Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nationals Recap

I contemplated not writing this post at all. But then I decided that you can't make something go away by pretending it never happened. Further, I've always believed that any athlete who has a blog should not just skip over their failures and only write about their successes. So here goes probably the shortest race recap I will ever write...

This past weekend, the elite and age group nationals took place in Portland, Oregon with the age groupers taking the morning shift and the elite women and men starting in the afternoon. With a noon start time, I was able to sleep in until 8 (which as I've mentioned before is really sleeping in in the triathlon world) and take my time before rolling out of my hotel at 9:30.

The women's race had a noon start time, and since this was an ITU race, we were able to pick our spots to start on the pontoon. Since I haven't competed in an ITU race in over a year (Kelowna 07 was my last one), I had one of the higher numbers and was one of the last to pick my spot. I ended up choosing the slot between Julie Ertel(2008 Olympian) and Sarah Groff. I knew I'd have to get off to a quick/clean start in order to not get beat up and was pleasantly surprised when I was able to jump on Julie Ertel's feet after the start and hang on them for a couple hundred meters before she kicked it into another gear. For the rest of the swim, I really had no idea where I was in the pack of 15 girls. So, I hammered the rest of the swim, fearing that I might be at the back of the pack. When I exited the water, I glanced back for a quick second and was super excited to see about half of the pack still coming around the last buoy.

So, I sprinted into transition and had a good T1 before I headed out on the bike, knowing that I would most likely have a pack to work with after a lap or so on the bike. And that is exactly what happened. After about a lap, a group of six girls caught me on the technical part of the loop heading down into transition. The bike consisted of 8 loops of 5k each, and each time we had to pass through transition and over timing mats. As the group passed me, I looked for a place to settle in and eventually had to take the last wheel as there were no gaps in the group. As I latched onto the last girl's wheel she started to overturn the corner and had to end up braking to make the turn. This lost us the pack. We both sprinted out of the saddle for about 15 seconds trying to catch up. She was able to catch them after about 10 seconds. As hard as I tried, I didn't have enough power to catch them. So, for about half a lap I rode with the pack about 5 seconds ahead of me. No matter how many surges I threw in, I wasn't able to catch them. Over the next couple of laps, the pack was gaining about 20 seconds per lap on me. Then, after 4 laps, I realized the lead pack of girls were gaining quickly on me. I held them off for six laps, until they lapped me. It is a rule in ITU competitions that if you get lapped, you're out. So, my day was done. I was very disappointed as this is only the 2nd race I've ever DNF'ed (besides a race my junior year of high school where I crashed my bike and injured my arm and carbon frame), so I'm not used to the feeling of just quitting. I know I am in better shape than I was last year at this time, but that breakthrough race can't come soon enough. One more race to go for the year so stay tuned..
~AHahn

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Countdown to Nationals!

4 days and counting until Pro Nationals! This is like the US Open in golf, the Kentucky Derby in horse racing, the Daytona 500 in NASCAR ( you get the picture). This is probably my biggest race of the year since I'm not partaking in any WC (World Cup) events this year and also my first draft legal race of the year.

I leave on Thursday for Portland so that I have enough time to scope out the course and swim/bike/run on it a couple of times before race day rolls around. Friday is the pro pre-race meeting where I will be able to see just how many women will be in the field. From the website, it looks to be a pretty sizable field but you never know until the day before who will actually show up since some register for races months in advance. For this race, I am competing in the under 23 age group which starts at the same time as the rest of the pro women.

This week has been a rest week in which I've significantly dropped my volume. So, for example, I usually bike 2 hours on a Tuesday but on a recovery week Tuesday I bike for only an hour and fifteen minutes. Hopefully it will provide me with that extra spark I need come Saturday at noon. Check back for a race update early next week.

~AHahn

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Realizations

During the short time I've been in Colorado, I've come to a couple of realizations.

A) My car will never be clean. No matter how many times I wash it, the dust and rocks will always find their way to my car, giving it that rugged outdoorsy look.
B) On my easy spin days on my bike, I may get passed by mountain bikers. Enough said.
C)There are people 2-3 times my age (males and females) in Boulder who are just as fit/fast as me. See description for B.
D) High school football games are played on Saturday mornings. I found this one out the hard way last Saturday when I was searching for a high school track to do my track workout on. This was a shock to me because in Florida (where football is so huge), high school games are played Friday night so that the HS players can attend the college games on Saturdays.
E)Do NOT trust weather.com. The weather can change at the drop of a hat. A nice sunny with a high of 75 day can quickly turn into a 45 degree windstorm so I must always be prepared.
And last but certainly not least...
F) The "Cheese" Effect. You know how someone says "cheese" right before they take a picture and the parties being photographed have that goofy smile? That's the kind of smile I've unconsciously had on my face many days while training here. I just can't help it! :)

There's not too much else to write about for now. Right now I'm starting to wind down towards my taper week next week for nationals.
~AHahn

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy...


Fat tire division for me? Maybe someday....

If you look really close, you can see the elk

After running the gorgeous trail in Nederland

As I mentioned in the previous post, my amazing parents drove my car all the way across the country for me. After they finished the journey, they stayed with me in Colorado for a couple of days before they flew back to Florida. So, while they were here, I had to get all of my training in and entertain them at the same time. It worked out perfectly because they wanted to see the mountains and I needed mountains to bike/run up. On Thursday, in between house and job hunting, I took them up to a trail called Caribou Ranch in the town of Nederland (not too far from Boulder). I've only been to this trail twice but it is already becoming one of my favorites because of the changes in scenery (from forest to wide open space with flowers) along the way.

On Friday, I had a little bit of a lighter day training-wise and we were able to go to Estes Park, about an hour drive from where I'm staying right now. Estes Park is the name of the town and within it is the Rocky Mountain National Park. If you are at all interested in nature/wildlife I highly recommend going (2 thumbs up). Because the park is a vast expanse, there are maps and signs within the park to guide you where to stop and take pictures or where to look for certain animals. My favorite spot was one where you had to look straight up a cliff to see elk blending themselves into the pine trees. :) After a great dinner at Grub Steak in downtown Estes Park and some homemade ice cream (there was 7 shops within a block so clearly it was a sign to stop), we called it a night. That's basically all the excitement from last week. Since then, I've been...you guessed it...training! Nationals is approaching fast, but more on that later!

~AHahn