Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nation's Race Report

The day had finally arrived! Nations Triathlon. It was a rainy and cool Sunday morning... early, too. My father kindly drove Dirk and myself to transition around 5:30. My day got off to an auspicious start as upon leaving the car I realized I forgot my aero drink bottle at home. Crap. Now I have no means of hydrating as I took the frame cage off the day before. Luckily Robbie had an extra cage for me... I had a bottle with me that I was using to transfer HEED to the aero bottle. So I dodged a bullet there. Besides, it probably helped Robbie to shave 20 ounces off his bike... as you'll find out later!

After soaking in the rain and evacuating at the porta-potty, it was race time! I met up with Derek Stone, the guy who beat me at the Washington, DC sprint triathlon in June. It was good to see him again. I could try to get a little revenge because he CRUSHED me at the June race. Ihad some extra incentive now.

The swim was ROUGH. I got right into a crowd by mistake and was kicked in the face and pulled under several times. It made it hard to keep momentum or a good consistent stroke. I eventually found a straightaway for about 400 yards when I went untouched... came in at 23:12,
a 44-second PR and 122nd best swim, but not as fast as I hoped.

A long run through transition and I grabbed 002 and headed out. Hopped
onto my pre-clipped in shoes and had a startling revelation... my shoes were on the wrong pedals!! OH NO! I carelessly put my right shoe into the left pedal and left shoe into the right pedal! DANG! But nothing I could do. I had to keep going. I strapped my feet in and though it felt awkward, I started pedaling and began to get used to it. I rode with a good group of 3-4 and picked up some cyclists along the way. It was a lot of fun! It was wet but FAST. Ended up putting in the best bike split of my life... 62 minute 40k, right about 24 mph, 72nd overall bike, exceeding my goal of 63-64 minutes. A huge confidence boost mid-race. Hopped off 002 and it was time to RUN!

I got out of transition brimming with confidence. It was time to catch my rivals. I hadn't seen the DC Tri racers all race because of my slower swim... but around mile 1 I saw Blatecky, Serfass and Schmidt. I gave some words of support but deep down I told them I was going to try to catch them. Around mile 2 however, after putting in a couple 5:40s, I tired a bit. I was alone for a stretch and started to get hot. I pulled down my tri top and felt a little better. Around the turn at Hain's Point I caught sight of Blatecky... it was time to catch him. I pulled within 10 meters and did something stupid. I told myself to be patient... I was going to catch him. I wasn't thinking ahead. I was only thinking of Blatecky. When I finally moved past him, I noticed Serfass and Schmidt were further ahead than I anticipated. I felt I could catch them still, but I needed more speed now... I felt invigorated and picked my pace up to 5:35s. I drew closer and closer, crossing the bridge out of Hains Point. But I was running out of road. The finish line was much closer than I thought it would be. Serfass glanced back at me and gave it what he had left... and I couldn't finish the job, finishing 6 seconds off of him. Still, an excellent run for me, an in-triathlon PR of 35:22 and the 12th best run on the day!

Final time: 2:05:04!! A 10 minute PR! And 12th elite.... until I found I was docked for a 2:00 penalty for "blocking". Apparently I stuck to the left side of the road for a little too long. Stupid penalty. So I got reduced to a 2:07:04, 26th overall. Still, that was my goal for the day and my placement goal was exceeded (I wanted top 40, got top 30!). I ended up beating some of my targeted competition (including Derek, who admittedly though wasn't in the best shape for biking or swimming... dude is a sub 4:10 miler!).

I am very happy about this race. Everything went right except for the shoes and penalty. The training paid off big time... special thanks to Michelle and Dirk for being awesome training partners through it all! Huge motivation boost going into the offseason. And I'm very grateful to Dean Pierson, who lent me his rear Zipp 404... that's a fast wheel and I bet it helped on those flat roads (he did well for himself, 2nd in his age group and under 2:15:00!) Shout out to Robbie, who WON the race and Dirk, who placed 7th overall and swam very very well. Well done guys!

Up next, Philly Distance Run!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunday approaches

As my hairless legs cut through the days of the current week, I have found myself thinking of the past and future, to remove myself from the present. I'm waiting for Nation's Triathlon, this Sunday. But the days leading up to a key race are often dull and full of anxiety. Am I ready? Have I trained enough and to the proper capacity? Taper week isn't easy. I can barely train as any training I do will have no real positive impact on race day.

So I find myself thinking about every workout since Columbia. I remember the successes... the bricks where I biked at least 24 mph and ran 17-minute 5ks (on 10k pace). The intervals and time trials where I pushed new speed records. The track workouts where I consistently ran faster than I ever have before. The swims where I improved by a second or two over 100 yards. Those encourage me. There are the failures too. Last Tuesday's brick, where I couldn't find the energy to run. The Church Creek TT, where I suffered badly. The Midsummer's Mile. Worst part about those were they were races. It troubles me... what if I just can't perform under pressure on race day?

I did well at Columbia though... and I had similar feelings going into it... and despite factors I couldn't help (rain, flat tire), I had a breakthrough race. I've improved significantly in all three sports since then. I should be confident, right? I am... but I am pretty nervous too. Church Creek still weighs heavily on me even though Michelle and Dirk will point out that I was hurt, dehydrated, etc. I'm just worried I'll feel the same pain I felt at Church Creek and collapse. I can't have that happen!

Anyway, my week has been going according to plan despite my uneasiness. I rode and swam yesterday. Biked 4x90 seconds @ race pace, and put in some fast 26+ mph speeds with a strong headwind. Good... I'm resting up! The swim was hard right after the bike, but I still put in 16x50 at 40 seconds with a 400 warmup. Tomorrow I sharpen my run and guide Michelle through a progression run on my bike.

The base goal: Sub 2:08 (23:00 1.5k swim, 1:03:30 40k bike, 36:00 10k run) More to come as race day approaches. Nations, you are next!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Leg shave


Right leg has been shaven.

Left leg has been shaven.