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Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Dennison Dash Triathlon Race Report
Tri number two is in the bag. Its a long story, and sadly starts more than a week before the race.

Finishing off last week's workouts was punishing. Friday I ran 60 minutes in the evening, and then Saturday morning I was up at O Dark Thirty and rode for four hours into complete and total dehydration, Sunday should have been a recovery day, but for some reason it felt good to hammer on the Lifecycle for 45 minutes at over 20 MPH. Which meant that Monday should have been recovery, but I did another 60 minute run at noon in the sun and getting a nice sunburn to show for it. As a result of those workouts I could feel that I was nearing a stress point when I should be tapering for the race. Tuesday I hit the pool and did 500 warmup, 250 TT (4:00) and 500 cooldown. I took Wednesday as rest. Thursday I did 30 minutes jogging easy. And then Friday rest.

But, all was not well. The brakes on Fran's truck were metal on metal. The pirates at NTB wanted $1000 to fix them. Instead I put the car on blocks on Monday night, and I worked on that sucker Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after I came home from work. That added more stress to the mix.

And I won't even go into the madness I face at the office. Let's just say that I have been heavily involved in the work leading to this announcement.

And if that were not enough stress, I had allergies flaring up and making me feel like crap. A pretty common pattern for me would be to get physically stressed, which would result in the allergies triggering a cold or sinus infection. I felt so bad on Thursday, that I did a pre-emptive strike with the cold medicine before I went to bed. Friday I continued to feel like crap and by the evening my left foot and knee both were hurting badly. This was strange since its my left hip that is the source of my usual pain. Heading into race day, I was not confident about my physical condition.

On race day I got up at 0430. My gear was in the car, so I whipped up a cappucino for the ride over to Terry's place. I pumped the tires on the bike, which was already in the back of the truck. I got to Terry's at 0515, loaded my gear and bike into his van, then we headed to the QuickTrip for some coffee to get us Dennison. We got to Dennison at 0630, unloaded the gear and bikes and hauled all the crap to the transition area. Surprisingly I felt pretty damn good. In fact I felt perfect and ready to race! It was very strange given how bad I felt all week.

At the TriRock, I had hit the swim hard, gone anaerobic and I never recovered. In other words, I had pushed my HR pretty damn high in the swim, then I hopped on the bike and just hammered away, but was just way over anaerobic threshold. I did not warm up at all for that race - and I had thought that was a huge error. So my plan was to do 500 meters warmup in the pool before the race. So once I got my transition area set I headed to the pool to warmup. Terry laughed at me, but in spite of his mockery I did my 500 and it felt pretty damn good.

Side note - for the warmup I picked and lane and did 20 laps. All the rest of the triathlon yahoos started on one side of the pool and worked their way across to the other side. I was oblivious to this when I got in the pool. And only after encountering several people swimming into and exiting my lane did I figure that out. I swear I am such a rookie. Its sad really.

At 0730 IronJack called the race meeting. No sooner did he start laying our the rules for the event is when the heavens opened and the good lord threw at us sheets of rain, bolts of lightning and roaring thunder. Holy Crap!

It poured down rain for over two hours. At around 0930 the rain stopped. I went out to check on my gear. My shoes, running, biking and the ones that I wore to the event were full of water. Socks? Soaked. Towels? Soaked. I squeezed what water I could from the gear and hung as much stuff on the bike and/or rack that I could. As I was doing this, I heard a huge bang - like a gun shot. I looked around. One of the bikes in the next rack behind me had blown an inner tube. As the storm front had passed we had gone from low to high barometric pressure and it was enough of a change to blow this dudes tire. After I had finished jacking with my gear I went to investigate and by that time the guy who owned the bike had turned up and was dumping the water out of his shoes. As he was oblivious to the flat, I told him that his tire had blown. It was actually good news since he now had time to do something about it.

At 0945 Jack decided that the show would go on with one modification - the run was trimmed down from 3.5 miles to 2.0 miles. Given my running base - I figured that was good for me! They eliminated the trail run portion of the event - since the trail was probably crap at that point. About 10 minutes later the first swimmer hit the water about three hours after my warmup. So much for that strategy!

While we waiting around I met this one cat named Chad. He was 45 (in my age group) and he looked pretty damn fit. Chad had number 69 and he was thinking that he would start later in the swim, to give the roads a chance to dry. He wanted to bet that he could make up whatever time he lost in the swim on dryer roads. I decided that I did not have enough experience to make that call and that starting behind slower swimmers would just make me nuts.

