Got my podium!

3rd_place

Raced yesterday in TBFRacing’s Tri for Fun at Rancho Seco Park. These are outstanding local races, extremely well-run with lots of solid competition from the Sacramento valley area.

 

Many thanks to TBF Racing for the dedicated rack space for the Mad Cows. We love your races and the support of our team.

 

This year has been all about speed work for me. Having registered for the Ironman-Asia Pacific next March with the time goal of a sub 11-hour, I need to slash some serious time off both my bike and run. If I can get down to a 6-hour bike and run a 3:40 marathon while keeping my swim at 1:10 or better all while maintaining my personal sanity and enjoyment of the training, I’m there. The sanity part is always the toughest. I mean, why does it really matter? An Ironman is an Ironman and who really cares other than me about my time? I’m not even in the same galaxy as Hawaii qualifiers and I’m quite sure my races times will be unnoticeably absent from my epitaph. And if they are there, then I’m really missed something. Dude – relax and have fun. Sigh…

 

In the mean time, I’m racing locally to see if the speed work is paying off. As motivation, I promised myself I’d find my way onto the Age Group podium at least once this year. A month ago, I raced in the Tri for Run June race and missed by two minutes. I went there fully expecting to place and once again learned that you can’t cheat when it comes to training. I wasn’t ready to podium last month as I was especially unprepared and for the swim, and worse, over-confident about this preparation.

 

Pre-Race & Prep:

 

Diet – Over the last week, I focused on more than just normal stuff like avoiding refined sugars, but really focusing on lots of leafy vegetables (kale, mustard greens, collard greens), proteins, and grazing throughout the day instead of big meals (carrots, hummus, and nuts – woohoo!). I’ve even got a small refrigerator in my office under my desk.

 

Stretching & Flexibility – I took a few Crossfit classes earlier this Spring. I haven’t been attending lately, but have been implementing several hip stretches and squat exercises into my weekly routine. They are definitely making a difference – so much so that I’m ready to shed my compact crank and move back up to a standard. Most riders go in the other direction.

 

More Riding – I took my road bike to work and I’ve worked in a few extra rides towards Lake Natomas and Folsom. Nice to have a few rollers here and there compared to the dead pan flat here in Davis. Even nicer to have a shower available at work.

 

The Race:

 

Swim – I again proved myself to be a horrendously awful planner. My age group was the second swim wave scheduled for an 8:05am start. I was in the bathroom for a final time as the first wave went off at 8:00am. I ran down to the beach at 8:03am, had a random dude zip up my wet suit, jumped in the water to check my goggles just in time to hear the ten second countdown. Foolish. Simply foolish.

 

At last month’s Tri for Fun, where I started out way too quickly on the swim, then my goggles leaked, I was completely out of sorts for most of the swim. This time, I promised myself smooth, long strokes  and trusting that the hard swim workouts I put in over the last two weeks would pay off. They did.

I was at the front of the pack throughout the swim. For the first few hundred yards, I was able to draft a little, then felt someone drafting me for most of the rest of the swim (despite by deliberate kicks to shake him). Jogging up to transition, I could see the swim leaders just unracking their bikes and heading out so I wasn’t more than a minute or two behind.

 

My transition was a little slow. Had a hard time getting my socks and Garmin in place, but once I was out, I was cruising. I can snip :30 here next time.

 

Bike – I treated the 15 mile course as a time trial. I was passed only once on the bike about a quarter mile out of out of transition by the eventual race winner. This same guy passed me at about the same spot last race.

 

There are a couple of ascents but kept on the big ring and mostly aero except for a time or two to stretch. On the way out, I passed several riders and began counting those coming back from the turn.

 

18 people ahead – which included a handful of duathletes and younger males in the first wave. On the way back, I picked off three riders pretty quickly and one more with 4 miles to go, then two more that had mechanicals. There was one more rider in sight that was my last rabbit. As we turned for the last two miles back to transition, I just couldn’t catch him. But I saw him in transition and I was much quicker and he had to turn back because he forget his race belt (required by race officials).

 

Was feeling very happy with the bike and felt that I maxed effort on the course. I smiled a little when I noticed that there were virtually no other bikes in transition. That was a good sign. (I also did a much better job at transition compared to last month’s race where I came in from the ride and couldn’t find my rack.)

 

Run – Last month, I was out of transition and running 6:45/miles which startled me at the time. This race, I expected it. I put in a hard run earlier in the week where I did 7:11s over a 5.5 mile run so I was sure I could run 6:45s again race day. I had cut down on running the last two weeks as a calf problem emerged, causing me to skip a 50k run I planned to do last weekend, but felt recovered and ready.

 

The run course was empty. The other racers ahead of me were well out of sight. There was only one racer in view. I did catch him just before the mile 1 marker and saw he was a 16-year old from his calf marking, then he caught me back and we ran together with him a few paces ahead. After the turnaround, I counted 3 racers 100-200 yards behind me that looked like my age group which freaked me out about getting caught on the run. The run is my strongest of the three sports and I depend on a strong run at every race to help me catch up for my below average cycling.

 

At the mile 2 marker, we were keeping a 6:40ish pace and I said – “C’mon man, let’s get each other in.” He didn’t say anything back but we took turns leading the pace. With about a 1/3 mile to go, he took the lead and we both kicked. I peeked behind and saw we were well clear of any other racers. He had more than me and finished three seconds ahead, but of course, he started five minutes before me so really I finished 4:57 ahead. :–)

 

I crossed the line at 1:17:57, which beat my PR on this course by more than four minutes and I got my podium.

 

Next

 

I’m looking at the TBF Racing Tri for Real (Olympic distance) in early August, then either the TBF HIT half-ironman at the end of August or the Big Kahuna Half-Ironman in Santa Cruz in September. The Big Kahuna will be a good practice race for the Ironman because of the ocean swim and flat bike. There’s usually a few fellow Mad Cows that do this race and it’s always fun to have company when racing.

 

Congratulations to the other Mad Cows racers that raced too. Lots of podiums for the crew and a few first-timers racing in their first triathlon.

 

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