Monday, June 29, 2009

First Olympic Distance Race in the Books

My triathlon resume thus far consisted of 6 races, all sprint distance, up until yesterday at the Rochesterfest Triathlon where I finally did an Olympic distance triathlon (RESULTS). My goal was to go under 2:30:00. On paper( well, the internet) using this calculator and estimated splits, I could've went just under 2:16:30. Here's a recap...

SWIM (1.5 k): My goal for the swim was 30 minutes. Long, but still a goal as my swim training consists of a mere 2 sessions per week at 30 to 45 minutes each. Just enough to keep my floating. The Rochesterfest Olympic distance swim is set up Xterra style. You do two laps separated by an exit from the water, across the beach and a timing mat (so you get lap splits for the swim) then you plunge back in for a second lap. The start waves were huge--about 60-70 in wave two. Pretty much all non-elite men under age 39. I was kicked in the face a couple times so hard that I thought would result in a black eye, but nothing really came of it. After things spread out a bit, I felt ok. I checked my HRM when I came out of the water and I could see that I was at 14 minutes and some change. I thought "This is good--I could go under 30." I went back in, had a much better second lap, but it was longer than the first. Oh well. I barely made it under 30 with a time of 29:58. The run up the hill was a little rough, but had my wetsuit top off within seconds. I was happy to see 'strippers' at the top of the beach. No, not that kind of stripper. They had wetsuit strippers available yanking suits right off your body. They got my wetsuit bottoms pulled off very quick. I was off to my bike--where I believe 'my' race started.

BIKE (25 miles): I never set goals based on speed when training. It's probably one of the worst things you could do because if you need to stay in a certain zone, but you set an average speed goal, you may blow your training ride due to weather conditions (ie: wind), terrain, or other things out of your control. However, for racing, it's ok to set a goal, but you should use past race paces, adjusted for the distance, course, etc. I know this course reasonable well. I knew it was pretty hilly, there were predictions of 12+ mph wind so I figured my speed would be a little slower than normal. I reviewed some of my past average speeds and took a look as how the top 20 or so guys paced at last years Rochesterfest olympic race and determined that I could probably manage 23 mph without much trouble. It took a while to get out of town as there were many sprint distance participants already on the road. The course went north and west out of Rochester to Oronoco by way of long stretches north, with some shorter roads heading west. The wind felt pretty strong out of the west. So strong that at times I was wobbling bad enough that I thought I had a flat tire. At about mile 4 I took down an e-Gel (see sidebar for link--they kick a$$). I had two with me and knew I would need them both. I was running water in the Aerodrink, but had mixed in a packet of Power Edge. You know those drink packets like Propell, or Crystallite, well, Power Edge is a sugar free packet with the punch of Redbull. Its supposed to be one packet to 16 oz of water, but I had it weaker because my Aerodrink was topped off. However, it was still too strong. It burned in my stomach a bit and was only able to eat one gel for the duration of the race. The turn around for the sprint course was a problem. The sprint course people needed to turn 180 degrees to the left at the mile 5 mark. (The first 5 of each course were the same route.) The volunteers were not telling them to move to the left to make there turn. We, olympic racers, couldn't pass on the left because they, sprinters, could turn into us. We couldn't pass on the right because they were going wide right in order to turn left. Due to a rider I was gaining on pretty fast, who was slowing, I had to slow to her turn-around speed. I thought I was going to have to do a track stand! Once that situation cleared, I ramped up the effort a bit. The course is mostly an out and back with a loop in Oronoco. The Oronoco loop was the prior Winter BeGone Du long run course loop in reverse. Entering Oronoco I kept thinking was that once we start heading east and south on the way back we'll have some tail wind to help us out. At the half way point on the bike I was at 21.1 average speed. I nailed the hills pretty hard on the way back because with the tailwind it was a little easier to keep momentum going into them. I did keep my HR under threshold knowing I'd need the energy for the run. By the time I racked my bike in T2 my computer was showing 23.1 average speed. It would officially end up 23.4--fast enough to rank as the 10th fastest bike split of the day, including the Elites.

RUN (10 k): Right from the start...pain. Once I got into a rhythm I was picking people off--mainly runners that were suffering more than me. And many of which had to be sprint coursers. At about 1.5 miles into the run I saw the first male, elite Sam Hauck, followed by a couple others (not close enough to catch him) coming back. I thought I was in pretty good shape considering they went off 3 minutes before me, they could actually 'race' the swim, and were all-around faster triathletes. At the halfway point in the run I was under 20 minutes. I didn't hit 'lap' on my HRM, but know I started the run at 1:36:30 (give or take a few secs). When I hit the turn around I was at 1 hr 57 minutes--and I don't know how many seconds. I new I was around 20-21 minutes for the first half of the run, and it appeared that I was on track to go under 2:16:30 or at least 2:16:59. The run back was pretty miserable. Shortly after the turn around, my legs got really heavy. There was a section of trail (dirt/sand) that ran along the river so that can be a bit slower. Since we went down a hill to get next to the river, it meant running up to get back on to the regular course. Then it came--the hill going back up to the road. I've been on this before, but today, being tired, it felt worse than it really was. It's a short, maybe 30 feet, gravely/sandy little jaunt back up to a sidewalk/paved path. However, it felt like running the wrong way up an escalator with a bungie cord pulling you back. It was a slow last couple of miles to the finish. I lost a couple minutes in the second half of the run. My predicted 10k time was just under 40 minutes, but I went 42: 04.

In the end, I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon in 2:19:05. I'll take it!

For the Olympic race, including Elites, here's how I faired:

20th OVERALL (185 finishers)
139th Swim (I think I need to work on that...)
10th Bike
21st Run

3rd Age Group 35-39 (16 finishers)
11th Swim
1st Bike
2nd Run

1 comment:

Brian said...

Fair side better than my DNF at Lake Waconia. Good job on the swim! Especially after taking kicks to the face...I hate that. Some of the swimmers can be down right stupid. Yesterday I saw a guy dive right on top of another swimmer at the start. I'm like, 'you dork! How can you not see him!?!?'

Anyway, great job Mario. I get right back into the water Saturday at Minneman...I hope!