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Spring Splash & Dash Race #3 (May 3, 2012)

May 4, 2012

My main reason for doing all the races that I do is to keep myself at a high level of fitness, which seems to keep me really healthy, which, I guess, is really my main goal.  You could argue that I could easily stay fit by just working out on my own and not racing, but there’s something about race day that adds an element of excitement and makes me push myself to my limits.  Finding my limits helps me understand how my body responds to different stresses, foods, lifestyles, and all the other variables that come with how I feel every day.  For the most part, I have a decent idea of what to expect from a lot of these variables, but there always seems to be interesting data adding to the equation to keep me from totally mastering it.  This race gave me a bit more of that new data.

The race started as it usually does, with a chaotic swim start pushing me to a high heart rate to get out in front of the main pack.  But somehow, it seemed much easier today.  As the race went on, I was able to comfortably vary my speed to get into the slipstream of other swimmers, and accelerate to drop other swimmers from my slipstream.  I also seemed to be swimming remarkably straight, which is very helpful in open water.  Cruising through transition and into my run, the same smooth feeling stayed with me. I wasn’t holding too much back, and magically everything felt fluid.  Just like in the swim, I was getting plenty of air, and didn’t have the painful why-the-hell-do-I-do-this thoughts that can sometimes hit me during a race.  In the end, my result was similar to my other results (http://4peaksracing.com/results/213results_splash-n-dash.htm), but the fact that I did it with such little suffering was the real victory.

The tough part now is trying to figure out why I felt so good.  I was on a work trip for most of the week, and wasn’t working out much at all, so maybe it was the rest that helped me out.  I had a spectacular night of sleep the night before the race, and added a nice snooze on the plane home before the race, so it could have been all that sleeping that did it.  Or, I could just be getting to a higher level of fitness?  Perhaps it could be a combination of all the above, but there’s probably no way to tell without continuing to collect these new data points.  I have a few more races planned for this month, so I’ll just keep collecting data and hope to find myself back in that magical place of painless high heart rates.

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