Tri The Parks – Blalock Lakes Sprint Race Report

Blalock Lakes Sprint

Written by Chris Abellana ~ TTP Scholarship winner

03:15am…

Time to wake up!  Its race day and in a few short hours I will be racing at Blalock Lakes in Newnan, GA.  I really have no expectations from the race other than I know the course will be hilly and I am not fond of hills.  I don’t know about y’all but when I hear hills, it strikes some uneasiness into my gut, my legs get weak, and I know that it’s going to be a long day.  I don’t know why but it just does.

My week of training has been decent but I have been training for longer distances so transitioning to sprint distances, is a very big shift not only in the mental but the physical endurance.  There is no more long and strong; it will be short and fast; real fast, if I am lucky.

05:48am…

Sitting out in front of the gate at Blalock Lakes and begin to mentally prepare for the race and going over the bike and run maps in my mind.  I know where the climbs are going to be but like I said earlier, this is a sprint and not a half or full Iron distance so I am going to need to push it pretty good but still saving something for the road.

06:30am…

Bike is in transition area now and I’m listening to Eminem’s “Till I Collapse”.  It reminds me that my mind can go further than my body so get that in the right state first and then my body will follow (hopefully).  All my shoes, helmet, sunglasses, socks are now in place for T1 so let’s get on a warm-up run.  Wow, this place is hilly.

07:25am…

Warm-up swim. Water feels good- not too warm, not too cool- concentrating on good, strong hip turn, and good cadence with my arms.

08:00am RACE Start…

Here we go. [Mind you, I am talk to myself a lot so you will hear what I see and say to myself during the entire race.] And we’re off! My goodness, this guy to my left couldn’t keep it straight if he had a blue line at the bottom of the lake! Whoa, those first 100 meters were kind of messy!  Making the 2nd turn and heading down the home stretch and I took it way too far left- gotta head back right.  Perfect, let’s add more distance to this race! J

T1 and Bike…

Thankfully this has one of the shortest distances from water to bike that I have ever experienced.  Socks, shoes, and helmet on and we’re off on the bike.  Going out, hills. Settling into race pace, and I feel good. Race officials come along side to make sure I am keeping my distance so I smile and say thanks for keeping us safe!  Middle part- hills. During this part of the race, I begin to not think about the race, but about how Blessed I am to be racing!  We have a gorgeous day, a dry road and a lot of great athletes to race against. Last bit – downhill. Gotta love this part.  Rounding the corner into the park and nothing but downhill.

T2 and Run…

Change shoes, bib # on, and I am off.  Man, my calves are a little tight.  I hope I don’t cramp up.  Did that Smith kid just pass me on his way in?!!! Wow he was fast!  Ok, focus now.  The first part of the run was not good.  I just didn’t feel good.  In the turnaround and half way home now.  I begin to pick up the pace knowing its only 1.55 miles from the finish.  My calves are ok now and I see my pace getting closer to where I need it to be.  I hit the finish and record a time of 1:22:47.5 (11:53 on the swim, 43:55 on the bike, and 25:00 on the run).  Not bad but I know I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Wednesday, June 5

I have a two mile critical velocity test, and I look at the schedule of my workouts and see a drastic difference b/w what I did on my own vs. what I am doing with Coach Mariska and Team EC.  On my own, I would go out on a swim, bike, or run and do it to get it done.  Now, I have specific drills that will test my endurance, work on technique, and reinforce good form vs. just mileage.  As a former coach myself, I can see how these drills are the building blocks to my improvement.  The drills are definitely more intense than my former workouts but then again, the focus was very different; nonetheless, these drills can begin to change not only the physicality but also the mentality at which I perceive and execute my workouts.  This will in turn get me faster and better as a triathlete.

My next race is July 20th at Mistletoe State Park, and knowing that I have 7 weeks of these kinds of workouts, I am very excited to see how much I will progress.