TRI for FUN Sprint Triathlon Race Report

My race report for yesterday’s “Tri for Fun” organized by the wonderful people at TBF Racing. They run an excellent show. Well-staffed, friendly, local, and great value for your racing dollar. Thought I’d do a little Q&A with myself on this report for a change.

Why such a short race?

 

Hey, wait minute. First of all, every race is a hard race. Second, I’m not doing any crazy long triathlon racing this year. This year is dedicated to increasing speed and overall fitness in preparation for the Ironman-Melbourne in March 2013. My goal is a sub-11:00 race, which means I need to drop another hour off of my 2012 Ironman-Couer D’Alene time. Right now, that means dropping 40-45 minutes on the bike and 15-30 on the run.

 

Thirdly, I’ve been training higher intensity, shorter distances on the bike and swim this Spring as cross-training for a 50k trail running slated for the end of June. This included a few trainer sessions and more recently, a bunch of personal time trials from Davis to Winters, a flat 25-mile stretch.

 

And most importantly, this was our Mad Cows Racing team race.  I’ve been lax in my involvement with the team over the last year. The race was a great chance for me to get rolling with the team again.

 

Any objectives for the race?

 

Go fast. As fast as I could. I thought that if I had a perfect race, I could sneak onto the podium in my age group. As the end of last season, I did a sprint distance race and finished 7th in the 35-39 age group without almost no swim training at the end of the summer, just some general running, and riding on my old steel frame Diamondback. The first race of the year is always competitive, but I’ve been working consistently at high intensity and thought I could do it.

 

How was the 0.5 mile swim?

 

Inauspicious. I arrived at the swim start about four minutes before my wave and had a complete stranger zip up my wetsuit. Once in the water, I donned my goggles and wait for the start. After 10 strokes, my right eye was leaking so I stopped to fix it. It didn’t fix. Had to try again 10 strokes later. Turns out that using the goggles I found at the bottom of my wetsuit bag instead of the brand new ones sitting at home I wasn’t such a hot idea. (Tip: Test your goggles the day before race day before you commit to them on race day.)

 

Of course, I went out too fast, then after the leaky goggles, tried to catch up with the lead pack. It took until the first turn that I allowed myself to just be happy racing.

 

Swim time: 14:45

 

What about T1?

 

Happily uneventful. Jogged up the grass to transition, stripped, found my bike, changed pretty quickly, and off I went.

 

Any particular strategy on the bike?

 

Ride hard. Really hard. As hard as I could for as long as possible. I wanted to make up for a mediocre swim and also wanted to see if the high intensity bike work was paying off. I purposely left my heart rate monitor at home so I wouldn’t freak myself out seeing 160+bpm during the bike. I’m so used to focusing on a low HR, that it would have been a hindrance to have it.

 

So, how’d the 16 mile bike go?

 

Well… I averaged 23.2 mph to the turn and 20.3 on the second half. There’s a downslope for the first 2 miles coming out of transition, which is then a 100 foot upslope coming back to T2. I was definitely feeling it in my legs wrapping up the bike segment and could have paced a little more in the first hand. On the other hand, my objective was to hammer, and hammer I did.

 

I passed 3-4 in my age group on the bike, and about 10-12 more from the earlier wave while only being passed once. I tried to keep track of riders I saw coming back after the turn so I could estimate where I was positioned as an overall racer. I figured if I could stay in the top 15-20, then I might be able to pick up a couple of racers on the run and hit my podium goal. Ambitious, but why not?

 

Would you like to explain what the heck happened in T2?

 

I’m a doofus, that’s what happened. I dismounted and was a little disoriented as to the exact location of my rack space. I knew I was in the second row of the first aisle, but when I clicked over there, my running gear was no where in sight. I started running up and down the aisle, then in and out of rows looking for my pink towel to no avail. I finally leaned my bike against a tree and a volunteer came over to help. Turns out I was looking too far into the row on my rack and walked right by my gear 2-3 times. (Tip: Walk over to the bike dismount area before the race to develop a visual of where your rack space is relative to the dismount.)

 

That cost me a good 45 seconds. Other than that, T2 was very smooth… :–)

 

So now you’re out of the gate and on the 3 mile run course.  How’d that go?

 

My legs felt like they were turning over really quickly. About 200 yards out of transition, my Garmin showed I was running a 6:45 pace, which is way too fast for me. I figured on 7:30s or maybe 7:15s based on recent run training.

 

Then the course has a gentle downslope before persistent 10-25 foot rollers. I kept my speed on the downslope for some reason, couldn’t really pull back. With it only being a 3 mile run, I figured I’d go as long as I could at this pace until I had to stop. The field was pretty well spread out. One racer was about 100 yards ahead of me and the nearest one behind was 100-150 yards behind. The one behind wasn’t keeping my run pace so I focused on the guy ahead as my rabbit. No luck there. We both picked off a couple of runners before the turnaround, but I couldn’t catch him.  On the way back, I passed 1-2 more runners and sprinted to the finish for a time of 1:23 and change. My run pace came to 6:43/mile with the last mile at 5:59. Very, very, very happy with my run.

 

Where’d you finish?

 

7th in my age group (35-39) and 18th overall. My time would have placed me 3rd in the 30-34 age group and 3rd in the 40-44 age group. I did beat every 20-29 year old out there. I need to either get younger or older.

 

Any thoughts for next race?

 

This is the type of day that proves you just can’t fake preparation. Had I really worked on my swim, I could have had a 13 minute swim, which would have pushed my up to a top 15 finish.

 

The bike definitely improved, so that’s just more work in progress. I’m happy with my speed and see room to be faster very soon.

 

My pathetic T2 transition should never happen to me after all of the weirdness I’ve experienced at various races.

 

All in all, there were 2-3 minutes in there where I can improve at this fitness level, which would put me on the podium next time around.

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