Mass State Triathlon – July 9, 2017
Fran’s Race Report:
The 2017 Mass State triathlon took place on July 9th, at Lake Dennison in Winchendon, Massachusetts. It’s a race that has a reputation of always taking place on the hottest day of the summer, but I think we got lucky this year because the temperature never got above 80 degrees. This was my second Olympic distance triathlon and definitely my best race this year.
My training for this race perhaps wasn’t the greatest. I ended up not following a formal training plan, and instead made up my own regimen as I went along that used some of the principals from the plan I’d used to train for my first Olympic distance race. In the end, I may have done more training than a formal plan would have called for, but it was definitely less structured. Another hiccup in the training was that I ended up having to travel for work for several days about a week and a half before the race, which disrupted my final training plans. While traveling, I tried to tell myself that I was probably supposed to be tapering anyway, and then I did a last long workout when I got back before doing the real taper. Perhaps the trip even helped in the end, especially because I was working outdoors in Florida, and just about any weather feels cool and refreshing after that.
The swim had the usual waves with mass starts. I’d consider my swimming good but not spectacular, but I made some big improvements this year just by doing a better job of making sure my goggles didn’t fog up. It’s amazing how much faster you can finish the swim course when you can actually see the buoys and aren’t constantly getting off track.
The bike course had some scenic sections, some bumpy sections, some parts with newly paved road, and one slightly dicey part that goes through a town center. The race organizers assured the athletes that the bad patches of road would be fixed by next summer. There are a few hills, especially in the middle of the course, but it’s fairly flat at the beginning and the end, which I think helped me because I could get used to being on a bike at the beginning and then prepare for the run at the end without also having to worry about anything too technical. I thought there were also a surprising number of people pulled over with flat tires on the bike course. There were also at least a couple crashes, one of which happened a short distance behind me that I heard but didn’t see. Fortunately, I made it back to transition without getting into any mishaps myself.
After a short bout of jelly legs coming off the bike, I ended up having a really good run. This is most likely for two reasons. First, the course is an out and back, so whenever I got to an uphill I could tell myself that I would get to run back down it later. Second, I’d done the run leg as part of a relay with Z and Edith my first year on Team Envision. It definitely helped to be able to tell myself that no matter how tired I might feel, I’d done that run before and I could do it again. That’s made me wonder if I ought to try and do the run course in isolation before other future races, maybe it would help when the temptation to walk gets strong.
My official time was 3:13:44.9. It’s not a spectacular time by any definition, but I achieved both of my main goals for the race: to finish in under 3 hours 15 minutes, and run the entire run course. I’m looking forward to doing this race again next year and improving even more.