Sunday, June 26, 2011

Race Recap: 5430 Sprint Triathlon

This was a week ago, but while I'm listening to my go to song, Warrior, I decided enough is enough and it's time to get it done. Also, I just got my computer back from repair, so that's good. :-)

Anyway, here we go.

First triathlon of the season. Time to find out how well the training paid off, thus far, anyway.

We woke up at about 4 a.m. to make the long drive to Boulder. For our 1/2 Ironman, we got a hotel reserved, which is good, because I do not want to do that 50 minute drive that morning! But anyway, for a sprint tri, whatever. The forecast was good, if not a little cold. However, the water was 68 the day before, which was a HUGE boost of confidence to us. After wolfing down some breakfast, we hit the road. It looked cloudy and I thought that was a good sign, cause it would hold down temperatures, at least for awhile.

When we got to the res, we were probably 20-25 minutes early before trans opened, but nonetheless, we unpacked the car and headed up to the course. We hit the porta-potties for the first time, but definitely not the last, and then went up to a gazebo to get a good view of the res. After hanging out for a few minutes, we walked our bikes over to the transition area and split up to our respective areas. I was towards the bike out, and kind of close to the run out, so that was fine with me. And since we were there early enough, I snagged a spot on the end of the saddlehorses. Score!

I spent some time prepping my transition area (is it just me or as you do more tris, you have less stuff?) and then got body marked. As has been tradition, I got a smiley face a la Steve in a Speedo. He also gave me some great tips on shaving my legs the night before, so major props to him!

After getting body marked, I went over to T's transition area, where she had already been making friends. We wandered around, hitting the porta potties again and finding me some water for my water bottle. I was trying a different strategy on the bike this year with hydration. More on that later.

Here's Nelson, one of the TBD actual dinosaurs, my little buddy, in my transition area. He likes triathlon!

So we just killed more time before the start. We texted our friends Mark and Kris, who the previous day, had a great showing at Grandma's Marathon, with Kris qualifying for Boston! Kris had asked for help motivating her the day before, so she was returning the favor for me. We joked around and I could definitely feel the mood was light and happy. This is the way I wanted it to be.

With only a few minutes before we needed to be at the water, I put my wetsuit on and listened to a few songs to relax and pump me up. I closed it with Epica's "Never Enough". I said goodbye to Kris, and T and I headed for the water.

There were a lot of people warming up and I decided to take a quick lap around the swim beach ropes. I felt good and comfortable. The water was surprisingly warm, considering Aurora has been freezing for all our open waters at this point. T was also there to warm up, but I advised her to be careful since her wave was going much later then I was. I didn't want her to get chilled.

We listened to the National Anthem, then the first couple waves started lining up. I was in the 2nd wave to go. The 1st wave went off and I inched towards the water. As I was standing in the water waiting to go, T came over from warming up and gave me some well wishes. It was nice to get those, considering she's gone first in most of our tris.

I bobbed in the water, then the horn went off. My race was underway.

The Swim
I started towards the back of the pack, knowing I have the strength to catch most of the other swimmers and really didn't feel like getting mixed up in the fray. I waited a few seconds, then put my head down and off I went.

Within 50 meters, I was catching people. I saw a lot of people struggling, and thought it surprisingly odd, given that this tri is one of the more serious ones out there. I just kept going, avoiding bodies and feeling really good.

Near the turning point, I veered off course a bit, due to my own stupidity of relying on someone in front of me. About 5 of us were off and were pointed by a kayak to turn around and go around the buoy. Oops. Lesson learned for sure though.

At one point heading back to shore, I was having some breathing issues, which could be chalked up to lack of endurance, not used to the wetsuit yet this year, or any number of things. Regardless, I slowed down a bit, let my arms and body do the work, and surprised myself when I hit the shore. I knelt down to get reoriented, then lifted myself out of the water and jogged towards transition, beginning the wetsuit stripping process. Once in transition, I pulled off my suit, threw on my cycling shoes, helmet, and sunglasses and raced towards the bike out. I was now on the bike and off to complete the cycling leg!

