Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tri number six in the bag

Last Sunday, I completed the Revolutionary Sprint Triathlon. Mucky water, crazy hills on the bike course, uneven, rocky trail run . . . but five minutes from my house. So how can I resist?

I actually slept really well for the night before a race. I went to bed early and woke to the alarm at 5:50. I washed, drank some water, ate a banana and walked out the door around 6:15.

When I arrived, transition was still fairly empty, except for my bike rack, which was completely full. Figures. I squeezed in and started setting up.

My stomach was a little off, but I managed to eat most of a bagel with peanut butter and drank quite a bit of water. Two women from town were doing the race as well, so I found them and we chatted for a while.

Transition closed at 7:30 a.m. so I left and slipped into the water for a warm up. This is, as you may recall, a nasty, mucky swim. Last year, I swam through a piece of floating seaweed as big as my freakin’ car. It was a little less mucky this year thankfully, but still kind of gross.

Pretty soon, it was time to start. My friend T. was in the same wave, so I wished her luck and off we went.

Swim

The swim was a quarter mile “M” shaped course. It was relatively uneventful. T. and I finished at almost the exact same time – she ran out of the water right in front of me. Mark says I was in the first half of my wave.

That said, my swim time was quite a bit slower this year. All week I’ve been trying to figure out why, because I’m definitely a better swimmer than last year. Two factors could have been at work:
1. It was a bigger wave this year, and a couple of times I got stuck behind slower swimmers and could not get around them, whereas last year I felt like I just cruised right through the pack.
2. The swim time didn’t end on the beach like last year. Instead, the sensor was back at the entrance to transition, so the run back up the beach and up a hill was counted in the swim time.

Whatever the reason, it was slower and I’m cranky about that.

Last year’s swim time: 10:36
This year: 13:19
I know. WTF?

T1
This was pretty straightforward. I did make a point to drink a big sip of water since I have trouble drinking on the bike, but overall, an OK T1.

Last year’s T1: 4:32
This year: 2:00

Bike
Oh boy.

This is not a long course—only 10 miles—but it is super hilly. You climb a long hill straight out of transition, and another super steep one less than a mile later. Then there are no less than 8 other climbs. I kid you not.

My goal this year, was to keep it over 10mph and finish in less than an hour, which I know to a true cyclist sounds like a wimpy goal, but that’s what I wanted. And . . .

Last year’s bike: 1:02:50
This year: 56:35

So I’m still slow. Quite slow. But significantly faster than last year. Next year’s goal is to do it sub-50. Fingers crossed!

T2
Nothing eventful here. Changed shoes, drank water, popped on my hat and ran out.

Last year’s T2: 2:02
This year: 1:56

Run

The run is a 5K on a trail. The trail is uneven, narrow and loaded with tree roots and rocks. Last year, I took a nasty fall, scraping a good amount of skin off my arm and knee. So this year, I gave myself permission to WALK the worst parts of the trail.

I know, I know. But seriously people, I was on vacation last week. I just wasn’t looking to spend it with a twisted ankle or with my arm all bandaged up. It’s just not worth it to me, especially after passing several runners coming out of the woods with bloody knees.

So I walked the really treacherous sections and ran when I felt it was safe. My run time isn’t great, but even given the walking, I still beat last year’s time.

Last year’s run: 34:59
This year: 33:58

My neighbor (who finished this race 30 minutes faster than me without doing any special tri training whatsoever <--not fair!) suggested getting a pair of shoes specifically designed for trail running, which seems like a good idea. My thick-soled stability shoes are especially hazardous on uneven terrain, so I’ll look into those for next year.

Overall time
Last year: 1:54:59
This year: 1:47:38

So better, definitely better, especially given how undertrained I am at the moment. I imagine if I’d been training this year the way I was last year, I’d have made an even bigger dent in that time.

But that is the best I can do at the moment, and I’m satisfied.

Now, to try to find a September race in order to meet my goal of four tris in 2010.

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