2006-05-14 Pinchot Park Triathlon

HARDWARE, BABY! (Ok, 3rd in age group... and it was a very light age group... but hey, 3rd place gets a medal, and I haven't won a medal for anything in over two decades!)

This race went way better than I had any right to expect. I haven't been running *at all*, so my general race plan was "find some feet and draft on the swim, hammer the bike like crazy, then pretend I'm just doing a long brick workout." That plan more or less went off without a hitch. My prerace diet was, for perhaps the first time in history, excellent. I woke up 20 minutes before my alarm this morning, fully rested and in good spirits.

All of my previous races were run by a company called SetUp, Inc.. These races have been huge and highly organized. The White Lake Sprint triathlon, which I've used as my season kickoff the last two years, usually has 80something people in my age group. Today's race had 100 people total. The flavor of the whole event was entirely different from what I'm used to. For instance, there were no assigned rack spaces. You just sort of picked a spot and tried not to interfere with your neighbors. And there was only one wave for all 100 racers. And the start was the race director yelling "ready, set, go!" Quite the laid back affair, actually. They did use chip timing, so my splits will be 100% accurate.

The swim was uneventful. The water wasn't nearly as cold as I feared it would be. It started to rain just before the swim, but I never really noticed. I never found a good draft, but I found several crappy drafts in serial, which is almost as good :-). Final swim time was 13:??, which I think was fairly good. AG from my Masters swim group (who won my age group by NINE MINUTES) came out of the water in 12:??, so my swim must have been really good to lose less than two minutes to him... he is much faster than me in practice.

T1 was uneventful.

I hammered the entire bike. I think I was only passed by one person, and that person was Josh Beck, who WON the national duathlon (run/bike/run... triathlon with a run in place of the swim) championships back in 2002, and is now a professional duathlete. If I were to complain about him passing me on the bike, I would have to be the world's biggest ass :-). He ended up winning the entire race, fully 18 minutes ahead of me. Freak. Two other dudes passed me at one point, but I think I pulled them back late in the bike.

T2 was a bit slow. I didn't get my right foot out of my shoe in time, so I had a weird bike dismount. My legs were also quivering as I put on my running shoes. Did I mention I hammered the entire bike?

...then, as always, I gave back a ton of time on the run :-). But considering that I've only had a handful of runs longer than 5K this year, I honestly can't complain about today's run. My quads, hamstrings, and calves were all borderline crampish the entire run, but my stomach felt fine and I was able to keep my HR at just under 170. If my stomach is ok, my HR is at 170, and my legs are almost cramping... there isn't much more I can do. I'm not sure of my run split, but if my swim was 13:?? and my bike was 57:??, my run was probably 25-ish, which is slow by triathlete standards and about average for me :-).

Final time was 1:38:03, 3rd in my age group (of, I think, 9 total... hehehe...). 2nd place was only 34 seconds ahead of me. 1st was AG at 1:28:??.

On a related note, I think I would have been out of the hardware in just about any other age group. The 35-39, 40-44, and 45-50 groups are loaded with some really speedy dudes. My "just keep doing triathlons until I win" plan isn't going to work. I'm actually going to have to get faster someday.

Stuff to remember later:

  • Watch electrolytes. I've only had two muscle cramps in my life (both times, calve cramps while swimming), but I think I came close today. I forgot to take an electrolyte tab before I started. Has my diet been low in salt? (NOTE: Review log) Was it the hard bike, at lower-than-normal cadence?
  • Prerace diet was great. (Slimfast + banana smoothie before bed, only liquids in the morning... hot chocholate, gatorade endurance, gel)
  • Gas-X before and after swim helped. No stomach bloat at all today.
  • Run more, you lazy freak!!!
  • The female 20-24 age group is populated entirely by stunningly beautiful women.