Monday, April 28, 2014

Around the Mount Sprint Tri: Working out the Kinks

It was a successful day in Emmitsburg, working out some kinks before Kinetic 1/2  in 2 weeks and the result wasn't bad either.  We had an early morning to get up to Mount Saint Mary's, but luckily friend and Snapple teammate, Bryan let us crash at his place Friday night, which cut our trip down by 45 minutes.   The race was small and simple to navigate - we parked about 100 yards from transition.  Plenty of time to set up transition and get ourselves ready.


After the necessary transition set-up, body marking, etc. I headed inside to spray my legs with tri slide and squeeze into my Xterra speedsuit.  I know it was a short swim and the extra 10 seconds it took me to take
the suit off were probably about equal the amount of time I gained wearing it.  This race was all about trying new things on race day.  The Xterra speedsuit is awesome and feels great in the water, but on land you might feel like a sausage stuffed in casing while waiting for your swim wave to go off.

The Swim - 400m (7:56, 3rd female)

This was a pool swim race, with each participant giving a predicted 400 time and bib #s based on your given swim time.  Well most people were way off on there swim time.  Luckily this didn't have a direct impact on anyone else because everyone got there on 1/2 of swim lane to complete the swim.  This just meant some people had to wait a looonnnggg time to get in the water.  I was bib #19 so I only had to wait about 8.5 minutes before I was able to start my swim.  Adam was bib #42, he had to wait awhile, but was able to see most of my swim and the catastrophe of swimmers around me.  One girl was practicing head up drill for 400m, my lane mate was stopping at the wall every 25-50 meters to clear his goggles and take a break.  Adam says I gave my lane mate a dirty look as I turned one time while he stopped, I don't think I did, but he was one of the first to be in the pool so I was a tad surprised at all the breathers he took.  My actual 400m time was 7:24 the extra 30 seconds comes from walking across the pool deck to get in and out of the water - I was afraid to run and ruin the whole day if I slipped and fell.

T1 - 1:01

It probably took me an extra 10 seconds to wiggle out of the speedsuit.  The breakaway zipper was great and had it completely around my waist before I was at my bike.  When I realized everyone else seemed to be sitting down and putting on other clothes during transition a little bit of my urgency went away.  Xterra
speedsuit off, Rudy Project Wingspan helmet on, sunglasses on, cycling shoes on and away I went.

The Bike - 12.8 miles (20.2mph)

I had looked at pre-race maps and the bike course was a simple out and back.  I didn't bother to look where the first turn leaving the university was though, my bad, I thought volunteers would be there.  Not all the volunteers were at their post and the fans at the turn about a quarter mile into the race watched me blow right by them.  Luckily a run course volunteer was at his post super early and knew I had just missed the turn. I think I only lost about 1 minute with this mishap.  The bike course was rolling and on pretty nice roads. There were volunteers and police at the major road crossings, but they weren't stopping traffic so we had to slow/stop to obey traffic laws.  I noticed at the first 90 degree turn that my braking seemed a little weak, whoops the rear brake was disengaged!  Luckily the course was not technical and I was able to get by without it.  I felt pretty good on the bike, but with the nature of start of this race there wasn't much competition on the course.  I caught and passed all but 3 men on the bike course - and they all started the swim 8 1/2 minutes before me :)

T2 - 0:50

No flying dismount here at this race, but a simple transition and out on the run course.

The Run - 5k (21:54, 7:04/mile)

This course may have been short, but I'll take a 5k PR!  The run started with a slight downhill and then was up for about the 1st mile, rolling for the 2nd mile and down for the 3rd mile.  I focused on my form, cadence, and RPE as I hit the run course.  With the long uphill it took awhile for my legs to come 1.5-2 miles!  The campus was gorgeous and there were priests everywhere!  I got into the "zone" after the first mile and had some issues with the water table.  Both times as I grabbed a cup I knocked about 3 others over...sorry kids!  As I wanted to toss my water into the trash can to
Cruising towards a 5k run PR!
make clean up easier on them I tossed the cup towards the trash, not even thinking about the 3 girls walking right near it and that I probably just threw water on them!  Oh dear, my bad!  I saw pretty much no one (well one guy who messed up the run course) the entire run course.  I did see people headed out on the stick portion of the lollipop as I was headed in.  As I got close to the finish line cheers of 1st female were shouted as I ran by, but I knew with the nature of this race I couldn't get too excited.  Even a cheer of "look at that form" as a ran by, yay, I didn't look completely beat!


