Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Timberman Sprint Tri...and try I did

In my quest to keep getting my butt out in the water for triathlons I I figured the Timberman Sprint on Saturday would be perfect since I was support staff for J at the Timberman 70.3 race the following day. That way I could race and feel like I had done something when I'm watching people race the 70.3 the following day.

I look like a legit swimmer!
537 meter swim – 8:02
Now I had heard about how clear and shallow Lake Winnipesaukee was but you just don't get an appreciation for it until you race in it. You could've practically walked the entire way through the swim course (which some people did). It was so shallow for so far and the water was so crystal clear! I knew once the gun went off, my best bet was to dive in and shallow stroke it until I could get some distance and depth and then give it all I had. Once again...I found myself in the odd position...of swimming over people. Me, the guy who hated swimming and couldn't "swim" now readily swims over slower swimmers. That's just crazy!. At one point I actually said "get out of my way" to a pair of swimmers that were swimming and talking to each other. I actually thought to myself that I had become "that guy" that I tried to avoid because I didn't want to slow him down in the water. I laughed out loud while swimming! I was swimming strong, good stroke, good pace and then...the swim was over and I was getting out of the water. Its amazing how fast something goes by when you're not dreading or hating every minute of it! I got out of the water (buy the way, in that picture, which I am buying, I look like I'm either the first guy or the last guy out of the water...when I was neither but in a pack of people when I left the water I swear!) and ran the 100 meters or so into transition as fast as I could. I got to my bike, got out of my wetsuit, got on my gear and headed out. T1 was 2:47. Not bad, not great but it was time to focus on the bike.

15 mile bike – 48:36, 18.5mph 
As soon as I got into aero I realized that I needed to pee. And not just a little, but so bad that it hurt to be in the aero position. I remembered that I needed to pee before the swim start and figured I'd just go in the water and then completely forgot about it because of nerves...and then I was swimming but now it hit me. I had to make a decision, either get off the bike to relieve myself or sit up and pee as fast as I could and get back in the race. Um...there is NO getting off the bike so it was the latter. Its crazy that even though I wanted to pee, needed to pee...I had to coax my body into actually peeing. Thank goodness it happened! All the pain in my bladder went away and I could focus on the bike. I knew sitting up would allow the group that I left transition with to get away but I figured it'd give me added motivation to ride them down. Bladder empty, back in aero, good position and back to work. It was then I glanced down to see my speed in order to get back on track and my GPS was blank. Ugh! There was nothing I could do to get the GPS to pick up...and then I started to get angry. I live off data during a race. I know that if I can't see mph or pace during a race, I'll slip into a comfort zone and I'll trail off. Being able to see that I'm racing as fast or faster than my race plan is the key to a successful race for me. The only option was to start picking out people ahead of me, focus on catching them and then continue to do that for the rest of the bike, not the preferred method but the only one at my disposal at the moment....and then we hit the hills. I knew the course was hilly. I'd seen it first hand the year prior and had studied the course elevation map but I still wasn't prepared for it I guess. Without seeing my speed and knowing whether I was moving slow or fast, there were no mileage markers on the bike course, I just tried to maintain good turnover and get up and over the hills. I felt like I was giving max effort but couldn't really tell (for the record I felt as if I was going slower that I wanted the whole ride and that 18.5mph average for the bike leg proved it). I desperately wanted to get off the bike and get out running so I could empty the tank and it'd be easier for me to estimate pace with my watch and mile markers. I made it in and out of transition in 2:01 and was out for the run.

3.1 mile run - 20:00, 6:27 pace
I came out of T2 rip-roaring pissed. I had no real clue how I had done on the bike (let's be honest, this brain ain't good enough at math to calculate average MPH on the fly) and I hadn't seen anyone with a 40 on their calf (for those of you that don't know, triathlons put your age on your calf, and bib number on other parts of your body so race officials can identify you easily. For us age groupers, its a quick way to see who we're competing against for a podium spot or at the very least count how many "places" we gain as we pass other folks in our age group) all day! I got my legs back pretty quick in the run and tried to get in a rhythm. My GPS still wasn't picking up so I was looking for the 1st mile marker so I could see my pace. 

Yup, face says it all
I hit the 1 mile marker in 7:15. 7:15?! Are f'ing serious?! That is TOTALLY unacceptable!!! I made the decision that the next 2.1 miles would be run flat out. I have no idea what the pace would be but unless I crossed the finish line throwing up from max effort I had failed. Weirdly enough...I felt myself getting faster. I just kept yelling in my head to "get faster". I called myself every name I could think of to motivate me to crank up my pace. I hit the 2 mile mark and thought I was around a 6:20 pace. That was better but if there's any gas left in the tank...its time to empty it. I could see people line in front of me on the way to the finish and made it my mission to run down every one of them 'til the end.
I crossed the line in 1:21:25. I'd taken 35 seconds off my PR for that swim distance (26th in my AG) , had a mediocre bike (24th in my AG) and had a rage filled run that ended up only being 6 seconds off my 5k PR (9th in my AG). All that rolled together put me at 19th overall in my AG and 91st overall in the race (out of a field of 709 that actually raced versus the about 900 that registered).  Not bad, not great and lots of room left for improvement. I know going into the rest of the season I need to focus on solid, smooth, short transitions and I HAVE to keep the bike up around a minimum of 22mph. I also need to have a back up plan and/or make sure I train without GPS/pace so I have a better idea of what my desired times should feel like. I have to admit, I've become WAY to dependent on technology and have been living in the weeds when it comes to training and racing data. Well, its all about getting better as a racer and any mistake you learn from isn't a mistake (I read that somewhere, I don't know if I believe it but it sure sounds good). Now to focus on the next race...

No comments:

Post a Comment