Mazatlan Race Recap
MAZATLAN FRUSTRATION – 2:16:34, April 21, 2012
I was very excited and mentally prepared for Mazatlan, my first ITU race of the season. In the weeks leading up to the race, I was not feeling as fresh as I would have liked in workouts, but I was still optimistic for race day. The start list for Mazatlan had a perfect group of talent to see where I stood so early in the season. I was confident in the swim, because I knew I had gained a lot of experience and “toughness” from last year. I was not too worried about the bike, because I knew if and when I made the first swim pack, I would be able to handle anything they handed me. The run however, was my big question mark. I’ve been feeling off and heavy especially in the run since March and have been unable to shake it, but was feeling lighter in the days leading up to the race.
Swim – 1500m (2 laps) 22:17
Going into the swim I felt confident I would be in the lead group, swimming strong and not being bothered by all the pushing and shoving as I was last year. At the gun, I got out fast and strong leading the pack to the far right, while another group was forming to the far left. But as I approached the first sight buoy just to its inside, there was a breakdown in communication between the officials in and out of the water. Before the race, I was told I could swim on either side of the sight buoy, but the lifeguards in the water must not have received that memo, because I was blocked and told to alter my path and swim to the outside. This cost me precious seconds and I soon found myself in the middle of the main pack, fighting for a spot. This race was insanely brutal, with girls from behind purposely pulling on my heels and those next to me elbowing me in the ribs every time they took a stroke. I’ve been hit during the swim portion, but this was the first time I was blatantly attacked.
As we rounded the third turn buoy, again there was a lack of communication. The lead girls started swimming to shore, but though the lifeguards corrected us, they directed us to the wrong buoy and had us swimming back out to sea. At some point in the first lap, everyone was so confused; we all stopped swimming and started treading water trying to figure out where to go. Each official was pointing in a different direction, so everyone just decided to turn for shore. Because of the confusion and breakdown of communication we all came in at once. There was no order, as the fast swimmers were in the back, with the slower ones in front. I was able to make up some ground on the run between laps and worked my way back into the top seven. Though it was a very frustrating, violent and confusing swim I was still able to come out in the lead group and make the first pack on the bike. Unfortunately, so did the majority of the field as well. All in all I am happy with how I was able to handle all the craziness and keep a somewhat level head and finish in a competitive position.
Bike – 25.4miles (6 laps) 1:08:17
Due to the confusing swim, the lead bike pack was about double its usual size with ten women. I knew that because of its size, there would be attempts to break it up with attacks coming at every turn around. I positioned myself in the front of the pack and was able to respond to all take offs, but after each strong effort we would turn to find the main pack right behind us, unaffected and intact. After the fourth attempt I knew this pack would be together through the end, so I stopped shredding my legs. Because of the size and various nationalities of our lead pack, we were never able to get organized and work together. About half the girls, myself included, were willing to pull and work to distance ourselves from the chase pack, but could never get organized due to the unwilling half. It was very frustrating to see efforts and energy wasted while the chase pack got closer and closer.
The bike pack aside, I’m happy with the bike splits and with the efforts I made. Though I did not have a high overall watt average, my surges were well over 600watts and I was able to respond to all that was thrown at me. I am pretty confident that I can now stay in most front packs, as I may not be the strongest biker in the field but I’ve been able to hang in there more consistently.
Run – 6.2miles (4 laps) 44:44
After a quick T2, I started the run in 4th place, but was unable to hold it. As each girl caught me I made an effort to stay on her shoulder, but unfortunately that didn’t last too long. I actually felt pretty good for the first lap averaging in the 6:30s, but as each lap came and went, I started to feel heavier and heavier. I finished the run a minute faster than last year’s split, but it was still very disappointing. For the weeks leading into the race my run was off and sluggish and that’s what I got on race day. Oh well :(
Going into the race, my main goal was to win ITU points. Though I was hoping for a better placing and a faster run, I still earned my first set of points for the season. It was less than I was hoping for but points are points and I’ll take them. I did improve my ranking and am one step closer to qualifying for Cancun World Cup in October. I’m now eagerly awaiting my next ITU race in Dallas on June 2nd, and will restructure my training around ‘running’, as that is still my Achilles heel.