The New Brighton Sprint was the first triathlon I did in 2009, and can be blamed for the long hours of training, the blog, twitter, and all of the things that the sport brought with. In no means am I saying that is a bad thing. It has been a great journey thus far. Race morning I was down around 27 pounds from when I started training in 2009, not too bad in the course of a year.
The course did not change much from the year prior, and was I looking forward to comparing times between the years. You can compare different races and times, but the courses are so different, the best way to gauge improvement is to race the same course.
We packed our bags up on Friday night and drove north and stayed in a hotel to make the morning a little easier. I spent some time in the hot tub and sauna keeping well hydrated but relaxing the night before. A restless night’s sleep followed, and we were up at 5:30.
Breakfast consisted of a wheat flatbread bun deal… I don’t quite know what to call these things, with peanut butter and honey, and an ever so small glass of coffee. We packed up and were out of the hotel ahead of schedule, which put us in the park before 6:30 when transition was supposed to open.
The park layout is difficult for a tri, there is a parking lot close to the lake with a shelter and transition between them, but once that lot fills up, people have to start parking further out. I wanted to make sure we could park close, and we were able to! We head to transition and picked our spots after changing my mind on which side of the rack I wanted to be located. (I am picky like that)
I laid everything out, bike, helmet, glasses, bike shoes, run shoes, wetsuit, race belt, and got everything inflated, taped off the disc cover, and went for a short warm-up on the bike. I rode out and back a total of about 2 miles to get a feel for the winding park roads leading us out. I felt strong, not Superman strong, but I felt at ease on the bike, and my legs were able to push out some good numbers.
I made a quick trip back to transition to re-rack the bike, a stop at the port-a-potties, and then to the race meeting as I started to put on my wetsuit. I did a couple hundred yard swim to warm up and get the feeling of the water. It was cooler than it was on Monday when I swam in the same lake, probably due to the rain.
Now before continuing on, I should discuss my goals and a few thoughts in my head. I wanted to push this race hard, real hard. Using this as a benchmark on what I have gained in the past year with more focused training was key for me to evaluate where I need to focus effort in the future.
- Swim time in the 1:30s/100 yards – Not terribly lofty if you look at my times from last year at 1:41/100 but I think it was short somewhat, because that was blazing fast for me last year.
- Bike – Average 20 MPH – I have done this training, I have not done it racing. I typically use the Garmin speed since that tracks distance incase the course is not accurate. Well my 310xt is being repaired (hopefully) and should ship back today actually. So I am going to take the bike course as being pretty accurate and since it was the same course, improvements will track the same.
- Run – Sub 22 minute run, enough said.
- Overall shooting for a 1:20, with hopes of getting around 1:15. A 1:10 is possible if everything goes perfectly.
20/32 AG 213/359 Overall
Swim: 14:47 (1:41/100)
Bike: 47:37 (17.6 MPH)
Run: 27:33 (9:11 Pace)
5/35 AG 26/347 Overall
Swim: 13:18 (1:31/100)
Bike: 36:47 (22.8 MPH)
Run: 22:11(7:24 Pace)
½ Mile swim, rectangle shape. I was in Wave 1 and towards the front. We started knee deep and the whistle went off. Ran in a bit further, a dolphin dive, and off we went. The first 300 yards were a mix of feet and arms. I managed to not get kicked or punched, but fought through the crowd and finally got settled. It took a while to settle in, over half way out and my sighting was eh at best. I did not go off course much, but it was a struggle to find the markers. I made the turn about as tight as possible and then the second turn and headed in. The way back was much better, although I did find myself thinking I was cruising and not pushing hard enough for part of it. I sighted well on the way back and keep moving forward, seeing fewer and fewer people ahead of me. Before I knew it, I could see the bottom of the lake and was on shore.
Two eh pictures out of the water, I look a bit distraught, need to sew a velcro patch near my rear so I do not fumble for the zipper cord!
A little futzing around with my zipper, and I managed to get it down as I ran into transition. I would like to have it at my waist when I get to the bike, but was trying to focus on one thing and do it right, getting to my bike! I got there and then had issues getting my left foot out, that threw me for a small loop, but I managed, pop on the shades, helmet, slide on the shoes, and out I go. Room for improvement? Yes, learn the flying mount and get out of your wetsuit faster.