It was a good day in Emmitsburg!  Swim PR, strong bike, run PR and I got to cheer my boy into a strong finish!  I also got to chick 99% of male participants :)

Adam smoked all of us, though the first 3 guys that crossed the line were quite surprised that they weren't 1, 2, and 3...they actually weren't 1, 2, or 3!  This was a great race to work out some kinks early in the season and make sure I'm ready to go as I have some longer races on the horizon.  Adam and I walked away 1st and 2nd overall and 1st male and 1st female.  For the next year we will enjoy the fact that we hold course records.  It will likely by my one and only.

Adam crushing the run course!

Kink #1 - I don't have any bike data, and the run data is cut short because I was hitting start/stop when I thought I was hitting lap.  Whoops this is what I get for not having used multisport mode since last October.

Kink #2 - Rear brake was disengaged entire bike course.  This race had 4 major road crossings in which we had to yield to traffic, all was ok.  I thought I checked the brakes and shifting when I racked, guess I didn't check well enough.

Thank you DC Tri Club and Snapple Triathlon for the awesome support, Rudy Project for a great helmet, Xterra wetsuits for helping my swim along, Osmo nutrition for keeping me hydrated and recovering well, RosePT and Normatec Recovery for keeping me healthy and ready to rock, and Louis Garneau for a chafe free experience!

1st Place Male 1:03:51

1st Place Female 1:09:26

Friday, April 11, 2014

'C'-ing Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

5 years into this racing thing and I'm finally beginning to understand how to prioritize races and be ok with not setting a PR every time I toe the line.  In previous years I've labeled my races as A, B, and C but every race received pretty much the same taper progression.  A, B, and C were merely labels I used to denote which ones I wanted to really train for and others that I'd race on my way to the goal race.  No matter what race the goal involved be faster (set a PR), make the podium (if realistic), beat Adam.  I was quite successful in PR-ing almost every distance that I competed in last year.

With this year's Cherry Blossom 10-miler a "C" race and smack dab in the middle of a training cycle I was focusing on the process and enjoying the race.  The weather was pretty much perfect and the crazy winds of Saturday luckily subsided for race morning.

12 ounces of Osmo Preload and an easy bike over to race start.  This easy bike let me know my legs were feeling Thursday and Friday's workouts and I was going to have to fight for everything during the run.  Once at our meet up corner I took some layers off, checked my gear bag, and had myself a short warm up.  Warm up felt good and I stripped the rest of my extra layers and headed to my corral.  Oh yeah, I took a Claritan in the morning right after I woke up.

Race Start
The 2nd start corral (red corral) at this race spans a 12 minute predicted finish time.  I figured I'd want to be somewhat near the front in order to finish in the top 2-3 minutes of the predicted finish time.  I squeezed through gates and slipped past people to get a decent spot in the corral.  The first mile in this race is crowded, well really the entire race is crowded but the first tight right hand turn is super crowded as is the next one about 1 mile later to get up to Memorial Bridge.

My race plan was created based on HR as my training up to this point has been HR and not pace based.  This training model was a struggle at first, but I'm already really seeing the benefits.  Mile 1 - HR was perfect and I was looking to bring it up each mile from there.  Enter mile 2 - holy smokes when did my HR jump almost 15 beats? Yikes, what do I do, what if I can't control it, coach is going to have my butt if I crash and burn.  I was able to calm down, use some reasoning skills and remember all my HR goals correlated to RPE goals.  Thanks HR monitor but you're not going to be too much help today.  I monitored my HR every now and then and I was continuously able to bring it up - to levels that would probably make most people's hearts beat out of there chest, or at least allow them to set world records running 10 miles at that intensity.

The 'U' turns on this course resulted in the ultimate bottle neck and the tight, almost U turns, had a similar effect.  The thing I like most about this course is that I know it like the back of my hand.  I know exactly where I'm headed and what the terrain will be like.  Nothing can change the fact that I love Hains Point.  It was, yet again, my favorite part of this course.   Coming off of Hains Point and making the right turn up Raul Wallenberg Drive I saw some DC Tri friends spinning it out with cheers and motivation for the last 800 meters.  Super awesome.

This race wasn't a PR for the distance, but it was a PR for the course - almost a 3 minute PR for the course.  Coming off of a decently big training week my legs felt ok for the race.  I felt like I pushed it but didn't fall apart.  I was able to bring my HR up 1 beat every mile - even though it was ridiculously high I was still able to increase my effort level throughout the race, so I was pleased with that.
Finish Time : 1:17:00 (:34 seconds off of a PR and a 2:52 course PR, I'll take it for a 'C' race!)

It's tri time from here on out - as far as I have planned.  There may be another 10 miler and/or 1/2 marathon toward the end of the year but the schedule for the next few months goes something like - sprint tri, 70.3, 70.3, olympic....and Ironman Lake Placid :)  Don't worry it doesn't stop there!  Thank you Osmo Nutrition for great pre and post race beverages and of course DC Tri Club and Snapple Tri Team for your awesome support.