Kathy Braginton Redefines Personal Best While Taking 1st Overall at Girl’s Best Friend Olympic Tri
August 26th, 2015 by Team OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors
By Kathy Braginton, Team OAM Now Triathlete
When most of us think of the term Personal Record (PR) , also known as Personal Best (PB), we think of recording our “Best Time” in a race. In search of a PR, I signed my sister and me up for Athletic Mentor’s Triathlete Custom Training Plan Clinic last March. We walked away with a complete training schedule for our goal race, Girl’s Best Friend. We chose Girl’s Best Friend as our goal Olympic distance race because the swim is 1000 meters (shorter than a traditional Oly). We followed the training plan, as written to the best of our abilities, even if it meant hitting the pavement at 4 AM.
On race day, we were ready! I have raced Girl’s Best Friend every year since its existence and introduced my sister and many others to the world of multisport at this race. The sprint distance brings many first timers. I enjoy giving assistance in the transition and helping calm the pre-race nerves of others. Unfortunately, I have to be honest when they ask how bad the weeds are in the lake. The first 100 meters are very thick and several times I felt it was difficult to take a full stroke. However, the bike course at this race is one of my favorites…..flat and fast!
I had a great race! I was 5th after the swim, 1st after the bike, and was able to extend my lead throughout the run. As I crossed the finished line, capturing my first ever win in an Olympic distance race, I was thrilled. I looked up at the race clock, knowing I had given it my all, and expected to see that PR I had in my mind for the last 6 months. It was hard to hide that initial wave of disappointment when I realized I did not have my “best time” from the previous year.
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To have a PR at a triathlon, you have to assume the race course will be exactly the same from year to year. The swim course will be set the same. The buoys will be securely placed and will not be moving targets. The bike and run courses will be the same distance. The head winds will be light and the roads will be dry. You will be able to navigate the bike course without worry of motorized vehicles. You won’t have to change a flat tire. I could go on and on.
So, I took a step back to annualize what a PR really meant. The completion of Girl’s Best Friends marked my 48th triathlon and I realized I am setting a PR every time I cross that finish line! I finished 1st overall and my sister was 5th overall, a PR from our overall placement of 2nd and 9th a year ago, but that was where the obvious PRs ended. I had to analyze the data from my Garmin for each leg in search of more. Comparing the swims, I was 30 seconds faster than last year. However, my Garmin showed the swim distance was a little shorter than last year. So, we’ll say I swam the same….no PR. Initial review of the bike times showed I was 4 minutes slower than last year. The bike course is a 2 loop course for Oly distance with a stretch of out and back on each loop. Analyzing the results further, I found the bike course this year was 2 miles longer, but my average pace was actually faster than last year….PR! The run course is a 2 loop course for Oly with a mix of trail and paved roads. On the first loop, I noticed there was an added stretch of road that we had not run in years past. This resulted in the run being about ¼ mile longer than last year. Again, I found my average pace was actually faster than last year….PR! But in the end, after all that data crunching, I decided that what really mattered was knowing I had given it my personal best and any time I can race with my sister, I have my “best time” in a race .
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