Speaking of slower swimmers the two guys in front of me (#29 and #31) began to apologize before the race for having incorrect seed times. The first guy was clueless on how to convert yards to meters. Basically he had a 4:40 300 yard swim time, and he added 10 seconds to get to meters. The correct factor would have been closer to 25 seconds. The second guy had just lobed a time out there. Since this was supposed to be a lake swim he figured it did not matter. I should have told them to move back in the line but did not . Small mistake.

I hit the water and by the second length I had caught up to #31. Passing in the pool with people swimming in both directions is challenging. It took me another 25 meters and a lung full of water with a near head on collision before I got by him. After another length I stopped on the turn. He was way behind and the next dude was way ahead. Cool. I took a few deep breaths before continuing. I did the same after the next 50 meters. Then some how #29 had begun to fad badly. Crap. I was going to have to pass him. Which I did with some addition trepidation. And then it was 75 meters to the finish. I climbed out of the pool and headed to the bike. I definitely felt like I controlled the swim better than I had at TriRock.

At the TriRock my first transition was 2:17, the slowest in the top 100. I was determined to do better. My big improvement in this regard was to wear no shirt. I guess if you want to wear a top you should swim in it. At the TriRock I attempted to get my shirt on after the swim. I had also stupidly put on my helmet before the shirt - so I had to undo the helmet then the shirt then the helmet. Sheesh! For Dennison I ran over to my gear, Sock, Sock, Shoe, Shoe, Clip on the race belt. I usually wear a headband under the helmet, but at that moment I decided to save myself several microseconds; I tossed the headband to the ground. Glasses, Helmet, chin strap, grab bike and run. I think it was faster, but the chick who was three or four behind me out of the pool was on her bike way before me. Sheesh!

But, I passed her back in fairly short order. The road was slick, but not too bad. The bike ride was hilly, with some wind. There were a bunch of turns some of them kind of blind. On those I was more careful than I probably needed to be. Unlike the TriRock, I did not fell totally spent from the swim. And as a result I felt like I got stronger as the ride went along. In fact I passed three or four dudes in the last 10 minutes of the ride. I was passed by two or three.

Unlike the TriRock, I managed to clip out and get off the bike without falling over. Yea! Transition 2 was uneventful. Bike in, Helmet off, shoes off, wet shoes on. Go, Go, Go.

Whoaaaa! Rubber legs. What the heck? This was a totally new feeling. Weird! After a minute or so the legs came back. The run was basically up hill to the lake. Tag up at the lake and head back down hill to the finish. I have not had nearly enough time to work on anything except building base. I am generally good at powering up hill and I have long legs which helps on the down hill. I just kept thinking about generating turnover. One young dude blew by me as well as the eventual masters winner. But I passed a ton of people both up and back and for the first time since December I felt like I was running FAST! :-) So Happy!

So what's the bottom line? My goal was to place at TriRock but I was 7 minutes off the pace. The good news was that saving five minutes would be a no brainer - 2 in transition and 3 in the run. At Dennison I did place and It turned out that the yahoo who finished just ahead of me in my age group in the TriRock also finished in front of me today. The difference is that I was only two minutes behind him! In short it appears that the plan is working. And as mentioned I have done no speed or strength training for the run!

I finished the swim in 5:04 which was 13th overall. Pretty shocking really. In the T1 I dropped from 2:17 to 1:21. I picked up a minute there which was the plan. I improved the bike from 19.5MPH to 20.5 which was worth about 2.5 minutes. In T2 I shaved off a couple of seconds from 1:13 to 1:06. More work needed there. And in the run I improved from 7:32 pace to 6:57 pace - that was good for another minute. Given that I used to train at 6:57 pace - there is more work I can do on the run.


TriRock Dennison
Overall: 55th out of 375 (top 15%)30th out of 229 (top 13 %)
Age Group:5th out of 20 (top 25%)3rd out of 17 (top 18%)
Swim:31 out of 375 (top 8%)13 out of 229 (top 6%)
Bike:60 out of 375 (top 16%)43 out of 229 (top 19%)
Run:62 out of 372 (top 17%)35 out of 229 (top 15%)

Oh and remember Chad, #69, the guy who figured he would swim later and slower in hopes of making up that time on a dry road? I saw Chad after the race and asked him how that played out. He told me that he found his bike had a flat when he got to T1 and that he suspected foul play. (In retrospect, I think he may have been accusing me!) But, I think that Chad was another victim of the high pressure behind the storm front!


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All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012