Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Cruel Two Seconds

Two seconds isn't generally anything to worry about, but sometimes it makes all the difference in the world. Here is a video of some close calls:

But here is an image of where two seconds really hurts. After all of the time and pain, the finish missed the closing window and it does not count. No finisher's medal. Just 17+ hours of pain and suffering, ending with a DNF and a huge bill for staying in Kona all week.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Powerman Muncie Race Report

Powerman Muncie 10k/61.8k/10k

Well I booked another sufferfest that is Powerman Muncie. The Tomboni team has a talent for having cruel and diabolical conditions, and this year did not disappoint. Last year was like 48 degrees and pouring rain. This year was dry - and windy. Really windy. So much so there were whitecaps on the lake. The poor folks who were signed up for the triathlon were going to suffer. The wind, whitecaps, and cold water (wetsuits mandatory) were guaranteed brutality, and clearly it was going to be too much. The Oly distance swim was cut to 400m for the safety of the competitors. Still, I understand many people required the assistance of the kayak safety crews.

And this wasn't in my head. Comments from the pros who won:

Returning female Champion Michelle Parson won the 2011 race with a time 3:18 on the 10k/61.8k/10k course.

After winning, Parsons said "The winds were incredible today and worse than the rain in 2010."

The same sentiment was shared by the 2011 Powerman Muncie men's champion Ryan Guliano (2:50). "Wow, the first half of each lap was brutal to say the least."

I signed up for this last December, as the memory from last year had faded enough that I forgot how much I suffered... (last year's race report) My buddy Dave (his race report here) also signed up, but for the Olympic tri. My preparation for this race was not good. I had not been on my bike in a month, and it showed. At least I'd logged some running miles (about 100) in September.

I prepped for the race with my usual pre-race meal of oatmeal, a bagel, peanut butter, and coffee. Thankfully the coffee worked to get things moving, so I wouldn't have to deal with it in T1 like last year. The weather was crisp and cold (mid 30s, but at least it was dry. I went to the start wearing my arm sleeves and bike gloves. I figured I'd pull the gloves off, and push the sleeves down a couple of miles into the run.

Run #1 10k 46:11 (7:27 avg) 28th

As usual, I went out [too] fast to simply try to get to an open zone to settle in. The first 2.5k is shared with the shorter course people, so it's a little crowded, but not too bad. Looking at my watch at mile 1, I saw 6:50 and knew I had to slow down. It was going to happen anyway, but I needed to get under control. Last year I had done a 5k and a sprint tri the two weeks prior to this race, so I had some measure on pacing for speed. I didn't this year, plus I was not as fit as last year when I ran 45:42 (7:23 avg). I was steadier and more even. But overall, I was satisfied with the first 10k.

My splits:

Mile Time HR
1 6:50 157
2 7:19 157
3 7:28 165
4 7:50 165
5 7:38 167
6 7:20 166
.2 1:46 168

T1 2:20

Uneventful, especially since I didn't have to hit the port-potty like last year. I had 3:36 last year. Did I actually poop in 1:16 last year? No way. I was much slower this year, as I had taken my gloves off and stuffed them down my back to store them. One was stuck under my tank top and I wasted nearly 20 seconds getting it. At least it was easy to find my bike, thanks not only to being on the first rack, but to the bright neon yellow of my TMat Pro. In a mindless state, it makes finding my stuff a little easier.

Bike 61.8k 2:04:57 (18.4 avg) 28th

Even with miserable conditions last year, I still had 1:56:59 (19.7 avg). This time the wind was brutal, and when combined with my lack of bike fitness, I was much slower. I found myself getting sleepy on the ride, after finally escaping the hard southerly wind on each lap. But I had my gloves and was only a little cold. I did actually find myself dehydrated, having consumed two bottles of water. Once again, I found that I knew I needed to consume more calories, but it was too much of a mental challenge. I think I only had 1.5 Roctane from my Gelbot (which I had thinned, but was still too viscous due to the cold, and three Clif Shot Bloks - so about 250 calories total. But I was fading, as you can see in the splits:

Mile Time HR

lap 1 39:35 147
lap 2 41:02 141
lap 3 44:02 145

T2 1:48

At least I was faster than the 2:13 of last year. And I could for the most part, feel my feet. Last year they were so cold I couldn't feel them, and worried about falling on my face.

Run #2 10k 51:35 (8:20 avg) 22nd

And this is where the reduced fitness shows. I ran 50:09 (8:06 avg) last year, and that's with a 10 min mile 1. At least I was pretty steady. As I approached mile 4, I simply wanted to finish. I was catching up to a guy, and I wanted to see age written on his leg. This would help me decide if it was worth the pain of trying to beat him. As I got close, I saw he was 43, so I just lurked a bit, not really caring about it. But then I reconsidered, as I wanted at least a better position in the overall standings. At mile 5 I had my chance. He slowed down to get water, and I passed him then sped up, trying to open a gap that he wouldn't be interested in closing. But the last 1.2 miles of the course are hilly. He kept pushing me, closing the gap. At mile 6 is the final hill and then a finish chute. All I could think was he is really close, and the distance to go is barely longer than the length of the street I live on. I had to look back in the last 30 meters, and was satisfied he would not catch me in time. I beat him by 4 seconds.

My splits:

Mile Time HR

1 8:11 151
2 8:11 154
3 8:11 153
4 8:48 153
5 8:38 156
6 8:04 158
.2 1:29 163

Finish 3:46:48 26th overall, 3rd in AG

I am disappointed with my time, though I understand why I was slower. I had a 3:38:37 last year, with much worse conditions and a long T1. I had five people in my age group, but two were on the podium and reduced to pool (I was still last). The guys faster than me weren't just a little fast. They were smoldering fast. Next year I will do better.