Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lookout Mountain Triathlon

It was a perfect day for racing up at the country club dahlink.  Not too hot, plenty of cloud cover and breeze but enough sun peeking through here and there to make it cheery.

The white dot up near the top of the mountain in the photo is the house from Woody Allen's 'Sleeper'.  One of the other houses from 'Sleeper' is in my neighborhood.  Looks like a giant mushroom and I have pictures but it would be quicker for me to walk the mile over to the house and take a new picture than to find the picture I already have.  My photos are out of control and unless I can remember roughly what date I took the photo I have no chance.  I think a crazy dog lady with a doggy boutique on the downtown mall owns the Mushroom House but don't quote me on that.

Uh yeah, triathlon report.  This race was meant to be a hard training day for me.  I tapered a little for it but not like I would for an 'A' race.  I did the race 2 years ago and I was hoping to do better than last time but I hadn't been feeling so great in the days leading up to the race so I wasn't sure how realistic improvements in times would be, especially for the run.  June was supposed to be about the run but instead turned out to be more about the bike.  I'd had a cramp during a run on Tuesday that became worse during Wednesday's run and Thursday, well I couldn't run at all.  But I did some tweaking of my diet and mental mojo stuff and felt good when I woke up race morning.

Swim - 525 yards

The swim is a pool swim which I've only ever done once before and at this particular race (not counting Glenwood Springs which is in a pool but open water format, no lane lines).  Last time I ended up leading the lane which did not work out so well so this time I insisted on going last in the lane.  This way I wouldn't have to lose time stopping to let anyone pass me and I could hopefully draft.  Before we start the swim we get an explanation about the Whapper who sits at the end of the lane, counts your laps and whaps you on the head with a stick with a flap on the end of it when you're on your last lap.  You exit the pool at the opposite end from where you get in so he whaps you on the head, you swim to the end of the pool and get out.  We all have a good laugh about the Whapper.  Our Whapper looks like he takes his job very seriously.

The race starts and I'm surprised by the amount of adrenaline I have going on.  On open water swims I'll start off slowly then build up speed but this morning I take off like Strummer on a Steeplechase course.  I end up passing one person after a couple hundred yards and I gain on the other two but never catch them.  Despite the Whapper I'm counting laps myself so I know where I am and how much I have to go but when it seems like I'm at my last lap I don't feel the whap on my head.  Now the smart thing to do would have been to stop and look up at him or to check at the other end of the pool to see if the others ahead of me had gotten out but I was so much in my zone I kept going and it wasn't until I didn't see the other coming back up the pool that I realized I'd done an extra 50 yards.  Despite what felt like a fast swim my time was 10:25, 25 seconds faster than 2 years ago but this means I did the race distance in about 9:30-9:35, a big improvement.  Nonetheless, I'm irritated that I've lost 45-50 seconds on a stupid error.  I saw the Whapper get out of his chair when I passed by on my extra lap so I figure maybe he was telling a race official and they'd adjust my time.  And even if he didn't, it's not like 45-50 seconds is going to make all that much difference.  Hint:  this is called foreshadowing.

Bike:  10 miles advertised, 10.37 by cyclometer, 10.61 by gmaps pedometer

The bike is on roads and this year the course is very well marked even warning us of turns several hundred yards before we get to them.  It's a very fun, scenic course, hilly in places but none of the hills drag on for too long.  You eventually wind your way up Lookout Mountain and then whee! back down again.  I had a max. speed of 40.3 mph so it gives you an idea of how steep the hills are.  The hills felt much easier this year and it seemed like I was faster/braver on the downhills and that I was pushing to the limit on the uphills.  Still I manage a time of 48:41, 10 seconds slower than last year.  Sigh.  Still working on how to translate my new strength into speed.

Run:  3.1 miles

The run is on dirt roads and trails with a little bit of pavement here and there.  It's also very hilly, great training for my upcoming Xterras.  Thankfully the cramp doesn't bother me too much and when I feel it coming up I do some mental stuff and send it away so it doesn't effect my race.  I feel much better on the run this year as well but part of it could be familiarity with the course.  I don't remember it exactly but I remember the significant hills and the hill near the finish line so I have a bit of a mental edge.  There's a long grind up a hill through a subdivision and this year it didn't seem nearly so long then whee! down the hill again.  I seem to remember my knee giving me problems last time and I had to be careful on the downhill but this year my knee is fine and I take full advantage of the downhills going as fast as my lungs will let me.  Whee fun.  It's nice and cool for the run this year, a perfect day for racing.  I pick up the pace a bit at the finish but there's no one around to race so it's up to me to push myself to the line.

