Saturday, August 20, 2011

1st Overall Podium

2nd triathlon in as many weeks. Last week's was super short but was followed by a 100 mile bike ride and 10K run, so it posed its own challenges. This was to be my second "sprint" tri, but it had its own challenges, because it was riddled with hills, hills and more hills. Such is the plight of an event in Bella Vista. (the only flat spots are 1) on the water and 2) the little spot between downhills and uphills).

I pre-rode the course a few days ago (thank you PS!), so I knew what to expect. A lot of hills. A LOT. Even the few flats were "false flats" that seemed flat but really were slight inclines.

It was a great course, although in a sprint tri it's hard to take account of the scenery. You're oo busy suffering to notice much else. I detail most of the race below with some final comments after. Thanks for reading.

Pre-race routine:

Wake up at 4:10. Two cups of coffee. Banana and granola bar. Drive 45 minutes to Bella Vista. Setup transition. Gel 30 minutes pre-race. Go to bathroom 800 times.

Event warmup:

VERY short swim.



One of my more comfortable swims. I was really concerned because the cove was fairly "thin" and the chance for contact was high. I got as far to the outside as I could. I still suck at swimming but I'm better thanks to a swim coach. I was able to get into a regular breathing pattern for at least part of the swim.

I finished at 11:30, which was a good 20-30 seconds per 100 yards compared to my last sprint. I'm getting better but have so much more to go.

The ramp was slick as ... well, it was slick. I couldn't walk I went back to swimming the final 20 feet or so. Stupid.

It was so nice not to get tackled the entire time. #Winning.

What would you do differently?:

Keep working. See my coach ASAP!



My worst transition to date. Not my slowest but definitely my worst. I couldn't get my damn helmet on and then my sunglasses. The aero helmet is much more difficult to get on and I totally failed at this. I easily should've been 30 seconds faster. Good grief. Oh, and I pulled my dang strap out of my shoe so I had to fumble with that.


What would you do differently?:

Quit being an idiot.



Once again, my swim put me behind the 8-ball. I passed people constantly. I am a decent cyclist but I'm even better on the hills, so this course played to my strengths.

I have found that it takes a few miles after a swim before my legs feel worth a damn. That lasted longer today. My legs didn't feel good until the final downhill to the transition. Ha ha.

This course was pretty brutal. It was virtually all up or down hill. Even the few flat areas seemed to be mostly false flats. It was difficult to get into a groove. The good thing for me was that everyone else was suffering worse than I, so I just kept passing people.

The passing got fewer and farther between the further I went. I didn't know where I was in the pecking order, but I knew I had passed dozens of people, including the women who had passed me on the swim after starting three minutes behind me. I have to get better on the swim. HAVE TO.

Just a few miles before the finish was a nasty, long climb. I looked back, which I don't like to do, and the guy behind me was quite a ways back, so I laid off a little and cruised up the hill. The finish was all downhill.

Sometimes you know you're near the front of the pack, because of how the volunteers and fans react. I can't explain with words how much it means to have people cheering you on, and these folks were some of the best.

The finish included an incredibly steep downhill with an immediate left turn into the final stretch. I was worried about this turn, because it was REALLY steep and sharp. No problems, thankfully.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Totally happy. I think I had the 2nd or 3rd best bike time. Hard to complain.



Look at my first transition and do a 180. This one ROCKED! It wasn't the fastest of the day but it was my fastest. I killed it. Shoes on super fast and race number belt on as I left transition.

What would you do differently?:

Dismount out of my shoes. I haven't practiced that yet, so I need to work on it. It's a bit scary but would save some time.



What to say, what to say. I'm a crappy swimmer but my runs really scare me, because I just don't know how my fake hip will react to hard intensities. Uphills don't hurt my hip - flats and downhills do, or can.

It has been a challenge to figure out how hard to go on the bike to enable maximum run performance. I went hard (HARD) on the bike, so this was a question. Add hills to the mix and it is a big ????????

The run starts by leaving the park (1/4 mile maybe) and then straight up a super steep hill. 12+% grade for 1/3 mile. It sucks. Sucks. Sucks. And then you turn and climb some more before finally descending down a hill you will soon climb back up.

At this point there were 5 people in front of me. 5! Holy crap, I made up some unreal time on the bike. I mean UNREAL. The leader and follower were pretty far out front. No way I could catch them. As a matter of fact, I didn't think I could catch anyone in front of me, but I did think I could hold my position. That would be pretty cool!

2 miles, I was reeling in the next person. She was part of a team. I was not concerned with her, because she was a totally different timed group. I did pass her, however. That put me in 4th overall. Holy freakin' crap! This is a decent sized, and extremely hard race, and I was doing well!

Hit the turn at 3.2 miles and it was all downhill from there. The 3rd place guy was 100 yards ahead of me. I knew who it was. He is an incredible swimmer, and I do mean incredible. I didn't know anything about his running, though. I decided to go for it.

Downhill running is probably the most dangerous of all road running. You can really damage a lot of muscles and bones by running too hard downhill. I slowly reeled him in and with about .2 miles remaining I passed him and increased my lead. I was running sub-6 minute mile pace that last bit. Easily the fastest I've run since my hip replacement. Easily.

I finished third across the line. UNREAL! I should probably hang up the shoes now. I don't know that it will get any better than this. It was not a huge race by any means but there was some very, very good competitors in the race, so I am proud and humbled to finish where and how I did.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I did everything I could. I think I had the 7th best run overall. For a 39 year-old with a fake hip, that's pretty alright.

Post race

Warm down:

Quick massage with Dr. Bennington (Maximum Performance Therapy in Rogers). My shins were killing me after that downhill and he made them feel so much better. I can still walk!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Talent and fake hip.

Event comments:

Incredible race. Most organized and well-supported race I've done. Goody bag was AWESOME! (More Jack Links - Mike, are you listening?) Grilled chicken, burgers and dogs after the event. Plenty of drinks and food. Quick results. Awesome event.

This was far and away my best triathlon finish. It helped that it was a hilly course, because I do well on hills. Even with the horrible swim, I still finished solid.

In the grand scheme this is all small stuff, but even as a very-near 40-year old, it feels great to finish near the front. It's all made better with the fact that I have an artificial hip and can finish better than folks with good (original) limbs and joints! :)

I have to add a small blurb. My wife and I had plans today after my race and her work (she had to work this morning). Going into the race, I had 0 (ZERO) idea that I would place in my age group, let alone the entire event. Well, it all unfolded and I TOTALLY FORGOT plans my wife and I had talked about. So, I waited around for the award ceremony and got home way (WAY) too late and screwed up my wife's day. I can never apologize enough to make it better, but I know that I screwed up and I am beyond sorry. I love my wife dearly and am very sorry for whatever inconvenience I caused her. I need to say this, because she supports my crazy obsession with this ridiculous (?) sport without question.


1 comment:

  1. You had an incredible race today! Congrats. You covering that bike course in 45 minutes is unbelievable. You are right, even the flats were mostly slight inclines. The only downhills on the course were like kamikaze runs!