Saturday, June 22, 2013

Race #3 of the Season: Boulder Sprint Triathlon

Formerly known as the 5430 Sprint Triathlon, of course.

I'm not sure even how I want to write this recap; I feel like I've recapped SO. MANY. RACES. by now, that you all essentially already know how this goes for me. Still, there might be new readers (*waves*), so I'll do this.

On Saturday, we headed up to Boulder for the race expo and packet pick-up. We also wanted to hop in the res for our first open water swim of the year and wanted to hear a bit more about the new swim start. The OWS went well and regarding the swim start, we learned that we'd essentially figure it out best the next morning. So be it. However, we unfortunately learned that due to construction on the Diagonal Highway and Jay Road (the usual turn back into the res on the bike course), the bike was being shortened from 17.2 miles to 15 and there was a short section we'd have to ride on carpet/rubber mats. Greeeat.

The course shortening also proved how anal we can sometimes be as triathletes, knowing that we can't quite compare our times to the previous years properly. Stupid shortened bike.

Race Day

Thanks to the BolderBOULDER mishap, we knew we wanted to wake up with plenty of time to get to Boulder and into transition. Trans opened at 5am and if we got into the parking lot by 4:45, all the better. That meant, of course, a 3am wake-up call. Seeing as we packed 95% of our stuff into the car the night before, though, there wasn't much to do - get dressed, eat, prep water bottles. We got on the road and made it in time for both of us to do a Boulder Tri Series first - first on our racks in transition.
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Oh it's nice to be early ...

We set everything up, did our pre-race business, Brandon took a short spin on the bike, I ate my sandwich ... and we left a little early to get in some more swimming as a warm-up. I did three loops of the warm-up area, which might be my biggest ever. I felt really comfortable by that third loop, though, so it was well worth it.

The Swim:

As I mentioned earlier, they changed the swim wave start this year. Instead of going by age group, you would self-seed yourself based on your (fastest?) 100 yd time. I went conservative and plopped myself in the 1:50-2:00 group ... which was fairly accurate. I probably could have seeded myself in the 1:40-1:50 group, but meh.

What I didn't like was that instead of an in-water start, your time started as soon as you crossed under the arch so any time you spent acclimating yourself to the water was added to your time. For someone like me ... that sucks. That being said, I know quite a few tris are like that, so I really shouldn't complain. I've been spoiled with my in-water starts ... and quite happy that way.

Anyway, the new swim waves were frustrating in that you could never get open space. I felt I was always within reach of at least one other swimmer and many times, I had to thread my way through groups of three or four other swimmers. I felt like I got slowed down a lot to that as it forced me to constantly sight and re-sight.

Besides, that, though, I felt like I was swimming pretty well. I got as close to the shore as I could before waddling out and up through the arch.

Time: 20:07 (rate: 2:31; rank: 865th overall; 65th division)

T1:

As opposed to years past, I was actually in a better position in terms of the bike out, which I think actually helped this time be speedier as opposed to years past. I still always feel like I'm fumbling around, though ...

Time: 2:39 (rank: 270th; 22nd)

The Bike:

I was really happy we got up here a week or so beforehand to pre-ride the course. It helped me come up with a race strategy which I think really helped.

I pushed it slightly on 51st (leaving the res) until the main ascent started and then shifted into a relatively easy gear and bumped my cadence up into the 90s and stayed there for pretty much the first five miles. This allowed me to keep a steady pace on Jay and the first, crappy part of 36. Then, when the downhill came, I could open it up and kept it pretty much open until the turn on 63rd.

The only problem I ran into was with shifting while making the transition from downhill to uphill. I was not as smooth as I could have/should have been as a few times, I shifted too early which caused my legs to go herky jerky. This stretched out an ... adductor? part of my groin? which hurt a bit after the race, but it was nothing that a night of compression tights couldn't fix. This is something definitely to work on for the future.

63rd is the rollers. They sucked a bit more in the race than they did on our training ride, but not much worse. They definitely felt like they went by quicker. Then on to the Diagonal for barely any time at all (yay) and the turn off to the rubber mats (boo). Speed dropped way down on those and I unfortunately got a bit clumped up with some other riders (the other unintended consequence of the swim start - lots of people out on the bike course at the same time, leading to (illegal) draft packs) and could never regain any speed.

The new rerouted course took us past part of the run course and I could just see Brandon and yelled at him, but he was a bit too far gone to actually see/acknowledge me.

I obviously took it slower as we were riding past the runners, but the people around me acted like they were the only ones there, as a woman in front of me took a wide turn into the dismount area, making me very glad I was aware of her to the point where I DIDN'T crash into her. *sigh* Off the bike and back into trans.

Time: 48:56 (rate: 18.4 mph; rank: 806th; 45th)

T2:

This time, unfortunately, was slower due to being further away from the bike in/run out than in years past. Dangit. Also: may not want to BodyGlide feet for 5Ks and would like to experiment using TriSlide instead for other distances, as I feel it may be quicker.

Time: 2:12 (rank: 831st; 55th)

The Run:

I ran out of transition and a good bit of the run before needing to walk. The whole run was a general run/walk pattern. My legs felt a little leaden for probably about the first mile and my lungs didn't really want to come around. I saw Brandon about 3/4 of the way through the first mile and said hi as he was on his way back.

I stopped at the first water station to walk some and get water. I don't believe I drank any; it pretty much all went over my head.

The second mile went slightly better as I tried to run when as I could. I decided to take in my gel as I entered back through the aid station (better to take it when water is around) which I don't think ended up being a good idea. It helped a bit immediately, but I think it also helped contribute to me wanting to puke near the end.

My legs felt stronger as the run went on - I regret being a moron and stopping my watch after the swim instead of just taking a split  so I could have at least guessed my mile splits (not that it mattered; my watch died as it was) - and I'm pretty sure I may have neg-split it, but alas, I know not for sure. There were a few people who I was going back and forth with near the end of the run including some old guy in Hokas - he tried passing me but I surged ahead of him with a vengeance as we reached the turn to the finish, sprinting past him and about four other people in the chute. I crossed the line, about wanting to die.

Time: 30:45 (rate: 9:56/mi; rank: 800th; 55th)

Overall Stats:
Time: 1:44:39
50/87 division (F30-34)
240/416 female
783/1073 overall

This is all confirming me as a bottom quarter racer. Woo. In terms of my rankings last year, I did move up slightly in the overall standings, though, so yay for that.

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Rocking our new MX12 kits!

And, since we did it last year, let's play the comparison game!

This year:
Swim: 20:07; 2:31/100m
T1: 2:39
Bike: 48:56; 18.4mph
T2: 2:12
Run: 30:45; 9:56/mi
Overall Time: 1:44:39

2012:
Swim: 21:11; 2:39/100m
T1: 3:09
Bike: 59:22; 17.4mph
T2: 2:03
Run: 31:15; 10:05/mi
Overall Time: 1:57:00

2011:
Swim: 21:32; 2:53/100m
T1: 3:10
Bike: 1:00:42; 17.0mph
T2: 2:01
Run: 31:14; 10:04/mi
Overall Time: 1:58:39

My swim continues to get better which is GOOD because I have put a lot of work into improving the damn thing.

T1 I think we can put on transition location.

The bike is skewed due to the shorter length, but I do believe my average speed wouldn't have dropped a whole mile per hour over the two miles that got chopped off, so we'll just say that's improving too. I mostly thank the new bike for this.

T2: see my note for T1.

What's funny is I keep wanting a faster run ... and I chopped off a whole 30 seconds this year which is actually quite significant if you think about it. Improvement is happening; I just have to put it into perspective.

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