The Bike
Very quickly on the bike, I could sense there was something wrong with my left calf/hamstring. I barely made it a mile before I had to attempt to stretch it out. I wasn't happy about this at all and kept going on the bike, but was watching a lot of people pass me. It's always humbling getting passed, and I was determined to minimize that.

The first 3-4 miles of the ride were all essentially uphill and I was suffering with my calf and hammy. I kept attempting to stretch them out and hoped that they would work themselves out eventually. Once we reached the first downhill, my spirit was lifted quite a bit. The ride began a nice descent and continued like that until near the end. I was flying! Now I was the one passing people. I was in aero for the majority of the ride and I was just loving it. My calf and hammy were less painful and I was consistently in the 20-25 mph range. Cadence was holding good and I just watched the countryside go by.

Near the halfway point was the aid station. You remember I talked about having one water bottle on the bike. Here was my reasoning behind it. At BolderBoulder, we got these crappy water bottles from Einsteins Bagels and I thought a perfect plan would be to ditch the bottle at the aid station. That way, I would save on some weight in the backstretch. For a cyclist like me, the weight savings is probably minimal, but regardless, I went for it.

As I approached the aid station, I finished my water and hucked the bottle. I planned on taking in some Gatorade at this station. When the volunteers asked what they could give me, I yelled GATORADE! and kept pedaling. The first volunteer missed me, but I got it the 2nd time from one. I drank some of it, threw the bottle, and kept going. I was proud of how smooth this worked and can count on it in the future.

The 2nd half of the ride was uneventful. I pedaled hard and eventually my calf worked itself out, but my hammy never quite did. I managed to do just fine though and at one point, was shocked at how well it was going. It sure gave me some confidence that I've been doing the right thing, that's for sure.

I approached the bike in, dismounted, and ran towards my transition area. I said hello to my little buddy Nelson, looked for T's bike (it wasn't there, good sign) and re-racked my bike. I changed shoes, took off my helmet, threw on my Rattlesnake Triathlon hat, and headed out for the final leg of the course: the run.

The Run
Initially, the run went poor. I felt it was really slow and I immediately chalked this up to lack of brick training. It was fine though; just something to work on. I kept the legs moving and saw people coming in as I was going out. I got a couple atta boys but for the most part, I was just focusing on running.

At the water stop, I walked through it to hydrate and get fluids. I took both a water and Gatorade. Quickly drinking them, I resumed my task at hand. I hit the turn around point and realized I was doing pretty well. I thought I might be able to crack an hour and 50, and I set out to make that my goal, with a secondary goal of under 1:48.

Coming in towards the finish, I was able to pick it up a bit and saw the finish line. As I approached it, I stopped and did my standard finish. For those of you who don't know what it is, I essentially slow to a walk just before the line, point at the finish sign above my head, and step across. I did that and felt an urge to just celebrate, so I raised my arms up and yelled. I don't know why I did this but I did. My first race was over, and I felt amazing!

I was handed a cold towel and a medal. I put the towel on my head to cool off and walked to transition area to get my phone so I could take a picture/video of T crossing the finish line. I also wanted food and Gatorade.

I got what I wanted and waited near the finish line. About 35 minutes after I crossed, I finally saw her bolting down the finish chute. I was able to get a small 4 second video of her doing her custom sprint across the line. I then met up with her and we congratulated each other and swapped stories. We also went to get her hydrated and more food.

The race completed for both of us, we loaded up our bikes and headed home, both feeling pretty good. I took some things away that were incredible and I also have some things to work on. It's looking up though, in my opinion, for 70.3.

1 comment:

  1. In a tri that I did I injured my hamstring in the beginning! No fun and I was very glad when that one was over and done with! Injuries definitely change our plans!