Sunday, July 25, 2010

Max Performance Mass State Olympic Triathlon - Race Report

Yet again, I find myself struggling to write my race report. So once again it will be a report in pictures. James and I arrived around 6am and set up transition. I got in manic mode and we took some pics.

My parents arrived some time closer to 7:30am. By that point James and I were on the beach checking out the swim course. Or from the looks of it, we were both randomly squinting in the bright sunlight.

Here I am with my dad as I'm waiting with my newbie wave to get started.
I'm somewhere in this pack of swimmers. I lined up to the far right in the second row of swimmers. I took it out very easy and just settled into an easy pace. No kicks to the face, no getting pushed under. Even when I started passing some of the men in the wave ahead of me they didn't fight back.

Into transition in just around 30 minutes. A lot of people started popping up to run up the beach and I followed suit. I probably should have kept swimming a bit more, running in the thigh deep water was not easy and the beach floor was a little rocky. Took my time in transition, checked my list twice...Was out in about 2 1/2 minutes. 

Here I am about to mount my bike. Mouth agape. Don't know whats up with that. I swear, I was doing well at this point ;-)

I dropped my chain for the first time ever at mile 1.5 on the bike course. Took me under a minute to get it back on and get going. I spent much of the first lap getting passed by people on tri bikes who looked very serious. There was one big hill and a few smaller ones. I dropped into my small chain ring for the whole large climb and saved my legs for later (or I tried to). Finished the first lap in 45 minutes and intended to do the second lap in under 48. I ended with a 1:31 split for the bike leg.

Was feeling pretty good in T2. Again checked my list twice made sure I did everything correctly, got my garmin switched over to run mode. When I looked down the first time about .25mi in it was reading 7:30min/mi. Thats the last I would see any remotely respectable time on my garmin. 

The first 2 miles were uphill (just slightly) and I think I ran in the 8:30-8:45 range.

Then I hit the hills. I hate hills. My splits fell below 9min/mile. It was hot as hell. I just kept plugging. I started bargaining with myself. I refused to walk. I did not walk. But it was not pretty. Mile 5 was a 9:30. Very frustrating. A girl I had passed on the bike and was passing back and forth with on the run passed me, again. I asked, newbie or age group? Newbie. No!!! She had gas left in the tank. I did not. I shuffled in to the 6 mile mark, saw the chute and pushed it in. 57 minutes for a long 10k (6.35mi according to my watch and I did run the tangents.) It was very painful. It was awesome.  Total time: 3:03:09...

Obligatory sucking wind post-race shot

Went to the tent, drank water, choked down a banana, and watched the awards. 

I even got a free massage.

In the evening I went with James and my parents to the Publick House, my favorite pub. 

2 beers and I was wasted.

It was an awesome day. I can't wait to do it again.

(sidenote: had I known how close I'd be to going sub 3 I wonder if I could have found the energy/effort/reserve/resolve to go 3 minutes faster...)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Max Performance Mass State Olympic Triathlon - FINISHER!

I'm officially a triathlete. The race was awesome.

Official time: 3:03:09
Rank: 5/?? (Newbie division)

Unofficial times:
.9mile swim: 29:XX (per James' yelling as I came up the beach)
T1 3ish
Bike 1:30:35 (16mph)
T2 3ish
Run: 57:12 (6.35miles total, 9:00min/mi average)

Swim was easy and so nice. Didn't get kicked once!
Took it relatively easy on the bike, a few hard hills but took advantage of the downhills and made some time back.
Run basically sucked. I don't think I had gone too hard on the first two legs but it was hot as hell, hillier than advertised (with virtually no flat sections), and the roads were a mess with potholes and weirdly sloping cement, gravel, etc. I however did not walk once.

Pictures and Race Report to follow...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Max Performance Mass State Olympic Triathlon - Tomorrow is Race Day!

I can hardly believe that I started training at the end of January with a vague idea for a tri in the summer and now its here! Since then I've written my dissertation, presented it at a conference, moved from PA to MA, started my new job...tomorrow I become a triathlete!

I've been so busy of late that blog posting has basically gone out the window. I've had some great workouts in the last month. I've found bike routes that make me happy when I cross by in my car. I lost and then found my swim groove. I've started to conquer my unexpected fear of the sea monster on open water swims. My running has been ehh, but I did a solid 3k on Thursday which was a confidence boost and a reminder that there is pain and there is pain and not all pain is bad. I hope to remember this in miles 4-6.2 tomorrow. I also took my first fall last Thursday. Early morning run and my reflexes were not what they normally are; I tripped and couldn't catch myself. Tore up my knees, hands, an ankle, etc. I'm mostly mended, just a few scabs. It may have been a blessing in disguise b/c it forced me to actually do my taper. I'll post pictures of the cuts (is that morbid?) when I download everything from my camera after the race.