I couldn’t even think of a good caption for this first picture, and the second the helmet looks ginormous on my head!
I started going, and I felt good. It took me a bit to settle in, probably two miles for my HR to settle and get in the grind. I start making my turns, which seemed like every turn was followed by a climb, not the best layout, but I did what I could. Moving along, I reeled in a few people, and saw Jared, whom I had swam with on Monday. I gained ground and finally passed him at mile 8. He let me know that he would be back on the run. Knowing he had a running background, I kept on the hammer to build some time. By keeping on the hammer, I was aiming for 240 watts over the course, I ended up at 210, quite the difference. My legs just could not keep up that day for some reason.
I was in the race mentality and moving strong, regardless of wattage, I felt good. That is until I took one corner a little hot and a little tight. The intersection was being controlled, so as I rounded it, I came into the left lane and quickly had to hop on the brake seeing there was an unpainted median that I ended up about 6 inches from. I am a thrill seeker, but taking my tri bike off this “sweet jump” did not sound like fun, and rattled my cage a little. I kept pushing and was back before I knew it, not too bad 36 and change, that had to be a strong bike I thought.
Well as you can see, I tried to hit my lap button, but my setup was not conducive to that. Watch on left wrist, running with bike on my right, I didn’t have a hand to hit lap, I decided to do it after I racked and away I went. Sliped on my Zoot’s and grab the race belt, holy cow, 2 races in a row and I remember the belt! Hanging it on the bike rack is the key it appears so I do not forget it.
I headed out of the transition area and start climbing on grass a little to the trail, grabbed a water, and took too much in right away. The first section is a bit over a mile and is run on the park trails before looping back past the finish line. I did not have my legs under me very well, but managed to pass one guy, then got passed by 2 others. Knowing Jared was going to be coming soon, I tried to push but started to feel a cramp build in my right hamstring. Sure enough about ¾ of a mile, here comes Jared, saying “Told ya!” We exchanged a few words, and I told him to keep it up.
I loop back and crossed through the parking lot, looking at my watch before starting the out and back…9:50 Ok not bad I think.
At this point I knew I had 100 yards from the waterstop to the finish line at the end, so I said run for 2 minutes and find something you can recognize. I ran, sure enough 11:50 ticks, and I see some historical sign along the trail. Perfect I though, when I run back, I will see this and know to pick up the pace even more. I continue out the trail longer than expected before seeing the first runner come back the other direction, a few seconds later, number 2. They must have modified the course just a bit to make it longer than the previous year, because the turn-around was a bit further than expected. I turn around and head back. Seeing it took about 6 minutes on the way out, I knew I needed to keep that going back to break my 1:15 goal.
Through the trees and seeing the people behind me, I kept on keeping on. Before I knew it, I saw my sign, and picked up the pace. About 20 seconds later, I was IN THE GROOVE! Why can’t I feel this earlier?!?! I was moving effortlessly, although my pace got significantly faster. What pace you may ask… well I don’t know, my 310xt was out for repair! Ugh! I see the finish as I came out of the woods, and pushed the rest out. Across I go, 1:13:50, not too shabby!
Pretty well executed race, despite my wattage not being where it needs to, my bike split was solid. The run needed to be faster. I hopefully can remedy that by having my Garmin to help keep pace. A 20 minute improvement from last year! I will take it! My wife also had a great race cutting 15 minutes off her time from last year even though she has only biked three times in the past month!
I came home and did some things around the house. My wife took a nap as she had a bachelorette party that evening. Somehow I got roped into baking a cake for the party which also resulted in a few good pictures that speak words on their own:
Far from the Cake Boss frosting, but you get the point.
I had some extra batter, so I got 6 cupcakes out of it as well. Two of them did not make it the rest of the night.
Some prep for the following week’s fruit and veggie supply:
Man Night Dinner!
Chicken Brats from Sam’s Club. They are amazing, and only 4.5g fat in each. I figured out that there are 6 beers and 5 brats for a reason. One extra beer to consume while you are grilling the brats!