Monday, June 13, 2011

Blue Lake Olympic Triathlon

First tri of the year, and second ever.

My one and only marathon last October was a disaster due to a bad pre-race dinner that got me sick and caused me to cramp at 8 miles.

This time, we stayed with friends near the race. Before dinner, Karen laid out some great salami to nosh on. Couldn't help myself. Then dinner, corned beef sandwiches. Just one, please, since I have a big day tomorrow. Maybe all the sodium will do me some good.

If you're thinking that Campbell once again screwed it up big-time....

You'd be dead, dead wrong.

  • Work the 1500m swim hard in about 28:30
  • Cycle 25.5 miles in at least 16.5 mph, my half ironman goal
  • Run 10k in 8:30 pace, slightly faster than my 9:00 half iron goal
  • Hopefully sneak in under 3 hrs overall
 This race is one of two tune-ups before IM Lake Stevens 70.3, so I wanted to really nail the pace. And a much more accomplished friend suggested I negative split each leg to build strength. Good idea, Sean.

  • Swim 30:25   not bad, but thought I was going faster. 
  • Bike 1:16  averaged 20.1 mph. My, my...
  • Run 50:23, averaged 8:08 per mile
  • Overall 2:43 and change.
I didn't know my time or splits until late last night. You should have seen my face.

Race day:
Woke early, found a local Starbucks to get fuel and a newspaper. The day before was NCAA track championships, and the Oregon women were in the lead with the last events on Saturday. But the newspaper is the Sunday early edition, which I don't find out until I've bought it. No results. Arrrrgggh. PS Oregon lost by 4 points.

Drive to the race site, start unloading. Nice to be early, you get a good spot to park your bike in the transition zone. Then I discovered a bad thing about my new bike, having removed the seat cages the day before...

There's no good place to put the saddle bag without the cages attached.  The lack of a seatpost is suddenly a big problem. I spent probably 30 minutes doing a MacGyver fix and strapping that sucker down. Good thing I had some velcro with me.

Into the water for warmups. First time using a sleeveless wetsuit. I jump in, and the water is cool and comfortable. People around me are shivering in full length suits, yet the water temp was probably 65 or so. That trip to Wickiup Reservoir was definitely a huge help in acclimatization; thanks, Shellie and the Deschutes Multisport Club!!

My wave gets in the water for the start. People look nervous; I relax them by patting myself down and saying, "Oh s***, my wallet is still in here." Broke 'em up.

The organizers didn't let us warm up, and I got into slight oxygen debt once we got going. Roll, reach, relax. Things calmed down a bit. Sighting was ok, and I was able to draft a little bit. Thanks for the tips, Dr. John. Good segment.

Out of the water, grab the bike. Transition was 3:47, not horrible. Couple hundred yard run to the bike mount line, so I had the shoes already on the cleats and didn't bother with socks. Great idea, except once on the bike I couldn't get my feet into the shoes, and I was on the verge of pulling another fubar like last week. So I stopped and took care of things. Lost a couple of minutes.

Then we're rolling. The first couple of miles seemed hard for the speed I was pulling. Wanted to keep heart rate below 155 and see what that gives me; 155 is borderline threshold for me.

Is the term 'borderline threshold' a little bit redundant?

The course goes along the river and the PDX landing approach. I notice planes are going in the same direction as us; that means a headwind for now. At 14 miles, we'll turn around, so we'll be getting pushed. Plus, the planes waiting to take off will be dumping their jet exhaust onto our backs; even more of a tailwind!

I bide my time, keeping heart rate in check. A big guy goes past, he's in my age group, so I stay close. He's probably 6'5" and stout, I figure I can take him on the run.

At the 14 mile point, we turn back. I'm take a quick peek and see I'm averaging 18.0 mph, very cool. See if I can get up a little bit without blowing. Next thing I know, I jump one or two gears comfortably. And I switch back to mileage and heart rate display; don't want to obsess about speed, I just need to know what is comfortable.

Turns out I did the last 11 miles at about 23 mph. What??? And my heartrate stayed tight. Man, it was something to fly up behind another racer and just blow by them with a 5mph differential. Nice thing about being old; my age group wave was the 9th one to start, so I had lots of targets to shoot for.

And I was still keeping the effort in check. Big thanks to Kevin, Joseph, and Riley at DMC for dragging me along on the big weekend rides.

Dismount went ok, was able to unbuckle on the fly without crashing. Brisk trot to transition, then running shoes on. Now, the real test...

First mile felt good. No, great. 7:50 or so. ????? This is nuts. Ok, nice job, but it'll start hurting soon.

Except it doesn't.

I get smart and pull back anyway. Halfway through at 8:15 pace. Way ahead of schedule, but feeling ok. Take a drink, and now it's show time.

Picking runners off, one at a time...When it starts to hurt at 4 miles, do the Mark Allen thing and empty the head. Don't think. At all. About anything.

It works.

Mark won the Hawaii Ironman 6 times, once running the marathon segment in 2:40, still a Hawaii record. He knows what it means to be hurting and to hurt others; his nickname is The Grip, because he would just squeeze harder and harder until the competition imploded.

Into the park, a half mile to go. Three or four people within shouting distance, and I got 'em all. The last one was a 36 year old woman; I came up to her with a hundred yards left and absolutely hit the burners. She saw me coming and frantically picked it up. I swear I audibly said to her, 'no way,' and beat her to the finish.

Over the line to get the chip removed. Almost lost it here (not my cookies); I knew I had a good race, though I wasn't sure how good. There's that feeling of knowing you had a race plan and just nailed it. Pretty emotional without yet knowing the specifics.

BTW, now it hurt pretty hard for a couple of minutes. Breathe, you dumbs***, breathe.
My last three miles were right on 8:00 pace. Hey Sean, I did those negative splits you wanted, and on every leg. Thanks for dangling the carrot.

Great training day. Didn't blow coming off the bike, got great data in terms of pace and comfort level, and the late push on each segment was a huge confidence boost. Kristen and Zoe were there to record the finish: however, this was within several minutes of finishing, and I'm still not sure exactly where I am. Things soon became a bit less foggy.

  • A winter spent riding rollers is gold
  • A winter spent skate skiing is gold
  • Racing according to feel (not time) is gold
  • God loves negative splitters
 That was one good, good day. Must have been the salami.

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