Race Expectations: Reston Sprint Triathlon 2016

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So. Many. Nerves.  The Reston Sprint Triathlon is tomorrow, and beyond the usual pre-race anxiety, Mother Nature is making for some extra worry.  The forecast keeps changing, but right now it looks like a 45% chance of thunderstorms for tomorrow morning.  The RD has been great about sending out emails letting us know what’s going on, but at this point we just have to roll with the punches and hope for the best.

I found the Reston Sprint Triathlon way back in August/September, and there were a few things about it that I liked.  First, it is local.  And I mean local:  20 minute drive to the start line from my apartment!  Second, it is a pool swim.  All my other races in the past have been pool swims, and while I toyed with the idea of finding an open water swim race, I thought it might be a bit tricky to find OWS space to practice in before race day.  Third, this race is beginner friendly.  There are loads of people who show up on all kinds of bikes, and there are plenty of people who aren’t clipping in on the bike or walking the run.  All of that together made this race look appealing as my return to triathlon.

Coming up with goals for this race has been challenging.  I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself by setting an unrealistic time goal, but I also want to have something to shoot for.  The weather also makes goal setting tricky.  There’s a chance the swim and/or bike will get scrubbed, so who really knows what could happen?  With that being said, here what I’m thinking for goals:

  • Participate! This is kind of cheating, since this goal isn’t actually in my control.  But I just want to be able to race.

  • Stay rubber side down. If the bike isn’t cancelled but the roads are wet, I want to manage my bike handling in such a way that I don’t crash.  This means staying off the painted lines, slowing down through the turns, and being diligent about my surroundings.

  • No walking!  In my other three triathlons, I have always walked during the run leg.  With the number of bricks I’ve done this prep cycle, I feel prepared to run every step from T2 to the finish line.

  • Go sub 1:40:00.  This is the muddiest goal.  How do I know if this time makes sense?  I don’t.  But I want a time to shoot for, and this is the one that I came up with.  Assuming I get a swim time of under 9 minutes, and 50 minutes for the bike, that leaves me 35 minutes to complete the run and 6 minutes for both transitions.  I know my swim paces, and since this is not open water, I feel confident about my time.  8:30 is where I want to be, but I added a bit of time to account for the timing mats.  For the bike, I know how fast I usually am when training, but that includes slowing down for traffic and then subsequently getting back up to speed.  This should be interesting, to see how my speed compares when racing!  And for the run, it isn’t likely that I’ll get the same run time as I did during my open 5k in April.  35 minutes is hopefully doable.

All that said, I’ve been wondering if I should skip wearing my watch.  I don’t want the added pressure.  Maybe I should just go!  I’ll pack it and bring it along and see what happens on race day.  As it is, the Vivoactive doesn’t have a multisport mode, so if I choose to wear it, I’ll need to manually start and stop each leg.  Ugh...let the overanalyzing begin, right?  Are there people who just head into race day without all these worries?  Probably not.  Being neurotic is sort of a prerequisite for triathletes, isn’t it?  Sometimes I’m told to just relax and have fun.  But I do get a sick sort of enjoyment out of worrying.  I like making lists and cross checking and comparing plans.  If I’m not worrying about something, I worry that I’ve forgotten what I should be worrying about!

I’ve already been to packet pickup, and I’m about to start packing up my bag and laying out my stuff for tomorrow.  I’m #388.  I’m excited.  And no matter what the course, the conditions, or my body decide to give me tomorrow, I’m going to have a great time!