James and I will be heading out to the race site in Winchendon MA and our hotel in a few hours. My parents are coming to cheer me on tomorrow as well. I have time goals but am not sure what is reasonable given how few complete SBR's I have under my belt at this point. Also the forecast is calling for nearly 90F by noon (when I'll be out on the run - a late 8am race start and I'm in the last wave) so the race director told everyone to adjust their expectations for time up 10-15%. Regardless, I have some general goals:

1. Finish
2. Don't race people on the swim - take it easy.
3. Hold back on the bike. I have a tendency to want to hammer but with my heavy ass hybrid and my tendency to massively bonk on runs off a fast bike I need to be conservative. I've been saying 15-15.5mph on average. Its a two loop course with one big hill on each loop. I suck on the hills. I need to drop into my small chainring and not try to muscle up the hill. I have to let people pass. I will work on my hill skills this fall. I've told James and my mom to tell me to slow down if my first loop is fast than 16mph. I may or may not listen. I'm gonna drive the course this afternoon so I should have a better idea at that point how bad this hill really is.
4. Start easy on the run. Its gonna be hot as hell by the time I get to the run. I'm shooting for a 9:00min/mi even though that is a hard (too slow) pace for me to run most of the time. After 2 miles I will assess how I'm doing and speed it up if I can.
5. Finish strong, if I can. The last 2 miles of the course are a slight decline. If I have anything left in the tank this is the only time I want to hammer. If I explode out there, so be it.
6. Nutrition and Hydration: I will have 2 bottles on the bike (one with carbo pro in it). Gonna drink in T1 and maybe T2. Am bringing my 22oz handheld in case I am feeling at all dehydrated at the start of the run. Would rather not race with the bottle but will if I have concerns about delirium in the heat. Am using carbo pro on the bike and gu on both the bike and run. The RD just sent an email telling us that there are increasing the number of water stops on the run because of the heat so I'll drink from the stations whenever possible. I also plan to drench myself in water whenever possible. Haven't run with sloshy shoes in months but hopefully that will be ok. I'll lube my feet and hope to ward off blisters.
7. Have an awesome time. Finish smiling. Okay maybe not finish smiling. Likely I'll finish on the verge of puking. But I hope to be smiling with an hour of finishing :-)

Admittedly I have time goals. I worry about admitting them. But I like accountability.

Worst case scenario: If I flat. If I explode on the run. If I have GI problems and multiple pit stops. Regardless of the IF I want to finish under 4 hours.
B goal: 3:30
A goal:  <3:20
Super A+++ goal: <3:10

Gonna go jump on my bike to make sure everything is in order then start packing up the car. Wish me luck!!!I hope to post something very very brief tomorrow afternoon/evening but then I'm off to PA to defend my dissertation on Monday morning so I might not get to a race report until Wednesday...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

June - Month in Review

This was a whirlwind month. Started with moving from State College PA to West Roxbury MA on my birthday. Finishing my dissertation and getting a final draft off to my mentor for a final look. Settling into the new house. Prepping for my big yearly research conference. Finally getting my dissertation committee to agree to a defense date (July 20). With defense date confirmed I was finally finally able to register for my long anticipated first triathlon -  Mass State Triathlon Olympic Distance in Winchendon MA July 18 (2 days before the defense!)... Flying out to Monterey CA for said conference. Very successful presentation at the conference and good dry run for my dissertation defense. Last days of freedom before starting my new job on July 1.

Throughout this I also worked on the transition from riding exclusively indoors on the spinner to all outdoors on my dad's old hybrid. A few tweeks of the handle bars, brakes, and seat and its pretty solidly rideable. Slow but rideable. I'm enjoying the riding way more than I expected. I even went for a 50 mile ride which turned into 60 miles when I forgot my house key and had to get to an appointment 10 miles away right as my ride was supposed to end.

My swimming has been so-so. Yardage wasn't terrible, a little less than May but with 5 days of travel thats not surprising. My swimming has definitely been slower than in past months. I've been having some shoulder pain and obsessing a bit about the bike and run legs so have just been doing easy yardage I guess. I start playing mind games with myself though when I only swim slow and start to think that its not that I"m swimming easy but that I couldn't swim faster if I wanted to. My first open water swim (at Walden Pond) allayed any concerns about speed that I had. I flew through that water. I was scared sh*tless. Sea monsters and whatnot. My second swim there, with a new coworker on June 30 was much less scary and was also at a much more reasonable/easy pace (30min mile).

My running has felt pretty crappy this month. All of my brick workouts sucked. I kept crashing and burning on the run after an awesome and hard bike. Hard for me to reign it in on the bike to have stuff left for the run (this wasn't a problem on the spinner). Something to work on. I was able to run all of the days I was in CA which was a great lesson because I had firmly believed up til that point that I could not run on consecutive days without posterior tibialis issues immediately popping up. These runs were all slow (like 8:50-9:30 paces) and I have been feeling slow, which is frustrating. What happened to the days when I ran all my 8 or less mile runs at an 8min pace? Ah well.

So that's my June. 15 days til my first Tri!!!

Swim 27,400 yards
Bike 384 miles
Run 93miles
Total time: 52hours 45minutes.