Sunday, August 23, 2009

St. Paul Sprint Triathlon

Where to begin? Let's start off with the weather... I do not think I could have asked for much better of a day for this race. I woke up and threw on my suit, a pair of track pants, shirt and a hoodie(this part for me is great!) Temperatures were cool over night which left plenty of dew on the ground and it stayed cool until the sun started peeking up on ride to St Paul, about 25 miles from home. The temp was cool when I arrived, but by race time had warmed up a bit to around 70 degrees I would guess. The race started at 7:30, but the sprint course started at 8 to give the International distance people some time to swim their second lap. I got in the water early to get used to it, and I was impressed with visibility, the best lake I have been in this year by far.

This was also probably my biggest race this year and so the start was a larger group of people, not just 25-29 Males. This made things interesting at the start. I spent the first 1/4 of the swim trying to get settled in and get around some of the people who got out ahead of me. When I got out, I realized my shoulders were starting to get a bit tired. Immediately I realized that after trying on about 6 dress shirts yesterday and finding they were all too small in the shoulders, I must be putting on some size... great... now I need to look for a new wetsuit for next season. I found my zone and went on with the swim. I was not real sure what my pace was going to look like, but I was shooting to be at 16 minutes.

Out of the water I go and into transition. I figured I will worry about my times later and started peeling gear off. I had a bit of a time getting my wetsuit off my ankles, but managed to get it torn off and out of transition I went. This was the first time I have raced with my clipless pedals and I have not done much work trying to get my feet into the shoe while on the bike so I put the shoes on in transition and ran out. Up and over the curb to get to the road... a bit of an annoyance.

And he is off! Hoping to average 20 MPH and meet my goal that carried over from Waseca. I did not feel very prepared as I had not mapped out the course to see what my elevation changes looked like or where they were located. A lady before the race said she had driven it yesterday and there was a bit of a snake path up a hill, I asked her if she was from Colorado, because a hill is sometimes relative. A few people chuckled at the remark.

It took me a bit longer than expected to get my heart rate regulated on the bike, and it still was not very steady. I saw a hill that would be on the way back that looked like a fair climb, but I will worry about that when I get there. It did not take me long to realize I was not cruising at a 20 MPH pace and there was one point that I felt like my legs had nothing in them, not good! I also have to add, that even though I do not have my review done of the Profile Design AquaCell, I do not see myself using it much longer. The roads were a bit bumpy and one bump freed the bottle from the velcro holding it in place and liquids went everywhere. The rest of the race I had to hold part of the bottle with my fingers in the aero position to keep it from rattling the whole time. I get to the first turn around, not too bad as it was fairly wide, but required slowing down and being mindful of others. Back towards the start! The hill I thought was going to be bad was not nearly as tough as I thought.

The way back my legs came to me and I started picking up pace. I rode at a higher cadence than normal as my legs were not feeling too strong and I wanted to make sure I had something left for the run.

I could tell the bike was going to be short, based on things I had heard about the course prior to the race. I did not realize it was going to be nearly 3 miles short. My Garmin said 11.32. Since my legs came back under me, I think I would have made my goal of a 20 MPH average with those extra few miles. 19.6 according to Garmin, improvement none the less.

I get back to the dismount and pop one shoe out, struggle with the left shoe, but finally get it out and into transition I go. Drop the bike off, almost forget my helmet, switch to my Zoot Ultra Shoes, grab the Garmin off the bike and away I go. Any guesses what I forgot? My race belt and number, I almost went back for it but decided it is not that important.

Ahh for the run, at this point the sun had come out in full force and was putting off some nice rays, great for laying at the beach, warm for the run. I do have to say I would rather run in hot humid weather than cold like the marathon last year. Hoping to make 8 minute miles to meet that goal this time. It did not take me long to get my running legs on, maybe it was the hilly start, look down at the watch, see my HR at 175 and figure that is sustainable, my 7:10 pace on the other hand would probably slow down. Letting off the throttle a while, I coasted along, trying to keep below 8 minute miles. I got to the first mile and felt good so the second mile was kept around the same speed, I say that like I can actually maintain a constant speed... hah! When I got to the point of my watch saying 2 miles I thought to myself this is probably my last race of the season and I said I wanted to cross the finish line knowing I left everything I had out there. I picked up the pace and ended up finishing at a solid sprint at the end feeling strong as ever. In hindsight I could have pushed myself harder for longer, but I would say my 7:39 average was well ahead of my goal of 8 minutes. Although the run was just at 3 miles, I do not doubt I could have held my sprint for the remainder of a 5k. According to the Garmin, I peaked at 12.9 MPH at my sprint, not too bad.

The Results:
Of 565 finishers on the short course, I finished 78 with a time of 1:16:03
This time put me at 7/42 in my AG. I was very pleased with this outcome.

Hope to upload some pics as soon as I get my hands on them, although I heard they had a hard time with some of them (taking picture of the wrong swimmer and bike course being so much shorter they were not read)


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