Monday, April 25, 2011

Race Review - Egg Hunt Tri

This was the second triathlon of the year for me, I went in feeling strong. And my overall game plan was to do a strong swim, push myself on the bike, and hold on for as long as I could on the run (but NO WALKING!)

The Training
This month I put about 120 miles on the bike, 30 miles on my shoes, and about 4000 yards in the water. After the last race when I decided my focus this year needs to be on the bike I didn’t really switch the training plan up, but I did refocus on the bike workouts to get more out of them.

Packet Pickup
Picking up the packets was a mixed bag, the bike store where packet pickup was nice and spacious, and they had some sales going on which I didn’t capitalize on. The line was pretty slow moving, but I was there with my sister so the time went by pretty fast. Two amusing notes:

First – they are selling these race number belts that don’t seem to have fasteners where race number holes are on the bibs. This is the second time we have seen these little belts, and I know they are wrong because I have one. It would be curious to hear why the snaps are so close together. My guess is it will come down to metric and standard measurements… or something equally dumb.

Second – a guy was, understandably, trying to lure people in with tempting sales, though he did it by starting out with "Hey kids we’ve got..." I trail off there because both times he did it I thought to myself "the average age of the people in this room has got to be closer to 30 than 15."

Race Morning
The night before, as with many before-the-race nights I had trouble falling to sleep. I was making transition plans and visualizing the execution. While I have said I wasn’t going to focus on transition times, it occurred to me that if I spend 5 minutes in transition out of 80 minutes of racing, and I can reduce it to three minutes I’ve shaved 2% of my time just by focusing a little. So I probably didn’t nod off till after midnight, which then led to sleeping through my alarm for about half an hour. I popped awake at 5, got dressed, made a sandwich and ate it, and got on my way. At about 5:30 my sister texted…she was already there, a little early :)

I got there around 6:00 found my sister and found our spots in transition. We setup, took a bathroom break, talked to some people we knew and made our way to the swim. I had my flip flops that morning, which is a good addition to the program. We had some time so we jumped in the water and got a little swim in and then hung out in the water because it was chilly.

The Swim
The swim went pretty well. Everyone had noticed that the entrance and exit were peppered with coral which wasn’t terribly sharp, but was annoying to step on, thankfully it turned out to be a non-issue, at least for me.

The start waves we pretty large, I think there were about 350 or so people in the triathlon, and then put us in four waves <40 men, >40 men, all women, fat tire or something like that. I figured there were 80 people in my wave. I had the same plan, start on the outside, but try to pop out in front of the bulk of the group. Again the group held on longer than I expected, and I found myself next to a guy who would accelerate every time he saw my hands by his head and had sort of a closed fist way of swimming. So I got knocked around for the first little bit pretty well, but he faded before the first buoy as did most others so after that it was pretty calm.

The swim felt fine, I ran out of the water and into transition, and hopped on the bike.

The Bike
The bike course was two 5 mile loops; the website described it as two laps of two loops, but really the way it was laid out it pretty much just felt like two loops which was nice. A smaller road inside the park that connected to the outside roads then went around the park. There were only a few turns where I felt the need to brake.

For a mid-pack racer like me starting in the first wave got in my head. I had imagined a sort of demoralizing bike leg with people zipping by me for half an hour, but actually it turned out to be pretty decent. I even passed a few people on the first lap, and plenty of people on the second lap. I got passed my fair share too, but it wasn’t as one way as I had imagined it might be.

Since I don’t currently have a bike computer or GPS device my plan was to get up to a cadence and resistance where I knew the approximate speed and stay on that. And that actually worked out pretty well, my legs were burning and my heart rate was up, but I was able to maintain and overall I was feeling good going into the run.

The Run
The run was also a two loop course to cover 3.1 miles. I liked this run course, it’s hard to say what makes this course any better than any other course, but it wasn’t super hot, and it wasn’t crowded, and they even had little sandwich boards up on the course with Easter eggs and "motivational" sayings like “just a little faster.” I actually liked the placement of the signs, because it helped frame the end of the lap up nicely for the second lap. It’s something I always feel is missing from these races it the half-mile and quarter-mile markers near the end.

This run started out terrible – I honestly thought I was going to puke, and not in that “you’re pushing yourself hard way” but my stomach was just flopping around as I ran, I tried to push through it but eventually caved and took a 30 second walk break. I was not happy with myself.

After that break the run went pretty well, I even caught my sister and we chatted for a bit on the second lap (her first lap.) It was a nice little surprise, and I thought it was a lot of fun to chat it up for a bit.
End of the 2nd lap

The Finish
As I came into the finish I felt like I had a good amount of steam left, to me that means I probably should have been pushing harder during the run, but I’m not sure I would have passed that opportunity up to chat with my sister for a few seconds off my time.

I grabbed some water, found my family, and watched some others come in. After that I grabbed some food, and we hung out shooting the breeze and enjoying a nice morning.

The Results

Goal Actual
Swim 6:30 9:05
Bike 34:00 34:14
Run 27:00 29:48
Total 1:12:30 1:16:30

The swim – it’s not really possible that this was 400 meters, which would put me on a 2:15 hundred pace – that is ridiculous. I say that because I actually moved up in the swim rankings from the last race, so it’s not like I had a bad swim and so did 300 other people. I’m thinking the distance was long, and the mat wasn’t until the transition area. The run from the edge of the water to transition was probably 15 seconds, so I’ll say my swim time was 8:45 – which I think puts the swim around 600 meters instead of 400. Had I known it was going to be an additional 200 meters longer I probably would have put my goal time closer to 9:30, so overall I’m happy with this time.

The bike – I am happy with the time, I want to continue building speed, but overall I’m happy I set a higher goal and almost met it.

The run – I set this 27 minute goal at the start of the season, and I’m conflicted if I should alter it to be more attainable or if I should just keep pushing for it. I think I’m going to keep pushing for it. I see two key ingredients here – one is just straight conditioning and some more bricks. The other is NO WALKING! I’ll also take this time to notice that almost everyone I knew who raced this weekend with did better on the run that me.
My sister celebrating her running prowess for the second race in a row
 Closing Comments
This was a good race for me, I felt good and had a great time. Had I even come close to my run goal I would have beat my target time, but not meeting it means I have something to keep shooting for.

This event was put on by, I liked the course overall. The only thing I’d change is to ditch the parking feeds. I mean seriously, they can just add $1.50 the cost of the race and give me a voucher to get in. But whatever, I like their races, so if that’s all I have to gripe about (and the swim distance…) I think it’s ok.

Racing with friends is a lot of fun. Catching someone you know and chatting for a bit is even more fun. And having friends and family cheering you on every time you pass the transition area is the best. I have noticed in the pictures my wife takes of me during the race I am always smiling. It’s hard not to, she’s cheering and the kids are cheering and it makes the whole deal just a little better.
The Try-a-tri group
Next up, a 5k in Minnesota.


Levi and Allyson said...

I say we shoot for a 22:30 in the 5k. :-)

Jeremy said...

Ha! I'll hold on as long as I can, but that'd be a new personal best for me, by a few minutes :)