Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Marshfield-Duxbury Triathlon...left me scratching my head

I honestly wasn't planning on racing. I had done Mill City in Lowell the weekend before and although I didn't do exactly like I wanted, I was happy with my result. So I figured a weekend off wouldn't be a bad thing. But enter a new friend with entries to a triathlon and the decision was made (it also really helped that it had an ocean swim and even though I live in Massachusetts, most Tri's around here are lake swims).

Now Marshfield-Duxbury is not close to my home. Its about a 90 minute drive from my house. Throw in that transition for the race closed at 7:30 am...and it became a 4am wake up kind of morning. I never cease to be amazed that I can barely drag myself out of bed to get to work at 9am but I seem to not only have no problem with early mornings but I happily pop up on race day.

Getting to the race was quick simple enough, partly because there was NO traffic at 4:30 am! Although there was a bit of a hiccup at sign in. The race didn't have us as registered (the reason given that we registered so late) but Bill Burnett, the race director for Streamline Events was on the ball and got us squared away (he really is a great guy and can bee seen doing any/every job at his races)!

Clean layout with my lucky charm visor
Set up in transition was not only a breeze but since we registered late, and got a high number the rack spot was in the corner of transition by the bike out. It was a great spot! Quick to the bike out/in point and great sighting to the run out gate. I do love having a clean and orderly transition area and after seeing the successful pro's lay out their gear the same way I realize its not because I'm a neat freak, its because it just makes sense. Bike setup, last minute porta potty trip and all that was left was to get on my wetsuit and hit the water for a quick swim before the start. That still sounds funny to me, "a quick swim before the start". There was a time that I was so anxiety riddled about the swim that I would pace back and forth until the last minute when I had to wade into the water for a start. Now I want to get in and swim a hundred to "warm up and relax".

1/4 Mile swim: 8:53, 2:00min per 100
Of course...another race...where my age group was PACKED! It was a beach start so I figured since we'd have to wade into the water/dolphin dive, I tried to be toward the back. The gun goes off and we all go. Most guys went running into the water. It was shallow for a while so I dolphin-dived in and shallow stroked until I got far enough into the surf to swim normally. I rn into the same problem that I had the week before at Mill city...I was swimming over guys. Not just to the turn buoy either but through the whole swim!which I really don't understand, I didn't start at the back of the pack. Well, keep swimming man, keep swimming! I will tell you I find ocean swims challenging, especially when the water is choppy. There were times i was stroking in the air because I was lifted so high out of the water by a wave. Not world ending but different and that occasional mouthful of salt water doesn't down as easily as pool water. I will say that a 2min-100 was a little disappointing. I felt like I was pushing much harder. Maybe it was the waves, maybe it was the rain. Oh ya, did I forget to mention it was POURING rain the whole swim?! Good times (Note to self; seed yourself toward the front next time. It'll give me feet to hop on and "push" me through the swim). Not great but good and I can build on my placings on the bike and run. There was a lengthy run out of the water, up a hill and into transition. But, as I mentioned earlier, that corner transition spot worked out great. Quickly out of my swim gear, throw my bike gear on and I was out of transition in good time.

T1: 1:28

11 mile bike: 30:50, 21.5mph pace (I'll get to this at the end)
The bike course was relatively flat and fast minus one hill around the middle of the course. I have to say that I thought I felt good and was riding well. Every time I looked down at my PolarRCX5GPS I saw 23 or 24mph. That is EXACTLY what I wanted to be riding! I only had 3 or 4 guys pass me (they didn't put AG markings on the calf at this race so I had no clue their AG...I hate that) and I rode down a bunch of folks. Yes it was pouring on the bike course but I LOVE that. Most people ease off in poor conditions but after years of training and racing in all sorts of conditions...and never having crashed, not because of my poor handling skills anyway (knock on wood) I just chew up bike courses in bad weather. I focused on turning a big gear at high rpms, standing up to power through the hill and chasing down people. Other than the rough road getting out of and back into transition, I felt like I was hammering and maintaining great speed through the course. I knew the run, although short, was going to be on the beach so I was pushing hard to get home. My favorite line of the day was a photographer out on the course who pointed me out to another guy and said "that guy looks f'ing angry". Bwahahaha! I'm ALWAYS angry when I race: at the course, at other people, at the weather, at myself. Its what pushes me through. I have my own angry mini coach in my head telling yelling at me to work harder. Back into transition, drop the bike and get out on the run.

A cool "race day" collage
T2: 44 seconds

3 mile run: 22:23, 7:08min mile
Like I said, the run was out on the beach. It was early in the morning but its sand nonetheless. I climbed the mini hill out of transition, tried to get close to the water on hard packed sand and get my legs to moving. A quick glance at my watch and I saw a 7:30 pace...too slow...need to pick it up. It was an out and back course along the beach, which I thought I could see the turn so I picked up the pace. I saw the leaders coming back to the finish and thought I was finally having the race I wanted...until I realized what I thought was the turn around was actually the 1 mile marker! Sonuva! Ok, deep breath, you're still up front (I thought), no one has passed you, so keep looking for packed sand, get to the turn and bomb to the finish as fast as you can. I caught 2 of the guys that had passed me on the bike earlier, could see another in front of me and was running negative splits. Good, get him in your sights and run him down...which I did about 10 feet from the finish to cross the line in 1:04:17.

I was gassed and happy with what I thought was a great performance. It was a big race, over 400 people, so I thought with the good bike, catching folks on the bike and run and given the conditions, I would end up pretty good overall. And then...the results got posted...not in the top 20 or so like I hoped...but 50th overall (54th after the final results posted) and 9th in my age group. Looking up the the breakdown of the legs I only rode a 21.5mph average, not the 23 or 24mph I thought. I was really disappointed. Like I said, I felt good and even though it was a good field I expected to place higher. I can't figure out for the life of me what happened on the bike. I literally was standing there at the results posted scratching my head. Maybe if I was in front on the swim I would come out with and be pushed by the leaders. Maybe I read my speed wrong. Maybe my "pushing hard" wasn't pushing hard enough...

My friend Bryan sent me this quote from Friel, "If your last race wasn't what you wanted, learn from it, throw it away and move on. It's not easy. But it's necessary". So I'm trying to learn and move on. I'm hoping to put together all the peices at Timberman 70.3 in two weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Don't be so hard on yourself! You had an amazing race and you definitely pushed really hard. Just think of it has extra fuel for the triathlon fire :)