Monday, July 1, 2013

Race Review : Lake Waconia Triathlon

I did this race last year, missed my goal and did it this year. I also got a chance to hang out with some friends from work, I'd do it again if only for that reason.

The Training

Seems like all I've been doing is training, I was ready for a race.

Packet Pickup

There were a couple of options for packet pickup, Friday before, Saturday before, or even race morning if you were so inclined. Last year I opted for the race site on Saturday, this year I had a massage scheduled for that time, so I went up to Gear West on Friday, it worked out fine. I even ran into a friend from work and we shot the breeze for a bit. I tried to convince him to get a one-piece tri suit... no dice. There was nothing special about the packet, a decent shirt and a water bottle. I'll take it, free is free, and honestly, I pay to race.

Race Morning

The race started at 8:30, transition opened at 6:00, I figured I wanted to get there about 6:30 which means leaving my house around 5:50, so get up and out of bed by 5:15. Per normal (now) ritual, I slept on the couch to avoid waking any of the littles too early.

My alarm went off at 5:15 and I was instantly panicked, I was sure I had overslept and it was 7. You'd think by now I'd be used to the idea that the sun is up already, it probably took me a good thirty seconds to settle down.

I had some breakfast, drove up, found a spot in transition and kinda hung out. I like not being in a hurry at the start of a race, having nothing to do for an hour or so makes me happy.

I stuck my feet in the water, cold. Not end of the world cold, but cold enough to lock the wetsuit idea in. That, and the official temperature was 75.

I remembered the lake being larger last year

There it is, look at those little ripples, this is going to be a cake walk
Me and my friend Jeff and my other friend Jeff

The Swim

The swim was a time-trial start, except for elite, they went off in a wave. The deal was you line up by number and then the guy sends you off every 3 seconds. My number was 255, so that means I was going to wait for 254 (roughly) people to go before me. Last year the water was cooler, but the sun was much hotter, I was also 40 people down the list. This year I just stood near the start of the line and hopped in when my spot came up. It actually seemed to go pretty quickly.

Full Speed Ahead!
Much to my surprise basically the first thing I noticed was how choppy the water was. I did some break out strokes to get me up to speed and I was all over the place. I'd pop way out of the water and come crashing down, it was pretty surprising. This is now the second time I've done a race in a little bit of choppy water and not been able to identify it. In any case, it was a little disorienting at times, but I wouldn't say it was bad.

The littlest little and her aunt testing the water
Like last year, it seemed like people were constantly in front of me. I never hit clear water. It wasn't chaotic really, in terms of people, but still I kinda like breaking out in front for a while. Less to think about.

It's a little sea-monster-ish, but I do like this shot
I got out of the water feeling pretty good, I heard my family cheering for me and headed to transition. I was proud of myself to be running past people up to my bike. Overall I'd say transition went pretty well, though I did pull my bike off the rack before I put my helmet on... oops.

The Bike

Heading out, looking good, feeling good
Last year I remember thinking the start of the bike course was pretty fast, this year I didn't have that. It took me a while to catch my breath and let my heart settle down a bit, but after that it just seemed like steady effort.

Also last year I remember there being a lot of drafting, I also didn't notice that this year. Then again I don't remember seeing any course marshals either.

Splashing around in the water. It looks downright cozy. In the background, more swimmers making their way through the course... in wetsuits

There we go, that makes sense.
There was a slight wind that seemed to be shifting direction on me, I kinda knew it would feel like riding into the wind the whole time based on where we observed the wind was coming from while waiting for the race to start, so I was just biding my time until we got to the last little let which would put the wind at our backs.

The bike felt good, I was thinking as I came into the transition that I was setting myself up for a good run.

I look quite majestic if I do say so myself

The Run

Last year I focused on getting out on the run, setting up a faster than normal pace and then pull back a little. The idea is that you can pull back easier than you can pick up the pace, and so setting your legs in motion at the start is key.

Feeling great! I'm leaning over to give my oldest a high five.
That's what I did. I ran out of transition, kinda got my bearings with the people around me and then set to work. I glanced down at my watch 6:30 pace.
Let's review. On a good day I do maybe 7:30 pace on a 5k + today I am running 6:30 pace out of transition = ???
I should have dialed back, that's the smart thing to do. Establish pace early, but keep it maintainable. What I really did was forget all that, I felt fine. About a half mile later I am sucking wind. I literally cannot catch my breath. At the time it all felt very odd, so I stopped to walk, take some deep breaths and then back at it.

And then ... my brain took over. I just could not shut it off. So I pushed my way through, took some walk breaks through water stops. Just after the turn around, I saw someone I knew, someone I think is sort of the same speed as me, and he was catching me. Based on his number I figured if he caught me he could have 30 seconds on me and I'd still be able to finish "clock time" ahead of him. He did finally catch me in the last half mile or so, I decided to not just let him run away with it, so I hung with him the rest of the race.

Waiting for dad to finish

It can get boring waiting for the old man

The Finish

That about sums it up ... just keep moving. Also good dinosaur impression

Last year as I was coming in I was thinking about my friends who I had seen or not seen during the run. This time I had seen everyone I knew, and I was looking forward to seeing my family. I did not sprint to the end to edge out the guy who had chased me down on the run. I thought, he ran me down, and had more spirit on the run than I did, so I backed off smiled and ran to my kids and wife.
The older kids ran off as soon as I finished. This one loves me!

She's Daddy!

The Results

Goal Actual
Swim 12:00 12:23
Bike 58:30 58:36
Run 31:00 36:17
Total 1:45:00 1:50:10

The swim – 23 seconds isn't significant, given the chop I'm actually pretty happy about this.

The bike - 36 seconds isn't much at all, I felt like I did well. According to my watch I was a little faster than this, but only by about as much I missed my goal, so we'll call it even :)

The run – Well, I was hoping to hit this run a little harder. I'm wondering if I psyched myself out a little. On the other hand, it was faster than last year, and I *think* last year I didn't walk. So I'll take what I can get.

While I chatted with friends and stuff, the others caught some beach time

Closing Comments

At first I was feeling a little down, I missed my goal, again. But, it's faster than last year. A minute on the bike, a minute on the run. I like doing the same race over again, I look forward to a sort of apples to apples comparison. So I'll probably do it again next year.

Two more races this month, it's racing season and I'm looking having fun!

1 comment:

Christopher Hawes said...

That was you I was running up to near the finish. I thought it was you. I also think we parked next to each other. Sorry I didn't say anything. Wasn't sure it was you. As you know, it is a tough course, that run can be tough. Looks like you had a pretty good day overall. Congrats!