Wednesday, August 29, 2012

IM Lulvull Redux

It was a long day, and I have some time in the plane home (from work, not the race...) so here comes a long report. So what had happened was......

Swim: The morning of the race I felt nervous but relaxed and ready to race. We got in the water, I warmed up the best I could in 5min, and we were off. I was on someone's feet for a couple of minutes, but then was feeling good and moved out, and all of the sudden was out front. I didn't really accelerate or anything, but started pulling away. From there I pretty much just swam the rest of the way at what I thought was a fast but controlled effort. Honestly, I was surprised to be out front, but hey, its a race! It certainly wasnt a goal, but it was definitely cool coming out of the water first! I just swam at what I thought was race pace, and thats what happened. It turns out I had about 40s on the next guy, after swimming 53:12.

Bike: Out on the ride, I quickly settled into a rhythm and started downing the calories. Finally, Evoe, McDonald, and Gerlach caught and passed me around mile 30, and I let them go. I came through 50 in 2:12, which after doing some rough calculations made me think I was on pace for just under 5h, which is right what I was shooting for.

I missed mile 70, but a bit after that another guy passed me but not very fast, so I kept him in sight. Of course at this time the legs were starting to hurt and it was starting to warm up. I don't recall my split at 80mi, but I remember thinking I was still on pace. Soon after that, though, I heard a recurring thump in my rear wheel. I stopped and sure enough, there was a tack. I didnt worry about it because I wasnt far out of 4th and confident I could still catch the guy on the run that had just passed me. It took me about 6min to make the change. I was back on the road, but 5min or so later I could tell I was losing air. So, I stopped and got a CO2 and added some more air. I started back and soon after heard an explosion. My tire had torn and the strands that make up the lip were exposed. I wish I had a pic. So, without an extra tire, I had to wait for neutral support. Who carries an extra clincher tire?? I probably waited 30-35min. I finally got back into it, but the last 20miles were pretty brutal. I finally finished, and knew that although it would suck, I'd have to do the run.

Run: Coming into T2, I still thought I could have a decent run. Why not? When I started running, though, it was a different story, as my stomach was cramping like a champ. It was so tight that I was having a hard time breathing, let alone getting any fluids down. I made it through the first couple miles around 7min pace, but it was a struggle. I kept expecting to feel better, but nothing was happening. So, I started walking through the aid stations hoping I could get some calories and fluid. Nothing seemed to help. I felt like I wanted to vomit, and I dry heaved a couple of times, but nothing came out. Finally with about 4 miles to go I decided I was going run the rest of the way, which I did.

The last two miles were brutal, and I scored a trip to the med tent at the finish after almost falling on my face. I was dehydrated, but also bonking pretty bad, I think. I got a liter of fluid and drank ~8oz of chicken broth out of a straw, and my stomach finally started settling down.

Obviously it was a pretty disappointing day, but that happens. What it means, though, is that I need some redemption! I'm not sure where or when it will come, but I'll figure that out in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, its time for a little vacation weekend hiking with friends in the Smoky Mountains, which will be a nice mental and physical break, and should help me get over the disappointment of last weekend.    

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mountain Lakes Triathlon RR

Another year, another Mountain Lakes Triathlon. Other than the despicable time trial start, this race has become one of my favorites for a number of reasons. To the bullets!

  • I get to sleep at home
  • It comes at a great time of year, as I'm usually pretty fit 
  • Further, August is just an awesome month in general
  • There are usually plenty of friends there, which makes for a good time post race
  • It is short... 600m/16.2mi/3mi so it takes just over an hour
  • The weather has been, surprisingly, pretty good
This year was no different, including the shitty TT start. I was "seeded" 5th, although I have no idea how they come up with these placings. I actually enjoy starting back a bit, but I always think its a little strange when I'm starting 5th after having won the race the last two times I started it. Regardless, Bruce G was first. And, if they were going solely on swim times, that was certainly warranted. He may be old, but the man can swim.

So we went.... after the relays. Nothing like some extra bodies to dodge in the water. After making it around the first turn and past most of the relay swimmers, I tried to find Bruce's yellow cap with the hope of at least having someone to pace off. Coming around the second turn, though, I was suddenly engulfed by a motorboat. A bit shocked, I jumped on the guy's feet and was semi- relieved to see it was Jacob Shults, one of the HS "kids" I used to swim with who now goes to Auburn.

As I got to my bike, Bruce was on his way out, so I knew he didnt have much time on me, which I was happy about. Out on the bike, I passed Jacob within the first mile and had Bruce in my sights. I caught him around mile 3 and went straight by. Apparently not fast enough, though, because to my surprise he came back by me a few miles later. I think he was just trying to be nice. I let him lead for about a minute, then repassed and rode the rest of the way on my own. I kept waiting/expecting someone to come from behind, but it never happened.

Its always good to start the run first but............. you never know when it is a TT start! So I took off running. I didnt feel great, so I just wanted to get to the turnaround and assess the damage. At the turn, I saw my closest competitor 1'20 after the turnaround. So, thats 2'40" back. He was number 15, which meant he started, at most, 30" after me. So, that still put me over 2' ahead. It also helped that said competitor was my doctor, Dr. John Krichev. He is a very solid runner, but I knew that as long as I kept running he'd have a hard time making up 2min in only 1.5 miles.

It was great to see the other competitors heading out as I was heading back, and I was definitely ready for the finish line. I crossed, and stopped my watch. But then I had to run back around to the start to watch the clock, just to make sure my earlier math was correct. It was close enough, and I was pretty confident I had the win. Results confirm this.

Post race gets better every year, as more and more people in and around Huntsville are getting into triathlons. Its pretty cool to see, but I'm just mildly disappointed that this TT style start is the first type of race they get to experience. But it should make the real thing that much better!

During the race I must say I didnt feel great. But, looking at my splits, I had PRs for both the bike AND the run on this course. (I dont bother with the swim, b/c it is always all over the place. But, I was only 13sec behind The Man, which I am not at all disappointed with.) Considering I've done this race in '08, '09, and '10, I was pretty stoked to see the improvement, especially since I did it from the front. Needless to say, I'm definitely feeling pretty good about IM Louisville, which is now less than two weeks away!!!! :-0