Saturday, August 20, 2011

First Sprint

I have been so lax in updating. I get busy with training and life and just forget to write. I do find writing therapeutic, so I should do it more often. I am wordy and boring, so I think I could have a future as a sleeping aid if my current career doesn't pan out.

If you've read some of my previous posts, you may know that I started my triathlon adventures by doing an Olympic distance event (1.5K/40K/10K) and then three weeks later did Ironman Kansas 70.3 (1.2M/56M/13.1M). This is not the normal route by any stretch but as I've found out not that uncommon either. I just didn't have a chance to start slow this year and I'm fairly (or severely depending on definition) impatient.

So, my first sprint distance was the SharkFest Sprint in July. This is probably the most popular local triathlon. I don't have numbers to back that up, but it "seems" that way. Sprint distance triathlons are not concrete distances. This one, however, was a very typical sprint distance - 500 yard swim, 15 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. The run this year was cut a bit short because of the damage caused by the horrific flooding we had in the spring. The run ended up being something like 2.9x miles.

Pre-race routine:

A cup of coffee. Headed to the race at 5am. Took my time setting up in transition. One transition area, which is great. Sunscreen on. Took a gel about 30 minutes before the start. Chatted with friends and tried to keep the anxiety down.

Event warmup:

Short swim to warmup.



This was my third tri and third open water swim. Was still slow in this swim but didn't panic - good thing. Very anaerobic effort with heavy breathing and a struggling stroke. After rounding the first bouy(100 yards) I was having trouble and hurting but kept going. My sighting was not very good, because I kept going off course. I had my Garmin Forerunner 305 in my swim cap, and my distance measured at 650 yards versus the 500 if I had gone straight. Not good.

What would you do differently?:

See a swim coach and more open water swimming.



Long, steep run from the water into T1. Had a little trouble getting my bike shoes on.

What would you do differently?:

Get some tri-specific bike shoes.



Bike starts with a climb out of the park. I had some trouble getting my legs going. I must use my legs way too much in the swim. My swim put me behind a lot of folks, so once again I found myself having to pass a lot of cyclists, which I did. Cycling is my best event, but within cycling climbing hills is probably my biggest strength - which boded well for this course.

What would you do differently?:

Figure out how to have fresher legs to start.



Initially couldn't find my spot. I even knew a specific landmark to help me find it and I still couldn't. Stupid.

What would you do differently?:

Not be a bonehead trying to find my stuff.



The run course was about .1 miles short due to all the flooding in the area this year. It was relatively flat and wound through the campgrounds. I love these types of courses. Lots of changes in the route (not just a long, straight run) and the campers are good fans.

Felt good coming off the bike. Was running mostly around 7:00 pace to begin. A little fast but it felt comfortable. The race seemed to go fast with all the curves. I passed a few people, but I caught so many on the bike there weren't that many people in front of me.

One of the aid stations had ice-soaked towels, which I gladly took. That was a nice touch since it was getting hot. Coming down the final half mile people were starting to tire, so I passed a few more folks including some in my AG. Very nice!

Crossed the finish line and really wasn't that tired or out of breath. That really pissed me off a bit. I should've gone harder on the bike or the run. I'm still learning a lot about how to combine the two. Oh, well. Pretty solid run for me, regardless.

What would you do differently?:

Run harder.

Post race

Warm down:

Got some water and an orange. Talked to several friends and hung out.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Swim and not using energy wisely.

Event comments:

Great local race.

I really, really enjoyed the race. The swim sucked, as normal for me, but wasn't killer. The bike was totally suited for me. Hills! I hate hills but I do well on them, so it helps me. The run was flat and I had a good pace. My biggest complaint is that I wasn't exhausted when I finished, which meant I didn't go hard enough on the bike and/or the run. That really irked me but it was a good learning lesson.

One nice bonus was that I won a nice Timex watch in the door prize drawings. Who doesn't love winning something?!!

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