Saturday, September 24, 2011

Warmup for Branson

A week before my "A" race I had the opportunity to do one final "sprint" race as practice. There was a Razorback game in Little Rock on Saturday and the race was in Conway on Sunday. Perfect! I could go to the game, race on Sunday morning and be back to the hotel in time to have breakfast with my wife before heading home. It's like it was meant to meant to be. So, it was.

I had a good race. I didn't go all out but still went hard. Had my best swim in any race. Had a very good bike but never felt 100%. Very solid run with no complaints. I knew I was in decent shape for the finish but didn't really know where I stood. Ended up I was the second best in the 40-44 age group and the 1st best guy won the overall "masters" award, so I got the first place for the age group. Pretty nice! Great practice race and some hardware to top it off.

Definitely worth the effort and I will do it again if the opportunity exists again. Details below.

Pre-race routine:

This event timing worked out well, because there was a Razorback football game the day before. We drove down and arrived in Little Rock just after lunch Saturday. Tailgated for a few hours, went to the game (52-3 win over New Mexico) and then made our way back to the hotel in Conway. Finally got in bed a little after 11pm.

Woke up at 5. Quick dress. Cup of coffee and then drove the short distance to the course. I arrive early at the course so I wanted to drive the bike course, since I had not seen it. Relatively flat bike course with just a few moderate climbs. Got a few miles into the course and a deer is right in the middle of the road. Scared the shit out of me. It would figure that I would hit a deer, wreck, etc., 3 hours before the race. Luckly, Bambi scooted across the road and we were all okay.

Worked my way back to the start and got parked. Plenty of parking. Lots of volunteers at 6am directing the way. Good start.

I was pretty early, so I took my time getting ready. It's funny. Even for an event lasting less than an hour and half, there is a lot of prep that goes into it. There is not a ton of difference between a sprint triathlon and a half Ironman. A full Ironman does take it to another level, however.

Made my way to the check-in (I couldn't do early check-in the day before). No line at all. Sweet lady helped me. Took about a minute. All good.

Then, wave 1 hit. Gotta find a porta potty quick. You ever try taking a crap in the dark? It's not fun. Thank God for the iPhone Flashlight app. More later.

Back to the truck to get my bike and move into transition to setup for the day.

Still a lot of time before the race. Got my race number attached to my race belt. Bike bottles filled with fuel (Gatorade). Tires pumped up. Spare tube and toolkit attached to bike. Lubed body for chafing resistance. This is IMPORTANT. Ready to go.

Make my way to transition. 30 or so bikes already here. Over 200 will be soon. This is a difficult decision. One think I like about bigger races is that the transitions are numbered, so whatever your race number is, is where your transition is. This, however, is an open transition so you can pick your spot. Stupid, I know, but it all matters. Do I want to be close to the swim exit or the run exit or the bike entrance? Too much stress!

I find a decent spot and start to setup and immediately see some familiar faces from NW Arkansas. It was an immediate stress relief. It's always good at these events to be able to talk to people you know, or at least "sort of" know.

From now until the race there was a lot of bs'ing and just a lot of s'ing. Good grief. I went to the potty 4 more times. It's crazy how these events act like a laxative. Ex-lax has NOTHING on nerves before a race. NOTHING.

At almost 40 years old you would think this could either be a bad problem (due to age) or no problem at all (due to experience). I'll just leave it at that. It happens at every race. 5K, Marathon, Ironman. It's just part of the deal.

At some point. You. Are. Ready.

Event warmup:

Pretty much, none. I went under to make sure my goggles weren't leaking. I did do some stretching but I'm not sure that counts.



Lord have mercy. I am so frickin' slow at swimming. If I can ever get even decent I will kick some ass.

That being said, I chose to wear my wetsuit simply because the Branson half Ironman was 7 days away and I thought it would be good practice. The water was plenty warm enough to swim in comfort.

My friend and I, who are both comfortably slow, tried to line up to the outside of the swim to avoid chaos. Well, apparently that was a popular stance, so we were screwed. This was a beach start, so you could be partially in the water or entirely on the beach. When the horn sounded the chaos began. All well-laid plans ... out the window. Good grief.

