Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Race Report: Mason City Triathlon - First Overall!

I will start this report by saying I was not terribly into this race.  Ever since the disaster which was New Brighton, I have been a little less motivated.  It is a dark rut to find yourself.  My motivation to workout was low, meaning my conditioning has slipped, and the fear of another poor performance loomed in my head.  I am highly competitive, so a disappointing race like New Brighton was tough to take.  I know I am better than it, and this week… I am going to prove that (mind you this is the week after the race) 

I drove down to Mason City, Iowa on Friday evening to stay with some family.  My wife is from Mason City, so my father-in-law, Jeff, and I decided to do the race after he heard about it.  First things first… it was a third annual race.  In 2009, it had 25 people, in 2010 there were 50.  Not large by any standard, but growing.  I sometimes forget that Minneapolis is a big area, and there are a lot of races, venues, and people to attend.  When we signed up, it was $30 bucks, and I figure it would be a good hard training day if anything. 

Seeing as we were staying about a mile away from the community center pool, we did not have to be up too early for the 9AM start.  We still managed to be there at 7:30.  When we arrived, they were still getting some things setup.  We picked up our packets and were informed there were no race number bibs, but that we should check back later.   I got marked up, number 57, picked up my swag bag (Tech t, water bottle, and a nylon sling bag).  Let me just say this… if this race is in the third year, gives a swag bag like that, and only charges $30 dollars for entry…. Where does my $65 plus for the c heap ones in the Cities go?  Someone’s pocket I assume.  Later I would come to find out that the volunteers for this race were also AMAZING!  The only races I have seen people so helpful in comparison is Rev3! 

The layout for this race was a bit different than normal.  The swim was a 150-yard pool swim, in an outdoor pool.  My first time lap swimming in an outdoor pool.  Transition was actually on the pool deck.  There was a semi complex system of ropes/cones to direct people out of the water, along the pool deck to transition, then back out a gate to get to the bike course.  This was due in part to the timing all being done from one trailer.  All of the wires were close, but it made for some odd paths between sports.

I got setup in a spot and got settled in.  It was overcast, but quite sticky even early in the morning.  My water bottles were sweating all over the place, not to mention I was as well!  I sipped on my bottle of EFS Orange and Pre-Race about 30 minutes before the race started. 

I am not sure I am 100% convinced with how the swim was run, it was alright.  There were 4 lanes setup in the pool.  Each lane was actually a double lane from what I am used to.  It is a circle swim.  I think probably to give more space to those who are not as comfortable in the water.  We started in the deep end, and a semi TT start with one in one out style.  Being number 58 and only 16 people in the water at a time, I had a bit to wait, but not terribly long since it was a 50 yard pool, down back down is all we had to swim.  One thing I am not used to… out of water start.  I was a bit worried about diving in with my TYR Nest Pro goggles, the last thing I wanted was to pop the seal and fill with water, but with the swim as short as it was, I could probably manage with some water in them.  I cranked down the straps a bit and got ready to dive in. 

“57… GO!” I dove in and was off like Flipper for a tasty fish treat.  150 yards, half of my warm-up set, approximately 2 minutes of pushing myself in the water.  My first 50 was fast, so fast that I passed two people going the same direction.  In my lane.  I was in the shallow end before I even knew it.  I quickly analyzed how the water looked… was it deep enough for a flip turn and not looking like an idiot, other people had, so why not?!?  I flipped and pushed and headed back for the deep end.  Good work on that Jeff, now keep it up.  Sure I went out a little too hard, I know that for a fact, but whatever, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. (Thanks Nemo!)  As I got to the deep end, I always have trouble gauging distance from the wall especially since I am not used to the line being so much deeper.  Another flip, with about a 1/3 of a push because I was too far away, and the last stretch was ahead. 

As I got back to the shallow end, I saw one of the people I passed on the first length getting out of the water about 5 seconds ahead of me.  Not too bad, I felt good about that effort!

As I hopped on the pool deck, I checked the Garmin, 2:11.  Not the 2 flat I was looking for, but good enough.  Ironically enough, I am not sure how they got swim time and T1 split, but my chip time said the exact same. Swim time got me 6th overall.

Transition 1:
After running around the cones and rope, I circled back to my bike, and got into my shoes, sunglasses, helmet, and away I went.  Over the pool deck, in some grass, down a little hill over the timing mat, then out to the parking lot.  Whew, time to get on the bike. 