My run time is 35:10, a full 4 minutes 35 seconds faster than last time and 1:29/mile faster pace.  I'm thrilled with this since the run is my biggest weakness at the moment.

The food this year is not nearly as awesome as last time, no steamed spinach or grilled mushrooms or other veggies but it's still pretty good stuff from the country club, cheesy scrambled eggs and hash browns and tortillas, lots of fresh fruit.  Way better than most post race grub.

I check the results and mine aren't up yet but looking at my watch and doing some math I realized that I'm darn near a podium spot if they subtract the time for my extra credit swim.  I ask one of the people running the race and she says no, sorry, it's up to you to count your laps, the Whapper is just there to make sure you do them all.  Someone else already approached her with the same problem and she told him there's nothing they can do.  Part of me understands but part of me is irked.  If they don't tell me I'm done, how do I know for sure?  It's so easy to miss 50 yards when you're counting 525 (21 laps).  And it's not often I have a shot at the podium.  Pretty much almost never.  Last time I did the race I came in 11/21 and 20 minutes away from the podium.

I sit down in the shade on some rocks to have my breakfast and a woman comes over with hers and asks if she can share the rocks next to me.  We get to chatting and she's going on about what a beautiful day and how lucky we are to be racing and of course I agree.  She's in the 55-60 age group and has been racing for 30 years.  Then she tells me she has breast cancer and she's so happy for every race she has and any sting I was still feeling over the podium immediately leaves.  I see she's wearing a pink survivor's bracelet and she mentions doing a tri for the cure thing this summer and she'll be in the survivor's wave so I'm happy she's doing well now though she is still taking drugs that effect her ability to train and race.  Again, I'm not feeling so bad about the very minor health issues I was having during the week.   We chat for a bit and she's really funny, swearing like a sailor which makes me laugh.  She asks me if I'm a Pro which also makes me laugh.  She also asks me if I have a shot at an age group award and I tell her about my genius extra credit swim.  She's more indignant than I am that they won't do anything about it.

When they post my time it's 45 seconds slower than my watch time which is puzzling but puts me a full minute behind 4th place (1st place in my age group also placed 1st overall of the women and most races don't allow you to double dip so the podium for my age group shifts down a slot).  Pro-rating my swim pace and subtracting the extra time puts me 5 seconds out of the placements.  I'm almost thankful for my swim mistake because 5 seconds off the podium is even more frustrating.  Except that how cool to be so close to the placements?  Last time I was middle of my age group so I'm happy enough to be so close.  If only I could be so close in my Xterra races.  In all a great day of racing and a great day to be alive.

Final Stats

525 yard swim:  9:31 mins. pro-rated, 1:49/100 yards pace (10:25 for 575 yards), (10:00 mins.,
                            1:54/100 yards in 2011)

                            86/206 overall (men and women) (72/257 overall in 2011)
                            2/14 age group

Dash from pool to transition:     46 sec. (37 sec. in 2011)

T1:  1:10  (1:26 in 2011)

        2/14 age group

Bike:  10 miles advertised, 10.37 by cyclometer, 10.61 by gmaps pedometer

48:41 mins.  (48:31, 12.4 mph in 2011),

129/206 overall (men and women)
9/14 age group
(150/257 overall in 2011)

T2:  1:04  (1:12 in 2011)
        1/14 in age group, good to be 1st at something I guess   

3.1 mile Run:

35:10 mins., 11:21 min/mile
(39:45, 12:50 min./mile in 2011)

147/206 overall (men and women)
9/14 age group
(207/257 overall in 2011)


1:37:13 hours
(1:41:29 in 2011)

127/206 overall, 50/113 women, 5/14 age group
(152/257 overall, 79/157 women, 11/21 age group in 2011)

Overall an improvement of 4 minutes, 16 seconds, not too bad especially considering I didn't do a full blown taper and was using the race for training.  A big improvement in my run, very thrilled with this.  Gives me motivation to work on my run in the next month.  More on that later.  Next race is Xterra Indian Peaks in 4 weeks.  Already chomping at the bit.

1 comment:

  1. Great job out there!! That's a big race PR and awesome to be so high in the standings!