I actually loved the swim course, because the first buoy was only 100 or so yards out. The bad part was the congestion. O.M.G. In my very(VERY) short triathlon "career" I have done distances of sprints, super sprints, olympic and half Ironman. I have never been physically swum "over" but I have now. Some guy swum completely over the top of me. I'm glad I didn't drown.

After the first turn, which was a CF of the highest order, things went pretty well. I breathed way too much to one side but still felt pretty good.

I still hate the swim but I am getting much, much better thanks to my coach. Hopefully, I will be decent at some point.

What would you do differently?:

Kick the guy who swum over me?



I did not have to use a wetsuit for this race but I did use it because I will likely use it for the Branson half Ironman. I did a great job getting my left foot out, but my stupid right foot would NOT come out. It was frustrating as all get out. I could not for the life of me get my left foot out. Finally did it and got out of T1. Good grief!

What would you do differently?:

Not be an idiot trying to get out of a wetsuit.



The bike is without question my strongest discipline. I have found through doing a few triathlons that it takes a while for my legs to really be able to "work" after the swim.

This has been a reasonably consistent trend. I suppose I'm using my legs more than I realize on my very poor swim.

As per usual on the bike, I passed a LOT of people. It's almost comical. I am so damn slow on the swim, I pass almost the entire field on the bike. It has happened on every triathlon I've done.

I was kind of excited for this course because it was reasonably flat, compared to my previous courses. I got started out and it didn't take long to start passing people. I was constantly saying "on your left" all that way to the turn (half way). Before the turn I could finally see the people who were ahead of me.

I kept counting the racers. In the big picture, I didn't really care where I finished, in the overall or my age group, but it's nice to at least know how you compare.

I saw 15 or so riders ahead of me before I made the turn. I knew I had made up a lot of ground from my slow swim, but I had no idea where I really stood.

When I got to the finish I was reasonably pleased with my time. I wanted to finish under 40 minutes, which I did, but I also wanted to average 23 mph, which I did not. In the the big scheme it doesn't matter. It was just a goal. I was still better than the vast majority.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. Perhaps go a tiny bit harder.



Pretty quick transition. I don't do the flying dismount yet but still have a reasonably quick transition. No complaints here. Sockless shoes are the BOMB!

What would you do differently?:

Work on dismount.



Not much to say about the run. Got off the bike and felt pretty good. I quickly saw the one and only person who passed ME on the bike and I ran right past him. BOOM! Feeling good! Then one of my age groupers comes flying by me like the earth is standing still. Jeebuz! I kept pace for like 2 seconds and quickly (and smartly) gave up on him.

I ran hard the entire race. I wasn't full-out but was pretty close. Got to the half-way turn and then started seeing some of my friends on the way back. That was really nice. It's always a boost to see someone you know.

I got to the final half mile or so and one of my friend's sons came up beside me. I was three minutes ahead of him overall, because he started three minutes before me, but he said "thanks for pacing me" and he took off. Well, then I took off right behind behind him. I was carrying a 6 minute pace following him to the finish. I had to resort to talking to myself but I went as hard as I could go the last quarter mile.

I can't explain how hard it is to to give it your all in an event like this. If you've done it, you know. If you haven't, then just imagine being in tremendous pain and wanting to throw up and then multiply it times 1,000.

I think the volunteers probably though I was crazy hearing me talking to myself that last bit, but it worked. I went HARD and was happy for it.

I averaged 7:01 for the entire run, which I would be happy for during any 5K but after swimming and biking, I was ecstatic.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I went as hard as I could reasonably go.

Post race

Warm down:

I took in several bottles of water immediately after the race. I met with my friends and talked about the race.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nothing. I went as hard as I could go. I was ready to puke after I finished. You know what? That tells me I timed things pretty well. I have no complaints, except for my dumbass not getting out of the wetsuit better.

Event comments:

Course was really good. Events were on-time. Check-in was easy. Goody bag was WEAK at best. Volunteers were awesome! No complaints at all.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome race write up, Scott! You definitly kicked some booty last weekend! I look forward to training with you more...soon!!!