA ANYONE EVER HAD.

And then yesterday I successfully beat Lake Minneola and conquered the course that DNFd me earlier this year. That 750m (1/2 mile-ish) swim felt like slicing through butter. But, overall, I got my ass handed to me. My first Dead Last Finish in ANY race. Instead of nailing my sub-two-hour goal, it took me 2:10 and change. To be fair, this was not a TRUE DLF. There were FIVE MEN behind me. But I was the last woman. A DLF is greater than a DNF which is greater than a DNS, right? You just keep telling yourself that.

MEGGAN JOHNSON 28 ORLANDO FL PLACE: 45 of 46 women (but 46 DNF'd)


The whole thing was a comedy of errors from the first minute. Before it even started, I realized I forgot my race number, and I had to have them make me one and I had to buy another race number belt. Then I realized my rear brake was dragging on my bike but I couldn't get to the bolt to fix it. So I rode 13 miles of hills with my rear brake dragging. Fun. Ok, HOW MANY TIME HAS MEGGAN ANN DONE THIS BEFORE AND IS STILL MESSING IT UP?

This is what practice races are for.

SWIM: As has been the case in all but one race, the swim was my favorite. For the first time, I actually passed several people in the water. (I am still extremely slow.) But I think I used a little too much energy because I got cocky on the swim and started passing more people on purpose instead of conserving energies as planned.

This is what practice races are for.

BIKE: I really do need my 100 calories per hour for racing - because of that and the hills I lost about 10 min on the bike. Again, I tried to "attack the hills" instead of conserving energies as planned. Not smart with rear brake draggage. One skill I seem to have mastered: removing myself from my cycling shoes while riding. T2 was at the bottom of a steep hill, and by the time I was at the bottom I was out of my shoes and dismounted. A little kid goes, "You don't have any shoes on!" And the lady behind me goes, "She was amazing! She was coming out of those things coming down the hill!"

This is what practice races are for.

RUN: I bombed the run.... and not because I didn't run it well or smart. Remember that race # I forgot, and they had to make one for me, and then I had to buy a new race number belt? I forgot it. I went back to get it, but gave up when I realized I'd spend more time doing that than the penalty they'd give me if they saw me without it. Then I had to stop - not one, not three, but TEN times to fix my elastic shoelaces. They always pinch the wide part of my feet and today was no different.

This is what practice races are for.

My resolve to go long is only strengthened.

Next month's race now feels more intimidating at double the distance. But, because of this race, my training will significantly change. I will ride and run hill repeats once a week every week. This week my openwater swims were already scheduled to increase to 2km, but I will need to increase my pool swims to over 2k. To improve, I need to join a masters swim team, which means I need to learn how to do flies and all those crazy strokes, and I need to go longer than 2k in the pool. My longest pool swim to date is 2200m. My plan is to start swimming at lunch when the masters' group swims and watch what they do. Then I'll approach the coach later.

I have also learned my personal food tolerances and needs, which are QUITE different from those for a foot race. For a longish foot race, a big fat bowl of oatmeal with a banana and a sprinkling of nuts is perfect. Not for triathlon. 1 banana and maaaaybe a sports drink is good for a super sprint, but a sprint needs a banana, sports drink, and half a food bar, with the other half stashed in the bento box in case I need it on the bike. To go Olympic, I'll need an entire banana, an entire sports drink, and an entire energy bar, with a whole energy bar and a sports drink (and possibly a gel) stashed on the bike. Holy shit . . . I'm human. The 100-calorie-per-hour-of-activity-rule applies to me, too!

Now I have to come from the TRUE back of the pack to reach my top 30% goal. This means I may not be ready for a HIM next year. It means I may need to spend the year PRing beforehand.

5 tidbits of wizdom:

Joy | Love | Chaos said...

Now you *know* how I feel about being dead freaking last...but I've beat that horse to bits and pieces.

Don't worry too much about your finish time (or place). You learned a ton at this race -- and it's better to learn five lessons in one race than...well, you know.

But,'ve gotta start eating more! I don't know who's telling you 100 calories per hour in a race. But for me, any race over 45 minutes - 1 hour I consume at least 250 each hour. (In fact, the longer the race, the more important it is.) You figure that even in a sprint distance, you're burning over 300 calories in the run alone!

Eat, girl, eat! ;)

The Stretch Doc said...

nice job.. and your right thats what some races are for.. to get it down, to figure it have fun! Oh wait, thats all races!

keep it up!


Tea said...

Congrats on beating the beast. last time DNF, this time finishing with some great lessons learned!

I agree with Imable, eat eat eat.

Congrats on the finish!

FunFitandHappy said...

congrats on finishing the race. I've consistently said I have the most respect for whoever finishes last, because everyone else quit!!

I agree with IM Able - 100 calories / hour isn't even close....although it's a bit biased, take a look at

I take in ~400 calories / hour on the bike, using a combination of perpetuem, gels, any my personal favorite uncrustables

I am the Big Bad Wolf said...

I just think you are amazing for DOING IT!