Sunday, September 11, 2005

Co-ed Triathlete

Hyannis Sprint II, September 10, 2005, Race Report
Short Version: Completely different race than my first tri, far faster and more competitive, but I loved the energy, and achieved my personal goal of breaking the 2 hour mark in a race. Well run event and a gorgeous course on lovely Craigsville Beach, I’ll definitely be back next year.
Swim (a LONG .25 mi): 13:48 (583/671)
Bike (10 mi, plus T1/T2 times): 49:15 (622/672)
Run (3.5 mi): 52:43 (668/671)
Total: 1:55:47 (660/671)
1st Year Racers/F30-39: (43/45)
F35-39: (65/65)
Long Version:
After a restless night I was up and at the beach by 5:20, in the cool dark morning. Wheeled my bike into transition and there were the race folks, checking for numbers and inspecting bike helmets. The sign outside transition reads "Athletes Only" and it still gives me a little thrill to be part of that group. First one on my rack so I got a nice end spot, with extra room under the cross bars. Got my set-up done and headed to the beach to sit on the rocks, drink my green tea, and watch the sun rise, which was spectacular. The energy kept building as the morning went on. By 5:45, the first parking lot was full and there were athletes everywhere. Pretty soon, it was a bright late summer morning, without a cloud in the sky. I stayed on the beach and stretched, walked a bit up and down the racks, and then went down to the water to warm up. 5 minutes or so out to the last buoy and back, then on the beach in my corral (7) for the start.
Swim: Around 7:30, my wave spread out along the beach, and hit the water. I was in the middle of the group, towards the back, not wanting to swim too far away from the buoys. I felt terrific for the first 10 strokes, then my heart started racing and I couldn’t breathe. I switched to breast stroke for a while, and spent the rest of the swim changing back and forth between crawl and breast. The wind picked up, straight offshore, and I drifted out a bit while doing the leg parallel to the beach. Coming round the last buoy, the leaders from the wave behind me started flying through and I moved slightly out, so I wouldn’t get mashed, or impede their progress. There was a hand on my backside for about 15 seconds at one point, and thought hey, this co-ed racing thing is a blast ;-) I knew I was behind my expected pace, but I don’t think I’ve ever swum ¼ mi so slowly. 13:48.
T1: I struggled out of the water and up the beach, running in sand is never a strong point for me. Even worse though, is running in my cycling shoes (I’ll be practicing this skill all winter). I also dithered about whether to add an extra layer given the cool temps and breeze. In the end, I didn’t, but between the mental slowness and the fact that I was all the way across transition from the bike start, T1 was a painfully slow 5:44.
Bike: Really pretty course with some gentle inclines up from the beach, then little rollers, through some charming Cape Cod towns and country. At the end, the course winds around beautiful ocean-front neighborhood. Lots of folks out there cheering, and I felt terrific for about 90% of the ride. At one point about 1/3 of the way out, I felt like I was riding in sand, but no flat, so I kept on going, fiddled with my gears, and was ok. A couple miles from the finish I started hearing funny noises, and my race # was stuck in my rear brakes. Ooops. Managed to dislodge it without incident, and raced home. I got passed by the fast folks from the waves behind me, but managed to pass a few from my wave and even one or two from earlier waves. At the end, I caught about 5 or 6 riders, and I felt like I’d had a decent ride, but looked at my watch and was over 40 minutes. 41:30 by my watch, for a 14.5 mph pace. 2 mph faster than my first race, so I was happy, despite my ranking.
T2: Much better, in and out in just under 2 minutes. 1:59.
Run: Not much to say except that I had a plan, and was able to execute it (walk breaks at the mile markers, only). It still didn’t help me run much faster than before, but I did run more, so I was somewhat satisfied. Legs felt ok, back was tight again, and my calves got very tight around mile 2. LOTS of work over the winter on my running. 52:43.
My goal for this race was to break the 2 hour mark and I did, finishing in 1:55:47. Despite finishing DFL in my age group, I was pleased that I had reached the goal I set, and made it through my first co-ed race. I also really loved the competitive atmosphere of the race. I will be back next year, and there is no where to go but UP!
So, my goals for the fall/winter:
Get lighter.
Get stronger, especially core, and focus on my back.
Running: (a) take on a 10K training program; (b) race in a 5K once a month.
Biking: (a) work up to 50 miles on the bike; (b) practice moving in my cycling shoes.
Swimming: lessons to work on form.