Time: 1:07 - due to the crazy nature of this layout (2nd fastest time)

10 Miles, this was going to be a hurt-fest.  Having done the MS150 last weekend, I had some bike miles, but not on my Kestrel Airfoil.  I did manage to get one good workout in the week before, but only one quality workout in two weeks left me questioning what my legs would do.  I tried to settle in on the bike, but the first little bit was in town and had a few tricky turns/rough spots I wanted to make sure and avoid.  As I got onto the main stretch, I started to push the pace.  My goal was to hold 240 watts.  I saw 400s, I saw 100s, but tried to keep pushing for that 240 mark.  Being a bit later in the start line, I was able to pass people on the bike.  I do not do as well out in front, and I seem to do better as I am reeling people in, it gives me a target.  On the way out I made some good movement up, and never had anyone pass me.

I was using my Stinger 90s with disc cover and felt some wind, although it was low, I was trying to figure out where it was coming from.  I hit the final stretch and made the turn around to realize that I had it in my face on the way out.  SAWEEEETTTTT! I would have a tail wind going home.  Time to take it up a notch.  I pushed the stretch back into town hard, even with the wind helping, I was able to hit some good numbers, and not kill my lungs/HR.  That being said, my HR never really came down when I got on the bike.  I was working for every watt I was putting out.  A few turns back towards the park and I was back before I knew it.  I knew I had a good split, right on par with what I was expecting, but probably not much more.  I thought to myself, that’s what you get for being lazy, so you better hope you didn’t blow up your legs for the run.

BIke: 25:40 - 23.38 MPH - 3rd fastest of the day

Transition 2:
Weaving back to the racks, I tossed my things down, slid on my Avia’s and headed out. 

Time: 0:59 (4th)

Yep my lungs were still burning, and I felt like I was running in a steam room.  I tried to go out with 6:40s the first mile and let my body “come down” a bit before picking up the tempo.  Well… that never happened, and I slipped closer to 7 minute miles.  Ugh, did I push too hard on the bike or am I just not used to the weather? The run was a twisty run through the campgrounds and park, weaving in and out, going over some streams.  The thought of jumping in the water did occur to try and  cool down some, but I opted to wait on that.  I had not been passed on the bike, and quickly passed a couple of people on the run, then saw someone ahead of me a few hundred yards, and tried to keep him in sight.  I was slowly gaining, but wasn’t sure if I would ever catch up.  After a short downhill section, we hit a turn and I was able to hold some momentum as I went past him and then it got lonely.  There was nobody in sight.  I had nothing to focus on as we hit the trail on the river.  Did I mention I wanted to jump in to cool off?  It would have been better than roasting in the humidity!  I felt myself start to slip a little and had to keep focused on pushing myself.  After weaving back over a bridge, I knew I was in the home stretch, somewhat.  The first 2 miles were a bit long. It was advertised at 3 miles, but I think it was a bit more like a 5k in the end. 

The last little stretch came back on some city streets, and finally I saw some people ahead of me, unfortunately, they were far enough ahead that I could not make up the distance before the finish line.  I came across the timing mat, and about hit the ground.  I heard the guy in the trailer spout off my time, 51:34.  “Nice work out there, that is the top time right now!” Dang I thought to myself, I was shooting for 50 minutes, but the second part then hit me (my brain may have been oxygen deprived a little, so it took a few seconds to process.)

Run: 21:37 (7:12 pace, fastest run split of the day!) 


I was happy with the race, hit my wattage, the run fell apart, and I know I am capable of running that course sub 50, so I plan on going back again.  I did end up first overall.  My first podium, and race win!  I was pretty pumped, this was the catalyst I needed to get me back in the swing of things for the rest of the season. 

Remember above when I said the swag bag was good, well I saw the prize table, and thought to myself, “Holy cow, I have paid more money for a raffle, with lesser prizes and worse odds.”  They had some KILLER giveaways.  An autographed Vikings helmet, football, jersey, 5 iPod shuffles, iPod nano, iPod touch, a Kindle, a Nook, 2 Toshiba netbook computers, 2 digital  cameras, 2 digital video cameras, and a number of other things.  I managed to win a RoadID gift card as well!  Another great plus for this race.  Their prizes were amazing! 

I am back, getting on schedule for workouts, and focused on having a great second half of the season.  This was just what I needed to remind me, hard work pays off!


Jeff - DangleTheCarrot June 22, 2011 at 5:29 AM  

Congrats Jeff! Sounds like a fun day too!

Chris June 22, 2011 at 6:30 AM  

Congrats on the win!!

Molly June 22, 2011 at 1:02 PM  

Holy cow, that's fabulous! Congrats!

and....you won my SCAPE giveaway : )

Colleen June 23, 2011 at 7:40 PM  

Wow... congrats! That's awesome... and those prizes... that's enough to sign up for right there!

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