Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Diamond in the Rough - 7/13/13

I'd always imagined I'd be a pretty badass triathlete.  I'd grown up swimming competitively, always had a slim frame for endurance events and recently shed some lbs off that frame from running... so how hard would riding around on some bike for a while and a kinda long run be after crushing all these goons in the swim?  Well, since I had started learning to develop race plans, I recognized that the swim, as a percentage of the race, wasn't going to give me any real competitive advantage over the field, unless my competition was truly novice swimmers.  Most of the mileage and time on the course is dedicated to the latter 2 events so my race plan was probably on par with most of the field after spying on a few age-groupers on

The Diamond in the Rough Tri is in Perryville, MD right by the I-95 bridge over the Susquehanna river.  There were some fierce storms the day before and there was some threat to cancel the swim.  But we woke to a pretty perfect morning and the swim was on.  Game on.  The course details for the sprint event were pretty short: 0.25mi swim, 7.8 bike, 2.5 run.  My race plan was something like 6min even for the swim, 25 for the bike and 20 for the run with two 1-minute transitions even though I had no idea how long the trasitions may actually take on my first go at it.  So I was hoping for something like 55 minutes which would have been top 10 overall last year.  I looked at this like a one-hour asskicking workout.  No reason to not go all out.

I was lured to the event by my friend Adam who's been competing in tris for quite a while now.  This is a training run for him in preparation for the Nation's Tri in DC in a few weeks.  We were both in the sprint so we were the first wave to start the day's events.  After a brief warmup in the river, we floated around until we we got the start.  I don't remember if it was a gun, airhorn or whistle- I was too amped up to destroy my first race.

The swim course was around 3 buoys then a run up a staircase then about 150yds to the transition area.  I felt extremely strong during the first half and could tell I was tiring fast after the second buoy.  The adrenaline was fading fast and I was pretty sure I didn't swim the straight lines my Garmin suggested and was sure I swam more of a wide loop.  I came out of the swim with the 15th fastest split at 8:21.  I could see Adam about 10 seconds ahead of me.  I really would have liked to catch him on the bike but figured that was impossible

Transition one was unremarkable.  I yanked my bike shorts over my swimsuit, threw on my socks, running shoes, race belt, shirt, helmet, sunglasses and bolted out at 1:56.  A bit longer than 1 minute.

It's been years since I had a road bike.  About 8 since I really used to ride it.  I was on my 2-week-old Trek Madone and had put about 60 miles on it before this race.  The rolling hills in the area felt like mountains since the 60ish miles I put on my Trek were all on the flat Schuylkill River Trail.  I managed a 28:44 ride then a 0:49 transition to the run.  The best part of that transition was trying to be really cool and dismount my bike while moving and just glide off the seat and into a trot next to my bike.  I swung my right leg over, slowed down, hopped off and started running.  Success!  Until 6 steps in when my jello legs gave out and I dumped my bike and fell right on top of it.  What fun is anything if you don't lose a little blood, right.  I laughed it off, felt embarrassed because there were plenty of people watching, hung my bike and ran out for a quick run.

Extremely unremarkable run and I thought I threw everything left I had at it and finished that leg in 21:54, very pleased after regaining several spots I'd lost on the bike.  I'd hoped for around 55 minutes which would have put me in the top 10.  I settled for 27th overall with a 1:01.46 and holy CRAP- second in my age group!  I'm hooked!  After housing some snacks at the finish line, I felt pretty strong.  I think I had a little gas left in the tank at the finish which is regrettable but part of how to learn how I feel when I perceive more fatigue than is really there.  
Traded a little blood for 2 finishers medals
No races officially on the calendar yet but looking at Half-wit-half on 8/11, Boulder Dash 20-miler 8/17, possibly the North East Tri (sprint) on 8/25, then Marshman tri on 9/15.  The next official calendar "race" is the DC Ragnar Relay, 10/4 & 5.  

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