Monday, April 19, 2010

Season Opener

I was in the Carmel Triathlon yesterday. It was a sprint, with a 400m swim, 10 mile ride, and a 5k run. I had fun, and as usual TuxBro put on a good race. I was concerned with the temperature, as I think Saturday night was the coldest it had been in weeks. Looking at the hourly forecast, it showed 29 degrees at 8am. With the race starting at 9, I was sure I was going to freeze. The thought of running to my bike, wet, and having to ride was not appealing. Fortunately, the forecast was not correct, and it was mid-40s in the morning. It was still going to be a chilly ride, but the sun was out, and that might help.

The Swim (8:41)

The swim was in the pool, and starts were in waves, based on self-reported 100yd swim times. I know I am slow, and I was assigned #578 (of 900), which should theoretically put me in an area with people about the same speed. Looking at people with 100s or 200s, I couldn't help but make judgments on how I thought there was no way the Biggest Loser contestants had to have underestimated their swim times. Can my swimming speed suck this bad? This helped, as it gave the sun another hour to warm things outside. The wave start flowed by bringing about 150 or so people from the gym to the pool at a time.

With a wave start, I didn't actually get to the pool until 10am. Looking at the people in the pool, it was clear there were real issues with the self-reported times. There were clogged lanes in places, and people who clearly could not swim. I saw someone dog paddling at the 25m point, and was hoping he would be out before I caught him. When it came time, I jumped in and swam comfortably, passing two or three people every 50m. I felt good, and didn't swim any harder than I do normally, as my technique is not efficient, and would burn exponentially more energy for minimal gain. Getting to the end, it took me a few seconds to figure out how to get out of the pool. The edge of the pool was a bulkhead, and I felt like a seal sliding on the pool deck.


I jogged to my bike, and noticed gravel on the sweatshirt I had set next to my bike. Someone had wiped their feet on my sweatshirt/mat! All I had to do was get my socks and bike shoes on, put on my helmet, glasses and jacket, grab my bike and run to the transition exit. I already had my top and HRM on in the pool. And it still took forever. I could improve my time quite a bit if I actually practiced transitions…

The Bike (30:29 – 19.7 mph avg)

Coming out of T1, I was putting my gloves on as I approached a large speed bump. I was sure to have both hands on the bars as I hit it, because it was a big one. The group behind me didn't heed my caution, as I heard someone go down, and looking back I saw at least three riders laying in a pile on the pavement. Whew, I am glad I avoided that! The first couple of miles were chilly, and as I settled in I was glad to be wearing a jacket, and especially the full-finger cycling gloves. I was blowing by people the whole time, with at least 1/3 of them on mountain bikes. Many of these people were sized in a way that made me think of the self-seeding swim time issue I mentioned above. There were areas on the course where I was riding about 25mph, while other places just 15mph. In the end, the ride was uneventful, and I averaged 19.7mph.

T2 (2:21)

Nothing special here. I hung the bike, changed shoes, ditched the helmet, jacket, and gloves, and ran to the exit. I cycled my watch to recognize my shoe POD and focused on getting my legs.

The Run (21:05 - 6:47 avg)

I hit the split on my watch as I started the run and thought about how I shod add more bricks to my training… My legs didn't feel too bad, but I knew I need to work on it. Checking my watch, I noticed that a decision I made while having a bowl of oatmeal in the morning had come back to haunt me. I had consider changing batteries in my heart rate monitor and shoe POD, and decided against it, because I usually get some indication they need to be replaced. Not this time. Looking at the watch, I saw that both the HRM and shoe POD batteries were kaput. Oh well, I would have liked to seen the data, as it can be useful. I used the course markers for my time splits. My first mile was 7:20. Not bad for me. I felt slower, but had my legs and was passing people. Mile two passed at 6:50, which was surprising, as the perceived effort was not that fast. Mile three was about 6:06, which I have not seen in two decades. And I hadn't crossed into a pain threshold. I think I could have gone faster.

When I ran the Cancer Free Lungs 5k last September, I was well into the pain threshold during the last mile, and Mike had to slow down to drag me along. I was at my derived max heart rate then, and had not been there before. We finished that 5k at 21:44, and the course may have been short. This race was USAT sanctioned, and run by TuxBro, so the distance should be accurate. Given my effort was not as high as the previous 5k, and I was faster, even after a swim and ride, I am sure a major contributor to the added speed was the lighter shoes. I stopped using my orthotics, which made my shoes much lighter. I think it cut my pace by 20 seconds.

My final time was 1:05:52. I finished 14th in my age group, and 96th overall.